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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Box Busters preview: 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball cards

We’ve got the Box Busters episode in the microwave, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see some of what we found inside boxes of 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball cards right now.

Panini America has upped the ante by including six autographs per 20-pack hobby box (the boxes say just four) and four boxes in every 20-box case will be Hot Boxes that pack 10 autographs and a memorabilia card inside.

Here’s a glimpse what what you will see pulled once our video arrives after the jump. Elite Extra Edition will arrive in hobby shops beginning next Wednesday.

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First (photo-free) look: 2010 Goudey & SP Authentic baseball cards from Upper Deck

The visual mystery continues.

Upper Deck released the basic product breakdowns for a pair of its 2010 baseball card sets on Friday — Goudey and SP Authentic – but once again has not given any indication of what its cards will look like as it enters a new era as only a manufacturer of only partially licensed baseball cards.

Goudey will arrive in mid-March with one memorabilia card and two autographs per box. The base set will consist of  200 standard cards, 20 short-printed retired player cards, 40 short-printed black and white cards and 40 short-printed Sports Royalty cards.

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Exclusive First Look: 2009 Exquisite Collection Football

Go ahead you high-end pack gamblers and golden-ticket treasure seekers . . . rejoice. It’s time. Upper Deck on Thursday evening finally has released product information and drool-inducing images of 2009 Exquisite Collection Football, the forthcoming new installment of the  most expensive product in football card history.

While Upper Deck officials have yet to reveal many of the hand-collated product’s specifics, they have confirmed that the 2009 edition, set to release Feb. 23, will include a bonus pack in every box guaranteed to deliver an additional autographed memorabilia card. In addition, all rookie autographs will be numbered to 225 or less and every autograph in the product will be signed on-card.

See more of 2009 Exquisite Collection’s nuts and bolts after this rather, um, stimulating gallery full of collection-making gems, including a handful of the product’s innovative hinged book cards:

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First Look: 2010 Razor U.S. Army All-American Bowl inscription autographs

The 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl has come and gone with the arrival of Tim Tebow‘s first football card and plenty of autographs signed.

On Thursday, Razor unveiled preview images for its 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl set, which will include inscription autographs limited to just five copies per card.

Most of the players signed something related to the university that they will be attending, but some added other notations.

We’re somewhat fond of Matt James‘ note with his autograph.

See it and plenty of others after the jump.

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The Sports Card Industrial Average Revealed

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday ran a story comparing the investment performance of 30 key trading cards during the last five years to the five-year performance of the 30 companies that currently comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The 30 landmark cards, dubbed the “Sports Card Industrial Average” by the WSJ, was compiled in conjunction with Beckett Media and featured the most influential sports cards of all time (15 from baseball and five each from basketball, football and hockey). The story listed seven of the 30 cards individually, leaving many Beckett.com visitors wondering what the other 23 were.

Here is the list in its entirety . . .

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Upper Deck releases USA Baseball checklist

Upper Deck released the checklist for its 2010 USA Baseball set and one thing’s for certain — fears that the set might not include some of the biggest names possible on the autograph checklist couldn’t be more wrong.

Bryce Harper alone signed more than 1,150 autographs for inclusion in the baseball organization’s fund-raiser box sets that will arrive next week. (The release has been delayed until Jan. 18, after previously being set for Jan. 12.)

Until just this week, Upper Deck had not released any images or product information for marketing citing the athletes’ status as amateurs.

See a full product checklist after the jump.

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Topps releases more National Chicle baseball images

Topps released three more images of paintings that will be used in its 2010 National Chicle baseball card set that will arrive in April.

From left, they are Lou Gehrig (in a current New York Yankees uniform), Albert Pujols in a St. Louis Browns uniform and Ken Griffey Jr.

Read more about the product here and at additional links in that story.

Exclusive First Look: 2010 Press Pass Football

Press Pass officials on Thursday morning provided an appetite-whetting early look at 2010 Press Pass Football, a product due out March 31 and buoyed by what many expect to be one of the most spectacular draft classes in recent memory.

The preview includes America’s first glimpse of licensed trading cards featuring collegiate superstars Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen.

Press Pass’ final product under its expiring CLC licensing agreement will deliver five on-card autographs per box in addition to two Reflectors parallels, two Power Picks and seven Banner Season insert cards.

“Our incredibly popular Red Ink and Inscription variations return for another year to add an exciting and unique chase element for collectors,” said Nick Matijevich, Press Pass’ Director of Product Development. “All cards will prominently feature collegiate logos from the players’ universities.”

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Card gallery: 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition

Panini America is all set to release 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition very soon … here’s a peek at what will be found inside packs when it arrives on Jan. 20 — including the first certified autograph card of new Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman.

See a full gallery after the jump.

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Card gallery: 2009 Upper Deck USA Baseball

Upper Deck released a selection of card images from its 2009 USA Baseball boxed set on Wednesday, but only images of the National Team players’ base cards and the memorabilia cards (all triple jerseys).

However, no checklist has been released for the set is now scheduled to arrive next Monday.

See the cards after the jump.

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In The Game Announces Class of 2010 Redemption Program

The release of 2009-10 ITG Heroes and Prospects is less than three weeks away and the company recently announced preliminary details regarding a new redemption program added to the product this season.

As hinted at previously, the Class of 2010 non-memorabilia insert cards will include a redemption feature that could allow collectors to obtain special limited game-used memorabilia cards.

Each Class of 2010 card (full checklist below) will feature a foil-stamped number on the back that is between 1 and 30. If the player depicted on the front of the card is drafted at the position noted on the back, collectors can redeem their insert card for a game-used memorabilia card that is limited to just 10 copies.

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Larry Fitzgerald Resumes Rare Playoff Flight Pattern

Somehow misplaced amid the barrage of passes and points and made-for-SportsCenter moments that permeated last Sunday’s scintillating Cardinals-Packers Wild Card game was yet another spectacular postseason performance from Arizona wonder receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Overshadowed by his team’s record-setting 51-45 overtime win against the Packers (on a defensive touchdown, no less) was the continuation of Fitzgerald’s unparalleled postseason profuseness.

You’ll remember that the 6-3, 225-pound pass-catching freak captivated the country last season with what most consider, hands down, the greatest receiving postseason in NFL history, a bit of spiral-snaring nirvana that included 30 catches, 546 yards and seven touchdowns in four games.

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The New York Post explores Upper Deck Yu-Gi-Oh case

Courtesy of Milard & Associates PC

Konami‘s long-running allegations that Upper Deck produced unauthorized Yu-Gi-Oh! cards — claims that include copyright infringement, breach of contract and trademark counterfeiting — will be at the forefront in a federal court on Jan. 26.

That’s when the case is scheduled for trial with a judge to determine the extent of damages to Konami. The court already found that Konami “presented evidence to establish every element of liability [for] counterfeit activity and violation of federal unfair competition law, pursuant to the Lanham Act, on the part of [Upper Deck].”

The case already is getting mainstream media attention as well. Here’s a story from the The New York Post.

For more details, including court filings and images of cards, click here where the cases have been examined intensively by a Los Angeles-based intellectual property and trademark attorney.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

The Winners of Wild Card Weekend

In a wild, woolly and record-setting opening weekend of the NFL playoffs, a handful of stars helped their hobby perceptions more than others with pristine performances for the football-watching world to see.

None, however, were as sizzling as these six . . .

Early Doucet, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Doucet was the choice early and often for Kurt Warner in Sunday’s record-breaking 51-45 overtime point orgy between the Cardinals and Packers. The second-year pro from LSU was on the receiving end of Warner’s first two touchdown passes Sunday, both 15-yarders, to help stake Arizona to first-half leads of 14-0 and 24-7.

Doucet finished the game with six catches and a career-high 77 yards. His two scores doubled his previous career total and helped immensely in easing the burden caused by Anquan Boldin’s injury.

Key RC: Doucet has 40 total, but his 2008 Playoff Contenders ($60), is limited to just 113 copies. Another performance or two like Sunday’s and $60 will seem like a steal.

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Inside Upper Deck's Diamond Club

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Ever wonder what it’s like to be a part of Upper Deck‘s exclusive group of collectors, the Diamond Club?

Here’s a video that the company recently produced detailing it all. Check it out.

Box Busters: 2009 Bowman Sterling baseball cards

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into two boxes of 2009 Bowman Sterling baseball cards for this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find? Watch and find out by clicking here.

Wall Street Journal Examines the Investment Performance of Key Sports Cards

A story in Tuesday’s edition of the The Wall Street Journal pits 30 key sports trading cards against the 30 companies that currently comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Journal‘s findings: Over the last five years, the key sports cards have outperformed the DJIA with an average return of 12.4 percent to 7.9 percent.

Beckett Media worked with Journal reporter David Biderman to compile the list of the top 30 most influential sports cards of all time (15 baseball and five each from basketball, football and hockey), a list the WSJ story refers to as the “Sports Card Industrial Average.”

Click the link to read Biderman’s story.

— Tracy Hackler

First look: 2010 Bowman baseball cards

Topps unveiled a package of preview images for its 2010 Bowman Baseball set on Monday, a selection that includes the first base card and certified autograph card of No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg.

While Topps officials have been mum about Strasburg’s cards since announcing the company’s deal with the hightly touted college star in December, this is his first known appearance on a Topps card. (It’s likely that he would show up in Topps’ inaugural Pro Debut Minor League set which should arrive before Bowman, but nothing has been announced.)

See more images after the jump.

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Upper Deck announces 2009 UD Signature Stars baseball set

Upper Deck announced on Monday its 2009 UD Signature Stars line, a baseball product that is set to arrive later this month.

No images were released for the product, but it is set to include a heavy amount of USA Baseball cards as well as top prospects.

The base set will include 100 cards, 20 Top Prospects, 65 base card High Series Signatures and 25 Rookie Signatures cards.

The insert line will include a Blue Platinum base set parallel, Signature Skills (1:25 packs), Signed Sealed and Delivered (1:25) and Trophy Winners (1:50).

Each 20-pack box will include four memorabilia or autograph cards with the company touting the “first UD Signature cards of Michael Saunders, Chris Tillman, Josh Reddick, Mat Latos, Sean O’Sullivan and Chinese pitcher Fu-Te-Ni” as well as signatures from Rick Porcello, Matt Laporta and Matt Wieters along with autographs of Bryce Harper and 2008 USA Baseball Buybacks for Andy Laroche, Evan Longoria and Colby Rasmus.

Each 20-box case will include just one Gold Signatures Parallel autograph.

Every other case will include a UD Black “Pride of a Nation” veteran or rookie as well as one triple or quad autograph card.

From there, it’s a little confusing as to what’s precisely included in the product on the box level because of the array of autographed and game-used inserts so here’s the full breakdown:

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Report: UD Admits Making Unauthorized Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards

A story in last Wednesday’s Los Angeles Daily Journal details a federal judge’s finding that Upper Deck admitted to printing and distributing more than 600,000 “unauthentic” Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards in 2007.

A Jan. 26 trial is set to determine the extent of the damages. Stay tuned to Beckett.com for updates to this story.

To read the Daily Journal account, click on the link below.

UDYGO

NBA & Flip Video team up for camcorder line

The NBA and Flip Video unveiled on Monday a new line of NBA-branded camcorders that fans can take with them to the big game and then take video off of with the ease of a USB port.

While we’re sure this doesn’t fall into the typical sports card and memorabilia category, there are more than a few fans (and perhaps bloggers) who might find such a gadget handy when on the hunt for their latest finds, chasing autographs or preparing their latest in multimedia presentations.

The Flip Mino camcorder will be found with all 30 NBA teams’ logos (an exclusive deal with the league) printed on their metal casings beginning today. The company’s cameras start at $149 depending on options and can be found here, though the NBA cameras also are available in a higher-end model, which records HD footage. Those are $229 (free shipping).

The cameras record a maximum of 120 minutes of video, depending on options, which users can share via email, mobile devices and televisions.

See designs of several teams’ cameras after the jump.

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eTopps Announces 1956 Football Tribute

Topps officials today released information on eTopps’ newest offering, a tribute to the landmark 1956 Topps set, the company’s first devoted to the NFL.

The product, which went on sale beginning at noon CST today, honors superstars from yesterday and today, including the likes of Barry Sanders, Roger Staubach, Tom Landry and Tom Brady, to name four.

Additional players will be offered for sale in coming weeks. For more information, visit the eTopps website.

— Tracy Hackler

More details on USA Baseball box set released

While the USA Baseball boxed set arrives on Jan. 18, little has been revealed about what will be inside the annual fund-raising product — other than the confirmed inclusion of a few Bryce Harper cards — until now.

The standard set will include the National Team, the 18U National Team and the 16U National Team, while each set will include seven autographs per box — five of those being on-card autographs. Each set will include one inscriptions card as well as a Q&A, Big Signatures, Starting Lineup or team roster card.

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2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball: The artists react

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

While we’ve talked about the reactions to some of the surprise inclusions in the 2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball set in the wake of their preview’s release on Friday, one group of people we hadn’t yet heard from are the artists.

You know, those who are bringing those National Chicle cards to life.

Whether you love or hate their work, they probably have a different perspective than the typical collector — they also are the ones working on deadline and the ones who bear some of the brunt of reactions to their assignments from Topps.

They also can have distinctly different styles of work, ranging from paintings that carry almost a sketch quality to paintings that carry more of a folk-style aesthetic — some of which may not spark the same types of reactions from different collectors.

The artists also the ones whose names are attached to the work at the end of the day. It’s a challenge but an opportunity just to be a part of something they just might carry a life-long interest in — a set of baseball cards.

Paul Lempa, who was profiled in Beckett Baseball No. 42 last year for his work on Topps’ Sketch Cards, is one of the artists on board for Chicle.

And it’s his Babe Ruth card that’s drawing the ire of some collectors.

“Exciting stuff,” said Lempa to the reaction in an email to Beckett Media. “I am flattered that my artwork could cause such an uproar. I would rather my paintings be discussed and deliberated, than skipped over, that’s for sure.”

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Babe Ruth is an Atlanta Brave on a baseball card? It must be a sign of the apocalypse (Really, I swear.)

The reaction online to a handful of 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball card preview images continues to amaze.

While art cards are not going to be for everyone, paintings do allow for things just like this Babe Ruth card to be possible. Yes, he was never an Atlanta Brave — he was a Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees legend before briefly capping his career with the Boston Braves in 1935. (A franchise which, by the way, is part of the Atlanta Braves lineage.)

And yet the reactions from many a collector has been akin to the slow, torturous massacre of countless small fluffy animals along with allegations of artist mistakes to (gasp!) body-swapping Chipper Jones and Babe Ruth based on the red alternate uniform and, of course, the eye black. (Two effective modern touches that sold the old-is-new concept quite well.)

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