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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Do You Believe in Collecting Miracles?

Like so many others, I watched the tape-delayed broadcast of the 1980 Olympic Games’ Miracle on Ice, the U.S. men’s hockey team’s unthinkable medal-round upset win over the Soviet Union in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Like so many others, I was elated with the results. Ever since, I’ve been a collector of this moment – and I’m far from the only one.

I have the 1995 Signatures Rookies Miracle on Ice set and that’s a great place to start. You can get a base set for a fair price, but the autographs – headlined by the one of late, great coach Herb Brooks – are the real keys to this set. The Brooks autograph is currently valued at $50, as are the two cards of Mike Eruzione. Jack O’Callahan’s autos are listed at $30 apiece, Jim Craig’s at $25; the vast majority of the autographs can be had for between $12 and $15.

The 2004-05 SP Legendary Signatures boxes that guarantee one Miracle Men autograph per box will cost you about $189 each. But the autographs are plentiful on the secondary market and can be picked up for affordable prices. The autograph I had to get was the Mark Pavelich. Why?

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Ozzy Osbourne: An absolute Iron Man when signing autographs

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

My Saturday morning started off like few others — my alarm clock went off at 7:30.

Why? Heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne was in town to sign copies of his new book I am Ozzy — currently charting on The New York Times Best-Seller List — at a Dallas Barnes & Noble, and I had to be at the store by 9 a.m. to get a wristband and assure myself of a chance at an autograph.

Here’s where I’d quote lyrics from one of Osbourne’s favorite bands, The Beatles“Woke up, fell out of bed/Dragged a comb across my head/Found my way downstairs and drank a cup/And looking up I noticed I was late” — but that didn’t even happen. I was in too much of a hurry.

It takes a pretty big-name celeb for me to go hounding these days — or in this case standing in line for the book-signing cattle-call — but in my mind Osbourne is hands down one of the most iconic figures in the history of heavy metal, so this event was a must.

I braved the cold Dallas morning (only slowed by having to scrape a light layer of ice off my car’s windows) and ventured forth in search of the signature of The Prince of *@¢*!$% Darkness.

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Inside the ultimate Los Angeles Lakers memorabilia collection

Ever wondered what the owner of a sports auction house might collect — and just what might be in that collection?

David Kohler, the owner of SCP Auctions, recently showed off his impressive collection of Los Angeles Lakers memorabilia to NBA.com’s Craig Sager.

Click here to watch the video.

Prepare to be bugged by these baseball cards

Upper Deck has started unveiling its 2009 Goodwin Champions Entomology Cards that include an actual dead insect embedded into a sports card that is ultimately a shadowbox for the insect.

Issued as redemptions in its 1800s-inspired baseball set last year, the company has started to receive back the cards from its manufacturer and this first card seen above is roughly four times the size of a standard baseball card (roughly 5×7) and at least 10 times creepier.

Read more about the cards by clicking here.

Box Busters: 2009 Ultimate Collection football cards

Join Beckett Football‘s Tracy Hackler and Dan Hitt as they rip into a pair of 2009 Ultimate Collection football packs from Upper Deck in this red-hot edition of Box Busters recorded just minutes ago.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Preview Gallery: 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball cards

Topps released a large number of card images to preview its forthcoming 2010 National Chicle baseball card set on Friday.

The set, which features work from several notable sports artists, will arrive in late-April featuring stars from the past alongside the players of today on its checklist. Read more about it here.

Until then, you can check out the images after the jump.

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Upper Deck announces "Wave 2" of 2010 Series 1 baseball card set coming to retail

Upper Deck unveiled plans Friday for a second wave of 2010 Upper Deck Baseball coming to retail store shelves in May.

The Wave 2 release will include 50 additional cards in the set, Nos. 601-650, along with a selection of cards from the 600-card Series 1 set. These cards will be found one per standard pack and two per 36-card Fat Pack when it arrives on May 4.

Among the inserts to be found in the release are the Gold parallel, Upper Deck Portraits, Season Biography, 20th Anniversary Heroes Art Cards, All World, All World Short Prints, Pure Heat, Pure Heat Short Prints, Supreme Green (with Blue and Red versions) along with UD Game Jersey Black variation cards.

The Fat Packs will include two Rookie Debut cards in each pack as well as two new exclusive cards as well.

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 steel chair finally has a rookie card …

We’ve previously written about one of the most traditional pieces of pro wrestling memorabilia — the steel chair – but now the collecting world can truly rest easily knowing that the iconic of all wrestling icons has a trading card of its own.

The steel chair has a card in the new 2010 Topps WWE Slam Attax trading card game.

It won’t get an RC tag since Beckett Media doesn’t tag wrestling cards, but there’s no doubting this one’s place in the game.

Massive Gallery: Razor 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Auto Patches

By TRACY HACKLER | BECKETT MEDIA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Razor CollectiblesBrian Gray on Wednesday evening shared a staggering assortment of autographed patch cards from his company’s forthcoming 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Football product due out March 1 . . . and here’s what I think about what I saw:

* In a word, “Wow!” With the exception of dreaded sticker autographs — yes, even high school players are using them these days — this oversized patch autographs set (sequentially numbered to just 5) is double-take attractive. I don’t know if there’s a long future for trading card sets devoted to prep football stars; but if there is, they should all strive to look like these.

* Because its checklist is culled from the rosters of the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, this set boasts an absolutely devastating array of talent, most of which will shine on Saturdays for the next three years or so. The very best of this checklist will shine on Sundays in the future, too; the opportunity to own an autographed jersey card of those players now is a rather enchanting proposition.

* As a means of illustrating the previous point, know this: 21 of Rivals.com‘s top 50 current high school seniors — and seven of the top 10 — are in this set, highlighted by Florida signees Ronald Powell (No. 1) and Sharrif Floyd (No. 4), USC signee Seantrel Henderson (No. 2)  and California signee Keenan Allen (No. 5).

* It’ll be extremely interesting to watch the market activity surrounding these cards once the players on them begin making an impact in the college ranks.

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Breaking news: Topps WWE Slam Attax cards provide further proof Sheamus should never have been WWE champion

Seventy.

That’s the statistic that matters most in the career of Sheamus, a 6-foot-6, 272-pound bruiser from Dublin, Ireland, who makes his first WWE trading card appearance in the new 2010 Topps WWE Slam Attax gaming set.

What’s the stat? Well, it’s day count for his tour of terror — err misery — that wrestling fans endured as the 32-year-old was booed in arenas around the world as the WWE Champion … a reign that thankfully ended this past Sunday thanks to Triple H in the Elimination Chamber.

Since the Irish fighter had only been in WWE full time since last June or so, many a fan didn’t take to his winning the title — even if he defeated another guy many wrestling fans love to hate, John Cena — and his Attax card, which assigns points to a wrestler that are used in gameplay against other wrestlers’ cards, affirms many of those fans’ notions.

How?

Sheamus’ 51 Defense and 59 Attack points are topped by the likes of Melina (55-66), Natalya (52-59) and even Michelle McCool (56-62) — three of the WWE’s female competitors.

If you didn’t know, McCool is a 5-10, 135-pound bruiser who is a former seventh-grade science teacher. (Don’t get me wrong, wrangling seventh-graders might be tougher than taking down Sheamus — even if the guy only was pinned once in a match that mattered since the middle of last December.)

No word on whether Mr. McMahon has placed a call to Topps …

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps Heritage baseball cards

Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they bust into two boxes of 2010 Topps Heritage, which features the 1961 Topps design, in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Click here to watch and find out …

Sneak Preview Gallery: 2009-10 ITG Between the Pipes Hockey

In The Game officials on Wednesday released preliminary product information and a bevy of stunning card images for 2009-10 Between the Pipes, the annual goalie-collector’s gotta-have that releases March 25. (Check out the captivating gallery after the jump.)

The product’s loyal followers have come to rely on Between the Pipes to deliver a wealth of nifty, net-minded niceties. Judging by this early look at the latest installment, those collectors will not be disappointed, especially when they see the Pad Save and Stick Save memorabilia inserts.

Every 18-pack Between the Pipes box should deliver two memorabilia cards, two autograph cards, two non-memorabilia inserts and two Masked Men inserts.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional updates on 2009-10 ITG Between the Pipes Hockey.

– Tracy Hackler

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First One to Pull this Card Wins . . .

Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White announced today via Twitter that Topps officials have randomly inserted into the just-released 2010 Topps UFC Main Event 10 cards bearing autographs from White and fellow UFC luminaries Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.

And the first collector to pull one (and then emails Topps at ufcprize@topps.com) will be treated to an unprecedented, all-access UFC trip to Las Vegas (with a guest) to rub elbows with White himself.

The special card, White’s first certified autograph, also brings rivals and “The Ultimate Fighter 11” coaches Liddell and Ortiz together again. The two have squared off twice in the Octagon (Liddell won both times) but have never appeared together on an autographed trading card.

The lucky collector who pulls the card first will be flown to Las Vegas as White’s personal guest at the UFC Training Center. There, the winner will tour the gym, meet the coaches and fighters from “TUF 12” and sit cage-side with White during one of the closed-door TUF preliminary matches.

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps Attax Baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they open a pair of 2010 Topps Attax starter packs and show collectors what can be found inside for this new baseball card game in this latest episode of Box Busters.

How can you win a box of Attax? Watch and find out.

It's a bird, it's a plane … it's a million-dollar comic book

Dr. Evil would be proud.

A CGC 8.0 copy of Action Comics No. 1 — a comic book known for the first appearance of Superman — sold for $ 1 million dollars at auction this week.

The 1938 comic book broke the previous record for the highest amount paid for a comic book — $317,200 for a copy of the magazine graded 6.0 — set in 2009. It was sold on ComicConnect.com, an auction/consignment site.

This copy had been in a private collection for more than 15 years.

“It’s the Holy Grail of comic books,” said ComicConnect’s Stephen Fishler. “Before Action Comics No. 1, there was no such thing as a superhero or a man who could fly.”

Only 100 copies Action Comics No. 1 are believed to exist. Only two copies have received a grade of 8.0 (Very Fine) or higher.

Panini Releases Playoff Contenders Basketball SP List

On the heels of weeks of gradually building collector speculation and anticipation, Panini officials on Tuesday night released to Beckett Media the list of short-printed Rookie Cards from 2009-10 Playoff Contenders Basketball.

Just more than a third of Contenders’ 35 Rookie Cards are short printed, with six cards in a group limited to 499 or less and six more in a group limited to 649 or less.

“Unlike Playoff Contenders Football, where there were more than 100 rookies in the autographed Rookie Ticket subset, there are just 35 rookie players in Playoff Contenders Basketball,” said Panini Basketball Brand Manager David Porter. “But even with a considerably smaller rookie checklist, some of the Rookie Ticket cards were still produced in fewer quantities than others in the set.”

Players with autographed RCs limited to 499 or less are: Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Jordan Hill, Brandon Jennings and Tyler Hansbrough.

Players with autographed RCs limited to 649 or less are: Blake Griffin, Dante Cunningham, Earl Clark, Johnny Flynn, Stephen Curry and Terrence Williams.

– Tracy Hackler

Press Pass Encourages Collectors to Get a Rope

One of the many refreshing aspects permeating Press Pass’ new 8 Seconds Professional Bull Riders trading card set is the fact that you can, quite literally, get a bona fide, bull-ridden rope – or at least a piece of one – in randomly selected retail blaster boxes.

Collectors can also grab sizable chunks of such ride-used, bull-bucked accoutrements as flank straps that have also been used by the world’s top bull riders and bulls during sanctioned PBR events.

It’s an unmistakably authentic addition to a shining new entry in the sports cards arena, and one that’s certain to catch those folks lucky enough to find the memorabilia by complete surprise.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring a little piece of exciting PBR action to diehard fans and collectors who otherwise might never get this close,” says Tonya Daneille Clarkston, Press Pass licensing coordinator. “These three-inch pieces of riding ropes and flank straps are pieces of bull-riding history, and it’s fitting that they find a home in a unique product like 8 Seconds.”

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps UFC Main Event

Beckett Media UFC mavens Bryan Hornbeck and Tracy Hackler go a few rounds with 2010 Topps UFC Main Event, a must-bust product for hardcore MMA fans.

See what gems they pulled by watching the video now.

COMMENTARY: MLB Properties vs. Upper Deck — What does one trademark expert think?

With the MLB Properties case against Upper Deck set for an April 19 court date, Beckett Media will be examining several aspects of the complicated and wide-scoped case through a series of commentary pieces. We’ll examine MLBP’s complaint, Upper Deck’s argument, try to address some key questions and more …

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor | COMMENTARY

Part 4 … One trademark attorney’s view

We’ve examined the various pieces of the April 19 court case  (links above), but we haven’t had anyone examine the arguments from a legal standpoint.

Miguel Danielson of Danielson Legal LLC in Cambridge, Mass., is not only a trademark and intellectual property attorney, but he’s also an avid sports card collector.

Beckett Media posed a couple of questions to him about the case in an effort to help clarify some things for readers (and for us … there were a lot of documents) as simply as possible — and to get his take on the case. We asked him about fair use and Upper Deck‘s point that it should be able to use the unaltered photographs in its baseball cards.

“The type of fair use that Upper Deck is claiming is called ‘nominative’ fair use,” Danielson said. “Nominative fair use is a concept in trademark law that permits parties to use the trademarks of others if that use is necessary to refer to a party’s product or service (by its trademark) in order to identify the product or service being offered by the party making the fair use.  The classic example of this comes from an important Supreme Court case in which the newspaper USA Today was permitted to use the trademark New Kids on the Block in order to refer to the band in a promotional contest that USA Today was running without permission or collaboration with the band.”

In that case, New Kids on The Block vs. News America Publishing, the newspaper used the band’s name as part of its promotion of a 1-900-number telephone survey it created to determine which band member was the most popular.

“You can see how this case is quite different from the New Kids case,” Danielson said. “For one thing, trademarks at issue here are graphical logos used in the context of photographs.  That’s a very different type of use than referring to a trademark in text form.  There’s never been any cases dealing with this type of possible nominative fair use, and so this case would be the first to deal with it head on.”

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COMMENTARY: MLB Properties vs. Upper Deck — Examining Upper Deck's argument

With the MLB Properties case against Upper Deck set for an April 19 court date, Beckett Media will be examining several aspects of the complicated and wide-scoped case through a series of commentary pieces. We’ll examine MLBP’s complaint, Upper Deck’s argument, try to address some key questions and more …

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor | COMMENTARY

Part 3 … Upper Deck’s argument

While Upper Deck has declined to address its forthcoming court date with MLB Properties with Beckett Media, it has argued its stance on three recently released baseball card sets that feature MLB team logos in the photographs in two ways — via a letter to distributors in January and in court filings in opposition of a temporary restraining order on the products in early February.

While we’ve examined the key question of “Why just Topps?” when it comes to licensing and examined MLB Properties’ complaint as well, we haven’t probed Upper Deck’s argument that could alter the landscape of trademark licensing in all of professional sports products, if not many other areas as well.

And it all ultimately comes down to one question: What makes a baseball card?

In its preliminary statement, Upper Deck writes: “This is not a garden variety trademark infringement dispute. This case requires a deliberate and careful assessment of the scope of MLBP’s trademark rights in a context where those rights come into direct conflict with principles of free speech and competition and the legal doctrines that aim to protect them.”

Big sell for baseball cards, ain’t it? Freedom of speech? Is there a statement made by a baseball card? Actually, there is a past case and past product that cites that. (We’ll get to it…)

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