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’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

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


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‘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


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.


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 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 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, 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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COMMENTARY: MLB Properties vs. Upper Deck — MLBP's complaint

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 2 … MLB Properties’ complaint

MLB Properties, which is the licensing entity for all 30 MLB teams — the organization that grants and approves the commercial use of the thousands of trademarks MLB owns — claims that Upper Deck is using those trademarks illegally in its three most recent baseball card sets, 2009 Signature Stars, 2009 Ultimate Collection and 2010 Upper Deck Series 1.

The sets do not use MLB logos as part of the card designs but do feature photographs where countless logos on helmets, sleeves, caps and other parts of uniforms can be seen in full or in part (top right) and are not removed or covered as has been the traditional routine for cards released without MLBP licensing (bottom right). It’s unclear whether those past cards would still be subject to possible trade dress violations today given recent arguments from MLBP.

Upper Deck does have a license to produce baseball cards featuring the players themselves, an agreement with the MLB Players Association, which was signed before the MLB Properties licensing decision was made last year. (Citing a shrinking marketplace, MLBP opted to give Topps the right to use MLB logos on an exclusive basis beginning in 2010. An MLBPA license does not grant a company the right to use MLB logos.)

MLBP owns these numerous trademarks and is claiming infringement as well as infringement on MLB’s “trade dress” — the design and look of the uniforms themselves — and dilution (a devaluing) of the trademarks and trade dress. It also is suing for breach of contract and unfair competition under the Federal Trademark Act of 1946.

Boiling it down to the basics, what does it mean? MLBP claims that Upper Deck’s actions after it was not granted licensing are in violation of MLBP’s trademarks — costing it money while wrongly making money off of its property — while devaluing its ability to protect the use of those same trademarks in deals elsewhere (other merchandise), including devaluing and undermining its deal with Topps and damaging the market for those products.

According to court documents, the hundreds of companies that have signed licensing agreements with MLB Properties have generated more than $10 billion in domestic wholesale merchandise sales in the last decade.

MLB Properties cites seven claims against Upper Deck and is seeking all profits from the recently released products, damages to be determined at trial, exemplary damages totaling three times Upper Deck’s profits or MLBP’s damages (whichever is greater) as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

Upper Deck’s defense isn’t a simple one based on its court filings thus far (it declined to comment to Beckett Media). Nor is it one that has been used before — and we’ll get to it in an upcoming piece. But first, we’ll detail more of MLBP’s arguments.

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COMMENTARY: MLB Properties vs. Upper Deck — Why just Topps?

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 1 … Why just Topps?

Details of licensing agreements — or details of non-renewals — are rarely disclosed in the industry as leagues prefer to keep their financial agreements and contractual timeframes confidential.

But when MLB Properties announced on Aug. 5, 2009, that it had signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Topps, that left some people wondering … why just Topps?

After all, Upper Deck had announced just a month earlier that it had a deal with the MLB Players Association. And, just two days after MLB Properties announced its deal, Upper Deck responded that it remained “100 percent committed to building the highest quality and most innovative baseball cards in the industry,” which set the stage for where we are today.

Where is that? On April 19, MLB Properties squares off with Upper Deck in court over alleged “trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, trademark dilution, trade dress dilution, breach of contract and unfair competition” with its recent release of three baseball card sets.

But what might have gone into the decision to not renew Upper Deck’s deal? A handful of details have been noted in court documents and others have been disclosed to Beckett Media by MLB Properties, while Upper Deck declined to comment on that decision or the case.

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Upper Deck reveals baseball SPs, two more "double take" variation players

Upper Deck revealed on Friday that there are four rare retail short-prints to be found for its 2010 baseball card set and that there are two more “double take” players with photo variation cards.

The four SPs include Sarah Palin, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Pete Rose and a five-time world New York Yankeees champions card featuring Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. The Palin and Rose cards are found in packs in Walmarts, while the other two cards can only be found in packs at Target stores.

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Product Preview: 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball cards

Topps unveiled the basic product information and preview images for its fifth installment in one of its most-popular brands — Allen & Ginter Baseball – which will arrive in late-June.

Each 24-pack hobby box will include three autographs, Relics, Rip Cards, Cut Signatures or Printing Plates, while the basic set will consist of 350 cards comprised of baseball players, historic figures or World’s Champions.

Among the insert card offerings are the familiar mini cards — Wood, Framed Cloth, Bazooka Back, Allen & Ginter Backs, Black and standard mini — while a new inclusion for 2010 is the book card, a 10-card checklist that includes dual autographed 1/1 Relics.

Also back for 2010 is the Ginter Code, Rip Cards and the expected framed Relics and autographs, while new inclusions among the inserts include Lords of Olympus, Monsters of the Mesozoic, World’s Greatest Wordsmiths (no word on whether Tracy Hackler is included — but William Shakespeare is), National Animals, Sailors of the Seven Seas, This Day in History and Baseball Highlight Sketch Cards.

Among this year’s notable baseball autographs are Ryan Howard, Evan Longoria, Roy Halladay, David Wright, Tommy Hanson, Rick Porcello, Elvis Andrus and Madison Bumgarner.

See a full gallery and more after the jump.

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Box Busters Preview Gallery: 2010 Topps Heritage baseball cards

We’ll have a Box Busters episode for 2010 Topps Heritage Baseball up before it arrives in hobby shops next week, but we knew that the goodness that is the 10th-annual release in the Heritage line couldn’t wait.

See a gallery of preview images after the jump.

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Upper Deck maintains its support of Tiger Woods


With Tiger Woods’ first public comments about his transgressions on Friday, there will be plenty of discussion about Woods’ future with sponsors and with other business ties.

His largest tie that collectors would be concerned with — his deal with Upper Deck as a company spokesman — remains secure as the company will continue to support the golfer.

“Upper Deck continues to stand by Tiger Woods and wishes him all the best on his road to recovery,” Upper Deck Spokesman Terry Melia said in a statement on Friday. “Our exclusive autographed memorabilia contract with Tiger remains intact.”

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

First look: 2010 TRISTAR In Pursuit of the Majors baseball cards

TRISTAR unveiled its latest baseball card product this week, a 90-card box set named In Pursuit of the Majors, which will include a 75-card set and 15 additional cards in each box when it arrives on March 26.

There will be 24 boxes per master case and just 60 cases produced for the product, which doesn’t carry licensing from any leagues (all team logos are digitally removed).

Each set will include six autographed cards limited to 80 or fewer copies along with four parallel cards (50 or less), three short-print cards and two 2010 Obak preview cards.

Among the autographs are Pursuit of Excellence dual autographs, 1/1 inscriptions autographs and full name autographs where the players sign their first, middle and last names.

See more from the set after the jump.

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Apolo Ohno Trading Cards on the Rise


The face of U.S. speed skating on Saturday night became the face of America’s winningest Winter Olympian. Not coincidentally, Apolo Ohno’s autographed trading card is hot enough to melt the very Vancouver ice upon which he made history.

With a bronze medal in Saturday’s 1,000 meters, the 27-year-old Washington native ran his career Olympic medal total to seven to become the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian of all time.

And his 2004 Donruss World Series Fans of the Game autographed trading card, limited to just 300 copies, is selling for as much as 280 percent above its current value as a result.

The card carries a modest $40 price tag but has sold for more than $150 in recent days, a figure likely to be dwarfed as the international media attention grows following Saturday’s accomplishment and in advance of next week’s 5,000-meter relay.

More-plentiful unsigned versions of the card, valued at just $2, have been selling for more than twice that much since his second-place finish in the 1,500 meters on Valentine’s Day and Saturday’s third-place finish.

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2010 Topps UFC Main Event Packs Serious Punch


No matter how much they celebrated the shockingly good release of Topps’ maiden UFC product last February, there were those among even the hardest of hardcore mixed martial arts fans who feared that a UFC-exclusive trading card product lacked legitimate sustainability.

Supposedly, the UFC’s roster of truly collectible athletes was too limited. Supposedly, the lack of competition would prevent Topps’ product developers from continuing to raise the bar creatively and conceptually. Supposedly, the sport was too young/obscure/violent/nontraditional to develop a deep, savvy collector base. Supposedly, Topps – looking to capitalize on a hot property – would run this good thing into the ground too quickly . . .

One year and three products later, every one of those alleged concerns – and any others – has been waylaid, rendered utterly incapacitated like anyone trying to stand and strike with Shane Carwin or Paul Daley.

Clearly, this whole UFC-as-a-trading-card-sport experiment continues to deliver one knockout punch after another.

That much is refreshingly obvious from the very first pack of 2010 Topps UFC Main Event, the company’s third installment of the franchise that’s due out everywhere Feb. 24.

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Upper Deck Unveils New Saints Images

Upper Deck officials on Thursday unveiled the first images from the company’s March-releasing boxed-set tribute to the Super Bowl XLIV-champion New Orleans Saints.

“Never before in their 44-year history had the Saints made it to the Super Bowl, much less won the Super Bowl,” said UD Football Brand Manager Brandon Miller. “We’re just proud that Upper Deck is able to put together something special to commemorate the first-time achievement for the city of New Orleans and its rabid football fans.”

The 50-card boxed set incorporates several images from Super Bowl XLIV, including Tracy Porter’s game-clinching interception return touchdown in the fourth quarter and an MVP tribute to Drew Brees.

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MSNBC's Keith Olbermann prefers 1967 over 2010 Topps

Long-time collector Keith Olbermann recently opened his first pack of 2010 Topps on the air — a typical tradition of his in recent years — but he didn’t finish going through it because he was looking forward to tearing into a different type of wrapper.

It was one with wax paper and no autographs anywhere to be found.

What did he find in his pack of 1967 Topps? Check it out … click here to watch.

Checklist: 2010 Topps baseball short-prints

Just in case collectors are still looking for it, here is the list of the short-printed cards in the 2010 Topps Baseball set.

There are other variations to be found — Yankees pie cards as well as an Abe Lincoln variation that Topps has teased — and a few other card back variations that have been spotted but not yet detailed.

For now, here’s the list as confirmed by the company after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball cards

Topps on Wednesday released some preview images of the fifth installment of its Allen & Ginter line of baseball cards.

Check ‘em out …

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Box Busters: 2009 Topps Unique Football

Dan Hitt and Tracy Hackler bust a not-entirely-unique box of 2009 Topps Unique Football. With no Players Inc license for 2010, this appears to be the last Topps NFL product for quite some time.

Watch the video to find out what this swan-song box delivered.

Alabama Crimson Tide heats things up on auction block & with upcoming appearance on NASCAR track at Talladega

Do you call yourself the biggest Alabama Crimson Tide fan? You aren’t without this…

The 16-foot wide logo from the floor of the national champions’ locker room from Bryant-Denny Stadium is up for grabs — and already has hit $7,600 on the auction block with more than six weeks remaining. (Click here to view the auction.)

The 13-time national champions have a partnership with Steiner Sports to bring game-used and other memorabilia to collectors (much like the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys). The floor logo is just the latest to be found in the “Alabama Collectibles by Steiner Sports” offerings.

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