Monthly Archives: February 2010

Behind the Scenes: A Beckett Magazine Planning Meeting

Ever wonder what goes on in a Beckett magazine planning meeting?

Well spend eight minutes watching the wheels turn and you’ll get an idea. While this particular meeting — to plan the April 2010 issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly — wasn’t necessarily rife with definitive revelations, we do learn just a little about the next issue’s editorial lineup and why Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay might not make the best cover subjects.

— Tracy Hackler

McFarlane Toys Reveals First Signed Hockey Figures

By Russ Cohen

In NHL news, McFarlane Toys made a pretty big splash at Toy Fair over the weekend by following up last September’s announcement of autographed chase figures with a sneak preview of the first signed hockey figures.

I got a sneak peek of a Gordie Howe-signed base that had his formal name of “Gordon” with the “#9;” interesting to note that he didn’t sign “Mr. Hockey.” Figures all have a small white box on the side of the base and a limited amount of them will be autographed and randomly inserted into case packs. That figure is out now.

New York Islanders rookie John Tavares will be in the NHL 24 release along with Mike Cammalleri (Habs) and Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson (Leafs). Tavares will have autographs in the set and I suspect they will be an extremely hot commodity. There will be just 200 to 400 pieces total that have sequentially numbered autographs and the price point is still $9.99.

There is no way for the company to protect against “figure searching” so I suspect sometime in April when this hits the market, the sharks will be waiting.

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Sneak Preview Gallery: 2010 Famous Fabrics First Edition

Dr. Brian Price — the Canadian sports card manufacturer who’s delivered memorable products from such memorable brands as In The Game, Be A Player and Sportkings — recently unveiled a whole host of images from Famous Fabrics First Edition, the newest product from his newest company, Creative Cardboard Concepts.

True to the name of its front company, Famous Fabrics delivers a creative, multisport twist on the memorabilia card concept by presenting an extremely limited product with seemingly countless unique themes and pairings.

With an overall production run of just 400 10-pack boxes, every one-card pack of Famous Fabrics includes a slabbed memorabilia or cut-signature card limited to either nine copies (Silver) or one copy (Gold).

Due out Feb. 24, Famous Fabrics incorporates legends from a bevy of sports, including baseball, basketball, football, hockey, boxing, golf, track and field, horse racing, soccer, swimming and more. Such a wide talent pool helps the product shine on poignant themed inserts such as  The Year, Rookie of the Year, MVP and Cityscapes. In addition, Famous Fabrics includes a veritable locker room full of memorabilia types, including jerseys, trunks, bats, skates, cleats, hats and gloves.

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First Look: Upper Deck's 2010 NCAA Sweet Spot Football

Upper Deck officials on Monday released preliminary information and images on 2010 NCAA Sweet Spot Football, a brand new product releasing in June that takes full advantage of the company’s exclusive agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company.

The product, a college-exclusive extension of Upper Deck’s popular Sweet Spot brand, promises six autograph or memorabilia cards per six-pack box, a 100-card base set and helmet variations aplenty for each player.

See more images after the jump and stay tuned to for additional information on this product.

— Tracy Hackler

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Inside the Topps Million Card Giveaway …

So Topps launched its Million Card Giveaway on Monday at, where slowly but surely collectors who found one of the contest cards in packs of 2010 Topps baseball cards could enter their code and win a card from the past.

Beckett Media‘s Box Busters review box yielded six of these contest cards, so armed with their trusty codes I ventured forth into the wild frontier of redeeming them … what did Beckett receive?

Card No. 1 … 1988  John Tudor

Card No. 2 … 2005  Ichiro Suzuki

Card No. 3 … 1966  Bob Shaw

Card No. 4 … 1976  Bob Coluccio

Card No. 5 … 1993 Mark McLemore

Card No. 6 …  1998  Francisco Cordova season highlights card

What a haul. They’re sitting in the Beckett account where they can be requested for delivery (for a fee), traded or … sit.

I got caught up in code-entering mania and launched my own personal account to see what I got from my pair of cards … a 2000 Orlando Cabrera and a 1972 Reggie Cleveland.

And then, once the time-out issues on the site subsided (it’s been a busy day there), I started poking around to see what others have found … and it appears some collectors have found plenty…

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Box Busters: 2010 Upper Deck baseball cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they bust a box of 2010 Upper Deck baseball cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

Is it a Hot Box? You watch and decide…

For the latest developments in the MLBP vs. Upper Deck case since this video was filmed, click here.

The NFL's Biggest Surprises . . . Continued

In the March 2010 issue of Beckett Football that’s on newsstands and in hobby shops now, we profile seven of the 2009 NFL season’s biggest surprise players. That is, players who enjoyed breakout performances on the field and in the hobby in 2009 that forced collectors to stand up and take notice.

You know, players like Miles Austin, Austin Collie, Sidney Rice and Jamaal Charles to name four. Well, the truth of the matter is that we didn’t have enough room in the March issue to include all of the biggest breakout players, so decided to share four more with you online.

Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers
The Surprise:
Ten receivers were drafted before Wallace, but only four had more yards in their rookie season. He led all rookies in yards per catch with 19.4. His six touchdowns were tied for second most among rookies. He made great catches all season and should become Pittsburgh’s No. 2 receiver when Hines Ward retires.
Surprise Cards: Wallace has 33 Rookie Cards as of Feb. 15, and the best ones are topping out at $50-$60. With the Steelers missing the playoffs, it’s unlikely that Wallace RCs will pick up a lot of steam, but top choices are 2009 Limited #206 ($50) and the new 2009 Playoff Contenders #124 that sells for about $30-$60.

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Sights and Sounds from the 2010 NBA All-Star Jam Session

Equipped with a wandering eye and a nifty, Dallas Mavericks-branded Flip Mino Camcorder, Beckett Basketball Senior Market Analyst Keith Hower spent the better part of three days documenting quality time at 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend in downtown Dallas.

Hower captured, among other things, Kobe Bryant signing the world’s largest basketball card, a see-it-to-believe-it half-court shot from Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings, fellow hot rookie Hasheem Thabeet playing a game of Panini Adrenalyn XL with one lucky kid and a former Beckett Basketball guest editor sharing the experience with his mom.

All in all, it was a record-breaking weekend in Dallas . . . and one collectors of all sports can appreciate after the jump

. . .

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World's largest basketball card is ready for pack out …

Nobody’s Kobe Bryant collection is big enough for this.

It turns out that there is one collection large enough for the world’s largest autographed and game-used basketball card, which was unveiled on Saturday at the NBA Jam Session.

The Panini America creation is headed to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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

Box Busters: 2009-10 USA Baseball box set

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they open two sets of 2009-10 USA Baseball cards.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out … and one sweet card they find can be yours in a future issue of Beckett Baseball.

Triple H at Toy Fair? That just screams "caption me" …

Every once in awhile, we run across photos that just grab our attention but really don’t have any substantial hobby ties for our core of sports cards and memorabilia. But they still beg for a place.

That’s what happened when I spotted the above photo of Triple H (Paul Levesque) showing off his action figure Friday in advance of the American International Toy Fair that starts Sunday in New York.

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Panini America sets Guinness world record with Kobe Bryant basketball card at NBA Jam Session

Nobody’s Kobe Bryant collection is big enough for this.

Panini America set a Guinness World Record on Saturday for the largest autographed game-used jersey card when it was unveiled in Arlington, Texas, at the NBA Jam Session.

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A Brief Beckett Discussion . . . and Snow

An impromptu trading card discussion between Beckett’s Brett Robertson, Keith Hower, Tim Trout and Brian Fleischer turns into a closer look at a rare Dallas snowfall.

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Major League Baseball Properties vs. Upper Deck heads to court on April 19

Major League Baseball Properties‘ lawsuit against Upper Deck regarding alleged misuse of MLB trademarks in three recently released baseball card sets will hit the courtroom not long after Opening Day, according to a statement issued Thursday evening to Beckett Media.

The statement from Matt Bourne, MLB’s Vice President of Business Public Relations is as follows:

“We are pleased that the Judge has expedited this case with the combined preliminary injunction hearing and trial beginning on April 19.  This signals that the Judge has taken our concerns about Upper Deck’s distribution of unauthorized cards very seriously.

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Press Pass Reveals Joe Montana Autograph Error

Press Pass officials recently announced that a production error on Joe Montana’s run of Semester Signature Onyx autograph cards from 2009 Press Pass Fusion led to the creation of four cards bearing identical “2/5” serial numbering.

The snafu, compliments of a malfunctioning thermotype machine, presented quite a dilemma for Press Pass officials, considering the magnitude of the player and the value of his certified autographs. Nick Matijevich, the company’s Director of Product Development, admits that he and his coworkers brainstormed many different solutions, including attempting to remove or cover up the duplicate numbering in an effort to re-number them correctly.

Ultimately, though, company officials determined that the risk of damaging four key cards   was too great with that scenario. So, instead, they decided to do nothing in hopes that the benefit of full disclosure will mean more to collectors.

“We are fulfilling all redemptions from the cards we have available in order to provide each collector with the card that they were promised,” Matijevich said. “While we understand that this situation is not ideal, we want to assure collectors that there are only five of these cards in circulation despite the repeat numbering.

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Exclusive Interview: What Does Kobe Collect?

Here’s how you know the folks at Panini America are doing something right: They managed to give Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant goose bumps.

It’s not easy to give Kobe Bryant goose bumps.

After all, Bryant is arguably the greatest basketball player in the game today with four NBA championship rings, more than 25,000 career points, 12 All-Star Game appearances and two league scoring titles. Oh, and he’s also been named the MVP of the regular season and the NBA Finals.

So, what exactly did Panini do to get Kobe so excited? They put his face on a bus. A really, really big bus.

“It’s unbelievable, man,” Bryant said. “To me, it’s a little weird seeing my face on a bus. You don’t wake up every morning and see your face on the side of a bus. It’s pretty cool.”

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Contest Update: 2009 Card Investment NFL Season Preview

You may recall that in September on (and on The Beckett Blog and in Beckett Football), we solicited submissions for a special 2009 NFL Season Preview card-investment contest. Essentially, we asked Beckett visitors how they would invest an imaginary $1,000 in at least five football cards for the 2009 season.

We selected 10 lucky respondents at random and announced that the one whose collection appreciates the most in value from the start of the season to the end of the Super Bowl would be crowned the winner and would receive a pigskin potpourri prize pack that includes an array of 2009 football products.

Well, the contest is almost over. In fact, after we incorporate one more pricing cycle to capture any post-Super Bowl value fluctuations, we will list the final results in their entirety, including all 10 collectors’ complete card choices and monthly value changes.

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Upper Deck Honors Saints with Boxed Set

Upper Deck is honoring the Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints with a 51-card commemorative boxed set that includes 40 player cards, five Season Highlight cards, four Postseason Memorable Moments cards, one Super Bowl MVP card and one oversized 3 x 5 celebration card.

The sets — which incorporate postseason photography on some cards — are slated to arrive in early March.

Click here to order or for more information.

Say it ain't so… not all retail packs are made alike, Part III

Recently, you might have read items here on The Beckett Blog where we examined how some recent Topps retail packs and Blaster Boxes may not deliver the kinds of blasts collectors might expect.

Well, it’s didn’t really get any better for 2010 — and I’m not sure how many collectors even noticed as they made their purchases — but it’s a move that’s certainly going to curb my buying habits of the retail boxes.

What is it? The 2010 Topps Baseball Blaster Boxes don’t include any kind of autographs or game-used memorabilia cards.


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Topps appoints Ryan O’Hara new CEO

Topps announced Tuesday that it appointed Ryan O’Hara as president and chief executive officer beginning March 1.

O’Hara, the president of TV Guide Network and, led the company’s business and growth strategy, overseeing all functional areas from programming to distribution to advertising sales. The TV Guide Network became one of the most widely distributed cable networks reaching over 80 million households, and has grown to 20 million monthly unique visitors on his watch.

Broadcasting & Cable magazine has called O’Hara “the consummate media executive,” pointing out that he has had “experience abroad, leadership roles in both programming and distribution, and a demonstrated devotion to both traditional and new media.”

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Upper Deck aims to make collectors do a double take with baseball card promotion

Collectors who thoroughly examine their baseball cards now have a reason to look a little closer at their 2010 Upper Deck baseball cards.

Upper Deck unveiled on Tuesday a variation card promotion contest that will award prizes to collectors who can spot all 25 variations in 2010 Upper Deck and collect all of the cards.

“This should be a lot of fun for collectors as they seek out the variation cards,” said Gabriel Garcia, Upper Deck’s Baseball brand manager. “We’ll be announcing more and more players every month up until July, so collectors really need to be on top of things to keep track.”

The base set variation cards will have “between two and four subtle tweaks to the image shown on the commonly seeded version of the card,” according to the company, which announced that Jorge Posada (card No. 347) and Chase Utley (No. 376) are the first two. Posada has three variations, while Utley has four.

The variants are found one in every 96 hobby packs (and one in 960 at retail), while some will be much tougher to find than others.

The first five collectors to complete the set and send it in to Upper Deck will win autographed memorabilia.

Topps announces National Chicle Football short-prints

This just in from Topps on Monday …

Topps is confirming that there are 25 short-printed base cards seeded one in every six packs in the recently-released all-painted 2009 Topps National Chicle Football.  The short-prints are as follows:

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Box Busters: 2009 Topps Sterling baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Brian Fleischer and Chris Olds as they rip into a pair of 2009 Topps Sterling Baseball boxes in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find in these high-end boxes? Watch and find out.

A sneak peek inside Beckett Media's New Orleans Saints Super Bowl champions commemorative issue

Now that the New Orleans Saints have won their first Super Bowl, Beckett Media will be working throughout the night to bring to you an 80-page full-color commemorative issue that highlights their run to a championship — a magazine that will arrive on newsstands later this week. (It also will be available by clicking here soon.)

Inside, fans will find more than a dozen pages devoted to Sunday night’s game — while each contest during the rest of the season gets full-spread display treatment. We’ll also examine the team’s most notable players and their football cards.

We have a behind-the-scenes video look at the proofs of the magazine as it’s still coming together and a quick sampling — excerpts from the magazine’s Meet The Stars section — after the jump.

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Inside the Steiner Sports warehouse with MLB & New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher

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Ever wondered what treasures are hidden inside the multi-million-dollar inventory of a major sports memorabilia dealer like Steiner Sports?

MLB recently went inside Steiner and caught up with New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher as he signed for Steiner. Check out the video above — tt’s not new, but it’s still cool.

Topps details pie surprise in 2010 baseball card set

Collectors have been spotting some New York Yankees variant cards in packs of the recently released 2010 Topps baseball card set — and the company detailed precisely which players have “pie cards” in the set on Friday.

Last season, the Yankees created a new tradition of a pie to the face for any player who won a game in walk-off fashion. A dozen of those players have short-printed cards in the set.

See the list after the jump.

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Preview Gallery: Topps Star Wars Galaxy Series 5 Sketch Cards

Topps released on Thursday a sneak peek at some of the Sketch Cards that will be found in its forthcoming Star Wars Galaxy trading card set, the latest in a long line of sets focused on the sci-fi franchise.

The Sketch Cards will be found one per hobby box and there are more than 100 artists whose work can be found inside the packs of the art-based brand when it arrives later this month. (See a bit more here.)

Among the artists whose work is seen here are Gabe Farber, Russ Walks, Katie Cook-Wilcox, Tim Proctor, Mark McHaley, Nina Edlund, Nolan Woodard and Joe Corroney.

See more of the cards after the jump.

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Press Pass ready to unleash Legends of KISS set

Press Pass’ strong run of trading card sets dedicated to the music legends KISS isn’t even close to a finale.

Up next on the company’s set list is Legends of KISS, a 100-card themed set that tells the story of the band through their own words — a set that, when placed in pages, tells the story from card to card.

The set will include the first cards to bearing both a concert-worn memorabilia swatch and an autograph — KISS Kuts – while there will be another helping of autograph cards from Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss to lick, err, pick up.

Also new will be a six-card set of pop-up cards as well as a few parallel sets — First Edition (limited to 25) as well as cyan, magenta, yellow and black Proof Edition Parallels.

Legend of KISS is set to arrive on April 21.

See more images from the set after the jump.

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Product Preview: 2009-10 Be A Player hockey cards

Upper Deck has released the basic product breakdown and preview images for its 2009-10 Be  A Player hockey card set that will arrive in May packing plenty of autographs and a few rookies hockey fans might have heard of.

Be A Player will include one autograph in every five-card back with each eight-pack box including one dual-player autograph, one Rookie or rookie redemption and one Rookie jersey card.

Every 15-box case will include  five cards signed by three players.

The standard set will consist of 200 cards, and  of course, there are rookies — lots of rookies. Guys like John Tavares, Matt Duchene, James van Riemsdyk, Jonas Gustavsson, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Stoa, Bobby Sanguinetti, Evander Kane and so on …

New this year are autographed rookie jersey cards as well as rookie patch cards, which are limited to just 15 copies apiece.

See more images and a breakdown of the product after the jump.

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Box Busters preview gallery: 2009 Topps Sterling

We’ve cracked a pair of 2009 Topps Sterling boxes for an upcoming episode of Box Busters but wanted to make sure you could see some of what’s to be found while the video is in the famous Beckett microwave.

Can you guess what our two boxes’ themes were based on this small selection of cards?

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Konami blasts Upper Deck in statement on settled Yu-Gi-Oh! counterfeiting case

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

Konami issued its first public statement on Wednesday following the settlement of its long-running dispute with Upper Deck over the Carlsbad, Calif.-based trading card company’s unauthorized production of more than 600,000 Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards.

The case was settled before the second day of a trial could begin in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles last week. Konami was seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages after a judge found that Upper Deck did, indeed, make unauthorized counterfeit cards that were distributed via repackaged products.

Upper Deck opted to settle and was due to make its first multi-million-dollar payment (specifics of the settlement were confidential) on Friday. It’s a case in which a New York Post story says has fueled “widespread speculation that this case could severely hurt its financial health. Some believe [Upper Deck] is on the brink of bankruptcy.”

Konami’s release on Wednesday included both comments from Upper Deck’s attorney as well as its company officials — a sharp contrast to UD’s statement issued last Friday.

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Figure skaters take center ice in new Upper Deck set

With the Winter Olympics not long away, Upper Deck revealed on Wednesday that it’s added a twist to the insert card lineup in its upcoming second series of 2009-10 Hockey cards.

And it’s a twist that’s more like a double axel.

There will be 18 U.S. Olympic figure skaters from the past and present included in “The Champions” insert set — something the typical hockey fan wouldn’t expect to find along side guys like Martin Brodeur or Sidney Crosby.

“We’re extremely happy to be including U.S. figure skaters as part of this year’s inserts,” said Josh Zusman, Upper Deck’s hockey brand manager, in a release. “They are exciting to watch and consistently wow the crowds with their incredible routines and performances. We think card collectors will appreciate their inclusion.”

Rachael Flatt, Jeremy Abbott and Nancy Kerrigan are on the checklist —  as are Johnny Weir, Jojo Starbuck, Todd Gilles, Alexe Gilles, Piper Gilles, Madison Chock, Melissa Gregory, Brandon Mroz, Denis Petukhov, Jane Summersett, Timothy Goebel and Zach Donohue.

Upper Deck also intends to include autographed versions of their cards in upcoming hockey sets as well as several other Winter Olympics stars, a few of which are seen below.

How will collectors react? We’ll just have to wait and see. See more cards after the jump.

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Someone's done some cleaning at Beckett HQ

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Someone’s done some cleaning at Beckett HQ — and Tracy Hackler gets all the gifts.

What awaits him in his office today as he works feverishly to prepare a Super Bowl magazine?

Watch the video and find out … and be sure to watch the big reveal after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection basketball cards

Upper Deck may be done producing NBA-licensed basketball cards, but it’s not done trying to put high-end basketball cards into the hands of collectors.

On Wednesday, the company revealed the basic product information and a package of preview images for its upcoming 2010 Ultimate Collection basketball card set, a Collegiate Licensing Company-approved product that packs an autographed card in every four-card pack.

The standard set consists of 60 base cards and 20 Rookie Signature Redemptions, but the real highlight in the product just might be the 1997 Legends autographs — which brings the look of the landmark football set to the hardwood.

Also to be found among the autograph lineup when Ultimate Collection arrives in May are Personal Touch Inscriptions (where players write answers to questions about their lives alongside their autographs) as well as All- Time Team Signatures and  All-Time Draft Signatures among others.

The Legends autographs will be signed directly on the cards and the checklist is set to include Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bill  Walton, Jerry West and Yao Ming among others.

See more from the set after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars baseball cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they dig into a box of 2009 Signature Stars baseball cards from Upper Deck in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Also watch to find out a question we want our viewers to answer in the comments below…