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Monthly Archives: February 2010

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 colds@beckett.com.

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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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 Beckett.com 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 www.toppsmillion.com, 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 colds@beckett.com.

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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