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Monthly Archives: February 2010

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 Beckett.com (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 TVGuide.com, 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 TVGuide.com 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…

Topps details manufactured Logoman insert card program

Topps detailed its 2010 Logoman insert card program on Wednesday by releasing a checklist of the cards that feature manufactured MLB patches.

There are 50 cards to be found in 2010 Topps Baseball – all limited to just 50 copies — with a second 50 to come in other products throughout the year.

Topps also noted that on Opening Day collectors can visit Topps Home Team Advantage hobby shops and receive one of 50 Logoman cards with a purchase of a 2010 Topps pack.

See the checklists after the jump.

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Kim Kardashian meets NASCAR?

I always knew there was some reason I followed Kim Kardashian on Twitter …

The celebutante and reality television star announced via her Twitter feed and her website on Wednesday that she will be appearing on a special paint scheme for an upcoming race this month while promoting a new perfume line.

The Chevy will be driven at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the Shelby American race on Feb. 28. The driver? Mike Bliss.

Will there be diecasts or trading cards showing the car? We’ll just have to wait and see…

And don’t forget that she appears on a pair of autograph cards from Upper Deck — just in case you’re wanting to start a Kardashian kollection

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.

Florida Collector Finds Panini's Manning/Brees Bounty Card

Panini America struck a chord with collectors last week – and sent many of them across the country scrambling to scour their collections – by announcing a bounty for the 2009 Limited Pro Bowl Combo Materials card featuring Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and sequential number 44/100.

There was speculation in the collecting community at the time that the card would never be discovered. Well, the card has been discovered, from the personal collection of a Peyton Manning super collector.

Dawn McNew, a physical education teacher at Lehigh (Fla.) High School, contacted the Panini offices just a week prior the contest deadline to let company officials know that the winning card was part of her Manning collection that’s more than 1,000 cards strong.

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First Look: 2010 ITG Between the Pipes Hockey

In the Game recently announced that Between the Pipes is back for another season. Interestingly enough, just the other day I had a conversation with former New York Rangers great Gilles Villemure who told me that he was excited about being included in this release.

He was in ITG’s 1972: The Year in Hockey set and now he’ll be in the preeminent goaltenders set. He was a co-Vezina winner in 1971, along with Eddie Giacomin.

This set digs deep into goaltending’s greatest the including Bruins legendary netminder Gerry Cheevers, who has the unforgettable stitched up mask, Patrick Roy, who some regard as the greatest goaltender in the history of the sport, Leafs great Turk Broda, who won a Cup in Toronto in 1951, and Ernie Wakely, who played on the St. Louis Blues team in 1970 that reached the Stanley Cup Finals and lost, but achieved fame in the WHA playing for the Winnipeg Jets.

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps baseball cards

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2010 Topps baseball cards in this edition of Box Busters.

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