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Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Fight Begins: Inside Ringside Boxing Round One

The folks from Creative Cardboard Concepts (largely the same trading card force that brings you In The Game and Sport Kings) pulled the curtain back considerably today on their June-releasing Ringside Boxing Round One product with a wealth of revealing images and checklist information.

Savoring the gallery that follows might leave you punch drunk, but it’s worth it.

Ringside is the first stand-alone boxing product in almost 15 years and features a 100-card base set that includes 50 fighter cards and four different subsets (Weigh In, Victorious, Tale of the Tape, In My Corner).

But the main events of this product clearly are the autograph and memorabilia cards (checklists below). More than 30 of the greatest fighters of all time – including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes, Jake LaMotta and Roy Jones Jr. – are featured on a completely-on-card autographed insert that includes two different cards of every fighter (three in the case of Ali) and gold and silver versions of each.

As you might imagine, Ali’s signatures will be hard to find (he signed just 90 cards total); other toughies include Tyson (100 total autographs) and Lewis (80 total autographs).

The product’s 34 Cut Signatures (all 1/1s) are simply spectacular and represent the greatest names in boxing history. Some of the highlights include Floyd Patterson, Jack Dempsey, James Braddock, Joe Louis and Max Schmeling.

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May 1 marks a pretty significant birthday in the baseball card world

Where were you on May 1, 1970?

For many of us, that’s a question that we can’t answer because we didn’t exist, but if you’re a collector today that date undoubtedly is important to your collection.

It essentially marks the birth of the baseball card shop.

Forty years ago tomorrow is when Larry Fritsch became the first full-time dealer of baseball cards in the world when he opened his family-run business in Stevens Point, Wisc., where it’s still at today.

Countless others have lived the dream and opened their own card shops or mail-order companies — and countless others have tried.

Sure, times have changed, but there will most certainly always be someone who is in business on a full-time basis selling cardboard.



Denver Bronco Tim Tebow Completes His First 21 Passes; Cards Soaring

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Denver Post’s Mike Klis is reporting that Tim Tebow completed his first 21 passes (albeit to Broncos equipment manager Mike Harrington) on Friday during the opening day of the Denver Broncos’ three-day mini camp.

Not to add fuel to the blazing Tebow fire . . . I’m just saying.

That is all.

Weekend Update: Mike Fruitman, owner of Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Denver, on Friday stacked his weekend inventory with more than 70 Tim Tebow Press Pass trading cards. Fruitman expected to be sold out by Monday morning.

Tracy Hackler is the editorial director for Beckett Media. Have a comment or question? Send an e-mail to him at thackler@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

First Look: 2010 Topps UFC

Topps officials on Friday released preliminary product information and images for the company’s fourth stand-alone UFC product, simply dubbed 2010 Topps UFC.

As has been the case since Topps launched its exclusive agreement with the UFC in February of 2009, preliminary information seems to indicate another bar-raiser for the franchise.

For the first time, Topps is bringing its popular book-card concept to the Octagon with hobby-exclusive 2009 UFC Champs Books Cards, numbered to just three and including two pieces of memorabilia and an autograph. The checklist includes BJ Penn, Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Brock Lesnar.

In addition, the company is bringing fight-worn fist tape to the product for the first time with the revolutionary Tale of the Tape insert numbered to just 25.

Despite the inclusion of more than 20 first-time signers (including Matt Hughes), perhaps the most alluring addition to the line for diehard UFC fans will be the Thoughts From the Boss dual-autographed insert that pairs UFC president Dana White with one of 15 top fighters, including Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz and Royce Gracie.

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Your team can be toast — without facing Tim Lincecum or Roy Halladay

“They’re toast.”

Many a baseball fan has said that about their team when they face the likes of a Tim Lincecum or Roy Halladay.

But this? It might be considered one that’s half-baked … or perhaps it’s just one that will burn a few fans leaving them feeling a bit crusty.

The latest creation from Pangea Brands isn’t quite on the level as the famed “toaster toaster” that sci-fi fans loved a couple of years ago, but its new line of Pro Toast toasters literally lets baseball fans show their team pride in yet another way and takes team branding to new culinary heights.

Available for all 30 big-league teams, the Pro Toast toasters are officially licensed by Major League Baseball and carry a suggested retail price of $34.99.

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Press Pass, NASCAR bring No. 3 back to the track — and packs

The famed No. 3 will return to the NASCAR track — and to Press Pass wrappers, too — later this summer as Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a No. 3 Wrangler Chevy in a Nationwide race at Daytona.

In turn, Press Pass will note this “Salute to Dale” with both Earnhardts on the packaging in the famed yellow and blue for its forthcoming Press Pass Stealth product that will arrive in June not long before the July 2 event.

“We are excited to bring collectors a sneak peak at the new Dale Jr. Wrangler Chevy paint scheme which will no doubt be wildly popular,” said Tom Farrell, VP of Brand Management for Press Pass.  “Collectors will also find Dale Jr. pictured in the classic blue and yellow uniform on his Nationwide base card in Stealth.”

See more after the jump.

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It Was Like Topps Never Left

That didn’t take long.

Shoot, Topps was without a football license for such a short time it was like the company never left. Truth be told, it didn’t. Sure, it may have missed out on an early draft picks-focused product in 2010, but that’s about it.

Thursday’s announcement – after many weeks of speculation – that Topps was returning to football with licenses from NFL Properties and NFL Players means the granddaddy of sports cards will produce a football product for the 55th consecutive season.

Having Topps in football along with Panini absolutely is a good thing. Collectors – who universally jeered last November’s announcement from NFL Players that it was not renewing Topps for 2010 – are universally cheering the move to bring the company back (again, provided you believe they ever really left in the first place).

Despite the reason for this decision, or the seeming in-one-minute, out-the-next nature of it, NFL Players at least deserves credit for giving collectors what they want in this case. You’ll just have to excuse collectors if they’re all still a little bewildered by the ever-changing football landscape. Here’s a wild, woolly and unofficial account of the great football card licensing shuffle:

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Box Busters: 2010 TRISTAR Hidden Treasures World Stars

Update: Deadline extended to JULY 1.

If you follow Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds on Twitter, you got a sneak peak at one of these baseballs earlier this week, but we’re here with a very different episode of Box Busters with Olds, Tracy Hackler and Brian Fleischer that also doubles as a unique contest for our readers.

The 2010 World Stars edition of TRISTAR Hidden Treasures includes a baseball in every box and autographs from Japanese baseball greats like Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui. But what makes the product really unique?

Thirty Japanese artists and manga-ka stars have created works of art also to be found in the product, one being the TokyoGuns-created Frankenstein-style baseball seen here.

We want to see what kind of artistic skills you have — and we’re going to award the three baseballs found in the boxes above — one being a Motoki Yoshihara artball (they’ve sold for as much as $1,000 apiece) — to winners.

What do you need to do? Watch the video above for the inspiration and decorate a baseball in any way you want and send it to us at the address below by July 1.

Beckett Baseball Artball Contest
4635 McEwen Road
Dallas, TX 75244

Curious about finding these boxes? Try here.

Topps is back in the football card business

After a few estranged months, Topps and the NFL are back together again.

The company announced on Thursday morning that the long-running football card manufacturer that had been stripped of its NFL card license back in November is back on the gridiron.

The pact is a multi-year agreement with both the NFL and NFL PLAYERS.

“We are excited to continue our deep, long standing partnership with the NFL and the NFLPA,” said Ryan O’Hara, Topps’ CEO.  “Topps will bring innovative, exciting and fun products to the marketplace to serve consumers and customers well.”

The first product will be the standard Topps set, which will arrive just before the start of the season. After that, it will release Platinum, Finest and Triple Threads.

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Contest Update: And the Winner Is . . .

You may recall that last 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, at long last, the contest is over and the winner is . . . Arlington, Texas, collector David Sharp, who rode the 2009 value-increasing exploits of Ray Rice and Cedric Benson to victory. His hypothetical collection finished at a combined value of $1,130.

Sharp’s 2008 SP Authentic Ray Rice RC (#285) started the season at $60 and ended at $120; his 2005 SP Authentic Cedric Benson RC (#251) started at $60 and ended at $150.

Sharp’s reaction: “That’s awesome! Thanks to Ray Rice and Cedric Benson.”

For his value-minded prognostication, Sharp will receive a star-studded prize pack that looks a little something like . . .

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It's official: Mets fans like Ike (Davis, that is)

If there’s one thing that the rest of us should understand, it’s that when it comes to fans of New York teams there’s seemingly always plenty of demand for their autographs and memorabilia.

And the latest example is New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis.

Steiner Sports is holding the first private signing session with the Mets rookie next week and Steiner’s Billy Bahnsen reports that demand has been very, very high for items signed by the Arizona State product who is hitting .333 with a homer and five RBI in his first nine big-league games.

“The pre-orders have come flying in to the tune of almost 350,” Bahnsen said. “Without question, it’s the highest non-[Derek]Jeter pre-order in a number of years. ”

And, in fact, Steiner’s pre-order total allocation is now sold out.

Perhaps helping that are the relatively affordable prices for Davis’ memorabilia — baseballs are $59.99, while 8x10s are $49.99. (It’s inevitable that Davis’ rates will increase if he keeps up his strong play in New York and has continued demand for his autographs, too.)

Undertaker, Triple H, Chris Jericho & new faces on 2010 Topps WWE autograph checklist

Several World Wrestling Entertainment stars will make their trading card and certified autograph debuts in the forthcoming 2010 Topps WWE set, which we previewed right here earlier this week.

Now, the preliminary checklist is out and, although it’s always subject to change, there are some debuts and some big autographs to be found, including the first autographed memorabilia card ever made for one of the WWE’s biggest stars — Undertaker — who hasn’t signed since a single Fleer set in 2001.

The product also includes the first certified autograph for Triple H since 2002, when he signed for Fleer. It’s just his second signed card ever made.

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Box Busters Preview Gallery: 2010 Press Pass Portrait Edition Football

The Beckett Box Busters crew on Tuesday afternoon got its hands on a few boxes of 2010 Press Pass Portrait Edition, the company’s second 2010 product that goes live today and delivers seven on-card autographs and three memorabilia cards per box.

The episode of Box Busters will be live later today. Until then, here are some initial thoughts and a sampling of the hits that came from a second box — taken from manufacturing line No. 7 at 7: 15 a.m. on April 22 according to a production sticker affixed to the front of the box.

Portrait Edition is equipped with a minimalistic, clean aesthetic and appealing photography that seems somewhat antiseptic without college logos. The latter is a minor critique, and one collectors will have to get used to given Upper Deck’s exclusive agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company.

Press Pass’ continued insistence on on-card signatures for its football products simply can’t be undersold. Even though we know it’s coming, there’s still a distinct, tangible appeal to pulling a card that’s been autographed (and held and touched by the player doing the signing) as opposed to a card that has a sticker that’s been autographed.

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Tim Tebow Mania is Upon Us

You want to know how good Tim Tebow is? He’s already shattered an NFL mark without even suiting up.

The league confirmed on Tuesday that it sold a record number of Tebow’s No. 15  Denver Broncos jerseys during 2010 NFL Draft Weekend, significantly more than previous rookie record-holder Mark Sanchez (2009), Reggie Bush and Vince Young (both from the class of 2006).

“It’s a pretty substantial difference between him and the next guy,” NFL spokeswoman Joanna Hunter told Bloomberg News. “He’s off to a strong start.”

That point is not easily lost on collectors, who’ve been busy lending cash and credence to this burgeoning frenzy known as Tebow Mania. In the last 15 days, 81 Tebow Press Pass certified autograph trading cards — ranging in quantity from only 1 to 250 — have generated $9,010.54 in sales on eBay, an average price of $111.24.

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Historic Muhammad Ali Autographs to Grace New Boxing Set

None other than legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee called it “the best thing to happen to boxing since boxing gloves.” While that might be a little hyperbolic, Dundee’s point is a good one.

Clearly, the greatest thing about Ringside Boxing Round One – the first stand-alone boxing set since 1996 Ringside – is “The Greatest” himself: Muhammad Ali.

“If you want to make the best boxing product possible, you need to secure the services of the best boxer of all time,” wrote Dr. Brian Price – whose Sport Kings LP is producing Ringside – in a letter promoting the product. “I am pleased to announce that Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, will be included in the product.”

Make no mistake: Price’s signing of “The Champ” is a bona fide history-maker. It will include Ali’s first autograph trading cards in 18 years. While Ali has been a frequent signer at shows in the past, his autographed trading cards are quite rare. His only other autographed card appeared in 1992 Pro Line Portraits and carries a current value of $500.

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Card Gallery: 2010 Prestige Football Rookie Cards

One of Prestige Football‘s calling cards (bad pun intended) for more than a decade now has been delivering the first Rookie Cards every year emblazoned with each checklisted draft pick’s NFL team designation. It’s a small touch that often gets lost amid the flurry of “how many hits does it have and are there any on-card autos;” but it’s an attention to detail that that’s worth applauding.

What a lot of collectors might not know is that since most of the Prestige product is usually already printed and ready to pack out, Panini product development, prepress and production officials often work through draft weekend updating card the a special Rookie Card form as players are selected. Designs are tweaked, photos are selected, logos and draft information are added and any last-minute, checklist-worthy rookie free agent signings are captured.

First thing yesterday, the Rookie Cards were being printed and packed out with the rest of the product and will be on store shelves May 13. Carlos Torrez, Panini’s Football Product Development manager, confirmed today that Prestige includes 100 Rookie Cards and 18 short-printed alternate-photo variations.

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Box Busters Preview gallery: 2010 TRISTAR TNA: The New Era wrestling cards

We’ve busted the first three hobby boxes of the latest TRISTAR TNA Wrestling card set for an upcoming episode of Box Busters, which is in the microwave as we speak.

What did we find inside? A Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair autograph? Or more?

You’ll have to wait and see…

Until then, here’s a closer look at some of the cards we found in our boxes in advance of the new set’s arrival on Wednesday… click on the images for a closer look (after the jump).

For more on the set, click here for a piece on TNA’s website.

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First look: 2010 Topps WWE wrestling cards

Topps unveiled on Monday the basic product breakdown and preview images for its 2010 WWE wrestling card set which will arrive in mid-August.

The base set will consist of 110 cards, while there will be a beefy 30-card autograph checklist as well as dual autograph and signed memorabilia cards as Topps continues to up its game in its wrestling card offerings.

The memorabilia card lineup will include jumbo t-shirt swatches as well as standard-size cards and even Elimination Chamber pay-per-view memorabilia cards that feature an oversized piece of ring mat from the event.

Each hobby box will include one autograph and one Relic card while there also will be 1/1 Red parallels and printing plates to be found.

There also will be seven insert sets, including Championship Material for both the male and female competitors, a When They Were Young set and more.

See more from the set after the jump.

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Hobby Winners & Losers from the 2010 NFL Draft

By TRACY HACKLER | BECKETT MEDIA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

The first prime-time, three-day NFL Draft in history came to a relatively quiet close on Saturday following two previous days of high drama and record-breaking television ratings.

But for all of the newness of the event, the 2010 Draft meant what it’s always meant to card collectors. It meant the chance to finally see who was going where and how that would affect the collectibility of 2010 Rookie Cards.

After all, the right player going to the right team or the right opportunity means everything to the allure of and demand for his Rookie Cards. On the other hand, even the most talented players going to hobby wastelands can mean instant indifference.

What follows is a partial list of Beckett Football’s biggest winners and losers from the 2010 NFL Draft. For the complete list be sure to check out the next issue of Beckett Football, on newsstands everywhere in May.

Winners
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
First Round (24th overall) out of Oklahoma State

Most experts credited Bryant with top-five skills and a Mr. Irrelevant attitude. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made no bones about wanting Bryant. He got the electrifying pass-catcher from Oklahoma State with the 24th overall pick and promptly gave him Hall of Famer Michael Irvin’s No. 88.

Bryant lands on football’s most-collected team and immediately heads to the top of the rookie hobby heap. With a gun-slinging QB in Tony Romo and a star-studded cast of offensive weapons around him, Bryant has the chance to shine – now.

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Exclusive First Look: Tim Tebow's First Broncos Trading Card

Panini America officials on Friday afternoon provided a glimpse of what promises to be one of the most coveted football cards of the summer: Tim Tebow’s limited-edition, Broncos-variation 2010 Prestige Rookie Card.

The card, in production just hours after Tebow’s headline-making selection by Denver in the first round of Thursday night’s 2010 NFL Draft – is set to arrive in stores by mid May in packs of 2010 Prestige Football.

A rabid, far-reaching collector base is expected to be waiting with open arms, and wallets.

“Being the special player and public figure that he is, Tebow being drafted in the first round makes him the bona fide No. 1 guy out of the gate, more collectible than Sam Bradford,” says Scott Prusha, Panini America’s marketing director. “People didn’t know where he was going to land and he landed in the first round on a very collectible team as the second quarterback taken. He’s going to be a collecting superstar.”

Panini also is producing a Florida Gators version of Tebow’s Rookie Card for 2010 Prestige Football.

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