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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Beckett Football's 2010 Hobby Mock Draft

Look, it’s no secret that wildly talented defensive dynamos such as Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh will dominate the top of the 2010 NFL Draft that begins tonight. But when it comes to collector adulation, it’s the skill position players – many of whom will be taken rounds after Suh and McCoy are long gone – that generate the most buzz and secondary-market money in the football card world.

That’s why we asked nine hobby luminaries with a vested interest in the football card market to help us select – in order, NFL draft style – the 2010 rookies with the most hobby potential. (For grins, and simply because we needed one more to make it a perfect 10, I forced my way into the discussion, too.)

After using an online randomizer to select draft position, we commenced with our own little Top 10 Mock Draft . . .

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Box Busters preview gallery: 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball cards

While plenty has been said about the forthcoming 2010 National Chicle baseball card set from Topps, only a few have gotten their hands on the actual cards — well, other than all those athletes who signed on-card autographs — in advance of its release next week.

But the Beckett crew has busted a pair of hobby boxes for an upcoming Box Busters video – perhaps a pair of interesting, perhaps controversial breaks — and the results are in the microwave for now readying for release tomorrow.

Until then, though, feast on these actual card scans that show you a bit more of what Chicle is all about…

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Commentary: @#$%&# Exclusives!

By TRACY HACKLER | BECKETT MEDIA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Go ahead and add this missive to the already-overflowing pile of “Man, all these exclusive license agreements stink.”

Since I’m a football-first guy, you’ll have to forgive the delayed reaction here. I wasn’t completely distraught – or even a little bit distraught – when the NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball scaled back to one licensee because I wasn’t a devoted collector of those sports.

Sue me.

The fact is I didn’t feel the harmful effects of single-manufacturerism firsthand until just recently, when I took a second to sit back and survey the 2010 football landscape and found it to be – by comparison – glaringly barren.

What as recently as three months ago was a thriving pigskin pipeline full of a few unnecessary but otherwise vibrant trading card products is now yielding results with all the ferocity of refrigerated syrup.

It . . . is . . . a . . . slow . . . boring . . . trickle.

For the first time in a long, long time, football cards no longer seem to be a year-round commodity. And that just seems odd. Maybe that was part of the problem: Perhaps football cards should never have become a 12-month proposition

After all, if any category deserved to be penalized for having too many products on the field, it was football. The sport has long led the leagues in number of products produced per year, so a reduction was in order. But a ravaging?

Given the choice between three manufacturers and too many choices or one manufacturer and too few, give me the former with a side of additional choices, please.

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Tales from Twitter: Nick Swisher, Jose Canseco, Keith Olbermann and much more…

Twitter has been talked and written about countless times, but it’s a tool that’s making its presence felt in the collecting community in countless ways.

Want to see the latest from a card company or the latest from Beckett? You can find it there. Want to complain to a card company about something they made? You can do it there. (Pssst … You can also praise them, too. I’m just sayin’.) Want to see the latest deals from notable dealers? Yep, it probably was tweeted.

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Score Set to Provide Newbies Bang for a Buck

The 2010 edition of Score Football, one of the last bastion’s of card collecting’s entry-level innocence, will arrive in retail outlets in late June packing one Rookie Card, one Glossy parallel and five other cards per pack for the universally appealing price of $1.

A product that won’t get much love from the hardcore hobby sector – and likely won’t care – should be welcome fare at big-box retailers for its 100-card Rookie checklist and its once-in-a-blue-moon’s chance of pulling an autograph.

Each 36-pack box will include 36 RCs, 36 Glossy and six additional parallels, and six Hot Rookies, six All-Pros, four The Franchise and four NFL Players insert cards.

While this product clearly is not seeking its bread-and-butter audience among long-toothed, well-heeled hobbyists, it’s worth noting that many longtime player collectors will find value in Score’s parallel potpourri.

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New York Mets 1B Ike Davis is Topps' second 2010 Finest Rookie Redemption

Topps revealed its second 2010 Finest Rookie Redemption card on Tuesday, and it’s New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis, who made his big-league debut on Monday.

Topps’ previous announcement for rookie No. 1 can be found here.

Davis went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his first game. Through 10 games at Triple-A Buffalo he was hitting .364 with two homers and four RBI before the promotion. Davis hit 20 homers last season in the minors between two levels.

Through the rest of the season, Topps will announce the remainder of the players in the 10-card set.  Each Finest Master Box includes one Rookie Redemption, which also can be found as Blue Refractors (199 copies) and Gold Refractors (limited to 50).

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Box Busters: 2010 Press Pass Premium racing cards

Beckett Media’s Tim Trout and Tracy Hackler are joined by Press Pass brand manager Jesse Leadbetter to bust some 2010 Press Pass Premium boxes in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find besides this Kurt Busch autograph?

To find out, click here.

Lorena Ochoa retires at top of her game in the hobby

One of the LPGA’s biggest stars, Lorena Ochoa, announced her retirement on Tuesday, marking the end of a Hall of Fame-caliber career that included 27 victories.

And when it comes to golf cards, Ochoa has been among the modern-day giants not known by a single name like Tiger or Annika.

The 28-year-old from Mexico revealed her plans on her website and will discuss the decision later in the week — a move that is likely just an extended break from the sport, not a permanent retirement. The world’s No. 1-ranked player became the second-youngest player to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame in 2008 (based on victories) but hasn’t yet met the final requirement for automatic induction as an active player by playing 10 years on the tour.

Although Upper Deck (or any other company) hasn’t released a PGA set since 2005, Ochoa appears on a total of 67 cards — 32 of those autographed.

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First look: 2009-10 Panini Platinum basketball cards

Panini America released the basic product information and preview images for its 2009-10 Panini Platinum basketball card set on Tuesday, a $6-a-pack product that will arrive on July 7.

Each 18-pack box will include a pair of autograph cards as well as three rookies. Also to be found are two Prizm Green inserts, one Jam Masters card, one Future Stars card, one The Franchise card and four other inserts.

Among its notable inclusions are on-card autographs from Panini spokesman Kobe Bryant as well as 1/1 Prizm Black parallels, The Franchise Prizm Green Signatures and Rookie Prizm signatures found in Gold, Blue and Red.

See more after the jump.

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MLB now authenticating … game-used cufflinks?

Game-used dirt, post-game championship champagne bottles, autographs, jerseys.

MLB’s authentication program has slapped those little code stickers on plenty of unusual things over the years and they’re not done yet.

The latest?

Cufflinks.

Those little pieces of game-used memorabilia that we’re all pretty used to in the memorabilia world embedded into baseball cards and other memorabilia pieces can now be found inside high-end cufflinks at cufflinks.com.

For the collector who has everything — except a pair of fascinating cufflinks — this might be the latest item to grab one’s attention. The game-used baseball links above are made of sterling silver and run $140 a pair — unless, of  course, you’re a New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox fan. Those carry an additional $10 premium charge.

Also available are stadium seat cufflinks, which have a piece of an authentic stadium chair built into the links — they’re $155 a pair for the Yankees, $230 for the Red Sox (Hey, the Sox won something in that rivalry!), $155 for the Cubs and so on.

Also to be found are logo cufflinks (without memorabilia embedded into them), tie bars and other gift sets as well.

See a slideshow of some of them after the jump.

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Ubaldo Jimenez remains one of baseball's bargain-bin players

There are countless baseball players who, no matter what they do, really don’t grab the attention of many a collector and remain off the radar when it comes to gaining ground on the hobby’s stars.

But after throwing the first no-hitter in Colorado Rockies history last night, Ubaldo Jimenez will get a little more attention.

For how long? We’ll have to wait and see.

The 26-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic won 15 games for the Rockies last season (while losing 12) and holds a 34-28 record after playing in parts of five seasons. He has a career ERA of 3.70 — which should impress even more considering he plays half of his games in the high-altitude launching pad known as Coors Field.

This year, he’s 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 21 innings.

So, what should collectors consider when looking into his cards? Well, he’s got just 510 total — and 112 of those are the “elusive” autograph. He’s got 43 memorabilia cards and 21 Rookie Cards — so there are a lot of choices to be made.

We’ll examine two worth considering…

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Players Union Email Sheds Light on Upper Deck's Financial Hardships

A story posted Friday on The New York Times website details an email sent from the MLBPA’s Evan Kaplan to all player agents regarding Upper Deck’s current financial difficulties and its inability to pay many players.

According to the Times’ story, in the email, sent Friday, Kaplan said the union is working with Upper Deck to ensure all players get paid; until they do, however, the union strongly encourages players not to return any outstanding autographs  or enter into any new agreements.

The story would appear to be another in a series of heavy blows delivered to Upper Deck in recent months that has included a stinging settlement in the MLB Properties suit and its failure to come to terms with the NFL Properties on an agreement for 2010.

Stay tuned to beckett.com for updates to this story.

First Look: 2010 Topps 206 baseball cards

Topps announced Friday afternoon that the famed T206 design will return for another year as Topps 206 will arrive on Aug. 30 packing one autograph and one Relic card per 20-pack hobby box.

The showcase for multi-branded mini cards will include 1/1 Red Chrome Carolina Brights cards, while there will be stamp cards, Gold Chrome Piedmont cards (limited to 50) and 1/1 T206 Cut Signature mini-book Relics to be found as well.

The base set will consist of 300 cards with veterans, legends and rookies in the mix — 50 of those cards being short-prints. The Mini parallels will include the Carolina Brights, Cycle, American Caramel, Piedmont, Old Mill and Polar Bear as well as 50 cards that will be found as silks.

Among its insert offerings are a 20-card Historical Events set that includes such firsts and notables as subway cars with side doors, the Army’s first military plane, the first Lincoln penny minted, the first U.S. junior high school, the first radio contest, and the “world’s first female cop.” For those more interested in baseball cards in their baseball sets, there’s an 80-card stamp set (well, they’re close to baseball cards) as well as Bronze parallels and the MLB Logoman Continuity program that will continue here. (Get it… continuity?)

The autograph lineups will include American Caramel (a new addition), which will be 35 cards, as well as T206 Cut Signatures (1/1s) along with the previously mentioned cards. (Get a preliminary autograph checklist after the jump.)

More to come.

See a full gallery of images after the jump.

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Guest commentary: Saluting a legend in Mike Modano

By Russ Cohen

Dallas Stars forward Mike Modano looks like he is about to hang up his skates.

I know that he has a lot of fans in Dallas, Minnesota and around the NHL. He’s won a Stanley Cup, he’s been a six-time All-Star, and a solid NHL citizen for 20 years.

A lot of collectors like him because he’s one of the greatest American players of all-time as well. He’s played in 1,459 games, he has 557 goals and he has 92 game-winning goals which is more than Wayne Gretzky.

This soon-to-be 40 year old will leave an indelible mark in the hobby as being one of the most popular players of his era and for appearing on a boatload of cards as well.

He was the first overall pick in the 1988 draft, and he has been everything fans thought he would be.

Here are some key collectibles of his to look for:

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Press Pass releases red-ink and inscriptions list for its 2010 football set

Press Pass has released its annual list of red ink autographs and inscriptions for its 2010 Press Pass Football set exclusively to Beckett Media this morning.

Here’s the rundown as grouped by color.

See it all after the jump.

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Card Gallery: In The Game Superlative Hockey II

In The Game‘s Superlative Volume II arrives in just 15 days and the ultra high-end product will be rarer than ever but packed with plenty in each of the 2,500 books.

Each will contain one game-used jersey card, one autograph or Auto Plus card, one Superlative Prospect autograph or Auto Plus card, one Superlative Patch, one Auto jersey or Auto Plus card, one Famous Fabrics card and one added insert.

The product will include cards of hockey’s greatest legends as well as today’s stars and prospects.

To view the preliminary checklist, click here.

See the gallery of preview images after the jump.

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Jackie Robinson's story is found on countless baseball cards

Every card has a story.

I’ve written it countless times and it’s still true. Today is an historic anniversary in the history of Major League Baseball and the 2010 Topps Heritage card above (No. 403).

Rather than recap Jackie Robinson‘s place in baseball history, I’ll let this rather affordable ($1 or less) piece of cardboard tell the tale.

Read the card back after the jump.

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UFC fan finds dream card and wins free trip to Las Vegas

UFC fan Alfonso Rodriguez of Melrose Park, Ill., was the first collector to find a triple-autograph card featuring Dana White, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz in UFC Main Event, Topps announced on Wednesday.

Rodriguez and a guest will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas to be White’s guest at the UFC Training Center where they will tour the gym, meet coaches and contestants from “The Ultimate Fighter Season 12″ and then sit cageside during one of the TUF preliminary matches.

Topps created 10 of these cards, which were randomly inserted into packs.  Nine other lucky fans who find the card will receive a pair of UFC gloves signed by the trio.  Fans finding the card should e-mail
 UFCprize@topps.com to claim their prize.

To learn more about this card, click here.

http://blogbeckett.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/ufc-fan-finds-dream-card-and-will-head-to-vegas/

Box Busters: 2010 Upper Deck Greats of the Game Basketball

Beckett Basketball‘s ever-grating tandem of Keith Hower and Tracy Hackler explore the fruits of two boxes of 2009-10 Upper Deck Greats of the Game Basketball.

What did they pull? Watch and find out.

Card Gallery: SP Authentic NCAA Football?

Passionate football card collector Sergio Dubois (beckett user ID Sensei322) brought to our attention last night his fascinating discovery of several gorgeous card images conceivably hailing from an as-yet-unreleased college-football-focused SP Authentic product.

The images provide a generation-spanning visual feast of 2010 rookies and legendary NFL Hall of Famers all decked out in their Saturday best. The result is a stunning display of eye candy steeped in SP Authentic’s aesthetically pleasing design principles.

No word from Upper Deck officials on when — or even if — this product will be released.

Find additional information on these images after the gallery and stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional details.

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First look: The New York Yankees World Series rings

The New York Yankees received their World Series rings during a pre-game ceremony just a bit ago and here’s the first look at the rings via Major League Baseball.

Yankees' World Series championship commemorated on new print

On the day that the New York Yankees receive their World Series rings, artist Opie Otterstad has unveiled his latest piece, which will be displayed publicly at Pop International Galleries, in the SoHo district of New York City on Saturday.

The 24×36 prints showcase a montage of Yankees images celebrating the team’s record 27th championship. They are limited to 209 hand-signed and numbered copies, which cost is $1,650.

For the past seven years, baseball fans have looked to Otterstad for his panoramic paintings capturing World Series victories — this being the first for the Bronx Bombers in that time.

Showing alongside Otterstad at Pop International will be renowned artist Stephen Holland, who will debut three Yankees portraits — Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez.

“The Yankees and their iconic players as painted by Opie and Holland are just as much a part of ‘popular culture art’ as Warhol’s Monroe,” said Pop International co-owner Rick Rounick.

For a closer look at the piece, click on the image above.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Panini Vows Sweeping Changes to Distribution Procedures

Panini America officials headlined Monday’s first full day of the Sports Collectibles Industry Summit in Las Vegas by announcing sweeping, comprehensive changes to the company’s distribution network.

“These are things we’ve wanted to do for 10 years,” Panini VP Mike Anderson told a room that included more than 100 hobby shop owners. “We are no longer turning a blind eye to the problem that has been killing margins for hobby stores.”

Anderson and Panini hobby sales director Rodney Alsup outlined their plans – slated to launch in the fall – that strives to address one of retailers’ most pressing concerns: Online sellers’ negative impact on brick-and-mortar profit margins and key buyer relationships.

Among Panini’s pledges to an enthusiastic retailer audience at the Summit:

* Re-authorizing all brick-and-mortar hobby shops. Only authorized stores – and potentially, a handful of authorized show retailers – will be able to purchase and sell Panini product directly.

* A dramatically reduced wholesale distribution network.  Anderson noted that, currently, as many as 50 entities operate as quasi-wholesalers, through online services such as DealernetB2B, eBay, individual websites or through a sub-distribution sales force. Going forward, Panini will appoint and promote a select number of authorized distributors – perhaps as few as four nationally, Alsup said.

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Hobby Roundtable: Examining Upper Deck's NFL news & card licensing changes throughout the industry

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Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Dan Hitt, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer discuss the changes in the hobby in the wake of Upper Deck’s NFL news late last week in this three-part Hobby Roundtable.

Part 1 is above, while the remaining parts can be found after the jump.

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BGS & James Spence Authentication join Wizard Comic Con Tour

Beckett Grading Services, the industry leader in providing collectors with the finest, most thorough, consistent and accurate grading efforts available, and James Spence Authentication, the foremost autograph authentication company in the world, will be joining the remaining eight-city 2010 Wizard Comic Con Tour with Anaheim, Calif., as the first stop.

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