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 (Toll Free)

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Panini already readying draft picks' first NFL cards

The second round of the NFL Draft hasn’t even begun, but Panini America already has the first NFL cards of at least three rookies signed and printed for an upcoming set.

Panini teased on Friday afternoon three on-card autographs — the Rams’ Sam Bradford, the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant and the Bills’ C.J. Spiller – that will be found in 2010 Prestige inside packs of the $4-a-pack product when it arrives on May 13.

Prestige will include four autograph or memorabilia cards per box — one autograph guaranteed — and it will include the first cards noting players’ new teams.

Prestige will include 24 Rookie Cards per box as well as three Extra Points parallels and a dozen inserts. Each case will include one autographed card from the following players: Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Jimmy Clausen, Bradford, Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, Spiller,  Bryant, Jahvid Best and Jonathan Dwyer.

See all three cards after the jump.

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Box Busters preview gallery: 2010 Topps Pro Debut minor league baseball cards

We’ll have a Box Busters episode for 2010 Topps Pro Debut minor league baseball cards up here shortly, but until then here’s a peak at what we found inside one of our boxes …

See a few of the cards from the set after the jump.

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Guest commentary: Collect vintage in a bad economy

by Russ Cohen

When I first noticed a slip in the economy, I was at a card show.

What made me notice was the dramatic dip in the vintage hockey card market? The pricing was downright affordable for some pretty cool items, and over the past few years I’ve been able to get some great cards at a reasonable price.

This Andy Aitkenhead matchbook card is pretty rare considering he only played three NHL seasons for the New York Rangers. In 1932-33, his rookie season, he won the Stanley Cup.

It’s a nice story, and I found out through other endeavors that he didn’t have a lot of pictures of any kind. So this shot is indeed rare and the card is as well.

I paid $15 for it — that’s it — and I talked the dealer down from $20! The card is in good shape, and it made me think. Why don’t I collect more of these matchbook cards?

The 1936-39 Diamond Match hockey cards all have some creases where the match cover folded, so condition isn’t really an issue here — the relative supply is. But when you go on eBay you will see them listed at starting prices of just $5.99 up to $9.99!

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball cards

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they bust into a pair of 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball cards for this episode of Box Busters.

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

The Only Football Card I Want This Year Is . . .

I’ve gone on record countless times pledging my undying love for the Denver Broncos, so I wasn’t really surprised when the texts started rolling in hotly and heavily a few minutes ago when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Broncos had indeed made the pick of the draft in my heavily biased opinion — legendary Florida QB Tim Tebow with the 25th overall pick.

Amid the euphoria and giddiness I felt reading all of them (I can only imagine what Tebow himself must be going through), one text in particular stood out above all the others. It was the one from Carlos Torrez, Panini America‘s Football Product Development Director, that had a picture attached.

Captured in the picture was a suddenly historic NFL card, a true 1/1 that I’ll never own: The postcard Commissioner Goodell read announcing the Broncos’ selection of Tebow.

I sent Torrez a return text asking if he’d be interested in trading it to me. Alas, he said it belonged to some lucky kid sitting next to him. I pleaded with Torrez to ask the kid what he wanted for it. His response: “A million dollars. Seriously, $1 million.”

Wonder if the kid will put me on a payment plan . . .

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.

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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