Monthly Archives: May 2010

Phillies ace Roy Halladay throws perfect game

Roy Halladay threw the second perfect game and the third no-hitter of this season Saturday evening in Miami as he shut down the Florida Marlins for a 1-0 victory.

It’s the 20th perfect game in MLB history — the second perfecto in Phillies history behind Jim Bunning‘s gem in June 1964. Oakland’s Dallas Braden threw a perfect game earlier this month and Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter against Atlanta — the first in Rockies’ history — in April.

Halladay appears on a total of 3,186 baseball cards — 288 of them autographed and 600 game-used memorabilia cards. The best of his five Rookie Cards is his 1997 Bowman Chrome card (above) valued at $25, while his first certified autograph card, from the 1995 Signature Rookies Tetrad set, sells for $40.

Halladay appears on the cover of the current issue of Beckett Baseball along with Tim Lincecum, CC Sabathia and Stephen Strasburg as we profiled the most powerful pitchers in the hobby today.

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

Let's not jump to conclusions with Paul Henderson jersey

By Russ Cohen

It’s an age-old debate. When a precious jersey or piece of memorabilia goes up for sale, why shouldn’t a card company have a chance at purchasing said item to use it however it sees fit?

Right now, the famous Game No. 8, 1972 Paul Henderson Summit Series jersey is up for grabs and the high bid is more than $131,000 with a minimum set at $142,000 and just under 25 days remaining. So with that much being bid, some people already are insisting that a trading card company has to be the bidder with deep pockets and that it is surely getting ready to cut up the jersey.

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Box Busters: 2010 Razor Poker cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Bryan Hornbeck as they rip into a pair of 2010 Razor Poker boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? How can you win a box?

Watch the video and find out…

Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor auction ends at $16,403

UPDATE: The auction ended at $16,403 on Saturday evening with 84 bids.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s the kind of big card that we all dream about pulling.

It’s the reason, right or wrong, that many of us bust box after box hoping for the cardboard gods to grace us with the discovery of a lifetime.

It’s the card that justifies our obsessions and could help fund a collection elsewhere — or just pay off those bills that often come with the collecting habit.

For 31-year-old Leo Kim, it’s a reality, and it’s a $16,304 Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor found in a pack of 2010 Bowman that is up for grabs on eBay right now.

It’s a card that’s been written about countless times already, had more bogus bids than usual for a high-profile auction and it’s one that could pay for a new car — or a whole lot of baseball cards — once it’s sold.

What are his plans?

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Talkin' bout Gary Coleman autographed cards

Whatchu talkin’ bout, Willis?”

Those who grew up in the 1980s fondly remember the line that Gary Coleman aka “Arnold” would deliver to his brother on the NBC sitcom Diff’rent Strokes that ran from 1978 to 1986.

After Coleman died at age 42 on Friday afternoon in Provo, Utah, after suffering an aneurysm and falling into a coma, there will be plenty of people seeking out his autographs. It’s a natural reaction in the hobby for collectors or fans who put off tracking down a piece of memorabilia for something they remember so well.

Coleman appeared on just four certified autograph cards — all in the 2008 Donruss Americana II set. He signed a total of just 360 autographs spread over four cards —  Co-Stars Signature No. 18  with Todd Bridges (aka Willis), Private Signings No. 149, TV Stars Signature No. GC and TV Stars Signature Directors Cut.

The rarest card is the dual with Bridges, which is limited to just 50 cards. It’s also the most expensive at $60. The others typically sell for $20 to $30. The Cut signature also includes an inscription.

See images of the cards after the jump.

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First Look: 2010 Topps Platinum Football

Topps officials on Thursday morning unveiled preliminary product information and card images for the rookie-focused 2010 Topps Platinum Football, the company’s second NFL product of the season that will arrive in mid September on the heels of venerable base-brand Topps, and just seven months after the 2009 edition.

See more images after the jump.

This year’s version of Platinum — which features a 165-card base set — will deliver three autograph cards per box, including two autographed Refractor Rookie Cards and one autograph Refractor patch card. Every autograph in the product will be featured on Refractor technology. New this year are dual-signed rookies numbered to 25 and hobby-exclusive triple-signed rookies numbered to 10.

Platinum’s autographed Refractor patch cards will include 1/1 Superfractor versions as well as Red and Black parallel versions. Base-card Superfractors and printing plates 1/1s will be hobby-exclusive.

In addition to the three autographs, each box of Platinum will also deliver six Rookie Card variations from a checklist of 55 subjects and each pack will deliver two Chrome Rookie Cards.

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Box Busters: 2010 Press Pass Stealth racing cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Tim Trout as they bust a box of the not-even-out-yet 2010 Press Pass Stealth racing cards in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? How can you win packs?

Watch and find out in this epic production from unofficial Beckett cinematographer Chris Olds.

First Look: 2009-10 National Treasures Basketball

Panini America officials on Wednesday afternoon provided preliminary details on the most expensive sports card product in the company’s brief hoops history: 2009-10 National Treasures Basketball.

See more images after the jump.

Following in the super-premium footsteps of its football predecessor, National Treasures Basketball will deliver six autograph or memorabilia cards, one base card numbered to 99 and one Legend, Rookie or parallel/insert card per eight-card pack. The suggested SRP of that pack? $400

National Treasures releases in early August and will include prime-material, on-card autograph Rookie Cards of such superstars as Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings, in addition to on-card Kobe Bryant autographs, NBA Logoman Combos,  and Signature Trio and Quad autograph cards.

Stay tuned to for additional information on National Treasures as it becomes available.

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Topps Peppers NFL Attax with On-Card Autos

On the heels of successful Attax launches for English Premiere League soccer, World Wrestling Entertainment and Major League Baseball, the game-developing gurus at Topps are now prepping their first NFL version, a distinct “kid” initiative equipped with something even the most hardened hobby veterans can appreciate: On-card autographs.

For the first time in an Attax release, Topps is including a small amount of signatures — all on-card and acquired at last weekend’s NFL Players Rookie Premiere — to the gaming product that includes 380 total cards (110 offensive players, 110 defensive players as well as Code Cards, and Red Zone, Platinum and Sepia Foil Cards) and is slated to arrive in early August.

The tentative autograph checklist includes Sam Bradford, C.J. Spiller, Ryan Mathews, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Tim Tebow, Jahvid Best, Golden Tate, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy.

Attax will be distributed in 99-cent booster packs (five cards, one foil), $3.99 value packs (27 cards, three code cards, three foil and one game board and $5.99 mega starter packs (30 cards, four code cards, four foil cards, one game board and one binder).

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Muhammad Ali's return to cards inches closer

He floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee, but it’s been a long, long time since he’s been on a trading card.

Muhammad Ali‘s return to cardboard came one step closer to full fruition on Wednesday as SportKings unveiled several new images in its forthcoming Series D set, which will include Ali when it arrives on July 15.

The next issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly (No. 304) will examine Ali’s cardboard legacy as the first set from Brian Price and Co. arrives in June, Ringside Boxing, which will include Ali cards as well as a small number of Ali autographs.

Boxing hasn’t had its own trading card set since the mid -1990s.

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

Behind the Scenes Video: Ndamukong Suh Signs, Gerald McCoy Smiles

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Beckett Media goes behind the scenes as NFL rookies — and superstar defensive linemen — Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy sign some letters and prepare to strike a pose, respectively, for Panini America at the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere.

Behind the Scenes Video: Tim Tebow Signs, Sings

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Beckett Media goes behind the scenes as Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow signs some letters — and sings just a little — for Panini America at the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere.

Panini's World Cup Soccer Stickers Make a Lasting Impression

There was a time – like February – when I could’ve crammed everything I knew about soccer on the back of one of those little officially licensed Panini World Cup stickers. (And there would’ve been plenty of room left to also jot down . . . oh, I don’t know . . . perhaps the complete history of the Brazilian national team.)

So imagine my surprise-treading-on-euphoria last week when I discovered my face on the front of one of those little officially licensed Panini World Cup stickers. Actually, my face was on 15 of them, tucked magnificently inside an altered Panini World Cup sticker album.

There were 12 affixed to a sheet, one already placed on the first page of the album, one inserted into the pack of stickers on the front of the album and one secured safely in an inch-thick brick of Lucite. And this was my reaction: “. . .”

Indeed, I was speechless. I mean, come on – how would you react to unexpectedly seeing your very own collectible sticker for the first time? I must have gazed longingly at that sheet of me for 20 solid minutes – like Narcissus at his own image in the reflecting pool – until I came to one stark realization: I need a haircut. More sticker albums wouldn’t hurt, either.

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Box Busters: 2009-10 Upper Deck Be A Player hockey cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Tim Trout as they rip into a pair of 2009-10 Be A Player boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside every hit-loaded pack?

Watch and find out …

The pie's the limit in 2010 Topps Series 2

Second verse, same as the first? Well, maybe.

The second installment of 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards arrives on Wednesday and some early bulk box busters have already discovered a second installment of short-printed variation cards that just might leave a few fans feeling like they’ve been pied in the face once again.

Why? There are more pie cards to be found — just one of the secret additions to Topps cards that the company will reveal in the weeks after its release.

This time, though, they’re not just of pied New York Yankees players, who were showcased in Series 1. Five, in all, have been discovered so far with Atlanta Braves rookie Jason Heyward and New York Mets rookie Ike Davis leading the way.

See all five after the jump. Read More »

Box Busters: 2009-10 UD Ice hockey cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Tim Trout as they rip into a box of 2009-10 UD Ice hockey cards from Upper Deck in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010 TRISTAR Pursuit Series 2 baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2010 TRISTAR Pursuit Series 2 baseball card sets in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside these factory sets that guarantee 75 cards and six autographs per?

Watch and find out …

More signed cards from the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere

While you saw plenty of images from the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere this weekend — all taken by Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler — you couldn’t have seen everything.

There was just that much stuff being signed.

Here are some additional images from Topps released on Monday … cards signed at the event.

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Guest commentary: Ice arrives at right time of year

by Russ Cohen

The NHL Playoffs are in full swing and just in time Upper Deck released one of its best products of the year as UD Ice shows off some terrific acetate rookies.

Since the set arrived late in the season, it includes most of the top rookies like John Tavares, Antti Niemi, Matt Duchene, Michael Del Zotto and many more. This year was a strong crop and the “Ice Premieres” never looked better.

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Rookie Premiere: Saturday gallery (will update all day)

Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler is in Los Angeles this weekend for the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere… here’s his latest batch of images documenting the proceedings from yesterday and this morning.

We’ll have more from the event throughout the day …

See more after the jump.

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You know you’re a collector when … Bryce Harper edition

My issue of Baseball America arrived on Friday afternoon, the 2010 Draft Preview issue, with Bryce Harper on the cover.

It wasn’t the headlines that I noticed, it wasn’t the color choice that the designer made and it wasn’t the Bo Jackson-style portrait of Harper with his bat across his shoulders that I noticed.

First, it was the zig-zag tape job on his bat … but then I noticed the nameplate of his Marucci CU26 Pro Model.

It reads “Luke 1:37″ where the player’s name typically appears.

Its meaning? “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Those who are well-read about the teenager, who should have been a junior in high school this season but instead got his GED and enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada where he hit a school record 23 homers, this probably isn’t a passage reference that is anything new.

But for a collector of game-used baseball bats, it might be something new — something not quite seen before.

In fact, off the top of my head the only other players I can think of who have used bats without their names appearing on them are Ken Griffey Jr. (“Swingman”) and Roger Clemens (“Rocket”). It’s common for nicknames, phrases, numbers, etc., to be found as extra markings on bats, particularly the knobs, but not as part of the burned-on nameplate.

I’m sure there are others, though … anybody have any come to mind?

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

NFL Players Rookie Premiere Photo Gallery: Day One

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Thursday marked the unofficial start to the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere with Panini America and Topps getting a head start on acquiring autographs and photography in advance of Saturday’s extravaganza at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Panini America and Topps were situated in adjacent meeting rooms at the Loews Santa Monica Beach hotel as players stopped by throughout the day and into the night as they arrived at the hotel. One of the night’s last arrival’s — Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow — created the biggest splash and seemed genuinely happy to be there. In fact, with precious few exceptions, the more than 20 players arriving Thursday were lighthearted, engaging and admittedly appreciative of the opportunity. The true test, of course, will be if they still feel the same way late Saturday evening.

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Tim Tebow can't get enough of Beckett Football

Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Jon Gold will be at the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere this weekend with all sorts of things that will interest football card collectors.

But on Thursday night it was Beckett Football No. 234 and the buying habits of collectors that got the attention of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

You”ll never guess who’s No. 1 on the Hot List, Tim-mah

Look for more from Los Angeles later today and throughout the weekend right here.

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

Stephen Strasburg will grace cover of next Beckett Baseball

Stephen Strasburg had another dominating performance on Wednesday night in Rochester, N.Y., striking out nine batters in 6 1/3 scoreless innings in just his third start for triple-A Syracuse.

For the season, he’s 6-1 and he hasn’t given up a run in his last 17 2/3 innings while striking out 20 — all stats that will undoubtedly keep his newly released 2010 Bowman autograph cards scorching hot in anticipation of his big-league debut.

It goes without saying that he’s appearing more than primed for a call-up very soon — one where fans will quite possibly see him starting in Washington, D.C. for the first time on June 4.

But readers of Beckett Baseball won’t have to wait that long as he’s slated to appear on the cover of the next issue (No. 53) that arrives in hobby shops beginning next week.

The cover story focuses on powerful pitchers — perhaps still an overlooked segment of the hobby these days — with San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum, Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay and the New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia sharing the front cover.

The back cover, though, belongs solely to only one pitcher — perhaps the most dominating power pitcher so far this season, Strasburg.

In the issue, collectors also will have the chance to win one of three boxes of red-hot 2010 Bowman baseball cards as well, so there are a few reasons to keep an eye out for the issue.

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

If You're in Oxnard on Friday with Nothing to Do . . .

One of the biggest weekends of the 2010 football card season will kick off early Friday afternoon at the Walmart Supercenter on Rose Avenue in Oxnard, Calif. From 1 to 3 p.m. PST, at least 15 of the 35 rookies in town for Saturday’s NFL Players Rookie Premiere will mosey on over to Walmart to join Panini America and NFL Players in interacting with customers, engaging in pack wars, signing autographs and generally generating awareness of football cards.

The current list of attendees — although subject to change — is headlined by Colt McCoy, Golden Tate, Ryan Mathews, Joe McKnight, Eric Berry, Toby Gerhart, Gerald McCoy, Eric Decker, Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley.

Stay tuned to all weekend long for complete coverage of the NFL Players Rookie Premiere.

Box Busters: 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards about a week before its official release in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside this insert-laden and always-popular product?

Watch and find out.

For more on what’s in this product, click here, here, here, here and, finally, here.

Topps' "You Sketch It" cards bring interactivity to a new level

Collectors often clamor for more interaction with trading card companies — feeling the need to tell them their demands while also telling them what they don’t like, telling them what they do like and more.

Sometimes, for varying ego-related reasons, individuals insist they should appear on a card inside a Topps wrapper, too.

Now, they can … sort of.

Found in packs of the upcoming 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards will be Topps “You Sketch It” cards that have blank fronts that can be drawn upon and sent back to Topps for the chance to possibly win a prize (according to sales materials) and potentially have their sketch cards inserted into future Topps products for collectors to discover.

Talk about interactive and potentially influential for a product. A crowd-sourced baseball card set? If they’re good, it could be interesting. Who wouldn’t want to find their card in a pack?

Here’s what the back of the card says:

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Topps goes back to the future with a pair of insert sets in 2010 Series 2

Critics might say that Topps spends too much time looking into the past for its products, but a pair of new insert card sets in the forthcoming 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball card set shows that they’re doing that again as well as looking into the future.

It’s fair to say that collectors spend plenty of time looking to the past as well, so it’s a practice that’s justified. After all, baseball history is reflected in Topps’ history. But with a legacy that will be marked by Topps’ 60th anniversary of making baseball cards next year, it’s really more than justified.

A part of that legacy can be seen in the 25-card Vintage Legends collection where old-time players appear on card designs distinctly not from their playing eras — Babe Ruth on a 1999 Topps card, Cy Young on a 1987 card, Lou Gehrig on a 1958 card, Mel Ott on a 1989 card and so on. We’ve seen these designs re-created in recent years in the Fan Favorites and Topps Archives sets, but not with this crop of players (many of them players whose rights it acquired in a massive deal with CMG a few years ago). These cards are found one in every four packs.

Could it be a sign of a sweet return for Fan Favorites, perhaps one that adds some elite-level cut autographs into the mix? This collector wishes, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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Box Busters preview gallery: 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards

We’ve cracked the first box of 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards for an upcoming Box Busters video, but until that arrives here’s a gallery of what can be found inside the packs.

(There are a couple of new insert sets that we’ll also examine later today.)

See ‘em all after the jump.

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Topps' Million Card Giveaway includes T206s in Series 2

With 2010 Topps Series 2 arriving next week, we get the second wave of the overwhelmingly popular Million Card Giveaway, which includes original T206 tobacco cards in this series.

Our Box Busters box has been, well, busted and the video is on the way.

Call it journalistic curiosity — or a MCG addiction — but we really couldn’t wait to see what could be up for grabs with the six MCG cards we got in what has to be the first box of Series 2 that’s been opened.

What did we find? Was it extra special? Were the codes … loaded?

Find out after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Press Pass Showcase racing cards

Press Pass has revealed more images and released more set information for its sophomore high-end release, Showcase, which will include an autograph or memorabilia card from top NASCAR drivers in every pack.

Each six-box half-case of the forthcoming product will include one Danica Patrick autograph or memorabilia card as well as a 1/1 autograph and a race-used memorabilia instant win card.

New for 2010 are a pair of autograph sets printed on plastic, which include Classic Collections, a 10-card set featuring groups of drivers based on wins, teams and other achievements as well as a 12-card Racing’s Finest set of solo autogaphs.

The real draw in this one, though are the Prized Pieces Ink and the Premier Prospects Patrick Rookie Card. These cards include an autograph and a piece of memorabilia. Sheet metal (called Silver) cards will be the easiest to land, followed by firesuit cards (Gold) and then glove/shoe/other (Green) as well as rookie bumper tape cards for Patrick.

The toughest pulls (called “Melting”) will be the prime firesuit patch cards, which are 1/1s.

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

See more images after the jump.

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Evolution of autographs: Which ones do you remember?

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

Imaging getting paid $20, $50 or $100 for a single swipe of a pen … for your autograph.

Collectors know all about the practice of autograph signings for cash — we see it all the time at shows. However, have you ever put yourself in an athlete’s shoes?

For a multi-millionaire, a private autograph signing might be work — if an athlete even bothers because, after all, time is money. (Meeting and signing for fans? That’s another story. Many athletes have no worries about doing those events — or signing for free if it’s the right place and right time.)

And, when you think about it, signing autographs is work in a different way, too. Can you imaging sitting down and signing your name 500 or 1,000 times with only a break or two?

Many collectors don’t — and that’s why they complain when they get autographs that look like chicken scratch. (To some degree, I understand why they sometimes look the way that they do.)

We all have heard about the “give-up graph” — and we all know about the checkmark autograph of former Houston Texans running back Vernand Morency – but there’s another type of autograph out there that has always interested me.

It’s the “early” autograph — the one where an athlete either hadn’t yet adopted a shorter version of an autograph or a rarer signature where we just don’t commonly see it on items signed in bulk.

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NFL Players Rookie Premiere Set to Dazzle on Saturday

The 14th annual NFL Players Rookie Premiere promises to be a faster, more furious (but just as festive) affair when this year’s edition kicks off Saturday morning from the fabled Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Unlike Premieres past, the 2010 event will take place over the course of just one day. Just like in years past, three manufacturers will participate (Panini America, Topps and Upper Deck) in what annually is the single most important day on the football card calendar.

This year, 35 of the top 2010 rookies – including 12 first-round selections – are slated to attend an event that gets them in their NFL uniforms for the first time, all for the sake of producing some of the most collected football cards of the year and, in some cases, some of the most collected cards of all time.

“It’s the one time in the history of these guys’ careers that you’re going to get them all on one field together in an intimate setting,” says Panini America’s Scott Prusha. “It’s a special event, a special time for us to have the most marketable players from this year’s draft class together in one location – to have access to them, to take photos, to obtain autographs.”

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Inside Upper Deck's signing with "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky

Upper Deck completed a signing with NHL legend Wayne Gretzky today and wanted to show off some of the cards that will be found in upcoming products and going out for redemptions.

Among them is a 1990 Upper Deck Buyback that was a surprise redemption in packs of 2010 Upper Deck baseball cards.

Check ‘em all out after the jump …

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Your Topps Attax baseball collection isn't quite complete without the Battle of The Ages cards

Thought you were done collecting 2010 Topps Attax cards?

Think again.

Topps has introduced a new version of the gaming cards, one that caters to the parents and children playing the popular trading card game, and it’s got a whole new batch of cards.

It’s the Battle of The Ages series, which includes one “adult pack” of 15 retired player cards and two foil inserts and one “kid pack” comprised of 15 current player cards and two foils  in each specially marked tin.

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