Monthly Archives: May 2010

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 colds@beckett.com. 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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Upper Deck wants to see your "Man Cave"

Upper Deck Authenticated has produced all kinds of memorabilia through the years and now the company wants to see where it has gone.

How?

Upper Deck is having a contest where collectors can show off their — in its words — “man cave.” (Female collectors can also show off their, in UD’s words, “she caves” too.)

From UD’s release: “Sometimes men need a place to go where they can feel like a man. A place where their sports heroes adorn all four walls, where the couches are comfortable and the big screen plays only in High Definition. These man caves provide men with the chance to recharge.”

The five-week promotion leads up to Father’s Day and all collectors have to do is submit a video or photos of their “cave” by May 31 on UDA’s Facebook page to be entered into the early bird random drawing for a Steven Stamkos autographed puck “Curve” display.

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Could Stephen Strasburg be included in 2010 Topps Triple Threads?

Topps‘ preview information for the always popular Triple Threads arrived late last week and there’s plenty to be found among the set’s high-end offerings.

But there’s also plenty not yet revealed about the product that will arrive in late August.

Perhaps we can take a look at the checklist and offer a few thoughts which starts and ends with one question …

Will Stephen Strasburg be included?
It’s just a matter of time before the No. 1 pick’s humiliation of minor league batters ends — in two Triple-A starts he’s struck out 13 and allowed just one hit in 12 innings — and most target for him as an early June arrival in Washington. While he’s not yet eligible to appear on anything but Bowman cards, the second he is eligible for anything else — rookie redemptions and every other product — you can expect that he will be on checklists faster than one of his 103-mph fastballs.

Topps should be able to get their golden child into the set — sticker autographs have probably already been signed and I’d bet at least one game-used jersey from spring training has been acquired — on RCs in the Rookies & Rising Stars Autograph Relic checklist.

That checklist presently includes 14 players listed as “to be determined,” so there’s plenty of flexibility right now.

Already on there are Jason Heyward, Austin Jackson, Ike Davis, Starlin Castro and Mike Leake, so you can bet that Topps’ exclusive deal with Strasburg will ensure he’s there (if he can be), particularly  if those other notable 2010 players are, too.

A Strasburg autographed Relic makes all that money people are paying for his Bowman autographs seem a little excessive, doesn’t it?

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Box Busters On Location: 2010 Prestige Football at Panini America

The Beckett crew does something it should have done a long time ago: Travel across town to Panini America headquarters for a stirring episode of Box Busters.

Panini America CEO Mark Warsop makes his Box Busters debut in grand style, with a surprise ending you have to see to believe.

First look: 2010 Topps NFL cards

They’re back … though they never really went anywhere, right?

Topps released the basic set information and additional preview images for its 2010 NFL set on Friday afternoon, a product that just a few months ago looked like it would never see the light of day due to a licensing decision that was since reversed.

There will be one autograph or memorabilia card in every 36-pack hobby box of this long-running staple with two autographs and a Relic in every 10-pack HTA Jumbo box when it arrives in late August.

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Olympic hockey jerseys hit auction block for charity

By Russ Cohen

Diehard hockey fans probably already know about it, but the NHLPA has a great hockey jersey auction going right now and there are some doozies. Sidney Crosby’s jersey from the Canada vs. Germany game has topped$26,000, while Chicago’s Jonathan Toews’ Canada sweater at $2,125.

Now those aren’t the only jerseys. Alexander Ovechkin’s jersey (June 8) from the Russia vs. Czech Republic will soon go on sale as well as the Patrick Kane Team USA (Tuesday, along with some of his other teammates) worn against Switzerland.

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Upper Deck set to make Major League Lacrosse cards

Upper Deck announced Friday that it has signed a multi-year deal to produce Major League Lacrosse trading cards.

Its debut product will arrive in time for the MLL All-Star Game set for July 8 at Harvard Stadium in Boston.

“Major League Lacrosse is thrilled to be partnering with the elite trading card company, Upper Deck, to offer our fans the opportunity to collect trading cards of their favorite MLL players of today as well as our league legends from the past decade,” said MLL Commissioner David Gross.

Long Island’s Matt Danowski, a former Duke star, will serve as Upper Deck’s spokesman and appear on packaging.

“I am humbled and honored that Upper Deck has chosen me to be the first MLL player to grace their league trading card packs,” he said. “It is the childhood dream of every kid who has ever played sports to have his face on a trading card. My dream has now come true.”

Press Pass releases 2010 Portrait Edition red ink & inscriptions

Press Pass released exclusively to Beckett Media on Friday the red ink and inscriptions lists for its 2010 Portrait Edition football card set.

See the full breakdown after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2010 Upper Deck Soccer cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Brian Fleischer and Dave Sliepka as they rip into a box of the forthcoming 2010 Upper Deck Soccer cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside this hobby box?

Watch and find out …

Buzz Building Around Tim Tebow's First NFL Autograph Cards

In the 48 hours since they released in 2010 Prestige Football, Tim Tebow‘s first NFL trading cards — especially those featuring his consistently-administered penmanship — have been buzz-building, bid-generating click-inducers on the secondary market.

And for every motivated buyer looking to add an early Tebow autograph to the collection, there is bound to be at least 10 other onlookers just curious to see what his first autographed NFL cards look like. It’s an expected phenomenon for one of the most talked-about draft picks in recent history, and one that’s been playing out similarly since early April with his Press Pass “draft picks”” autograph cards.

In its first product of the year, Panini America incorporated 11 different versions of Tebow certified autograph cards, all on-card or on-fabric, including five Collegiate Lettermen (the “T,” “E,” “B,” “O” and “W” of his surname), an NFL Draft, a Draft Picks Rights rookie parallel numbered to 99, a popular Pro Helmets Autographs, and NFL Draft, NFL Equipment and NFL Shield patch autographs.

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First look: 2009-10 Panini Hall of Fame basketball cards (updated)

Panini America officials unveiled on Thursday a new addition to its basketball lineup, 2009-10 Hall of Fame Basketball, which looks to be a high-end ode to the greats of the game with offerings perhaps not seen in some time for the basketball collector.

Each $100 box will include two autographs, one memorabilia card one Black Border base card and seven other cards.

Among the notable inclusions are Famed Signatures (on-card Autographs of Hall of Famers), Hall of Fame Monikers (signed with nickname) and Dream Team Game Threads cards, which include regular and prime swatches from game-used 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic jerseys.

Hall of Fame arrives on July 28. See more after the jump.

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Chicago Cubs SS Starlin Castro is Topps' third Finest Rookie Redemption

Topps revealed its third 2010 Finest Rookie Redemption card on Thursday, and it’s Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, who made his big-league debut less than a week ago.

Topps’ previous announcements for rookie No. 2 can be found here and rookie No. 1 can be found here.

Castro is hitting .364 with a home run and six RBI through six games. The home run came in his first at-bat and the six RBI were in his first game — a record for a debut.

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.

First look: 2010 Topps Triple Threads baseball cards

Topps unveiled the basic product breakdown and preview images for its 2010 Triple Threads baseball card set on Thursday, a product that appears to take the staples of the always popular line and add even more high-end variety to the fold.

Set to arrive in late August, it will consist of a 120-card base set made up of veterans and retired players and will pack one autographed triple Relic and one triple Relic card per box.

The familiar parallels in the base will return as well with Printing Plates and Platinum 1/1s to be found along with Sapphire, Gold, Emerald and Sepia for the base cards. The Relics will have their own slates of parallels that also will include printing plates and Wood parallels.

As always there will be an exotic mix of memorabilia lineups in the deep Relic checklist. We’ll have more on this product later in the week.

For now, check out an extensive gallery of images after the jump.

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It's Official: Panini America Returns to Football

While Wednesday’s release of 2010 Panini Prestige Football may have let the cat out of the bag (especially for those within the hobby), NFL Properties, NFL Players and Panini officially announced today a multiyear trading card and collectible stickers agreement effective with the release of Prestige.

Thanks largely to Prestige’s inclusion of Tim Tebow‘s first NFL Rookie Card and certified autograph cards,  football collectors have been buzzing for the last 36 hours. For them, this announcement was a mere formality that was implied weeks ago.

“Panini has been aggressive in the U.S market and done a phenomenal job,” said Leo Kane, Vice President of Consumer Products for the NFL. “We are pleased to make available new products to our collector fan base including Adrenalyn, and sticker and sticker albums.”

Added Panini America CEO Mark Warsop: “We are excited to have been awarded an NFL and NFLPA license. We are committed to introducing NFL trading cards to a whole new generation of NFL fans and building new collectors. The NFL is one of sports’ premier properties, and we are enthusiastic about introducing NFL trading cards on a global level.”

Following Prestige, Panini America will release Donruss Elite, Score and Panini Classics, all before NFL training camps open.  The company is expected to announce in coming weeks a handful of agreements with NFL Players for stars who will serve as the face of Panini America products.

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Box Busters: 2009-10 Absolute Memorabilia basketball cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Keith Hower as they rip into two boxes of 2009-10 Absolute Memorabilia basketball cards from Panini America in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find in their boxes opened about a week before release? Watch and find out.

You can also find out how to win at least three of the biggest cards found in one box at the end of the video, too …

Steve Nash's game-used Los Suns jersey from Cinco de Mayo game hits auction block for charity

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Media

Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash might be best known right now for his gutsy on-court performance against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday where he scored 20 points with his right eye swollen shut.

But let’s not forget that he’s a two-time league MVP and one of those eccentric personalities that leagues are so desperate for — you know, ones that fans just can’t help but pay attention to. (Oh, and VitaminWater, anyone?)

And he’s also one of those players who is active within his community and with charity endeavors, and the latest from Beckett Select Auctions is one that’s already getting noticed.

It’s his game-used “Los Suns” jersey (and shoes) from the team’s game on Cinco De Mayo last week — a 110-102 victory in which he scored 19 points and had six assists — and the proceeds from the auction benefit The Steve Nash Foundation. After just a few hours on the block, it’s grabbed seven bids and is has topped $1,000 — an amount that won’t be that low for long as the fully certified jersey is linked to a specific memorable game in what could be a championship run in Phoenix. (Perhaps the only thing that could top it right now in significance? His bloody Game 4 jersey…)

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We're Curious: Question of the Day (May 10)

What’s your pick for the best baseball product of the last decade?

If you could only buy one pack of cards a day from 2000 to today — and could only collect those cards — what would it be and why?

First look: 2010 TRISTAR Pursuit Series 2 baseball cards

TRISTAR unveiled the basic product and preview information on Monday for its forthcoming second series set of In Pursuit of the Majors baseball cards, a boxed set product limited to just 1,440 sets (60 cases).

Pursuit will include a 75-card base set (Nos. 84-158) and six autographed cards limited to 80 or fewer copies in every box.

Also among the 15 “hits” guaranteed in every set are four parallels limited to 50 (or fewer), three short-printed cards and two 2010 Obak preview cards.

The player inclusions in this one should draw some attention as there will be autographed cards from several impact rookies this season — Starlin Castro and Jason Heyward among them — as well as autographed cards from top prospects like Carlos Santana, Desmond Jennings and Donavan Tate.

Is it too soon for a Castro-Ryne Sandberg dual auto? We hope not, because it’s in there… look for that and more when it arrives on May 19.

See more images after the jump.

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Dallas Braden's perfect game caps historic week in baseball

What a week it was in baseball…

Dallas Braden, a 27-year-old lefty for the Oakland A’s best known for jawing with Alex Rodriguez over his sacred territory, threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

Braden holds a 17-23 career record in four seasons with a 4.62 ERA, but on Sunday he became just the 19th player in MLB history to achieve perfection with his 4-0 victory. It was the first perfect game for Oakland since Jim “Catfish” Hunter did it in 1968.

Braden appears on just 142 different baseball cards with 45 of those autographed and only eight of those are Rookie Cards. His most valuable card is just $15 — a trio of 2007 Exquisite Collection autographs share that distinction.

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First Look: 2010 Classics Football

It boggles the mind just a bit to realize that Classics Football turns 10 years old this summer.

It seems like just yesterday that the product was first unveiled packing a somewhat-revolutionary, history-spanning checklist that incorporated the hottest rookies, the top current stars and the greatest players of all time all in one product. Today, that something old/something new recipe is standard issue in the trading card game.

The 10th edition of Classics is slated to hit stores in late July with four memorabilia or autograph hits (at least one autograph guaranteed), four Rookie Cards (numbered to 999 or less), two Legends (numbered to 999) and six additional insert or parallel cards per box.

The Classic Cuts cut-autograph insert set is numbered to 100 or less and has a checklist that includes Sid Luckman, Walter Payton, Paul “Bear” Bryant and George Halas. There’s also an autograph insert honoring the newest class of Hall of Fame inductees, including dual-signed versions from Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice.

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JaMarcus Russell's Better Days

The precipitous plummet of JaMarcus Russell in Oakland places him prominently in the conversation of biggest busts in NFL history. Clearly, he’s had better days than the one he experienced Thursday, when the Raiders cut the first player taken in the 2007 NFL Draft.

We’ll chose to remember the May 2007 version of Russell (pictured here), the Beckett-clutching behemoth with unlimited potential who was BMOC at the 2007 NFL Players Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles. How hot was he at the time? Worthy of gracing the cover of that month’s Beckett Football.

Those were the days . . .

— Tracy Hackler

Guest Commentary: Why We Collect Hockey Cards

By Russ Cohen

The other night, I got to witness Boston Bruins forward Blake Wheeler reach a career milestone, his first playoff goal, and in that moment I saw every hockey fan and every hockey collector.

He talked about the excitement of the game and the fact that he hadn’t scored in quite some time and then he was asked the million dollar question. Do you have the puck?

“No,” he said, and then there was a long pause. “Maybe? I don’t know. To be honest I don’t know where the puck is. I doubt it. There’s bigger things than individual accomplishments.”

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Rojo Johnson's baseball cards can't come soon enough …

We’ve had no word from Topps on whether Minor League Baseball’s newest phenom, Billy Ray “Rojo” Johnson, will be included in the second series of 2010 Topps Pro Debut baseball cards, but after making his debut in historic fashion Thursday night, he should appear on a baseball card as soon as possible.

That’s where ProCards comes in. (We think… maybe … )

Taking the mound in the sixth inning for the Round Rock Express, the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, Rojo tried to bean the first batter he faced, got himself ejected from the game and then threw his glove before spraying beer at a Nashville Sounds player.

Then, of course, they fought in the outfield.

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Box Busters: 2010 Bowman baseball cards

Somebody is busy tweeting...

One of the most highly anticipated Bowman baseball releases in some time is upon us all next week as 2010 Bowman arrives on May 12 packing one Chrome autograph per box and one pretty strong checklist.

However, Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer got their hands on a pair of boxes well before the street date for this highly anticipated episode of Box Busters.

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

It won’t be a Stephen Strasburg autograph. We guarantee it. (The odds on those things? Whew…)

First look: 2010 Topps Chrome baseball (updated)

Topps released the basic product information and preview images for its forthcoming 2010 Topps Chrome set on Thursday — a product highlighted by some additional inclusions not usually seen in Chrome.

Set to arrive in late September, it will include two autographs per hobby box as well as inserts styled after the Chicle and T206 sets. The base set will consist of 220 cards (170 veterans and 50 rookies).

Also among the highlights? Autographed cards from the 2010 USA Baseball collegiate team, which will be a hobby exclusive found just one per case.

Also new will be Heritage Chrome cards, which updates the Chrome parallels from Topps Heritage Baseball, as well as Chicle Chrome and T206 Chrome.

There will be Printing Plates, SuperFractors and the typical Refractor lineup: Red, Gold, Blue and standard for each of the inserts and the base set.

We’ll have more on this soon. See a gallery of preview images after the jump.

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First Impressions: 2010 Prestige Football

Imagine my surprise this afternoon when the mail arrived and in it — about a week earlier than expected — were two boxes of 2010 Prestige Football. For a diehard football fan eaten up right now with NFL Draft fever and a bad case of Tebow mania, it was kind of like Christmas in May.

(Unfortunately, there wasn’t a Tebow to be found in the one box we opened. My football fix, however, was fixed — at least for now.)

We opened one box this afternoon for the express purpose of providing our pigskin-starved visitors with an early look at the first 2010 NFL product.  As for the second 24-pack box, we have a special Box Busters episode planned for that one, so stay tuned.

After the jump you’ll be treated to a wealthy dose of images from the product. Right now, I’ll share just a few quick thoughts on what I think is a rather pleasing start to a history-in-the-making 2010 product season.

* Prestige packs a robust amount of content in every box with 24 Rookie Cards (one per pack) and 24 inserts/parallels (one per pack). The variety of design between the base 200-card set, the 100-card Rookie subset, the inserts and the parallels serves as visual Vivarin, breaking up any monotony that might surface between the first pack and the 24th.

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