Monthly Archives: June 2010

Strasburg SuperFractor owner tries for “Hail Mary” in wake of Red 1/1 auction

Update: The reserve has been met, so the card will likely sell a second time unless he cancels the auction.

Robert J. Power, the owner of the Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman, confirmed to Beckett Media on Tuesday morning that it is, indeed, his card and his auction legitimately on eBay.

While it may appear that he’s working on a quick flip of the card that has gotten him national attention, including an interview on ESPN’s “First Take,” Power said his intention wasn’t that at all. He said the attention that the Strasburg 1/1 Red autograph auction is getting (after 103 bids, it’s presently at $36,100)  prompted his decision.

“That is my auction,” he said Tuesday of the SuperFractor offering. “I saw what the Red auto 1/1 is going for, so I thought I’d throw up a Hail Mary.

“My reserve price most likely won’t be met,  so it won’t sell.  I am actually hoping to keep the card, it will be worth more in the future, but $35,000 for the Red Auto kind of blew me away.”

The SuperFractor sat at $15,800 after 41 bids Tuesday morning.

It’s worth noting that the Red auction does not require pre-approved bidders, which, in the case of a high-profile card such as this, can  increase the likelihood of a non-sale.

Strasburg’s next start is Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals (29-42).

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.

Strasburg SuperFractor buyer talks about card on ESPN’s First Take

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Robert J. Power appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” show to talk about buying the Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor not long after talking about the card with Beckett Media.

Check it out …

Were you the winner on Free Stuff Friday?

Another Free Stuff Friday has come and gone — this week we awarded a box of the not-even-out-yet 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball cards courtesy of GlobalSportsCards.com.

Were you the winner?

Find out after the jump.

If not, check back on Friday for a chance to win more cool stuff.

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Like many past NBA players, Manute Bol is easy to collect — because he has so few basketball cards

Manute Bol — the only player in NBA history to record more blocked shots than points in his career — died on Saturday at age 47, leaving behind a legacy of trying to help people in his native Sudan.

His legacy on cardboard, despite playing 10 seasons in the NBA? Not so lengthy.

The 7-foot-7 center played for four NBA teams but appears on just 98 cards, his lone Rookie Card coming in the landmark 1986-87 Fleer set — it’s worth just $2.

He has just 15 certified autographs. His most plentiful  signed card — so far — is his 2009-10 Rookies & Stars Retired NBA Team Patches Signatures set from Panini America, which is limited to just 199 copies.

Bol’s most expensive autograph card is found in the 2006-07 Topps Full Court Co-Signers set, a release that he shares with Golden State Warriors legend and Hall of Famer Rick Barry.

Five of Bol’s autographed cards are 1/1s, so there are really only 10 signed cards one will reasonably find when hunting for his memorabilia. And of those cards, all but two have known print runs — and there are fewer than 300 autographs to be had.

Bol is indicative of a trend that Panini is starting to change as it’s now the exclusive manufacturer of NBA cards — players who are under-represented on cardboard, despite having a memorable place in the game.

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It’s deja vu all over again: Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman Red 1/1 autograph surpasses $100,000

Update: As of 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 22, the bidding sat at $26,845 (80 bids). By Wednesday, it had topped $100,000 — most likely because of bad bids. By June 27, the auction had been canceled.

Yogi Berra would be proud.

It’s deja vu all over again as another one-of-a-kind baseball card of Washington Nationals sensation Stephen Strasburg has been re-listed on eBay and is already in brand-new-car territory.

Previously posted on the auction site with a Buy It Now price of $50,000, the 2010 Bowman Strasburg Red autograph card — only one copy made printed and signed with that color border — is sitting at $16,000 after 47 bids after the BIN option was eliminated. And there is more than a week remaining in the auction of the card discovered by a collector in Melbourne, Fla.

It’s the lone card in the product that could trump the already famous $16,403 SuperFractor purchased by accountant Robert J. Power late last month.

The SuperFractor had previously been listed on eBay with a $20,000 Buy It Now pricetag but it did not sell at that price in mid-May.The SuperFractor sale set a record for that type of card.

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.

Stephen Strasburg keeps on racking up the strikeouts …

The 1990s Nike commercial that insisted that “chicks dig the long ball” featured Atlanta’s Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine obsessing about Mark McGwire‘s mammoth home runs.

But none of those stars did what Stephen Strasburg did on Friday night against Chicago.

He set a new MLB record for the most strikeouts in his first three games. With his 10 strikeouts against the White Sox, the already highly touted right-hander upped his total to 32 for the season. He left after seven innings, trailing 1-0 but ultimately only defeated by a conservative pitch count. He walked zero in the start.

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Win a Goodwin Champions Entomology card & more …

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Beckett Media’s Chris Olds gives you a sneak peek at three cards from Upper Deck that can be yours by reading us online here at The Beckett Blog and on Beckett.com as well as in a future issue of Beckett Baseball.

Check it out …

Stephen Strasburg sells out Uncirculateds, too

It’s been about a year since Beckett Grading Services launched its SI Uncirculated program with Sports Illustrated, which takes a limited quantity of the long-collected magazine and slabs the copies in a permanent holder in their condition as found directly from the printing plant.

And, about a year after the program’s first sold-out issue (Bryce Harper‘s debut cover), another member of the Washington Nationals has had his debut SI cover sell out, too.

You might know him … he’s Stephen Strasburg.

The Uncirculated concept is simple — it’s one modeled after mint set coins with a touch of the professional grading feel commonly used for baseball cards and comic books. The magazines aren’t graded but they are shipped directly from the printer and placed into the slabs with an Uncirculated notation. Once a limited number of copies are encased, there are no more produced.

Only 35 copies of the Strasburg issue were encased — and all were gone less than two hours after arrival at $24.99 a pop. Other sold-out issues include the Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup championship issue, a pair of University of Alabama covers featuring Heisman winner Mark Ingram, Derek Jeter‘s Sportsman of the Year cover, the New Orleans Saints‘ Super Bowl championship, Sidney Crosby‘s Winter Olympics goal and a Matt Ryan NFL preview issue.

It’s reflective of a trend that should be obvious to magazine collectors and memorabilia collectors as well. Debut issues and key moments like championships are often the issues that are the most-coveted.

To see what other issues remain available click the link above or click here.

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.

Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is red hot … but are his baseball cards?

There’s an adage that performance on the field means performance on cardboard.

There are times when it happens and times when it doesn’t.

Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is in the midst of a season for the ages, sporting a 13-1 record with a 1.15 ERA for the year — made all the more impressive when you consider that he pitches in Denver’s Coors Field, the launching pad of all launching pads in MLB.

But has it translated into cardboard sales?

Yes and no, which is a surprising answer as his pace for victories is the best since Roger Clemens started 14-0 in 1986. And even more surprising since he could be in contention for winning 30 games — not done since Denny McLain in 1968 — and he could challenge Bob Gibson‘s record for the lowest ERA in a season (1.12) also set in, yep, 1968.

Earlier this month, Jimenez’s 2005 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Autograph Black card, a 1/1, sold for $2,247 on eBay — a buy that pales in comparison to the record-setting (on cardboard) $16,403 arrival of Stephen Strasburg.

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A Kobe Kind of Year

For those counting at home, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ just-won 16th NBA championship gives transcendent superstar Kobe Bryant five titles for his career. That’s five more than LeBron James, one more than Shaquille O’Neal and just one shy of Michael Jordan.

All that math got us to thinking about what a banner year it’s been for Bryant — and how Beckett’s been there every step of the way.

Here’s how Beckett Basketball started the 2009-10 season:

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Massive Gallery: 2010 Donruss Elite Football Autographs

2010 Donruss Elite Football went live yesterday with the product’s first on-card autographs since 2001. Elite’s NFL Shield and Team Logo rookie-based insert includes limited signed versions that the company acquired during last month’s NFL Players Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles.

Consider the following gallery further proof of manufacturers’ ongoing quest to deliver collectors more on-card autographs.

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THREE OF A KIND: A Coach & A Catcher

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Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds brings to you a quick story about three pieces of memorabilia he keeps in his office in yet another “Three of a Kind” video.

Not sure what “Three of a Kind” is? Click here to see the first one posted yesterday.

First look: 2010 Bowman Chrome baseball cards

Topps released the basic set information and preview images for 2010 Bowman Chrome baseball cards on Wednesday, a set that will include a Chrome autograph of Washington Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg.

And, yes, it will include an autographed SuperFractor.

It will arrive in mid-October packing one autograph per 18-pack hobby box. (Each pack will include two prospect cards and two veterans.) The autograph checklist will consist of 24 prospects who did not appear in 2010 Bowman.

The standard set inclusions will be 110 Chrome prospect cards — with the typical Refractor, Blue, Gold, Orange, Red and Supers — while there also will be 20 members of the USA Baseball 18U team  with signed cards. Those will be found one in five boxes (roughly two per case) as a bonus autograph, while there also will be 10 dual-signed USA autograph cards as well.

The Topps 100 Prospects set will return in Chrome with Super, Gold, and standard Refractors. Refractor quantities vary from set to set, though Reds are numbered to five, Orange to 25, Gold to 50 in most sets. Odds were not announced, but there will be approximately four USA Baseball cards per box, three Topps 100 cards per box and seven total Refractor cards per box.

The 220-card Chrome set will consist of 180 veterans and 40 rookies all with the rainbow of Refractors. Among the rookies in the set are Strasburg, Ian Desmond, Austin Jackson, Jason Heyward, Drew Storen, Ike Davis, Drew Stubbs, Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin.

Read more and see images after the jump.

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Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana is the first 2010 Topps Red Hot Rookie

Topps announced the first 2010 Red Hot Rookie redemption subject of the season on Wednesday, and it’s Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana.

Santana was called up by the Tribe late last week and he’s hitting .214 with a homer and three RBI in his first four games.

Topps will announce the remainder of the Red Hot Rookies, which are found one per hobby box in 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards, throughout the season.

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.

Coming Tomorrow: 2009-10 SP Authentic Hockey

One of most anticipated hockey products of the season, 2009-10 SP Authentic, skates into hobby shops tomorrow packing three autographs in every 24-pack box.

SPA’s Sign of the Times calling cards return with myriad possibilities including single-signed versions, Duals, Trios (#’s to 25), Quads (#’d to 10) and the rarer-still Fives, Sixes, Sevens and Eights.  The product’s Future Watch rookie autographs are numbered to 999; Prestigious Pairings dual-signed cards are numbered to just 100.

“We’re very proud of this year’s SP Authentic release,” says Josh Zusman, Upper Deck’s hockey brand manager. “We had a terrific 2009-10 campaign and a rookie class that rivaled some of the greatest to ever enter the NHL. The autographed inserts [in this product] will keep collectors cracking packs for months.”

Here’s a sneak peek at 2009-10 SP Authentic Hockey on the eve of its release . . . Read More »

THREE OF A KIND: Random memorabilia in the office

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Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds brings to you a quick story about three random pieces of memorabilia he keeps in his office — probably because he doesn’t know where else to put them.

What are they? Watch and find out in this first “Three of a Kind” video …

Goodwin Entomology Cards bugging out on secondary market

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The long-awaited Goodwin Champions Entomology Cards have finally arrived and they’ve got collectors buzzing now that they’ve finally seen those creepy crawlies inside cardboard.

Sales of the critter cards have been brisk with most of the cards topping $100 and even a couple of $200 sales.

The cards were the winner of the Best Gimmick Set award in Beckett Baseball‘s Best of 2009 Awards.

Check out the video above featuring Upper Deck’s Grant Sandground, who helped bring the set to life.

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.

EXCLUSIVE — Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor buyer: “A card like this is just what the industry needs”

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

Plenty has been written about the Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman that sold for $16,403 recently, and plenty has been said about the hobby in the wake of the behemoth of a popular baseball card product that created it.

And all of that was well before Strasburg’s dominating MLB debut.

We’ve heard from Leo Kim, the finder of the Strasburg, the lucky person who beat the one in 1,210,000 odds of finding the card. And, on Tuesday, Beckett Media learned a bit about the buyer of the card, Robert J. Power, a 37-year-old accountant from Michigan who purchased the card last month.

“A card like this is just what the industry needs,” said Power, who talked about his collecting past, his reasoning for buying the card — and even his wife’s reaction to making a pretty substantial purchase — in this exclusive Q&A with Beckett.

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Florida Marlins OF Mike Stanton is Topps’ 5th Finest Rookie Redemption

Topps revealed its fifth 2010 Finest Rookie Redemption card on Tuesday, and it’s Florida Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton.

Last week, Topps announced that No. 4 was Red pitcher Mike Leake. Topps’ previous announcements include Cubs rookie Starlin Castro for rookie No. 3, while info on rookie No. 2 can be found here and rookie No. 1 can be found here.

Stanton was promoted to the Marlins last week, making his MLB debut on Tuesday. He’s hitting .368 (7-for-19) with four runs, four RBI and two stolen bases. He’s homerless in the majors after hitting 21 this season for Double-A Jacksonville.

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.

Revisiting Billy Ripken & other memorable errors in next Beckett Baseball

We were all set to feature a montage of the most memorable error cards of the last 30 years or so on the cover of the next issue of Beckett Baseball (No. 54) coming your way soon.

Revisiting Billy Ripken, the unraveling mystery of the 1990 Topps Frank Thomas and more are nestled  inside its pages.

But this guy named Stephen Strasburg arrived in the major leagues and forced his way into our lineup on a few pages — and the cover of the magazine after his 14-strikeout, no-walk performance in his major league debut.

As part of those adjustments, we sacrificed some stuff there so you can have it here — one small part of that equation being a chat with a collector who is dedicated to discovering the story behind the famed Ripken error card (one of its many corrections seen here).

His name is Donovan Ryan and he lives in Bakersfield, Calif., and he’s the brains behind billripken.com, a repository for everything Ripken.

Beckett acknowledges five versions of the card — the error, a whiteout version (rarest), white scribble, black scribble and the black box. However with the cards printed at more than one location there are very minor differences between some of the fixes. Ryan notes some of those “other” versions on his site, which we will also show to you in the magazine. (Realistically, since most collectors don’t know there are differences, there’s no substantial established value for the variations of, say, the black scribble … yet.)

We posed to Ryan a few questions — one being what would he ask readers out there who might know more about the card. Perhaps one of those long-lost behind the scenes workers at Fleer finally would want to talk just like Ripken did awhile back and give the world the real story behind the card?

Or maybe what’s out there is all that’s known …

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First look: 2010 Topps Chrome football cards

Topps released the basic preview images and product information for its 2010 Chrome football set on Monday, a rookie-laden product that will arrive in mid-October.

Loaded with a Rookie Card in every pack and an autograph in every 24-pack hobby box, Chrome will consist of 275 cards in the base set with 110 of them being veterans and 110 of them being rookies.

The familiar parallels return — SuperFractor, Gold, Black and standard Refractors — while rounding out the set there will be Rookie Autograph Patch cards as well as Rookie Autographs.

Also among the inserts are Bowman Chrome Autograph Refractors and standard Bowman Chrome Rookies.

Among the biggest highlights? A triple autograph of Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen.

The Bowman Chrome rookies checklist will include just 30 players only found in Topps Chrome. There will be Refractors and autographed Refractors of these cards.

Among the other inserts are Topps Reprints, Gridiron Lineage, Reprints Refractor autographs and Rookie Red Zone autographs.

See more images after the jump.

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Tim Tebow Knows baseball?

Tim Tebow hits 12 home runs on 15 pitches during a batting practice session?

One old 1990 Score  Bo Jackson baseball card immediately came to mind.

You know you thought it, too.

I just wonder if Nike thought the same thing …

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.


Stephen Strasburg makes eTopps appearance

We know of a few reasons that this one won’t last long — two MLB victories and 22 strikeouts being just a couple.

Topps announced on Monday that Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is one of two eTopps IPOs this week.

A maximum of 1,999 Strasburg cards will be made with an IPO price of $8 per card.

Not everyone who puts in a claim for a card will receive one as the online, stock market-style program will undoubtedly have allocations for such a popular player’s card.

And you can bet, given eTopps’ popularity in the short-term market and Strasburg’s present status as baseball’s latest phenom, that the card will be a hot one.

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.

Were you a winner on Free Stuff Friday?

Another Free Stuff Friday – has come and gone, but it was a small but strong offering for the baseball collectors who paid attention to the Washington Nationals this week.

Were  you one of the winners?

Find out after the jump …

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Panini America Announces Tim Tebow Autograph Card Winner

As further testament to just how scorching-hot Tim Tebow is with football collectors right now, we present example No. 3,987:  The special on-location 2010 Prestige Box Busters episode.

At the end of the video, which features special guest and Panini America CEO Mark Warsop and was shot on location at Panini America headquarters, Warsop offered viewers the chance to win a Tebow 2010 Prestige NFL Draft Autographed Patch NFL Shield card.

All viewers had to do was chime in on what they thought of 2010 Prestige Football and what they thought of Tebow’s prospects as an NFL quarterback. Well, one month, almost 3,000 views and more than 90 contest entries later, Panini America officials have finally selected a winner: Beckett.com member delfergeMD.

According to Panini’s Scott Prusha, company officials were both entertained and inspired by the creative passion exhibited in delfergeMD’s response (the third entry received in the contest, for those who are curious).

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Topps unveils Avatar trading card set

How do you say certified autograph in Na’vi?

Topps unveiled on Monday its plans for an Avatar 3D trading card set that will arrive in September to coincide with the release of the extended version of the movie on Blu-Ray.

The set will consist of 48 widevision-sized cards — three per pack — with plans for certified autographs from select cast members as well as sketch cards, pending the approval of Twentieth Century Fox.

The James Cameron film grossed more than $749 million in the United States and $2.7 billion world-wide.

See more of the cards after the jump.

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Guest Commentary: Kane & Toews will be forever linked in hockey, hobby

By Russ Cohen

They are sometimes linemates but always teammates and now the two young men had a chance to hoist Lord Stanley in Philadelphia.

Then they basked in a parade in Chicago and if you thought you’ve seen a lot of combination cards of Patrick Kane and captain Jonathan Toews then think again – – expect a plethora of them in the coming sets by Upper Deck and hockey newcomer Panini.

Recently UD Artifacts had a nice combo card of this dynamic duo on a patch card numbered to just 15. Before the Cup, that card probably would have sold for $100 to $150 but now a card like this has an asking price of $200.

Is it worth it?

I think so especially if you are a fan of either the players or the teams.

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Stephen Strasburg baseball cards — the hottest thing in the hobby

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There’s no question that Stephen Strasburg is the hottest thing in baseball — and baseball cards — right now.

And as we head into the weekend with Strasburg’s second big-league start scheduled for Sunday, we’ve whipped up some statistics about Strasburg’s baseball cards.

Check it out …

FREE STUFF FRIDAY (6-11) — A red hot and not-even-out-yet edition

We’re back with another Free Stuff Friday – and it’s a small but strong offering for the baseball collectors who paid attention to the Washington Nationals this week.

How can you win? Click on the links below and follow the directions…

No. 1 — A Bryce Harper 2010 USA Baseball card

No. 2 — A Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman baseball card

No. 3 — A 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter box (courtesy of GlobalSportsCards.com)

Box Busters: 2010 Donruss Elite Football (and A Closer Look)

Beckett Football’s Dan Hitt and Tracy Hackler have their way with an early box of 2010 Donruss Elite Football. What did they pull? Watch and find out.

Oh, and just in case you wanted even more analysis of Donruss Elite, here are five minutes of your life you’ll never get back.