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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Congrats to this year’s Allen & Ginter code winner, Nick Jacoby

One of the more obscure, but interesting inclusions in the Allen & Ginter baseball card set from Topps the last couple of years has been “The Ginter Code” where Topps has hidden a message within its baseball card set.

Last year, collector Jason Wong, appeared in the set for breaking the previous code.

We’ve busted our first boxes of this year’s version of Allen & Ginter and we found the latest winner immediately, Nick Jacoby of Louisville, Ky.

We’ll have more from him in the next week or so, but until then we’ll let you — and Jacoby — soak up his card for the first time.

He said he hasn’t seen his card yet — so you will see it for the first time just like he is. Congrats.

We’ll have more from 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter right here later this evening. And, yes, the code-breaking challenge is back for 2010 as well.

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.

Fedor's First Cards Give Razor's Foray into MMA a Powerful Punch

Razor officials on Wednesday formally and definitively declared their presence in the mixed martial arts trading card arena with a stunning blow: The company’s premiere product, 2010 Razor MMA, will feature the first-ever trading cards and autographs of Strikeforce heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, regarded by many as the greatest fighter in the world.

The Russian’s history-making inclusion in Razor’s September-releasing debut is a staggering development for MMA collectors, and one that’s been in the works for quite some time.

“Getting a deal done was a very challenging process,” says Razor President Brian Gray. “When you’re dealing with the man that may be the greatest MMA fighter in the sport’s history, you have to expect some challenges. However, we are infinitely pleased and feel very fortunate to bring Fedor’s first mainstream cards and autographs to collectors.

“Fedor was an exciting addition for us and insures an automatic sellout.”

If that didn’t do the trick, the lure of one autograph per pack (eight packs per box) in the industry’s first “super-premium” MMA product probably would have. The set’s high-end composition provides a developmental distinction between Razor and the three successful Ultimate Fighting Championship launches so far from Topps, which has enjoyed a virtually unrivaled run in MMA for almost 18 months.

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Beckett Grading Services discusses Strasburg SuperFractor

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Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds discusses the $16,400 Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor along with Beckett Grading Service Director Mark Anderson and BGS Senior Grader David Poole.

Want a closer look at the card, which was examined and graded a 9.5? Want to know more about what to look for when examining Bowman cards for grading?

Watch and find out …

Bustin’ a Box: 2010 Donruss Elite football cards

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You’ve probably already seen the Box Busters video, so you’re familiar with this brand already.

He’s not the football guy — and he’s not a big Tim Tebow fan like Tracy Hackler — but that’s not going to stop Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds from busting a box of 2010 Donruss Elite football cards for you to check out.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

Landon Donovan Scores Big for Country, Collectors

Landon Donovan’s shot heard ‘round the world (and World Cup) less than one minute into extra time Wednesday gave the U.S. national team a stirring 1-0 victory over Algeria, a win in Group C and entry into the round of 16 for just the fourth time since 1930.

It also sent Donovan’s two autographed trading cards – 2004 Absolute Memorabilia Fans of the Game and 2010 Upper Deck MLS – escalating uncontrollably in value almost immediately after ricocheting off his instantly legendary right foot.

Donovan, the face of American soccer, first appeared on a certified autograph trading card in 2004, pictured as a Los Angeles Dodgers fan as part of an insert set in the Playoff Absolute Baseball set.

That card, prior to Wednesday, was valued at a mere $40 but had been selling for as much as $75 during the first 10 days of the World Cup. In the moments after the U.S. national team’s victory over Algeria, one of the cards on eBay had eclipsed the $100 barrier with three hours still remaining while four new copies of the card had been listed within minutes of the outcome, with two sporting Buy It Now prices of $499.99 and the other two featuring $200 price tags.

One copy of his 2010 Upper Deck MLS autograph card, released in May, sold last week for $249.99.

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.

Topps offers Stephen Strasburg MCG holders chance for an autograph — for $350

Topps‘ Million Card Giveaway exclusive Stephen Strasburg card has been a strong seller.

The card, which is a 2010 Topps card showing his first MLB pitch, is different than the one that will appear in factory sets arriving later this year and was unveiled on the night of his big-league debut.

And now, the day of Strasburg’s fourth big-league start, Topps is allowing the first 300 holders of that card to have it personally signed — for $350.

“We are thrilled to offer baseball fans yet another opportunity to memorialize Stephen’s spectacular MLB debut. This very limited autograph card will be an incredible collectible for years to come,” said Warren Friss, Topps’ GM, in a release. “This is another way we can use our successful online million card giveaway program and get MLB fans even closer to the game.”

To have the card signed, collectors must have the card in their account on toppsmillion.com.

The 2010 Bowman Strasburg autograph has been a strong seller at $600, while the more limited versions have fetched as much as $900 and more for the rarest versions.

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.

Guest Commentary: What might Topps have in store for Bryce Harper and Bowman?

By Steven Judd | For Beckett Baseball

I feel like I just spent a weekend in Las Vegas — you know the kind of trip where you sleep three hours over a span of 72.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a great experience … the excitement … the rush … the thrills … the non-stop buzz … crazy good like IHOP at 3:30 in the morning.

Just when I thought the trip was over, one recent Wednesday night it peaked over the top, again with the first major league start of the one, the only Stephen Strasburg. It all came rushing back like a frenzy of piranhas at a Labor Day cookout at the local lake.

I had meant to write about some general, not-as-riveting subject, but I just cannot resist. I am once again drawn into the spectacle that 2010 Bowman. My mind is racing as we continue to see secondary prices rise on hobby and HTA jumbo boxes, due partly to the perceived lack of product available in retail channels.

It is the perfect storm of hype, supply-demand and an iconic hobby brand. When this kind of product reaches this level of insanity everyone pays attention. Everyone. This particular release has reached well beyond the circle of the prospectors. It is hobby-wide and global in its magnetic effect.

At this point, I am pondering the tactical checklist planning for all Bowman releases through the end of 2011. We know at this point there will be a Strasburg Chrome autograph card in 2010 Bowman Chrome, which could be enough to send that product to the stratosphere.

The real big question will be how Topps handles Bryce Harper as far as when he will go into other Bowman checklists and how (regular card, autograph card, Relic card in Sterling). I wonder how far they will go to fully leverage the potential value his name can bring any Bowman-branded product.

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Box Busters: 2009-10 SP Authentic hockey cards

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Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Tim Trout rip into a box of 2009-10 SP Authentic hockey cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

Which New York Islanders rookie autograph will they find?

Watch and find out …

Pirates OF Jose Tabata is the second 2010 Topps Red Hot Rookie

Topps unveiled the second of its 2010 Red Hot Rookies on Tuesday morning and this one’s Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata.

Tabata is hitting .225 with a homer and two RBI after 10 games.

The Red Hot Rookie redemptions are found one per hobby box of 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards. The remainder of the 10-card set will be announced throughout the remainder of 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.

First Look: 2010 Rookies & Stars Football

Panini America officials on Tuesday morning released preliminary product information and images for 2010 Rookies & Stars Football, the venerable brand that closely mimics last year’s rather radical design departure while focusing largely on 2010 rookies, their autographs and NFL Players Rookie Premiere-worn memorabilia.

Rookies & Stars is slated to arrive in mid August with eight-card packs carrying a $4 SRP. Each box (24 packs) will deliver four autograph or memorabilia cards (at least one autograph guaranteed), four Longevity parallels five other inserts.

The low-numbered Team Chemistry Signatures dual- and triple-autograph patch cards return, as do the dual-signed Studio Combo Rookies Signatures.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional information on this product.

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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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