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Monthly Archives: June 2010

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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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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