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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Panini America unveils plans for this year's National Sports Collectors Convention

Panini America announced its plans for next month’s National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore on Monday evening with the highlight being a 50-card multi-sport set featuring NFL, NBA, NHL and college stars.

Collectors who open five packs of current NFL or NBA product at the company’s booth will receive a pack of cards from the set, which will include LeBron James (in new uni?), Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Tyreke Evans (and others) from the NBA.

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Collegiate Licensing Company official clarifies contract details

A Collegiate Licensing Company official has clarified the details of the company’s deal with Upper Deck in the wake of Panini America‘s announcement of a CLC-approved baseball card set arriving in September.

Panini unveiled plans for its 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition set on Friday, which seemed to fly against the previously announced CLC exclusive signed with Upper Deck last year.

Despite the deal, the Panini set is fully authorized by the CLC.


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TRISTAR's Obak returns at The National

Obak is back once again.

TRISTAR‘s tobacco card-styled Obak baseball set, which arrived last year about a century after its namesake, will return for 2010 with a debut at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, Md. , early next month.

This year’s Obak set marks the 100th anniversary of the originals and each and every card will be printed on old-style recycled cardboard to give the throwback cards an even more distinct look and feel.

Each 20-pack hobby box will include four autographs (numbered to 125 or less), two parallels, one T212 mini parallel card, three short-prints and one T4 Cabinet Card. Each 24-box case will include one Hot Box that will have 10 autographs and a mix of 25 other “hit-type” cards.

See more — with a gallery of images — after the jump.

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TRISTAR will launch latest TNA Wrestling set — TNA Icons — with appearances at National Sports Collectors Convention

TRISTAR unveiled its latest TNA Wrestling card set — TNA Icons — on Saturday and it will launch the latest product with appearances from several wrestlers at the National Sports Collectors Convention early next month in Baltimore, Md.

Among TRISTAR’s guests will be Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne and Lacey Von Erich.

Each of the TNA stars will appear on Saturday, Aug. 7, and will meet and greet fans at the event while also working autograph sessions.

TRISTAR has a Championship Package available for fans, which includes one of 400 limited edition TNA Icons boxes. Also included in the $129 package are two autographs on any items from all six wrestlers, four photo opportunities with the stars, and a show special TNA grab bag that will include show-exclusive cards. The limited edition boxes will include a National-exclusive autograph card of one of the guests — or Hulk Hogan.

Single autograph tickets for each of the TNA stars are also available.

See more images and learn more about the product after the jump.

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Topps readies 2010 Topps Sterling baseball cards — with Stephen Strasburg autographed Relics

Topps Sterling baseball returns for yet another season, arriving in early November with one autographed Relic or Relic limited to 10 or fewer copies along with a second Relic numbered to 25 in each and every box.

The company released the basic preview information — product checklist, images and breakdown — on Saturday.

Last year, the product introduced theme boxes, rather than player-focused assortments, and this year Topps has two new themes to be found among the various mixes — one for the first Hall of Fame Class, one for “The Five Ring Club” and one for “Rookie Phenoms.”

That last one includes a teaser … “you know who” … in the sales materials.

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Guest commentary: Sports Art For Less Than $100,000

by Russ Cohen

There is an eBay auction that caught my eye specifically because it had some “vintage” New York Rangers included in it. This 1968 Leroy Neiman oil painted masterpiece is valued at around $200,000 but the 89-year-old painter will let it go for $89,000.

The players involved are pretty special. That “No. 1” for the Rangers was Eddie Giacomin and his number has been hanging from the rafters from Madison Square Garden since 1989. It was the second number retired by the franchise. I love the way he’s playing so deep in the net (without a mask), very few goalies do that these days.

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Panini to make CLC-approved Elite Extra Edition baseball set

Panini announced on Friday that it will return to the baseball card market with 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition, a fully licensed release approved by the Collegiate Licensing Company.

The set will include 200 players, 100 of those autographed, with each hobby box including six autographs when it arrives in September.

Each 20-box case will include four Hot Boxes, which will include 10 autographs.

We’ll have more on this product when it becomes available.

Upper Deck had signed an exclusive with the CLC earlier this year, but it appears that deal has been modified with the announcement of this product.

Bustin' Wax: WWE Heritage III Chrome (2008)

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds as he rips into a hobby box of 2008 WWE Heritage III Chrome wrestling cards from Topps in yet another throwback box break.

What will he find? Watch Part 1 and find out above.

Find Part 2 after the jump…

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Bustin' wax: 2009 Topps American Heritage

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds as he rips into a blaster box of 2009 Topps American Heritage — a throwback box break just for fun.

What will he find inside this history-laden Blaster Box? Watch and find out.

First Look: 2010 Topps Triple Threads Football

Topps officials on Thursday unveiled preliminary images and product information on 2010 Topps Triple Threads Football, the company’s perennial super-premium pigskin homage slated for release in early November.

New to the brand this year are Laundry Tag Book Cards, NFL Shield Relics and Jersey Sleeve Jumbo Team Patch Book cards. Every Relic card in the set includes at least three pieces of memorabilia and there are no less than 25 different 1/1 insert versions.

The product will include two six-card mini boxes per display box, with each mini delivering one Triple Relic numbered to 99 or less, two base parallels numbered to 525 or less and three base cards numbered to 1,350 or less. Every display box will include one Autographed Triple Relic.

Every 18-display-box case will yield a 1/1 Autographed Triple Relic and a Triple Autographed Triple Relic numbered to 36 or less.

There are 10 Autographed Triple Relic inserts in all, including:

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Hobby-minded journalist John Leptich dies at 60

By Mike Sakal

John Leptich, a former contributor of stories for Beckett Media during its early years who was a longtime Chicago and Arizona journalist that covered a story about the great debacle of the 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie card when an Illinois card shop clerk mistakenly sold it to a 12-year-old boy for $12 instead of $1,200 what it was worth then, has died.

Leptich, 60, of Glendale, Arizona, whose stories in the Chicago Tribune in 1992 also were instrumental in persuading the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to put Willie Mays’ glove on permanent display that he wore when he made “The Catch” in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series, lost his long and hard-fought battle with bone marrow cancer on July 6 with his family by his side at Banner Thunderbird Hospital in Glendale, Ariz.

Leptich, an avid Chicago Cubs and sports fan with a penchant for pizza and chasing autographs of professional athletes for decades, worked for the East Valley and Scottsdale Tribune in Arizona from 1997 to late 2008, when he joined Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold (formerly Phelps Dodge) in Phoenix as an internal communications specialist.

A native of Chicago who frequented Wrigley Field where he met his wife-to-be in 1975, Leptich had relocated to Arizona in 1995 after working 16 years for the Chicago Tribune as a sports writer and sports copy editor. While there in 1984, he co-authored a book, This Date in St. Louis Cardinals History.

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George Steinbrenner's Signature of Approval

I’ve been blessed with the tremendous opportunity to work on countless cool projects in my more than 11 years with Beckett Media. To this day, though, arguably the most enjoyable was Beckett Elite, a magazine I helped launch from scratch back in 2006.

(Coincidentally, perhaps, Beckett Elite also ranks as one of the shortest-lived titles we’ve ever produced).

But it was a super-premium thrill ride while it lasted, which turned out to be just 10 issues. Beckett Elite was an award-winning critical success that gained acclaim for its rich content, elegant presentation and unmatched coverage of the high-end sports and Americana memorabilia auction industry.

The magazine was recognized in November of 2006 by Min Magazine and Dr. Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni as one of the 15 Hottest Magazine Launches of 2006. In March of 2007 it was recognized again, this time with the inaugural Nichee Award for Best Design at the premiere Niche Magazine Conference.

While those accolades remain tremendous sources of pride around these parts, they pale in comparison to the recognition Beckett Elite received in May of 2006 from someone far more influential, prestigious, awe-inspiring and, well, legendary.

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Florida Marlins OF Mike Stanton is Topps' Fourth Red Hot Rookie

Topps unveiled the fourth of its 2010 Red Hot Rookies on Thursday morning and this one’s Florida Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton.

Stanton is hitting .231with five homers and 20 RBI in 28 games this season.

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. Previous RHRs include Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch (No. 3), Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata (No. 2) and Indians catcher Carlos Santana (No. 1).

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.

And you wonder why players don't like signing: Example No. 3,772,695

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This YouTube video from All-Star FanFest is making the rounds where a pushy adult insults Hall of Famer Gary Carter for not signing a pair of photos for kids. (He was instead signing All-Star FanFest autograph sheets and cards.)

While a player has the right to sign (or not sign) whatever he wants, the spectacle was made and the adult should look like a fool of much larger proportion than what he tried to make out Carter to be.

Obviously “the fans” in the video never saw Carter play — they weren’t old enough to be alive back in 1992, his last season.

The sad thing? The photos were signed for “the fans” after the stunt, anyway.

And $50 says they’re on eBay right now.

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.

If you've got a big head, New Era just might have a surprise for you, too

I sit in a pretty good seat in the ol’ hobby these days, but it’s one that also includes a flame-filled one-liner or two sent my way from time to time.

I’ve been told a few things — and called a few others — on occasion.

And I’ve been told I have a big head.

Don’t I know that.

I know that every time I see the latest cool cap from New Era, the official manufacturer of on-field MLB caps.

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Box Busters: 2009-10 Panini Crown Royale basketball cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Keith Hower and Tracy Hackler as they bust into a pair of 2009-10 Panini Crown Royale basketball cards from Panini America in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find in their boxes of this not-even-out-yet product?

Watch and find out.

Inside Tim Tebow's Helmet: The Anatomy of a Fantasy Football Card


I’ve been where few men have been before. I’ve been . . . inside Tim Tebow’s helmet.

He doesn’t know that — yet. But every time I see a preview these days for a new 2010 Tebow Rookie Card, I’m reminded of my moment in the sun — actually, it was in the shade — wearing Tebow’s most regal Riddell crown. I figured now was as good a time as any to come clean.

I’ve always dreamed of appearing on my own football card. The overly self-indulgent tale that follows is likely about as close as I’ll ever get. Besides, how often do you have the opportunity to look at a superstar’s Rookie Card and say, “Hey, I’ve worn that helmet” . . .

Part I: The Helmet
Tebow’s sweat-kissed, sun-soaked Denver Broncos helmet had been perched – silently majestic, metallically shining – on an inconspicuous table for most of the afternoon. It had traveled all the way from the Broncos’ training complex in Colorado to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for a weekend full of football card cameos.

And now, the very helmet atop Tebow’s head for many of his Rookie Card photos on a postcard-perfect, late-May Saturday morning at the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere was just . . . sitting there.

I first noticed it on the red-draped snack table after lunch, just out of bounds at about the 23-yard line. Tebow had spent the first half of the day with Panini America and Upper Deck; his afternoon was reserved for Topps.

Somewhere, one of the most polarizing football players of all time was posing for his football card photographs topless — you know, without his top, his headgear.

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Detroit Tigers OF Brennan Boesch is third Topps Red Hot Rookie

Topps unveiled the third of its 2010 Red Hot Rookies on Wednesday morning and this one’s Detroit Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch.

Boesch is hitting .342 with 12 homers and 49 RBI in 65 games this season.

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. Previous RHRs include Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata (No. 2) and Indians catcher Carlos Santana (No. 1.)

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: 2009-10 Panini NBA Season Update

Panini America will recap its first season as the exclusive NBA cardmaker with the early September release of 2009-10 Panini NBA Season Update, a quirky catch-all release sporting a reasonable $2.99 pack price and a typical box break (24 packs) that will produce one autograph, two memorabilia cards and 22 additional insert cards.

See more images after the jump.

The product is bolstered by 111 on-card Kobe Bryant autographs, more than 1,000 additional on-card signatures updating previous 2009-10 releases and special Christmas Cards featuring swatches from jerseys worn on Christmas Day 2009.

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

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Chicago Cubs pitcher Andrew Cashner is the seventh Finest Rookie Redemption

Topps revealed its seventh 2010 Finest Rookie Redemption card on Tuesday, and it’s Chicago Cubs pitcher Andrew Cashner — and it’s autographed.

Topps previously announced Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg as No. 6,  Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton as No. 5, and that No. 4 was Reds pitcher Mike Leake. Topps’ other releases for the set 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.

Cashner is 0-3 with a2.41 ERA for the Cubs this season. He has 15 strikeouts in 18-plus innings of work.

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.

Obscure LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh Card Enjoys 500% Increase

Leave it to Miami’s men of the moment – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – to transform an utterly forgettable 6-year-old eyesore into the single hottest basketball trading card on the market.

Indeed, while South Florida’s hoops-collecting populace was waiting impatiently for the first cards featuring James, Wade and Bosh together, those with a little more market savvy and a lot more memory began scouring their 2003-04 Topps Rookie Matrix stashes for the one that already existed.

Last week that card was valued at $20. Today it’s valued at $100. And when the new issue of Beckett Basketball hits the market later this month, the convoluted Rookie Card will also be No. 1 on the Hot List, ahead of key Rookie Cards of five-time NBA champion and 2010 Finals MVP Kobe Bryant and 2009-10 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans.

For those counting at home, that virtually-overnight ascension from $20 to $100 represents a 500 percent increase. Not bad for a set that was an afterthought not long after it was released in April of 2004.

Simply put, the 2003-04 Topps Rookie Matrix product was a conflicted mess whose one redeeming quality – this card – has perhaps forever changed the set’s legacy for the better.

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Strasburg 1/1 Red autograph set to hit auction block with Huggins and Scott

The premiere Stephen Strasburg card from 2010 Bowman — his 1/1 Red autograph — will hit the auction block on Wednesday as part of Huggins and Scott‘s worldwide sports memorabilia catalog auction that runs through July 28.

Also on the block is an uncut sheet of 1954 Topps baseball cards — which includes a Hank Aaron Rookie Card — but the most talked-about card in the Silver Spring, Md.-based company’s auction of more than 800 lots is the Strasburg, which was found by a collector in Florida who initially opted for an eBay auction that ended with plenty of bad bids.

That card will start with an opening bid of $9,000.

Huggins and Scott cited rapid growth in the last year, which has prompted he company to double the frequency of its catalog auctions. It is now offering up to six auctions a year — the next to come in September.

“Our upcoming July auction will produce an industry stir as the company offers unique and rare items such as the Strasburg 1-of-1 and the 1954 Topps uncut sheet,” said the company’s head writer, Kevin Heffner. “But the company has many great items slated for our September sale, with many items to be displayed at The National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore this August.”

The Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman has been sold twice since it was discovered — on eBay for $16,403 and to Razor Entertainment’s Brian Gray for $21,403.

George Steinbrenner's legacy of winning with New York Yankees is not reflected on baseball cards

George Steinbrenner — one of the most polarizing but successful owners in Major League Baseball history — died at age 80 Tuesday morning.

Steinbrenner bought the New York Yankees in 1973 and amassed seven World Series titles and 11 pennants in his time at the helm. Despite that success and his status as the highest-profile owner in the game, Steinbrenner never appeared on a standard-issue baseball card made by a major manufacturer.

In fact, Steinbrenner appears on just 15 items in the Beckett.com database — the lone highlights being four 1/1 cut autograph cards made by SportKings and Upper Deck in 2008 and 2009.

Three of those cut autographs come in the Yankee Stadium Legacy Moments in Time Dual Cut Signatures set, pairing him with others who are tied to memorable moments in the stadium’s history. The card above features Steinbrenner’s signature along with Nelson Mandela, who made one of his first stops after 27 years in prison at an appearance in the stadium. The other two cuts from the set include Steinbrenner with actor Jason Alexander (an obvious Seinfeld reference) and a card with former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert.

Steinbrenner’s autographed items are already proving to be volatile on the auction block with signed jerseys, baseballs and documents being the priciest items. (Whether those items sell remains to be seen.) While his signature may be plentiful, his status in the game should command some strong prices — so buyers should exercise caution and buy only certified signatures or items from trusted dealers.

Other memorable items — such as his Sports Illustrated cover appearances — should make for of-interest lower-end items for collectors hoping to pick something up.

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.

Bustin' Wax: 1979 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards

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Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds opens a 31-year-old pack of 1979 O-Pee-Chee cards — so you don’t have to — in what we hope will be the first in an occasional series of vintage pack breaks called Bustin’ Wax.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

While he didn’t admit it in the video, this is the oldest pack that Olds has ever opened. (That’s excusable since he started collecting in 1987, we guess…) His previous-oldest was a pack of 1982 Topps.

We want to know — when did you start collecting and what’s your oldest ripped pack?

Tell us below.

UFC Stars Rampage Jackson, Brock Lesnar Featured in Round 5 Versus Line

Some of the biggest fights in recent UFC history will be commemorated later this year by some of the coolest little collectibles going.

The creative, Canadian power punchers from Round 5, a leading producer of officially licensed mixed martial arts figurines, recently unveiled prototypes of the company’s forthcoming “Versus” two packs capturing scenes from four key UFC matchups.

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, currently co-starring in the summer blockbuster “The A-Team,” is showcased twice in the new line – in his title-losing battle against Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 and in his knockout victory over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92.

Current heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar’s UFC 100 pummeling of Frank Mir and Chuck Liddell’s demolition of Tito Ortiz at UFC 66 also are featured. Each of the new two packs comes with an Octagon segment display stand.

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