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Monthly Archives: July 2010

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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Preview Gallery: 2009-10 National Treasures Basketball

Panini America‘s first National Treasures basketball set is ready to arrive in just under a month and the high-end product is chock-full of autographs and autographed patch cards.

Treasures will include eight cards in each $400 pack when it arrives on Aug. 4 with each box including six autographs and memorabilia cards along with just one base card numbered to 99.

Get a look at some of what’s in store after the jump.

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What's up for grabs at The National Sports Collectors Convention?

Topps has unveiled its limited edition cards for the National Sports Collectors Convention, which will take place about a month from now in Baltimore, Md.

For the last few years, the longest-running manufacturer of baseball cards — and the lone MLB licensee — did not have a presence at the show, but this year the company will be there.

And, the first portion of that presence is being in the $119 VIP goody bag.

Topps will produce a five -card set for the show in the style of 1960 Topps — two Mickey Mantle cards (only one version per bag), a Nolan Ryan, a Yogi Berra and a Cal Ripken Jr.

While there will undoubtedly be more promotions, wrapper redemptions and other specially made cards for the event, here’s a rundown (and a gallery of images) of the other VIP freebies and other show-exclusive cards after the jump.

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How much of LeBron's polished legacy is now gone?


We all know how “The Decision” played out on Thursday night from Greenwich, Conn.

But have we really thought about how “The Decision” has played out on our sports cards and memorabilia?

While some (rightfully so) believe it will spark a frenzy of interest in LeBron James‘ future sports cards and memorabilia, I couldn’t help but wonder if the backlash of “The Decision” will counter that.

And it didn’t take long for me to see an example of that Friday morning when I turned on my Twitter account and saw that one of my newspaper Tweeps had passed along a link to today’s cover of The Plain Dealer, the Cleveland newspaper.

There’s no need for the childish burning of jerseys — the damage is already done. Cleveland’s icon is gone — perhaps as is many a fan’s interest in James (and the Cavs) in that area. But the simple pair of headlines — “Gone.” and a smaller, more subtle shot, “7 years, $62 million, no rings.” — makes you wonder if more is, indeed, gone from the aura that was King James.

If he wins with his new crafted “Dream Team,” then the backlash won’t last long — it would probably only linger in The Heartland.

But if he doesn’t? It might not be fixable.

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Panini America Giving Epix Its Own Football Card Set

Mention the word “Epix” to veteran collectors of baseball, football, hockey and racing cards and you’re as likely to get a look of fond remembrance as you are a glare of genuine angst. Indeed, the polarizing insert program boasts a mildly perplexing, multi-statistical, many-hued history with origins dating back to 1997.

What it’s never had is a full-blown brand of its own. Until now.

On Thursday evening, Panini America confirmed that it will launch 2010 Epix Football as a 235-card, heavily paralleled stand-alone product in late September, conceivably as a replacement for Gridiron Gear.

The Epix idea first burst onto the scene during the 1990s insert boom as a Pinnacle Brands‘ brainchild. Collectors across multiple sports quickly became dogged pursuers of the insert, lured by both the flashy, colorful design of the cards themselves as well as the accomplishment-based, player-specific concept of the chase.

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Topps will release Strasburg redemption card at All-Star Fanfest

Do you have all of Stephen Strasburg‘s baseball cards yet?

Topps will have a wrapper redemption program beginning at the All-Star Fanfest on Friday in Anaheim, Calif. — and the star rookie was a last-minute addition to the program’s lineup, according to Jim Tripodi, a Pennsylvania-based dealer.

Topps has not formally announced the card.

Collectors who open three packs of Topps cards at the booth can get the Strasburg as well as cards of Kendry Morales, Hideki Matsui, Torii Hunter, Rod Carew and Nolan Ryan.

There will be just 300 of each card given out during each day of the five-day event.

To download and view a list of the autograph guests for the event, click the link below.


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: 2010-11 Certified Hockey

With a long-untapped arsenal of fan-favorite brands to pull from, the subject of what product should lead became a hot-button topic inside Panini America’s walls the second the company announced in late March that it was entering the hockey card business.

Traditional wisdom swayed things early toward the venerable Score brand. Ultimately, though, the power of a positive first impression won out.

“We went into this with our own ideas of what the first launch would be and what brand we wanted to reintroduce to the market first,” says Scott Prusha, Panini America’s Director of Marketing. “But we listened intently to distributors and other key partners within the hobby and the message was clear: ‘Come out with a bang. Come out hitting. Come out really making a bold statement.’

“That’s why we settled on Certified.”

In late September, Panini America makes its long-awaited debut in the NHL trading card market by delivering 2010-11 Certified Hockey, the first Certified brand since 1997-98.

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Preview Gallery: 2010 Topps Sterling

Topps released the following preview images for its forthcoming 2010 Topps Sterling baseball card set.

We’ll have more on the product when it’s available, but until then check out the images after the jump …

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(UPDATED) First Look: 2010-11 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey

Our initial First Look: posting for 2010-11 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey earlier today included retail-only insertion ratios for the product’s popular UD Game Jersey insert cards. In hobby, UD Game Jersey cards will fall two per hobby box. Our apologies for the confusion.
– Tracy Hackler

Beckett Media got an early glimpse this week at 2010-11 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey, the 20th anniversary edition of the company’s history-making base brand that will arrive in November delivering six Young Guns Rookie Cards, six 20th Anniversary base-set variations and two UD Game Jersey cards in every 24-pack box hobby box.

See more images after the jump and stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional details on this product.

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Market Analyst: LeBron James to Miami 'Would Set Off a Frenzy'

Basketball collectors just thought LeBron James was hot before.

According to Beckett NBA Senior Market Analyst Keith Hower, they haven’t seen anything like the scorching he’s about to set off on South Beach if indeed the reportedly Heat-seeking wunderkind with the $12,000 Rookie Card chooses to sign with Miami.

In addition to painfully concluding one of the most overwrought, drama-filled, Twitterific free agent signings in sports history, James’ expected announcement tonight that he’s joining the Heat will also send NBA cardmaker Panini America hustling to produce the first cards of James with his new team.

When those hit the market in a matter of months, Hower insists they’ll be instant must-haves.

“LeBron going to the newly dubbed ‘Heat Superteam’ will help the card values of every player on that team, especially those of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and, of course, James,” Hower says. “The first Heat cards of LeBron will set off a frenzy on the entire team.”

And in the event that James shocks the world tonight live on ESPN and chooses a team other than the Heat . . .

“If LeBron doesn’t go to Miami, the best places for him to end up hobby-wise are New York and Chicago,” Hower says. “Both teams are rich in hoops history and their legacies will feed LeBron’s newfound popularity. Cleveland is not the ideal market for an NBA superstar.”

Breaking News: McDonald’s Canada Parts Ways with Upper Deck, Hockey Promos

By Jon Waldman for Beckett Media

One of the longest-running and most popular food premium card series in hockey card history has come to a close, as McDonald’s and Upper Deck will not be teaming to produce a series for the 2010-11 season.

In an email, Upper Deck’s Chris Carlin attributed the cancellation of the series to cutbacks on McDonald’s side, while remaining hopeful that the partnership would resume in the future.

“I think like most companies they are making cuts to programs in an effort to operate a bit more efficiently,” he said. “We are hopeful it is a program they will bring back again in the future as there seems to be a lot of support for the program.”

Louis Payette, National Media Relations Manager for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited, confirmed that the promotion would not continue this year, with Upper Deck or any other trading card manufacturer.

“Based on its past success which spanned nearly two decades, this was indeed a difficult decision,” he said.

Payette further noted that non-card promotions, such as the mini jersey and mini stick offerings, would also cease while the fast food chain changes its promotional targets.

“At this point in time, premium programs [including non-card memorabilia] are not part of our strategic focus,” he said.

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