Monthly Archives: August 2010

In the Game celebrates a century of hockey cards

In The Game teased its latest forthcoming hockey card set during the weekend, Ultimate Memorabilia Series 10th Edition, which will include a C-56-style base set and redemption cards for original cards from the  famed first hockey set.

The original C56 checklist includes 36 cards — 20 of those players in the Hall of Fame — and In The Game will hope to capture some of that retro magic with its 2010 set.

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Panini America Inks T-Wolves' Wesley Johnson to Exclusive Deal

Bright and early Monday morning, Panini America officials tipped off what promises to be a busy week by announcing that they have reached an exclusive trading card agreement with No. 4 overall pick Wesley Johnson.

To launch the relationship, Panini has arranged for Johnson to visit ESPN headquarters for an extensive media tour Monday that will include stints on seemingly every ESPN platform.

Johnson, drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves out of the University of Syracuse, last season earned Big East Player of the Year honors and was a First Team Associated Press All-American. His first mainstream NBA trading cards will be available late next month in Panini’s 2010 NBA Prestige product.

“We are excited to add Wesley Johnson as an exclusive Panini athlete,” said Scott Prusha, Panini America’s Director of Marketing. “Wesley excited Syracuse fans in college and we expect him to do the same for the Timberwolves fans. We look forward to introducing Wesley to NBA trading card collectors.”

Stay tuned to for additional information on this story, including an exclusive interview with Johnson.

Tim Tebow Justifies Early Collector Interest in Preseason Debut

OK, so Tim Tebow‘s unbelievably ballyhooed NFL debut during the second half of Denver’s preseason opener in Cincinnati on Sunday night wasn’t necessarily Phil Simms in Super Bowl XXI.

Still, the polarizing project passer from the University of Florida did provide a few highly improbable outcomes: He made an NFL preseason game legitimate must-see TV, he outperformed fellow rookie classmates Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy, and he gave all those collectors throwing crazy cash at his Rookie Cards the right to say “I told you so” — if only for one week.

Granted, Tebow wasn’t exactly facing the Steel Curtain, the Purple People Eaters, the Monsters of the Midway or Doomsday, but neither were Clausen, McCoy and Bradford. Tebow threw for more yards than the other three first-year QBs, and was the only one of the four to complete better than 60 percent of his passes and produce a touchdown.

Here’s how the four stacked up statistically during their respective NFL preseason debuts:

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Gallery: 2010 Aflac All-American Classic baseball cards

This year’s Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic is just a few hours away, starting at 5 p.m. at PETCO Park in San Diego, but the annual favorites are already prepped and ready for collectors’ hands.

The Topps Aflac All-American baseball cards, which were produced in just the last couple of days.

While attendees will receive three cards selected at random, there’s no doubt that there will be collectors trying to scoop up all 38 cards — and perhaps get some of them signed — well before the cards ever appear in Topps packs.

See all 38 cards from this year’s set after the jump.

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Aflac baseball card set a quick turnaround for Topps

The West squad's Christian Montgomery works away at his stack of cards to sign on Saturday in advance of today's Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic.

By Theo Chen | for Beckett Baseball

Hurry up and wait. That’s the name of the game for Topps each year when the company produces its highly sought after Bowman cards featuring players in the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic.

The Classic is today at Petco Park in San Diego.

Jim McKenna, Topps’ assistant brand manager for baseball, has helped plan the company’s Aflac effort for the past four years and said it starts with coordinating the player schedules with the event’s organizers. And then, after that, there’s one key aspect — finding a printer in San Diego who can turn around the entire job on a lightning-fast schedule.

“We get bids from printers weeks in advance – they like the notoriety of saying they worked with Topps,” McKenna said. “Then we have our photographer set up at the hotel to take photos of the players as they arrive on Thursday and are fitted for their uniforms. We choose the best pose to fit the card design and do color correction.”

Topps is one of several corporate sponsors of the game, but Aflac runs the show, and the players have a busy four days once they arrive in San Diego including meetings, practices, a children’s hospital visit, an awards dinner and other events.

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Card Gallery: 2010 TRISTAR Obak baseball cards

The latest edition of TRISTAR‘s retro baseball card line, Obak, has arrived and it’s full of eclectic inclusions that explore the history of baseball and the sports world instead. (See the Box Busters video right here.)

While you might not recognize some of these names at a glance you undoubtedly are familiar with their creations or the ways that their achievements are reflected in sports.

Literally every card can be a story in Obak, but we figured that a picture’s worth a thousand words — and we also figured that firing up the Google to learn a bit more about the history of the game might not be a bad thing on a hot Sunday afternoon.

We’ll tell you a bit more about some of the cards you’ll see after the jump … after the jump.

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Card gallery: TRISTAR TNA Icons wrestling cards

You’ve probably seen the Box Busters episode, but we wanted to make sure you got a closer, sharper, look at some of the cards to be found in the latest Total Nonstop Action wrestling card set from TRISTAR, 2010 TNA Icons.

The design of the autograph cards seems to be stepped up and the photography, as always, is rich with a mix of studio and action images from TNA’s official photographer, Lee South.

See a selection of the cards from the set that arrived in hobby shops last week after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic cards

Beckett Baseball‘s Theo Chen will have the latest in the behind-the-scenes action from this year’s Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic festivities, which took place in Saturday afternoon in San Diego, here soon.

Until then, here’s the first look at the cards that Topps prepared for the event.

The game, which features some of the best prep talent in the country, is set for Sunday at PETCO Park.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Ruth family photos hit auction block through Shulte Auctions

A collection of autographed Babe Ruth photos originally owned by his sister and never seen by the public have hit the auction block through

The collection consists of five original photos and an inner book cover, which was signed, dated and personalized by The Bambino to Mamie Margaret Ruth-Moberly. The items have been consigned by the family and have never before been publicly available.

Adding to the allure of some of the items are photos from the Ruth family as well. The exact signed photo above, for example, can be seen in a photo of Mamie, which will come with the piece. That photo can be seen at right.

In addition, there also is a photo signed by Lou Gehrig, which also is personalized to Ruth’s sister.

The auctions are active now though the Woodstock, Md.-based company  and continue until Aug. 31.

Each of the photos have been certified by either James Spence Authentication or PSA/DNA.

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Box Busters: 2010 TNA Icons wrestling cards

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Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Bryan Hornbeck rip into a pair of 2010 TNA Icons wrestling card boxes from TRISTAR in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

EA Sports' Madden 11 Hype Includes Limited-Edition Panini Card

Panini America and EA Sports will begin teaming up next week to generate a little football card awareness among some of the most respected and read sports business and videogame writers in the country. To help celebrate the August 10 release of Madden 11, the latest installment of the most popular videogame franchise in the world, Panini created a limited-edition card inspired by the game’s box art and the man on it – Madden 11 cover boy Drew Brees.

Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl XLIV champion, signed each of the 50 cards – with on-card signatures, by the way. In the coming days, those cards are sure to be making lasting impressions on folks who may be exposed to the thrill of an autographed football card for the first time in a long time, or perhaps for the first time ever.

For Panini officials, ever eager to spread the football card gospel by any means possible, the promotion was a no-brainer.

“Given our relationships with EA and Drew Brees, we thought this would be a memorable way to commemorate the release of Madden 11 while help build hype for football cards on a potentially much larger platform,” says Scott Prusha, Panini America’s Director of Marketing. “Through the Madden 11 launch we’re able to provide significant exposure for our trading cards in particular and for the entire category in general.”

Box Busters: 2010 Obak baseball cards

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Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer rip into boxes of 2010 Obak baseball cards from TRISTAR in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside these boxes

Watch and find out.

See Part 2 after the jump …

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First look: 2010 Topps Prime football cards

Topps teased a brand new football card line on Friday, one that promises to bring some new touches to NFL fans and collectors.

Its name? Topps Prime.

This $10 a pack product will include one autographed Rookie Card, one signed multi-piece Relic and two additional Relic cards in each 10-pack box when it arrives in late November.

The Prime Relics cards will include as many as six pieces per card with each noting what the item is: wristbands, gloves, footballs and jerseys (home and road) will be used.

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First look: 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects baseball cards

After teasing a few card images on Thursday, Topps released the basic product breakdown for  its forthcoming 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects baseball card set on Friday morning.

Scheduled for release in mid-December, it will include one Chrome autograph per 24-pack hobby box and each 12-box case will include just one 16U USA Baseball team autograph card.

The Draft Picks & USA Baseball Stars checklist includes 110 cards each with Red and Blue standard Bowman parallels along with the full run of Chrome parallels as well (SuperFractor, Red, Orange, Gold, Blue and standard). The Rookies checklist includes 110 players with both standard and Chrome cards to be found.

The Chrome autograph checklist includes 43 players  — 25 prospects and 18 members of the 16U USA team. Each of these cards will be found with the standard parallels, while a Stephen Strasburg Chrome autograph card is listed as a rookie variation card.

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First look: 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Stephen Strasburg Autograph

Topps is apparently taking a different  approach with what could be the biggest Chrome autograph card in recent years — if not ever — as it teased the card image for Stephen Strasburg‘s 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft RC on Thursday.

Interestingly, it doesn’t feature an action photo — instead a curtain call from his big-league debut game on June 8.

That’s a move that might make some collectors cringe but is perhaps one that will stand out among the countless cards Strasburg has this season.

Does it help or hurt a card like this? Thoughts on this move? Let us know in the comments and take the poll below.

[polldaddy poll="3612362"]


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Box Busters: 2010-11 Victory hockey cards

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Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Tim Trout rip into a box of 2010-11 Victory hockey cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

(From Editor:  Personally, I’d watch this one just for Hackler’s opener — inevitably brought to you by Monster energy drinks …)

Box Busters: 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Premier hockey cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Tim Trout as they rip into a couple of 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Premier boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

First Look: 2010-11 Limited Basketball

Panini America officials on Thursday provided preliminary details and product images for the first high-end hoops product of the 2010-11 season – Limited Basketball, slated to release in late October.

The $100-for-seven-cards proposition is once again sure to reveal many high-risk, high-reward results in boxes that include at least one autograph and two memorabilia cards (every other box will include two autographs and one memorabilia card).

Rounding out the seven-card packs will be four additional cards (base, insert, Legend or parallel) numbered to 199 or less. The 140-card base set features 100 common cards numbered to 199 and 40 rookies numbered to 249.

The Glass Cleaners, Decade Dominance and Retired Numbers inserts will feature only on-card autographs. Other autograph highlights include Jumbo Prime Signatures numbered to five or less and on-card Next-Day Autographs from the next week’s NBA Rookie Photo Shoot.

Each master case of 2010-11 Limited (15 boxes) will include either an autograph memorabilia rookie numbered to 10 or less, an autograph prime memorabilia card numbered to 10 or less or a Limited Trios Signature card numbered to 49 or less.

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Box Busters: 2010 Press Pass Elvis Milestones cards

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Join Beckett’s Tracy “Hunka Hunka Burnin'” Hackler and Bryan “Hunka Hunka Burnin'” Hornbeck as they rip into a box of 2010 Elvis Milestones cards from Press Pass in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

Recapping the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore

This year’s National Sports Collectors Convention has come and gone but if you missed the show you can get an idea of what went on in Baltimore by checking out a link  or two.

Here’s a recap of all Beckett links from the show, which went fast…

Brian Gray revives Leaf brand at The National

Box Busters at the NSCC: 2010 Famous Fabrics

Strolling the floor at the National Sports Collectors Convention

The Unbelievable Story of a Tim Tebow 1/1 Autograph

Stephen Strasburg Topps Heritage Card Creates National Frenzy

Two Days at The National: A Photo Gallery

Fewer card brands seen on dealers’ shelves at NSCC

Video At The National: Topps’ Panel Discussion

At The National: Turning $14 into $9,000 with The Baseball Card Exchange

At The National: Talking baseball with Dirk Hayhurst, author of The Bullpen Gospels

At The National: Key cards & autographs …

At The National: Japanese baseball cards & more

At The National: No. 1 for a cause

At The National: Random sights of what’s up for sale

At The National: A picture’s worth …

Can The National be more like San Diego Comic-Con?

Tebow spotlight shines brightly on Palm Beach Autographs

At The National: A Vintage View

At The National: As Cool as Iceman

At The National: Collect ‘em all!

At The National: Scenes from the floor

At The National: Bustin’ Wax — 1980s hockey

Box Busters: 2010 Rookies & Stars football cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Dan Hitt and Tracy Hackler as they rip into a box of 2010 Rookies & Stars football cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside this box break so loaded with excitement it had to be broken up into two parts.

Watch and find out… see Part 2 after the jump.

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Topps pulls back curtain on Stephen Strasburg cards to come

Topps‘ next baseball card release will be the always highly anticipated Triple Threads set, which will include the first game-used jersey cards of Stephen Strasburg – both standard swatches and patches — as well as on-card autographs of the highly touted Washington Nationals pitcher.

While Strasburg’s status on the field has slowed since his impressive debut, he’s still by far the story of 2010 regarding MLB’s rookie class and Topps recognized that fact in its discussion panel with collectors at the National Sports Collectors Convention. He’s probably had the biggest entrance into baseball from a collecting standpoint since the 1990s.

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First Impressions: 2010 Rookies & Stars Football

It’s no secret that the Rookies & Stars Football franchise has long been much more about rookies than it has been about stars, at least as it relates to the insert lineup. From Freshman Orientation to Studio Rookies to Cross Training, this is a product with a primary focus of celebrating the newest crop of superstar rookies.

Longtime brand loyalists can take solace in knowing that the 2010 version — the 13th annual installment of the brand, by the way — follows the same tried-and-true recipe of its predecessors.

Although the product hits August 18, we were lucky enough to get a few early boxes. Stay tuned to for what promises to be a riveting Box Busters episode. Until then, here are some random observations on 2010 Rookies & Stars Football:

* The base design is nontraditional to be sure, and quite similar to last year’s. But last year’s served as a dramatic departure from the Rookies & Stars aesthetic of the past. That was a good thing. This look will ruffle some feathers, but it’s a gritty, cutting-edge look that I think works.

* In and of itself, the somber, moody photography used on Studio Rookies is nicely done. But it seems oddly out of context and a little too foreboding in Rookies & Stars. What’s more, some of the images seem tailor-made for rookie ridicule in the wrong veteran’s hands. Having said that, the backs of those Studio cards are strikingly attractive.

* The compelling photo selection, in concert with the high dynamic range (or HDR) treatment of some of those photos, makes many of the base cards really pop — see Fred and Vincent Jackson and Adrian Peterson for proof. It’s a dynamically subtle touch that will generate more than a few double takes.

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Panini America Tabs Peyton Manning as the Face of its NFL Line

Panini America officials on Wednesday morning made it official: Peyton Manning is the new face of the company’s NFL trading card line.

As the official spokesman and trading card ambassador for the company, Manning, the 10-time Pro Bowler and four-time league MVP, will be featured on Panini’s 2010 NFL packaging, advertising and point-of-sale initiatives including the official NFL sticker/sticker album and NFL Adrenalyn, an interactive trading card game set to debut in August.

As they do already, the company’s products will continue to include Manning’s autographs and game-worn materials. Panini will also work with Manning’s charity, The Peyback Foundation.

“I’m excited to be a part of a global brand like Panini and look forward to bringing the excitement of collecting Panini Football cards and stickers to kids with NFL Adrenalyn and the Panini NFL Sticker Album,” Manning said.

Added Panini America CEO Mark Warsop: “Peyton will be the face of our Panini Football products. He’s one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks of all time and we are glad he is leading our huddle. Peyton’s knack for throwing touchdowns is matched by Panini’s commitment to be associated with the world’s top athletes and getting kids excited about collecting NFL trading cards.”

Manning joins five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant as a Panini spokesman and trading card ambassador.

Topps confirms Stephen Strasburg autograph quantity in Tribute

They aren’t immensely rare, after all.

Topps confirmed the quantity of Stephen Strasburg autographs in this year’s Tribute set on Wednesday, announcing that there are, indeed, 500 autographed cards of the Washington Nationals rookie to be found in the high-end product. The number was what Beckett estimated at the time of the product’s arrival.

However, there is a slight wrinkle to this year’s Tribute redemptions for the highly touted rookie. As many collectors have noticed, the redemptions don’t state which version of the four parallels the recipients will receive.

Topps said Wednesday that there are 250 copies of the single-piece Relic as well as the dual and that the redemptions will be randomly fulfilled.

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White Sox 3B Dayan VIciedo is Topps' 8th Finest Rookie Redemption

Topps revealed its eighth 2010 Finest Rookie Redemption card on Wednesday, and it’s Chicago White Sox infielder Dayan Viciedo.

Viciedo is hitting .297 with three home runs and seven RBI this season in limited playing time for the Sox.

Topps previously announced Cubs pitcher Andrew Cashner as No. 7 (autographed), 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.

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 Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Phillies OF Domonic Brown is the 7th Topps Red Hot Rookie

Topps unveiled the seventh of its 2010 Red Hot Rookies on Wednesday morning and this one’s Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown.

Through nine games with Philadelphia, Brown is hitting .257 with a homer and 10 RBI.

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 rest of the season.

Previous RHRs include Marlins infielder Logan Morrison (No. 6), Cubs infielder Starlin Castro (No. 5), Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton (No. 4), 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 Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

First Look: 2010 Topps UFC Knockout

Two words for those diehard UFC collectors who’ve been patiently waiting for Topps to introduce the category’s first high-end trading card product: “It’s Time!”

In early December, the UFC’s exclusive trading card manufacturer will deliver 2010 Topps UFC Knockout, a super-premium, hobby-exclusive, hit-per-pack release that’s likely to floor hardcore enthusiasts. The product’s array of dazzling niceties includes SickSigs six-autograph cards (#’d to five), Notable Nicknames autographs (#’d to 25) and Triple Threads Double Combos (six fighters, six Relics #’d to 36 or less).

Knockout’s 150-card base set is bolstered by nine base autograph sets (including Three of a Kind and First Issue), five autograph relic sets (including a Between Rounds set devoted to the Octagon girls) and seven Relic sets (featuring Ground and Pound mat and tape relic cards and Premium Pieces).

Each eight-pack hobby box of Knockout will yield two autograph relic cards, two autograph cards and four relic cards eight numbered hits.

Stay tuned to for additional information on 2010 Topps UFC Knockout.

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At The National: Bustin' Wax — 1980s hockey

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Beckett’s Bill Sutherland cracks some 1980s Topps and O-Pee-Chee hockey packs for the chance at some vintage gold at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore.

What will he find inside the packs?

Watch and find out …

Marlins 1B Logan Morrison is sixth Topps Red Hot Rookie

Topps unveiled the sixth of its 2010 Red Hot Rookies on Tuesday morning and this one’s Florida Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison.

Through 11 games, Morrison is hitting .234 with five RBI.

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 rest of the season.

Previous RHRs include Cubs infielder Starlin Castro (No. 5), Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton (No. 4), 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 Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

"The Decision" means new autograph style for LeBron James, too

Many people wondered how long, how calculating “The Decision” was for LeBron James.

While we ponder that one with James having taken his talents to South Beach we have a new addition to a James persona that already includes a new team, a new uniform and perhaps a new image.

What is it?

A new autograph.

Really, a new signature style.

The player whose autograph emulated that of his childhood hero, Michael Jordan, is evolving once again as part of his changes — perhaps one part psychological, one part promotional.

Either way, it probably won’t hurt the demand for those new Miami Heat items from Upper Deck Authenticated.

See the full release after the jump.

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At The National: Scenes from the floor

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Sights from the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore. For example, yours truly tried exploring the TRISTAR autograph pavilion until he saw this …

At The National: Collect 'em all!

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One collector’s quest started with a pair of Prime swatch cards and then it became something more … an item worthy of display in Panini’s booth at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

Panini’s Scott Prusha discusses the item …

At The National: As Cool as Iceman

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A limited edition McFarlane Toys figure of San Antonio Spurs icon George “Iceman” Gervin was for sale at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore.

It could be the first of a few charitable memorabilia projects coming from Babaie Promotions Inc. and Chris Olds caught up with its president, Alix Babaie to get all the details.

At The National: A Vintage View

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While wandering the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention it was easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of vintage material on the show floor.

Here’s a look at what was in just one case out of thousands at the show.