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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Upper Deck Produces Thierry Henry's First MLS Trading Card

Upper Deck officials have produced the first Major League Soccer trading card of French superstar Thierry Henry and are distributing it free to those collectors who purchase two blaster boxes of 2010 Upper Deck Soccer at the company’s online store.

Henry, a headline-generating talent of international proportions, is the all-time leading scorer for Arsenal of the English Premier League and a member of France’s 1998 World Cup championship squad. He signed with the MLS’ Red Bulls less than five weeks ago and promptly scored a goal in his first game, on July 22.

The Upper Deck card features an image from that historic tally.

“There are few names associated with soccer right now that are bigger than Henry’s,” said Jason Masherah, Upper Deck’s Vice President of Marketing. “Since we were unable to include him in our original Upper Deck Soccer product this year, for the simply fact that he was not yet a member of the [MLS], this is a big coup for us. We’re extremely excited to get this card out into the marketplace.”

Card Gallery: 2010 Topps WWE Wrestling

We got our first look at the 2010 Topps WWE set on Wednesday and one of the things that stands out in this release are strong photographs cleanly showcased on the design for Topps’ 2010 baseball set.

From the WWE Divas to the brutes, the set of both past and present stars seems to carry a crisper and more energetic look than recent wrestling releases — even last year’s much- improved set — largely because of the photos, which are a mix of action and studio work.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there are some pretty deep insert card sets to be found — and some autographs from guys who haven’t signed in years.

Get a closer look at the set with a 30-plus card gallery after the jump.

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Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain fuel $1.48M Grey Flannel's Basketball Hall of Fame auction

Grey Flannel‘s Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Auction netted $1.48 million recently — an average lot price of more than $6,600 — with some classic items helping lead the way.

The annual auction, which was held at the Hall of Fame, is in its fifth year and was topped by a 1968-69 Boston Celtics home warm-up jacket worn by Bill Russell and and a 1965-66 Wilt Chamberlain Philadelphia 76ers game-used home jersey. Each drew $84,000.

A collection of items from Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson was sold, including his 1984 Boston Celtics World Championship player’s ring, which went for $78,000. His 1980 Western Conference game-used All-Star uniform went for $24,000.

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First Look: 2010 Topps Magic Football

Topps officials on Thursday provided preliminary product information and images on 2010 Topps Magic Football, one of the company’s few throwback-inspired gridiron releases that arrives in late December yielding three autograph cards per box.

Magic is bolstered by the Magic Autographs, Magic Dual Autographs and Magic Dual Autographs signature inserts, and each includes a Chrome Refractor parallel version.

New this year for the brand are Gridiron Stamp of Approval and Historical Stamp of Approval stamp cards (think 2007 Leaf Certified Souvenir Stamps) numbered to 10 and 25, respectively, and hobby-exclusive Relic cards.

The product’s 250-card base set includes 50 short prints and a striking artistic aesthetic that should be well received by collectors. Mini parallel versions will fall one per pack in either base, black-bordered or Pigskin (numbered to 50) form.

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Rippin' Retail: 2010 Topps WWE wrestling cards

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Beckett Media’s Chris Olds rips into a blaster box of 2010 Topps WWE wrestling cards in this latest episode of Rippin’ Retail. (We’ll have a standard Box Busters video soon.)

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

Daniel Bryan's WWE return was in the cards all along

Wrestling fans know all about the story of Daniel Bryan and his time with World Wrestling Entertainment.

First, he was a breakout star early on in the first season of WWE’s version of American Idol, a show called NXT. But couldn’t get a win to save himself and eventually he was eliminated.

Then, of course, he was fired from the company for choking out an announcer with his tie during a NXT melee — something apparently not kosher in today’s more kid-friendly WWE.

And, much to some fans’ surprise, Bryan was re-hired just this past Sunday to help combat his former NXT compatriots at SummerSlam, a return announced during the pay-per-view.

Did you get all that, non-wrestling fans?

Well, to some it was obviously a work — wrestling slang for storyline that misleads — but oddly Bryan, a long-time star on the indepdendent scene, was allowed to work for other companies during his non-compete time. (Typically, dismissed talents can’t go to work for competitors for a period of two to three months as part of their contractual obligations.)

But to truly know Bryan’s firing was a work — and that his return has been in the works for some time — one has to look no further than the brand new set of 2010 Topps WWE wrestling cards, which arrives in stores this week.

When the card set was announced, not long after Bryan’s firing a few months ago, the preliminary checklist did not include him. But ripping into a pack of cards today I made an interesting discovery — he appears on card No. 68 in the 110-card set.

According to Topps‘ compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act — information obtained by checking a code printed on the cards themselves — the cards were printed between July2 and July 16 — well before Sunday’s PPV.

So much for John Cena‘s recruiting him to help save “Team WWE” on Sunday …

Forget getting Vince McMahon on the phone all you dirt-sheet reporters. If you want the real scoop, everybody knows you have to rip into packs of 2010 Topps WWE trading cards.

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.

Rippin Retail: 2010 Topps Baseball Value Box

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Beckett Media’s Chris Olds rips into a 2010 Topps Baseball Value Box, a new item that hit retail shops this week.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

Gallery: Signature Moves at the 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Despite the countless hours of behind-the-scenes legwork that go into preparing for any rookie photo shoot (let alone one that attracts more than 40 players like today’s just-completed 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot), most collectors tend to strip the events down these days to two important questions: Will there be on-card autographs from the event and what do the photographs taken there look like?

In that order.

The captivating images that follow showcasing some of Panini America‘s 2010-11 NBA trading cards — and the young NBA superstars signing them — should provide some early answers to those two key questions.

Enjoy the gallery and stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional coverage of the 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot.

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First look: 2010 Certified football cards

Panini America released the basic product information and preview images for one of its annual staples on Tuesday, 2010 Certified, which will arrive in late October.

The $10-a-pack product will include two autographs and two memorabilia cards in every 10-pack box and there also will be six insert cards per box — two each from Mirror Parallels, standard inserts and two rookies numbered to 999 or less.

Every 24-box case will be broken into three mini cases, each with one “Platinum Hot Box” inside with all base cards inside numbered to 999 or less.

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Sneak Peek: 2010-11 Limited Basketball Same Day Rookie Signatures (Unsigned)

Panini America officials are taking advantage of the unprecedented access provided by today’s 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot to acquire as many on-card autographs for the 2010-11 NBA card season as possible.

Some of the cards being signed, perhaps as you read this, are these 2010-11 Limited Same Day Rookie Signatures.

Although the cards shown here haven’t been signed yet, we thought they were worth a first look.

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New York Giants legend Bobby Thomson dies at 86

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Bobby Thomson, whose dramatic home run gave the New York Giants the NL pennant in 1951 and inspired one of the most memorable calls in baseball history, has died. He was 86.

“The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” came off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca in a playoff game to determine who would face the New York Yankees in the World Series, forever linking the duo in baseball lore and on baseball memorabilia.

Thomson, who also played for the Milwaukee Braves, Cubs, Red Sox and Orioles, played 15 seasons in the bigs, hitting .270 with 264 home runs and 1,026 RBI.

The three-time All-Star appeared on just 219 baseball cards during his career, just 25 of those certified autographs and 17 of them featuring memorabilia swatches. His Rookie Card appears in the 1948 Bowman set, which can be found for $100 or less.

Thomson was a prolific signer for baseball fans through the mail over the years and his autograph can often be found in tandem with Branca.

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.

Beckett On Location: The 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Beckett correspondent Michael Eisner (no, not that Michael Eisner) is on location today inside the MSG Training Center in Tarrytown, N.Y., covering the 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot and Panini America‘s cardmaking exploits there.

The big news of the day so far: Panini America President Mark Warsop confirmed to MSNBC’s Darren Rovell that the company has signed No. 1 overall pick John Wall to a one-year exclusive.

Eisner’s got his hands full attempting to track down, interview and photograph more than 40 of the NBA’s brightest young players, but he managed to file a few quick snapshots during a harried lunch break.

His task this afternoon is to get as many close-up card pics as possible. So stay tuned . . .

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Round 5 Readies New-Line Sneak Peek for UFC Fan Expo

Renowned UFC figure-maker Round 5 has a surprise for those MMA fans attending the UFC Fan Expo in conjunction with UFC 118 later this month in Boston: A sneak peek at the company’s Ultimate Collector Series 4 line.

Due out in time for the 2010 holiday shopping season, the new lineup incorporates one legendary fighter (UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie), two current champions (heavyweight Brock Lesnar, light heavyweight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua), one former champion (light heavyweight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson), one up-and-comer (heavyweight contender Cain Velasquez) and two larger-than-life UFC personalities (president Dana White and “Veteran Voice of the Octagon” Bruce Buffer).

“We are pleased to be introducing our latest series of new figurines to fans at UFC Fan Expo,” said Damon Lau, Round 5 president and co-founder. “There are some completely new athletes, including Royce Gracie and Cain Velasquez, and our first ‘Ultimate Collector’ non-fighters in Dana White and Bruce Buffer.”

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In the Minors: But will they get baseball cards?

This one’s definitely from the “kids, don’t try this at home” category.

You might know the Savannah Sand Gnats for having one of the coolest logos in baseball, but it was pretty hot on the basepaths Saturday night in Georgia.

That’s because stuntman Ted Batchelor rounded the bases … on fire.

I’m not going to even try to make sense of this minor league publicity stunt … but all I can say is if this doesn’t get him a baseball card in the Sand Gnats’ team set, I don’t know what would.

But we’re not done there …

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First look: 2010 Bowman Sterling football cards

Topps unveiled its latest football offering, 2010 Bowman Sterling, on Monday, a rookie-loaded high-end product chock-full of autographs and memorabilia cards.

Set to arrive in mid-December, Sterling will include 12 Rookie Cards, four autographs, two autographed Relics and a dozen more Relics in every six-pack box. Also included will be a dual Relic box-topper card.

Every five-card pack will include two RCs, one autograph and two Relics, while every eight-box case includes one dual autograph.

As with most Topps products, and past editions of Bowman Sterling, there are several parallels of each card to be found — SuperFractors and printing plates as well as Refractors (Gold, Black, Blue and standard).

Among the notable rookies on the autograph checklist are Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley, C.J. Spiller, Ndamukong Suh and others, while the veteran autograph lineup includes Eli Manning, Percy Harvin, Chris “Beanie” Wells, Ray Rice, Drew Brees and others.

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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 Beckett.com 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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