Monthly Archives: October 2010

MLB Authentication program has definite attention to detail

By Chris Olds | Editor

You’ve probably all seen the MLB-authenticated dirt, champagne bottles, stadium bunting, bats, balls and so on adorned with the MLB hologram and code so you know it’s real.

But this item is one that just might make New York Yankees haters cheer — and Nick Swisher fans wince.

The cool part about the MLB Authentication Program is that you can go to its website and enter the code seen on the item to get an exact description of where and when the item was used, who it was authenticated by and any other pertinent details.

What’s so special about this baseball?

You can enter the code for yourself — or find out after the jump.

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Home-grown heroes seemingly always get more hobby love

By Chris Olds | Editor | Commentary

I’ve always felt that there is a disconnect in the hobby with championship-winning players who aren’t home-grown.

In other words, when a player like Cliff Lee or Josh Hamilton lights things up for a team like the American League champion Rangers — but have Rookie Cards from several years ago picturing them with the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays — they just don’t carry the kind of maximized appeal when it comes championship time.

With Game 3 of the World Series under way as I write this, it’s a battle of largely home-grown Giants (at least among the players who should be of most interest with San Francisco collectors) vs. the Rangers, a more liberal mix of home-grown and acquired players among their hobby stars.

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Rippin’ Wax: 2010 Topps Update Baseball Jumbo HTA (with poll)

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he busts an HTA Jumbo box of 2010 Topps Update that he picked up at Nick’s Sports Cards in Dallas in advance of our Box Busters episode coming soon.

What will he find inside? Pie cards, variations, Relics, autos and more?

Yep.

Watch and find out … he promises it will be a good one.

Part 1 is above and Part 2 — a must-see segment — is after the jump along with a poll.

Tell us what you think of the box.

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ITG releases Ultimate Memorabilia checklists

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

In the Game seems to have a hit on its hands with its 10th anniversary edition of Ultimate Memorabilia just based on preliminary pictures.

However, the checklists are now out letting you know exactly what game-used autograph and base cards will be available once it comes out on Nov. 11.

Each pack contains one base card, one autograph and one game-used memorabilia card. In addition, each card is slabbed and numbered.

View checklist after the jump.

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Upper Deck Honors Maple Leaf Legends in Toronto

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Considering the Toronto Maple Leafs’ NHL tenure, the historical franchise from the league’s “original six” deserves a little pampering here and there. With a limited commemorative promo pack distributed exclusively in the Toronto area, Upper Deck is offering local Leafs collectors a little extra somethin’, somethin’ in early November.

The 15-card be assembled by ripping open the three-card commemorative packs, free with the purchase of one box of 2010-11 Upper Deck Series One Hockey cards at participating shops. Featuring “must mention” Maple Leaf players like Frank Maholvich, Johnny Bower, Jean-Sebastian Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson, this offering is a black and white tribute to the past and present. Read More »

Panini announces redemption plan for 2010 Fall Expo

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Panini America announced its plans for the 2010 Toronto Sportcard and Memorabilia Fall Expo, which starts Nov. 12.

Canada may be known as hockey country and Panini is doing what they can with the sport, but the company is not forgetting basketball or football.

Collectors will get a two-card Expo-exclusive pack for every five packs they open from Panini’s multisport roster of products or a full box of 2010-11 Score Hockey. The packs and boxes must be opened at the company’s booth.

See what you can get after the jump.

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The Attack of the Cardboard Zombies

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By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Before the Halloween hullabaloo is over and done with, I wanted to get in one last hobby-related (it’s a stretch) treat. Over the past week, I managed to stumble across a few cards in which players could easily be re-contextualized in any given zombie flick.

In the heat of battle, many professional athletes aren’t exactly poised for flattering photo snapping. With scrunched brows and intense gazes, athletes in action offer some of the most accessible forms of human expression. Other players just aren’t photogenic. The 2000-01 Bowman Best Expressions series, for one, featured this face oriented phenomenon.

While this serious analysis is all well and good, Halloween hijinks are upon us.

ln the spirit of Oct. 31, I put together this short tribute to a few sports cards that could compete with the undead. Without further ado, I present to you, “The Attack of the Carboard Zombies.”

Garbage Pail Kids Flash Back Again!

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Despite the sardonic nature of the Garbage Pail Kids, the title to this entry does not carry the double entendre that one might expect. Instead, Topps is firing up the flux capacitor once again and taking us back to visit the paradoxically adored unlovables from the ’80s.

Loaded with classic favorites and a slew of new additions, Series 2 of the Garbage Pail Kids Flashback is sure to tickle dark humor funny bones when it hits stores in February of next year. Expanding on their standard cast of characters, Series 2 will include five never-before-published “Lost Garbage Pail Kids” and we’ll get an update in the “Where Are They Now?” subset. The GPK crew will be escorted into 2011 with the premiere of their 3-D insert cards, Adam Mania stickers, 1/1 hand-drawn sketch cards and a plethora of parallels. Read More »

Remembering When: Monsters of the Gridiron

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Back in the early 90s, the NFL and Coca-Cola did the Monster Mash, and promptly smashed it in the graveyard.

In the spirit of spookiness this week, I dusted off my trusty collecting trowel and dug up the 31-card Coke Monsters of the Gridiron set. Featuring players like Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk dressed in respectively designed monster attire, the Coca-Cola sponsored set was primarily distributed at the 1995 Super Bowl Card show in Miami. Posing as the “Lone Star Sheriff,” Smith’s robot cowboy (a la “Westworld”) costume card fetches the highest current day coin at $12 on the high end.

Other players who (possibly, regretfully) sported elaborate ghoulish gear include Junior “Stealth” Seau, Derrick “Attack Cat” Thomas, Steve “The Bandit” Atwater, Ronnie “The Rattler” Lott, Randall “Rocket Man” Cunningham and Marshall “The Missle” Faulk to name a few. Read More »

Blake Griffin's long-awaited NBA debut starts off right

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

More than a year after Blake Griffin was the 2009 top overall draft pick by the Los Angeles Clippers, he finally made his NBA debut.

The Oklahoma graduate, who spent last year shelved after knee surgery, had 20 points and 14 rebounds (nine offensive) in Wednesday night’s 98-88 loss to the Portland Trailblazers.

Griffin’s play gave Clippers fans something to finally cheer about.

The game didn’t start easily for Griffin. He took two fouls early in the first quarter and needed a break. But Griffin, who finished with four fouls, also didn’t play with a man worried about making contact. He was aggressive and visibly disappointed with himself when he missed a shot or made a mistake.

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Hooked on Trout: Angels farmhand receives Topps/J.G. Taylor Spinks Award

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim prospect Mike Trout received the 51st annual Topps/J.G. Taylor Spinks Award for the top Minor League Player of the Year on Wednesday.

Trout, 19, is the youngest player to win the award.

The Millville, N.J., native hit .341 between Class-A Cedar Rapids and high Class-A Rancho Cucamonga with 10 homers, 56 stolen bases 106 runs in 131 games.

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Nuns auctioning holy grail of baseball cards

Update: The card sold for $262,000.

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

The Baltimore-based School Sisters of Notre Dame received an unexpected gift – 1909 T-206 Honus Wagner baseball card.

Yep, the Holy Grail of cards.

The card is being auctioned off to raise proceeds to support the Roman Catholic order worldwide, according to The Associated Press.

Although the Wagner card is not in great condition with a crease on the upper right hand corner and obvious flaws, the card is expected to sell for more than $150,000. It’s being auctioned off by Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas.

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A (Quad) Cut Above the Rest

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Like the eBay listing says, “this card needs no build up…”

Thankfully, drool travels downward; otherwise, this self-explaining colossal quad cut would be dirtying monitors click by click. Since Ruth, Mantle, Williams and Foxx are household names, the magnitude of this Beckett Select auction really doesn’t require an explanatory infomercial or the ShamWow guy’s hyperbolic pitch.

But I can’t help myself.

Featuring four elite names and two historical franchises, the  1/1 2005 Upper Deck SP Legendary Quad Cuts card is a collector’s dream and a cultural gem. Paired with vintage images, the four boldly inked Hall of Famer signatures are vivid symbols of American icons.

The living history hit was apparently pulled at a flea market in Buffalo, N.Y., and hasn’t surfaced on the market until now.

Graded as authentic and stored safely away from fleas,  current pricing information and other details for the Beckett Select exclusive is available on eBay.

Panini's Tracy Hackler takes back seat to real rock star

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We all know Beckett Media’s Panini America‘s Tracy Hackler acts like a box-busting rock star, but on Monday he took a back seat to a real rock star, Jonathan Cook lead singer for Forever The Sickest Kids.

Cook, who is a collector and Dallas Cowboys fan, is the nephew of Panini America’s Ted Barker (working the camera). He sat down with Hackler to open a box of 2010 Epix football cards for what you’ll find above.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

And if you’re not familiar with FTSK, you might have seen this video for their biggest hit so far on MTV or on heavy rotation awhile back.

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Lower the Drawbridge: Crown Royale Hockey is Coming

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

After Jan. 5, you might want to double check your wet bar. If you find a fancy bottle inside a purple, velvet bag, you probably have an adult beverage, suitable for sipping or mixing. If you discover a box decorated with regal imagery and masters of the puck, put down that dusty cocktail glass and seal up that ice bucket. You’re holding the equally intoxicating Panini Crown Royale Hockey. They’re both Canadian delights, but only the Panini America product offers a high-end lineup of autographs and memorabilia that’s fit for a collecting king. Read More »

Box Busters: 2010-11 Artifacts Hockey

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Join Beckett Media’s Tim Trout and Dan Hitt as they rip into a box of the newly released 2010-11 Artifacts hockey cards from Upper Deck in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010 Topps Chrome football cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Dan Hitt as they rip into a box of 2010 Topps Chrome football cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010 Press Pass Legends racing cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tim Trout and Dan Hitt as they rip into a box of 2010 Press Pass Legends racing cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

'King James' debuts with Miami Heat tonight

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

The NBA season starts tonight with one of the most anticipated games of the year, and it doesn’t include the current champions.

The Miami Heat travel to the Boston Celtics at 7:30 p.m., which will air on TNT.

Even the most casual of NBA fans want to get a look at LeBron James in his first regular-season game with the Heat. Plenty of hype surrounded Miami in the off-season, which began with a few simple words this summer.

“I’m taking my talent to South Beach,” James said in an hour-long show on ESPN in July.

He signed with Miami, which already had Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

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First Look: 2010 Century Collection trading cards

By Chris Olds | Editor

It’s back.

Panini America unveiled the basic product information and images for 2010 Panini Century Collection, a multi-sport and non-sport product laden with memorabilia swatches, autographs and postage stamps of some of the world’s biggest names.

It’s a product that had been announced in January 2009 by Donruss but was shelved in the wake of the company’s legal issues with Major League Baseball and its eventual sale to the Italian collectibles giant.

The high-end offering will include five cards in every pack — at $200 a pack — with two autographs, two memorabilia cards and one additional autograph or memorabilia card when it arrives on Dec. 22.

Each 15-box case will include at least three of the following items: cuts or stamp cut cards, astronaut autographs, memorabilia cards of Joe Jackson or Jim Thorpe and autographs from Pete Rose, Cal Ripken Jr., Nolan Ryan, George Brett or Stan Musial.

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Upper Deck unveils Priority Signings for the 2010 Fall Expo

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Want to get your hands on one of these exclusive Wayne Gretzky autograph cards?

The only way to get one and other Upper Deck Priority Signings is at the wrapper redemption program at the 2010 NHL Fall Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo in Toronto, Canada from Nov. 12-14.

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Would you want to own a New York Yankees office chair?

By Chris Olds | Editor

It’s probably not quite ergonomically sound and it’s probably not going to be expensed– at least not by me — but there’s a new office chair that just might be a hit among many executives in the sports world and in more than a few dens around the world.

Well, at least if the owners are fond of New York Yankees pinstripes.

Steiner Sports has unveiled a new offering among its game-used Yankee Stadium memorabilia lineup — and it’s something that just might get some attention around the office for being one part memorabilia and one part daily life accessory.

It’s the Yankee Stadium office chair.

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Guest commentary: Bob Feller's 70 years of cardboard still amaze

By Stan Carlberg | Guest contributor

The recent health scare for baseball legend Bob Feller got me thinking about how much “Rapid Robert” has meant to the collecting masses, the hobby as a whole.

But before we delve into his hobby achievements, we need to go back to where his legendary career first began. Three years before Ted Williams was “The Kid,” the 17-year-old Feller took the baseball world by storm in 1936 with his blazing 100-plus mph fastball. Still attending high school in Van Meter, Iowa, Feller was Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden and Jim Palmer rolled into one. During his standout rookie season, he matched his age in strikeouts when he fanned 17 batters in one game. Two years later, he topped his own mark by whiffing 18 Detroit Tigers on Oct. 2, 1938.

Despite missing pretty much four prime seasons to World War II, Feller’s fabled baseball resume includes:

— The only Opening Day no-hitter (1940)

— Three career no-hitters (12 one-hitters)

— 266 victories, 2,500+ career strikeouts

— Election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962

The only thing rivaling Feller’s diamond achievements and service to his country is his active run in the memorabilia industry. For more than 70 years, Feller has been baseball’s most prolific signer and is the only active player to appear in classic Goudey and Topps sets, spanning from the 1930s to the 1950s.

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First superagent's personal archive hits auction block

By Amar Shah | Guest contributor

All it took was a case of beer and The Babe was his.

Before David Falk, Drew Rosenhaus and “Jerry Maguire,” there was Christy Walsh, the first super athlete agent. In 1921, Walsh, a sports cartoonist and trained lawyer, took on a new gig syndicating ghostwritten articles written by celebrities to newspapers around the country.  His most famous client at that point had been Eddie Rickenbacker, a World War I flying ace turned race car driver.  But Walsh had a bigger target in mind.

In 1920, Babe Ruth hit 54 home runs in his first season as a New York Yankee.  Walsh found his man.  However, Ruth proved elusive, avoiding the overzealous Walsh whenever he stalked him on the streets of New York City.

Walsh even managed to get himself kicked out of the Ansonia Hotel where Ruth was living.  But according to Tom Stanton, author of  “Ty and the Babe,” in the winter of 1921, Walsh was waiting for Ruth when he overheard a grocer next door to the hotel taking a beer order from Ruth’s room.

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First look: 2010 Playoff Contenders football cards

By Chris Olds | Editor

Panini America offered a sneak peek at one of its annual staples on Monday in the form of 2010 Playoff Contenders.

Set to arrive in January, it will include four autographs in every 24-pack box along with nearly 20 additional rookies and inserts.

New this year in the ticket-styled staple are cards made of 14 karat solid gold — literally, a golden ticket.

We’ll have more on this product closer to its release, so stay tuned.

Until then, you can check out the selection of preview images after the jump.

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First autographed Pamela Anderson baseball card a hot seller

By Chris Olds | Editor

The first Pamela Anderson autographed card from 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition has proven to be one hot card.

How hot?

The first copy to sell on eBay ended on Sunday at $302 after 13 bids.

“I think it’s quite impressive. It speaks to her own popularity and the uniqueness of the card,” said Panini America Marketing Manager Tracy Hackler. “She appeals to collectors and non-collectors alike. Obviously, the argument against celebrities in sports products doesn’t extend to Pam Anderson.”

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Upper Deck releases Young Guns, photos NHL rookie video

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Upper Deck wants you to know about the NHL’s best rookies.

Upper Deck released photos for 2010-11 Upper Deck Series 1‘s Young Guns Rookie Cards, which will feature top young stars and will fall on average of six per box.

The company also released its second NHL rookie-themed video “Never Throw a Teammate under the Bus” with Edmonton Oiler rookies Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi.

See a gallery of Young Guns images, as well as get a checklist, after the jump.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame card set adds new immortals

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has added another layer to its Bronze Bust Collector Cards – but only for a short while.

For a limited time, the 2010 class of Russ Grimm, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, Rickey Jackson, John Randle, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith are included in this exclusive card release, which is limited to 150 autographed sets. The Bronze Bust Collector Card series represents the most exclusive card collection ever offered by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

More than 135 cards are signed by the likes of Don Shula, Gale Sayers, Lawrence Taylor, John Elway and Joe Montana.

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Bryce Harper autographs — Aflac & USA buyback — join two 2010 Bowman products

By Chris Olds  | Editor

Less than a day after it announced the signing of the No. 1 draft pick, Topps unveiled its plans for Bryce Harper autograph cards in a pair of 2010 Bowman-branded products.

However, neither one will feature the much-anticipated teen’s first officially licensed MLB card, saving him for 2011 Bowman – where he will be featured on both standard and autographed cards.

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First Look: 2010-11 Limited Hockey

By Chris Olds | Editor

Panini America‘s on-ice offerings just keep on coming in its rookie season in the NHL and the latest installment is a high-end veteran that many collectors should be familiar with.

Set to arrive on Dec. 15, 2010-11 Limited will include seven cards in each $100 pack — one autograph, one memorabilia card, one additional autograph or memorabilia card as well as two base cards, one legends and one more card after that.

Some of the NHL’s newest rookies will be included in the product — including top pick Taylor Hall — while the set will include stars from the present and the past like Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux.

Panini also promises some first-time signers will be found in Limited, while there will be cut autographs of players like Harry Oliver and Eddie Shore as well.

See more after the jump — and see more from Panini here soon.

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First look: 2011 Topps Heritage baseball cards (updated)

Topps has teased the first glimpse at the 2011 version of one of its most popular baseball card sets, Topps Heritage, and to no one’s surprise it carries the classic design of the 1962 Topps set.

The famed wood borders will return — last used in an original Topps design in 1987 — in 2011 with Heritage, a product that will pack 24 packs in every hobby box, each with  one autograph or Relic card inside when it arrives in mid-March.

The base set will consist of 500 cards — 425 players along with World Series highlight cards, combos cards, League Leaders cards, Sporting News All-Stars, team cards, Rookie Parade cards and In-Action cards — all like they were in 1962. There will be 75 short-printed cards to be found, while the Chrome parallels and Topps Stamps also will return.

Oh, and if you remember the original set that means The Bambino himself, Babe Ruth, also will be involved in 2011.

New for 2011 are ’62 Mint cards, which will include money from 1962 embedded into the cards. There will be penny cards noting a player’s birthday, nickel cards noting their MLB debuts, dime cards noting personal trivia, quarter cards that focus on highlights and silver dollar cards for players who were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The autograph and Relic lineup appears to be the same as in recent years — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? — with Flashback Stadium Relics and Clubhouse Collection Relics leading the way. The autographs are all signed on-card in several forms. They include Real One, which are players whose last appearance came in 1962 Topps, Flashbacks, Cut Signature and new 60th Anniversary autographs where players note Topps’ diamond anniversary of making MLB cards.

See more … after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Panini Plates & Patches football cards

By Chris Olds | Editor

There have been quite a few football brands launched for 2010 and Panini America has a new one, too, in 2010 Panini Plates & Patches.

Scheduled to arrive in mid-December, each $150 box will include one autographed prime memorabilia Rookie Card, two autographs and either one memorabilia card or a fourth autograph. Also found in each box will be two base cards, one parallel and one insert.

And, based on the product’s name, it should be obvious what the product is built around when it comes to the selling points.

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Topps signs Bryce Harper to exclusive autograph & memorabilia deal

By Chris Olds | Editor

The long-awaited, but expected, news that Topps has signed No. 1 overall draft pick Bryce Harper to an exclusive deal is now here.

The company confirmed on Wednesday morning that it signed a multi-year exclusive deal for autographed cards, game-used memorabilia cards and the use of Harper’s image on packaging and advertising.

“Growing up a huge baseball fan, it will be surreal to see myself on a Topps card with a Nationals jersey on,” Harper said.  “I’m excited to team up with Topps and take one of the first steps to realizing my Major League dreams.”

The teenager was the top pick of the Washington Nationals after playing a season of junior college baseball and leaving high school two years early. His USA Baseball SuperFractor card from 2010 Bowman (above) recently sold for $12,500. That trails only that of future teammate Stephen Strasburg, who Topps signed as an exclusive last fall,  in the top sales record book for an unsigned SuperFractor.

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First look: 2010-11 Donruss Basketball

By Chris Olds | Editor

Donruss is taking to the hardwood.

Panini America announced Tuesday its plans for the first Donruss basketball set in collecting history, a set complete with some design nods to the baseball cards from the 1980s but with the touches of modern-day Panini products.

And that means, you know, Rated Rookie cards of John Wall, Evan Turner and many others.

Set to arrive on Dec.  22, 2010-11 Donruss Basketball will include three autograph or memorabilia cards per box along with at least 20 die-cut parallel cards per box. The base set will consist of 295 cards and also will have a complete parallel set as well.

See more from the set after the jump.

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Miracle on Ice gold medal set to hit auction block

By Chris Olds | Editor

If you believe in miracles, then you know what this item is potentially worth.

The first Olympic gold medal to ever hit the auction block awarded to a member of the 1980 United States “Miracle on Ice”  hockey team will be up for sale beginning next month through Heritage Auctions.

The medal, which originally belonged to center Mark Wells, is expected to fetch six figures. Wells sold the medal earlier this year to a private collector who has opted to sell through the Dallas-based auction house during an auction on Nov. 5.

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