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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Preview Gallery II: More from ITG's Ultimate Memorabilia 10th Edition hockey set

By Chris Olds | Editor

We’ll have more from In The Game about the latest installment of its high-end Ultimate Memorabilia hockey set soon, but until then feast on a few more preview images of the cards that can be found once it arrives.

For more on this set from last week, click here.

See more images after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Topps Five Star Football (with poll)

By Chris Olds | Editor

Topps released the basic product info and preview information for a new high-end football card line that will arrive in late February, a brand that it is apparently quite confident in.

How confident is it in 2010 Topps Five Star Football?

“Meet the 2010 Product of the Year … ” reads the first line of its preview materials.

Each tin of Five Star includes four autographed cards — all signed directly on the card — and one jumbo Relic, with the product promising a “superior checklist,” cards printed on 154-point stock and all cards numbered to 150 or less.

Based on the solicitation cost, collectors can expect to pay at least $400 per tin for the hobby-exclusive product.

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First look: 2011 Topps Opening Day baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Editor

Topps has teased the release of its 2011 Opening Day set with a selection of images that shows us where the annual retail staple is going this year when it arrives on March 7 — ironically well before Opening Day.

The base set for this 99-cent-per-pack product will consist of 220 cards with a smattering of insert sets that include Presidential First Pitches, Mascots, Opening Day autographs Superstar Celebrations and more that includes glow in the dark Under The Lights cards, too.

Each box will include 36 packs with 20 boxes per case and seven cards per pack.

Among the players on the preliminary autograph checklist are: Casey McGehee, Howie Kendrick, Philip Humber, Taylor Buchholz, Jose Mijares, Jonathan Van Every, Jose Morales, Dustin Moseley, Justin Germano and Chris Carter.

While we’ll get more details soon, you can see all of the images after the jump.

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'Once Brothers' brings back memories of a favorite player

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

On Wednesday night, ESPN premiered its newest 30 for 30 documentary “Once Brothers,” which is a story of NBA stars Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac. They grew up together, sharing a dream of playing professional basketball, but were torn apart by political issues from the fall of the Soviet Union.

Petrovic was from Croatia and Divac from Serbia, but before the breakup, they were both just Yugoslavian.

Petrovic was one of my favorite players growing up. I watched him on the New Jersey Nets, but it was more than just seeing a hometown hero. Petrovic was from the same area of the world as my parents and I have always felt a bond to people from the Balkan region.

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Ryan Mathews busts boxes of Upper Deck football cards

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He’s no Tracy Hackler — whew — but San Diego Chargers rookie running back Ryan Mathews recently ripped a box of 2010 Sweet Spot football cards while visiting with Upper Deck.

What will he find inside?Will he find himself?

Watch and find out …

Behind the scenes with Tracy Hackler at Panini America (again)

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Beckett Media alum Tracy Hackler went poking around the building — again — during his fourth day of work at Panini America … if you can call it work.

Here’s what he found.

The football fans of the bunch will undoubtedly be jealous.

Ten NHL rookies to watch in 2010

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing editor

The NHL kicked off its season last week. There have already been a handful of hockey products to hit the market, but there are still many sets for collectors to put their hands on.

As I went through hockey rosters, I’ve put together a list of 10 rookies to look for 2010. Most of these players do not have official Rookie Cards yet, but can be found in prospects sets such as 2009-10 In the Game.

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Yes, that's Magic Johnson's autograph on Jordan Swagerty's baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Editor

Mistakes happen.

That’s the easiest way to sum up the unusual error card found in boxes of 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Baseball, which arrived recently with a few unusual autograph cards of former Arizona State standout and St. Louis Cardinals prospect Jordan Swagerty.

The error?

All of the autographs on his cards are of a guy named Earvin Johnson. You know, the Hall of Fame basketball player otherwise  known as “Magic.”

Panini America officials were aware of the mistake not long after collectors began ripping into packs of the prospecting product. The company is reportedly discussing plans to replace the error cards, which might be plentiful, with rarer corrected versions — but has not yet announced its plan.

Update: Panini will replace the incorrect Swagerty autographed standard card with a correct version and collectors who send in the correct card an exclusive Elite Extra Edition card of top-prospect Manny Machado.

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Preview gallery: ITG Ultimate Memorabilia 10th Edition Hockey

By Chris Olds | Editor

In The Game‘s always-anticipated Ultimate Memorabilia hockey card set will arrive in little less than a month with some of the biggest names in NHL history — and some of the most unique memorabilia cards ever made — in tow.

The entire press run for Ultimate will consist of just 1,500 five-pack boxes with each pack including a base card, a memorabilia card and an autograph.

What else will be in store? Click here and here to read more.

You can see an extensive gallery of images after the jump.

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Preview Gallery: 2010-11 Certified Hockey rookie autographs

Panini America‘s NHL debut is coming soon in 2010-11 Certified Hockey and the company already has a surprise in store.

Well, six actually.

Six rookies who have already made their NHL debuts will be in the set — No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Brayden Schenn, Jeff Skinner, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi — and will appear on their first Rookie Cards with the product’s arrival next week.

“There was a lot of anxiety among the collecting community when we announced that we were moving the Certified release date,” said Al Muir, Panini America’s Hockey Brand Manager. “But it was a calculated decision we felt was worth the risk. Not only did the benefit of extra time allow us to get additional top-flight autograph content into the product, it afforded us the opportunity to produce the first Rookie Cards of the NHL’s next wave of superstars.”

Certified will include four autograph or memorabilia cards per 10-pack box (including at least one autograph) and also pack autographs of legends such as Bobby Hull, Darryl Sittler, Bernie Parent, Mario Lemieux, Ray Bourque and Jim Craig.

See more images after the jump.

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Bobby Cox reaches end of line with few baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Editor

Bobby Cox has managed his final game as his Atlanta Braves lost to the San Francisco Giants on Monday evening, capping a career that was short as a player but 29 seasons long as a successful manager.

Cox broke into managing in the bigs in 1978 — with the Braves — and recorded a 2,149-1,709 record in the regular season, winning five pennants and a World Series title with the Braves.

And despite all those years in baseball — a career that included four Manager of the Year awards (including one with the Blue Jays in 1984 and four with the Braves) — he appears on a total of just 240 baseball cards.

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First look: 2010-11 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Upper Deck recently released information on its latest upcoming NHL product, and 2010-11 O-Pee-Chee Hockey is set to arrive in mid-December with a feel and a product that should appeal to oldschool fans as well as set collectors.

With a price-point of under $50 a box, the 600-card O-Pee-Chee checklist will feature retro parallels of all base cards, which are one per pack.

But there are also variations of the variations. The retro cards have rainbow foil and black rainbow foil parallels. There is also one In-Action laminated card per box.

The set doesn’t include just today’s stars of Sidney Crosby or Patrick Kane. Long-time greats and fan favorites such as Wayne Gretzky and Steve Yzerman are also included.

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Behind the scenes with Tracy Hackler at Panini America

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Beckett Media alum Tracy Hackler went poking around the building during his first day of work at Panini America … if you can call it work.

Here’s what he found.

The basketball fans of the bunch will undoubtedly be jealous.

Preview Gallery: 2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia football cards

You’ve probably seen our Box Busters video, but you haven’t seen anything close to it all from Panini America‘s Absolute Memorabilia football, which arrives later this week.

Inside each $40 pack is an autograph or memorabilia card, and here’s a sampling of what’s in store well beyond the pair of boxes we ripped on camera.

See more from Absolute after the jump.

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Upcoming Score hockey set includes buybacks from seemingly bygone era

By Chris Olds | Editor

The first of the new Score hockey sets produced by Panini America will arrive in little over a week with something that just might make you remember the hockey cards from another day.

No, it’s not some uber-vintage inclusion or card set styled after something from several decades ago.

Instead, they are 20th anniversary buyback autographs — as in 1990-91 Score, the arrival of the line to the NHL. As in the rookie year of Eric Lindros, Martin Brodeur and even guys like Rob Blake and Keith Primeau.

Those memorable reddish-orange white and purple-bordered cards will once again be coming out of packs like they did out of those odd plastic wrappers years ago — a year when Score and Upper Deck both entered the hockey card arena, bringing along with them countless collectors (myself included) who had dabbled in others sports but maybe didn’t follow the game all that closely.

Even though they’re not items from many a decades’ past, they are still reflective of how much trading cards have changed since that time. Just think about it, the certified autograph barely existed then — and the game-used memorabilia card was still several years from reality.

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Curtain Call: Tracy Hackler's Beckett farewell

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Tracy Hackler first arrived at Beckett Media in 1995 before heading to Donruss a few years ago and coming back to Beckett in 2004. Now, he’s headed to Panini America.

Another long-time Beckett Media employee, Dave Sliepka, caught up with Hackler on Friday for a quick two-part interview.

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Box Busters: 2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia football cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler & Dan Hitt as they rip into a pair of not-even-out-yet 2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia football card boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Topps offers bounty program for 2010 Topps Chrome baseball

Did you buy any 2010 Topps Chrome? If you, you might have some hidden treasure and not even know it yet.

How? It’s offering a reward for those who find certain cards.

Each week, Topps will announce the bounty prize cards on its blog. The first collector to email a photo of him or her with the card(s) to chromeprize@topps.com wins a prize.

Get the details — and see this week’s cards — after the jump.

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Hobby stories: Game-used jersey authentication an issue

Here’s a look at two stories with hobby-related ties in the mainstream media recently …

Chicago Sun-Times: Shoeless Joe Jackson Hall of Fame jersey a fake

Yahoo! Sports: Sports marketer Mike Ornstein awaits sentencing on fraud charges

Olds’ Take: It’s unfortunate in the Jackson case that one of the greatest sports memorabilia collections, the Barry Halper collection, had an example of a bad item show up in Cooperstown. Even expert collectors with plenty of industry ties like the late Halper will make mistakes when buying items. (It’s no Black Betsy, but it reminds me of that one Nick Swisher game-used bat I bought … I bet you have something in your collection you’re not 110 percent certain on. Then again, our collections probably aren’t destined for Cooperstown.)

As for the Ornstein case, it’s one that is wide in scope for the NFL — but primarily for the ticket scalping scandal. The game-used jersey aspect isn’t good, either. Yet, at the same time, it probably shouldn’t be unexpected as there are a lot of modern-day game-used jerseys out there that show little to no use at all to distinguish it from another game-issue jersey. Game-issue could, in theory, be quite plentiful. The card companies have to do their homework — and they do — while buying from trusted/approved sources. Unfortunately, if a player agent isn’t a trusted source … who is? Nobody is closer to an athlete.

In an era where rookie photo shoot jerseys are used en masse on memorabilia cards — even the high-end products — this shouldn’t sting as badly as it might.

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.

Box Busters: 2009-10 The Cup hockey

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Tim Trout as they rip into a pair of 2009-10 The Cup hockey boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside these high-end boxes?

Watch and find out …