Monthly Archives: January 2011

First look: 2011 Topps Series 2 Baseball & 60th Anniversary ring

By Chris Olds | Editor

Topps unveiled the first glimpses at its second series of 2011 baseball cards on Friday, marking the first public unveiling of a 60th Anniversary diamond ring that will only be produced in limited quantities and found via Topps Diamond Dig redemption code cards as part of the company’s anniversary celebration.

However, one lucky reader of Beckett Baseball will have the chance to put one of the rare rings on his or her finger, too, via a contest in the pages of our magazine coming later this spring.

While the new series will supplement Series 1, which arrives in roughly a month, new for Series 2 will be Diamond Anniversary parallels, a Before There Was Topps insert card set, a Diamond Stars insert set, Hall of Fame buybacks, Topps 60 dual Relics and a new batch of Topps Attax cards.

The Diamond dig cards will be found one in every six packs and can unlock the diamond ring, a vintage pack of cards, a card with an actual diamond embedded into the cardboard or one of a few other options. Codes found on the cards will be entered at www.diamondtopps.com where fans can also collect virtual rings and other anniversary-themed cards.

Each 36-pack hobby box will include one autograph or Relic, while every 10-pack HTA Jumbo box will pack an autograph and two Relics inside when it arrives on June 6.

More to come. See images after the jump.

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First Look: 2010-11 Contenders Hockey

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Earlier this morning, Panini America revealed an early glance at 2010-11 Contenders Hockey. Shooting to score with avid hockey hobbyists, Panini’s late-March release should hit with recognizable characteristics from unique Playoff origins.

“[Contenders is] an instantly identifiable brand — nothing else looks quite like it — and I think that will make it compelling to hockey collectors who are looking for something unique to pursue, said Panini America’s Hockey Brand Manager, Al Muir. “Add that to the brand’s legacy of value thanks to the Rookie Tickets subset and it was the most obvious choice from Panini’s stable of brands to make the transition to hockey.”

With a bevy of hot players lending signatures and sweater swatches to the product, 2010-11 Contenders Hockey is set to deliver the best of its brand roots. Contenders delivers four autographs per box, including an average of three hard-signed Rookie Ticket autographs, which are favored staples in the line. The spring set also offers nine-per-box inserts like Leather Larceny, Against the Glass, Lottery Winners and more listed below in greater detail. Read More »

If you could have one Blake Griffin rookie card, which would you pick?

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

You can’t turn on ESPN without seeing highlights of Blake Griffin’s dunks. The Los Angeles Clippers big man is giving people a reason to finally watch the Clippers.

He puts down dunks with such ferocity that it looks as though opponents just step out of the way.

Seriously, who wants to stand in the way of an upcoming freight train?

Dunks aren’t the only thing he has going for him, which is why this rookie’s cards are blowing up and they didn’t come cheaply to start.

But if you could have one Griffin Rookie Card in your collection, which card would it be?

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Collector Goes Green with National Treasures 'Noise Toy'

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Some might say that the trading card industry is notoriously not “green.” However, as featured on Panini America’s blog, Delaware collector Amarin Cogburn has proven otherwise.

Scouring the internet and seeking expertise from an engineering-minded friend, Cogburn managed to repurpose a 2007 National Treasures Football box as “noise toy.” Specifically, Cogburn created a functioning amplifier with the collectible wooden box, a soldering iron and a few spare parts along the way.

Originally intended as a tinker-based offering for a white elephant gift exchange,  the recycled high-end hobby container was a success. “The amp was  a hit among my friends and I ended up building two more in the following month,” Cogburn said on The Knight’s Lance.

Ideally, this type of DIY spirit can permeate throughout the hobby, leading to more recycled collecting ingenuity. Considering the winter weather, who is willing to make the first foil-wrapper overcoat? Read More »

Players Get Creative on Topps Five Star Sketch Cards

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Topps announced today that collectors will be able to see the creative sides of pro football players in the upcoming Five Star product.

Lending their artistic talent (sometimes better referred to as “effort”) on player sketch cards, athletes like Tony Romo (whose effort is pictured above), LaDainian Tomlinson and Tim Tebow add a unique allure to the high-end line. Hand drawn by NFL standouts, each one of one illustration is signed on the back by the respective footbartist.

This makes for an interesting means of getting more than just autographs from Romo, Tomlinson, Tebow, Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Roddy White, Matthew Stafford, C.J. Spiller, Matt Ryan, Mike Williams, Aaron Hernandez and more.

Set to release in late February, Topps Five Star Football is loaded with high-end hits, some of which might even end up at The Met.

ITG Meets Collector Demands with New Between The Pipes Signees

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Still a few months from hitting shelves, In The Game’s 2010-11 Between The Pipes is shaping out to be a product for the people.

“I have been informally polling collectors online as to what they would like to see in the 2010-11 edition of Between The Pipes,” said In The Game’s President, Dr. Brian Price. “They have come up with some amazing ideas that we are looking to bring to life and they have also suggested many players that we are diligently trying to sign.”

Proving that diligence pays off, In The Game recently announced that the upcoming release will bolster a list of favorites with lesser known players like Coyotes netminder, Tom Fenton. Price explained, “As soon as Fenton sat on the bench for Phoenix, collectors were asking us if we were going include him in Between The Pipes.”

The upcoming product will also include the likes of Manon Rheaume, Charline Labonte and Kim St-Pierre, some of Canada’s fiercest female goalies. Appearing in Between The Pipes with base, autograph and game-used memorabilia cards, these women certainly broaden the scope of the hockey hobby.

“Our mission with many of our products this season has been to include players that rarely appear on cards these days,” said Price. By making a special effort to seek out those cult players and reexamine the overlooked, In The Game hopes to connect collectors to a wide array of sung and unsung heroes.

What you get signed is as important as the autograph itself

 

By Chris Olds | Editor

For sports collectors where seemingly everything has been commodified, this is probably an obvious statement — but for the rest of the collecting world (or beginners) it might not be.

What you get autographed is as important as the autograph itself.

In the sports world, the type of item you get signed at a show or an appearance is often tied to the amount of money you’ll pay for the signature. Basically, the more valuable item you get signed the more you’ll typically have to pay. Why? The players, agents and show promoters know the relative value of an item, and, well, they want a relative cut.

Getting a jersey or another piece of equipment will cost you more than, say, a baseball card or a photograph. That’s just how it is with the business side of things. In fact, there are countless examples where players won’t sign certain items,  things showing them with certain teams or even certain brands of cards. (It’s not just a scene in Jerry Maguire.)

But the real value in a unique item is in the interest, the reaction, it should draw from those who see it. Some of my favorite autographed items in my collection — items I got signed in-person — were because they were unique items. They’re not the most expensive piece or the toughest autograph to land. They’re not ultra-rare, either, as a collector could conceivably re-create them with some legwork.

Then again, one of my most unique autographed items isn’t even a sports item at all — and that’s why you see a scene from a Quentin Tarantino movie, Death Proof, above where stuntwoman Zoë Bell is in action riding atop the hood of a 1970 Dodge Challenger as it speeds down a highway with another car in hot pursuit.

Read more … after the jump.

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Panini’s forthcoming Classics carries new feel

By Chris Olds | Editor

It may celebrate the stars of yesteryear along with a mix of greats and potential of today’s NBA, but Panini America‘s latest creation does all that with a seemingly brand-new look.

The Arlington, Texas-based hobby giant unveiled its latest forthcoming basketball brand — 2010-11 Classics Basketball — on Tuesday evening, a relatively affordable mid-range product ($5.99 a pack) that will arrive in late March packing two autographs and two memorabilia cards in every hobby box.

Each hobby box also will include more than a dozen inserts along with a selection of cards from the 100-card base set that is capped by 40 Legends and 40 signed Rookie Cards.

But that’s not what caught this writer’s eye — it’s the design of the inserts, which perhaps eschew the typical trappings of a more “classical” product — and also stray from the more reserved designs found in last year’s set. (Granted, that could be this selection, but either way they seem to be more energetic — while keeping a bit of retro-flavored flair, too.)

See what we’re talking about … after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2010 Bowman Platinum baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2010 Bowman Platinum baseball boxes from Topps in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects baseball cards from Topps in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010-11 SP-Game-used hockey cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Andrew Tolentino and Tim Trout as they rip into a pair of 2010-11 SP Game-used hockey boxes from Upper Deck in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Topps confirms Magic football short-prints

By Chris Olds | Editor

Topps confirmed that there are several short-printed autograph and base cards in its 2010 Topps Magic football card set on Tuesday.

The following players signed just 15 copies of their standard card and 10 copies of their Chromes for the retro-styled release:

Adrian Peterson, Brandon Marshall, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Darren McFadden, DeAngelo Williams, Eli Manning, Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown, Jimmy Clausen, Joe Namath, John Elway, Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning,Ray Rice, Reggie Bush, Roger Staubach, Tim Tebow, Tony Romo, Troy Aikman, Vince Young, Ben Tate, Brandon Gibson, Charles Scott, Chris Ogbonnaya, Dan LeFevour, Dezmon Briscoe, Dustin Keller, Ed Wang, James Casey, John Skelton, Josh Freeman, Kevin Kolb , Matt Leinart, Mike Kafka, Montario Hardesty, Nate Burleson, Trent Edwards, Willie Parker

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F+W Media ceases production of Tuff Stuff's Sports Collectors Monthly

By Chris Olds | Editor

Tuff Stuff’s Sports Collectors Monthly magazine, which was launched in 1984, will cease publishing with the February issue.

Cincinnati, Ohio-based F+W Media, which bought Krause Publications in 2002, cited a lack of ad revenue in the decision, according to editor Scott Fragale, who was one of three sports staffers whose final day with the company will be Thursday.

The two other staff members of the long-running magazine who will be leaving F+W are Joe Clemens and T.S. O’Connell, Fragale said. O’Connell penned a farewell column online that has additional details.

The company will continue to publish Sports Collectors Digest, which shrunk to a magazine-sized format recently.

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Box Busters: 2010-11 Donruss Basketball

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Rob Springs as they rip into a box of 2010-11 Donruss basketball cards from Panini America in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Update

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Update boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010-11 Limited Hockey

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Join Beckett Media’s Tim Trout and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a pair of 2010 Limited Hockey boxes from Panini America in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010-11 Timeless Treasures Basketball

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Rob Springs as they rip into a pair of 2010-11 Timeless Treasures boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Card Gallery: 2010-11 Limited Hockey

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Earlier this morning, I whipped out my handy box cutter (my house key) to open a sealed package from Panini America. The fine folks from the other side of town sent us a few products to bust for the Pulling with Everyday People video series, along with two boxes of 2010-11 Limited hockey.

Though small in size, each box delivered a hat trick with three hits worth showing off before the upcoming Box Busters video. Since we don’t mind sharing and there are only 14 cards from both breaks, please enjoy the full gallery. Read More »

Box Busters: 2010 Panini Century Collection

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Bryan Hornbeck as they rip into a pair of 2010 Panini Century Collection boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …



Box Busters: 2010 Topps USA Baseball set

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2010 Topps USA Baseball sets in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

First Look: 2011 Bowman Baseball

By Chris Olds | Editor

Topps unveiled its 2011 Bowman baseball set on Thursday, which will mark the first appearance of Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper in his MLB uniform on an officially licensed MLB card.

Scheduled to arrive on May 9, Bowman will feature only on-card signatures with every HTA Jumbo box including three Bowman Chrome autographs and each 24-pack hobby box packing one.

There will be 110 Chrome prospect cards to be found and a base set of 220 rookies and veterans. With a new twist, there will be Bowman Buyback Cut Signature cards in the fold.

Also new will be Topps 60th Anniversary autographs, USA Baseball patch cards and Futures Game Triple Relics.

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Sneak Peek: 2011 Upper Deck Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Upper Deck recently released a few (two to be exact), preview images of its 2011 football product. Set to release on April 12, the NFL newcomer-focused manufacturer announced that this set will deliver “the top 2011 rookies before the draft.”

After all, Upper Deck is the only company allowed to use NCAA team logos with its exclusive deal with the Collegiate Licensing Company.

In addition to the forthcoming football freshmen, league veterans and greats will be featured in what appears to be  a 1991 throwback design on some cards (see below). As the images indicate, Adrian Peterson and Dan Marino are amongst the many players pictured in their collegiate uniforms.

The saga will surely unfold over the next few months, but for now this product breakdown will have to do. Read More »

World Junior Championship Gives Collectors a Live Glimpse at Heroes and Prospects

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Considering In The Game’s upcoming release of 2010-11 Heroes and Prospects, tonight’s International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship offers collectors a sneak peek at their near future pulls.

Featuring many players who will land in hobby shops on Jan. 20, the Canadian team will make its 10th consecutive Gold Medal game appearance against Russia. Dazzling title contenders like Brayden Schenn, Ryan Ellis, Olivier Roy and Vladimir Tarasenko can be seen on the ice tonight and on shelves in a short time. Stacked with professional hockey standouts in the making, both teams offer a good look at the NHL in years to come.

“We offer our sincere congratulations to all players in this tournament and are proud to include many of them in Heroes and Prospects,” said In The Game’s President, Dr. Brian Price.

The IIHFL World Junior Championship Game takes place today in Buffalo, N.Y. at 7:30 EST.

Beckett President unveils upcoming website changes

Dear Beckett Customer,

Back in July, we estimated the new site launch for the end of December.  We have moved that date by a bit.  The new site will launch by end of this month – yes, January 2011 – in the next few weeks.  I moved it by a few weeks for several reasons, but the overall gist of the conversation is that we want as close to perfection as possible upon release, and that includes new server location with all-new hardware.  We ran into a bit of a snag having the new hardware set up on time.  We also have a bit more work to do to complete all the data migration.  This will allow all of your account history to be included in the migration.

Besides eliminating all of the current load/timeout issues and increasing site speed, our team thought you might like to hear about some of the additions and changes for the new site:

Read More »

Another look at Muhammad Ali set


By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

On Sunday, we had a quick peek at some of the rarest cards in the Muhammad Ali trading card set Leaf Trading Cards is producing.

Slowly, Leaf is letting a few pictures trickle out as its teases collectors with this set that should be released in February. This time there are five cards from a subset that include associates, fans and opponents of the greatest boxer in history.

While these cards are the autograph versions, which are all numbered to 5, there are more common versions of these cards available in the product.

Of this group, my favorites are the ones where there is a picture with Ali. Leaf is obviously limited to certain pictures, but they definitely used pictures they had with Ali whenever possible.

How do you feel this set is shaping up?

Susan Lulgjuraj is a contributing editor for Beckett Media. You can email Susan here. Follow her on Twitter here.

Topps Creates Cards for 2011 Under Armour All-Americans

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

While many high school students are returning for their spring semesters to show off their new iPhones, eBook readers and unfortunate sweaters, only a select few can say that they appeared on a Topps trading card over winter break.

Knowing that so many faces at the fourth annual Under Armour All-American Football Game are destined to show up in future card sets, Topps took the first step in creating pre-collegiate collectibles.

After a Friday photo shoot and an undoubtedly tight weekend of printing, Topps made quick work of the 2011 All-American roster. On Monday, Topps presented players with their respective cards and gave the future stars a chance to practice their autographs in a signing session. Although the ink has some time to dry before the autographs resurface at a later date, the prospect-minded manufacturer provided us with a sneak peek.

Furthermore, fans can still collect these high school standouts on 92 different cards. The first 5,000 attendees who show up at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. for tomorrow’s game will received three Topps cards exclusively made for this year’s All-Americans. Ideally, the parents in attendance will be civil in trading for their sons’ cards.

The 2011 Under Armour All-American Football Game airs live on ESPN Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. ET. Read More »

Pulling with Everyday People: Marc Hall & Topps Magic

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

For the second installment of Pulling with Everyday People, we managed to wrangle Marc Hall from Arlington, Texas. After taking an extended hiatus from collecting, the 31-year-old U.S. Navy ex and improviser is in the midst of returning to cardboard.

Equipped with a camera and box of 2010 Topps Magic Football, we thought it would be nice to capture a glimpse of Hall’s hobby homecoming.

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Rippin' Retail: Panini Longevity Rookies & Stars vs. three Basketball Blasters

By Chris Olds | Editor | Commentary

Collectors often bemoan he differences between hobby and retail boxes, opting for the superior hobby version over the taste-test of a retail blaster or other type of offering.

In some cases, though, that logic just might be unfounded — good cards certainly can be found in retail, but if they’re not there the prices might be better depending on how in-demand boxes might be.

It really just depends on what you’re buying. However, not all retail boxes are made alike, either.

I recently ripped some retail Panini America basketball boxes and was kind of surprised by what I found. Frankly, the cheapest of all retail versions — the Blaster box — seemed to compete well with its bigger-time counterpart, the Longevity version of 2010-11 Rookies & Stars. The $50 Longevity box was a dud, while three Blasters (two Rookies & Stars boxes and one Threads box) seemed more interesting for approximately the same price at $60.

How is that? It surprised me. At first glance, the retail-focused Longevity found only in Target stores seems like a good alternative to the typical Blaster boxes. After all, it looks more like a hobby box so it should feel more like a hobby box, right? It’s packing three autograph or memorabilia cards per 10-pack box and is otherwise an abbreviated offering of the standard Rookies & Stars set but printed on foilboard. (In the case of this design, I actually don’t mind the foilboard — a rare instance.)

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Century Collection packs big-name baseball stars

By Chris Olds | Editor

Panini America may not be an official trading card licensee of Major League Baseball, but you wouldn’t know that from the company’s legendary inclusions in the forthcoming 2010 Century Collection set.

No, there aren’t any MLB logos or airbrushed uniforms in the multi-sport and non-sport product — it’s high school and casual photography — but it’s clear that the autograph and memorabilia assets left over from the Donruss days are getting good use and much of it will be in the hands of collectors starting this week.

In fact, it’s that non-traditional photography that might make these cards stand out from others — whether the significance or story behind the photo is noted on the card or not. (They likely aren’t … in their place an authenticity statement.) For example, the Paul Molitor card shown above is from his behind-the-scenes tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., back in 2004.

The bat he’s holding? It’s a Babe Ruth gamer.

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Leaf preps Muhammad Ali card set

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

He’s the baddest.

The greatest there ever was.

Now, he’s coming to a new a trading card product.

Leaf Trading Cards has taken another step to add to Muhammad Ali’s legacy by bringing fans closer to the iconic boxer. Leaf is creating a set dedicated to Ali, which will feature all on-card autographs from Ali and others, including many exclusive features.

Each box will include four base cards, one Ali hit and two other autos.

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Panini lands Kevin Durant autographs for Absolute

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

It’s been a year since anyone has pulled a Kevin Durant autograph card from a new product.

Fans of the Oklahoma City forward will only have to wait just a bit longer. Durant’s autographed cards will appear in Panini’s high-end 2010-11 Absolute Memorabilia Basketball, which is scheduled to release March 6.

Even though Panini already has five products out for the 2010-11 basketball season, none of them has had a Durant auto.

See highlights from Absolute Memorabilia Basketball after the jump.

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The Iceman Cometh to McFarlane Toys

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

When you think of George Gervin, the first thing that usually comes to mind is that sweet finger roll he made famous.

The Iceman and the finger roll have been synonymous with each other since Gervin started playing basketball.

McFarlane Toys has immortalized that pose – ABA style.

Fans can’t get the special figurine that depicts Gervin in a San Antonio Spurs ABA uniform just anywhere. It’s not available at McFarlane’s website or in stores.

The only place to pick up this exclusive statue is through Babaie Promotions Inc., (www.bpifanconnect.com). Part of the proceeds will go to the George Gervin Youth Center, a K-12 charter school in San Antonio that offers a number of services for students and their families.

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Beckett Tip Sheet: Where can you land an autograph?

By Chris Olds | Editor

It’s no secret that the autograph is key to many a sports products these days as those certified authentic slips of the pen turn cardboard into collecting gold.

But the certified autograph is not the only way a collector can land a treasured item.

In fact, many a signer of certified autographs actually signs in other ways — ways that collectors may not always think about in a world of commodified, short-print chases and dreaming of winning mylar-wrapped lotteries. It may sound like common sense, but there are other ways to track down signatures besides ripping packs and buying singles at the card shop or online.

Here’s a rundown of ways that collectors — beginners through the long-time hobby veterans — should always consider trying to land an autograph without hitting up a pack of cards or buying a certified signature straight from a trusted dealer.

OFFICIAL WEBSITES
These days, it’s pretty common for athletes and celebrities to have their own websites where they sell autographed items directly to the public. The signed copy of WWE Magazine above, for example, was purchased on Trish Stratus‘ website, www.trishstratus.com. There, the former multi-time women’s champion sells signed magazines, books, photos, posters and more. If you have your own particular item you want signed, she’ll ink it up for a $10 fee.

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