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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Ever wanted to land memorabilia straight from prospects? That’s where Onyx comes in … (updated)

By Chris Olds | Editor

It’s relatively easy to land a Derek Jeter game-used jersey or a Tiger Woods tourney-worn item these days — you just have to have the cash.

But landing an unquestionably authentic item of a promising prospect before he’s a star? That takes some work — unless the prospect is a member of the Onyx Authenticated team.

The Riverview, Fla.-based company focuses on autograph and game-used memorabilia deals with promising players before they get too in-demand to be affordable for most collectors. Among its exclusive-player roster are Seattle Mariners pitching prospect Michael Pineda, Yankees spring training phenom Manny Banuelos, promising Braves prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado and Yankees prospect Gary Sanchez. Past exclusives include New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis and Florida Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison. Oh, and also on its roster? St. Louis Cardinal Colby Rasmus, Atlanta Braves rookie Freddie Freeman and the New York Yankees’ future hopes at catcher, Jesus Montero.

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Topps confirms 2011 Heritage Baseball SPs and variations

By Chris Olds | Editor

Collectors have been examining their 2011 Topps Heritage baseball cards closely since their arrival earlier this month, discovering variations and nods to the past here and there.

But on Thursday Topps made all the guessing games end as it confirmed a group of variations in the set.

The short-printed base cards are Nos. 426-500, while card Nos. 110-158 and 160-196 have green-tinted variations. There also are blue-tinted versions of those cards found in Walmart loose packs and red-tint cards found in Target loose packs.

Six short-printed variations in the set include:

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**Contest Closed** Box Busters: 2011 Leaf Metal Football

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Join Beckett Media’s Dan Hitt and Andrew Tolentino with special guest Brian Gray of Leaf as they rip into a pair of 2011 Leaf Metal Draft football boxes in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? What can you win? Watch to find out …

Box Busters: 2011 Leaf Muhammad Ali

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Join Beckett Media’s Bryan Hornbeck and Andrew Tolentino with special guest Brian Gray as they rip into a pair of 2011 Leaf Muhammad Ali boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Upper Deck partners with USA Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Upper Deck and USA Football announced an unprecedented partnership today.

According to details on Usafootball.com, this is the first time that the sport’s national governing body for international competition has paired up with a trading card company. As an official sponsor of USA Football, Upper Deck is poised to make a big  impression on America’s growing youth football membership — a prime audience comprised of players (potential collectors) between the ages of six and 14.

Today’s announcement also foretold some near-future hobby impacts, including special edition U.S. Under-19 National Team cards slated for an appearance in 2011 SP Authentic Football. These cards will feature photography from the early-2011 Team USA vs. The World game (featured in the video below) and a selection of game-used jersey swatches.

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Armstrong so nice, he autographed twice


By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Based on the collector love Armstrong is receiving from his affable appearance at Beckett headquarters, the gritty Redskins receiver is clearly poised for hobby potential. Since Panini America‘s Tracy Hackler came through with his only Rookie Cards, and even a few pieces of critical AFL evidence, Armstrong graciously inked his cardboard likeness for the manufacturer’s followers.

In addition to the comment-to-win drawing here on Beckett.com, two more Armstrong-autographed cards are up for grab on Panini’s blog, The Knight’s Lance.

Newly convinced or not, Armstrong fans currently have two opportunities to kick-start their personal collections.

Preview Gallery: 2011 Leaf Metal Draft Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Fresh from the Box Busters studio and hot off the scanner, the cards below should convey the weight of Leaf‘s latest draft brand.

Yielding four on-card autographs per four-card box, 2011 Leaf Metal Draft is an exceptional unlicensed looker. The product bears a resemblance to other familiar shimmering cards, but the low-quantity rip seems to deliver concentrated quality with inserts and parallels — all presented in toploaders.

The forthcoming Box Busters video — with a cameo by Leaf’s own Brian Gray — features all eight cards from two breaks, but this six-hit sampler should do the trick, for now. Read More »

Here’s your chance to enter the Beckett Baseball Topps 60th Anniversary ring contest

By Chris Olds | Editor

If you’ve seen the latest issue of Beckett Baseball, then you likely know all about our contest to win one of the rare Topps 60th Anniversary rings between now and Oct. 1.

If not, here’s your chance … after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2010-11 Absolute Memorabilia Basketball

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Join Beckett Basketball’s Rob Springs and Chris Olds as they rip into a pair of 2010-11 Absolute Memorabilia boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Only the cuts made the cut in Upper Deck’s upcoming Legendary Cuts set

By Chris Olds | Editor

We all know what made Legendary Cuts — a staple for baseball card collectors the last decade — popular, right?

Well, they’re back — and that’s all that Legendary Cuts will include this year when it arrives in June.

That’s right, just cuts.

Upper Deck teased the return of Legendary Cuts on Tuesday evening, what looks to be a somewhat limited one-cut-per-pack product with a checklist of just 200 cards in the set. According to the company, there will be 91 Hall of Famers in the product, each limited to 35 or fewer copies.

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Product Preview: 2011 Topps Inception

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

As the 2011 video card war rages on, Topps is talking about its new football line — 2011 Topps Inception — dreamed up for a rare early season high-end release.

Due out in early July, the premiering premium product will be rookie heavy, mostly defined by top draft picks and supplemented by established stars. Each seven-card pack should deliver three rookie hits, including two numbered on-card rookie autographs or rookie autograph jumbo patches and one numbered rookie jumbo patch or Relic card. Four more cards — likely  featuring veterans — round out the rip in the form of two limited parallels and two base cards.

While the current artwork  features rookies  in airbrushed uniforms, Topps revealed that NFL-branded images and Relics will bolster the already dramatically designed cards.

Early product details indicate that this is a line marked by highly desirable hobby trademarks. Frequently falling on-card autographs and one-of-one parallels — for instance — should substantiate the price tag. Conceptually founded upon the inception of the football season, the new brand is built with the incoming class in mind. As card maker notes, “Every autograph and Relic hit is a rookie player.”

High-end hobbyists might reach for their totems (obligatory “Inception” movie reference), since the more expensive hobby brands usually don’t hit the market until late in the season — but we assure you, this is reality. Read More »

**Contest Closed** Anthony Armstrong receives his first Rookie Card

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

As featured in the soon-to-release May issue of Beckett Football, this hard-signed Anthony Armstrong card can’t be pulled from any pack.

Since Armstrong came up the hard way — namely through the AFL and the IFL — his NFL debut wasn’t an obvious priority for college-sensation-centric manufacturers. In fact, when the video was shot, the rising Redskin receiver’s Rookie Card was limited to a single Panini America product — 2010 Certified Football.

However, having strolled the same halls of Newman Smith high school as Armstrong,  I’ve always been a fan. After watching his Facebook page explode with congratulatory comments throughout his breakout season — seeing a friend seize his dream — I invited Armstrong to film a special edition of Box Busters.

Defined by humility and hard work, the hometown hero came back to Dallas to see his family — and to introduce himself to the hobby.

Bringing the rookie goods and more, Panini’s Tracy Hackler — an avid Dallas Desperados fan — joined us for the video and helped me pay special tribute to an old friend’s achievements. As the video reveals, Hackler provided a few Special-Edition- stamped Rookie Cards for Armstrong to see and sign.

We just happen to have one hand-signed 2010 Certified Armstrong card and one Armstrong-autographed 2008 Donruss Dallas Desperados card available to win in exchange for a randomly-selected comment on this post.

Good luck and enjoy the video.

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Andrew Tolentino is the editor of Beckett Football. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at atolentino@beckett.com. Follow his tweets at twitter.com/tolentinotweets.

Hank Aaron rookie season jersey headlines upcoming Heritage Auction sale

Update: The jersey sold for more than $167,000 at auction.

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

A jersey worn by former home run champion Hank Aaron during his rookie season in 1954 will be up for grabs in a Heritage Auctions sale next month and is expected to fetch six figures.

The autographed Milwaukee Braves flannel is the headliner in the Dallas-based company‘s April 21-22 Signature Sports Auction and the company projects at least a $200,000 sale for the consignor. The jersey previously had a No. 5 stitched into hit — which Aaron wore during his rookie year — before his familiar No. 44 replaced it. That means this jersey is likely to have been worn over two seasons.

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** Contest Closed** Box Busters: 2011 Press Pass Football

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Join Beckett Football’s Andrew Tolentino and Dan Hitt as they rip into a box of 2011 Press Pass football cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out … and find out how you can win a Heisman Trophy winner’s autograph — as well as a free box.

Preview Gallery: Enshrined Hockey


By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

In the Game recently announced that its ice homage — Enshrined Hockey — will hit shelves on April 29, 2011.

Featuring legends who have been — enshrined, of course — in the Hall of Fame on  artfully-created cards, Enshrined will be distributed in 7,000 serial-numbered 6-card packs. Each pack should yield five base cards and one special insert card.

The 200-card base set features a roster of hockey history, all appearing on cards limited to 175. One-per-pack special inserts include on-card autographs, low-numbered game-used memorabilia, Enshrined cut signatures, and a healthy dose of one-of-a-kind cards.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com  for more images and detailed information on the upcoming In the Game release. Read More »

Box Busters preview gallery: 2011 Press Pass


By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Last week, we had a hands-on experience with the first football product of 2011 — SAGE HIT Low Series. Today, we tore into a box of 2011 Press Pass Football —  the second line from the year of the lockout.

For an early season product with a lack of league licensing, these cards come across with a decidedly official feel and a generally respectable aesthetic. Press Pass changed up the base set this year with horizontally oriented cards, featuring carefully cropped players alongside their respective stats in scoreboard-ish fashion.

Beyond the base set,  conceptually sound and visually strong inserts supplement the five-autograph break. We exceeded per-box hit odds with an additional memorabilia card and a signature from a certain soon-to-be product poster boy (Hint No. 1: Roll Tide!). Read More »

Jose Canseco’s twin switcheroo wouldn’t have worked on me — or many others

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

The latest torrid headline in the ongoing saga that is the life of former American League MVP Jose Canseco isn’t one that would have worked on many collectors.

Canseco sent his twin brother, Ozzie, in his place for a celebrity boxing event.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve sorted waayyyy too many Canseco cards though the years — thousands — but the identical twins aren’t exactly identical. Ozzie is skinnier and Jose looks more aged. You can see it in the promotional poster when the two played together in an independent league a few years ago.

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Pulling with everyday people: Family trio edition

By Andrew Tolentino | Editor

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to Arlington, Texas to bust open a box of 2010-11 Donruss Basketball with twin brothers Brandon and Tristan Voss and their father, Todd Voss. In this family trio edition of Pulling with Everyday People, two generations of Vosses revisited youthful pastimes and learned a little more about how trading cards have evolved since they last ripped a pack.

(Pardon the low-light situation)

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Teasing MLB Network’s Cardboard Treasure …

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The MLB Network has a little something in store for baseball card collectors this Tuesday — a special on the 60th anniversary of Topps baseball cards.

Cardboard Treasure, a MLB Productions creation, will air at 10 p.m. Eastern only on the MLB Network. It will include some behind-the-scenes looks at Beckett Media as the documentary crews visited Dallas in early February.

Here’s a teaser (commercial) for the show …

Could Ochocinco appear on a soccer card?

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

In a cardboard universe that’s soon to include video trading cards, the answer to this question is “definitely maybe.”

According to a recently-released ESPN.com news item and the following video from the foxsports YouTube channel, the loud-mouthed Bengals receiver started a four-day trial with Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City earlier this week. Obviously better known for the other foot-named game, Chad Ochocinco apparently played soccer during his youth — and this tryout could (but likely won’t) spark a new career.

In the case that he just happens to make the roster — and if he’s willing to take a massive salary cut — collectors might just be able to see a different kind of Ochocinco football cards.

Despite the fact that April Fool’s Day is one week from today, the  footage below is very, very real.

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FREE STUFF FRIDAY IS BACK! Win a $250 Steiner Sports gift certificate ***CONTEST NOW CLOSED***

***CONTEST NOW CLOSED***

Free Stuff Friday — our weekly ritual where we try and get some cool stuff into the hands of our readers just for answering some simple card-related triviais back after a bit of a break.

Thanks to Steiner Sports, we think this week’s prize package is better than ever before in its return.

What’s the prize? A Ray Rice autographed photo and a $250 gift certificate.

How can you win? Follow the directions below and answer the questions found after the jump in a comment right here …  it’s that simple.

Tips: Don’t try stuffing the comments box — it’s one try per person per contest and we’ll check IP addresses — and make sure to include your email address so you can be contacted if you are selected as the winner.

Find out more about this week’s prize — and get the questions — after the jump …

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First Look: 2011 Donruss Elite Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Fresh off the plane from the 2011 Industry Summit in Las Vegas,  Panini America officials unveiled the first glance  at a newly-revamped Donruss Elite line.

Slated for a June release, 2011 Donruss Elite will land with a familiar innovation to the hobby, but a revolution for the card company. Multi-player autographed memorabilia booklets —much like the Joe Montana / Tom Brady combo seen below — will first fall on Panini’s early-summer Throwback Threads insert set. Otto Graham, Sammy Baugh, Emmitt Smith and Dan Marino — among other greats — will also grace these surely-sensational hits.

“Of all the years I’ve been working on Donruss Elite, this is by far my favorite set yet…. [collectors are] going to be blown away,” said Panini America NFL Brand Manager Carlos Torrez.

With a $6 price tag, five-card packs come 20 per box, which should deliver four autograph or memorabilia cards, four Rookie Cards (limited to 999), one Aspirations or Status parallel, and seven additional inserts or parallels. Dough-endowed case breakers will find either a booklet or a dual-signed Passing the Torch card and at least one autograph from a league luminary.

Founded on a 200-card base set, 2011 Donruss Elite features a hotbed of veterans and rookies — key components in a long list of other limited finds.

We’ll have to wait for warmer weather to see these cards in person, but this six-card gallery should shed some light on the pending release. Read More »

Upper Deck’s Evolution will be first video trading card … on the market

By Chris Olds | Editor

Two days after Panini America announced its plans for the hobby’s first HD video trading card, Upper Deck has pulled back the curtain on its previously top-secret Evolution insert cards to be found in the upcoming 2011 Upper Deck football card set.

What is Evolution? A video trading card.

Evolution will be the first video card on the market beginning April 12 as Panini’s cards, which will be autographed and limited in number, are merely slated for inclusion in NBA products later this year.

“I founded Upper Deck on innovation and even today we continue to reinvent the trading card,” said Richard McWilliam, Upper Deck’s owner and CEO. “I have always dreamed of bringing this type of technology to market and we are pleased to be the first to do so as the leader in the category. I believe Upper Deck’s ‘Evolution’ trading cards will capture the imagination of sports fans around the world for what trading cards can be and how far they have come.”

Upper Deck’s planned Evolution checklist  will include cards of Adrian Peterson, DeSean Jackson, Tony Romo and Patrick Willis in standard-size format cards that are a half-an-inch thick because there is a video screen built into the card. The cards will include merely college football footage since Upper Deck has a Collegiate Licensing Company exclusive to use NCAA logos on its products.

“From the onset, it was important to us that this new insert was a trading card first, otherwise it would just be a video player,” said Jason Masherah, Upper Deck’s vice president of Marketing. “The cards are built like our premium booklet trading cards with a video monitor built into the card. The beauty behind these cards is that they are self-contained. You don’t need any other gadgets or a computer to play them. You simply open the cover and press play. A video screen with 60 seconds’ worth of highlight reel footage of the player immediately starts playing. The card also has a port so it can be recharged as well.”

Upper Deck looks at one of the best college basketball programs

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

With college basketball on the forefront of the sports scene, Upper Deck picked the perfect time to release commemorating one of the most prolific college basketball programs in the country.

The University of North Carolina has had some of the greatest players come through the program including Michael Jordan, Vince Carter and Jerry Stackhouse.

The 90-card set highlights these players and more going back to the 1920s.

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No memorabilia wins in Barry Bonds trial, but these prints just might …

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor | Commentary

While the outcome is up in the air, one thing is certain — the Barry Bonds perjury trial probably can’t hurt the market for the sports cards and memorabilia of Major League Baseball’s home run king.

Why? The market for Bonds’ cards is as soft as it’s been in some time as the cloud of the BALCO investigation and whether Bonds used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs have worn on collectors.

However, those of us who remember the late-night home-shopping shows around the time of Bonds’ past record book pummelings might remember a piece of trivia that comes into play to this day, which is, by the way, the third day of the Bonds trial. The 2001 500th Home Run print seen above was one of the many items hocked on television and one of the talking heads during those hard-sell pitches was the artist who created it, Steve Hoskins.

Who’s Steve Hoskins? He’s one of the people testifying against Bonds, alleging that Bonds knowingly used steroids and, in turn, lied to government investigators in the BALCO case. Hoskins was a childhood friend of Bonds who became a business partner with the slugger before their relationship soured over allegations of forging his signature and embezzling money from their business ventures.

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