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Monthly Archives: March 2011

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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You’ll never guess who tops MLB jersey sales …

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

One might think that everybody who wants a Derek Jeter jersey already has one, but 16 years after he made his big-league debut he’s still the game’s No. 1-seller.

That just shows you the power of pinstripes.

The New York Yankees shortstop topped the list of the 20 best-selling jerseys, according to Majestic sales figures last year released by Major League Baseball on Wednesday.

Two other Yanks, Alex Rodriguez (ninth) and Mark Teixeira (11th), also made the list, which was released for the first time.

The Philadelphia Phillies — another pinstriped team — placed three in the top five with newcomer Roy Halladay checking in third in his first season with the team, Chase Utley fourth and Cliff Lee fifth — though his stats include jersey sales for all three teams he has appeared on in the last year or so, the Mariners, Rangers and now Phillies.

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Even Elizabeth Taylor had cards … but not many

By Chris Olds | Editor

Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor died Wednesday morning at age 79, leaving behind a legacy of Hollywood greatness.

She appeared in more than 50 films, winning a pair of Academy Awards as best actress, but what she didn’t leave behind was an extensive history of appearing on trading cards.

Taylor appears on just 11 cards in the always-growing Beckett.com non-sport database and six of those cards can be found in the 2009 Americana set from Panini America.

The Hollywood icon was included in the Americana Movie Posters Materials sets (top), where a memorable poster can be found on one side of the card and then a swatch of clothing from the stars of the movie are found on the other.

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MLB Network, MLB Productions examine Topps baseball cards in special

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Opening Day isn’t far away, but the MLB Network has a little something else in store for baseball card collectors next Tuesday.

It’s 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 also will likely include some behind-the-scenes looks at Beckett Media as the documentary crews visited Dallas in early February.

Free Stuff Friday will return this week

It’s been some time since we had a Free Stuff Friday – our day of free contests that gets cool stuff into collectors’ hands just for poking around on Beckett.com and answering some basic trivia questions.

So we’re bring it back … with a new look and perhaps some more exciting prizes in store.

We’re still working on lining up a big prize or two this week, but wanted to get the word out that it’s coming back … and it’s going to be better than ever.

What will this week have in store? Watch and find out right here on Friday. — Chris Olds

Does the hobby need an HD trading card? Yes and no …

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor | Commentary

Panini America, the lone licensee of NBA trading cards, is taking the definition of what is a trading card a new direction.

It’s one that’s crystal clear and clearly defined — well, we think — as it’s something that’s pretty well known in television circles.

It’s high definition — and it’s coming to a trading card soon.

The company unveiled Tuesday its Panini HD program, which will introduce the hobby to the first video trading cards. These will be autographed releases with footage that can be watched in embedded video screens in the card. The autograph subjects will be Panini exclusive players, so you can expect Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and John Wall to be among them.

“As you can imagine, there’s no better way of authenticating an autographed card than showing you the player signing that card, showing you the player numbering that card and that footage being featured on that specific card,” said Mark Warsop, Panini America’s CEO. “I can’t think of any way that you can authenticate a hand-signed trading card any better than that.

“These will be super high-tech cards and they will be limited in number.”

A multimedia trading card isn’t a new creation — Upper Deck briefly experimented with CD-ROM cards in the late 1990s — but these apparently promise to be more than that … at least as a higher-end item that can be found in products this year.

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Upper Deck promises Evolution in collecting on April 12; Panini promises world’s first HD trading card

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By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Trading card manufacturers are always searching for the next big thing — at least something that might have a big impact on the company’s bottom line — and both Upper Deck and Panini America are teasing something to come soon.

For Upper Deck, it’s the Evolution of collecting as teased above to come on April 12 via a new insert card in 2011 Upper Deck Football.

What that means right now? We get to wait and see.

“It’s highly proprietary and we’re not at liberty to discuss the details just yet,” said Jason Masherah, Upper Deck’s vice president of Marketing. “But suffice it to say that this upcoming unveiling will once again revolutionize the trading card industry as we know it today, in a way that only Upper Deck is capable of doing.

“Next month’s introduction will definitely catch people by surprise. This is the most important trading card innovation since Upper Deck introduced the cut signature card in 1998, so it will certainly be worth the wait.”

Panini America is promising later this week to unveil the industry’s first HD video trading card.

What will these things entail? How will these things work?

One might speculate that they’ll use QR codes on trading cards working in conjunction with smartphones or computer webcams, but that’s merely a guess.

For now, we’ll just have to wonder what the two companies think The Next Big Thing is.

We’ll find out — and get to decide as collectors — soon.

Inside a mighty mailday … at least for me

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Visit any sports card and collectibles forum and you’ll likely see one of these types of posts — a recap of what arrived into a collector’s possession that’s one part “Check This Out!” and one part bragging. It’s one part a reflection of a hobby and, perhaps, a reflection of the madness that is what we do as collectors.

It’s the mailday report.

I tested the waters of live online video to a select few Twitter followers late Monday afternoon with a UStream mailday report after I received a big ol’ box of goodness from CheckOutMyCards.com at lunchtime. The video was one part to show a curious few the end result of how that sales site works and to examine my stuff — a stash that had been amassed over the last few months of buying — while subtlely showing off — ok, maybe not so subtlely — what I collect. (As if you didn’t know, as a regular reader, already …)

This time, though, it was a little less Swisheriffic. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of Nick Swisher — and Jose Canseco on Topps Tiffany cards (a recently completed kick) — but the big guns were something else. It was a selection of cards that caught my eye for one reason or another. A couple were cards I had always wanted and the specimens presented themselves, while a few others were just good buys or unique cards that grabbed my attention. I did some spring cleaning of sorts in the ol’ collection recently — something long overdue — and turned some not-so-wanted cards into these you see here (and more).

So, here’s a rare mailday post from me. (Do you have a cool mailday to report? Start a thread at the first link above or comment below.)

The biggie, was a Roger Maris 1958 Topps Rookie Card in PSA 4 condition. It’s not the prettiest specimen, as seen above, but I’ve seen worse-looking copies — in lower condition with higher prices to boot. Unlike many of you guys out there, dropping $500 on a single card just isn’t an option here — but a lesser-grade guy, one that’s pretty well-centered and free of a heavy dose of 1958 Topps “snow” (white spots in the photo) was. To top that, I got it for roughly the price of a PSA1 or 2 after making an offer to the previous owner. Yes, it’s still a rough copy … but I won’t be able to top it without a firesale from someone who deals in higher-grade vintage. (When’s the last time that happened?)

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Panini marks 50th anniversary with promo cards

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

Panini is a definite newcomer to the world of sports memorabilia — at least in the United States — but its European memorabilia offerings have hit a milestone this year, one that will be marked on some Panini America releases as well.

While Panini America is in the midst of its sophomore season as an NBA licensee, its rookie season for the NHL and embarks its third season as an NFL licensee in the United States soon, its parent company is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

As part of the celebration, Panini unveiled on Sunday plans to release a 15-card set of specially marked previously released promo cards at the 2011 Industry Summit this week in Las Vegas. The Summit is an event where dealers and manufacturers meet to discuss the industry and its direction.

The cards will be the same as those offered at the NHL All-Star Game, the Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game earlier this year but will be marked with a 50th anniversary foil stamp.

The 50th anniversary logo first appeared on the company’s Playoff Contenders Patches boxes and its events marking the milestone will continue throughout the year.

See a gallery of all 15 cards after the jump.

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Minding Mike’s Lange-uage

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Longtime Pittsburgh Penguins announcer Mike Lange has developed quite a way with words throughout his career. Delivering lines like, “He beat him like a rented mule!” and “Scratch my back with a hacksaw!,” Lange has reached legendary status in the realm of brilliant broadcasters.

Thanks to the following five Voices of the Game cards, his sayings unseen are sights to behold. Found in Panini’s 2010-11 Crown Royale,  Lange’s unique catchphrases are inscribed befittingly on these one-of-one inserts. Read More »

Box Busters: 2011 SAGE HIT football cards

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

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

2011 SAGE HIT Sampler Platter

By Andrew Tolentino | Editor

While the NFL attempts to sort out the season that might not be,  trading card companies remain a ceaseless source for football fodder.

With its early-season release, SAGE is the  first manufacturer to give collectors that taste of turf. According to schedule, 2011 SAGE HIT should be available on shelves shortly, if not already. We managed to get our hands on the first football product of the season and we couldn’t resist sharing this 32-card sampler platter with our equally hungry readers. Read More »

**Contest Closed** Box Busters: 2010 SP Authentic Football

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Join Beckett Football’s Dan Hitt and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a box of 2010 SP Authentic Football in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2011 Topps Opening Day Baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2011 Topps Opening Day baseball cards — well in advance of Opening Day — in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out. How can you win a box? Just watch…

Box Busters: 2011 Topps Heritage Baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2011 Topps Heritage baseball boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.
What will they find inside? Watch and find out…

First Look: Upper Deck’s 2011 Goodwin Champions

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Upper Deck received a shipment last week of creepy crawlies, and the company didn’t send it back.

The shipment including beetles and butterflies that will be included in Upper Deck’s 2011 Goodwin Champions in its Entomology subset.

Goodwin Champions includes athletes from various sports, including golf, basketball and diving. The cards also feature several inserts such as Goodwin Masterpieces Presidential Series where all cards are original hand-painted images of the 43 presidents, Animal Kingdom Patch Cards, Museum Collection Relics and the Entomology Collection.

The 20-pack, 5-card box product is set to be released this summer.

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