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Monthly Archives: March 2011

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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Topps Touts 2011 Topps Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Topps just revealed detailed information on its foundational football set for next season — 2011 Topps Football.

Not trailing far behind the release of other early-season gridiron lines — including the company’s May unveiling of 2011 Topps Rising Rookies — 2011 Topps Football is scheduled to arrive late this summer with familiar bells, whistles and a few new attractions.

Beyond the 440-card base set, largely defined by veterans and sought-after one-per-pack Rookie Cards, the set will include limited parallels, sketch cards, Ring of Honor inserts (featuring Aaron Rodgers) and Rookie Premiere autographs. New to the set are full-color 1950 Bowman cards, team-themed Faces of the Franchise cards, rivalry-based Game Day cards, Super Bowl MVP-honoring Super Bowl Legends cards and other newfangled rookie-centric exclusives including In Name Rookie Letter Patch and on-patch rookie autographs. Read More »

Dick Perez discusses Diamond Kings, the hobby & more in upcoming issues of Beckett Sports Card Monthly

By Chris Olds | Editor

A collector might best remember Dick Perez from his Diamond Kings cards made by Donruss in the 1980s — and that’s what we recently hooked up with him to discuss for the next issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly. It’s an issue that will be dedicated solely to the decade where the hobby exploded into the mainstream and started to become what it is today.

For those perhaps too young to remember, Perez’s paintings appeared on Diamond Kings cards annually from 1982 to 1996, and before that, he created postcards of Hall of Fame baseball players with Perez-Steele Galleries beginning in 1980. After the Diamond Kings run, card collectors have seen him on cards from Topps — the inaugural Allen & Ginter release in 2006 and on Turkey Red and Topps Heritage creations in later years. In fact, Perez created original artwork that was found inside packs (inside Rip Cards) in that landmark Ginter release — showing just how much the hobby has changed in roughly a decade.

Here’s a small selection of comments from our first discussion with the legendary artist …

On the heyday of Diamond Kings: “The Donruss people of those years were great to me, though I never got a lot of company feedback. In fact, my best memory is that after the first couple of years, they left me alone to paint and experiment with different styles. I never had to get approval.”

On the end of Diamond Kings: “Those years flew by. I guess it was an indication of how busy I was during those years painting for Donruss, the Hall of Fame, the Philadelphia Phillies, private commissions and various other projects. By 1996, I believe I was ready to move on.”

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Teasing 2011 Topps Heritage …

By Chris Olds | Editor

We should have our hands on some 2011 Topps Heritage baseball cards soon — it officially arrives in hobby shops on Wednesday — but here are some observations about the set modeled after the 1962 Topps release that you should be looking for.

Tinted windows
The 1962 set had several cards that had an odd green tint to them and that anomaly is back with “green tint” variations where the photos are slightly greenish. Not to be outdone, it appears that those same cards found in Walmart retail packs have blue tints and Target cards have red tints. This has not been confirmed by Topps, but early breaks online indicate this to be the case. The reds are rather jarring, while the blues and greens are somewhat mellow — may not be as easily noticed. It also appears that cards with variations in this stretch of the set also have tinted variations, adding to the collecting challenge.

Back in black?
There also are black-border variant cards — a new creation found on the standard cards. They arrive three per retail three-pack packages. In the past, Chrome inserts had black variations … so not sure what’s going on here. Confirmed so far, however, are Green Refractors …

Variations like in 1962 …
The 1962 set had three versions of card No. 139 — a Babe Ruth Special and two Hal Reniffs. Looks like Joba Chamberlain plays Reniff this year … do we need more Yankees cards — much less more Jobas?

The short report
The standard set consists of 425 cards, so the high-numbers from 426-500 are SPs. (Not confirmed by Topps, but is very, very likely.)

Hats off
The hatless look that was common in older Topps sets — and last year’s Heritage and T206 releases — is back in some instances here. While I wasn’t a fan of those cards at all — still not — there are a few highlights. Find Brian Wilson‘s card to marvel at the ‘do … and wonder why The Beard isn’t there.

We’ll have more on Heritage in the coming days.

First look: 2011 Topps Triple Threads Baseball

By Chris Olds | Editor

Topps released the basic product information and preview images for 2011 Triple Threads on Saturday, the sixth installment of the high-end line that will pack a bit more inside this year when it arrives in late-July.

How much more? Two hits per pack.

That’s right, each pack will now include an autographed Relic and an additional Relic inside — the equivalent of a full box in past years. Each box will include one single Unity Relic (more on that in a second), one Autographed Unity Relic, one Autographed Triple Relic and one Triple Relic.

New this year will be Unity Relics where the background images for a group of players are shared and can be joined to gether to form a larger image. They will be found one per pack in standard and autographed forms. Since they only have one Relic piece, the “triple threads” theme only holds true if collectors complete a trio.  The Unity Relic checklist alone will include 243 players with 27 different backgrounds. The cards will be limited to just 36 copies with rarer Sapphire (/10), Gold (/25) and Emerald (/50) parallels.

Also new are Flashback Relic cards, which show players in the past as a rookie and also in the present … oh, and two new faces in the Topps lineup appear here too — Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax.

Every 18-box case will include one 1/1 Autograph Triple Relic and a Triple Autograph Triple Relic card.

See a preview gallery — and more — after the jump.

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We’re headed back to the 1980s … we want to hear what YOU think

By Chris Olds | Editor

In an upcoming issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, we’re going to explore the cardboard of the 1980s — you know, the decade that brought us the start of much of what we see today in the hobby.

We want to know what collectors think of the 1980s when it comes to cardboard — for all sports — so, if you would, please reply to the questions below in a comment. A selection of the best and most interesting answers just might appear in the issue … please include your name and location with your comment.

1.  When did you start collecting — and was there one set or card that you keyed upon early on during the 80s?

2. What card — any sport — do you think says “1980s” the most?

3.  Is there anything you miss about the 1980s card landscape as a collector?

4.  Is there anything that you miss about the 1980s products that you’d like to see revived?

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Hee-Hee Hits: Panini Previews 2011 Michael Jackson

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor


Earlier this week, Panini America revealed a look at awaited  trading card thriller 2011 Michael Jackson.

Set for a June 8 release  date, the company’s homage to the King of Pop will moonwalk into the market with a $2.99-per-pack price tag and an array of Jackson-inspired cardboard. Each 24-pack box promises a breadth of inserts themed after the icon’s legendary career. According to early odds, adventurous collectors can expect to pull 12 Decades, eight Top Tens, six Number Ones, five Gold Parallels, one Platinum Parallel and one Number Ones Deluxe card per box.

The real chase comes in the 20-box case. Read More »

It’s not a first for Joe Namath in National Treasures … but it’s darn close

By Chris Olds | Editor

One card in the newly released 2010 National Treasures features a guy we’ve seen on football cards plenty of times — in fact, we’ve seen him on 1,669 different cards through the years according to his player page in the Beckett.com database.

But we really haven’t seen him on a card like this.

You see, Joe Willie Namath — aka “Broadway Joe” — appears on an autographed game-used jersey card in National Treasures as a Los Angeles Ram.

If you’re a long-time Namath fan, the sight of it should make your knees buckle — and not as a tribute.

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First look: 2011 Panini Americana

By Chris Olds | Editor

The stars of the big screen (and the small screen) are back on cardboard.

Panini America unveiled its plans for 2011 Panini Americana on Thursday, the latest installment of the long-running non-sport brand that began in 2007.

Each $25 hobby pack will include one autograph or memorabilia card inside with boxes containing four packs when it arrives in June. Each box will include inserts from the Screen Gems, Prime Time Stars and the Matinee Legends sets as well as a parallel insert.

Among this year’s autograph subjects are Justin Bieber, Pamela Anderson, Selma Blair, Linda Hamilton and the late Jane Russell. As with past Americana releases, one can expect to find memorabilia cards for icons such as John Wayne, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin.

It appears that autograph cards from at least three sets in the product will be limited to 99 or fewer copies, while the memorabilia cards will be limited to 225 or fewer copies.

See more images after the jump.

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MLB Players Association restructures business group

By Chris Olds | Editor

The Major League Baseball Players Association announced Thursday a reorganization of its business-side staffing.

Evan Kaplan, the former category director for trading cards, collectibles and new business development is now the Director of Licensing and Business Development. He will oversee licensing for trading cards, apparel and other areas. The long-time Director of Business Affairs and Licensing, Judy Heeter, left the post last year.

Other moves announced Thursday include:

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Upper Deck teases return of Exquisite Collection

By Chris Olds | Editor

Fear not high-end football card collectors, your season is not over.

Upper Deck teased the return of Exquisite Collection football on Wednesday evening with a sampling of images from the brand that brought the ultra-expensive trading card to the masses in basketball for the 2003-04 season.

This time, though, it’s arriving fresh on the heels of two high-end football card releases — Topps Five Star and National Treasures from Panini America — and it’s NCAA-only as Upper Deck has a Collegiate Licensing Company exclusive.

Set to arrive soon — on March 29 — it will include some new features such as triple-booklet cards.

We’ll have more details on this product as soon as it’s available.

See more after the jump.

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