Monthly Archives: March 2011

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 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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Box Busters: 2010 Topps Five Star Football

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Join Beckett Football’s Dan Hitt and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a box of 2010 Topps Five Star Football in this latest edition of Box Busters.
What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010 Topps Tribute Football

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Join Beckett Football’s Andrew Tolentino and Dan Hitt as they rip into a pair of 2010 Topps Tribute boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.
What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Collector’s wife finds the ultimate prize

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

When Geni Chavez brought her husband a Christmas present this past year, she didn’t realize it would turn into one of the best presents Manny Chavez ever received.

Chavez received a few boxes of cards for the holiday, a typical assortment for any collector. In the stash was a box of 2008 TriStar Futures, a product with a grand prize of a Babe Ruth signed baseball.

“When I opened the box all I saw was Congratulations,” said Chavez from El Paso, Texas. “My thought was a great redemption then I continued reading and it said, ‘You have found the grand treasure.’”

Chavez pulled the coveted grand prize, which was a replica of the baseball with Babe Ruth’s name in gold lettering. When he read the fine print, Chavez saw he had six days to fulfill the redemption. It expired on Dec. 31, 2010.
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Pizza Prints bring your NBA, college teams to your pie

By Chris Olds | Editor

From the Too Weird Not to Write About File …

If you’ve ever wanted to celebrate a birthday or a big game with an inspiring pie instead of a cake, now you can.

New on the sports scene is Pizza Prints, which is exactly what it sounds like — an edible pizza decoration — which has been licensed for home and commercial use (yes, that means delivery) by the NBA, World Wrestling Entertainment (a licensing deal unveiled today) and more than 80 colleges and universities.

Other “Happy Birthday” related images — as well as Nickelodeon characters such as Dora The Explorer — also are available  … and the company apparently is pursuing a deal with the NFL.

The prints are slightly cheese-flavored and calorie-free. They are made from starch and food coloring just like what you see on birthday cakes.  Pizza Prints are simply applied to a warm cheese or appropriately accommodating pizza — one where cheese-oppressive toppings are not center-pie — and the logo melts right in.

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Box Busters & Contest: 2010-11 Crown Royale

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Join Beckett Hockey’s Andrew Tolentino and Tim Trout as they rip into a pair of 2010-11 Crown Royale hockey boxes from Panini America in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

2010 Playoff Contenders Football Rookie Tickets Autographs print-runs released

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

The final list of short-prints for 2010 Playoff Contenders Football was released today, revealing the SPs for the Rookie Ticket Autographs Rookie Cards.

Playoff Contenders was full of SPs throughout different subsets, but the Rookie Ticket Autographs gained the most attention especially when we learned there was also variations in the product. Collectors wanted to know the print run of the card they pulled and what they needed to chase.

A full checklist and their print run could be found below.

Every card is numbered to 500 or less. Some of the more rare cards include Indianapolis Colts’ Blair White (numbered to 75), each of Tampa Bay’s Eric Berry’s cards, which includes the variation, are numbered to 97 and Gerald McCoy’s two cards are each numbered to 82.

Tim Tebow’s two cards are numbered to 400 and each of Sam Bradford’s cards are numbered to 377.
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Bend it … but not like David Beckham

By Chris Olds | Editor

Soccer fans who found a David Beckham autograph card in the new World of Sports set from Upper Deck might not realize they have a card with a certain twist to it.

It’s not Beckham’s autograph — it’s not Posh‘s, either. It accidentally has the sticker signature of Luciano Emilio.

And the real kicker? It still sold for $325 in a recent online auction.

Read More »

Collectors’ votes are in … The top 60 Topps baseball cards of all time

By Chris Olds | Editor

The collectors have spoken as part of the 60th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, and they have picked the best of the best on cardboard for the last six decades.

No. 1 wasn’t a tough decision and the voting wasn’t even close as the 1952 Mickey Mantle topped Hank Aaron’s 1954 Rookie Card by more than 1,600 votes cast online at

Considering that the Mantle is one of the most iconic cards ever made – and it’s a double-printed non-Rookie Card that books for $30,000 – it was far from an upset.

The Top 10 included five cards from the 1950s and three cards from the 1980s, while just two cards made after 2000 cracked the entire list. It’s also a slugger-centric list with just nine pitchers holding down 12 spots in the top 60.

Here’s the rundown… after the jump.

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Pricing Debut: 2010 Contenders Football


By Dan Hitt | Sports Data Publishing Manager

First Beckett pricing for the highly anticipated 2010 Playoff Contenders football product made its debut this morning on

The product is highlighted by the base autographed Rookie Cards – some of the most collected singles every year. We made every effort to identify the short-printed signed RCs and a number of those are attracting tremendous attention on the secondary market. Several, who are otherwise lesser known players, have been selling well above $50 and a handful have been trading at levels greater than $100. Read More »

2010 Playoffs Contenders – Super Bowl Ticket Black auto print runs

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Panini America knows how to keep its fans wanting for more.

The company released more information on the short-prints in 2010 Playoff Contenders Football, but not all of it – yet.

On Wednesday, it gave out information on the Super Bowl Ticket Black Autographs. Friday is the day the Rookie Ticket variations checklist will be released.

To recap the short-prints.
– Legendary Contenders Black autographs checklist
– Super Bowl Ticket Black autograph checklist (below)
– Rookie Ticket – still waiting …

See the print runs of the Super Bowl Ticket Black autos after the jump: Read More »

Panini America offers high-end with 2010-11 Luxury Suite Hockey

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Ever been to a luxury suite at a sporting event? You get a great view, fabulous seats and all the best amenities inside.

When you put that name on a product, collectors are going to expect the same type of treatment. Panini America is releasing a high-end hockey product at the end of June, 2010-11 Luxury Suite Hockey.

For $50 a pack, the product has the best Panini has to offer. Each pack will contain three cards, but every card in the set is either a memorabilia card, an autograph card, an autographed memorabilia card or a Rookie Card.

“Clearly, Luxury Suite isn’t for every budget, but if the market has demonstrated anything of late, it’s an unquenchable thirst for high-end product,” said Al Muir, Panini America’s NHL Brand Manager. “Luxury Suite delivers on its name.  There’s no filler here — it’s all thriller.”

See a gallery of the cards after the jump:

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Charlie Sheen made his baseball card debut long, long ago … and now he’s in a galaxy far, far away

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

As a long-time baseball fan — and a long-time collector — there have been a few twists and turns that my collection’s path has taken. I’ve dabbled in this, I’ve dabbled in that as a collector while finding my way through life. My stash of mementos saved are reminders of this or that — a reflection of a diversion that gets me away.

I bet that baseball cards do that for many of us — just like high-end baseball memorabilia purchases once invigorated Charlie Sheen. (He owned a Honus Wagner T206 baseball card, the Mookie Wilson-hit baseball from the 1986 World Series that made Bill Buckner infamous and more than a few other notable items in the past.)

I pretty much chose The Plainly Docile Path of The 1980s Topps Wrapper and made it a career. Sheen? Well, we’ll get to that.

In recent years, two things have crossed paths for me — baseball and baseball movies. Why? The items seem more unique and yet more special in their simplicity. The items are often less expensive and, at times, depending on the type of item, more available than the typical mass-produced memorabilia. That’s just where my collecting tastes have meandered. And all that’s in part because it’s not about a “book value” — it’s about the chase and some semblance of a sentimental value, an appreciation for the stories and the characters that amuse me. (Some more than others.)

Right beside my collecting to-do lists — finish a never-completed 2004 Topps 205 Series 2 mini master set, organize my Nick Swisher stash — is a simple list of baseball movie DVDs to pick up. Some have been crossed off already. Others haven’t. The Major League trilogy? Got it. Bull Durham? Got it. A League of Their Own? Need it. Eight Men Out? Got it. The Natural and The Rookie? Need ‘em. Mr. 3,000? Got it. The Bad News Bears Billy Bob Version? Got it. The Bad News Bears Matthau Brand? Need it.

Why? Just because — besides, they’re like baseball cards that do more than just sit there.

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Team Canada Multiplies the chase in 2010-11 SP Authentic


By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Just a few days away from the on-shelf date, Upper Deck‘s 2010 SP Authentic just got a little more alluring.

Making the most of an exclusive contract with Team Canada, Upper Deck has multiplied the penmanship of a legendary roster. Today, the manufacturer recently revealed two cards with two times the signatures.

Sidney Crosby appears alongside — well, himself — on a very desirable dual autograph card. Featured below images of The Kid with Team Canada and with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Crosby’s signatures merit multiple glances and hobby admiration.

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2010 Legendary Contenders short-prints revealed


By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Thanks to the hardcore number-crunching expertise of our pricing analysts, we were able to reveal an unconfirmed list of short-printed autographed Rookie Cards in 2010 Contenders last week.

This week, Panini America is taking the first steps in elucidating the more elusive autographs in this product. For starters, the manufacturer made clear the numbers for rarer signatures in the Legendary Contenders Black Autographs insert set. Read More »

Upper Deck World of Sports short-print autographs revealed

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Wondering where certain autographs have been when busting Upper Deck‘s Wide World of Sports?

Several of the autographs in the product have been revealed as short prints. Wide World of Sports features an array of talent from just about every sport imaginable with female soccer players to figure skaters to NBA stars.

Some of the top names on the short-print list are Cal Ripken Jr., MLS soccer star Tony Meola and MMA superstar Chuck Liddell.

There is no print run listed for the cards, however, just know they are a bit rare. Just one of the Ripken cards appeared on eBay recently and sold for $151.50.

Short-print checklist after the jump:

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