Monthly Archives: May 2011

Players’ use of social media at NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere might change things for the hobby

Mark Ingram shows off his jerseys at the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere.

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor | Commentary

In the days of instant gratification, the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere autograph and photo shoot weekend is a must as collectors demand to see the players in their uniforms on their Rookie Cards as soon as possible.

But the players’ use of social media — even in the days of uncertain labor strife where it can make a positive connection with fans — might make some higher-ups cringe.

And it’s not really the advanced card collectors who might react badly — many know what goes on with event-used memorabilia at events like this — but the card companies and the league might not like seeing the future New Orleans Saints running back and former Heisman winner wearing enough jerseys to make him look like he’s doubled (or more) in size on the chicken dinner circuit as he wears countless jerseys all at one time all in the name of event-used memorabilia.

“Haha I’m at the #rookiepremiere and I have on like 17 Saint[s] jerseys,” wrote Ingram as he Tweeted the photo to his 45,976 followers. He later added a side view showing his girth below the jerseys to be used as a heavy component in all card products — high-end and low-end — this coming season.

An image like the one of Ingram destroys the perception of scarcity for even the rarest of rare patch cards to be found from jerseys such as these — something that the card companies probably don’t like. Yet, at the same time, not much will quash demand for the key cards of rookies as this has been done for years, though with less publicity.

Sure, there will can only one 1/1 logo shield made from each jersey. But how many jerseys can a guy wear at once? How many times will a wearing like this take place for each of the card companies — Topps and Panini America that are there?

The same could be said for the large volume of autographs signed during the weekend, but, like the jerseys, they are spread out throughout the season so that helps soothe the burn when one might realize that there are a lot of other cards out there just like theirs. (Oh, and i’s also worth noting that Ingram hasn’t been assigned a uniform number … so the No. 80 jerseys will likely bug a few detail-minded collectors.)

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Topps announces 2011 Bowman Mystery Autograph Redemptions

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Collectors who ripped into boxes of 2011 Bowman may have found an autograph redemption with no name attached but Topps cleared that mystery up today.

The autograph will be one of five potential signatures, the company announced.

The player will be revealed when the card is redeemed and can be: Freddie Freeman, Aroldis Chapman, Darin Mastroianni, Jarred Cosart or Lars Anderson.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

First look: Topps unveils MLB Sticker Collection

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

We all know that sports memorabilia can be a sticky business, but on Wednesday it got a bit stickier for Major League Baseball.

As in stickers.

Topps unveiled its plans for its 2011 MLB Sticker Collection, a 300-plus sticker release that just might entice collectors of all ages — ok, maybe younger ones — to peel and fill up an album full of today’s stars, yesterday’s legends and more. Each album will come with six free stickers, while the 309-sticker set will be found in eight-sticker packs for 99 cents. Each sticker box will include 50 packs when it arrives in August.

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Topps, Majestic land Joe Dimaggio licensing deals

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

“Joe, Joe DiMaggio … we want you on our side.”

That’s the chorus of a tribute song for the New York Yankees star released in 1941, but it might be Topps‘ theme as well as the estate for “The Yankee Clipper” has agreed to license DiMaggio’s likeness for use on baseball cards.

As part of a licensing and commercial push as part of the 70th anniversary of the 56-game hitting streak, Joe DiMaggio LLC has announced that two companies have been selected as licensees thus far: Majestic Athletic/VF Corp. for jerseys and T-shirts and Topps for trading cards.

The commemoration of the streak will include a substantial online presence with a Facebook page, Twitter account and more along with the merchandising deals. These deals are the only presently signed.

“Joe DiMaggio LLC has entered into a license agreement with Topps,” said Michelle Alfandari, a managing partner, in confirming the deal. “We do not have a license deal with Upper Deck.”

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Latest from UDA has LeBron James’ right-hand stuff

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

Upper Deck Authenticated would like you to give LeBron James a hand.

No, not for advancing in the playoffs with his carefully crafted dream team … UDA wants you to give a hand as a gift to a collector — a Tegata hand print.

Just like his idol, Michael Jordan, James has inked a limited number of the Japanese hand prints which UDA is offering for sale. Each print is a unique print of James’ right hand, signed and limited to 26 copies. Each 36-by-36 framed display sells for $2,999.99 on Upper Deck’s website.

“LeBron’s first season with the Heat provided us with a great opportunity to introduce one of our top exclusive spokesmen in this unique way,” said Steve Sloan, director of UDA. “What better way to christen LeBron’s first year in Miami than with an original ‘Tegata,’ which is considered the highest form of recognition for athletes in Japan.”

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Basketball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Soon-to-shelve slideshow: 2011 Prestige Football

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By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Tired of lockout gridlock? Football cards are here to help.

In just about a week’s time — on May 25 — football fans can get their hands on the earliest Rookie Cards of the season. Panini America’s 2011 Prestige Football is slated to hit shelves next week — no matter the NFL lockout.

Known for being one of the hobby’s earliest sources for the Rookie Card race,  Prestige is a product that sets the tone for what’s to come on cardboard. Its maker — in another act of reassurance — recently unveiled a massive gallery of actual card scans and other signs of NFL livelihood.

From the looks of it, Prestige will hit shelves with an ample amount of autographs, materials and other highlights — even if the stars don’t play a single down.

Behold what collectors will be holding shortly after the jump. Read More »

Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew loses cancer battle

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew lost an ongoing battle with esophageal cancer on Tuesday. He was 74.

Killebrew played 22 seasons in the big leagues — 21 of those for the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins before he played a single season for the Kansas City Royals in 1975. He was known for his tape-measure home runs — earning him the nickname “Killer” — and he hit 573 round-trippers in his career, which placed him fifth on the career list at the end of his career.

Today, Killebrew still ranks 11th.

Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984, Killebrew was a 13-time All-Star and the 1969 American League MVP after he hit a career-high 49 home runs and drove in 140 for the Twins. He appeared in just one World Series in 1965 when his Twins lost to the Dodgers.

Killebrew hit 40 or more home runs eight times in his career, a total second only to Babe Ruth, and it’s Killebrew’s stance that is said to have inspired the silhouetted batter on the MLB logo.

On cardboard, Killebrew appeared on 2,853 different cards during his lifetime, including 813 different certified autograph cards. He appears on 1,213 different memorabilia cards made through the years but has just one Rookie Card, which is in the 1955 Topps set. It typically can be found for $250 or less.

His most recent autograph cards signed in larger quantities can be found in the 2010 Panini Century Collection product, which included many Hall of Famers and retired baseball stars alongside astronauts and other celebrities.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

First 2011 Bowman Harper autograph sale tops $1,000

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

There will be plenty of big pricetags attached to the autograph cards of 18-year-old Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper in the coming days as his highly sought-after first Nationals autographs are found in 2011 Bowman.

Like this one, for example, that is attached to a card that was not announced but was found in packs.

However, the only pricetags that matter — and the only ones that count in the price guides — are actual sales, and the first copy of Harper’s autograph sold on Monday night in advance of the product’s release on Wednesday.

How much?

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Ripping Retail: 2011 Bowman baseball blaster boxes

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he rips into some 2011 Bowman baseball blaster boxes in this latest edition of Ripping Retail.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out in Part 1 above.

Look for Part 2 — after the jump.

How many Bryce Harper cards will he find? Find out …

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Box Busters: 2011 Topps UFC Title Shot

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Join Beckett Media’s Andrew Tolentino and Bryan Hornbeck as they rip into a pair of 2011 Topps UFC Title Shot boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Collecting 101: Get your questions about the hobby answered in the next BSCM

Do you have any questions about the hobby — easy or hard — that you’d like answered in the next issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly?

We’re prepping the “Collecting 101″ issue, which will be an issue that lays out a lot of the basics of collecting as well as answer other questions.

Leave them in a comment below and they just might get answered in the next issue.

Weekly Highlights (May 9 – May 13)

Redemption announcements of the week

Box Busters

First Pricing


This week in greeting cards, lawsuits and other MARVELs

R.I.P.  Bill Gallo

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ITG offers two Emerald Masked Men redemptions

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Following In The Game‘s announcement and apology about incorrectly-serial-numbered Masked Men III Emerald cards, the company announced a redemption program this week.

The first public statement served to clarify that these Between the Pipes inserts are actually limited to 340— and not 1/1 as the cards would indicate. However, in an effort to give collectors some cardboard recompense, In The Game presented not one, but two new deals.

Details and mailing information after the jump. Read More »

Press Pass reveals wrapper opportunity, other ready redemptions in 2011 Legends

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Not that its latest football line lacks redeeming qualities, Press Pass recently unveiled its wrapper redemption program and some significant signature news for 2011 Legends collectors. Just now hitting shelves, the early-season favorite is filling out right on time.

What might your wrappers warrant? Press Pass Director of Product Development Nick Matijevich explains:

“With the economy still in the process of turning around, and collectors looking to get the most value for their money, we have decided to deliver an exclusive bonus auto of Daniel Thomas to collectors who send in 18 opened wrappers, while supplies last.”

Why tout Thomas?

“With the Dolphins trading up to get him in the second round and their two current running backs entering free agency, it appears as though he will be a starter from Day 1, so we expect these cards to be highly sought-after.”

Assuming that this Dolphin can truly move on the ground (hopefully, better than this), collectors could end up kicking themselves if they miss this opportunity.

Here’s how to avoid that shoulda-coulda-woulda scenario:

  1. Get your hands on 18 2011 Press Pass Legends wrappers (buying a box is easier than dumpster diving)
  2. Legibly print or type your first and last name, mailing address, email address and phone number on a 3″ x 5″ index card
  3. Stuff all of the above inside a mailer of your choice and address it to:
    Press Pass Inc.
    Dept. 11 Press Pass Legends FB Wrapper Redemption
    9115 Harris Corners Parkway, Suite 200
    Charlotte, N.C. 28269
  4. Mail it ASAP to beat the “while-supplies-last” curve.

But before you go trapsing off to the post office though, you might want to double check your box for a few redemption autographs — now ready for fulfillment.

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Low-condition classic comics become cut cards in new Upper Deck Marvel Beginnings set

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

Take one single and expensive item … and cut it into many pieces to make cards.

Sports fans are probably used to this idea since many a piece of history has been cut up in the past, but one of the latest products from Upper Deck takes low-condition — yet still expensive — comic books and turns them into collectibles that can be owned by many instead of just one.

That means we can all potentially own a piece of issue No. 2 of The  Amazing Spider-Man — a book that would cost several thousand dollars in top condition —  or perhaps one of several other issues from that title … or perhaps issue No. 181 of Daredevil, which features the death of Elektra.

These Ultimate Panel Focus cards can be found in packs of 2011 Marvel Beginnings, which is in stores now. The cards have fetched as much as $80 a pop in online auctions and there are just 554 total cards made, each technically one-of-a-kind cards from particular cut comic books.

How do the comic book fans among us feel about that? Should be an interesting reaction — after all, many a sports collector still reacts harshly to the notion of rare memorabilia getting the chopping-block treatment before being placed into cards. Yet, at the same time, the allure of a cool card is obvious, too.

Before you make up your mind where you stand, though, watch this behind-the-scenes video from Upper Deck …

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Now that you have seen the comic’s condition — and learned about the process — let us know what you think.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Steiner Sports unveils deal with Amar’e Stoudemire and first Madison Square Garden memorabilia offerings

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

Steiner Sports unveiled its latest partnership with a high-profile athlete on Thursday when it announced that New York Knicks star Amar’e Stoudemire will be working with the company.

Stoudemire’s autographs, game-used items and more — including his goggles and armbands — will be available to collectors as part of the deal, which will partially benefit Stoudemire’s foundation.

“I chose to partner with Steiner Sports because they are the best in the business,” Stoudemire said in a release.  “I am looking forward to working with Brandon [Steiner] and his team to create premiere products for fans.”

Also on Thursday, Steiner announced that the first Madison Square Garden items are available with seats from the famed venue for sale. The arena is presently being renovated.

The seats are $899.99 for a pair and $549.99 for a single seat. They can be found at www.PieceofTheGarden.com.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Basketball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Remembering Cartoonist Bill Gallo in his own medium

Illustration and text by Andy Broome | Beckett Media Contributor

Bill Gallo, long time sports cartoonist for the New York Daily News passed away yesterday at the age of 88.

Gallo inked many sports icons over his long career and gave fans characters such as Basement BerthaYuchie and “General Von Steingrabber,” a stab at Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
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First (in-depth) Look: 2010-11 Dominion Hockey

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

As promised in the previous glimpse of 2010-11 Dominion, Panini America just supplemented its product tease with more information and eye candy.

Falling from the same family tree as the revered National Treasures brand, Dominion is a high-end line with an eight-card box break and a $350 suggested retail price. It’s definitely not stickered for the feint of heart, but it’s filled with the hits that fuel the highbrow hobby.

Panini’s NHL Brand Manager Al Muir explained, “Dominion isn’t a product for the masses. This is for the high-end hobbyists, the whales. Even they’ll have to fight among themselves for it with these quantities. Should make for a dynamic secondary market for Dominion.”

Aside from being a collectible container, each box should yield six autograph or memorabilia cards (three autographs guaranteed, one a hard-signed Rookie Card) and presumably two base cards.

Other Dominion delights include:
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Short Punch Cards pack hits inside greeting cards

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

If you’re shopping for a collector, you know it can be a challenge finding what you want in the card aisle of a retail store or in the various parts of a local card shop.

But Short Punch Cards just might make pleasing that collector of yours happy — or at least offer a pack-like busting fix as a smaller gift while perhaps offering up a greeting along with some cold, hard cash or a gift card.

What are they? Greeting cards with an autograph or memorabilia card inside. You simply pull a tab to reveal a trading card that is enclosed inside the card.

“We are the only company who has sought a patent for the process of inserting a certified autographed or game-used memorabilia card into the greeting card,” said Michael LaFrance, owner of Ashburnham, Mass.-based Behaveya Cards, which produces Short Punch. “Many people just don’t know how the trading card industry evolved over the years.”

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Question of the day: Would you want to meet your favorite player?

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

In many hobby conversations through the years, I’ve heard more than one collector say something that sounds wrong but also really sounds right depending on how you look at it.

“I wouldn’t want to meet my favorite player.”

We’ve probably all heard the stories about an autograph experience gone wrong — i.e. no ink was signed — and the sour grapes that come with that. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the experience of meeting that childhood icon — dare we say hero — and finding out that the player isn’t as invested in what fans think as much as the fans are invested in him.

It’s happened countless times to countless fans — so much so some collectors just don’t want to go there with certain players, knowing full well that their images of fanaticism and devotion would be squashed for whatever reason.

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Panini America sues The Art of the Game alleging trademark infringement, autograph counterfeiting

Update: The case was settled out of court in August. Terms were not disclosed.

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

Panini America sued a Los Angeles-based company on Monday in a U.S. District Court alleging that its sales of unauthenticated and counterfeited Kobe Bryant autographed merchandise are in violation of its exclusive contract with the NBA superstar.

In its 66-page filing obtained by Beckett Media, Panini claims that The Art of the Game has sold items online and in kiosks at the Staples Center — the home of the Lakers — that are “in violation of [Bryant's] rights of publicity and are accompanied by certificates that fail to properly warrant the authenticity of signatures” under California law.

As part of its four-year deal with Bryant signed in 2009, Panini has exclusive rights to use his “name, nicknames, voice, likeness, photograph, picture, biography, statistics, image, caricature, game-used equipment and signature … in connection with the manufacture, packaging, advertisement, promotion, distribution, sale and general endorsement” of stickers, trading cards and sports memorabilia.

As part of that exclusive, Bryant will not offer his services to any other company and, according to the legal filing, “Kobe has not provided any such services to Art of the Game.”

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Box Busters: 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2011 Topps Attax baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2011 Topps Attax baseball gaming cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010-11 Pinnacle Hockey

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

What will they find? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2011 Leaf U.S. Army All-American Bowl

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Join Beckett Football’s Andrew Tolentino and Dan Hitt as they host Leaf’s Scott Jordan and bust a pair of 2011 U.S. Army All-American boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Blake Griffin’s Rookie of Year award adds to allure

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

In one of the least-surprising postseason award votes, Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin won this year’s NBA Rookie of the Year. It almost seemed as though he was a lock for the award after his first game in the league.

From that point, Griffin only got better and filled up highlight reels with electrifying dunks just about every night. He became the first unanimous Rookie of the Year in 21 years.

Will adding a piece of hardware change anything with Griffin?

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Weekly highlights (May 2 – May 6)

Beckett.com FAQs of the week

Card galleries

Hobby opinions

Box Busters videos

First pricing

This week in superheroes, wrestlers and Charlie Sheen, of course

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Box Busters preview gallery: 2011 Leaf Ultimate Draft Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Get a load of the girth here.

After busting two boxes of soon-to-release 2011 Leaf Ultimate Draft Football, I’m beginning to wonder if Alan Thicke is getting a cut.

Squeezed inside jumbo-sized toploaders, falling four per box, the cards in this product are behemoths — in one way or another. Slated to arrive next week, the early-season line showcases mostly offensive rookie standouts in autographed, thick-stock form. As Leaf’s own Scott Jordan informed us in the previously-posted Box Busters episode, the manufacturer designed this brand to yield nothing-but-hits box breaks. Read More »

Box Busters: 2011 Leaf Ultimate Draft football

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Join Beckett Football‘s Dan Hitt and Andrew Tolentino as they host Leaf’s Scott Jordan as they rip into a pair of 2011 Leaf Ultimate Draft boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

Original Batman “The Dark Knight Returns” page fetches nearly half-million dollars

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

A single page of original art from a 1980s Batman comic book sold for nearly a record half-million dollars Thursday night during a Heritage Auctions sale.

A splash page from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns No. 3, by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson sold for $448,125 after 15 bids. It’s believed to easily be the highest price ever paid for a piece of original American comic book art.

Other interior pages from the series have sold via Heritage as well. An interior page from issue No. 4 sold for $41,825 on Thursday as did a $13,145 page from issue No. 3, while an inside page from issue No. 3 sold for $38,837.50 in February.

The series, which was published in 1986, is considered to be one of the landmark issues of the decade, a release that “changed the course of comics” according to Rolling Stone and was dubbed one of the 10 best graphic novels ever written by TIME magazine.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Collectors pick subject of Panini set, but there is still more work

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

If you haven’t given Panini your opinion, what are you waiting for?

The basketball card producer is looking for collectors to tell them what they want to see in an insert set that will appear in 2011-12 Panini NBA Hoops.

The 20-card set is being entirely selected by collectors through voting on Panini’s blog. Everything from team set, name and subject will be decided by the fans.

Your votes have been counted and the subject of the set will be – single-game records.

Read More »

Box Busters: 2010-11 SP Authentic basketball cards

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Join Beckett Basketball’s Chris Olds and Rob Springs as they rip into a pair of 2010-11 SP Authentic basketball boxes from Upper Deck in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters preview gallery: 2010-11 SP Authentic

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

This year’s SP Authentic basketball set from Upper Deck has a slightly different feel than most releases in the past — that makes sense when college logos replace NBA logos as part of its exclusive deal with the Collegiate Licensing Company — but the essence of what is always a popular line remains.

And it’s chock-full of fun stuff like the card above — found one in every other box — along with autographs and more. In advance of our Box Busters episode, which will arrive later this evening, here’s a sneak peek at some of what’s inside … after the jump.

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Organize FAQ’s for Beckett.com users

Today, Beckett Media announced some changes it will make for some users on Beckett.com. Here are the basics and answers to some frequently asked questions about the adjustments made to its service.

1)    How much is a subscription to Organize if I don’t have an Online Price Guide?
A subscription to Organize is $19.95 per year. That’s just $1.66 per month for access to the world’s most complete checklist database and collecting tool.

2)    When will you begin charging for Organize?
May 10 is our target date to complete several Organize updates and feature enhancements. We will begin charging for Organize once those features are complete, but no sooner than May 11.

3)    How much is a subscription to Organize if I already subscribe to an Online Price Guide?
If you subscribe to a player, sport or Total Access Online Price Guide, there is no additional charge for Organize.

4)    How can I get Organize for FREE?
Subscribe to a player, sport or Total Access Online Price Guide and you will receive free access to Organize.

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Box Busters: 2011 Upper Deck MLS Soccer cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Dave Sliepka, Andrew Tolentino and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2011 Upper Deck Soccer boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …