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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Upper Deck’s next stop for collectors – this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Upper Deck is making its way around the hockey world, popping up at a number of NHL events.

UD’s latest getaway is to St. Paul, Minn., for the 49th NHL Entry Draft this weekend. Upper Deck will have a booth set up at Xcel Energy Center on June 24 and 25 with an autograph guest.

Minnesota Wild’s Brent Burns will there from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday only. The Wild defenseman will only be signing an oversized 5×7 Upper Deck trading card at the booth. No other items are allowed.

But Upper Deck has more planned for the weekend even if fans can’t make it out for Burns’ signing. Collectors can pick up an exclusive six-card set in a wrapper redemption.

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Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor Raffle site is live

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

The hard part is over with — and now you can have a chance to own one of the most talked-about baseball cards ever made while helping raise money for a charity and some Little League and softball organizations.

The card? The $21,403 Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman.

The benefactors of collector Devin Grant‘s generosity? The Bryan Stow Fund — the San Francisco Giants fan who was nearly beaten to death by two men after a Dodgers game on Opening Day — two California Little League organizations and two softball leagues near where Grant lives.

The website? That’s www.strasburgsuperfractorraffle.org.

The raffle tickets are $10 with a third of the proceeds going to the Stow fund and 30 percent going to the Half Moon Bay Little League, 30 percent to the West Sacramento Little League and five percent each to the Half Moon Bay Softball League and the West Sacramento Softball League.

Grant, who found the card in a pack of Razor Rookie Retro at Peninsula Sports Cards in Belmont, Calif., recently decided that he’d rather have the card do some good than sit in his collection.

“It took about two days to know that this was something bigger than me,” Grant told Beckett Baseball before the site’s launch. “I mean the act of pulling the card was phenomenal, but a card like this has some firepower and I felt that it could be used in a more powerful way.”

The card has, indeed, been a powerful force in the hobby initially selling for $16,403 before the Washington Nationals pitcher made his debut last summer and then re-selling for $21,403. It was sold the second time after its owner, Robert J. Power, received several negative and harassing messages after the publicity about his buying the card. The card was purchased by Leaf’s Brian Gray, who placed it into packs of his repackaged product that launched last year — but the card had never been found until now.

Now, though, the card, which has generated plenty of publicity — and money — on its own, can help generate more and benefit kids and a baseball fan who was the victim of a senseless crime.

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.

The National: Plans are starting to come together

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

“I love it when a plan comes together.”

With apologies to George Peppard — or is it Liam Neeson? — the famed A-Team line just seemed apropos for the nuggets of news coming in regarding plans for this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, which runs from Aug. 3-7.

While The Show Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly is still in production, an A-List autograph guest was announced by TRISTAR on Tuesday — one that prompted an immediate re-write of the five autographs to get rundown of guests at the show.

The new signer? Mike Tyson.

His autographs will start at $119 — Hangover not included.

In other news for the show …

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UD partners with Marvel for Captain America card set

By Andrew Tolentino | BSCM Editor

While the summer blockbuster isn’t scheduled to premiere until July 22, Captain America: The First Avenger — on cardboard — arrived this week at comic book stores and other superhero-conscious retailers.

Propelled by a partnership with Marvel Entertainment LLC. — one that most recently brought us both THOR and Marvel Beginnings sets — Upper Deck revealed the bells and whistles in its latest debut. “Just like we did with our THOR movie trading card set from earlier this year, this effort will include memorabilia directly from the costumes featured in the movie, and autographs from some of the actors in the movie,” explained Upper Deck’s vice president of marketing, Jason Masherah.

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According to the manufacturer, the base set will be comprised of 86 “movie plot” cards, 12 character cards and one “movie poster header” card. Also included are autographed inserts from actors Kenneth Choi (as “Jim Morita), Stanley Tucci (as “Dr. Erskine”), Toby Jones (as “Arnim Zola) and Neal McDonough (as “Dum Dum Dugan”).

Headlined by the film’s main characters, memorabilia inclusions arguably offer more premium appeal. Collectors can expect to pull costume pieces from both “Steve Rogers” and “Captain America,” “Peggy Carter,”  “The Red Skull” and other key players at a rate of one in 48 packs. Read More »

New USA Baseball event gets prospects more exposure

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By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

It’s no secret that prospectors pay close attention to showcase events where they can get a glimpse at how future superstars will perform.

Now, USA Baseball has yet another date for them to mark on the calendar — July 1-2 for the Prospect Classic.

The Classic, which will air on the MLB Network, will consist of a two-game series between the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and the 18U National Team at a pair of North Carolina sites.

Some of the biggest names in the game today played for USA Baseball before heading to college or the pros with Topps (the present USA card licensee) and Upper Deck (the former licensee) producing the only cards of many players sometimes years before their actual MLB arrivals.

For more on the event, watch the video above.

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.

Win original Diamond Kings art! Did you miss this contest in Beckett Sports Card Monthly’s Art Issue?

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

The Art Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly has perhaps been replaced on shelves already by the latest issue, but we wanted to make sure that everyone has a chance at this one.

It’s a framed piece of original art used to make the 2003 Diamond Kings card of Jim Edmonds of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The piece was donated by Panini America specifically to get into the hands of one lucky reader of the issue.

How can you win?

Find an issue and read the instructions on Page 21. (No purchase necessary.) The deadline for entering is July 1.

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.

Onyx Authenticated readies two more Preferred Players Collection baseball products

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Onyx Authenticated‘s debut release of Preferred Players Collection, a boxed memorabilia product, has been well-received — so much so it’s now getting the Ernie Banks treatment.

As in “let’s play two.”

The first PPC arrived in May with an autographed baseball in every tamper-proof box, and now the  Riverview, Fla.-based company is preparing two more PPC products — PPC Special Limited Edition and PPC Game-used Edition.

The Special Limited Edition will be, well, limited to just 100 three-box cases with each box including an autographed baseball inside and they will be available for sale only through Blowout Cards and Dave & Adam’s Card World during the 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention Aug. 3-7 in Chicago.

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Weekly Highlights (June 13 – June 17)

Box Busters

Weekend Wonder of the week

First looks and sneak peeks of the week

They are the champions of the week

Auction action

This week in questionable fashion, Shaq-signed cookies & more

Just for fun

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Weekend Wonder: The Looming Lockout

It’s been a good while since we prompted the hobby audience with a Weekend Wonder to pontificate. It’s also been a good while since the NFL Lockout started baffling football fans, collectors and casual spectators.

The prompt to ponder (and actually respond to) this weekend is of course the lockout and its impact (potential or real) on the hobby.

Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling:

  1. Will the lockout affect the way you collect or how much product you buy this season?
  2. Will the lockout help or hurt the rookies in the hobby?
  3. What are your concerns about the lockout?
  4. Will you focus more on college football collectibles/cards if the lockout continues?

And … go!

First Look: 2011 Topps Gridiron Legends Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

If we can’t look forward to a season this year, we can certainly look back.

Wait, what’s this? Did we happen upon Doc’s flux capacitor?

Unfortunately not, but we did happen upon what could be the next best thing — an announcement from Topps detailing the release of its all-new 2011 Topps Gridiron Legends line.

Slated to hit shelves in mid October, Gridiron Legends will stand as a blast from the past, even if there isn’t a present by then. According to the manufacturer, the new brand “salutes the NFL’s cherished past heroes, vibrant stars and this year’s freshmen.”

The eight-card-per-pack product appears to be a nod to the greats and a commitment to the contemporaries with the company’s signature features. Collectors can expect to land four hits per  18-card box, falling in the forms of multiple-autograph cards, jumbo patches,  and combo and Stamp Relics.

Among the autograph cards 1956 Topps Reprint Autograph Cards — featuring NFL stars who appeared in the original 1956 Topps Football set — stand out as the most interesting historical hits from the product. Read More »

Stanley Cup coaches inscribe for 2010-11 Zenith

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey  Editor

Apparently, coaching a team through the rigorous NHL Playoffs isn’t a factor that interferes with the inking process.

According to Panini anecdote, a focused, yet friendly Claude Julien — head coach of the Boston Bruins — replied to a special inscription request with a brief, but effective can-do attitude. “No prob,” Julien wrote in a response to Panini’s appeal for a “2011 Stanley  Cup Finals” inscription on one of his Behind the Bench inserts in 2010-11 Zenith Hockey.

Clearly the ink dried before game seven, as the request would have otherwise read something like “2011 Stanley Cup Champions” or “Do you like apples? We just won the Stanley Cup. How do you like them apples?

Furthermore, the manufacturer also unveiled the same inscription from not-yet-vanquished Canucks coach Alan Vigneault. Eight more NHL coaches — including the likes of Lindy Ruff, Ron Wilson and Mike Babcock — offered only their names for the 10-coach autographed insert set.

See the gallery of signers after the jump. Read More »

Upper Deck commemorates Bru-win with 31-‘cahd’ set

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Long before the Boston Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night, Upper Deck had plans to pay respect to the winning fans and franchise by way of cardboard.

Now that several bearded Bruins are doing basically whatever the heck they want to do with Lord Stanley’s multifunctional trophy, the card maker has officially announced production plans for a commemorative box set.

“To commemorate Boston’s exciting win, we’ve put together this stunning 31-card collection that hockey fans, especially Bruins fans will simply go crazy for,” noted Josh Zusman, Upper Deck’s hockey brand manager.

The 31-“cahd” Beantown tribute includes: Read More »

Football finds a home in Panini’s Timeless Treasures

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Continuing to assert the fact that football cards — if not football itself — will be around in 2011, Panini America announced yesterday that the greats of the gridiron will have a home in one of its most beloved brands.

The Timeless Treasures line — with origins as an insert set in 2001 Classics Football —  has made an impact in both basketball and even baseball cards, “But it’s never before been done in football,” verified Ben Ecklar, Panini America’s Director of Product Development. “So this product signifies a history-making opportunity – both for us internally in terms of being able to create from the ground up the first Timeless Treasures Football release, but also for collectors in  terms of the opportunity to collect it. And trust me, they will want to collect it.”

Hitting shelves in late September, the high-end, tin-boxed brand is designed to dazzle. Read More »

Showoff opportunity: The best of Beantown

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

As Vancouver quiets its riot, there are plenty of fans reveling — some, more romantically than others — over Boston‘s game seven victory.

To celebrate the latest team to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup, we’ll definitely be featuring the Bru-win in the next issue of Beckett Hockey. But we also wanted to give Bru crew collectors a chance to commemorate their favorite hockey team in the coming magazine.

Collectors can participate in  the print revelry by visiting this thread and posting a scan of their favorite Bruins card(s) or a picture showing the hobbyist and his/her notable Boston Bruins collectibles. Alternatively, these images can be sent to hockeymag@beckett.com for review.

We’re limited on space, so not all images will be used — but we’ll do the best we can to represent the hobby’s best of Beantown in the August issue of Beckett Hockey.

Hobby Q&A: California collector builds BGS 9.5 1986-87 Fleer set, opts to auction

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

One of the impressive basketball card collections ever amassed — a 1986-87 Fleer Basketball set all in 9.5 Gem Mint grade by Beckett Grading Services — has hit the auction block.

The set of all 132 cards was built by a 31-year-old private collector (who did not wish to be identified) based in Orange County, Calif., over a span of several years. He has opted to sell the set through Beckett Select Auctions, the sales division of Beckett Media. The bidding opens at $29,999.99 and the auction closes on Sunday.

How tough is this set to amass? There are 67 cards in the set that have population reports of 20 or fewer copies alone — and a BGS 9.5 Michael Jordan Rookie Card is a costly find, too.

What prompted the decision to sell such a lofty collecting goal? Unfortunate circumstances of real life.

Beckett Basketball caught up with the collector to talk about the set and the odyssey that was building it. Read a Q&A with him — and see many of the best cards in the set — after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2011 SP Legendary Cuts baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Brian Fleischer and Chris Olds as they rip into not one, not two but four boxes of 2011 SP Legendary Cuts baseball cards from Upper Deck in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? What card could end up in your collection?

Watch and find out …

Panini readies Dallas Mavericks NBA champions set

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

If you haven’t heard, the Dallas Mavericks are the NBA champions.

And now comes the championship boxed set from Panini America, the exclusive trading card licensee of the NBA.

Unveiled on Wednesday, the 36-card set will include a card for every member of the team, highlight cards for all 16 playoff victories that came en route to the Larry O’Brien Trophy and cards of coach Rick Carlisle and a card noting Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki.

The set will arrive on July 14 but is available for pre-order on Panini’s website. Collectors who order there will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed Nowitzki game-used card if they are among the first 100 to pre-order.

See more images and get a full checklist … after the jump.

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One Shaq fan can own a signed pack of Oreos

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

The Amusing Retiree, Shaquille O’Neal, has been one to watch on Twitter for some time now, but one of his latest tweets just might be one that has a SuperCollector or two (Have you entered your collection?)  licking their chops.

Over what? A bag of Oreos. More specifically, an autographed bag of Triple Double Oreos along with a case of the cookies as a bonus that is up for grabs in a charity auction to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Newark.

Why? Why not?

“Even [though] I’m retired I’m still dunkin'” he tweeted Wednesday. “Get a signed [pack] of Triple Double Oreos and help.”

You may think the auction is a bit tongue in cheek — well, isn’t everything with Shaq these days? — but the cause is a good one and, well, it’s an unusual item. It’s one that the collector who has Everything Shaq simply won’t have — yet.

How much is the bidding, which ends Friday, up to?

Click the link above to find out …

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.

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.

MLB stars design their own shirts for baseball fans

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

After two months of talking, designing and meetings, fans have an opportunity to own clothing designed by some of baseball’s biggest stars.

Major League Baseball’s Players Choice Signature Series jerseys and T-shirts are back for a third year. This time, the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera are putting their ideas on these unique products.

In addition, players from the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants have designed apparel for the 2011 season, including Carl Crawford, Kevin Youklis, Cliff Lee, Carlos Ruiz, Tim Lincecum, Cody Ross and Matt Cain.

The pieces of clothing are interesting because you have players’ direct input going into the product. Because the players are putting their personalty on shirt, the designs are uniquely different between players.

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Would Justin Verlander’s second no-no of season have ignited interest in his baseball cards?

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor | Commentary

Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander flirted with throwing his second no-hitter of the season Tuesday night against the Cleveland Indians, blanking his AL Central rivals before giving up a hit in the eighth and recording the win in a 4-0 victory.

His first no-no came on May 7 against the Blue Jays and it really didn’t generate much heat for his cards at all … it should have — and a second no-no should have propelled him firmly into the elite of MLB arms in many minds if not already there. It would have been his third career no-no — breaking a tie with Mark Buehrle and Roy Halladay for the most by an active MLB pitcher. (It’s worth noting that Verlander is the youngest of the three, too.)

Yet the slugger-centric mentality of the hobby might have left this one once again as one for the highlight reels — and not so much for his cards. It wasn’t to be — but I’m optimistic that such dominating showings might help a few collectors latch onto players whom they might not have in the past. You know, back in the days when we were all marveling at tape-measure home runs that turned out to be, um … wind-aided? (Yeah, that’s it … )

Or, perhaps — though I’d not agree — some may feel that he’s already too valuable.

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