Monthly Archives: June 2011

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 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 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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Marshall Faulk’s autograph: It’s in the game

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor | Commentary

In an era of video games, smart phones and other full-blown digital distractions for would-be collectors, Panini America has partnered with EA SPORTS to encourage a little crossover action.

The trading card manufacturer unveiled today an attractive cardboard bonus that could fall in the hands of a naturally captive audience. While fans ultimately chose Peyton Hillis as their Madden 12 cover subject, Marshall Faulk — and his randomly inserted autograph cards — will appear in the game’s  Hall of Fame Edition.

According to Panini, Faulk will be lending his on-card penmanship to four different versions (these and more after the jump) to be packaged in the late-summer release.

“The crossover appeal between our community and football collectibles is incredibly high. Madden fans and card collectors share many similar traits,” noted Anthony Stevenson, EA SPORTS Director of Marketing. They are both highly passionate about their favorite players, teams and NFL football as a whole. They are both highly competitive. Whether it be seeking out that rare card or taking down their rival in Madden – they’ll do whatever it takes.”

The cross-promotional effort doesn’t stop with Faulk’s ink inside Madden 12 Hall of Fame Edition. The digital outreach also includes an opportunity for two gamers (one  Xbox 360 and one  Playstation 3 player) to pull a randomly inserted Golden Ticket redemption card to exchange for an 18-karat Faulk. Read More »

Topps lets you decide who makes the diamond cut

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Topps has had more than a few collectors ripping into packs this year finding Diamond Giveaway code cards that unlock vintage finds and other promotion-exclusive cards.

Now, though, collectors have a chance to help determine the checklist.

The company announced on Tuesday that the subjects of three Diamond Die Cut cards that are only found via code cards will be decided by an online vote at Topps’ Facebook page. There will be one rookie, one veteran and one retired legend added to the checklist and the voting will begin with the legends. The first round of that voting ends on Sunday.

The matchups? Don Mattingly vs. Ryne Sandberg, Frank Robinson vs. Ozzie Smith, Reggie Jackson vs. Roberto Alomar and Frank Thomas vs. Johnny Bench.

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

Box Busters: 2011 Bowman baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they each rip into a box of 2011 Bowman baseball cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2011 Topps Pro Debut MiLB cards

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2011 Topps Pro Debut minor league baseball cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Dirk may have the trophy, but LeBron’s basketball cards command the cash

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor | Commentary

This year’s NBA Finals have come and gone with a pair of stars getting plenty of attention — for what they did and didn’t do in the Finals.

This season saw LeBron James with his talents on South Beach — well at least for most of the season — while the Lone Star State’s main man was a guy who has played there under the radar for years in Dirk Nowitzki.

While one of these stars now has an NBA ring, comparing these two really isn’t even fair on cardboard as Dirk’s debut cards came in a time of a bit more overproduced stuff, while LeBron helped usher in a rather Exquisite era in basketball cards in his rookie season.

We all know who came out on top, but here’s a look at how they compare … in the cards and on the court.

Dirk: 3,486
It was a bit closer than we expected but it’s really not that close if you consider that Dirk has been around a lot longer. That should show you one part of the hobby divide here. Advantage: LeBron

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Panini Sums up SPs in 2010-11 Contenders Hockey

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Slowly but surely, Panini America leaked the short prints to snag in recently released — on May 18 — 2010-11 Contenders Hockey. Today, all 10 are in.

Yesterday, the manufacturer clarified with the three remaining short-printed Rookie Ticket Autographs. Each one of these cards is numbered to 399 or less. Below are the names from the gradual reveal, and beyond the jump are the obligatory visual verifications.

Taylor Hall
Jeff Penner
Tyler Seguin
Magnus Paajarvi
P.K. Subban
Nazem Kadri
Cam Fowler
Brayden Schenn
Jeff Skinner
Jordan Eberle

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First look: 2011 Bowman Chrome baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Let the countdown begin …

Topps unveiled its plans for 2011 Bowman Chrome on Friday afternoon, thus starting the clock for the arrival of Bryce Harper‘s first Bowman Chrome autographed prospect cards.

BC-Day is Oct. 19.

There will be one Chrome autograph per 18-pack hobby box with Harper among nearly 40 players on the preliminary autograph checklist.

The base prospect set will consist of 110 players, while the veterans checklist will include 220 cards — 170 veterans and 50 rookies.

Learn more and see additional images after the jump.

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Prime 9 cards might lead you to the World Series

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

For those of you who found Prime 9 cards in packs of 2011 Topps Series 2, which arrived on Wednesday, you might have been left scratching your heads.

Scratch no longer.

Topps announced the particulars of its latest baseball card promotion on Friday afternoon and unveiled that the Prime 9 cards are good for special Player of the Week Chrome Refractor cards that will only found at participating HTA hobby shops.

Oh, and each card also is good as an entry for a contest where you can win a trip to the World Series.

The redemptions are found two per hobby box — 1:18 packs in standard boxes, 1:5 in jumbos —  and are good for the player of the week as selected by the company for the week that is marked on the card.  The selections begin on July 18.

Those who redeem the cards should fill out the forms on the back to have a chance to go to the Series. Store owners will submit all redeemed cards to Topps.

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

Weekly Highlights (June 6 – June 10)

First looks and sneak peeks of the week

We want to hear you of the week

Box Busters

Other videos

Things we noticed of the week

Auction action

Just for fun

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First Look: 2011 Topps Chrome Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Topps has a tendency to make big football card news on Fridays.

Today, the company headlines the hobby with the announcement of 2011 Topps Chrome Football — reincarnated with design staples and a handful of new exclusives.

Hitting shelves in late October, the hobby mainstay will come in four-card packs and 24 packs per box. Case chasers can expect to break 12 boxes per case. Each hobby box should yield one autograph Rookie Card, nine inserts and nine parallels.

The one-per-box hits — rookie autographs — feature the penmanship of 45 rookies from the base set in both on-card and on-sticker form. These cards also come in Refractor parallel versions including:

  • Superfractors (1/1)
  • Red (new, numbered to five)
  • Gold (numbered to 10)
  • Black (numbered to 25)
  • Crystal Atomic (new, numbered to 50)
  • Refractor (numbered to 99)

Collectors should also keep an eye out for Rookie Autograph Patches, Dual Rookie Autographs (numbered to 25), Triple Rookie Autographs (numbered to 10) and new Autograph Rookie Variations featuring 25 rookie signatures on Rainbow Refractors. Read More »

Original Dick Perez painting of Derek Jeter from BSCM’s Art Issue hits auction block

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

If you saw the recent Art Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, then you saw the original painting by the famed Dick Perez on its cover showcasing New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

Now, with Jeter on the cusp of joining the 3,000-hit club, the one-of-a-kind piece of artwork can be yours.

The original 24×18 oil on canvas is being sold at auction by Beckett Select Auctions, giving one Yankees fan or baseball afficionado the chance to own a piece of Perez and a piece of unique Beckett history as well.

The auction opened with an opening bid of $1,222.22 and will close on June 19.

Perez’s work has been showcased on countless baseball cards from the past, including the famed Diamond Kings cards of the 1980s. Inside the June 2011 issue of BSCM, we discussed sports art and got his take on his craft. It was a follow-up to an interview in our 1980s Issue the month before where we looked back specifically at the Diamond Kings cards. The Art Issue can be found at your local card shop now.

For more information on Beckett Select Auctions, go to

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

Panini Production Gallery: 2010-11 Dominion Hockey

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Prodding the card company’s Twitter followers, Panini America‘s Tracy Hackler delivered this morning on a promise to show off the most requested brand preview at the crosstown production facility.

While the visit will inevitably result in more  sneak peeks from coming lines like Zenith Hockey, Totally Certified Basketball and Donruss Elite Football, tweet majority ruled here — resulting in a gallery of soon-to-be-pulled 2010-11 Dominion Hockey cards.

As Panini’s Al Muir explained in a previous preview, “Dominion isn’t a product for the masses. This is for the high-end hobbyists, the whales.”

Below are a few nuggets of nutritional information for the $350 whale food.

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First Look: 2011 Press Pass FanFare NASCAR cards

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

Press Pass has unveiled its latest high-end NASCAR release and it’s really not all-that high-end at all at just $20 a pack.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company announced its plans for 2011 Press Pass FanFare, a one-hit-per-pack product that will arrive on Aug. 24 in the place of the company’s high-end Five Star line. (Five Star will be back — it’s just not going to be an annual product, according to a company official.)

There will be a 100-card base set comprised of drivers, owners and past greats and FanFare will include debut autographs for more than a drivers on the Nationwide and NASCAR Truck Series. Every pack will include a memorabilia card or autograph inside with each hobby box including eight packs.

The autograph lineup will include four levels per driver with dual autographs numbered to 25 or less, while the memorabilia offerings are “the most expansive” lineup Press Pass has ever produced. The memorabilia cards will include single swatches (199 or fewer copies) and duals (50 or fewer).

See more images from the set after the jump.

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COLLECTOR Box Busters: 2008 Topps Sterling Baseball Babe Ruth Box

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Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds was at Nick’s Sports Cards on Wednesday night where he witnessed a pretty impressive pull from a collector (who didn’t want to be shown) opening 2008 Topps Triple Threads baseball.

What did he find? Watch and find out …

So I noticed something fun on Bryce Harper’s 2011 Bowman card …

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Firmly in the Just For Fun category …

Some baseball cards just get looked at more than others — the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. card, the 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken, the 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco. There are countless cards that people examine to know every little detail.

That’s what we do if we’re collectors.

For some like the Griffey, it’s the hair, the gold chains, the little things. For the Ripken, well, you know … For the Canseco, it’s a combination of how to tell if it’s real while marveling at that moustache — if you can call it that.

But I noticed a little something on the 2011 Bowman Bryce Harper card that every one seems to be treasuring — or at least selling — these days.

I’ll let you guys guess what it might be — I’m not telling. It’s simple, trivial, and it adds a little “huh” to the card to me.

However, the answer WILL be found on the back cover of the next issue of Beckett Baseball coming soon.

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

Your Turn (Beckett Baseball issue No. 66): Are Topps’ new Double Sparkle variations a bit too much?

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

You may have seen the Your Turn page in nearly every issue of Beckett Baseball where we showcase stuff that is all about you. You can see your comments on hobby topics and get chances to win cool stuff in contests all on one page.

The newly released 2011 Topps Series 2 baseball set apparently includes some rare “double sparkle” variations, which can be collected and are good for an autographed bat. Good idea on the bat front — and they certainly add value to the return for bulk breakers — but gimmick cards are something that absolutely drives some collectors crazy. And not in a good way. We want to know what you think.

Here are the Your Turn questions for issue No. 66:

1. Is this too much of a good thing?

2. Is there one thing — perhaps gimmicks? — you would eliminate from the hobby? (BASEBALL ONLY)

Please include your name and location with your comment below — we will only run items with that information. A selection of your answers will appear in the next issue along with our next batch of contests and giveaways found only in the magazine.

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

Box Busters: 2010-11 ITG Decades: The 1980s hockey

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Join Beckett Hockey’s Tim Trout and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a pair of 2010-11 ITG Decades: The 1980s boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2011 Press Pass Stealth NASCAR

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Join Beckett Media’s Andrew Tolentino and Tim Trout as they rip into a box of 2011 Press Pass Stealth in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

First Look: 2011 Threads Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Panini America unveiled today a few details about its forthcoming cloth-laden line 2011 Threads.

The late-summer brand, slated for an Aug. 17 shelving date, should arrive with the usual fan favorites and some new twists.

Each box promises four autograph or memorabilia cards (one autograph guaranteed), 24 Rookie Cards and an additional 13 inserts or parallels. New Rookie Class Gold autographed letters should fall favorably among the brand’s familiar offerings Rookie Class autographed letters and Pro Gridiron Kings cards.

“The Rookie Class Gold autos are a unique twist on an established concept and will be among the most sought after singles in 2011 Threads; the Pro Gridiron Kings, with their proud lineage dating back to the early 2000s, tend to speak for themselves,” said Panini America NFL Brand Manager Carlos Torrez.

More details and eye candy after the jump.
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Hall-of-Famers get noticed in Panini’s National Treasures Basketball

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

In its second year as a basketball brand, Panini America‘s National Treasures is bringing back plenty of what made the product popular, including some new additions to add to the appeal.

Part of what made this product last year were Blake Griffin’s Rookie Cards. His cards sparked great conversation about the hobby and had many talking about his signed cards that sold for high-dollar amounts.

Although, Griffin isn’t a rookie in this high-end product, Panini expects the popularlity of this set to continue when the National Treasures hits the card market on its scheduled Aug. 3 release.

See a full gallery after the jump:

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UD offers promo pack at Stanley Cup Finals game 4

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Adding to its recent promotional efforts in the Stanley Cup Finals, Upper Deck announced yesterday yet another opportunity for attendees in Boston tomorrow night.

The hockey-hearted manufacturer will be handing out free promo packs on Wednesday’s game four to all attending fans. Now, whether or not the recipients will be fans of the Bruin-centric pack is another thing.

Transplanted Canuck constituents  at TD Garden could use the cards for hexing purposes while home team supporters can further savor the occasion.

Each pack consists of:

  • Five Bruins — Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara
  • One “Stanley Cup Memorable Moments” card
  • One checklist card
  • One “History You Can Hold” card — featuring Upper Deck’s forthcoming Stanley Cup Championship box set

Randomly inserted chase elements include: Read More »

Perfect Michael Jordan Rookie Card sells for $100,000

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

A Pristine copy of Michael Jordan‘s 1986-87 Fleer Rookie Card sold for six-figures in a Memory Lane Inc. sale Sunday evening.

The card, graded a 10 by Beckett Grading Services, fetched $100,000 in the Tustin, Calif.-based auction house’s Own it Now sale, which launched not long before the sale.

There are just three copies of the famed card graded as a BGS 10 out of more than 5,500 cards submitted. This particular copy was the first to receive the grade and once appeared on the cover of Beckett Basketball Card Plus, now Beckett Basketball, magazine. The card sold to a collector on the West Coast.

“It was the first time we had the opportunity to sell the card, and we are really happy with the sale,” said Stephanie Evans of Memory Lane. “It’s a landmark modern sale for us, and it just goes to show that when you have something as rare as a Beckett 10 come available, the demand still warrants six figures.”

The last known BGS 10 Jordan sale came in August 2009 when a collector paid $82,000 for this same card. It was reportedly sold for $150,000 in 2006. However, that sale never was confirmed. The card’s subgrades included 10s for its centering, edges and corners and a 9.5 for its surface condition.

The first BGS 9.5 copy of the Jordan RC went for $77,600 in a June 2003 deal. The Jordan RC is not the only high-profile BGS 10 of a 1980s icon to sell for big bucks in the last few years as a Joe Montana 1981 Topps RC sold for $65,880 in April 2009. That card carried the third-highest pricetag of any football card sale ever documented by Beckett Media.

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

Elite RCs made possible by the Rookie Premiere

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Proving that it wasn’t all fun and games  at NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere, Panini America recently unveiled a massive gallery featuring the fruits of their labor.

Set to go live with the upcoming 2011 Donruss Elite release — scheduled for June 22 — these Rookie Cards offer some of the earliest opportunities to see the new class sporting their new duds on cardboard. While the photography here obviously doesn’t come from from in-season action, collectors can catch a glimpse of what newcomers should look like later this year.

Here’s one more before the post-jump slideshow.

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First look: 2011 Topps WWE trading cards

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

One of the WWE‘s newest talents is a high-flying Mexican luchador named Sin Cara, whose name translates to “faceless.”

The latest pro wrestling release from Topps, which it unveiled Monday morning will be anything but that.

The 2011 Topps WWE set will include Sin Cara and plenty more inside its packs when it arrives in early September packing an autograph and an event-used Relic card into every 24-pack hobby box.

What else will be inside?

Oh, yeah, The Rock.

Read more — and see more images — after the jump.

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California man finds Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor in pack, plans raffle to benefit charity and leagues

Devin Grant holds the 2010 Bowman Chrome Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor along with his 10-year-old godson, Tristan, who is his "collecting buddy." The card sold last summer for $21,403.

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

A 43-year-old California man has found the Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman Chrome SuperFractor in a pack of Razor Rookie Retro and has big plans in store for the $21,000 baseball card.

Devin Grant will be launching a raffle next week to benefit the Bryan Stow Fund — the Giants fan who was beaten by two men after a Dodgers game on Opening Day — two Little League organizations and two softball leagues in his area. He found the card in a pack at Peninsula Sports Cards in Belmont, Calif.

“It took about two days to know that this was something bigger than me,” Grant said. “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.

“It’s great to see something come full circle and benefit those in need — even if it is ‘just a baseball card,'” said Power after hearing the news. “Hopefully a large amount of money can be made for the charities. I also just read that Strasburg is now slow-throwing from a mound — so it seems as though his rehab is on track. I greatly look forward to the first Nationals game where Strasburg strikes out 12 to get the win via a walk-off Bryce Harper home run in the ninth.”

Grant said making baseball part of his plans was a no-brainer.

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Topps Vault will auction rare items at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

VIP attendees will have one more event to attend at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago as The Topps Vault will be auctioning 10 one-of-kind and rather significant items during the VIP reception on the opening day of the show.

Among the items — two final two have not yet been unveiled — are proof cards of some notable past releases as well as cards that were never made along with contracts of key players in the history of sports as well as Topps.

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Shaquille O’Neal retires: What’s your favorite Shaq basketball card & moment?

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor | Commentary

“Excellence is not a singular act, it’s a habit.”

In one of his many memorable interviews, Shaquille O’Neal became “The Big Aristotle” with that singular quote.

And after 19 years of playing in the NBA, it was a singular video sent to the masses via Twitter on Wednesday that said his Hall of Fame career (first-ballot lock) had come to an end.

Unlike few athletes in our time, Shaq truly arrived upon the scene in 1992 breaking backboards and perhaps ushering in a new era of basketball cards where The Brand was just that from Day 1. Sure, Air Jordans took some time to inflate — and Brand LeBron has come since — but there’s only one Shaq.

His career can be recapped with a few stats — but there’s no doubt that his excellence was a habit for most of his career. You don’t win four NBA titles, make 15 All-Star teams and score more than 28,000 points by just being big and tall. And you don’t score yourself a spot in countless card collections by just putting up points, either.

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