Monthly Archives: July 2011

Weekly Highlights (July 25 – July 29)

Last chance to make use of the MEGA-HUGE, IMPORTANT news of the week

First looks and sneak peeks of the week

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Box Busters

Q&A of the week

This week in National Sports Collectors Convention news

Auction action

Panini gives us a gander at 2011-12 Score Hockey

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

After a full year of being back on the ice, Panini’s hockey brands are ready for another round.

Wrapping up with high-end Dominion, the manufacturer will begin the new cycle with value-focused 2011-12 Score. Hockey fans will see the beginner level brand hit shelves in late October — just a few weeks after the revived Winnipeg Jets and the rest of the league takes off again.

Each 36-pack box brandishes high-percentage promises for completing the 500-card base set bolstered by the coveted Recollection Collection — a series of hard-signed cards bought back and autographed by legends like Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman, Patrick Roy and Ray Borque. Hits from current players can be found in the form of Hot Rookies and Score Signatures autographs.

Beyond the rare, but value-enhancing inclusions, 2011-12 Score features four familiar subsets … Read More »

Box Busters: 2011 In The Game Heroes & Prospects Baseball Hits Series 2

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2011 In The Game Heroes & Prospects Baseball Hits Series 2 boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Nicktoons invade MLB in upcoming video game

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The stars of Major League Baseball have a few new rookies to deal with — guys who are pretty well-known in their own right — in a forthcoming video game release.

Who?

SpongeBob Squarepants, Ren and Stimpy, Chum Chum and Danny Phantom to name a few.

These rookies — and more Nicktoons – will be competing against actual MLB players in actual MLB stadiums in 2K Play‘s Nicktoons MLB for the Xbox 360 with support for Kinect along with versions for the Wii and Nintendo DS. The game arrives on Sept. 13.

Just think, SpongeBob in Wrigley Field … and who wins in a showdown between him and Cliff Lee?

Read More »

Box Busters: 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football

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Join Beckett Football’s Dan Hitt and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a box of 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Ripping Retail: Olds’ 2011 Topps Diamond Giveaway haul (so far)

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds as he opens his mail from a 2011 Topps Diamond Giveaway shipment. It wasn’t his first, but this one was loaded for reaction. Meanwhile, UPS made it extra special … and scenty!

What did he get? What made it more special? Watch and find out …

Box Busters Preview: 2011 Rookies & Stars Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor | Commentary

The first post-lockout product of the season, 2011 Rookies & Stars  Football is now live and leaving a lasting impression on hobby history.

Containing the usual blend of early studio-shot Rookie Cards, this year’s release in particular is also marked by a wide array of older-than-usual newcomer photography. Without the luxury of training camp snapshots and other pro uniform pictures, Panini’s preseason brand reflects the NFL year that almost wasn’t.

Delivered by a deep checklist featuring the incoming class in combine gear, the Rookie Cards in Rookies & Stars are arguable artifacts. Probably not reason for a spike in value, they serve to document the impact of the NFL lockout in the hobby.

With that being said, praise the pigskin! Football is back!

Below are some of the no-longer-locked-out sensations  from our forthcoming Box Busters break of 2011 Rookies & Stars. Read More »

USA Today cover story looks at loss of a collector

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Today’s issue of USA Today features a cover story that’s got quite a large collecting tie — the death of a man who was at home when a plane crashed two years ago, killing him and the 49 people on board.

As it turns out, he was a serious collector and all that’s largely left of the memories are bits and pieces of items in baggies — as they were once collected as debris and potential evidence in the accident’s investigation.

The story was posted Thursday night and you can read it here.

It’s worth a look.

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

COLLECTOR Box Busters: 2011 Bowman Platinum

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Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds stopped by Nick’s Sports Cards in Dallas and caught one collector ripping 2011 Bowman Platinum.

What will he find inside?

Watch and find out …

UD’s All-Time Greats packs plenty of, well, greats

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

Upper Deck‘s latest high-end line of college basketball cards arrives on Friday packing a player-centric configuration and some big names in every box of 2011 All-Time Greats.

As previously reported, the product will include a melded version of Letterman and UD Glass cards with a strong crop of autographs in the product, but the real allure is the autograph checklist that includes just 20 players.

That means there’s a pretty solid chance at finding a Michael Jordan or LeBron James autograph inside the boxes, which will contain just four cards. The catch? Each four-card box will contain three base cards and one autograph — each of the same player.

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Topps trumpets 2011 Triple Threads Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Again causing a not-too-uncommon pre-weekend hobby frenzy, Topps unveiled details today about its 2011 Triple Threads Football brand.

Scheduled for a late-November arrival (thankfully, actually during an NFL season), the hobby exclusive set comes with a one-per-pack autograph guarantee and a handful of other choice chase factors.

Each pack (in this case, “mini box”), collectors can expect to land three numbered base cards, two numbered parallels, one Triple Relic card and one Triple Threads Unity Autograph single Relic card. Autographed Triple Relic Cards fall one per box and replace Triple Relics.

The low-quantity, high-quality box (comprised of two packs) should yield a total of four hits … Read More »

Box Busters Preview gallery: 2011 ITG Heroes & Prospects Hits Series 2

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

If you’re a fan of big hits and prospects — and that’s it — you just might find what you’re looking for in the second installment of In The Game‘s baseball line.

The next installment of ITG Heroes and Prospects Baseball Hits will include some impressive 1/1 patch cards when it arrives on Aug. 3 at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago as well as some impressive cuts and a whole lot of prospects.

We should have our Box Busters boxes in hand on Friday — but here’s a teaser of what we’re not likely to pull … the biggest memorabilia hits of them all, a crop that includes the likes of this Hank Aaron Milwaukee Brewers patch and a whole lot more.

See more of the patches after the jump.

Read More »

Dave and Adam’s Card World celebrates 20 years and a whole lot more with its first ‘Hockey Fest’

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Throwing its own birthday bash, major trading card dealer Dave and Adams Card World will celebrate 20 years of being in business  and a store opening with its first Hockey Fest.

Just in time to include its fourth store in Niagra Falls, N.Y., Dave and Adam’s late-summer fling is filled with promotions player signings and other perks.  From Aug. 11 – Aug. 14, all four of the company’s Buffalo area stores will collectively host the hockey hullabaloo.

“Buffalo and the Southern Ontario Region is home to passionate hockey fans and we wanted to celebrate our 20th anniversary along with the opening of our new store by bringing in some of the biggest names in hockey”, said D&A Card World CEO Adam Martin.

Some such names from the roster include legends Gordie Howe, Tony Esposito, Gilbert Perreault and legend in the making Steven Stamkos. All of whom will be signing various items on respective dates and at different locations:

  • Howe – Aug. 11 @ Tonawanda
  • Esposito – Aug. 12 @ Williamsville
  • Stamkos – Aug. 13 @ Orchard Park
  • Perreault – Aug. 14 @ Niagra Falls

Either staying parked at one store or making the four-day pilgrimage, collectors can take advantage of on-site services from the Upper Deck Authenticated crew and stock up on sale-marked merchandise. D&A announced that there will be “massive sales” on hockey cards, apparel as well as giveaway goodies from Upper Deck, Fathead and yours truly (no, not me specifically) Beckett Media. Read More »

Box Busters Warmup: 2011 Bowman Platinum

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Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds picked up a box of 2011 Bowman Platinum on Wednesday, its street date, in advance of our Box Busters episode to come.

What will he find inside? Will he land a Bryce Harper?

Watch and find out.

Box Busters: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Well, one box over-delivers … but you’ll have to watch to find out how.

Comic Card Q&A: UD’s Bubby Johanson on ‘The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War’ Set

By Andrew Tolentino |  BSCM Editor

Having been on shelves for a full week now, Upper Deck’s The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War comic card set has had ample time to speak for itself. A unique endeavor that challenges the notion of how a comic book should be read, it’s the kind of product that’s bound to cause buzz in the Marvel Universe and beyond.

As a followup to last week’s preview and yesterday’s Box Busters video, we turned the mic to Upper Deck’s Marvel product manager Bubby Johanson for a Q&A on the comic book(s) told by way of trading cards. After the jump,  Johanson gives the lowdown on hit counts, free binders, production challenges, and what other superheroes (cough, Spiderman) might be found in future releases along these lines.

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Dem Bums take center stage in Memory Lane auction

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A long-time collector of the Brooklyn Dodgers has decided to part ways with his 30-year stash of Dodger Blue treasures and Memory Lane Inc. will be the place for fans to look in its 2011 Summer Classics Auction which starts on Saturday and runs until Aug. 30.

The Tustin, Calif.-based auction house will have several items from the auction on display at the National Sports Collectors Convention next week. Among the highlights from the collection of Steve Ross are chairs from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, items from Babe Ruth‘s brief turn as a Dodgers coach — including a team-signed ball in 1938 — and high-grade PSA-slabbed specimens of several key cards.

Read More »

Panini presents puck-lover prizes for the National

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Fear not, National-going hockey collectors. There’s something special in store for you, too.

Panini recently stepped up to show off its event-exclusive hockey cards for those making the trek to next week’s National Sports Collectors Convention. Inside special silver packs found only at the show,  puck-inclined pullers can find autographed patch cards signed by several of the top 2010-11 NHL prospects.

Headlined by Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin and Jordan Eberle, the roster of NSCC-specific phenoms also includes …

Read More »

Box Busters: 2011 The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War

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Join Beckett Media’s Andrew Tolentino and Bryan Hornbeck as they rip into a box of 2011 The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War trading cards from Upper Deck in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010-11 Ultimate Collection hockey cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tim Trout and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a pair of 2010-11 Ultimate Collection boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Topps acquires digital currency card publisher

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps‘ focus on social media platforms, e-commerce and virtual trading cards online took another step on Tuesday as it announced the acquisition of GMG Entertainment, a leading publisher of “digital currency cards.”

“The Topps Company has found an ideal acquisition – GMG is a complementary business to our core and one that pivots us into the high-growth retail and digital convergence arena with partners such as Facebook,” said Topps CEO Ryan O’Hara in a prepared statement. “We are delighted to have Rob Goldberg as part of Topps’ senior management.  He is a pioneer in new technologies for new digital services delivered at retail and follows in the footsteps of 60 years of creating new products for Topps.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but GMG is part of an expanding market as the market for digital currency, according to Topps, is expected to top $7 billion during this year and double by 2014.

And what does GMG do? It creates digital currency cards sold at retail stores for online game, entertainment and social media sites.

“GMG is excited to join a global and forward-thinking business such as Topps,” said Goldberg, the CEO of GMG. “We are looking forward to joining the Topps family as we look to accelerate and grow the category and amplify both of our core businesses on a worldwide platform.”

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

First look: 2010-11 Elite Black Box basketball cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor

The Black Box is Back — but this time it’s a brand and it’s in basketball.

Panini America unveiled its newest high-end product line for NBA cards on Monday with 2010-11 Elite Black Box Basketball, a high-end release that’s fast-tracked for an Aug. 31 release.

It will pack three autographed cards, two memorabilia card and two insert cards per box. Each memorabilia or autograph will be limited to 149 or fewer copies, while all inserts will be limited to no more than 99.

“We realize that by naming this product ‘Black Box’ we’re setting collector expectations really high as that name carries the biggest of big-ticket connotations with collectors,” said Panini America NBA Brand Manager David Porter in a prepared statement. “But based on the incredible content that we’ve injected into Black Box, I’m certain this is a product that will not just meet those expectations, but surpass them.”

Read More »

Bryce Harper headlines this week’s eTopps MiLB cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

He may be slumping, but it probably won’t hurt this one.

The first eTopps Minor League card of the most-watched Class AA player on the planet, Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper, was launched as an initial public offering today as part of the online portfolio trading card program.

A maximum of 1,499 copies of the 18-year-old Harrisburg Senators outfielder’s card will be made with each costing $8. Those who put in buys for the card will not know how many they received until the cards are allocated at a later date.

Harper is hitting .208 with zero home runs and just two RBI and 11 strikeouts in 16 games since he was promoted to AA.

This week’s other card is of St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Shelby Miller. A max of only 749 copies of that card will be made, each costing $3.50 apiece.

For more on the program, visit www.etopps.com.

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

Topps plans collector Q&A at The National

If you’re attending the National Sports Collectors Convention that begins next week in Chicago, then you just might have a chance to meet with the folks from Topps.

The company is planning a  Q&A session with 100 collectors next Thursday beginning at 4 p.m.  Those who want to attend need to stop by the Topps booth and reserve a seat as they will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.

The company also will give away prizes during the 90-minute session.

Box Busters: 2011 Press Pass Showcase racing cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tim Trout and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a pair of 2011 Press Pass Showcase boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Memory Lane showcases million-dollar Mickey Mantle collection at National Sports Collectors Convention

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A big-time auction house like Memory Lane Inc. may not have something for everyone in its booth at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention which begins next week in Chicago.

But it will have something everyone should see — and a little something everyone can take home with them.

The Tustin, Calif.-based auction house will have on display the multi-million dollar Mickey Mantle collection of Don Spence, who has amassed all of The Mick’s base cards from 1951 to 1969 in PSA 10 or PSA 9 condition — a stash that carries an estimated value of as much as $3 million. Six of the cards, according to population reports, are the highest-graded specimens in existence.

Collectors who stop by the booth to see the cards can take with them a memento of their visit — a poster that shows the collection.

For more information, visit the links above.

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

Colorado-based dealer raises hobby’s profile through publicity stunt purchase

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Remember the Balloon Boy? If not, you might have forgotten about the hoax from a couple of years ago like many of us.

But if you live in Colorado where it happened, it might resonate more — and if you’re a Colorado-based sports card dealer like Mike Fruitman it’s resonating quite well as a publicity stunt to get people into his shop and do some good for charity, too.

You see, Fruitman recently bought what’s left of “Flimflam One” at auction — proceeds went to benefit Japan earthquake relief — for $2,502 and has it on display at his Aurora-based shop, Mike’s Stadium Sportscards.

“I thought, let’s have some fun with this,” said the 41-year-old dealer. “So, I bought Flimflam One for our customers to enjoy. Then, we’ll slice into authenticated chunks of collectible Americana to raise money for the Thanksgiving food project. It’s a win-win, no matter what, providing my 3- and 8-year-olds don’t get any clever ideas.”

The balloon was put on display late last week and it will be cut up on Oct. 15 — the second anniversary of its maiden voyage that happened without a passenger.

But, for Fruitman, this publicity stunt wasn’t just about possibly selling some cards in his shop — but rather getting people re-acquainted with the hobby when they come to see the weird relic.

Guess what? It’s worked.

One collector and Twitter follower of mine, Digi Jeff, realized that was his hometown card shop when he heard the news. That’s when he armed himself with a video camera and headed to the shop to see it all for himself and ask Fruitman some questions. See the video above for more … it’s worth a look.

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

COLLECTOR BOX BUSTERS: 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard

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Beckett Basketball Editor Chris Olds stopped by Nick’s Sports Cards in Dallas (for supplies!) and caught one collector ripping 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

Ripping Retail Retro Edition: A lesson in collation that only a Houston Astros fan could love

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Join Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds as he rips into another box of a once-popular 1990s baseball card set in this episode of Ripping Retail.

What’s the brand? What will he find inside?

Watch and find out … it’s one hot mess.

Weekly Highlights (July 18 – July 22)

(Still) MEGA-HUGE, IMPORTANT thing to know of the week

This week in sports movies

First looks and sneak peeks of the week

This week in lawsuits, new hobby figureheads and more

This week in weird memorabilia

This week in comics and cardboard colliding

  • Upper Deck partners with Marvel to make an Avengers comic book … on trading cards

Box Busters and other videos

Box Busters: 2010-11 Panini Season Update basketball

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Join Beckett Basketball’s Chris Olds and Rob Springs as they rip into a pair of 2010-11 Panini Season Update basketball boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

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Join Beckett Basketball’s Chris Olds and Rob Springs as they rip into a pair of 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find? Watch and find out …

Coming soon … Moneyball and its memorabilia

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The one-sheet for the latest baseball movie on the horizon — Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt — has arrived, and it perhaps carries a non-traditional feel for what should be a less-than traditional sports film.

Based on the 2003 best-selling book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, the film will dramatize the story of Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane and his non-traditional ways of trying to build a competitive team with the small-market, low-budget Athletics fighting the behemoths of Major League Baseball such as the New York Yankees.

“There are rich teams, and there are poor teams. Then there’s 50 feet of crap. And then there’s us.”

Moneyball‘s central theme is that gut feeling, rather than analytical thought, had permeated throughout baseball and its scouting departments — and that because of its immense disadvantage financially, Beane’s team needed to think, build and draft differently to outsmart their competition. That included statistical analysis — sabermetrics — instead of instinct. (See the trailer after the jump.)

The film stars Pitt as Beane, Jonah Hill as Assistant GM Peter Brand (Paul DePodesta, now with the Mets requested his name not be used for the role), Philip Seymour Hoffman as manager Art Howe and Robin Wright as Beane’s ex-wife, Sharon.

With any new release, there will be marketing campaigns, which, in the past, meant materials that ultimately become memorabilia for many popular movies. While most promotion these days is done online or in digital form via press kits on CD — we’ll see what kind of materials arrive in the coming weeks to promote Moneyball before its Sept. 23 release — there’s still one king of the movie memorabilia world … well, at least not including movie-used props.

And that’s the one-sheet.

Read More »

First look: 2011 TRISTAR Obak baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

TRISTAR will have plenty of things in store at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention just two weeks away in Chicago and one of them is the debut of its latest baseball card set, 2011 Obak, which also is known as “A History of the Game.”

The third edition of the retro-styled set based on early 1900s tobacco cards of the same name will include four autographs — one of those guaranteed to be a cut autograph — in every 24-pack hobby box with two parallels numbered to 25 or fewer copies, one T212 mini parallel, three additional short-prints and one T4 cabinet card.

Among the biggest highlights is a dual-cut autograph pairing Babe Ruth with Charlie Root, the Chicago Cubs pitcher who gave up the called shot in the 1932 World Series. Other cut autographs will include Joe DiMaggio paired with Ken Keltner, Ichiro Suzuki paired with George Sisler, and there will be cuts of Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Hank Greenberg and Lefty Grove. All cuts will be numbered to 75 or fewer copies.

Among some of the signers for the product are Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Trout, Ken Griffey Jr., Whitey Ford, Manny Banuelos and Nolan Ryan.

Read More »

Blowout Cards’ parent company sues Upper Deck over distribution policy

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Blowout Cards‘ parent company, Frontline Collectibles Inc., counter-sued Upper Deck in a U.S. District Court on Wednesday, alleging that the Carlsbad, Calif.-based card company’s distribution policies introduced earlier this year are illegal under antitrust laws and have “manipulated the pricing of its products” and “have harmed and continue to harm competition for the sale of hobby sports trading cards.”

Frontline claims that Upper Deck’s limited selection of distributors in the United States and Canada — which does not include it, despite an 18-year history of selling in the industry — is an “unlawful campaign to erect artificial barriers to entry, restrict output and maintain its monopoly power” with a select few licenses (NCAA, MLS) and a roster of exclusive athletes whose autographs can only be found in Upper Deck products such as Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Landon Donovan.

In March, Upper Deck Sports Marketing and Social Media Manager Chris Carlin wrote on UD’s blog about the genesis of its program, saying “this course of action was important in order to strengthen and protect the company’s brands, while also streamlining and better-defining the company’s channels of distribution. UD crafted this program by working in collaboration with our Certified Diamond Dealers (hobby shops), Authorized Distributors and legal team.”

On Thursday, Carlin said Upper Deck declined to comment on the case.

“We cannot comment on any ongoing litigation,” he said, “[nor] can I share information regarding how we select our business partners.”

Frontline, which in its court filing readily admits its business strategy is to sell more volume at a lower profit as “of one of the largest volume and the lowest-cost providers of hobby sports trading cards,” cannot purchase UD products from any other authorized dealers, who aren’t allowed to sell to those who would re-sell the products, as part of its agreement.  Specifically, it contends that “Upper Deck intended to specifically exclude or reduce competition from Frontline because Frontline was engaged in price-cutting to offer the best prices to its customers.”

Specifically, Frontline contends that Upper Deck is in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Section 3 of the Clayton Act with its policy.

Previously, Frontline had been a direct buyer of product from Upper Deck since it opened for business, according to the court filing. In an April meeting between Frontline’s Thomas Fish and Upper Deck, Fish was told, according to the filing, that Upper Deck would not recognize its Virginia retail location as a storefront and that enhancements would not help.

Furthermore, Frontline claims that “for pretextural and factually unsupportable reasons” Upper Deck refused to grant it status as an authorized Internet retailer, which has “severely damaged Frontline through lost sales and profits.” Frontline has been an online seller since at least 2004.

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