Monthly Archives: July 2011

For the New York Yankees fan who has it all …

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

If you know a New York Yankees fan who has it all, you might need to see this.

Why? Because it’s just weird — and it’s available from Steiner Sports as part of its Yankee Stadium Artifacts line … and it’s marked down to just $49.99.

What is it?

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Ripping Retail: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds as he rips into a pair of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter blaster boxes in this latest episode of Ripping Retail.

What’d he find? Watch and find out …

‘The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War’ set hits stores today

By Andrew Tolentino | BSCM Editor

Riding the wave of recently released (and soon to release) Marvel blockbusters,  Upper Deck is causing a collision between comic books and trading cards.

Another byproduct of Upper Deck’s partnership with Marvel Entertainment, “The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War” set hits hobby stores today. Under normal circumstances, this kind of release could be summed up with a tidy list of per-pack odds and box hits — but this one tells another tale.

In fact, the experimental endeavor spins a whole new Marvel story altogether … card, by card. Departing from hit quantities and checklist finds, the set offers a new experience in comic consumption.

In a phone interview (coming soon, in full) Upper Deck’s Marvel Product Manager Bubby Johanson explained, “We tried to find a way to be innovative and what we wanted to do was try to see if we could merge both the card collector and the comic collector in the same kind of venue.” Thus far, the merger has already made a splash, causing speculation and excitement in the greater superhero hemisphere.

With a classic storyline re-imagined by Marvel writer Sean McKeever, the product is a comic book composed of cards. Much like a traditional comic, the story reads left to right, top to bottom, front to back, page to page. In this case though, each page of  “Sacrifice” — the primary story — consists of nine cards with story components on both sides of the card (90 cards assembled in order for the 20-page adventure).

But wait, there’s more.

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Topps readies Heritage rookie redemptions for NSCC

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

As previously reported, Topps will be giving away five cards as part of a wrapper redemption program during the National Sports Collectors Convention next month in Chicago — and on Wednesday it confirmed who the cards will feature.

The company will release five 1962 Topps-inspired 2011 Heritage cards of notable rookies with each card limited to just 299 copies. (They wouldn’t be tagged as RC’s under traditional hobby guidelines because they are show promos, not part of a standard release.)

To obtain a card, a collector must open five packs of 2011 Topps or Bowman-branded packs at the Topps booth. There’s a limit of one card per day per person.

The rookie rundown:
Aug. 3 — Dustin Ackley, Mariners
Aug. 4 — Dee Gordon, Dodgers
Aug. 5 – Mike Moustakas, Royals
Aug. 6 — Michael Pineda, Mariners
Aug. 7 — Zach Britton, Orioles

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

TRISTAR bringing “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, other TNA stars, to The National

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor


The Naitchonal, err National, Sports Collectors Convention got a little bit cooler following the announcement that TRISTAR will be bringing “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair to the show next month in Chicago as an autograph guest along with three other stars from TNA Wrestling.

The 16-time world heavyweight champ will be joined by Kurt Angle, a former Olympic gold medalist for the United States-turned pro, former two-time TNA champ Mr. Anderson and former TNA and WWE women’s champion Tara.

Each of them will be appearing for two hours on Aug. 6, with Flair the most-expensive autograph at $49. Angle is $29, while Anderson and Tara are $25. Photo opportunities with each star are the same price — fans will receive a 5×7 photo print within minutes of meeting them.

However if a collector buys a 2011 Signature Impact Championship Package — $99 — they will get a box of the newest TNA trading cards, a bonus NSCC autograph card and one free autograph (on any item) as well as a photo op with each star.

Only 400 of the packages are available. More details can be found by clicking here.

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

July is Customer Appreciation Month at … a contest a day!

July is Customer Appreciation Month at Beckett Media … a contest a day beginning today!

How do you enter? Click here on, log in and that’s it.

Today’s prize? A 2008 Leaf Certified Materials Printing Plates Magenta #246 John Elway AU 1/1.

See a list of each day’s prizes after the jump.

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Johnny Bench is the first Topps Prime 9 player

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Cincinnati Reds legend and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench is the first Topps Prime 9 player as announced Tuesday.

Each week, Topps will announce which players can be redeemed for Prime 9 cards found in packs of 2011 Topps Series 2.

Collectors can bring their Week 1 redemption cards to their participating hobby shops to turn them in for a card and be entered for a chance to win a trip to the World Series as long as they fill out the form on the back.

Each card is a Refractor and the cards can be found two per hobby (or jumbo) box.

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

Topps names new Vice President for Digital

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps will have a new leader in its efforts to bring trading cards and confections to the digital world, according to an announcement made Tuesday.

It has appointed former Nokia product director Michael Bramlage as its Vice President, Digital. He will oversee and develop Topps’ digital strategy and report to CEO and President Ryan O’Hara.

“Michael’s terrific background in the mobile, Internet and social spaces combined with his innovation bent and strategies for developing online content makes him an ideal fit at Topps,” O’Hara said in a prepared statement. “We’re excited for Michael to join Topps and take us to the next level in delivering our consumers new and innovative experiences.”

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TRISTAR readies Obak promo cards for The National

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s National Sports Collectors Convention is just a couple of weeks away and TRISTAR is the latest to unveil special cards that can be found at this year’s show in Chicago.

And it’s a set that turns back the clock to the early 1900s while previewing two products set to come from the company — TRISTAR Obak Baseball 2011: History of the Game and the debut edition of Obak Football coming this fall.

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Upper Deck announces plans for the National filled with autographs and giveaways

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

VIPs and other collectors can land some great exclusive Upper Deck products at the National Sports Collectors Convention from August 3-7.

First up, collectors who come to the VIP sneak peek on Wednesday will be able to get a special card set found only in Chicago. The set six-card set features superstars with Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, LeBron James, Bobby Orr and Landon Donovan.

After that, Upper Deck will have something for every collector. There will be four different five-card pack in its wrapper redemption program.

Fans need to purchase five packs of specified Upper Deck products from Certified Diamond Dealers. They will receive a voucher to bring to the Upper Deck booth where they will receive one of four 2011 National event-exclusive packs. Each day there will be a different five-card collection redeemed and they will be available while supplies last. Cards must be opened at the Upper Deck booth. To find out which Upper Deck products are eligible, visit the booth at the show.

“We are pulling out all the stops to make Upper Deck’s presence at the 32nd National Sports Collectors Convention a memorable one for our fans in attendance,” said Mike Phillips, Upper Deck’s director of hobby sales in a release. “By creating promotions that help support the efforts of our Certified Diamond Dealers, we can help create a situation where fans are seeing real value in purchasing through the right channels. Being able to provide so many unique giveaways and promotions during this show is also a great way to give back to our fans who have always been very engaged with our brand and products. We can’t wait to get out there and have the chance to interact more with them.”

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Panini offering instant autographed prizes at NSCC

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

If you think Panini America is going to just stop at giving away cards in a wrapper redemption at The National Sports Collectors Convention, think again.

The card company is using the popular process as shows and events to give fans a way to get more goodies and prizes – instantly.

Panini is giving away nearly 2,000 autographed items at the year’s National in Chicago on August 3-7. These instant redemption cards – which is really the only way collectors like to have redemptions – will be inserted into packs that are redeemed at Panini’s corporate booth at the National.

Some of the autographed prizes include mini helmets, hockey pucks and oversize trading cards. Pictures on Panini’s blog revealed unique items such as an Adrian Peterson autographed 2007 Donruss Elite card with the Minnesota Vikings star in an Oklahoma Sooners uniform and signed banners from Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone and Cynthia Cooper, the newest inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

See more of what Panini has planned in its wrapper redemptions after the jump:

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An early look at 2011 Panini Crown Royale Football

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Panini America is bringing back Crown Royale Football for its second installment under the re-branding of the set.

What started with Pacific in the 1990s, Panini has added new elements to make the product its own.
One of the big successes from last year’s product were the Rookie Silhouettes, which returns with all on-card autographs.

Due out in October, Crown Royale Football will have a hit – autograph or memorabilia card – in each of the four packs. In addition, there should be four Rookie Cards, one parallel numbered to 100 or less and seven inserts in each hobby-exclusive box.

“The Rookie Silhouettes design that debuted in Crown Royale Football last year really helped re-launch the brand with a huge bang,” said Ben Ecklar, Panini America’s Director of Product Development in a release. “When the 2010 product season ended, those cards stood tall as some of the most striking of the entire year – not just in football, but across all sports. This year we’ve managed to significantly improve on what many collectors thought was pretty close to perfection.”

See a complete gallery after the jump.

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Ripping Retail Retro: An oldschool baseball box break

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Join Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds as he rips into a 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 …

Collector Box Busters: Two Ginter boxes at the shop

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Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds was at Nick’s Sports Cards where he witnessed a collector rip open two boxes of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball.

What did he find? Watch and find out …

Weird baseball memorabilia is everywhere … here are two of the latest items

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

There are plenty of weird baseball cards and promotions these days — and here are just two of the latest.

First, yet another oddity from 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter … it’s a tribute to Brian Wilson‘s beard via a baseball card.

The card, showcasing “The Closer” not Wilson, is one of 10 Fabulous Face Flocculence minis — a previously unannounced insert set in the product that just might give the San Francisco Giants closer’s eccentricities a run for their money. The card has sold for as much as $19.50 on eBay, while the cheapest sale was $11.61.

What other types of facial hair made the cut? Check out the checklist here on

The second hobby oddity worth checking out arrives Sunday in Oakland …

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Weekly Highlights (July 11 – July 15)

Newsworthy card of the week

MEGA-HUGE, IMPORTANT thing to know of the week

Box Busters and other videos

Possibly groundbreaking news of the week

First looks and sneak peeks of the week

This week in National Sports Collectors Convention news

This week in Commander-in-Chief Ink

Auction action

This week in Derek Jeter hitting 3,000

Charles Woodson autographs to appear in Panini America NFL products

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Charles Woodson has been kind of shy when it comes to football cards. The Green Bay Packer hasn’t signed many autograph cards since his 1998 rookie season.

But all that is about to change with the new wave of football cards coming out for 2011. Panini America has signed the 1997 Heisman Trophy Award winner to an autograph deal.

“I’m still in a little bit of shock,” said Joe White, Panini’s football acquisitions specialist in a release. “Woodson has been on my hit list seemingly for forever and I’d resigned myself to the fact that we’d never get him in our sets. But I went after him again this year like I always do, because I know what the presence of his autographs in our sets would mean to the countless Woodson collectors out there. They’re going to mean the world.”

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In the Game reveals redemptions, VIP cards for NSCC

By Andrew Tolentino | BSCM Editor

Joining the growing list of manufacturers unveiling plans for the 32nd annual National Sports Collectors Convention, In The Game just announced its on-location allure. Making its presence known at the traveling hobby Mecca, ITG will arrive at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center ready with VIP perks and other redemption programs.

ITG VIP program
Nestled among a stockpile of goodies inside VIP bags, specially-marked ITG cards can be exchanged for the company’s 10-card set. Ranging from hockey, baseball and Canadiana subjects, the VIPs for VIPs are:

  • Mario Lemieux
  • Patrick Roy
  • Steve Yzerman
  • Mark Messier
  • Tim Thomas
  • Steven Stamkos
  • Mike Trout
  • Manny Machado
  • William Shatner
  • Pamela Anderson Read More »

Steiner Sports signs David Price to DJ3K auto deal

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

For every yin, there’s a yang. For every hero there’s a villain.

And for Derek Jeter and the DJ3K moment, there’s David Price.

Steiner Sports announced on Thursday that the Tampa Bay Rays starter who gave up career hit No. 3,000 to the New York Yankees shortstop has signed a deal with the company to autograph items related to the home run he served up to Jeter last Saturday.

Price will be signing photos with an added inscription for the play — “I Gave Up DJ’s 3K, 7-9-11″ — which are already available on A 16×20 photo of Jeter rounding the bases with Price in the background will cost $169.99, while an 8×10 will run $149.99. A photo signed by both Price and Jeter will run $899.99 for the 16×20.

Price also will be signing DJ3K logo baseballs with the inscription for $159.99, while a dual-signed ball will cost $799.99.

Notable duos linked with memorable home runs or hits are widely collected — Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner, or Ralph Branca and Bobby Thomson for example — in baseball so it’s not a stretch to see memorabilia pairing these two.

For now it will be the only place that the duo will be found as Steiner has an exclusive deal with Jeter for autographs.

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

There are plenty of firsts when it comes to presidential autographs …

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

First, there were cut autographs of former U.S. Presidents, but now in 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter there’s another first.

Well, sort of. Here’s what Topps had to say Wednesday about its 200 George W. Bush autographs in Ginter:

“Our 2011 Allen & Ginter product will continue Topps’ historic tradition of chronicling heroes both on and off the playing field,” said Topps VP, Mark Sapir.  “We’re thrilled to announce that this year’s set will include limited edition autographs of our country’s 43rd President, George W. Bush – marking the first time ever that a living President has made their autographs available in a trading card product.”

The first time ever that a living president has signed for a card product.

Well, maybe a baseball product, but a few collectors (and others) were quick to point out that two other presidents had signed for card companies in the past — George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford.

Bush — and his wife, Barbara — both signed for Donruss2008 Americana II (above). Meanwhile, Ford signed for a University of Michigan football set, Michigan TK Legacy, which was released in the 2000s (below).

First card signed for Topps? Yep, and that’s what our story said (but not the quote).

First card signed by a living president for a card company’s product? Nope.

The unfortunate part of the wave of national mainstream media attention that will undoubtedly help sell some cards?

Most outlets took their word for it.

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

Box Busters warm-up: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he rips into a box of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball cards in a warm-up for our official Box Busters video to come on A&G sometime soon.

What will he find inside the box he purchased at Nick’s Sports Cards in Dallas? Watch and find out …

First two Allen & Ginter Manny Pacquiao autograph sales pack serious punch

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

More than a few collectors might be seeking Manny Pacquiao‘s first certified autograph out of packs of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter.

But based on the first completed sale price for the card on eBay — and a second sale for even more — it’s apparent that more than a few collectors just might not be able to afford one.

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George W. Bush becomes first President to sign for Topps; Yankees fan to get his own card

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Former President George W. Bush has done something no other president has done before.

Bush became the first living president to sign for Topps when 200 autographs were included in 2011 Allen & Ginter, released this week.

Presidents’ autographs have been in baseball cards as cut autographs, but this is the first time a former president has actually signed a card for the company, according to Topps.

Ten short-print red autograph versions are also available, some even have an inscription of “#43″ or “USA.”

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Panini Gold Standard Basketball shines through

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

In February, Panini America released its first look at 2010-11 Gold Standard Basketball. It has been five months since we had another opportunity to view the set. With it being just a week away, collectors want to see more.

This product has been put together with careful details, which started with the packaging. When you walk into a card shop, this product might be the first thing that you notice as the hobby box is actually in the shape and model of a gold brick.

Don’t blind your eyes looking directly into it.

We’ve seen what some of the hits will look like, but now it’s time to see what you will be able to find in the rest of the 12-card hobby box, which has a retail value of around $180.

One box will include three autographs, two memorabilia cards, four golds (which are commons) and three other inserts.

Also, for you Willy Wonka fans out there, there are five instant-win gold tickets. All are good for unique prizes including a one-on-one meeting with Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant.

See a full gallery after the jump. …

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Box Busters: 2010-11 Totally Certified basketball

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

What’d they find? Watch and find out …

**Contest Closed ** Box Busters: 2010-11 Zenith Hockey cards + contest

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Join Beckett Hockey’s Tim Trout and Andrew Tolentino as they tear into a pair of 2010-11 Zenith hockey boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Will they dare to tear? Watch and find out …

Box Busters Preview Gallery: 2010-11 Zenith Hockey

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Later this afternoon, we’ll be posting a Box Busters episode featuring Panini’s brand revival 2010-11 Zenith Hockey. But before we move on to the moving picture show, we wanted to share the highlights from Box No. 1 of the break.

Packed in a rare lift-top box was — as promised — a contemporary reincarnation of an old line, complete with those troublesome, over-sized Dare to Tear cards. If you count the mystery rip, below is a 17-card sneak peek at what we pulled. Read More »

Tampa Bay Rays’ Ginter Relics are plaid for a reason

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

If you’ve seen some of the Relics being found by collectors in 2011 Allen & Ginter from Topps, you might have been surprised.

By what?

Plaid swatches. Plaid on manager Joe Maddon. Plaid on first baseman Carlos Pena. Plaid on outfielder B.J. Upton.

These Relics come from the Rays’ BRaysers from late last season, which the team wore on road trips as a way of showing their team unity. The team also wore caps with plaid bills last season and apparently the gimmick caught on elsewhere as the team played well after instituting the formal-wear.

While many of Topps’ past gimmick cards have been New York-centric, it’s good to see a nod to some of the unusual nuances found elsewhere in baseball and to see colorful Relic cards with ties to the game instead of plain white swatches.

Who knows? Maybe all those fans who wanted plaid last fall will want to start collecting baseball cards, too.

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

Panini: We’re making Elite Extra Edition this year

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

As the rumors continue to swirl regarding baseball licensing news — whether a card company will be awarded some type of license by the MLB Players Association — Panini America announced a little something on Tuesday night during the Midsummer Classic.

“Many collectors have asked us about Donruss EEE Baseball in 2011,” read a tweet from the company. “Well . . . yes, we are doing it!”

What that means to collectors — how that will be accomplished since any MLB/minor league logos would protected for Topps products as part of those exclusive deals and any college logos would be protected by Upper Deck‘s exclusive with the Collegiate Licensing Company — remains to be seen … at least under the current licensing deals.

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

Fitness king Jack LaLanne makes his trading card debut in 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Allen & Ginter has included plenty of “world’s champions” alongside baseball players since its arrival in 2006 and this year’s edition from Topps is no different.

But it includes a different kind of champion, a champion for a cause who was a fitness guru decades before it became big business.

The champion? Jack LaLanne, who died at age 96 in January.

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Bryce Harper’s Futures Game items heat up auction

Bryce Harper’s game-used batting helmet from this year’s Futures Game is among the hottest items on the auction block at (Getty Images)

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Bryce Harper didn’t have a good say Sunday but that doesn’t really matter.

The batting helmet and cap used by the 18-year-old Washington Nationals outfield prospect during his 0-for-4 day at the Futures Game as part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities have hit the auction block and they’re in demand.

How much interest is there?

He’s the most-expensive player among the items up for grabs so far in the entire selection of MLB Auctions items for the All-Star Game.

Read More »

Panini previews VIP pulls for The National

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Adding to the long list of attractions at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention, Panini America premiered its presence in the VIP package today.

Inside pre-stuffed bags, VIP attendees will find a four-card Panini base set headlined by company spokesmen Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin and John Wall. Collectors will also find a coupon that can be exchanged at
the manufacturer’s corporate booth for two additional “mystery cards.” Read More »

U.S. Women’s National Team kicks it into high gear

By Brian Fleischer | Beckett Senior Market Analyst

Pressure Makes Us. Nike Soccer’s tag line for the United States Women’s National Team was on display on Sunday morning when the U.S. Women took the field in their Women’s World Cup quarterfinal match against mighty Brazil.

Down a man (or woman) and down 2-1, in the final minutes of extra time, Abby Wambach headed a pinpoint cross from Megan Rapinoe into the back of the net. The goal – and ensuing celebration – brought back memories of Landon Donovan’s miraculous goal against Algeria in last year’s World Cup. Goalkeeper Hope Solo came up huge in the subsequent penalty shootout, stopping Daiane’s shot, while the U.S. Women coolly put each of their five penalty kicks in the back of the net, setting up a semifinal match between the United States and France.

The U.S. women don’t appear on many trading cards, but thanks to some foresight by Donruss in 2008 and Upper Deck’s push to add cards from the Women’s Professional Soccer to its MLS products, they’ve got more than you might think. Buyer beware. There are several sellers on eBay selling unlicensed “custom” or “homemade” cards. While they may be nice collectibles, they’re not something that we would ever catalog or price in our database.

Abby Wambach – Sunday’s hero has appeared on 29 different cards, with her first being in the 2003 Sports Illustrated for Kids release. She’s got seven certified autographs, with her 2004 Leather and Lumber Fans of the Game Autographs ($50) and 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Autographs ($40) being the hottest on the secondary market. She’s got seven different memorabilia cards with her 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Memorabilia ($15) and 2011 Upper Deck MLS WPS Materials ($15) cards fast becoming collector favorites.

Read More »

Box Busters: 2011 Goodwin Champions

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2011 Goodwin Champions boxes from Upper Deck in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Retail Rundown: 2011-12 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

With the 2010-11 NHL season now behind us and the final high-end hockey releases afoot, card companies are looking forward with forward-looking lines.

Upper Deck unveiled today a detailed report on what’s to come for retailers stocking its 2011-12 Series One Hockey line. Come November, collectors out running errands (or those doing so as an excuse to buy cards) can look find the manufacturer’s basic brand in 32-card fat packs, 8-card foil packs and 10 (plus two bonus)-pack blasters on retail shelves.

Beyond the 200-card base set, Upper Deck’s signature retail release has a few formulas worth studying this summer. Read More »