Monthly Archives: December 2011

McQueary card reveals eerie tie to Sandusky

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor | Commentary

Beyond the shock and dismay brought on by today’s key testimony in a preliminary hearing for the Jerry Sandusky trial, we managed to find a few cards of former Penn State player and assistant football coach Mike McQueary in the Beckett database.

The key witness has a total of three cards, but this one in particular sent some shivers. Read More »

First look: 2012 Topps Archives Fan Favorites

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps is bringing back the favorites.

The Fan Favorites, that is.

The company teased the release of a new — but old — line of cards for 2012 as it appears it is readying Fan Favorites for a return of sorts after a seven-year hiatus.

Fan Favorites, which first arrived in 2003, was a set comprised of past favorites in new photos on varying card designs from past Topps sets. The real draw? Certified autographs — signed on-card — along with the old looks with new (cleaner) printing technology. Oh, and there were Chrome cards — and Refractors, too. This time, though, they will be found as an insert set in an also-revived and not-yet-unveiled Topps Archives product.

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Did you know? … Jose Cano has a story

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

I’ve said for years — and written it at a few stops along the way — that every card has a story.

Here’s my latest example, which comes from a set I have sorted thousands of cards from through the years — and it’s a card I don’t remember ever seeing because it’s just that forgettable.

It’s a 1990 Bowman Jose Cano Rookie Card — card No. 68 — and it’s generously valued at a nickel. But the story part? Did you know that this once 27-year-old pitcher with six games in the big leagues in 1989 has a pretty famous son?

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Ripping Retail: 10 Japanese baseball card packs

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds as he rips into 10 random packs of Japanese baseball cards from BBM and Konami in this latest edition of Ripping Retail.

Why Japanese baseball cards? Because the MLB world is awaiting the news of whether Japan’s Yu Darvish will come to MLB, of course.

What was inside? Watch and find out …

Prime Cuts returns in March with MLB legends

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The box is back.

Panini America announced on Thursday that one of the most-popular high-end releases from the Donruss-Playoff days, Prime Cuts, will return in March with some of baseball’s most legendary names in tow.

The names are part of a new card agreement with CMG Worldwide, which will give Panini the rights to use the likenesses of Jackie Robinson, Jimmie Foxx, Johnny Mize, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby, Roy Campanella, Thurman Munson, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Jim Thorpe in its MLBPA-approved products.

It will be the first Prime Cuts release by Panini, though the brand was quite popular in 2004-05 when Donruss was a full MLB Properties and MLBPA-approved manufacturer and then when it was revived by the former company after it lost its MLB licensing in 2008.

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UD’s National Hockey Card Day coming to USA

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

For three years, hockey fans in the United States have been shut out from Upper Deck’s National Hockey Card Day where collectors can get free packs from select hobby shops. The event was only held in Canada.

Well, get ready. This year, Upper Deck is extending the trading card holiday to America.

On Feb. 11, 2012, National Hockey Card Day will be held in Canada and the United States simultaneously with separate sets for each country.

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The Hunger Games offers digital cards to fans

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

The Hunger Games became a sensational literary hit last year. A dark tale about redemption, freedom and an unlikely hero.

The books were such a success that the story has been created into a movie, which will premiere in March.

And these days, any good movie has a trading card set to go along with a marketing blitz.

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Topps’ new American Pie card set an absolute time capsule of pop culture (updated with video)

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The return of ToppsAmerican Pie line after a decade on the sidelines was a slightly surprising one, but after just glimpsing at some of the cards in the newly released set it’s clear that it has done its job.

It’s a non-sport set that reflects American pop culture and history.

It’s a non-sports set that highlights the past as well as the present — right up to notable events of this year.

It’s a set I want to rip into — even though I haven’t even had it in hand yet.

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A not-so-common collecting challenge arises

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

We all have our “common” players who we collect for varying reasons. We all have our local stars who made it or a college player who defied the odds and made it to pro sports from Smalltown USA.

I have a few of them from my collecting life — guys I casually collect when I find their cards but don’t necessarily hunt — but one from the University of Alabama chapter of my collection took an interesting twist recently as I discussed the hobby with a Japanese collector/dealer via Twitter.

My player? Former New York Yankee Andy Phillips. The twist? Recently discovering he has a certified autograph card — one that many of you have probably never seen.

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Box Busters: 2011 Gridiron Gear

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Beckett Football’s Dan Hitt and Andrew Tolentino tear into a box of Panini’s 2011 Gridiron Gear release. Did they pull a pull-out autograph from the break?

Watch and find out.

In the Game’s Brian Price speaks out over Enforcers controversy

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Dr. Brian Price and In The Game have spent nearly a year working on its Enforcers hockey trading card set. As a fan of hockey, Price said he was looking for a way to honor a part of the game that doesn’t get enough credit in the daily box score.

But a month away from the release of Enforcers, ITG found itself surrounded in controversy based designs where some cards show blood spatter. Critics cried that the sets were depicting violence and sent the wrong message.

ITG says that’s wholly untrue.

“I have heard a lot of negative comments, but they aren’t from card collectors,” Price said. “I have been a collector for 55 years. I am very close to the game and I respect the game. I am paying them tribute as a card collector, hockey fan and hockey purist.

“The support I have gotten from collectors, dealers and distributors has been overwhelming. That’s who I make hockey cards for.”

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Box Busters: 2011 Gold Standard Football

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Beckett Football‘s Dan Hitt and Andrew Tolentino tear into a box (or a bar, or a brick, or whatever you want to call it) of Panini’s 2011 Gold Standard football product.

Did they land a diamond card or a piece of the precious metal? Watch and find out.

Press Pass’ Rising Stars set full of fresh faces

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

If you ever wondered who the next up-and-coming racers were, Press Pass is making it easier for collectors with its Rising Stars insert set in 2012 Total Memorabilia.

The hit-laden set is due out in February and is a brand new product on Press Pass’ 2012 trading card line up.

The Rising Stars card will have an insert and an autographed memorabilia parallel card.

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Tim Tebow tops latest eTopps offering

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Love him or hate him, NFL fans cannot stop talking about Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

However, the undeniable fact is that with him as the starting QB, the Broncos are 7-1. Can Tebow take all the credit? Absolutely not. Luck, bad plays by the opposition and some great kicking are some of the reasons the Broncos are where they are now.

But that doesn’t mean collectors aren’t going to ride the Tebow wave as long as they can.

That includes card companies. Tebow and New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz are this week’s offerings on the eTopps website.

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Monday Morning Collector: NFL Week 14

By Dan Hitt | Sports Data Publishing Manager

Every Monday morning throughout the NFL season, we’ll select our rookie, veteran and breakout players of the week and provide a run down on why collectors should take notice. Ben Roethlisberger, Jake Locker and Rob Gronkowski round out our selections for NFL Week 14. Here’s why…

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Big Bang Theory autographs coming soon

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Despite being nerdy and not in touch with our reality, the characters on Big Bang Theory are some of the most lovable out there.

Now, fans of the show will be able to relive some of the best moments by collecting Big Bang Theory Trading Cards.

Cryptozoic Entertainment has been working on this set for quite a while, but the company is ready to release the product on Feb. 14 – perhaps a nice Valentine’s Day gift for the big fans out there.

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Brandon Roy’s career is latest to end abruptly

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

When a player retires, card collectors check out their stash to see what they own of the guy calling it quits.

Usually, collectors can prepare for that day as a player gets older and skills begin to diminish. But sometimes a player has to call it quits in what looked to be the prime of their career.

It seems Portland TrailblazersBrandon Roy is in that situation now.

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Baylor sends potential Robert Griffin III collectibles to Heisman Trophy voters

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor | Commentary

Colleges and universities have interesting ways of promoting their athletes. Usually, they put out press releases on feel-good stories or how their players helped a charity.

I’ve seen billboards touting football players looking for attention for a Heisman candidate.

This method was new to me.

At the start of the college football season, I got a letter at work. While the return address said Baylor University, the envelope felt familiar in my hands. I could immediately tell there was a top loader inside the white envelope – I was OK with the plain-white-envelope treatment since I didn’t order a card from eBay.

Baylor sent me a trading card of Robert Griffin III. This was just the first of five the school would send me – and I’m assuming other Heisman voters got them throughout the year, too. Read More »

Product preview: 2011-12 Crown Royale Hockey

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

When a card design is successful, it’s difficult to replicate that idea without getting stale.

But sometimes a design is so well-received, all it takes is just a minor tweak to make them stand out again to collectors. In Panini America’s 2011-12 Crown Royale Hockey – due out Jan. 18 – the Rookie Silhouettes Rookies Cards seem to be another fan favorite based on early reactions. Read More »

EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: Topps prepares 2012 Gold Rush wrapper redemption program

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Next year’s Topps baseball card set will be all about gold, and the company unveiled another aspect of its flagship product line’s hued focus exclusively to Beckett Media on Wednesday.

It’s the 2012 Topps Gold Rush.

While there will  be actual gold found in dem der packs, there also will be Gold Rush cards next year as part of a wrapper redemption program done in conjunction with the MLBPA. It goes along with the online Golden Giveaway, which requires code cards found inside packs and, of course, can found along with cards that contain real gold.

“These images do not do the card justice,” said Topps Director of Sports Brands Clay Luraschi. “These will be full-coverage gold-foil stamped.”

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Panini America halts production to add first Albert Pujols Los Angeles baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America will have the first Los Angeles baseball cards of Albert Pujols — who signed a 10-year, $254-million deal with the Angels on Thursday morning — on the market as it stopped the presses to make the changes to Pujols’ cards which will be found in a product arriving later this month and one arriving in January.

The first card will appear in 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition, which arrives at the end of the month. It’s the first release under Panini’s new deal with the MLB Players Association, meaning he can’t be shown in a uniform using MLB logos. (So it’s merely a text change and, yes, a slightly darker shade of red to match the Los Angeles colors.)

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The world is officially crazy about Cam Newton

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor | Commentary


As the eBay bidding closed at $7,956 for a one-of-one autographed Superfractor, one thing became very clear to me. The world has officially gone bonkers for Cam Newton.

From time to time in the hobby, we’ve seen current baseball and hockey players commanding ridiculous cash. And of course, there are a handful of vintage auctions that end in lottery-like numbers. But as far as modern football cards go, the sale of this particular Superfractor is freaking insane. Read More »

Albert Pujols signs with Los Angeles Angels

Want to see Pujols in every MLB uniform? Click here.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Several media outlets are reporting this morning that Albert Pujols – the most-coveted free agent this year and the best hitter in baseball — has signed a 10-year, $250-million-plus contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

Does this hurt his baseball card potential? Perhaps not as much as other destinations, but we’ll see once the dust settles. First, though, take our polls … then leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Albert Pujols is a Los Angeles Angel

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On cardboard: Pujols to L.A.

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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 Preview: 2011 Gold Standard

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Beckett Football‘s Andrew Tolentino took a break from holiday decorating only to find a box of 2011 Panini Gold Standard Football underneath the company Christmas tree. Watch to find what presents were waiting inside the gold brick on the day of its release.

Panini America hires new VP of Operations

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America has hired a new Vice President of Operations, the company announced Wednesday, and it’s an individual with substantial industry experience.

The post went to long-time Upper Deck VP of creative services Martin Welling, who was with the company for 18 years. According to the company, Welling will oversee product development, production and creative departments at Panini while reporting to CEO Mark Warsop.

“Martin joins the Panini America team boasting a wealth of experience within our industry,” Warsop said. “Without question, he will be a valuable member of our team.”

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Box Busters: 2011 Topps Triple Threads football

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Join Beckett Football’s Dan Hitt and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a pair of 2011 Topps Triple Threads boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Box Busters: 2011 Topps UFC Moment of Truth

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Join Beckett Media’s Bryan Hornbeck and Chris Olds as they rip into a pair of 2011 Topps UFC Moment of Truth boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Retro Box Busters: 2006-07 USA Baseball box set

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds as he rips into a 2006-07 USA Baseball box set in this latest retro ripping edition of Box Busters.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

UD hockey roundup: Four new products coming

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Hockey collectors looking for news have come to the right place. Upper Deck has released a slew of information on upcoming 2011-12 products.

Four to be exact: SP Authentic, Upper Deck Series 2, SPx and Black Diamond.

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Updated: Massive stash of 2001 Donruss Elite Pujols RCs hits auction block via Heritage

Dec. 5 Update: The lot did not meet its reserve and is presently for sale with a buy-it-now price of … $119,500.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

How many Albert Pujols Rookie Cards do you own?

Need a few more … about 315 more?

Now’s your chance as a massive stash of 2001 Donruss Elite Pujols RCs have hit the block via Heritage Auctions. The lot of 315 cards is pretty outrageous … considering just 1,000 serial-numbered copies of the card were produced — 900 standard cards and 100 autographed Turn of the Century versions.

“This opportunity to control such a significant percentage of one of the most important trading cards of the 21st century is unprecedented in the collecting hobby,” said Chris Ivy, Heritage’s Director of Sports Auctions. “We can only imagine what the value of this collection will be once Albert has rewritten the record books at the close of his career.”

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Ever been interested in working in the hobby?

Here’s a question we get often … and here’s the answer for those who have wondered of late.

Q: I love the hobby and always wanted to work for Beckett. Do you have any job openings?

A: While we don’t necessarily have any immediate openings, we’re always looking for experienced hobbyists to contribute to our publications and to our pricing efforts. If you think you have a great story idea, are a freelance writer with a unique collecting experience, or would just like to tell us about your best pack pull, simply email us at

If you’re interested in our pricing efforts and have the knowledge to contribute analysis and market insight on a part-time or even full-time basis, please email us, complete with your resume, at

Monday Morning Collector: NFL Week 13

By Dan Hitt | Sports Data Publishing Manager

Every Monday morning throughout the NFL season, we’ll select our rookie, veteran and breakout players of the week and provide a run down on why collectors should take notice. Drew Brees, Demaryius Thomas and T.J. Yates round our selections for NFL Week 13. Here’s why… Read More »

Guest column: Santo is right for Cooperstown

By Stan Carlberg | Guest Commentary

Ron Santo‘s “Golden Era” ticket into the National Baseball Hall of Fame had been a long time coming for one of the greatest ambassadors the game has ever known.

This morning’s announcement is sure to satisfy a legion of Cubs fans who followed the late Santo’s playing and broadcasting career.

Sure, Santo may not have compiled the greatest career stats as compared to his new comrades in Cooperstown, but his character, boyish enthusiasm and overall contributions to the game that go well beyond his playing days make him more than worthy of being a permanent resident alongside his Chicago contemporaries Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ferguson Jenkins.

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Topps makes good on Aflac numbering miscue

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps announced Monday a free authentication and grading program for some new baseball autographed cards that were released recently without a key way to assure that they are real and not unsigned cards that have had fake autographs added to them.

The cards are the seven Aflac autographs found in 2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects which were released without serial-numbering to differentiate them from the unsigned cards that were given to the pubic during the prep all-star event.

The players are Archie Bradley, Dylan Bundy, Larry Greene, Travis Harrison, Francisco Lindor, Robert Stephenson and Blake Swihart.

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Moneyball coming to DVD in early January

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Opening Day might be a few months away, but there’s another chance to examine more baseball soon as Moneyball arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on Jan. 10, according to Sony Home Pictures Entertainment which announced the news on Friday.

The Brad Pitt film based on the story of Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane and chronicling the team’s magical 2002 season is the No. 3 highest-grossing baseball film, trailing only A League of Their Own and The Rookie.

The DVD arrives two weeks before this year’s Oscar nominations are announced.

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