Monthly Archives: January 2012

Beckett Baseball: Best of 2011 Fans’ Vote

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

While we know this week marks the arrival of a new baseball season on cardboard, we’re still technically not done with 2011 just yet.

It’s time for the Beckett Baseball awards issue — and we want your votes.

After the jump, you will find 13 key categories to make your picks for the best of 2011 — everything from Product of the Year to the Best Gimmick. We’ll showcase your picks alongside ours for all of these categories — and more — in the April issue.

What are you waiting for? Get voting!

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How much for a 2012 Topps Rally Squirrel card? Have we gone nuts?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Even the day before 2012 Topps‘ official arrival, there is at least one card making national headlines.

It’s the Rally Squirrel’s “rookie card.”

As previously reported here on Friday, the Rally Squirrel release is a rarer version of Skip Schumaker’s card – the rabble-rousing rodent made his run into immortality on the Busch Stadium infield as he was awaiting a pitch – so all you see on it is the infielder’s heel in a photo taken by Tom Gannam of The Associated Press. (The regular version of card No. 93 shows Schumaker sliding into home plate.)

But that’s not what’s nutty.

The first copy of the short-printed variation (not an official RC) to sell on eBay went for $319.95 via a Buy It Now and a second sold on Tuesday went for $299. The first auction that was completed ended at $611.99 after 26 bids on Tuesday.

Now that‘s nutty.

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Celebrations and fun take center stage on 2012 Topps short-prints

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

More than 20 short-printed variation cards in 2012 Topps  have been confirmed by a group of case-breakers around the country — the day before the product’s arrival.

Falling at an average of two per case, the 20 short-printed cards typically showcase players celebrating with their teammates or on the receiving end of a Gatorade bath or other celebration ritual. However, two other variations, the previously announced Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes short-prints, are substantially tougher pulls than the celebration cards, according to Brent Williams, an Arkansas-based dealer.

See the full list — and all the cards — after the jump.

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Onyx Authenticated plans event with New York Yankees players, prospects

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Onyx Authenticated is a relative newcomer on the packaged memorabilia scene, and it’s got an event planned with several newcomers and young stars from one of the grandest baseball teams of them all.

The New York Yankees.

“An Evening with the Bronx Bombers” is set for March 11 in Tampa, Fla., with eight current members or prospects scheduled to appear. And that includes the newest Yankee of them all, Michael Pineda, who was acquired from the Mariners on Jan. 14.

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Ripping Retail: 2012 Topps baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he rips into several types of 2012 Topps baseball packs in this latest edition of Ripping Retail — two days before the official street date for the product.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

Your Turn (Beckett Baseball issue No. 73): Who would you put in the Hall of Fame?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s Baseball Hall of Fame voting has come and gone — and there was just one former player elected for induction by the writers this year, former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin.

Joining him will be the late Ron Santo, a Chicago Cubs legend, who was selected for induction by the Veterans Committee back in December.

But you probably know all that. We just want to know one thing for the next issue of Beckett Baseball, and it’s a simple question:

If you had one vote, who would you vote for and why?

Please include your name and location with your comment. We’ll run a selection of the best answers in the next magazine.

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.

Basketball collectors shelling out green for one shade of Totally Certified parallels

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

With basketball season in full swing, collectors seem to be jumping for cards once again – even if there isn’t a single new NBA product out just yet.

It seems as though last season’s parallels from Panini America’s 2010-11 Totally Certified are doing extremely well on the secondary market.

But there is one parallel in particular that collectors seem to want more than others.

Perhaps there’s just something about the color green that we like.

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(Updated) Card Gallery: 2012 Topps baseball

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

While we’re a few days away from Feb. 1 — aka the arrival day for this year’s version of the hobby’s most-collected set, Topps baseball — we’ll offer some peaks at what’s inside the wrappers in the simplest way possible.

A no-words-necessary card gallery.

See a selection of the insert cards to be found beginning on Wednesday after the jump. (We’ll add more images soon — and look for more items on the start of the new baseball card year here soon.)

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Exclusive: St. Louis Cardinals’ Rally Squirrel gets a 2012 Topps baseball card

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Rally Squirrel has a rookie card.

As seen in the pages of the latest issue of Beckett Baseball arriving on Wednesday — the same day as 2012 Topps baseball — the beloved rabble-rousing rodent who became an icon for the St. Louis Cardinals‘ run to a World Series title now can be found in packs of cards.

It’s one of a few surprise short-printed variation cards to be found in the product — so it’s not really a Rookie Card — but it should be one that commands attention from collectors.  (It’s also an idea that we floated about last October — click here to read that story — when some members of the baseball world were going nutty. Maybe we weren’t alone.)

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Gordie Howe deal takes Panini to the next level

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor | Commentary

Panini America’s hockey cards just got an instant makeover. Courtesy of Gordie Howe.

For the Texas-based card maker, now in its second year  with an NHL license, this is a real game changer — maybe even game-changier  than video cards.  Since the company started producing hockey cards, one of the biggest  questions among collectors has been something along the lines of, “Okay, the young stars are great, but where are all the autographs and memorabilia from legendary, like Gordie Howe legendary players?”

As of today, that question has been answered.

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First look: 2012 Topps Pro Debut MiLB cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Life down on the farm will be documented on baseball cards once again in 2012.

Topps unveiled its plans for 2012 Pro Debut on Friday, the first of its offerings for the new year under its exclusive deal to produce Minor League Baseball cards.

It will include two autographs and Relics per 24-pack box when it arrives on May 30.

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First look: 2012 Topps Solid Golden Greats

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

With five days remaining until the arrival of the hobby’s most collected baseball card set, Topps has pulled back the curtain on a set of rather lustrous cards that will be found in packs of 2012 Topps as redemptions.

They are the Solid Golden Greats, 1/1 cards made out of 14-karat gold that have been slabbed in a custom holder by Beckett Grading Services, the grading and card authentication division of Beckett Media.


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Box Busters: 2012 TRISTAR TNA Reflexxions

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Bryan Hornbeck as they rip into a pair of 2012 TRISTAR TNA Reflexxions boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2011 Topps Supreme football

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

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Preview Gallery: 2012 Topps Prime 9 redemptions


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

ToppsPrime 9 redemption card program returns once again for 2012 with cards for nine stars from the past and present to be found at participating hobby shops around the country.

Beginning Feb. 13, collectors can take the redemptions that they find in packs of the 2012 Topps flagship set, arriving Wednesday, and exchange them for that week’s card.

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Loaded question: Are the 2011 Topps Update Value Boxes stacked?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

While the first Topps baseball cards of 2012 are as less than a week away, there’s been another baseball card offering — at retail, no less — that has had message boards and collectors elsewhere a buzzin’ with some big pulls that seem to be consistently busting the odds.

Key word, seem.

These 2011 Topps Value Boxes (above) include five eight-card retail packs of 2011 Topps Update, one hobby pack of 2011 Bowman Chrome, a Diamond Anniversary code card and a bonus card of Bryce Harper for just under $15 at most chain stores, though some have the boxes discounted at 25 percent off to help clear space for 2012 products. The single Chrome packs have seemed to deliver quite well for some — at least three SuperFractors of note and Harper autographs have been reported coming out of the packs among other good cards. One of those Supers? Eric Hosmer.

That got me wondering — and ripping — over the last few weeks. My results?

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Gordie Howe to appear for Panini at NHL Fan Fair

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Legendary hockey star Gordie Howe is making his rounds as of late.

Next up, he will be found at Panini America‘s booth at the NHL All-Star Fan Fair at the Ottawa Convention Center on Friday.

Howe will be interacting with fans at the booth from 3-4:30 p.m., and signing special over-sized Panini cards.

This coincides with a wrapper redemption program the company will be hosting the whole weekend. Read more about that here.

Susan Lulgjuraj is a contributing editor for Beckett Media. You can email Susan here. Follow her on Twitter here.

Famous Fabrics creates Presidential cut set

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Presidents of the United States have romantic, polarizing pasts. We remember some as great men and others have simply been forgotten.

But to rise to President is a great achievement, one that will be recorded and taught to children everywhere. Presidents and those associated with the White House have their own group of collectors, chasing after rare products and coins that depict their images.

Famous Fabrics is releasing a set that should appeal to a broad group of collectors on Presidents, Vice Presidents, First Ladies and respective associates – aptly named 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The product is scheduled to be released mid-February.

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UD reveals plans for NHL All-Star Fan Fest

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

In one more day, the NHL Fan Fest in Ottawa will be upon us. Upper Deck has announced its plans for hockey fans and collectors to get exclusive cards.

“When the NHL All-Star Game is in a great hockey market like Ottawa, we really try to pull out all the stops to make it a memorable experience for hockey fans in attendance,” said Jodi Wasserman, Upper Deck’s Director of Marketing. “We’re anticipating a great turnout, so we’ve come up with a highly sought-after lineup of All-Star redemption card sets to hand out each day of the show.”

Open three packs of any 2011-12 Upper Deck hockey product (Victory is excluded) at the UD booth and receive one 2011 three-card All-Star pack. Wrapper redemptions are limited to one pack per customer per day.

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Topps teases Gold Rush Golden Tickets

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps continued its week of 2012 baseball set teases on Wednesday as it showed the world what its Golden Tickets will look like when collectors start ripping into the flagship product beginning next week.

Ten of the tickets will be placed into hobby boxes — each good for a gold-infused MLB ball signed by Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Ken Griffey Jr.

Yes, all three legends will sign each ball.

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The BSCM Art Issue: One sketch card artist that you must absolutely see to believe

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

We’re prepping this year’s Art Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly and one of the features in the issue set to arrive next month will be my picks at 10 artists who are changing the game when it comes to sketch cards.

You know, those one-of-a-kind pieces of art found on a 2.5- by 3.5- inch canvas — real art commissioned by card companies for you to find in packs.

Picking 10 is much easier said than done but one absolutely stands out from the pack — and we’re not just talking sports artists here. Check out the video above for the creation of a single sketch card by Los Angeles-based artist NAR! … it’s unreal, yet as real as it gets.

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 releases details on Gold Rush wrapper redemption

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Ok, all you cardboard 49ers … the 2012 Topps Gold Rush rules have been declared.

Eight days before the arrival of its flagship baseball card set for 2012, Topps has unveiled the details of its Gold Rush wrapper redemption program, and it’s one that won’t last long.

For every 50 hobby wrappers — or 14 HTA jumbo wrappers — that a collector sends in to the company, they will receive a five-card pack of Gold Rush cards.

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BIG INK, BIG BUCKS: Blowout Cards’ Thomas Fish isn’t just serious about sports cards

A preview of an item in the upcoming Art Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

If you’ve ordered sports cards on the Internet, you probably bought them from him.

If you’ve been to a larger regional show or The National, you’ve probably seen him — a somewhat unassuming big guy with a shaved head and a goatee (or some two-day scruff) working with his team in a gray T-shirt and pair of shorts.

But what you may not know about Thomas Fish — one of the card industry’s leading dealers and leading marketers of the hobby — is that he’s dead serious about something else, too.

Original comic book art. That’s his other hobby and an area of investment — and it’s a business that’s booming.

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Panini America offers wrapper redemptions at NHL All-Star Game


By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Hockey fans lucky enough to make it to Ottawa for the NHL All-Star festivities this week, will be in for a treat. Panini America is offering cards at the event through a wrapper redemption.

Panini has created base cards, autographs, memorabilia and special patch cards made just for the All-Star Game.

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Short-printed Albert Pujols & Jose Reyes cards set to arrive in 2012 Topps Series 1

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

As seen on the cover of the next issue of Beckett Baseball at the printer right now, Topps will be including short-printed variation cards of Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes into packs of 2012 Topps Series 1 when it arrives on Feb. 1.

The company teased the cards on Monday, nine days before the arrival of the hobby’s most-collected set — and the same day as the arrival of the magazine.

This will be Pujols’ first card as a Los Angeles Angel, while Reyes will be shown with the Miami Marlins for the first time. Pujols will be on card No. 331, while Reyes will be on 332 — both will have different (and not short-printed) versions in Series 2.

What else will be found inside the packs?

Find the magazine on Feb. 1 … maybe some packs of Topps, 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.

Auction Watch: The sweet smell of socks-cess?


You might not think that a pair of stirrup socks would be worth one’s time at auction … but this dynamic duo proved that notion wrong last fall when they appeared on the auction block via Heritage Auctions.

What makes them so special? They were worn by New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig.

While the use of the items is not known – the color scheme is not of the New York Yankees or with the other items that Heritage sold that were once in The Iron Horse’s possession – they still got the attention of 13 bidders … and sold for $8,962.50. — Chris Olds

Look for more items just like this every month in the new-look Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Auction Watch department.


Monday Morning Collector: Conference Championships

By Dan Hitt | Sports Data Publishing Manager

Every Monday morning throughout the regular season, we selected our rookie, veteran and breakout players of the week with a run down on why collectors should take notice. For the postseason we’ll select three standout players for each round. Here are our picks for the conference championship round of the 2011 NFL Playoffs. Read More »

A Look at Joe Paterno’s limited card legacy

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

As many continue to mourn and contemplate the loss of legendary Joe Paterno, the collecting world offers its cardboard tribute.

As many hobbyists may have already discovered, JoePa’s legacy on trading cards is a mere speck in comparison to his legacy at Penn State and beyond. Paterno — who died on Sunday at the age of 85 — had undoubtedly been blemished by the unspeakable abuse scandal. However, his 18-card hobby presence was too limited to see a significant dip in value.
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Ripping Retail: 2011 Press Pass Legends

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Join Chris Olds as he rips into a pack of 2011 Press Pass Legends racing in this latest installment of Ripping Retail.

What did he find inside? Watch and find out …

Panini, Topps create cards for NFLPA Collegiate Bowl participants

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Some of the top college football players competed in the NFLPA Bowl on Saturday night. While the players are working toward the NFL Draft and received national exposure, they also received a memento to take home with them.

The players got their first licensed trading card.

Panini America and Topps spent the week at the Rose Bowl in California working with almost 100 athletes to get cards organized, snap pictures and making sure cards get signed as well.

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Panini readies Contenders for Feb. 22 release

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America released the basic box breakdown information and additional preview images for its forthcoming 2011 Playoff Contenders baseball card set on Friday, the second of its MLBPA-approved products and the first to have a deeper MLB player presence inside.

Now scheduled to arrive on Feb. 22, Contenders will include six autographs per 24-pack box with two of those featuring 0n-card sigs. It also will include the first Panini signatures of spokesman Josh Hamilton and NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.

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Box Busters: 2011-12 ITG Enforcers

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As pr0mised in our preview from earlier this afternoon, we leave you this weekend with a new episode of Box Busters featuring In The Game’s newly-released Enforcers product. Watch as Beckett Media’s Bryan Hornbeck and Andrew Tolentino tear into two pack/boxes.

Box Busters: 2011-12 Black Diamond

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Beckett Media’s Bryan Hornbeck and Andrew Tolentino tear into a box of 2011-12 Black Diamond hockey cards. How many diamonds did they dig? Watch and find out.

Box Busters Preview: 2011-12 ITG Enforcers

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Fresh from a two-box break of In The Game’s newly-released Enforcers line, I’m naturally in the mood to pull up a few great hockey fights on YouTube. But before it gets gory,  and while the forthcoming Box Busters video finishes processing, here’s a quick look at what we just pulled from the somewhat controversial set:

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Beckett Basketball Poll: Blake Griffin or Derrick Rose … who you got?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor

In the next issue of Beckett Basketball, we’re going to ask a simple question that might not be so simple for collectors to answer.

We want to know what you think right here with a couple of online polls.

The main question … who do you collect, reigning league MVP Derrick Rose or reigning Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin?

Griffin or Rose: Who you got?

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Take the poll and let us know why you voted the way you did in the comments below …

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