Monthly Archives: January 2012

First Look: 2012 Topps Tier One baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps unveiled the basic product information and preview images for the sophomore release of Tier One on Thursday, a second installment of the high-end brand that will arrive in June.

Each pack will include three hits — one Crowd Pleaser autograph or one of three other options — a multi-signed autograph card, an autographed Relic or a cut signature. In addition, every pack will include one On The Rise autograph and a Relic numbered to 399 or fewer copies when it hits hobby shops on June 18.

Every fourth pack will include all of that and a bonus Relic, while every 12-pack case will include a Top Tier autograph.

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Topps answers eTopps cancellation questions

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

When Topps announced it was canceling its eTopps program last week, the brief statement left more questions than answers for collectors.

And judging by the reaction from collectors, it was a disappointing end — even if the value of most cards dwindled over the years.

Knowing that collectors still had many questions, Topps released a Q&A on its website Thursday in hopes to shed some light as to why the program was canceled and some of its future digital plans.

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Memory Lane Inc. begins massive break of key vintage baseball sets


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The breaking of a massive collection of high-grade vintage baseball cards has begun through Memory Lane Inc. with more than 4,000 key cards from baseball’s golden years available to collectors.

Believed to be one of the biggest offerings ever made at one time, the Tustin, Calif.-based company will be handling sales of everything from tobacco cards of the early 1900s to high-grade rarities from the 1950s and 1960s. All of the cards have been graded by PSA and were amassed as sets through years of collecting from one serious fan of the game. (The first portion of the haul can be viewed by clicking here.)

The second-year Mickey Mantle Bowman card above, for example, carries a $16,500, pricetag and is just one of 11 cards to be slabbed a PSA 9 — only two cards have ever graded higher.

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Mr. Hockey is back In The Game

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Howe about that?

Adding allure to its upcoming Heroes & Prospects release, In The Game revealed that a certain Gordie Howe will be making a long-awaited return to the company’s 2012 product lineup.

“It has been several years since Mr. Howe was prominently featured as part of In The Game’s products and we are incredibly pleased to be working with him once again,” explained ITG President Dr. Brian Price. “Our working relationship goes back even farther than that and collectors will be pleased to have an opportunity to get more cards of one of hockey’s greatest icons.” Read More »

Japanese star Yu Darvish signs with Rangers (updated)

Jan. 18 Update: Darvish has signed a six-year $60-million deal, according to ESPN.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

One of Japan’s most successful professional pitchers just might be on his way to Major League Baseball as the Texas Rangers have won the bidding rights for Yu Darvish of the NPB’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and now have 30 days to sign him to a big-league deal.

In the past five seasons, the 6-foot-5 right-hander has compiled a 76-28 record with a 1.72 ERA and 1,083 strikeouts in 1,024-plus innings of work. The Rangers bid? A record $51.7 million — for the right to try and sign him.

His 2005 BBM Japanese Rookie Cards have been consistent sellers of late, but his hottest cards should already be recognizable to American collectors as he appears on nearly 80 cards made by Topps for the World Baseball Classic in its 2009 products.

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Danica Patrick’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie Card arrives in 2012 Total Memorabilia

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Danica Patrick has been popular ever since she came on to the professional racing scene. This year, her brand takes another jump when she will race full-time on the NASCAR Nationwide Series and also a limited scheduled in the Sprint Cup Series, the highest form of racing in the United States.

Like most years, Patrick’s racing cards will be in Press Pass’ products, but this year is a little special.

Her fans will want to take a look at 2012 Total Memorabilia because it’s going to offer her first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Card.

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Is Rob Lowe right? Is Peyton Manning retiring?

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By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Rob Lowe. Sports reporter? No. Maybe? We fear change.

In what could just be an abstract prank linked to free-flowing information and today’s SOPA/PIPA protests, actor Rob Lowe sent sports fans buzzing with series of tweets this afternoon. He first tweeted, “Hearing my fave #18 Peyton Manning will not return to #NFL. Wow.”

The guy who played Benjamin Kane in “Wayne’s World” followed up by saying “let’s hope my info is wrong,” and publicly turned to Rich Eisen of the NFL Network to corroborate his story: “My people are saying Manning will retire today. What do you hear?”

Could this celebrity tweet create a sudden demand and spike values for Manning’s football cards?
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Topps Magic to hit gridiron one more time with online-exclusive rookie release (updated)

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

As teased in the pages of Beckett Football on sale now, Topps Magic will return to the NFL one more time this season with an online-exclusive rookies-focused release coming later this month.

On Wednesday, Topps revealed that the base set will consist of 110 cards, while each 11-card pack will include one bonus autograph card for $19.99 and can only be found at, the company’s webstore, beginning on Jan. 25.

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NFL Playoffs: And then there were four

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Some things played out as expected this past weekend. Some things didn’t — my own prediction about the Saints’ victory march included. But after all, it’s the friggin’ playoffs. That’s just the way it goes.

Now that Tim Tebow, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are officially out of the hunt, it’s time to take a look at the remaining teams and pick a few new hobby front men. Representing both conferences, suspected robot Tom Brady and family dynasty member Eli Manning are obvious choices, but who are the other standouts still standing?

Who’s the next cardboard icon from the narrowing postseason picture? Read More »

Your Turn (BSCM Art Issue): Who are your favorite art sets or artists?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

This year’s installment of The Art Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly is nearly upon us and we want to know who you like.

You know, as in artists.

Odds are you have a favorite player — that’s easy — but do any past art-focused card sets stand out to you? Do you have a favorite sketch card artist? How about any paintings or other pieces in the sports world?

Tell us all about them in the comments below. We’ll run a selection of the best answers in the upcoming issue.

We’ll have several interesting stories about artists with sports ties included in the issue — and a few surprises in store similar to last year’s cover art by the famed Dick Perez. (Find the back issue here.) But first things first … we want to know who you like.

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

Little League card is a big deal for one Mom

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

For some collectors, a find like this Yearbook card from 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition might be something they skip right over as they tear through pack after pack in search of autographs.

But for one mom, though, it’s something quite special.

“We will love that card forever,” said Mariana Bichette from her home in Orlando, Fla. “That is precious to a parent, are you kidding?  His dad will agree with me.  That Little League World Series year is going to be hard to beat.”

You might recognize the name, but probably not the face of the 12-year-old shown on the Panini America baseball card. He’s all grown up now and last summer Dante Bichette Jr. was the 51st overall selection in the MLB draft and hand-picked by the New York Yankees. Oh, and if you didn’t recognize the name, the now-18-year-old is the son of former Colorado Rockies slugger Dante Bichette — one of the famed Blake Street Bombers and a guy who led the National League with 40 homers back in 1995.

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First look: 2011-12 NBA Hoops

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor

It’s been a long wait for this one, but Panini America has finally released the first official glimpses at the return of a hobby staple to the hardwood this year in 2011-12 NBA Hoops.

Teased last February, Hoops is primed for a return as one of the five 2011-12 products in Panini’s reduced stable of offerings following the NBA lockout.

Set to arrive on March 14, Hoops marks the return of a brand that helped usher in a new era of basketball cards back in 1989 — a set that included color photography on both the card fronts and backs and the arrivals of Hall of Famers such as David Robinson to cardboard. This time, “The Admiral” is back as there will be 1989-90 Hoops buybacks — all signed by the players — as part of the offerings in a product that will have a $1-per-pack retail version and a $2-per-pack hobby version set to deliver two autographs per box.

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First look: 2012 Upper Deck SP Authentic Golf

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

After a lengthy absence from the golf scene, Upper Deck is coming back with a new set this year.

SP Authentic is scheduled for a June release with cards from the top male and female golfers of the world.

Collectors could expect to find autographs and material cards as well as a plethora of Rookie Cards as well as one of the coolest dual autograph cards in a while.

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(Tuesday) Morning Collector: Divisional Picks

By Dan Hitt | Sports Data Publishing Manager

Every Monday morning throughout the football 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 divisional round of the 2011 NFL Playoffs.

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First look: 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter (updated)

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Mark your calendars, collectors — you know now precisely when you can get your Ginter on.

Topps released the basic set information and a full selection of preview images for the seventh installment of its most popular baseball card lines on Friday as it teased 2012 Allen & Ginter.

The tobacco card-styled set arrives on July 11 with eccentric autograph inclusions and always-anticipated mini cards that have been a prime drawing card in the product since its Topps revival in 2006.

Each 24-pack box will include three hits — a mix of autographs, Relics cuts, buybacks and Rip Cards. Oh and among this year’s notable signers? Arnold Palmer, Roger Federer, Bob Knight and Ken Griffey Jr. — but there are plenty more where that came from. (Keep reading.)

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The Brees Knees: Does Drew need another ring?


By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

To use a more-recently retired phrase, Drew Brees is the bomb dot com.

For some, he might not be as appealing as touted Tim Tebow or young Cam Newton (who,  by  nature of Carolina’s mascot, is the cat’s meow). But let’s be honest.  Neither of the new(ish) sensations can hold a candle to Saint Drew’s career, or more specifically, what he’s done this season.

Since Dec. 26 — the night he broke Dan Marino’s single-season passing record — Brees has been hammering home his case for football immortality. And (sorry, Niners fans) there’s a pretty good chance that his legend will continue to grow after this weekend.
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Beckett Basketball Poll: Does a Pacific brands revival interest you?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor | Commentary

Panini America has begun teasing what’s to come in its first 2011-12 NBA products, and first on the radar is 2011 Preferred, which will include a few nods to the old Pacific brands that are part of the company’s portfolio of brands.

That means the likes of Crown Royale with its diecut crowns will be back inside Preferred (click here for the First Look story) as well as nods to cards such as Cramer’s Choice, another diecut favorite at times in the past. (Those seen here are on their way to be autographed.)

I’ve always felt that taste in cards is a bit like music — what was good when you started collecting (or listening) sticks with you as an appreciated era later on. (If we move on and our tastes change.) For me, though, when cards such as these came along I appreciated the creativity and the uniqueness found with the cards … but I never really cared for them. I think I understand why they’re coming back — there are a few reasons — but they still don’t resonate with me even all these years later.

But that’s just me. We want to know what you think with a couple of polls after the jump.

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The Skinny on ITG’s 2011-12 Heroes & Prospects


By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Start pumping your fists, hockey collectors.  In The Game‘s better-bang-for-your-buck Heroes & Prospects release will hit shelves before you know it.

Actually, you should know it as the company has revealed key details about the 2011-12 release, including an anticipated Feb. 23 arrival date.  From the card-per-pack count to the chase-worthy prospect names and more, we’ve got the skinny (after the jump).

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Update: Topps ends eTopps in all sports

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

After a decade in existence, the eTopps program will be ending.

Collectors will still have access to their cards and will be able to continue to trade and sell, but Topps announced in a letter on the eTopps website it will no longer offer new cards — and that’s in any sport.

There has been recent unrest over eTopps with the rise in shipping prices. Now comes the cancellation of the program.

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Leaf preparing Army All-American High School cards with Barry Sanders Jr.

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

In the coming months, collectors will be able to get their hands on cards of Barry Sanders Jr., when Leaf releases its Army All-American High School Game All-Star cards.

Many highly touted prospects competed in this game including the famous running back’s son.

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Topps tops Topps Precision with more Tebow


By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

If you can forgive the over-alliterative headline, we’ve got good news for you Tim Tebow lovers.

Joining in on what appears to be mass hysteria over the Mile High Messiah, Topps confirmed today that its soon-to-release Precision line will include just what the world needs — more Tebow.  The company has added 50 more Tebow autographs in the product by way of redemption cards.

While collectors will have to wait to get their hands on the T-bonus, Topps has a decent reason for not including the actual cards in the pack-out. Read More »

Other options for doggone 2012 Allen & Ginter

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Topps may have left some collectors howling on Wednesday when it teased one of the insert sets in its soon-to-be-announced 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball card set.

The insert? Man’s Best Friend — a collection of dog breeds all noted on the style of the 1880s tobacco cards that did, indeed, include unusual sets just like this.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with tobacco cards from the past — nor with anyone who has indulged in a little Ginter since Topps’ revival of the brand in 2006. In fact, I think many a collector “gets” Ginter and its inclusions — though I might fall in line with many who have been at times overwhelmed by the mini madness that meant too few baseball players and too many inanimate objects.

But don’t think for a second that I feel this one is for the dogs. It’s got legs. Throw me a bone here before you decide to attack and let me tickle your cat fancy for a bit with some other Ginter-dog past realities and future possibilities.


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Ripping Retail: 2011 Topps WWE Classic

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Join Chris Olds as he rips into 10 retail packs of the newest wrestling card set from Topps, 2011 WWE Classic, in this latest installment of Ripping Retail. 

What did he find inside? Watch and find out …

After the jump, you can see a huge gallery of cards from the set, showcasing some of the more well-known WWE Superstars and Divas as well as a selection of some of the emerging talents, too.

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Upper Deck 2011-12 Black Diamond collectors find unannounced surprises

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

As collectors began to open Upper Deck‘s 2011-12 Black Diamond, which released today, some got a little surprise in their boxes. Upper Deck included previously unannounced autograph cards of Eric Lindros and Sidney Crosby.

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Monday Morning Collector: Wild Card Weekend

By Dan Hitt | Sports Data Publishing Manager

Every Monday morning throughout the NFL 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 Wild Card round of the 2011 NFL Playoffs:

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Box Busters: 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition boxes from Panini America in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? How many autographs will be found? Watch and find out …

Ken Griffey Jr. & Deion Sanders’ sons among players on Topps All-American cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Thursday night’s Under Armour All-American high school all-star football game featured some well-known names, well at least their dads.

Deion Sanders Jr., and Trey Griffey, son of Ken Griffey Jr., both played,  giving collectors ideas of future father and son cards.

Not just yet. But Topps does have exclusive rights with Under Armour to create football cards for players in the high school game. This gives collectors an opportunity to get the very first cards of football stars in the making.

But how do you get them?

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Topps corrects Lou Gehrig Triple Threads error — with a cut autograph

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps has corrected a high-profile mistake on a high-profile game-used memorabilia card for an Arizona-based collector in a pretty grand fashion.

With a cut autograph.

Chris Malav originally received the 2010 Triple Threads Bat Knobs booklet card of New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig as a gift from a family member last year. In September he needed to sell the card and when it hit eBay, many collectors noted that the two game-used memorabilia pieces on its left panel were not made of fabric used for uniforms during Gehrig’s playing days. That’s when Topps called.

“I want to acknowledge [Chris Olds] for your observation and article and Mark Sapir at Topps for going beyond doing the right thing,” said Malav, a thirtysomething long-time collector of autograph cuts and 1/1 cards. “Maybe this card can generate enough interest and put some ‘spark’ back in the hobby.”


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Preview Gallery: 2011 Topps Five Star Football

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Often times we take up a lot of space on this site with words, telling you about product after product, giving you stories about collecting.

But sometimes all you need are pictures.

Here’s a massive gallery – after the jump – of 2011 Topps Five Star Football.

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BGS & JSA grading and authentication day set for March 10 at Beckett Media headquarters

Beckett Grading Services will host James Spence Authentication for on-site autograph authentication at Beckett Media headquarters in March as part of a day of presentations and sessions for collectors who are interested in professional grading or need items examined and/or slabbed.

The event is set for March 10, a Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. and running until 4 p.m. at the Dallas office of Beckett Media. It’s located at 4635 McEwen Road just off of Interstate 635.

At least one presentation will focus on BGS’ new graded/authenticated baseball program (above), while representatives from trading card companies may be on hand as well.

We’ll have more on what’s planned soon. If you have any questions, please email

— Chris Olds

New collectibles show to air on Discovery

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By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Discovery Channel is catching on to what thousands of collectors out there already know — it’s a unique, wacky world, and you never what kind of memorabilia you are going to get your hands on.

The cable channel is readying a new television show called All Star Dealers focusing on Grey Flannel Auctions.

The show debuts Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.

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It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s Tim Tebow?

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Tim Tebow as a super hero?

You knew it was going to happen. Marvel and ESPN have teamed up to create pieces of artwork depicting Tebow as only comic book artists can.

The Denver Broncos quarterback has been heralded since he took over because while he has been at the helm his team has been winning by shooting lasers from his eyes and flying into the end zone to avoid every tackle.

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Preview gallery: Vampire Diaries autographs

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

The Vampire Diaries trading card comes out on January 20 with a complete autograph checklist.

The cards don’t just feature a few actors, but nearly a full cast from the CW show – 20 cards.

The wardrobe checklist is also 20 cards long. For a full checklist from Cryptozoic, click here.

Meanwhile check out the gallery after the jump.

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Topps to make USA cards for 2012 Olympics (updated)


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

If you already collect the Red, White and Blue in Topps‘ USA Baseball cards, you’ll have even more to collect this year.

As in, every other Team USA sport.

The U.S. Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday that Topps will be the exclusive trading card maker for the 2012 London Olympics and the Paralympic Games.

“It is an honor for the company to commemorate the pinnacle of sports and this country’s best athletes,” said Doug Kruep, Topps GM of sports & entertainment. “We look forward to offering supporters of Team USA athletes a truly unique keepsake and collectible.”


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First look: 2012 Topps Series 2 (updated)

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps released the first preview images and information for the second series of its 2012 Topps flagship baseball card set on Wednesday, and it’s largely a continuation of the gold-themed collecting odyssey that begins on Feb. 1.

Each 36-pack hobby box will include one autograph or Relic card, while each 10-pack HTA jumbo box will include one autograph and two Relics inside when it arrives on June 6.

The second series will consist of 330 base cards, including 295 veterans, 30 rookies and five record-breaker cards from the 2011 season. New for the series will be a 25-card Cut Above set showcasing greats from MLB’s past.

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