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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Mars Attacks co-creator Len Brown autograph added to set; Gallery of Martian artists cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

The 50th anniversary of the Mars Attacks will be here shortly. These iconic cards have spawned a movie, toys and many, many nightmares.

It’s a story that people have talked about for a generation.

The creation of Mars Attacks Heritage has already been announced, but Topps announced a surprise addition:

Autograph cards from co-creator Len Brown.

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Don’t call it a comeback: Are food issues the next big retro-redo thing?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor | Commentary

If there’s one trend of the last decade or so that we know has worked pretty well on cardboard, it’s the revamping of old brands or old niches and making them new again.

We’ve seen it in all sports. We’ve seen it from all companies — from the Topps Heritages, Allen & Ginters and Goodwins of the world to the revival of recent-year brands, too in Pacific, Fleer and more.

But one niche we haven’t seen all that much of (but we have some) — at least in direct reproductions — is the revival of the food issue set.

Panini America‘s upcoming Past & Present basketball set will celebrate the look and feel of some past vintage food issue sets with its Bread for Energy and Bread for Health insert sets as part of a nod to the past in the product. While the company previewed some of the cards here, we have one above and want to know what you think via our poll or a comment below. (Need a John Wall checklist or OPG? Click here.)

Your Take: Food issues revisited

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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 colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Panini turns 2011 National Treasures error into a redemption (kind of)

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Making an altruistic move this morning, Panini America just gave collectors good reason to dig up inserts from last year’s National Treasures Football product.

Company officials announced that the 97 cards from the 2011 National Treasures Pro Football Letterman insert set which mistakenly read, “Authentic Autograph” can now be exchanged for a random NFL signature.

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Ripping Retail Retro: 1982 Topps vending box

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he hosts Reed Kasaoka of Baseball Card Exchange (bbcexchange.com) for a 1982 Topps vending box break in this latest episode of Ripping Retail.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Preview Gallery: Panini unveils autographed eye candy from 2011-12 Elite, Playoff Contenders


By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

In a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of way, Panini America revealed answers to its Guess the Autograph contest by way of a 28-image signature gallery over the weekend.

Using pieces from 2011-12 Elite and Playoff Contenders, the manufacturer provided an answer key to the NHL Playoffs-inspired promotion and previewed some soon-to-release autographed eye candy, to boot. Let’s have a look.
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First Look: 2012 Topps Triple Threads (updated)

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps released the basic product information and preview images for this year’s edition of Triple Threads on Friday, and it looks like the seventh edition of the always-popular hit- and autograph-laden brand will deliver what collectors have come to expect — maybe more.

And that starts with a slightly different configuration that will have two types of packs to be found per box when it arrives on Sept. 19. (Need any of the Triple Threads checklists from 2006-2011? Get them and an OPG here.)

One pack version will include three base cards, two parallel cards, one triple Relic and a Unity Single Auto Relic. The other pack version will include three base cards, two parallels, one triple Autographed Relic and one Unity Relic.

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Strange Brew: Panini partners with Molson for Interactive Stanley Cup set

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor | Commentary

Free hockey cards AND beer? Take off, hoser.

Koo roo koo koo koo koo koo koo! The marketing gurus at Molson Canadian have partnered with Panini America to offer a trio of Canadian classics that would make Bob and Doug McKenzie’s heads spin. Read More »

Updated: Upper Deck loses case over redemptions

Update: Upper Deck decided to comment on the case on the afternoon after this story was published. Comments added below.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A Michigan man took Upper Deck to court over redemption cards that were not fulfilled and won his case back in March, a $1,329 judgment.

But as of April 12, he had not been paid.

David Bailey, an Emmy award-winning chief investigative reporter for a CBS-affiliated television station, was the plaintiff in the case — and a collector of 2007 SP Authentic baseball cards. He said he purchased upwards of 10 cases of the product and opened them recently. However, he had no idea there were expired redemptions inside — and he took the card company to court when he did not hear from it when he was left empty-handed.

“My read of Michigan’s consumer laws suggests what they’re doing is illegal,” Bailey said. “Upper Deck ignored me, so I made good on the promise and sued them for all my expired redemptions — $1,300 worth on the low end of Beckett’s price [ranges]. I had a Roger Clemens/Derek Jeter and a couple of Tim Lincecum/Matt Cains. I really wanted the cards, not the cash.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Topps adds Darvish, Cespedes autos to Golden Giveaway

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Topps Golden Giveaway just got a little more lustrous.

The company announced on Thursday that the code cards found in packs of 2012 Topps can now unlock cards of two of the most talked-about rookies in MLB so far this season — Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish and Oakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

And not only that, they are autographed.

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Rare Kobe commands crazy cash on eBay – but will it be paid for?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor | Commentary

A Kobe Bryant 1997-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Emerald card up for auction on eBay ended at more than $37,600 just seconds ago on Wednesday night after 45 bids.

It ended at $37,665 to be exact.

The card is serial-numbered 008/100 — matching the Los Angeles Lakers star’s old uniform number — and is one of just 10 copies of the Emerald card that were made. The remaining 90 cards are the Red version of the partial parallel to the Metal Universe set, which carried a $2.49 a pack suggested retail price at the time of release. Not a bad potential return from a few years ago, eh? (Need a Metal Universe checklist or Beckett.com OPG to find out what your cards are worth? Click here.)

Now, we just need to wait and see whether the card will be paid for.

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Your Turn: How much might Bryce Harper’s SuperFractor sell for?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Bryce Harper SuperFractor from 2011 Bowman Chrome has been found, and it was quietly examined and slabbed a 9.5 Gem Mint specimen by Beckett Grading Services before it arrived on the auction block with a $24,999 Buy It Now pricetag on eBay.

Or, of course, you could make an offer.

Now, unless you’ve lived under a rock the last couple of years, you should know the kind of money that SuperFractors of top prospects have been commanding. If not, let’s just say it’s been enough that mainstream media outlets such as Yahoo! Sports are watching cards just like this one when they merely arrive on eBay — not when (or if) they sell. On Wednesday evening, via Twitter, they asked me my take on the card’s asking price, which is in their story.

Now, though, we want to know what you think the Harper should sell for. Take the poll or leave a comment below. (Need a complete Harper checklist or an OPG? Click here.)

Your Take: Eventual sale price for the Bryce Harper SuperFractor

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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 colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Coming soon: 2012 Upper Deck Football


By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Next up in the non-NFL-licensed product lineup is a college-centric showcase from a major manufacturer. 2012 Upper Deck Football is slated for an April  24 street date, and should land to the delight of NCAA football fans far and wide.
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That’s My Ticket readies memorabilia line celebrating 100th anniversary of Fenway Park

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Fenway Park will be hosting its 100th anniversary game on April 20 — next Friday — and Medway, Mass.-based That’s My Ticket will be there in case fans want to celebrate being there (or just mark the occasion) with a memento.

The company, known for its licensed canvas blowups of past tickets and other reproduction displays, will have a line of personalized items and 100th anniversary pieces ready for fans just in time for the game.

“We know how significant this event is, and it’s important fans know they can get something special, something personalized made directly from their April 20 ticket,” said company president Dean Macchi. “And we do it right here in Medway. ” (Want a full checklist of the 90,000-plus Sox cards on Beckett.com or a Sox OPG? Click here.)

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First look: 2011-12 Limited basketball (updated)

April 11 Update:  Added new info and images.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor

When Panini America‘s 2011-12 Limited arrives in late May it won’t just be packing the latest and greatest in autographs and memorabilia.

It will be packing redemption cards for the first rookies of this year’s NBA class — and next year’s crop, too.

Limited is one of three 2011-12 products that will take this approach with the other two being the forthcoming Past & Present and the forthcoming Gold Standard.

While full details are still forthcoming from the company, what is known about Limited is that each $100 (or so) six-card pack (15 packs per case) will include one Draft Class autograph redemption card inside along with one autograph, one memorabilia card one parallel and a selection of base cards when it arrives on May 30.

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A poll for your non-hardcore-collector friends


If you’re  a regular here on Beckett.com with a membership and an OPG to boot, your pack-ripping frequency is much higher than the average Joe’s. For that, we admire, respect, and adore you. But we still want to know more about Joe.

We recently asked our Facebook fans to pass this question along to their friends who have — for one reason or another — fallen off the hobby bandwagon. And we invite you to do the same. When you get a chance, mosey on over to our Facebook page and share this question with your friends (even the ones not named Joe) so we can all learn a little more about the current state of cardboard.

New hip-hop card set to be released in May

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

The hip-hop world is jumping into the trading card realm, putting 100 artists on cards and giving away millions of prizes in the process.

Platinum League Trading Cards will be released May 1 in retail outlets across the country.

The cards will look like typical trading cards with pictures on the front and stats on the back, including a bio and career highlights. However, Green Media, the company releasing the cards, is also adding another component by including QR codes that will feature never-before-seen videos of the artists. The codes can be scanned by mobile devices that lead to a specific website.

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Fans aren’t waiting for Cespedes’ first A’s cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Question: What happens when a highly touted Cuban prospect signs with a small-market team lacking many marquee names and he hits tape-measure home runs in three of his first five games?

Answer: Hot cardboard.

That’s exactly what has happened with new Oakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound rookie who is hitting just .250 but might be the biggest Bash Brother in the Oakland lineup these days. Meanwhile, he doesn’t even have an A’s card yet — but thanks to his 2009 World Baseball Classic cards in various Topps brands, there’s still cardboard to be found.  (Need a full Cespedes checklist or OPG? Click here.)

Want proof? A 2009 Bowman Chrome WBC Prospects Blue Refractor /150 sold for $135 on Tuesday — a strong number. Meanwhile, a 30-card lot of his regular card in the set is commanding more than $500 in a current auction with time remaining today.

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A rainy night at Shea changed Lenny Steren’s life

Photos courtesy of Lenny Steren

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

When one looks back at some of the most-memorable times in MLB history, the Summer of 1998 perhaps still stands out as one that can’t be forgotten as Mark McGwire topped the once-thought-untoppable 61 home runs of Roger Maris.

While subsequent sluggers and tearful confessions might have changed how we view that run into the record books now, for 46-year-old Lenny Steren it still resonates quite well.

In fact, one McGwire moonshot that summer changed his life forever.

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Ohio collector readies for his chance to meet Kobe

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor

For Nick Gauder, sitting down with his two daughters to open a box of Panini America‘s Gold Standard basketball cards was a chance to share in a moment if there was perhaps a special autograph inside.

It turned out to be something else.

It was something so special that the 33-year-old single dad of two from Columbus, Ohio, ended up turning down a $20,000 offer for the item. It was a Golden Ticket good to meet Kobe Bryant at a Lakers game in Los Angeles. Fast forward a few months and that game is this Sunday as the Lakers host the Dallas Mavericks.

“I really don’t know what I’m going to ask Kobe,” he said. “I just hope I don’t get starstruck when I meet him. I’ve been watching this guy tear it up on the court for 15 years or so now, and have been a huge fan of his and to think I’m about to meet him in person is mind-blowing to me!”

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Readers Write: Reaction to The Autograph Issue

From time to time, we’ll showcase a Readers Write letter here online before it appears in a magazine. Here’s one that arrived on Tuesday …

Remembering My Ink
Read the Autograph Issue of Beckett Sports Monthly and enjoyed it! Reading the successes that other collectors had made me think of all the successes that I had in my 26 years of collecting. And the failures. And the one epic one in my case.

My father once bought for me a box of Classic 1991 Draft Picks. I was 16 at the time and done something to earn it (I forgot what). There was an autograph in each box, and in my own little way praying for a big hit even though I was ready if the hit I got was nothing special. Well, I just about passed out when the auto I got was Brien Taylor, the No. 1 draft pick of the New York Yankees. Jackpot! My plan was to take it, sit on it until he hit The Big Apple and sell, sell, sell! Needless to say, that day never came.

I still have it. No. 1,776 of 2,600. I just look at it now and think of what could have been.

– Austin Campbell, Fayetteville, N.C.

I think we all have those stories — anyone have another just like it? Or do you have a comment about The Autograph Issue?  Let us know in the comments below. — Chris Olds