Monthly Archives: August 2014

National Treasures Hockey Packs a Stanley Cup Surprise

NT Stanley Cup Front

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Last week’s release of 2013-14 National Treasures from Panini America marked the end of an era for the company, but they are still making waves with hockey card collectors as the product flies off store shelves and delivers some monster hits along they way.

One of the craziest hits of them all, however, was not even announced as part of the final checklist and it is a remarkable piece that will be heavily chased for years to come. The game’s greatest treasure, the Stanley Cup, is honored with a Flawless insert card limited to five copies and it has an actual diamond embedded into it. According to Panini Hockey Brand Manager Chris Barr, there is also a Platinum parallel version with a larger diamond piece that is a one-of-one.

Collector Lisa Su pulled the elusive card on the day of release and collectors almost instantly began buzzing about the unexpected treasure. Read More »

Trading Card Industry Tackles ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Magazine Exchange owner Roger Barry is doused Thursday by his sales staff. Barry’s Ice Bucket Challenge came from Panini's Vice President of Sales, D.J. Kazmierczak.

Magazine Exchange owner Roger Barry is doused Thursday by his sales staff. Barry’s Ice Bucket Challenge came from Panini’s Vice President of Sales, D.J. Kazmierczak.

Individuals from throughout the trading card industry – and even groups of staff members from Upper Deck and Topps – have invested in the wildly successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge during the past few weeks.

As you would expect, the videos are priceless.

The highlight so from an engagement perspective has been a head-to-head challenge from Upper Deck that was accepted by The Topps Company. Take a moment after the jump to watch and consider making a donation of your own as the post ice-bath expressions from Topps Vice President and General Manager, U.S. Sports & Entertainment, Doug Kruep and Upper Deck’s Senior Marketing & Social Media Manager Chris Carlin are incredible. Read More »

First Look: 2013-14 Upper Deck The Cup

The Cup Logo

First Look: 2013-14 Upper Deck The Cup

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

For hockey card collectors, the 2013-14 season saw many great releases from manufacturers that featured a strong double rookie class and plenty of eye-catching cards that have created plenty of buzz in the hobby.

With the highly-anticipated release of 2013-14 The Cup from Upper Deck, we can finally bring this year to a close in fine fashion and the company has pulled out all the stops once again to create some memorable cards that will be heavily collected.

Set to hit store shelves on October 22, collectors can expect to find a strong assortment of limited cards in every pack. Naturally, there will be some epic hits that will find a place in even the most exclusive of personal collections. Learn more about what is on the way after the jump… Read More »

Pete Frates, the man behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, gets his own Topps baseball cards

Challenge

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Employees of Topps took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday in New York City and the former college baseball player who inspired the viral video movement as part of his own battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis now has something he never had before.

He has a few Topps baseball cards.

Pete Frates, the former Boston College captain, now appears on five new wall art offerings from Topps — cards featuring photos of Frates from his playing days and designs from the Topps archives.

“Topps is honored to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and money for ALS charities,” reads the description in the store. “All proceeds will be donated by Topps to fund ALS research to find a cure for this disease. #StrikeoutALS.”

Read More »

First Look: 2015 Topps MLB Sticker Collection

15MLSA_1004_Sticker_ABREU

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

New year, new stickers.

Topps revealed the lineup for its 2015 Topps MLB Sticker Collection on Thursday, giving beginners — and maybe even collecting veterans — a simple option for the new year at just $1 a pack.

Set to arrive on March 4, it will include 50 packs per box and 16 boxes per case, while each album will include 32 pages and a sheet of six free stickers.

Read More »

Upper Deck Announces Return of O-Pee-Chee Wrapper Redemption Program

2014-15-NHL-O-Pee-Chee-Red-Bordered-Parallel-Wrapper-Redemption-Kane

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

For Canadian hockey card collectors, the annual O-Pee-Chee issue is a tradition with deep roots that speaks to generations of fans that have fond memories of breaking packs and putting sets together.

Since Upper Deck took over the brand in 2006-07, the product has evolved with each passing year and those that have broke it in mass quantities last season were able to redeem their wrappers for special limited packs containing red bordered cards and exclusive inserts.

There was a bit of an issue in 2013-14, though, as unexpected demand for the packs saw supplies run out earlier than Upper Deck anticipated. That will hopefully not be a problem this season as the company has taken steps to ensure that there is enough produced to satisfy public demand.

Read More »

Box Busters: 2014 Bowman Platinum baseball

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2014 Bowman Platinum in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014 Topps Finest baseball cards

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2014 Topps Finest in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Box Busters: 2014 Topps football cards

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Football‘s Derek Ficken and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014 Topps in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Box Busters 2014 Topps Chrome MLS Soccer

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Derek Ficken and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014 Topps Chrome MLS soccer cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Box Busters: 2014 Topps Inception football

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Football‘s Derek Ficken and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014 Topps Inception in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Box Busters: 2013-14 Upper Deck Edmonton Oilers Collection

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Hockey editor Stephen Laroche as he breaks open a box of 2013-14 Edmonton Oilers Collection from Upper Deck.

What will he find inside? Let’s find out…

A half-day where the magic happens … visiting Panini America’s headquarters

13-bts

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

IRVING, Texas | Monday marked the first day of school for many down here in The Lone Star State, and on Tuesday I felt the exact same way by setting foot in a place I hadn’t been before to learn a thing or two.

I spent a half-day at Panini America‘s headquarters.

There were no first-day jitters, there was no daydreaming at what was going on outside in the 100-degree Texas heat. There was plenty inside that was piquing my collecting interest as some of the company’s plans, products and strategies were discussed for future pieces and the collectibles ideas flowed like water. My teacher list included names I had known from years of ripping packs and writing about the hobby — and a few of them were mentioned on the backs of cards that can be found in my stash. (They’re probably on yours, too.)

From the outside, the simple white building in an industrial park adjacent to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport could be easily missed with some simple signage that blends in well with its neighbors — companies perhaps without the kind of magic among their inventory and readied on their own loading docks nearby. But with just a quick walking tour of Panini’s place, though, it was apparent that this spot has perhaps the perfect combination of collecting and commerce, a blend of bold ideas and brash business sense — you know, something strong, something energetic and also something intangible in the mix — to make it all happen.

It’s a place where collecting comes to life daily.

Read More »

Box Busters: 2013-14 Upper Deck AHL Boxed Set

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Hockey editor Stephen Laroche as he breaks open the 2013-14 AHL Boxed Set from Upper Deck.

What will he find inside? Let’s find out…

First Look: 2014 Panini Immaculate baseball

ImmaculateTanaka

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America is going high-end on its next baseball card set — and it’s coming soon.

How soon? Less than a month.

Company officials officially pulled back the curtain on 2014 Panini Immaculate on Monday, preparing for its arrival on Sept. 24 when it will be found packing five autograph or memorabilia cards in every six-card pack with the remaining card a base card limited to just 99 copies. There will be just eight boxes per case.

Read More »

First look: 2015 Topps Heritage baseball cards

2015Cano

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Next year’s Topps Heritage baseball set means it’s 1966 all over again.

Topps unveiled the first looks at its long-running baseball card brand’s next edition on Monday with 2015 Topps Heritage being a brand that arrives on March 4 with one autograph or Relic in every 24-pack hobby box.

The model here is largely the same as past Heritage releases with 425 cards in the base set capped by 75 short-prints. Returning for next year are throwback team uniform photo variations as well as action image variation cards that will only be found in hobby boxes. Also back will be mini versions limited to just 100, Chrome cards with Black (/66) and Gold (/5) parallels. The back variations from the last few years continue with blue being the ink of choice for this year.

Read More »

Stars of Tomorrow Shine at 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase

UD logo NHLPA_new_logo

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

For a single day, over 30 of hockey’s brightest young prospects returned to the site of some of the game’s greatest moments as the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase took place at the site of the former Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on Saturday.

In recent years, the Rookie Showcase has become a late-summer tradition and the NHLPA and Upper Deck hosted several stars of tomorrow including 2014 first overall pick Aaron Ekblad, Max Domi, Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Chris Carlin, Senior Marketing & Social Media Manager for Upper Deck. “It’s been a great weekend all around. This group has been tremendous to work with. When you see that type of good natured spirit in an athlete, it makes you want to collect. I think as fans start to interact with them at arenas and shows, they’re going to have and great experience and it’s a great rookie crop to collect.”
Read More »

What’s the impact of Panini America’s NFL Players exclusive? Check back with us in 2020 …

PaniniNFL1

Panini America’s Mark Warsop and NFLPI President Keith Gordon discuss the new deal between the companies that begins exclusively in 2016.

By Kevin Isaacson | Commentary

CLEVELAND | NFL general managers have a pat response when questioned about the current-year draft class: “Ask me in five years.”

Same is true in the sports card industry, especially as it pertains to licensing decisions. Any change in licensing prompts countless Chicken Littles to bemoan the hobby’s demise and activates even more glad-handers hoping to ingratiate themselves with the current manufacturing “winner.”

This month, the “winner” is Panini America, courtesy of its recently announced exclusive NFLPI deal. But the reality is the same, whether the topic is Upper Deck in hockey, Topps in baseball or any other licensing move: It is fun to debate, but we won’t know the full impact for at least five years!

Read More »

Box Busters: 2014 Rookies & Stars football

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Football‘s Derek Ficken and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014 Rookies & Stars in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014 Elite football cards

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Football‘s Derek Ficken and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014 Elite in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2013-14 Ultimate Collection hockey

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Hockey‘s Justin Grunert and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2013-14 Ultimate Collection in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2013-14 Panini Prime Hockey

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Hockey editor Stephen Laroche as he breaks open a pack of 2013-14 Panini Prime Hockey.

What will he find inside? Let’s find out…

First look: 2015 Topps MLB Chipz

15MLBC_1007_RED_ABREU

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Chipz will fall where they may in the spring.

Topps‘ third MLB product reveal on Wednesday afternoon is 2015 Topps MLB Chipz, the third go-round for the round collectibles that feature today’s baseball stars.

Each pack will include four Chipz with 36 packs per gravity box when it arrives in April. A firm release date was not announced.

Read More »

First look: 2014 Bowman Chrome Mini baseball sets

14BWBB_5325_FR

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Bowman Chrome Mini factory sets are back.

Bowman Chrome cards are getting shrunken once again and packed into factory set form as Topps announced Wednesday that 2014 Bowman Chrome Mini sets will arrive in December.

Set to arrive the week of Dec. 24, each factory set will include 330 cards and each eight-set case will guarantee a 1/1 Superfractor card or printing plate. Also new this year will be image variations for some players, while every factory set will also include 30 Refractor parallels.

Read More »

First Look: 2015 Topps Tribute baseball cards

TributeBaezPurple

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The first high-end line of 2015 will be Tribute.

Topps released the first images of 2015 Topps Tribute on Wednesday, a hit-per-pack high-end brand that the company promises will be “revamped to incorporate your feedback, suggestions and ideas” while including the “same upper-echelon technology the has made Tribute a collecting staple.”

Like past years, it will include three autographs and three Relics per six-pack box when it arrives on Feb. 19.

Read More »

Beckett Media hiring fantasy sports business leader

BeckettMedia_logo

New Position:  Fantasy Sports Business Lead – Beckett Media

The Business Lead for Beckett Fantasy Sports Products will define and develop innovative sports games for fans and enthusiasts of NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, NASCAR, college sports, Premier League and other top leagues world-wide.  The successful candidate will own the creation, functionality, design and customer interaction of our games and competitions, interacting with a world-class technology team to develop compelling products.  We seek an enthusiastic, motivated leader who loves Fantasy Sports to drive our engagement in this exciting marketplace.

Key Responsibilities
•       Develop Fantasy Sports Games/Products and revenue models from scratch.
•       Work with our global Marketing and Technology teams to create product roadmap and go-to-market pricing strategies.
•       Manage different product models through a unique marketing mix to attract different audience and keeping them engaged.
•       Work with the Design teams to develop prototypes of user interface which offer a simple yet feature rich user experience.
•       Regularly brainstorm on the existing product models for revenue enhancements and introduce innovative concepts in line with our overall strategy to develop Beckett Fantasy as a leading industry platform.
•       Carry out regular data analysis and prepare business dashboards to fully utilize the power of business analytics.
•       Position preferably based out of our Dallas, TX office.

Skills
•       Passion for Sports and Fantasy Sports games
•       Rich experience in staying abreast with the changing trends in the sports industry and introducing novel marketing concepts to leverage it as a growing opportunity.
•       7+ years of product management experience in Sports Industry. Fantasy Sports experience preferred.
•       Drive revenues through use of all channels – Online, offline and mobile.
•       Strong communicator and creative thinker helping turn broad ideas into workable business models.
•       Quantitative skills to forecast and measure data to analyze marketing performance.

 

Send your cover letter and resume to fantasycv@beckett.com.

Randy Johnson SuperCollector adds a more personal item to his stash at the National

SuperCollectorRandyweb

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Rod Lawrence is a serious collector of The Big Unit and at the recent National Sports Collectors Convention he added perhaps his biggest piece of personal memorabilia of them all.

He got Randy Johnson to sign Page 32 of the July issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly. 

Why? That’s the spot where Lawrence was picked as a SuperCollector.

“I wanted to let you know that I met Randy Johnson today at the National Card Show in Cleveland and had him sign the Beckett article,” Lawrence wrote in an email. “I thought you’d like to see the pictures … This was awesome and very special. Thank you very much.”

On the page in the issue, which has been authenticated with a TRISTAR sticker, Johnson wrote “To Rod, My SuperCollector. Best Wishes, Randy Johnson.”

In all, Lawrence owns more than 7,700 Johnson cards including more than 3,900 unique cards and more than 700 memorabilia cards of the future Hall of Famer.

While we showcase a SuperCollector nearly every month in BSCM, our annual SuperCollector showcase is coming up later this year.

How can you be showcased in the issue for your collection of any kind or sport? See below.

CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATED STEPS ON HOW TO PREPARE YOUR SUBMISSION (click a second time for a larger view)

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

 

First Look: 2014 Topps Star Wars Masterwork trading cards

StarWarsM4

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

This one could be a high-end force.

Topps offered the first looks and full details on an upcoming high-end Star Wars brand on Monday, and it’s 2014 Star Wars Masterwork which is set to arrive in mid-December packing a hit in every pack of a four-pack $200 box.

It’s Museum Collection meets sci-fi with an autograph, Relic, sketch card or manufactured Relic in every five-card pack.

Read More »

First Look: 2013-14 Panini Flawless Basketball

Flawless Bird

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

For decades, collectors have been hunting tirelessly for the perfect card. The quest has taken them from cigarette packs to wax packs and from convenience stores to card stores and, in time, the online marketplace.

The quest has been a long a challenging one, but last year, Panini America did their best to make it an easier one with the release of their landmark basketball card product, Flawless.

Back for another year, 2013-14 Panini Flawless will once again offer up 10 cards per pack and the results are expected to be jaw-dropping once again – and so, of course, is the price they are expected to sell for. Each pack is actually a small padded briefcase that will contain six autographed cards, two Jumbo Prime memorabilia cards and two Jewel base cards. Every single card is numbered to 25 or less and they are expected to be chased heavily. Read More »

Upper Deck, GTS and Universal Bring Back Overtime Packs for 2014-15

Overtime

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Back again for 2014-15, the upcoming release of 2014-15 Overtime from Upper Deck will be taking things to a whole new level and both collectors and dealers are ready to reap the benefits.

In recent years, Upper Deck has combined with distributors to offer up a special bonus in the form of the Overtime packs. They have been met with great acclaim and give a little extra to hobbyists, case breakers and stores in appreciation of their continued support.

This year, dealers wanting to get in on the Overtime action can do so by ordering boxes of 2014-15 NHL Artifacts, 2014-15 Upper Deck Series One or 2014-15 Black Diamond from either Universal Distribution in Canada or GTS Distribution in the United States. There are few new twists this season as well that you can learn about after the jump. Read More »

First Look: 2014-15 Upper Deck Black Diamond Hockey

BD Kuznetsov Gems

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Expected to arrive just in time for the holidays, 2014-15 Black Diamond from Upper Deck should be one of this season’s most talked-about releases.

Since the 1996-97 season, the brand has been quite popular with collectors and in recent years, it has delivered the hottest rookies along with some excellent hits that have made an impact on the secondary market.

After incredible collector response last season, Upper Deck has brought back the Golden Ticket Draft cards. These special redemption cards can be exchanged for a spot to draft from a selection of Quad Diamond Rookie Gems Relics that contain four princess cut diamonds. These one-of-one treasures are highly sought-after and coveted by many collectors. Read More »

First look: 2015 Topps baseball cards

2015Topps base cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The new year is here.

Topps released the first glimpses and basic details for the 2015 Topps Series 1 baseball card set on Thursday, a base set that is the largest for the company in years with 350 cards in the initial release.

Set to arrive on Feb. 4, there will be 36 packs per hobby box with 10 cards per pack, while jumbos will have 50 cards per pack and 10 packs per box for HTA. There will be one auto or Relic in each hobby box and a guaranteed auto and two Relics in every jumbo as has been the pattern in recent years.

Read More »

NHLPA Announces 2014 Rookie Showcase Participants

UD logo NHLPA_new_logo

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

In recent years, the National Hockey League Players’ Association has held an annual event that shows off the game’s young stars that are expected to make an impact during the upcoming season.

The 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase is set to take place on August 23 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto and the participants will donning their NHL uniforms for this special occasion. They are hitting the ice at the same site as the former Maple Leaf Gardens and this event gives Upper Deck an exclusive opportunity to get shots of many players that are expected to make their debut in official trading card products in the near future.

The announced roster of 33 players features several elite prospects along with some that have already made the NHL debuts and still qualify as rookies. Not every player may end up hitting the ice in 2014-15, but hopes are high among scouts and fans that they will become stars.

Read More »

Box Busters: 2014 Marvel Premier trading cards

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds and Matt Bible as they rip into boxes of 2014 Marvel Premier cards from Upper Deck in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

At the National: Talking Wax and vintage cards with Reed Kasaoka of Baseball Card Exchange

YouTube Preview Image

Have you ever seen a $49,000 case of baseball cards? You can if you visited the Baseball Card Exchange booth at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds caught up with BBCE Director of Acquisitions Reed Kasaoka to talk about vintage wax and more on the show floor.