Category Archives: Baseball

Topps’ 1951 Tribute includes Berger, top stars

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps recently lost a pioneer in former executive Sy Berger, who helped create the famed 1952 Topps set.

Now, collectors can get him on a new card as part of the 1951 Sy Berger Tribute Collection, an offering in Topps’ wall art series.

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First Pricing: 2014 Elite Extra Edition

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By Brian Fleischer | Beckett Baseball Senior Market Analyst

First pricing for 2014 Elite Extra Edition baseball is now live for all subscribers to the Beckett Online Price Guide.

Loaded with prospect autographs and parallels, collectors have been clamoring for Kyle Schwarber, Alex Jackson and Rusney Castillo’s cards, all of which have the potential to be Hot List candidates in the coming months. For the third year in a row, USA Baseball jersey and autographs have been included in the product. A top prospect in the 2015 draft and son of former Major-Leaguer Mike Cameron, Daz Cameron‘s USA Baseball 18U Signatures card — limited to just 199 copies — is priced at an impressive $40.

For complete Elite Extra Edition baseball pricing, access your Beckett OPG account or sign-up here for a new subscription:

http://www.beckett.com/price-guides/baseball

Baseball loses a legend: Ernie Banks dies at 83

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

“Mr. Cub” is now undoubtedly playing two.

Ernie Banks, the face of the Chicago Cubs for nearly 20 years as a player and for decades after that, died Friday night. He was 83.

A two-time MVP and 14-time All-Star, Banks was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1977 after a 19-year career spent all with the Cubs. He retired with 512 home runs and 1,636 RBI — a career where his statistics were as matched by his enthusiasm for being at the ballpark, his “Let’s play two!” phrase one that identified a career. Banks was named to the MLB All-Century Team in 1999, and, in 2013, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It was that attitude and perseverance that was noted by the Commander in Chief as the baseball legend received the highest civilian honor.

“That’s ‘Mr. Cub’ — the man who came up through the Negro Leagues, making $7 a day, and became the first black player to suit up for the Cubs and one of the greatest hitters of all time,” said President Barack Obama. “In the process, Ernie became known as much for his 512 home runs as for his cheer and his optimism, and his eternal faith that someday the Cubs would go all the way.”

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First Look: 2015 Donruss baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Donruss is back for 2015, too.

Panini America revealed on Friday the first glimpses at and the basic details of 2015 Donruss, a follow-up to the surprise release of a year ago that prompted two series of cards after several years on the bench.

Set to arrive on Feb. 25, it will include three autographs or memorabilia cards in every 24-pack hobby box with buyback autographs of Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Ken Griffey Jr. Cal Ripken Jr. and Don Mattingly in the fold.

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First Look: 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps‘ run with Allen & Ginter baseball cards turns 10 this season and the company isn’t holding much back when it comes to the unusual inclusions that have made the brand a staple.

The company’s first reveal of 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter on Friday includes buyback autographs from past Ginter releases, a new helping of autographs from past Ginter signers and even a 10th anniversary parallel.

Each 24-pack hobby box will include a mix of three autographs, Relics, cut autos, buybacks or Rip Cards per box with the rips falling one per case when it arrives on July 22.

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Kolek, Schwarber are Heritage mystery redemptions

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Two mysteries from last year’s Topps Heritage Minors baseball card set have been solved.

Topps announced Thursday that top draft picks Tyler Kolek and Kyle Schwarber are the players who will be heading out to collectors who found mystery redemptions in packs of Heritage Minors this past season.

Kolek, the No. 2 pick in the draft, is a pitcher in the Marlins organization and he’ll be going out to those who redeemed mystery card No. 1. Card No. 2 will be of Schwarber, the Cubs catching prospect who went fourth in the draft. Each card is a first for the players in their minor-league uniforms.

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 pitches are first surprises in 2015 Topps

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Dude and a seven-nation army might be impressed.

A 15-card set of ceremonial first pitches will be among the baseball cards to be found when this year’s first set of cards, 2015 Topps Series 1, arrives on Feb. 6.

Among them are actor Jeff Bridges, musicians Jack White and Eddie Vedder, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney and even 50 Cent, whose notoriously bad first pitch at a New York Mets game has become the highlight reel of legend.

Each of them recently threw out the first pitch at a game and should appear in MLB jerseys as the company released their names and team affiliations on a checklist Tuesday. Click here for the full product checklist.

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First Look: The 2015 Topps Series 1 baseball checklist

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Topps released the checklist for it 2015 Topps Series 1 baseball card set today, which arrives on Feb. 6.

You can click the link below to see and examine its contents as released by the company. We may add some analysis of the inclusions here soon. — Chris Olds

Click here for the checklist.

 

First Look: 2015 Topps Pro Debut baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Once again, Topps will let many minor leaguers make their pro debut in Pro Debut

That’s 2015 Topps Pro Debut, the first release of the year for Minor League Baseball — a brand where we get the look and feel of the big leagues with the logos and players still down on the farm.

Set to arrive on May 27, Pro Debut will include two autographs and two Relics as well as a 200-card base set with four parallels per card — Gold, Orange (/25), Red (/5) and 1/1 Blacks. Also to be found are printing plates.

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First Look: 2015 Bowman Inception baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

One box, five hits — that’s the Bowman Inception model for this year.

Topps revealed the first glimpses and basic product information for 2015 Bowman Inception on Friday, the third installment of the hit-driven brand that will arrive on July 8.

Each pack will include four on-card autographs and one autographed Relic — a mix of rookies and prospects. There also will be one Bowman Inception auto — an “Inceptioned” version of the player’s 2015 Bowman card — per eight-box case. Those will be found with new parallels this year — Orange (/25), Red (/5) and 1/1 Black versions.

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Topps brings Tek technology to wall art line

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Just call this one Big Tek.

Topps‘ latest line of wall art is one that a few collectors might appreciate as the company’s popular 2014 Topps High Tek brand has gotten the jumbo treatment.

A total of 84 different cards from the offering have been reproduced as 1/1 creations at 10-by-14 inches on quarter-inch thick acrylic.

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Box Busters: 2014 Bowman Sterling baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2014 Bowman Sterling in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014 Topps Five Star baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Derek Ficken as they rip into a box of 2014 Topps Five Star in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

 

Panini America confirms Collegiate Licensing Company exclusive with nearly 200 schools

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Panini America has deals with nearly 200 more major colleges and universities under the Collegiate Licensing Company in place for products beginning this spring the company officially announced Thursday, confirming previous reports that it had signed a large number of deals.

PaniniNCAAAmong the notable schools covered by the new deal are Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, TCU and Texas A&M.

“Since entering the U.S. market in 2009, Panini has quickly become a leader in the trading card category in understanding consumers and developing unique programs for its partners. Panini’s management team is committed to growing the college category and using their resources and distribution capabilities to benefit our partner institutions,” said Dave Kirkpatrick, Vice President of Non-Apparel Brand Management for CLC, in a prepared statement.

This deal ups Panini’s presence in the college landscape immensely with Upper Deck only holding claim to Notre Dame after signing an exclusive in NovemberUpper Deck had held an exclusive CLC license for the past five years.

In all, nearly 500 schools — not just those covered by the CLC — have signed multi-year deals with Panini and the college memorabilia market is a significant business. According to the CLC, more than $4.59 billion in overall licensed college goods were sold last year, while Upper Deck ranked 19th on the CLC’s Top 25 non-apparel licensees list as the sole card-maker.

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Box Busters: 2014 Panini National Treasures baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2014 Panini National Treasures in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Building The List: Where do you buy your vintage?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

About a month ago, we asked you for your picks for which group-breakers you use and feel are best as a part of building that version of The List. Now, it’s time to do it again.

This time, we’re curious about where you buy your vintage (1980 and earlier) cardboard — in any sport — as singles (raw or graded), set, in packs or in wax packs.

For our upcoming Vintage Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, we’re doing a vintage edition of The List — 50 vintage dealers who you should know. Maybe you buy from a certain dealer on eBay or use a certain dealer on a certain site? Maybe it’s an auction house? Maybe you buy from an established dealer who has a website or a storefront and you think they do a good job and the world should know about them? Tell us …

Where do you buy your vintage cards?

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This “Antiques Roadshow” appraisal is a big one

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We all know that vintage finds are harder and harder these days — but finds like this one are, well, infinitely harder than that.

Check out this video clip and a follow-up from Antiques Roadshow.

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Seeking Cardboard Perfection: Grade this card

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

There are many cards from the past and present but there’s only a small number of those that I’d deem to be cardboard perfection.

I’m not talking about centering, fuzzy corners or surface flaws — I’m talking about design, photography, composition, color. You know, the perfect blend of components then enhanced by an outrageous game-used swatch and a cleanly placed legible autograph.

Is this 2014 Panini National Treasures Jose Abreu patch auto perfect? I’m actually not sure in this case — but I think it’s close.  I’m curious about your thoughts below — both with our poll and in the comments.

Grade this card

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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.

Fab 4: Early cards of a new Hall of Fame class

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Three pitchers and a member of baseball’s 3,000-hit club were voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday and each of them has readily attainable and affordable early cardboard that collectors can chase.

Here’s a top early card to consider for each of them.

1988 Fleer Update #74 John Smoltz XRC, $4 (above)
This long-time Atlanta Braves pitcher had his Rookie Cards arrive in 1989, but Fleer was the only company to include him in a 1988 update set. This one’s tougher to find than any of his RCs, so it would get my attention first. A rarer Glossy version sells for about $10 or less.

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Randy Johnson is my lone pick for the Hall

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Update: Johnson was elected to the Hall along with Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

“There can be only one.”

Those were my thoughts on the Baseball Hall of Fame voting as we headed into the announcement of this year’s inductees this afternoon at 2 p.m. Eastern. In my mind, the only lock for the Hall via the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is Randy Johnson, the hard-throwing lefty who won 303 games, won five Cy Young Awards and won a World Series title in 22 seasons.

Oh, and he also ranks second on the all-time strikeouts list behind Nolan Ryan.

Could there be more than one? Sure, but I am not counting on it with all the variables and morals debates that go into the voting. For the record, I’m a “no” on Pete Rose (who is not on the ballot), Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — and Mark McGwire doesn’t have the numbers, besides homers, anyway. Disagree with me? Comment below.

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Beckett 20 Questions: Retro sets & vintage cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A new year is nearly here, meaning we’ll get a fresh start at new cardboard soon — or you can continue to revisit the past if that’s your thing.

With plenty of popular retro brands, there are plenty of new options to revisit the old, and we want to ring in the new year with 20 Questions on both pieces of this collecting puzzle.

1. Did you buy more or less new wax in 2014 than in the past?

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2. Did you buy more or less vintage (pre-1980) cardboard in 2014?

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See the rest of the questions … after the jump.

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Panini America’s busy year gets a highlight reel

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Panini America has had a busy year — and here’s its highlight reel to prove it.

First Pricing: 2014 Bowman Draft w/Chrome Baseball

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By Brian Fleischer | Senior Market Analyst

Beckett first pricing for 2014 Bowman Draft w/Chrome baseball is now live for all subscribers to the Beckett Online Price Guide.

Perennially, one of the hobby’s most popular brands, this year’s offering stays true to form, with over 20,000 secondary market sales gathered by the Beckett Baseball pricing team.

The Draft Pick Autographs have been some of the most coveted cards in the product, with Alex Jackson and Kyle Schwarber’s cards both topping $100. If you’re one of the many prospectors in the hobby, there are plenty of bargains to be had, with nearly 75 percent of the Autographs set priced at $15 or less.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is featured on two cards in the product – a Chrome Refractor and Chrome Autograph Refractor. Both have garnered a lot of attention from buyers on the secondary market, though sales have started to fall just a bit as the Browns season came to a close and more and more 2014 Bowman Chrome football product hits the secondary market.

For complete 2014 Bowman Draft w/Chrome baseball pricing, access your Beckett OPG account or sign-up here for a new subscription:

http://www.beckett.com/price-guides/baseball

Preview Gallery: 2014 National Treasures baseball

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A hobby heavyweight returns to the baseball field this week with the arrival of 2014 National Treasures from Panini America.

While checklist-level details are not yet available to get an idea of the typical breaks, the company has been teasing the notable inclusions of the brand’s sophomore release in baseball for a few weeks. We’ve seen everything from bat knobs and autographs from current Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu to patches and signatures of past greats among the inclusions. Want Barry Bonds’ first certified autographs in several years? They’re in there. Want the first deluxe game-used cards of some legendary names?

They’re in there — and it arrives Tuesday.

See a massive sampling of behind-the-scenes images from Panini after the jump.

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Beckett Baseball Best of 2014 Awards: Vote now!

 

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s time for us to make our selections for the best baseball cards of the year, and we want your help.

While we’ll continue to argue about the highlights of 2014 — with a couple brands still to come in the next week or so — we want your votes for your highlights. We’ve prepared ballots for the notable categories below — and offered your chance to write-in votes on other categories, too.

Your picks for the Best of 2014 will appear alongside ours in the next issue of Beckett Baseball.

Product of the Year (excludes repack/buyback-based brands)

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Player of the Year (a force in the field and in hobby)

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See the rest of the ballots … after the jump.

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Give 2014 a grade for its baseball cards

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We’re presently preparing The Awards Issue of Beckett Baseball and we simply want to know one thing while we prepare our selections and the Fans’ Vote ballots.

How would you grade 2014 and its cardboard?

Making the Grade: 2014 and its baseball cards

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We’ll have our full Fans’ Vote ballot online very soon right here at Beckett.com/news.

Who gets your Baseball Hall of Fame vote?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Plenty will be said and plenty will be written between now and Jan. 6 when the 2015 inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame are revealed.

There will be arguments, there will be debates. There will be moralists, there will be revisionists.

With the deadline for ballots being today, now is the time for us to let you guys, the collectors, do exactly as the voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Below is the ballot of 34 eligible players. You can pick as many as 10 players below who you feel are worthy of Cooperstown. (If you choose to submit a blank ballot, there is an option for that below, too.)

The “voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played” — there are no other parameters. Players not appearing on the ballot below are not yet eligible, have exhausted their eligibility via the writers’ vote or appear on MLB’s Ineligible List.

Players who appear 75 percent of the vote will be enshrined in Cooperstown — at least in the real world.

Do collectors have a different take on everything that surrounds this subject? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Beckett.com 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot (vote for as many as 10)

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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.

BGS Black sparks added interest in perfect 10s

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s been nearly a month since Beckett Grading Services launched BGS Black — a simple new label that notes perfect BGS 10 Pristine cards that have four perfect 10 subgrades with a striking black flip.

The new label has sparked a premium for sales of perfect cards, a move that BGS Director Jeromy Murray said has also prompted a number of previously graded perfect cards to be re-submitted for the new label and a number of other cards that came up just .5 short on one subgrade to be sent in for re-examination.

“[Our] feedback is that the label is demanding a premium over the standard 10s, which is good news,” Murray said.

One real-world example of this can be seen with the perfect 2014 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant card above. It sold on eBay for $3,000. That’s more than double the amount of three previous BGS 10 copies of the same Blue Refractor have sold for on eBay. One sold for $1,406 in late-August, another sold for $1,130 in November and one went for $1,028 — also in August.

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Panini Boxing Day Autograph Content Revealed

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

With participating Canadian stores giving out their special 2014 Panini Boxing Day packs with qualifying purchases this week, Panini America has revealed images of the strong autograph content that will be found inside. With a roster of carefully-selected athletes from the big four sports, collectors pulling them are sure to be pleased.

In addition to signed parallels of the base set cards, there will also be autographed rookie patches featuring team logos for NBA freshmen and special NFL logo cards with a pink background that tie in to the “A Crucial Catch” breast cancer campaign.

Look for a gallery of 2014 Panini Boxing Day autographs after the jump. Read More »

First look: 2015 Topps Archives baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps is dipping back into its archives once again for another edition of Archives.

That was the news Friday when the company unveiled the first looks at 2015 Topps Archives, a two-autograph-per-b0x trip through the past photos and designs in the 60-plus year history of the company. The brand is set to arrive on June 10.

Every 24-pack box will include eight cards per pack, while every case will include 10 boxes. The basic set will consist of 300 cards using the designs from 1957, 1976 and 1983. Each card also will have three parallels as well as a set of printing plates. The parallels will be Silver, Gold and 1/1 Black cards. All three will be numbered, though production amounts had not yet been finalized.

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Panini’s Boxing Day Promo Continues With Checkerboard Cards

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

The slow reveal for Panini America‘s 2014 Boxing Day promotion continued on today as the company revealed some big hits that will be found inside packs in the form of a special Checkerboard design exclusive cards to with prime pieces of memorabilia.

Exclusive to Canadian Panini Roundtable dealers, packs of the 2014 Boxing Day cards will be available at participating retails and handed out as a bonus for each purchase. More details are yet to come over the next few days, but enjoy a gallery of these visually striking cards after the jump. Read More »

Panini Previews More Boxing Day Images

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Yesterday, Panini America gave collectors a preliminary look at its 2014 Boxing Day promotion and they have shown off even more cards from this product today in advance of next week’s release that is targeted to authorized Canadian Panini Roundtable stores.

Today, the company shared images from the regular set found in packs along with the popular Cracked Ice parallels which will be limited to 25 copies each. With four sports represented, the player selection is perfectly targeted for the Canadian market due to the presence of many athletes who have ties to the nation – including several hockey legends. In the next few days, we can expect to see even more from them as autograph and memorabilia content is expected to be shown to the masses.

For a complete gallery, please read on after the jump.

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Top 5: Wil Myers Rookie Cards to chase

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Former top prospect and 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers is on the trading block with a few scenarios in play that would likely send him to the San Diego Padres sometime soon — one potentially being a multi-team deal including plenty of potential big-leaguers.

Myers, 23, hit just .222 in his second big-league season and his home run total fell from 13 to six, so perhaps it’s time for a change. You won’t be able to get many of his cards for pocket change, though, as he appears on 1,387 cards in the Beckett.com database valued at more than $15,200 excluding rarities.

Although he made his cardboard debut in 2009, his 14 Rookie Cards appear in 2013 releases from Topps and Panini America. Here’s a rundown of five key Rookie Cards. (His Topps Chrome autos like the one above aren’t RCs.)

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Panini Reveals Boxing Day Promo Details

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

In the wake of a successful Boxing Day promotion last year, Canadian collectors may have been wondering if Panini America would be bringing it back again in 2014 – especially without the presence of NHL and NHLPA licensing.

Today, they received some excellent news as the company will be distributing some special packs via authorized Canadian Panini Roundtable stores. Handed out to those that make qualifying purchases, the contents inside will include base, parallel, autograph and memorabilia cards from all four major sports with a focus on the legends of the game and other content that is strongly tied to the Canadian market.

What stores will be participating? Find out and enjoy a gallery after the jump. Read More »

Baseball world reflects on life of Sy Berger

 

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When former Topps executive Sy Berger died on Sunday, the baseball world began reflecting upon a life dedicated to cardboard.

In the MLB video linked to above, Bob Costas and Harold Reynolds offer their memories of Berger, while noted collector Keith Olbermann took time to do the same. His piece is embedded below.

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