Evan Gattis has a collecting confession

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

ORLANDO, Fla. | Evan Gattis might have one of the most-unique nicknames in MLB today, but El Oso Blanco has a couple of confessions that card collectors might relate to — one more child-like and one that stings no matter how old you are.

PaniniRoadTrip“Yeah, I collected as a kid but not for value or anything like that.,” said the Houston Astros catcher-outfielder. “My room was actually wallpapered — I stapled cards to my walls. My entire room was completely covered in baseball cards. I loved it.”

Gattis was on hand during Day 3 of the the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip, a multi-date, multi-leg excursion that recently wrapped things up in Florida and heads to Arizona this weekend. He was signing Monday night in a Marriott conference room prepared for signings not long after he helped his Astros with a two-run homer in a high-scoring affair against his old team, the Atlanta Braves, in Kissimmee.

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MLB All-Star Josh Donaldson talks cards during Panini America Spring Training Road Trip

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 Toronto Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson and MVP Sports Group’s Joe Vignier listen to a story while signing during a stop on the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

TAMPA, Fla. | He’s been a college star, a first-round draft pick, an MLB All-Star and a “bringer of rain” but before all of that Josh Donaldson was one thing.

A baseball card collector.

The Toronto Blue Jays third baseman, acquired in a November trade with the Oakland Athletics, was one of the big-league veterans on hand for the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip, a multi-date, multi-leg excursion that recently wrapped things up in Florida and heads to Arizona this weekend. It’s where thousands of autographs are signed by newcomers and established stars faster than a Felix Hernandez fastball.

PaniniRoadTripOn this day, the former Auburn Tiger’s assignment was to sign a couple hundred autographs — a combination of Auburn logo patches and stickers — before ripping into wax boxes. As he signed, he chatted with those sitting around the table at a Hilton whose main conference room had been converted to an autographing epicenter. Meanwhile, newcomers elsewhere in the spacious room posed for photos in their MLB team’s jerseys and sat down at other tables to sign cards that will end up in 2015 Panini Prizm packs.

“Oh yeah, oh yeah, I remember gum in packs. I remember to get an autograph was unheard of back then,” said Donaldson, who hit .255 with 29 home runs last season. “When I was young, you pretty much just wanted the Rookie Cards. When I was getting back into it, I got back into it collecting a bunch of the oldschool guys. Then I started busting open some of the new football.”

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First Look: 2015-16 Upper Deck MVP

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

The 2014-15 regular schedule has just a few games left, but hockey card enthusiasts are already getting a glimpse of next season’s first offering as details have come to light on 2015-16 Upper Deck MVP.

Last year, the long-established brand returned as a stand-alone product and it is back again with some of the features that made it a summertime hit. Expected to reach store shelves on August 5, it will be the first place that collectors will be able to find a redemption card (seeded 1:960 packs) depicting the top pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft – who many expect to be Connor McDavid of the OHL’s Erie Otters. There will also be an autographed version (1:10,250) that may prove to be one of the most desired pieces of cardboard on the market before the puck drops again in October.

What else will be found in packs of 2015-16 Upper Deck MVP? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Top 5: Brock Lesnar trading cards to chase

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By Matt Bible | Beckett Non-Sports and Gaming Analyst | Commentary

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Matt Bible. And, I’m the one … bringing some news on the one … in 21-1.

WWE champion Brock Lesnar is not going anywhere. Tuesday night, Lesnar told ESPN that he has signed a contract extension with the WWE, effectively ending his MMA career. So, get ready to see more of The Beast Incarnate and his human microphone, Paul Heyman. Well, at least more of Heyman and an occasional Lesnar sighting. The contract is for a part-time schedule similar to the one Lesnar has enjoyed the past three years. More than likely that means sporadic appearances on RAW and every third PPV.

What does this mean for Wrestlemania and Roman Reigns? Who knows? Initially, the rumors were that Lesnar would drop the belt to either Reigns or Seth Rollins (Money-in-the-Bank cash in) and sign a contract with UFC. Now that Lesnar has dropped the ball, the main event at Wrestlemania has regained a bit of mystery. However, something that isn’t mysterious is that Lesnar has some seriously unique cardboard out there on the secondary market. Here are five of his best:

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Prospects soak up signing experience during Panini America Spring Training Road Trip

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Houston Astros prospect Brett Phillips poses for his first Panini America baseball cards.

 

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

ORLANDO, Fla. |  It’s no secret that potential sells a lot of cardboard — but potential also helps create some of it, too.

When a young star emerges deep in the minor leagues, there’s more attention and more opportunities off of the field — you know, autograph appearances and baseball cards for starters. For Houston Astros prospect Brett Phillips, a .310 season with 17 homers and 68 RBI last year also meant more of one other thing.

Agents.

The six-foot, 175-pound center fielder didn’t sign with one since he knew his slot value for going 189th (sixth round) in the 2012 Draft, but a strong season in Class A-ball this past year changed all of that. It’s led to 24 different baseball cards (so far) and an invitation for a roster spot during the 2015 Panini America Spring Training Road Trip — a multi-date, multi-leg excursion that recently wrapped things up in Florida and heads to Arizona this weekend. It’s where thousands of autographs are signed to help create upcoming cardboard thanks to the work of newcomers like Phillips and big-leaguers who stop by to join Panini’s traveling caravan of collecting.

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“I appreciate you guys having me here. It’s awesome,” said Phillips, talking with Panini’s crew before going through a photo shoot in an orange Astros jersey and sitting down to sign about 200 autographs during the tour’s stop in Orlando. In a hotel ballroom prepared with Panini displays, a catered spread so rich it might make some athletic trainers cringe, piles of company T-shirts and wax boxes up for grabs for agents and players to rip into once they were done, Phillips talked collecting and cardboard as he signed.

First, though, he had a bit of a confession.

“To be honest, I didn’t really collect cards much at all as a kid. I collected a little bit — but I wasn’t a hardcore collector,” he said. “I kind of wish I would have been looking back at it now, but I didn’t collect much.”

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Gallery: 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Earlier today, Upper Deck revealed several quality control images for their upcoming 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum release via their Facebook page and collectors caught an early glimpse at some big cards from the hotly-anticipated product that releases next week.

Loaded up with tons of parallels and plenty of hard-signed autographs, O-Pee-Chee Platinum makes its debut this year and will hit store shelves on April 1. Every pack is expected to deliver one hit on average and a box will contain at least one die-cut chase card and one Rookie Autograph.

Read on after the jump for a gallery of cards that can be found in this release. Read More »

NHL Hobby Stars of the Week: Ondrej Pavelec, Kyle Turris, Ben Bishop

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By Eric Norton | Beckett Hockey Analyst

(Please note that moving forward the NHL Hobby Stars weekly post will be moved to Tuesday’s).

It’s Wednesday, and that means we run down the three Hobby Stars of the Week and let collectors know why they should examine their cards.

Ondrej Pavelec, G, Winnipeg Jets
Pavelec, apparently the NHL’s biggest Bruce Springsteen fan, was 3-0-0 last week with a 0.97 goals against average, and a save percentage of .970 as he helped the Jets cling to the final playoff spot in the West. Pavelec and the Jets played host to San Jose to open the week defeating the Sharks 5-2 behind the net minding skills of Pavelec who made 38 saves. The Blues then came calling but Pavelec denied them entry as he turned away 32 of the shots he faced as the Jets won 2-1 in shootout. The Jets closed the week hosting the Caps as Pavelec recorded his second shutout this season winning the game 3-0. This season he has spilt time with rookie standout Michael Hutchinson in net but at the playoffs approach the veteran will play a key role in the Jets success. If he continues his solid goaltending then the results could be seen on the secondary market as well. Pavelec only has 13 Rookie Cards listed in the Beckett database all of which are affordable at present time but a strong push in the post season could see those prices rise.

Oh, he also really seems to like “The Boss”, I mean just check out that mask.

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Box Busters with Houston Astros’ Evan Gattis

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PaniniRoadTripBeckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds catches up with Evan Gattis of the Houston Astros for this episode of BoxBusters featuring some 2015 Donruss during Day 3 of the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip Monday in Orlando, Fla.

What will they pull? Find out by watching the video …

The first leg of the Road Trip ends Tuesday night in Port St. Lucie.

Box Busters with MLB All-Star Josh Donaldson on Day 2 of the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip

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Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds catches up with MLB All-Star and serious card collector Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays for this episode of Box Busters — with some 2015 Donruss Pack Wars — during Day 2 of the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip in Tampa, Fla.

PaniniRoadTripWhat will they rip? Who will win? What can you win? Find out by watching the video …

To enter the contest, tell us in a comment below who you think wins the Alabama-Auburn rivalry — Donaldson’s Auburn Tigers or Olds’ Alabama Crimson Tide. We’ll pick a winner at random from all entries received by May 1.

Sunday is a travel day for the Road Trip with Monday’s signing location being Orlando. We’ll have plenty more coming soon right here on Beckett.com/news and in the next issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly.

Photo Gallery: Scenes from Day 2 of the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip

 

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

TAMPA, Fla. | Day 2 of the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip included nearly 20 rookies, prospects and even a few established big-leaguers signing for the forthcoming 2015 Panini Prizm baseball card set and more as part of a multi-day, multi-state trek that includes thousands of autographs.

PaniniRoadTripThis stop included appearances from several New York Yankees hopefuls as well as players from several other teams. One of them? Toronto Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson. Another? Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco.

On one end of a room, players posed for photos in their MLB jerseys. On another, an agent’s son tore into boxes of Donruss basketball cards, sorting his superstars as his dad’s clients signed autographs somewhere in-between.

See all that and more … after the jump.

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Future stars get spotlight during Day 1 of Panini Spring Training Road Trip

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

FORT MYERS, Fla. | Day 1 of this year’s Panini Spring Training Road Trip may have started with a 9:25 a.m. flight out of Dallas and ended with an inscribed 1/1 card of a future star some 14 hours later, but there’s one reality about the baseball card industry’s biggest attempt at a rookie photo shoot/autograph session.

It was months in the making.

PaniniRoadTripThousands of autographs were signed by about a dozen players during a four-hour evening session here in the home of the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox with top prospects and rookies such as Byron Buxton, Kennys Vargas and Mookie Betts alongside guys that Panini thinks might be on the cusp of big-league greatness. The product of the moment was 2015 Panini Prizm, a prospect-loaded brand in its fourth season of packing ink and reflective-chromium rainbows into wax boxes — this year with some new inclusions — and Day 1 of the event was the culmination of some serious planning. Five members of the Panini America crew juggled all the work of unpacking a crate of signage, cards to be signed, jerseys to be worn for photo shoots and wax boxes and Panini shirts for players who wanted them. At least one, Betts, even arrived with boxes of cards in hand from previous products that he had signed — all ready for collectors awaiting them.

Vargas, the final signer of the evening, was asked about his favorite player while working through his cardboard. He answered without hesitation but with a big smile as his wife sat nearby, helping speed along the assembly line process of signing while he occasionally marveled at the different colors and textures of the Prizm rainbow.

Big Papi,” he said.

Later, the Twins slugger from Puerto Rico who hit nine homers in 53 games as a rookie last season was asked about his favorite ballparks from last season — then which ones he wants to see.

“I want to play in Fenway Park,” he said with another big smile, noting that he likes the big crowds more than smaller ones found in some American League cities.

So it wasn’t a surprise, after posing for photos and about three hours of signing, to see what he wrote alongside his name on his 1/1 Black Finite Prizm card.

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Topps Addresses Tribute Auto Issues

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Collectors who are unhappy with scratched or bubbled autographs found in packs of 2015 Topps Tribute baseball cards when it arrived in hobby shops on Wednesday may have a solution to their newly purchased problem.

The company issued the following statement on Friday addressing the product and its plans for making good on the damaged cards that were issued.

Dear Valued Topps Collectors and Customers,

Topps has been investigating complaints regarding the quality of the autographed cards in the just-released 2015 Topps Tribute Baseball and has confirmed that many autographed cards are damaged due to a UV contamination on the card.

As a result of our investigation and to rectify the situation, Topps is initiating a complete recall of the product.

Those in possession of unopened boxes should return them no later than Friday, March 27, 2015 to the authorized distributor or store from which the box was purchased for a full refund.

In addition, between now and June 30, 2015, anyone in possession of a damaged autographed card (not in pack) can exchange the card by contacting Topps Customer Service.  Exchanges will be made for another card of equal or greater value, plus a bonus autographed or relic card (valued at the company’s discretion).

Topps appreciates your understanding in this matter.  We stand firmly behind all our products and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
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Contest: Legendary Fear Itself

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By Matt Bible | Beckett Non-Sports and Gaming Analyst

The only thing we have to fear…

Upper Deck‘s newest Marvel deck-building game is an expansion of the current Legendary series, which has included titles devoted to such franchises such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Fantastic 4. However, Fear Itself follows the Marvel story line of the same name and casts you as the villains. Lead such baddies as Kuurth, Breaker of Stone and Greithoth, Breaker of Wills, into battle against your adversaries, which includes heroes such as Iron Man, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man. The deck includes 100 playable cards, 6 allies, 1 commander, 1 adversary group, 3 new plots and a rule sheet.

Want to win a deck? Simply leave a comment below and tell us what you think of deck-building games. Perhaps you have all of the Legendary series and would like to share your playing experiences. Or, maybe you’re new DBG and would like to know more. We will select three winners before April 1.

Matt Bible is the non-sports and gaming analyst for Beckett Media. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at mbible@beckett.com.

Hobby Q&A: Mars Attacks Occupation

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 By Matt Bible | Beckett Non-Sports and Gaming Analyst

Ack ack ack, ack ack!

Mars Attacks has been one of the most iconic non-sports card sets over the last 50-plus years. From the original set in 1962 to the most recent iteration, 2013 Mars Attacks: Invasion, it has gained a cult following that so few original sets enjoy. Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages are the only others that share this distinction. All three are owned and distributed by Topps.

Now, once again, collectors will see another Mars Attacks set. However, there is a unique twist: it will be a Kickstarter exclusive. The set itself is a follow-up to the Invasion story line and it is subsequently titled Occupation.

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Panini teases Contenders Draft Picks football

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By David Lee | Beckett Football Editor

During the 2015 Industry Summit this week in Las Vegas, Panini America announced the upcoming 2015 Contenders Draft Picks football card set. This will be the company’s first licensed collegiate trading card product.

Each hobby box will contain 24 packs with eight cards per pack. Boxes will deliver, on average, six autographs and 48 inserts or parallels. The product promises to feature autographs from the top players included in the 2015 NFL Draft as well as autographs from several NFL players featured in their college uniforms.

There is an extensive gallery below, showcasing the 2014 Contenders design. The product is scheduled to release in late April.

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Unannounced Cards In Upper Deck Series 2

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Collectors breaking boxes of 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 2 may have noticed that they have found some cards that were not officially listed on any checklists or sales materials and the company has confirmed the existence of these tough pulls.

One of the most important of all of these unannounced inserts is the Jean Beliveau Tribute card, which looks back on the career of one of the game’s greatest players. What some collectors may not realize, however, is that Upper Deck also issued a special Jean Beliveau Tribute Autograph that is limited to just 10 copies.

What other special content can be found in packs of 2014-15 Upper Deck Series 2? Find out after the jump. Read More »

NHL hobby stars of the week: Scott Hartnell, Sidney Crosby, Henrik Zetterberg

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By Eric Norton | Beckett Hockey Analyst

It’s Wednesday, and that means we run down the three Hobby Stars of the Week and let collectors know why they should examine their cards.

Scott Hartnell, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets
Hartnell paced the league as he netted five goals (5-0-5) last week as he and the Blue Jackets picked up wins in three of their four games. He opened the week with his fifth multi-goal effort this season as he scored twice (2-0-2) in a shootout win over the Hurricanes. The Blue Jackets then traveled to Detroit where Hartnell scratched out his first game-winning goal of the season (1-0-1) in a 3-1 victory over the Red Wings. Back home against the Oilers, Hartnell reached the 20-goal mark on the season (1-0-1) as Columbus earned its third win in a row coming by way of a 5-4 shootout. The week came to a close as Hartnell added the tying goal (1-0-1) in an eventual loss to the Hurricanes on home ice. Hartnell made his debut in the 2000-01 campaign and has been a solid NHLer ever since. Collectors should note that of his 900 cards in the Beckett database he has just 69 autographs which seems low for someone who has been in the league for 14 seasons. The good news is that for a veteran of his caliber he is affordable on the secondary market and will not break the bank if you would like to start collecting his cards now.

Cards to Grab:
2000-01 Upper Deck #226 YG RC, $20
2000-01 BAP Signature Series Autographs #237, $20
2012-13 The Cup Limited Logos Autographs #LLHT JSY/50, $50

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Topps revives Bowman’s Best and plans changes to Heritage High Number, release schedule

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps will be shaking up its prospecting lines later this year and bringing a non-prospecting brand back into packs, the company announced Tuesday at the Industry Summit in Las Vegas.

First, this year will mark the return of Bowman’s Best, a brand that has been on the shelf since 2007. It was introduced in 1994 and was a hobby mainstay for years before taking a break in 2006 and then returning for a one-and-done campaign as an autograph-driven product eight years ago. The brand was also one that Topps used in football, basketball and hockey through the years.

Also returning to the Bowman fold will be a Series 2  of the standard Bowman line, which will allow the product a wider array of players and a checklist with more continuity, particularly if there are two series of Bowman along with Bowman Draft. It was 1999 when Bowman was last split into two in-pack series. That had been a common practice during the late-1990s, though it was not done on a yearly basis.

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Panini teases Flawless lines for soccer, Kentucky basketball

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Flawless is coming to the pitch and the college hardcourt.

Panini America‘s most-deluxe brand will have both soccer and college basketball cards coming in the future, the company teased on Tuesday at the Industry Summit in Las Vegas.

A Kentucky Wildcats edition is likely to include stars from the past and the present for the dominating program with the likes of Anthony Davis, John Wall, Pat Riley, Dan Issel, Adolph Rupp, Frank Ramsay and Tubby Smith among the tentative inclusions.

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Topps announces ‘test run’ Translucent Football

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Topps is releasing Topps Translucent Football – a limited “test-run product” at the end of March exclusively on Topps.com.

The cards will be designed on thick, clear acetate stock. All autographs are on-card and there are two autographed cards in every pack. There is a Sepia parallel numbered to 5. The product promises to include all of the top 2014 rookies.

Upper Deck Extends Jordan Exclusive

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

Upper Deck has just announced that their exclusive agreement with Michael Jordan has been renewed on a long-term basis.

The announcement came earlier today during their address at the 2015 Industry Summit in Las Vegas and maintains the company’s status as the lone producers of trading cards, memorabilia and authenticated collectibles.

“We are honored to be the exclusive provider of Michael Jordan collectibles,” said Upper Deck President, Jason Masherah in a press release. “We have worked diligently to bring the highest quality, most innovative Jordan memorabilia to collectors and we will continue to maintain the same level of service and authenticity that fans and collectors have come to expect from Upper Deck.” Read More »

Derek Jeter is focus of Topps’ first Cardboard Icon series release

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Captain is the first Icon.

Retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is the first player showcased in what will be a new series of online card collections from Topps as it unveiled the Cardboard Icon series Tuesday.

Found exclusively on Topps.com, the collection includes 23 5-inch by 7-inch cards of Jeter — oversized reprints of all of his standard Topps cards made during his career from his first card in 1993 to his final card as a player issued this year.

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NASCAR licensing VP: No new card deal yet

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

NASCAR has five Cup races in the record books so far this season — and the racing organization’s chase to land a replacement for Press Pass continues.

Blake Davidson, NASCAR’s Vice President of Licensing and Consumer Products, told Beckett Media in an email on Tuesday that the organization is getting closer to securing a deal with a future trading card licensee.

“Closing in, but still not quite there,” Davidson said. “Will keep you posted.”

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MMC Draft Edition: Kevin White

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By: Justin Grunert | Beckett Football Analyst

Kevin White has already started making a name for himself, impressing everyone at the rookie combine. Every mock draft online has him going in the top 5 of this April’s draft. Here are some teams that might take him in the draft and what his collectability could be on those teams. Read More »

Card Gallery: 2015 Topps Opening Day Mascot Autographs

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

When this year’s edition of Topps Opening Day officially arrives on Wednesday it will include one of the more-unique card sets in the hobby today — a simple five-card set that packs plenty of punch and plenty of fun.

How? Mascot autographs.

Yep, certified autographs of the famous furballs that can liven things up at the ballpark from time to time. They get their due here with a set of regular cards — and can sometimes be found in other sets such as Topps Stickers — but they go big-time in this one with ink.

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Your Turn: Should there be more St. Patrick’s Day cardboard?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Today’s the day where one of the sports world’s simpler traditions happens without a whole lot of fanfare — St. Patrick’s Day jerseys.

Sure, for some teams — the Oakland A’s or the Boston Celtics, for example — there’s not much all that special about donning your team’s colors with extra green involved. But for other teams it’s something quite different from the norm and also a way to sell more merchandise.

Today, many MLB teams will wear green uniforms — and it’s something that we don’t often see make its way into cardboard. Sometimes there will be a photo here or there in a set. Other times, a swatch from a jersey will be found in a game-used memorabilia card — and that can sometimes create confusion despite the fact that the green swatches are inherently more unique than others because they are often only worn once a year.

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First Look: 2014-15 In The Game Superlative Vault

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Hockey card collectors are about to get another chance to own some of the most coveted cards produced over the past few years as In The Game will be offering them a special release that draws from the archives of one of the most popular brands it produced before merging with Leaf Trading Cards last year.

Superlative Vault is expected to be delivered to card stores on March 26 and it caps off the brand’s original era before Leaf produces their own version for the first time later this year. Back in 2007-08, Superlative turned some heads with its debut and gathered a strong following due to its mix of autographs and limited game-used memorabilia cards from today’s stars, hot prospects and respected legends.

What can be expected in 2014-15 In The Game Superlative Vault? Look for a gallery after the jump. Read More »

BGS Diary: WWE Divas Paige & Lana, Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Koufax and Sy Berger, too

 

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

For the last few months, I’ve submitted a few cards a month to Beckett Grading Services to finally get some of the cards I like into slabs. Selecting which cards to submit has been easier said than done — and the results can be interesting, too.

Here is the batch I got back from BGS for March — so here is my latest BGS Diary entry. See which five cards I decided to submit … after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2015 Topps Heritage baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2015 Topps Heritage in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2015 Topps MLB stickers

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2015 Topps MLB stickers in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Panini signs Dez Bryant to exclusive deal

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

One of the Dallas Cowboys’ biggest stars is staying in Texas no matter what — as an exclusive player with Panini America

Dez Bryant signed an exclusive multi-year card, autograph and memorabilia deal with the Irving, Texas-based company. The deal with the star wide receiver was announced on Monday.

Panini already has a game-used memorabilia deal with the Cowboys and now it has one of its top scoring threats signed where his autographs will only be found in its products. He’ll also be showcased on the packaging of products from the company.

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Sunday Conversation: Leaf’s Gregg Kohn

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Hobby veteran Gregg Kohn is the Director of Product Development for Leaf Trading Cards and Beckett Hockey recently caught up with him to discuss some of the upcoming changes collectors can expect to see in 2014-15 In The Game Heroes & Prospects in addition to some of the other hockey card products the company has planned for release in the near future.

Leaf recently released details about their first edition of In The Game’s long-running Heroes & Prospects brand. Many collectors and dealers appear to be quite shocked by the change in configuration from a traditional wax release to a hits-only box. Could you explain the reasons behind this radical departure from the established format?

Change is always difficult to embrace but sometimes necessary. The market has changed since the inception of the brand and it needed to be reconfigured to fit within the current market. We drastically lowered production of the product, which will help keep shelf life stronger and keep the product strong. The addition of Between The Pipes inserts helps bring a more balanced “Heroes” aspect to the equation as does adding more legends autographs and Legends Complete Jersey cards, which we have done. Our goal is never to upset the loyal In The Game collector base, but the truth is, the brand needed a jump start and we feel these changes can do that, or else the brand may not have existed at all. Now, that doesn’t mean we won’t go back to a configuration people are more accustomed to seeing in the future. This year with five signatures and four memorabilia cards, new and previously popular themes, and a heavier dose of legends will jump start the brand. The designs have been updated and the checklist strengthened.

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Box Busters: 2014 Topps Museum Collection

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

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2015 Upper Deck Inscriptions

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Join Beckett Football‘s Justin Grunert and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2015 Upper Deck Football Inscriptions in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

BGS 9.5 Star Jordan Sells For Record Price

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

Back in November, Beckett Auction Services put the only 1984-85 Star Company #101 Michael Jordan to ever achieve a 9.5 grade up on the auction block and vintage basketball collectors dreamed about adding it to their collections.

While the card itself did not garner any bids, it was sold to a private collector soon after for nearly $41,000, including the buyer’s premium. Beckett Basketball has learned that this one-of-a-kind card has been sold once again and the price may surprise some that held off on bidding.

“We have a new record price of $52,500 for that same BGS 9.5 that the Beckett Auctions team sold in November,” noted longtime Star Basketball card dealer and expert Steve Taft. “Myself and Jarret Kahn, we both knew the original buyer and the new buyer and we put this thing together because both of them wanted to remain anonymous and didn’t want publicity basically for security purposes. The card, in four months, went from $40,000 to $52,500, which was pretty exciting.” Read More »