Box Busters: 2015 Panini Contenders Draft Picks

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Join Beckett Football‘s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into a box of 2015 Panini Contenders Draft Picks in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

2015 Contenders Draft Pick Variations Revealed

Mariota Combined

By Justin Grunert | Football Market Analyst

Panini America recently released its first collegiate product of the year: Contenders Draft Picks.

This rendition of Contenders has the familiar short-printed photo variations, in both the base set and parallels, that collectors have come to know, love and chase.

In an online exclusive, most of the photo variations have been identified and are now detailed in the Beckett Online Price Guide.

The image on the right is the short-printed photo variation.

Winston Combined

Gordon combined

Box Busters Retro: 1997 Bowman Chrome baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Reed Kasaoka of as they rip into a box of 1997 Bowman Chrome in this latest Box Busters Retro video.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

First look: 2015 Topps Update baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s back, and it’s bigger than ever.

Topps unleashed the first look at 2015 Topps Update on Thursday and one big detail that jumps out at one is this — the base set will consist of 400 cards, which is the largest checklist for the release in years.

Packed with veterans players on new teams and the newest rookies, Update will arrive on Oct. 21 with 36 packs per hobby box.

Read More »

Max Scherzer signs baseball cards for a cause


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer wants to help the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, so he’s doing one thing he does pretty well.

He’s signing autographs.

Scherzer and the team have created the Baseball Cards for a Cause program where the right-hander will sign baseball cards sent to him for a $25 donation to the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.

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First Look: 2015 Leaf Memorabilia Vault


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

Repacked memorabilia products have been growing in popularity as of late and Leaf Trading Cards is about to get in on the action with 2015 Leaf Memorabilia Vault.

Loaded up with a strong and broad selection of memorabilia from a variety of genres, there will be 10 items inside each box and it has a suggested retail price of $1,250. Releasing in August, some of the pulls could include actual worn wardrobe pieces from movies and televisions shows, signed jerseys and even autographed trading cards.

What other types of items can be found in 2015 Leaf Memorabilia Vault? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Topps online release gets an update set


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A recently released online-only set of oversized cards and wall art is getting an update.

Topps revealed the ’52 Tribute Update Series on Thursday, a 20-card addition to the previously released line that revisits the famed 1952 Topps set and is only available online via

There are two versions of the 5-by-7 set — a standard limited to 99 copies that sells for $49.99 and a Gold edition that’s limited to only 49 copies for $99.99.

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Ricky Williams talks cardboard & football

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Former Texas Longhorns star and NFL veteran Ricky Williams sat down with Panini America‘s Tracy Hackler to talk football and examine some cards. Check it out …

Gallery: 2014-15 Panini Spectra


 By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

Basketball card collectors had better put on some shades as 2014-15 Panini Spectra is about to hit store shelves and the cards inside each box are going to dazzle thanks to the etched opti-chrome technology that Panini America used to make them.

Each box will contain eight cards and seven of them will feature autographs, memorabilia or a mixture of both. Earlier today, the company gave a sneak peek of some of the cardboard treasures headed into packs and their sample break showed a strong mix of players from the past and present along with a blast of color.

Look for an extensive gallery after the jump. Read More »

Topps Unleashes UFC Knockout Wall Art


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

Collectors of mixed martial arts cards and fans of the sport can now display loyalty to their favorite fighters at home as Topps has issued limited wall art for their 2015 UFC Knockout base set exclusively through their online store.

With all 100 cards being faithfully reproduced in a 10″ X 14″ format, there is a solid mix of stars, legends and rising prospects to choose from and the basic version is numbered to just 49 copies. Priced at $24.99 each, some big names could move quite quickly and the competition will be stiff for the gold one-of-one versions that retail for $99.99.

Action has been swift on some of the gold prints as Jessica Eye, Holly Holm, Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Rose Namajunas, Bec Rawlings, Ronda Rousey, Georges St-Pierre, Ken Shamrock, Paige VanZant, and Cain Velasquez have already sold out.
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Bat brands get spotlight in 2015 Topps Tier One


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

I’ve always had a soft spot as a collector for game-used bats, which are perhaps the most-personalized pieces of equipment for a player.

The wear and tear that a bat shows only adds to a bat’s mystique, its intrinsic value. The same can be said for players’ choices in modifications — and with all of the bat companies out there these days approved for use by MLB players a brand of bat can be directly tied to a player, too, beyond just a specific model that they’re always known to use.

One type of game-used bat card in 2015 Topps Tier One, which arrived in hobby shops today, is the Limited Lumber set. It is a tad different from those typically found in packs. This time, at least on some cards in the set, the center brand of a bat gets the nod as the showcased piece of lumber in the 1/1 creations.

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You wouldn’t believe how I got my Letterman auto


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

As David Letterman prepares for his final show on Wednesday — a career that has spanned more years than I’ve been alive — I couldn’t help but think about one autographed photo in my collection.

Exactly when I got it, I don’t remember. I didn’t see him sign it, either, but I’m fairly confident that it’s real.

The best part? You wouldn’t believe how I got it more than 20 years ago.

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BGS Diary (May): A lone Michael Jordan 10, another Lana, a rare Yankee & one USA Baseball lineup


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 May — so here is my latest BGS Diary entry. See which cards I decided to submit … after the jump.

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First Look: 2014-15 Panini National Treasures

Panini America 2014-15 National Treasures Basketball Andrew Wiggins RPA Vertical

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

Expected to be a hot summer release once it hits the market in July, 2014-15 Panini National Treasures is back once again and it will be delivering a few new twists to an already-solid formula this time around.

Containing 10 cards per pack, there is a heavy focus on autographs and memorabilia with eight of those highly sought-after pieces being found inside. As always, Rookie Patch Autographs are expected to be a major part of this collection and with a strongly-hyped freshman class, the competition will be tight for big names. There are five different types of these cards to collect, including horizontal versions that contain a Logoman patch piece. The pieces on each card are large and often eye-catching as well.

Panini America is also debuting college-themed cards of rookie players, which may give an early indication of how they will incorporate these themes into their basketball products.

What else can collectors expect to find inside of 2014-15 Panini National Treasures? Find out after the jump. Read More »

First Look: 2015 Topps Heritage ’51 baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

There’s a new addition to the Heritage baseball card line — and it’s from 1951.

Topps revealed the newest retro brand on Friday, and it’s 2015 Topps Heritage ’51 — a boxed set homage to the 1951 Topps red-back and blue-back cards that predated the company’s flagship arrival the following year.

Set to arrive on Oct. 28, there will be 104 base cards, one autograph and a mix of 21 parallel cards per set. There will be 24 sets per case.

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GTS Helps Group Breaking Go Global


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

GTS Distribution has sent some of the hobby’s most prominent professional breakers to the Asia-Pacific region to help trading card shops build their business through group breaking utilizing some new Topps products that are exclusive to that market.

The wholesaler has partnered up with the Ripping Wax team and will be meeting with dealers in both Taipei, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan to run breaks in their shops and show off what can be pulled from packs from the recently-released Asian editions of 2015 Topps Tier One and 2015 Bowman Baseball. Collectors in the United States also have an opportunity to take part in these events, which run until May 21.

“We have all seen the impact breaking has had in the North American card market, and while the Asia market typically mirrors what happens here in terms of product reception and performance, we feel there is substantial growth opportunity for all involved by helping this method of product delivery to the end-consumer take hold with our partners overseas,” said GTS Vice President Lloyd Kee in a press release. “We couldn’t be happier to be working with Ripping Wax. They’re among the best in the business and add tremendous value to what we are trying to achieve.”. Read More »

Ripping Retail Retro: 1989 Score football cards

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Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds joins Reed Kasaoka of Baseball Card Exchange to open packs of 1989 Score football cards in this Ripping Retail Retro video.

We’ll have a series of Ripping Retail Retro or Box Busters Retro videos to come in the following weeks where they rip and discuss packs from the past — packs as far back as the 1970s.

What Retro video would you want to see next?

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Box Busters: 2015 Panini Prizm baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2015 Panini Prizm in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2015 Panini Americana trading cards

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Join Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds and Matt Bible as they rip into boxes of 2015 Americana from Panini America in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2015 Topps Chipz

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

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014-15 Masterpieces

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Join Beckett Hockey‘s Eric Norton and Chris Olds as they rip into boxes of 2014-15 Masterpieces in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Classic Auctions Highlights Historic Hockey Jerseys


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

The jersey worn during one of the most controversial moments in Stanley Cup history is up for bidding as Classic Auctions gives collectors an opportunity to purchase the Dallas Stars sweater worn by Brett Hull when he scored in triple overtime to give the franchise its only championship to date back in 1999 in their June 2015 event.

While Buffalo Sabres fans are still understandably bitter that the goal still counted even though the Hockey Hall of Famer’s skate was in the crease, this is but one of the incredible hockey treasures that will be finding new homes once the auction closes on June 16.

A portion of Hull’s personal collection had been auctioned off in the past, but this time, his items are joined by prominent items from the estate of former Detroit Red Wings and 1972 Team Canada defenseman Gary Bergman and several other historical items that are truly one-of-a-kind – including a Bill Barilko Toronto Maple Leafs jersey from his final season and the last sweater ever worn by the legendary Tim Horton.

Read More »

First Look: 2015 Topps UFC Champions


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

Following a first round knockout in 2014, Topps is bringing back their popular UFC Champions brand back once again this fall and there is an excellent chance that this release will make an even greater impact with mixed martial arts fans and collectors.

Now loaded up with four autographs per 20-pack hobby box, the spotlight will be turned on those that bravely stepped into the octagon, whether they be proven talents like current champs, Hall of Famers and legends or those poised to make name for themselves now and in the future.

What does Topps have in store for collectors breaking boxes? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Beckett “Hobby Legends” May auction closes Sunday


Beckett Auctions’ current “Hobby Legends” auction is in its final few days before it closes for good, but there is still time to bid on some pieces of hobby history, both sports and gaming.

There are several showcased items this month including the 1968 Topps 3-D Framed proof sheet with eight cut signature autographs authenticated by JSA, including Roberto Clemente, from the Benanti Collection.  Two notable cut signature cards up for auction also include the historical 2005 SP Legendary Cuts Dual Autograph of Babe Ruth and Harry Frazee and the 2004 Upper Deck History of the United States George Washington cut signature.

This current auction ends Sunday at 9 p.m. Central with a 15-minute extended bidding window on certain items.

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Hobby challenge: Build an autographed card set


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

We all want the best player possible as the autograph every single time we open a box, but we should realize that’s not possible.

Why? Simple economics.

Every time a card company puts a card of The Iconic Veteran Player into a pack of cards that sells for $5, it’s actually losing money on that pack and the box that it’s in. Why? Because the player dictates his cost of signing — you take it or leave it — and that’s got nothing to do with how much the card will sell for on eBay or what your product might cost.

What do you do? Who makes it onto your checklist and who doesn’t? That’s up to you as the brand manager — but your goal is to hit your production numbers while also creating the best lineup you can that will appeal to the most people.

Do you load up on quality bargain players? Do you go for the big chase cards? Do you create a balanced product that would appeal to more people but not necessarily draw in the gambler types hoping for a crazy find?

Take our challenge … after the jump.

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Leaf reveals 2015 Greatest Hits original content


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

With 2015 Leaf Greatest Hits basketball expected to hit store shelves in June, collectors were not only anticipating a fantastic shot at pulling either a Michael Jordan autograph or 1986-87 Fleer Rookie Card, but there was also the promise of some original content to add more value to packs.

Leaf Trading Cards has revealed that each pack is set to contain one limited autograph card and the 18-card checklist includes several legends, cult heroes and young stars. No card is limited to more than 65 copies and there will be parallel versions that include 1/1s.

Whose signature can you potentially pull from packs? Read More »

First Look: 2015 Rittenhouse WNBA

WNBA 2015 logo

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

Rittenhouse Archives has produced one of the longest-running brands in the hobby over the past few years and their annual WNBA release has gathered a cult following which is known for delivering autographs from some of the best prospects in the game.

With 2015 Rittenhouse WNBA expected to hit the hobby in mid-August, each collector breaking open a factory set will receive ink from the top three picks in the 2015 WNBA Draft – Jewell Lloyd of the Seattle Storm, the Tulsa Shock’s Amanda Zahui B. and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who was picked by Seattle as well. Read More »

Sylvester Stallone autos coming in Allen & Ginter


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The 10th edition of Allen & Ginter will pack some punch.

Topps revealed on Thursday that Sylvester Stallone will be signing cards for the 10th edition of the retro-styled baseball card set that includes other notables in the sports world.

In this case, it’s a boxer from the big screen, Rocky Balboa, who is a world’s champion. (Note the card is labeled “Balboa.”)

Read More »

Mars Attacks Kickstarter surpasses $100,000 mark

Chris Mason

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

When Topps decided to hold a Kickstarter for its Mars Attacks: Occupation release, some collectors may have questioned whether or not the company would be able to reach their goal of raising $50,000 in order to create this product.

Those doubts have been quickly erased thanks to support from the brand’s fan base.

Hitting the target soon after the opening day of May 5, supporters have generated more than twice that amount since thanks to several stretch goals which undoubtedly motivated them to make a contribution. Among the items added in recent days include the addition of a Dinosaurs Attack vs. Mars Attacks chase subset, a free digital novella, Dinosaurs Attacks sketch cards to certain pledge bundles, foil stamped logos on all hobby boxes, randomly inserted Dinosaurs Attack metal cards, and the ability to purchase do-it-yourself sketch card packs.

What else will backers get as the Kickstarter gains even more support? Read More »

Beckett 20 Questions on … having fun in the hobby


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

The sports card world of just 20 years ago was immensely different from today, but one thing is the same for many collectors.

They just want to have fun with their hobby … right?

Defining “fun” will vary from person to person (see our Your Turn post’s comments section for examples) and we know that. One example of fun from back then was a Michael Jordan baseball card — his time as a minor-league player sold a lot of cardboard and it was fun to chase them simply because they were different and there were plenty available. And one brand of baseball cards back then was Upper Deck‘s Fun Pack, a kid-focused line that ultimately didn’t last.

It’s curious that it didn’t — there were surely a lot more kids (and others) buying cards then — but it does reinforce today’s manufacturing challenge of trying to decide what works and what doesn’t for collectors.  Kid-focused sets still exist, but that word fun remains hard to define when it comes to cards.

Despite this, we’re exploring the subject of fun and cardboard right here, right now in our latest 20 Questions. Tell us what you think on each one — and tell us more in the comments if you must.

1. Are you having fun in today's hobby?

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2. Which of these best describes you?

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See the rest of the questions … after the jump.

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Your Turn: What makes the hobby fun?



By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

What makes the hobby fun?

It’s not an easy question to answer because so many different people collect for different reasons. It’s also a challenge because there are so many perspectives on what’s cool and what’s not when it comes to cardboard.

A simple card like that of the Rally Squirrel, a short-printed variation found in packs of 2012 Topps showing something that actually happened on an MLB field during an MLB game, can cause just as many groans as it does chuckles. But there’s no doubting that, no matter where you stand, it’s a fun card.

Read More »

Peeking inside Panini Americana’s auto checklist


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

Panini America‘s top non-sports/celebrity brand, Americana, is back tomorrow after a three-year hiatus with a new crop of celebrity signers and that means one thing — another chance to work on those oddball autograph collections based on your favorite films, TV shows or other non-traditional niches.

I got my first peek at the checklist for this one on Tuesday and here’s a rundown of some notable names that stood out to me on the autograph checklist for non-traditional reasons.

There’s a former Laker Girl, several memorable TV stars and even some sports stars from the reel world to be found here. Check ‘em out …

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Ichiro Suzuki to make Topps auto debut in Ginter


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

He’s appeared on more than 10,000 different baseball cards as a star in both Japan and Major League Baseball. He’s working his way toward 3,000 hits in MLB despite not arriving until he was 27 years old.

But there’s one thing that Ichiro Suzuki has never done before — sign a baseball card to be placed into Topps packs.

All that changes this summer when 2015 Allen & Ginter arrives from Topps with the company’s first autographed cards in packs. He’ll appear on a card as a member of the Seattle Mariners, another as a New York Yankee and a third as a Miami Marlin.

Read More »

Collecting becomes a family affair


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

Marcus Antoniuk may only be three years old, but he is already a seasoned collector – and a budding math expert thanks to trading cards.

At the recent 49th Sportcard & Memorabilia Expo, he came to the Beckett Media booth along with his family and showed off his addition skills. His father, Kevin, explained how pulling a Jonathan Quick card with a large number on it created a new collector.

“We started a year ago,” he said. “We were looking at some of my cards and open one box a month together as a family and when I opened a box and we pulled this card, which is his favorite and he loved it, he put it in there and said ‘it’s two’. He went through every card of mine that had a number and he wanted to take a look at it and he wanted to see what was two plus one and he loves everything about numbers. It was a great way to get him interested in the hobby and every time we open a box, he’d say ‘do we have number cards?’ It’s just a great way for us to share as a family and get him interested in sports and get him interested in cards at the same time.” Read More »

Box Busters: 2015 Bowman baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2015 Bowman in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.