2018 Topps Series 2 Baseball Expands and Adds to the Flagship

2018 Topps Series 2 Baseball is the jam to Series 1’s peanut butter. The checklist picks up from where the first set left off, filling in gaps and expanding things along the way.

This is true for not just the main set, but many of the inserts as well. But that doesn’t mean new elements aren’t added to the checklist. They are.

If you’re looking for a big configuration change, you’re not going to find one. 2018 Topps Series 2 Baseball hobby boxes once again come with either and autograph or a relic. Hobby jumbo boxes have the trifecta of one autograph, one memorabilia card and one manufactured relic.

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Local Card Shop of the Week: Baseball Card Connection

Jon Schafer began collecting trading cards in grade school in the late 70’s-early 80’s. Instead of heading to Wall Street after college, he made the decision to jump into the card world professionally by opening a card shop in 1992. His wife, Lisa, was working in the dental industry and in 1996, with no previous collecting experience, she became Jon’s full-time business partner at Baseball Card Connection.

In 2017 Baseball Card Connection continues to operate as a family business in Effingham, IL with their son, Dawson, helping out as well. The Schafer’s provided some insight into the world of Baseball Card Connection.

JS – Thanks for speaking with me Mr. and Mrs. Schafer. Can you tell us a little about how you decided to open a card store and some of the steps you had to take to make that dream a reality?

BCC – (Jon) I had been a trading card collector since my childhood. I always remembered that magical feeling of opening a pack of cards and seeing my heroes on cardboard. I really enjoyed attending card shows in order to purchase more cards for my collection. I thought if I rented a table I would be able to sell cards I did not want and buy more cards for my collection. I set up my first table at a card show at the age of 14 and continued to sell during my high school and college years. I graduated from Illinois State University in 1991 with a degree in Business Finance and Marketing.

 

I always had an interest in Wall Street and the stock market, but I decided to stick with what I enjoyed the most – The sports collectibles industry. Fresh out of college, I started my first store in the back of a Real Estate office, in a garage. It was all I could afford at the time and I had very little walk-in traffic. I started the business with all the money I could scramble up from shows and secured a small credit line from a local bank. I mainly did mail order and worked on inventory during the week, and sold at card shows every weekend. As the business started to grow, I moved from the garage to a retail store on the main street in our downtown business district. Expansion has now taken us to our 4th and final location downtown, a 6,000 square foot retail store.

JS – When reviewing your store online, one of the obvious things I noticed was that you are very involved in your local community. I saw some great photos from “Downtown Trick or Treat” and an Entrepreneur Showcase with the local High School CEO kids. Can you talk a little about your community and the role your shop plays?

BCC – We are fortunate to live in the great, vibrant community of Effingham, IL. We are definitely in the heartland (middle) of our country, located where Interstates 57 and 70 cross. Those interstates run the entire length of our country in all 4 directions. Our town has a lot to offer, considering the small population of 12,600. While most small town business districts have died off over the years, Effingham’s continues to thrive. We are at 100% capacity in our downtown with many more business wanting to re-locate there. We try to stay active in our community and do what we can to make it a better place to live. We are involved in many downtown events and try to focus our efforts on making them fun for kids and families.

We recently led a project to re-build our downtown Santa House located on our Courthouse Square. Our community once again came through, donating over $10,000 for the re-build of our beautiful Santa House. We have also had multiple autograph signings in our store that have been free of charge to the general public. We are always looking for new ways to create positive experiences for our customers. One of the reasons we volunteered to host our local High School CEO class was the fact that I look at them and see myself. I want to share my experiences, good and bad, and maybe trigger something inside of them that will lead them to pursue their own passion. We have had a lot of positive feedback from previous classes because we are original, honest and don’t sugar coat anything – we “tell it like it is”.

JS – The hobby community has grown over the last couple of years with some very popular rookies and new products. Some have been new to the hobby and some have been former collectors returning from hiatus. What are some of the steps you’ve taken to attract and welcome new customers to your store and retain them as return customers?

BCC – We try to work with the major companies to promote that we are a “hobby” store so we can let potential customers know that we have products that the mass chains do not offer. We have been growing for 3 decades so customers are amazed at the amount of inventory we have to offer. Through the years we have had trade nights, special events, and autograph sessions to bring in new customers. We have utilized social media to attract customers and we have worked very hard to become a “destination” store – a store that you just have to visit if you are interested in sports. We try to post a lot of our out-of-town visitors on our Facebook page. We have received a lot of positive customer feedback stating how much they enjoy seeing and learning about these customers. The last visitors we posted were from Moscow, Russia.

JS – Your store is located in the middle of a pretty intense sports hub that includes St. Louis, Indianapolis, Chicago, Nashville and even Cincinnati fans are probably within your reach. What are the favorites for your client base when it comes to teams, players and sports?  

BCC – Without question, the Cardinals and Cubs are the most popular teams in our community and baseball is the most popular sport. The Cardinals were always the #1 selling team, but with the Cubs recent success, it’s starting to even out a bit. We have over 250 different general merchandise items available for both teams.

JS – I also see that you have a fair share of in house athlete visitors for signings and meet and greets. What have been some of the highlights for you?

BCC – You might find it amazing, but we currently have 3 kids from Effingham who are currently playing in the Major Leagues. Chad Green (New York Yankees), Nick Gardewine (Texas Rangers) and Danny Winkler (Atlanta Braves). Spencer Patton is from South Central High School, just a few miles away, and he pitched in 2016 for the Chicago Cubs. We also have quite a few local players in the minor leagues and Effingham has become a “hotbed” for baseball. Stan Royer, a friend of mine, played baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals in the early 90’s and is definitely our sentimental favorite. Stan was always happy to come and sign autographs for us and meet our customers. When I was coaching 9 and 10 year old youth baseball, Stan would always take a day off and drive 3 hours to attend our practice and talk to our team – not something most retired players would do. As far as highlights, two of my favorite memories are visiting with Pete Rose and having dinner with Stan Musial. I can’t predict the future, but topping dinner with “Stan the Man” might be an impossible feat.

JS – What have some of the hottest products been for your store over the last 12 months? 

BCC – Honestly, over the past 12 months it has been hard to keep any “hobby” products in stock. All Topps Baseball products have been on fire for us due to Aaron Judge and a great crop of baseball rookies in 2017. Panini Basketball products have also been selling well and Lonzo Ball is also leading an amazing crop of basketball rookies this year. Overall, the market has been pretty hot.

JS – What are some of the big hits you’ve seen pulled since you’ve opened Baseball Card Connection?

BCC – We have watched our customers pull so many good cards from packs and if they are not camera shy, we try to post those big hits on our Facebook page. One that comes to mind is a Michael Jordan / Lebron James Autographed 1/1 card from a box of Upper Deck Basketball. The card sold for $6,000.00 at the time and it was pulled from a box of cards that was selling for $49.95

JS – As the online market continues to grow and evolve, what are some of the steps you’ve taken to make your store a continued preferred destination for collectors?

BCC – Organization is our strong point. We have 4 million cards in stock and we can pull any card you ask for in a minute or less. We are constantly updating and keeping our inventory fresh and priced correctly. We have inventory available for player collectors, team collectors and set builders. We also have a large selection of unopened boxes and packs that are also organized by sport. Shopping online can be a good experience, but nothing beats actually holding the merchandise in your hand before you buy.

JS – What is your personal collection centered around? Are you more into new products or do you like another era like vintage or junk wax?

BCC – It’s all over the map. That’s the fun of collecting; you don’t have to have a reason for buying something. We just buy what we like for fun. If you want specifics, I have a collection of 1959 Fleer cards that have been graded by BVG (Beckett Vintage Grading) and a huge collection of the Andy Griffith Show autographs, my wife Lisa collects PSA Graded 1978 Grease Trading Cards, and my son collects graded cards and is trying to finish up his 1986-87 Fleer Basketball graded set. Together, we are all Indiana Hoosiers basketball fans, so we collect all basketball cards of players that are shown only in their Indiana uniforms. Like I said, we are all over the map and that is why collecting is so much fun. If you saw a list of what we have purchased in the last 12 months, it would make no sense at all.

JS – As it relates to vintage cards vs. the current market, what have been some of the biggest surprises for you in card production or innovation since you started collecting (or opened)?

BCC – The technological advances in card production have been amazing. As much as I like vintage cards, I have to admit that some of the new products never cease to amaze me. The photography and card quality is peaking for sure. We are currently at the point where we rip open packs and just take the supreme quality for granted.

JS – Card companies continue to innovate and bring new products to the market in the future. What do you think card companies could do to enhance the hobby for collectors over the next few years?

BCC – They should continue innovating in the actual game used, game worn product lines. We have all experienced worn jersey cards and autographed cards. I would like to see some cards with maybe some pieces from a game used lineup card. How would like your next box topper to be a game used lineup card that has been scribbled on and autographed by the manager? I would also like to see Topps producing basketball and football cards again.  The market is in a good place and ready for more Topps products.

JS – In closing, do you have any events at your store coming up that collectors should know about?

BCC – We have a Topps free pack promotion in November for those who spend $10.00 or more in our retail store (while supplies last). We will also be having our yearly Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales on Thanksgiving weekend. We are currently working out the details for our next in store autograph session so just follow us on Facebook so you don’t miss the details.

 

Baseball Card Connection

Owner – Jon & Lisa Schafer

313 West Jefferson Ave

Effingham, IL

(217)342-2539

lisaschafer@consolidated.net

 

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday: 10am-5pm

Saturday: 10am-2pm

Sunday – Closed

 

FaceBook – Baseball Card Connection

Ebay.Com – http://stores.ebay.com/baseballcardconnection

Beckett.Com – https://marketplace.beckett.com/baseballcardconnection_794

 

 

2017-18 Upper Deck Black Diamond Hockey Checklist and Details

Jump directly to the 2017-18 Upper Deck Black Diamond Hockey checklist and team set lists.

By Stephen Laroche

All that glitters is not gold, but 2017-18 Upper Deck Black Diamond Hockey definitely sparkles and shines with the new crop of rookies and more.

2017-18 Upper Deck Black Diamond Hockey Connor McDavid

With each box containing five cards plus a one-card 2017-18 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Hockey bonus pack, the potential is high to pull a limited Diamond Relic card. Coming once per case, they are looking to dazzle – especially those featuring freshman players and the biggest stars.

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2017 Panini Illusions Football Will Leave Collectors Seeing Double — Checklist, Team Set Lists Added

Jump directly to the 2017 Panini Illusions Football checklist and team set lists.

2017 Panini Illusions Football is a new brand. It’s base set doubles up on players, combining a current star with someone from the same franchise’s past. And while past and present meet as far as subjects go, designs take a more futuristic approach.

2017 Panini Illusions Football

Each hobby box has five total hits: an autographed memorabilia card, two additional autographs and two memorabilia cards.

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2017 Panini Cyber Monday Cards Offer Group Break Incentives — Checklist Added

Jump directly to the 2017 Panini Cyber Monday checklist.

If you’re reading this right now, you’re probably well aware of shopping online. And if you’re content with that, the chaos of Black Friday shopping may not be an enticing proposition. Enter the 2017 Panini Cyber Monday promo set.

2017 Panini Cyber Monday Base Cards

It’s exclusive to online dealers, similar to what 2017 Panini Black Friday is to hobby shops.

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2017 Leaf Q Checklist and Details

2017 Leaf Q takes a multi-sport approach to high-end autographs and memorabilia. And it’s not just the athletes on the checklist that give it the premium feel, it’s the cards themselves. From on-card autographs in many parts to jumbo swatches and patches, these are the sorts of things that set Q apart from Leaf’s other multi-sport releases.

2017 Leaf Q Hobby Box

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2017 Leaf Metal Draft Baseball Checklist Includes Cody Bellinger, Rhys Hoskins Autographs

Jump directly to the 2017 Leaf Metal Draft Baseball checklist.

2017 Leaf Metal Draft Baseball doesn’t just stick to the year’s top picks and international signings. While they’re certainly present on the checklist, Leaf is highlighting signatures from two of the hobby’s hottest players in Cody Bellinger and Rhys Hoskins.

2017 Leaf Metal Draft Baseball

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Kristaps Porzingis: From Draft Day Boo Birds to the King of New York

“He’s at least two years away from doing anything at an NBA level.”

Sports Illustrated made those comments following the New York Knicks’ controversial selection of Kristaps Porzingis with the number four pick in the 2015 draft. They also graded the Knicks’ decision to draft him a paltry C+.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially when analyzing draft talent, but SI is surely regretting those comments now. In defense of the publication, they also mentioned that “if developed right (he) could be a franchise player,” though, few expected it to happen so quickly. Now in only his third year in the NBA, Porzingis has become the franchise player they touted and that many Knicks’ fans had prayed for.

 

It’s been a hell of a ride for Kristaps and the journey to stardom in the Big Apple hasn’t been without it’s bumps. Just how did he transform himself from a lightly framed international prospect, into the most revered player in the league’s toughest market?

The Pre-NBA Years

Hoops Hype did an in-depth piece on Porzingis’ history with his former Liga ACB team, Sevilla in Spain. They talked to a number of his coaches who provided insight on the player Kristaps was at the time and the future ahead for him.

A fascinating story was revealed by a beloved Sevilla figure, Saturnina Gadea, who cleaned the team’s uniforms and lockers,

“If he found out that perhaps I needed something, he would offer to give some (money). He would be like ‘Take this money’ and I was like ‘How I’m (sic) going to take your money if you don’t have much money yourself, kid?”

Porzingis was actually one of the team’s lowest paid players due to his age and inexperience. Such an account reveals not only the humility of the youngster but also speaks volumes to the character of Porzingis as a whole. He may be in line for a huge payday in the near future but don’t expect that to change the Knicks’ superstar.

A key issue for Porzingis has always been his body. He was left off the Latvian Under-16 team due to his light frame and a few years later at a workout with Sevilla assistant coach, Rocky Jerana, a shocking discovery was made. Kristaps was taking shots but tiring quickly, too quickly for a man of his youth and relative health. That’s when the team’s doctors made the startling discovery that he had anemia, a disease caused by the blood having a lack of red blood cells (which contain oxygen). Within a month he was a new man, workouts were extended and his energy levels were at an all-time high. It’s shocking to think that such an affliction could affect such a young man but it goes to show that life throws plenty of unexpected punches our way.  

The questions surrounding his frame were constant but never did his talent come into question. Former teammate, Ben Woodside said, “From that first day, I knew he had a great future and was going to be something special.” His talent combined with his work ethic was a winning combination, as stated by the general manger of Sevilla at the time, Jose Luis Galilea, “He stayed after practice for extra work every single day. He would be there with Nikola Radicevic to work on individual stuff, every single day without exception. When you have that attitude and talent, it’s hard not to succeed.”

By the time 2014 came around Porzingis and his camp were contemplating the decision on whether to declare for the 2014 draft. Current Knicks’ teammate and former Sevilla teammate, Willy Hernangomez discussed the mindset of his good friend at the time, “He felt he was too young. He knew he had potential, but he was not yet ready.” It takes maturity to make such a life-changing decision with such poise, especially due to the fact that he was drawing heavy interest from the Orlando Magic, who had the 12th pick at the time. Imagine where the Magic would be now with a talent like Porzingis? They’ve been searching for a franchise altering talent since Dwight Howard left all the way back in 2012.

The following are Porzingis’ per game stats for his final year (2014-15) in Sevilla before joining New York:

MP 2P% 3P% FG% TRB AST STL BLK PTS
21.4 .55

(3.3/6)

.359

(0.8/2.3)

.496

(4.1/8.3)

4.6 0.5 0.9 1 11

 

That block per game was good enough for 6th in the league and would be a continuing trend throughout his short NBA career.

2015-16: Rookie Year

For the next part of the article we’re going to look at the impact Porzingis has had on the NBA. Specifically, we’re going to delve into his ‘standout games’ and how he developed into the star he is today. For the purposes of this exercise a ‘standout’ game is one where Porzingis scores a minimum of 15 points and has ten rebounds or more. A high number of blocks is also taken into consideration. If he scores less than 20 points it has to be matched with at least ten rebounds.  

 

Opponent Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
San Antonio (L) 24 13 14 1 3 2
Hornets (W) 31 29 11 0 0 1
Houston (W) 36 24 14 2 0 7
Cleveland (L) 38 23 13 4 1 1
Miami (L) 37 20 14 1 1 2
Houston (L) 41 20 13 1 1 2
Philadelphia (W) 30 17 10 2 0 4
Brooklyn (W) 26 19 10 2 0 2
Dallas (L) 35 28 2 1 1 2
Boston (L) 28 16 12 0 2 3
Atlanta (W) 31 17 11 1 0 1
San Antonio (L) 33 28 11 0 1 0
Boston (W) 27 26 6 2 2 2
Philadelphia (L) 34 16 12 4 1 3
Memphis (L) 38 17 10 0 0 6
Denver (L) 35 21 13 2 0 2
Indiana (L) 36 22 2 1 2 1
Clippers (L) 31 23 4 2 1 1
Washington (L) 39 20 7 2 0 3
Chicago (W) 31 29 10 1 0 0
New Orleans (L) 35 16 10 2 2 3

 

Kristaps played a total of 72 games in his rookie season and 21 of those were ‘standouts’; a remarkable feat for a player of his youth. Per game he averaged: 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 threes, 0.7 steals, and 1.9b blocks. The consistency earned him All-Rookie first team honours and he was third in scoring for rookies, second in rebounds and first in blocks. He had 21 double-doubles for the season as well. Outside of Karl-Anthony Towns he was the league’s best rookie. Despite the Knicks’ lack of success for the season (32-50) Porzingis was a shining light in an otherwise dull season.

2016-17 Season

Let’s take a look at the highlights of his sophomore season:

 

Opponent Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Memphis (W) 36 21 5 2 0 1
Bulls (W) 33 27 5 1 0 0
Utah (L) 33 28 8 1 0 2
Brooklyn (W) 31 21 8 1 2 2
Toronto (L) 30 21 4 2 0 0
Dallas (W) 36 24 11 1 0 1
Detroit (W) 40 35 7 3 1 1
Portland (W) 40 31 9 1 0 1
Charlotte (L) 37 25 6 0 0 2
Minnesota (W) 39 29 8 4 0 2
Oklahoma City (L) 39 21 5 2 2 2
Sacramento (W) 35 15 14 2 0 5
Sacramento (W) 35 17 11 2 0 0
Lakers (W) 39 26 13 2 1 7
Phoenix (L) 42 34 8 0 3 3
Denver (L) 38 22 8 3 2 0
Indiana (W) 33 21 8 1 0 3
Boston (L) 37 22 12 1 2 3
Atlanta (L) 42 24 8 1 1 3
New Orleans (L) 38 21 12 3 2 2
Milwaukee (W) 30 24 6 0 0 3
Brooklyn (W) 25 19 12 1 0 2
Clippers (L) 27 27 6 2 2 0
Orlando (W) 33 20 9 2 1 0
Golden State (L) 40 24 15 2 0 2
Brooklyn (L) 34 19 10 4 0 5
Clippers (L) 32 18 11 2 2 0
Utah (L) 31 24 7 0 1 1
Detroit (W) 37 25 8 3 2 3
Miami (L) 36 20 8 2 0 3
Miami (W) 36 22 7 3 0 1

 

Porzingis showed extraordinary consistency in his second year. In half of his 66 games he scored 10 points or more and in 31 of them he recorded a block or more. He also had a lot of good stretches of hot form. Four times during the season he had three games (Games 5-7, 9-11, 30-32 and 63-65) in a row where he scored 20 points or more. He had 12 double-doubles in total to go with that. He had ten more ‘standout’ games (31) compared to his rookie season and his efficiency across the floor increased despite having a slightly lower usage rate. He improved his perimeter shooting by 2.4% and his effective field goal percentage went up by 4%. The dominance he began to show in his second season would roll into the early parts of the 2017-18 season where he’s made an astounding start.

 

2017-18 Season

In 13 games so far only two of the games Kristaps has played haven’t been ‘standouts’, take a look at the leap he’s already taken:

Opponent Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Oklahoma City (L) 38 31 12 1 0 1
Detroit (L) 35 33 5 2 1 1
Brooklyn (W) 29 30 9 0 1 3
Cleveland (W) 36 32 12 0 1 2
Denver (W) 34 38 7 2 0 3
Phoenix (W) 31 37 7 0 1 3
Indiana (W) 38 40 8 1 0 6
Charlotte (W) 29 28 5 1 0 3
Sacramento (W) 27 34 5 2 0 2
Cleveland (L) 34 20 7 1 2 1
Utah (W) 36 22 8 2 0 2

 

Porzingis has elevated himself into the MVP conversation on the basis of some outstanding play. He’s had his first 40 point night and another seven 30+ point performances. His numbers may have taken a jump but his minutes haven’t, they’ve actually stayed exactly the same at 32.8 per game. He’s currently 4th in the league for blocks per game, 3rd in points per game and 6th in player efficiency rating.

Tommy Beer on Twitter revealed that over the last 50 years, only three players, age 22 or younger, have averaged 30+ points per game through the first 10 games of the season. The other three were: Rick Barry (1966-67), Shaquille O’Neal (1994-95) and former teammate, Carmelo Anthony (2006-07), some illustrious company to say the least. He’s also become a more efficient player on the defensive end, averaging the least amount of fouls per game for his career with 2.5, compared to 3.7 last year and 2.8 in his rookie year.

Alongside Joel Embiid, Porzingis’ size and style of play is redefining the game of basketball. He’s no longer a unicorn, he’s become his own unique beast entirely.  

Ben Simmons Rookie Card Countdown

The Ben Simmons Rookie Card portfolio has no shortage of valuable entries. But when it comes to the modern hobby that’s filled with autographs and memorabilia, it’s a very different picture. And for some, it might even feel like a throwback.

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$408,000 for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Leads Heritage Sports Card Auction

It’s not the highest price ever paid for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded PSA 8, but $408,000 is still a big number for a baseball card. That was the price paid at Heritage Auctions’ 2017 November Sports Catalog Auction.

The Mantle was one of six cards in the auction to top at least $100,000.

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2017 Panini Black Friday Means Exclusive Cards for the Holidays — Full Checklist Added

2017 Panini Black Friday Memorabilia

Jump directly to the 2017 Panini Black Friday checklist.

2017 Panini Black Friday brings back the popular hobby shop promotion for another go. This means a wide variety of exclusive cards, not to mention crowds and community at your local hobby shop. And being around card collectors is probably more fun than fighting it out for TVs and Hatchimals at your local Walmart.

Once again, 2017 Panini Black Friday has two separate but similar sets. One is solely football. The other combines the remaining sports in Panini’s portfolio.

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2017 Topps Holiday Hobby Shop Promotion Embraces Turkey and Ugly Sweaters — Starts Today

If your Christmas list included Turkey and Ugly Sweater parallels, you’re getting your wish. The 2017 Topps Holiday hobby shop promotion is bringing them both along with some other fixings.

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Auston Matthews Rookie Cards and More

Auston-Matthews-Rookie-Cards-Header

Auston Matthews Rookie Cards started officially with his 2016-17 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey Young Guns card and will continued throughout the season.

But even before that, there were a few options for Auston Matthews cards in the form of promo sets and redemptions.

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2017 Topps Gallery Baseball Puts the ‘Art’ in Walmart — Get the Details and Checklist

2017 Topps Gallery Baseball is the latest brand from the card maker’s past to be resurrected. And it arrives as a Walmart exclusive.

Jump directly to the 2017 Topps Gallery Baseball checklist and team set lists.

Instead of photos, the product features original artwork done specifically for the set.

2017 Topps Gallery Baseball

Mixing current players and retired stars, 2017 Topps Gallery Baseball has many of the same aspects the brand had during its original decade-long run that began in the mid-1990s.

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Rock’s Dugout Celebrates 40 Years in the Industry

Longtime sports card dealer Joe Ruocco, owner of Rock’s Dugout, is celebrating his 40th year in business as one of the preeminent sports card stores in Wichita, Kan.

Ruocco, a New York native, started his business in the basement of a Wichita bowling alley and is an institution in Wichita where now a new generation of collectors come in to talk and buy from Joe.

Ruocco was a schoolteacher in Wichita from 1969-2003 while also running the shop. His personal collection of 30,000 cards was his first inventory.

Check out Ruocco’s Facebook live interview with the Wichita Eagle where he recounts his beginnings in the industry.

We’re chatting with Rock’s Dugout owner Joe Ruocco about his 40th anniversary in the trading-card business.

Posted by Wichita Eagle on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2017 Topps Wacky Packages Old School 6 Spoofs the ’70s Again

2017 Topps Wacky Packages Old School 6 takes a new-school approach to classic products. Released as an online-exclusive, the set doesn’t spoof modern products. Rather, it’s things from the 1970s that haven’t been turned into Wackys before.

2017 Topps Wacky Packages Old School 6 Scoopy Sno-Crush Machine

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2017-18 Upper Deck AHL Hockey Puts Prospecting on Ice

Baseball isn’t the only sport where prospecting comes into play with up-and-coming players working their way through the ranks. Hockey might not have the same prospecting foothold on the hobby as baseball, but it’s there. 2017-18 Upper Deck AHL Hockey is one of the bigger products of the season dedicated to the game’s young players.

2017-18 Upper Deck AHL Hockey

Although not overly complex from a structural standpoint, the product does have a solid amount of autographs and other chase elements.

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Pokémon Charizards Selling for Big Money

Collecting Pokémon cards in the late 1990s was one of the huge trends in The Hobby. Many kids and adults enjoyed the Pokémon fever that was taking place throughout the world. However, some collectors quickly lost interest in Pokémon a few years later, while other collectors kept building upon their collections. If you were fortunate to hold onto your cards since 1999 you may want to look what cards you have…especially Charizards.

Pokémon cards were first released in the United States in 1999 from packs featured in booster boxes. An un-opened booster box of Pokémon featuring the first edition base set from 1999 just sold for $54,200 in October at eBay auction! The most sought out card from the set is the Charizard Holographic card. Although there are many versions of the Charizard card, three particular versions remain the most collectible.

1999 Pokémon 1st Edition Base Charizard Holo R #4

 

This 1st edition card of Charizard featured from 1999 is the most sought after. One way to tell if you have this particular version of the Charizard is to look for the 1st edition emblem in the middle of the card towards the left. This version is so rare that recent sales have exploded on this card! A BGS 10 graded of this card sold for $55,650 at eBay auction in August.

There are just two in existence graded a BGS 10 according to the BGS Population report. This 1st edition Charizard card also features just 31 total BGS 9.5’s, which sells in the $15-18,000 range. Prior to the listing of the BGS 10 sale this card was featured on an episode of Pawn Stars in July. This episode appraised a huge Pokémon collection where the seller featured many high-end graded Charizard cards.

The collection was appraised at an estimated value of $390,000. Rick Harrison, the star of Pawn Stars, kept calling the cards “Pokeman” during the episode thinking these cards were a big joke. Many people may agree with Harrison, but those people are also missing out on huge money as this card has since skyrocketed in value!

The cause of this sudden huge increase in value is due to a number of factors according to Hunter Holder, who grades Charizard cards and other Pokémon cards for Beckett and has been a collector since the beginning.

“I believe the increase in the value of cards and collectibles is directly linked to two events – The 20th Anniversary of Pokémon and the release of the Pokémon Go game. These events occurred in the same year (2016), and the value has increased dramatically,” says Holder. During 2016 the same BGS 10 1st edition Charizard card sold for $10,993.

1999 Pokémon Base Shadowless Charizard Holo R #4

 

Prior to this huge spike in value Charizard has always been highly regarded in the Poke world.

“The most popular character on the market is Charizard. He is highly sought after within the Poke community, especially the older versions of his cards. However, even before 2016, Charizard dominated the majority of high-end sales,” says Holder.

There are a couple a key ways to tell a Shadowless version versus an un-limited version Charizard. The most obvious way to tell is if your card is shadowless is if the bottom of the card says “1995, 96, 98, 99 Nintendo Creatures…” If the card has the year “99” at the bottom, then it is shadowless. Unlimited Cards say only “1995, 96, 98.

“Shadowless cards have a lighter background than unlimited cards. They also lack the dark shadow that can be found to the right of the picture on unlimited cards,” said Holder.

Shadowless versions of Charizards are very hard to find, and it’s essential to have this version graded which has paid off huge for collectors.

“With increased interest in Pokémon collectibles, grading has seen a spike in submissions. Collectors are now interested in obtaining high grade versions of cards, as the market has shown substantial growth since 2016,” says Holder.

A BGS 9.5 of this Shadowless version Charizard sold in the range of $3,500-8500 at eBay auction this month!

1999 Pokémon Base Unlimited Charizard Holo R #4

 

Regarded as one of the most collectible versions, the base unlimited is trending up along with the other holographic Charizards. There have been a total of 377 of this particular version submitted to BGS according to the Population Report. Only 1 BGS 10 exist and 80 9.5’s. The value ranges from $350-600 in a BGS 9.5 of this card based on eBay auction within the last couple of months.

Pokémon Charizards and other related cards in the Poke verse are selling for the highest prices ever, but can they continue to grow? Time will only tell.

“As Pokémon cards and collectibles continue to sell in the coming years, I expect the prices to increase at a less dramatic rate. Nevertheless, they should be considered a worthy investment for years to come,” said Holder.

2017 Topps High Tek Patterns Variations Gallery and Guide

The 2017 Topps High Tek patterns variations are at the core of the release. Yes, there are plenty of other layers to the all-acetate product, but its hallmark are the background variations targeting team and player collectors. And ever since Tek returned in 2014, Topps hasn’t made it easy for collectors to figure out all the layers.

2017 Topps High Tek Patterns Variations

That hasn’t changed with the 2017 Topps High Tek Baseball and its pattern variations.

So let’s start breaking down what it known and build from it.

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2017 Topps Dynasty Baseball Checklist Is Near the Top of the High-End Scale

2017 Topps Dynasty Baseball may no longer be the most expensive product in the company’s portfolio. But it’s still far from cheap. The brand returns for another year of single-card boxes where everything is an autograph numbered to 10 or less.

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2016-17 Panini Flawless Basketball Gets Ready to Shine Bright Like a Diamond

2016-17 Panini Flawless Basketball Kevin Durant

Jump directly to the 2016-17 Panini Flawless Basketball checklist and team set lists.

By Stephen Laroche

The competition and demand for high-end cards featuring the NBA’s best talents can be intense, but there is one annual release which caters to the hobby’s high rollers — 2016-17 Panini Flawless Basketball.

A brand that saw Panini America take super-premium trading cards to a new level, Flawless comes packaged in a metal briefcase and there are 10 cards to be found inside – including at least one encased card featuring a diamond. Every card in Flawless is limited to 25 copies or less and every autograph is signed on-card. Read More…

2017 Topps Legends of WWE Checklist Highlights Wrestling Greats and Hall of Famers

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Jump directly to the 2017 Topps Legends of WWE checklist.

Since reacquiring the WWE license back in 2005, Topps has used retired stars and Hall of Famers in virtually all of their wrestling products. 2017 Topps Legends of WWE is dedicated to them, focusing on the past rather than the current pro wrestling scene.

Twelve-pack boxes come in the form of two mini boxes, each with at least one autograph and an additional hit.

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2017-18 Donruss Basketball Checklist Offers Modern Cards with a Distinctly Retro Feel

2017-18 Donruss Basketball Markelle Fultz Autograph

Jump directly to the 2017-18 Donruss Basketball checklist and team set lists.

By Stephen Laroche

A modern product with a decidedly retro feel, 2017-18 Donruss Basketball is also an affordable product that puts some power into packs. There are tons of inserts inside each hobby box, along with autographs and memorabilia at decent odds that make for a fun break for both established and novice collectors. Read More…

2018 Bowman Baseball Offers Early Look at New Prospect Crop

2018 Bowman Baseball remains focused on the sport’s prospects and rookies. And while there are some new additions (and familiar names in new places), the overall approach remains largely the same.

2018 Bowman Baseball

Autographs are still one per hobby box and three per hobby jumbo box with Chrome Prospect Autographs getting much of the attention.

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2017 Topps Holiday Baseball Brings Snowflakes, Exclusive Checklist to Walmart

2017 Topps Holiday Baseball features another spin on the flagship design. But instead of Chrome, Mini or something else, it’s snowflakes that are on display.

2017 Topps Holiday Baseball Anthony Rizzo

For the second year in a row, Topps Holiday Baseball is exclusive to Walmart in the form of special blasters.

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2017 Topps Transcendent Baseball Includes Over 50 Autographs Per Case, VIP Party with Hank Aaron

2017 Topps Transcendent Baseball is the sequel to 2016’s $25,000 per box debut. Like the original, the set pushes the boundaries both in autographs and other content. The product has a lot of the same features, but there are some new additions as well.

2017 Topps Transcendent Baseball

As for the 2017 Topps Transcendent party, it’s back. But it’s moving from Las Vegas to Atlanta. And instead of a legend in the making, the special guest is one of baseball’s all-time greats — Hank Aaron.

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2017 Panini National Treasures Racing Features Only Autographs and Memorabilia

2017 Panini National Treasures Racing marks the second year for the ultra-premium NASCAR release. Although autographs and memorabilia cards dominated the majority of the 2016 set, this time around they’re the only thing.

2017 Panini National Treasures Racing

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2017 Baseball Card Release Dates and Set Information

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Looking for 2017 baseball card release dates, checklists and set information?

You’ve come to the right place.

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2017 Cryptozoic Arrow Season 4 Lands Line’s First Stephen Amell Autographs

We knew Stephen Amell Arrow autograph cards were coming. What wasn’t official was where they would land. Consider it official now. 2017 Cryptozoic Arrow Season 4 trading cards includes signatures from the show’s lead star.

2017 Cryptozoic Arrow Season 4 Stephen Amell Autograph

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2017-18 Upper Deck Synergy Hockey Brings Flash and Several Set-Building Challenges

2017-18 Upper Deck Synergy Hockey is for those who like a challenge. Or many challenges. The new brand brings with it plenty of color along with multiple incentives for those looking to dedicate themselves to the long game. Whether it’s at the set or player level, much of Synergy revolves around the hunt and devotion.

For some, rewards follow.

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2017 Panini Prizm Football Box Busters

Join Beckett Media’s Paul Wirth and Eric Norton as they open some 2017 Panini Prizm Football.

What will they find? Watch and find out.

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2017-18 Panini Chronicles Basketball Brings Back Breaking Brands

2017-18 Panini Chronicles Basketball is home to many brands that might not otherwise fit on the card maker’s calendar. Centering on rookies, it showcases players on a bunch of different designs from sets that haven’t been seen on the hardcourt in some time as well as some making their hoops debut.

2017-18 Panini Chronicles Basketball

Boxes come with three packs, all of which deliver an autograph or memorabilia card, three inserts and three rookies.

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Kristaps Porzingis Rookie Card Rankings

Like all modern players, the Kristaps Porzingis Rookie Card checklist is a varied one. Even as his star rises, some are straightforward and cheap. Others are exceptionally rare or are boosted with additions like autographs and patches. No matter the case, with the New York Knicks finding their undisputed centerpiece, Kristaps Porzingis Rookie Cards have found an audience.

Kristaps Porzingis Rookie Card Rankings

The immediate reaction wasn’t always positive — at least in the eyes of one young Knicks fan.

But that quickly changed. Even in his rookie season, Kristaps Porzingis not only showed that he was worthy of his fourth overall selection but that he had a certain x-factor about him. That has carried over to the collecting world and landing a Kristaps Porzingis Rookie Card from any 2015-16 basketball product means landing one of the best.

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2017 Panini National Treasures Baseball Box Busters

2017 Panini National Treasures Baseball Hobby Box

Join Beckett Media’s Paul Wirth and Eric Norton as they open some 2017 Panini National Treasures Baseball.

What will they find? Watch and find out.

Read More…

2017 Panini Flawless Collegiate Football Checklist and Details

2017 Panini Flawless Collegiate Football Rookie Patch Autographs Deshaun Watson

2017 Panini Flawless Collegiate Football presents current and past stars from the NCAA days. The format? One that’s ultra-premium with lots of on-card autographs, over-sized swatches and the price point to match.

Each briefcase box has ten cards. At least six are signed with two more autographs and memorabilia cards. The final couple of cards are base cards or parallels that have gems embedded in them.

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