Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another strike against Razor

Just yesterday I was explaining the Razor Cut Signature Edition and how it took away some of the credibility they had gained from signing top baseball prospects.

Now, they are going one step further with the cut signature cards, and they stepped on the cat's tail on the way down the stairs.

Introducing Razor Entertainment's Oval Office Cut Signature Edition, retail price of $2,000 per one card pack.


Let me get all this straight, for $2,000 I can take the chance of getting George Washington's signature. Alright, that is fair. However, with my luck, I would pull Bill Clinton who's signature isn't worth but a few hundreds of dollars. Razor tries to lure in collectors by advertising that just 99 boxes have been made and you may pull a dual cut signature card, maybe even the John Kennedy/Jack Ruby. And it must be good because each card is forever encased in a Beckett holder.

Except that it's not good at all.

I love Beckett's explanation of the price. They shrug it off like it's no big deal and just another hobby landmark.

"So, how much does a pack run? Expect to pay around $2,000—by far the most expensive pack in the history of the hobby. Be on the lookout for the product in the coming months."

I want to know who in the right is really on the lookout for this product. Who would ever buy this? You are almost guaranteed to lose to money as there are maybe 5-10 cards that will actually bring in $2,000 or more. I, for one, will not be purchasing any of these.

UD Baseball Heroes easily dwarfs UD Football Heroes but still has flaws

One of the many Derek Jeter parallels in Baseball Heroes

Hitting stores on August 11, UD Baseball Heroes mixes the perfect combination of current stars, legends and no cards that would fit better in Upper Deck Celebs and World Legends (the exception being the case hit Presidential Cuts).

A 200 card base set is divided into four different sections: 175 singe heroes, 10 dual heroes, 10 triple heroes and five quad heroes. Featuring players from Josh Hamilton to Joe DiMaggio, chances are your favorite star player of today or superstar of yesterday will be included in this set. The multi-player cards can include all current stars, all retired stars or a mixture of both. The most significant is the quad heroes cards of Derek Jeter, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig.

But the fact that they got the player selection right may be overshadowed by the massive amount of numbered parallels that Upper Deck produced for this release. Ten levels of parallels - Emerald, Black, Beige, Red, Navy Blue, Brown, Sea Green, Light Blue, Purple and Charcoal - will all be randomly inserted and will drive player and team collector bananas. It is interesting to note that Upper Deck has introduced some unique colors like Sea Green and Charcoal to the ever growing parallel rainbow that exists throughout the card market.

However, collectors will be happy to hear that there are three relics and one autograph on average per box, but at the same time, is this really enough to make the $100 price tag (24 packs, eight cards per pack) worthwhile? The autographs feature many of the more common stars that are in the base set so the chances of getting an autograph with good secondary market value is pretty unlikely, but possible. The relics will be the same way.

Baseball Heroes started out a basic insert set in Upper Deck way back in the early 1990s. Since then, it moved to a full fledged insert with autographs and all that jazz. Now, it is a full sized base set and may be the next original idea to be ruined.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beckham surfaces, but cut signatures hurt Razor's credibility

While the baseball prospect cards being put out by Razor look a whole lot sharper than any Bowman release ever, Razor's dive into cut signature cards are not making nearly as much of an impact as the prospect cards.

Razor now has several prospects, including the overall number one pick Tim Beckham, signed to exclusive contracts, which prevents Topps from including them in Bowman Draft. That is all fine and dandy, espcially considering how good the National Sports Card Convention promos look.

However, Razor Cut Signature Edition was an $89 mistake for any collector who bought a box. Each box included one card, a cut signature, that is slabbed and encased BGS holder. While an all Beckett slabbed set is already not a smart idea, that is not the biggest problems with these cards.

First off, Razor has produced cut signatures of living people. How much can a Paris Hilton cut signature be worth when, if you're lucky, you can get one on the side of the street for free? The whole purpose of cut signature cards is so collector's can get autographs of deceased legends who are no longer available to sign.

Secondly, Razor has produced some of those ugly cards where the cut signature isn't on a canceled check or plain white paper. Take the Musial pictured above. Wouldn't you rather just have the original card Musial signed instead of this slabbed cut signature? Any cut signature card that utilizes a signature off of something that has a picture should be shunned to an attic in a desolate area only to be found long after my lifetime has passed. Just give me the original because once you put it into something else, I want to see the rest of the picture.

This product makes me wonder if Razor should have remained in the poker card business instead of jumping into the world of baseball prospects. While the initial images of Razor prospect cards looks good, it's hard to say what else Razor may come up with for these youngsters. Are there going to be limited edition Tim Beckham cut signatures instead of limited edition Tim Beckham hard-signed cards? Time will tell on how they decide to do autographs, but I sure hope they decide to go with hard signed cards rather than cut up 8X10 photos.

Riding on the Trade-A-Whirl

Around this time every year, the baseball season hits its dry spell as the excitement for the All-Star Game has worn off and it's too early to accurately predict who will be there in October. With football in training camp and basketball in its summer league, sports fans need something around this time to keep them occupied.

Their answer is the MLB trading deadline.

Seemingly every hour, a new rumor surfaces or a trade is done. And with those trades and rumors comes new fans of certain players.

Since yesterday's announcement that Mark Teixeira was dealt to the Angels, his eBay listings doubled. While many of the new listings are 2002 and 2003 cards being advertised as rookie cards, Big Tex's autographs and true rookies are picking up steam with his move to a strong playoff contender.

Today, Ivan Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees. While this deal is just a few hours old, several new listings on eBay for rookies and autographs have appeared with "Yankees" in the listing title. The other half of that trade, Kyle Farnsworth, didn't have much of a following before the trade and doesn't seem to be getting too much more attention now with just one new listing for an autographed baseball that includes "Detroit Tigers" in the title.

Manny Ramirez's name has been talked about quite a bit lately, but it doesn't seem to have too much effect on his cards. His 1,200 listings are relatively normal for a player of his status. But, if he is traded, chances are his cards will temporarily start to sell for more than normal.

The good and bad from Topps Triple Threads baseball

Once Topps Triple Threads was released for the first time in 2006, it has become one of the best selling products in the history of sports cards.

Triple Threads not only sells well when it is first released, but it continues to see high demand years after the release. I don't deal in Triple Threads too much, but I do know that a 2006 Triple Threads Sapphire Omar Jacobs triple jersey/autograph /10 football card sold for $53 earlier this summer. And that is for a common rookie. Currently, a 2006 Chien Ming-Wang triple jersey/autograph /18 is bid up to $81.

It's very rare to find a product anymore that will continue selling at this level two years after the first release, but will the 2008 version of the set be able to get this trend up? The set is true to its roots for the most part but there is one card on eBay that will have serious collectors of Triple Threads up in arms.

I've always wondered what the purpose of the Triple Threads base cards are other than to take up space in the packs so collector's aren't paying almost $200 for a card or two. Does anyone actually try to build this set? Even stranger is the fact that such a high-end product like this was poisoned with numerous base set parallels. They are all colored coordinated and serial-numbered so it's easier than some other sets, but I don't think collectors are too interested in trying to figure out what their base cards are after they finally figure out exactly what relics and autographs they got are.

The hits in Triple Threads are the same as always: at least three swatches with the chance of hitting something really nice such as a quad autograph/relic or 20+ piece relic cards. For the past two years, even the most common hits in the products would sell in the $10-$20 range when the product released before settling around the $5-$10 level. Of course, that doesn't help any collector's justification for spending $150+ on a box that yielded no superstar hit.

Prior to this year's release, all cards were inserted as is into boxes. However, during a scan of the 11 pages of "2008 Triple Threads" results this morning, I discovered that redemption cards aren't foreign to even the highest of high end products anymore. A triple relic/autograph card of Johnny Bench, Ivan Rodriguez and Carlton Fisk. The winner of this auction might want to send that card in very soon because it may take Topps until the 2010 expiration date to actually make good on the redemption.

The product also includes presidential cards which will just thrill some collectors who pull one of those instead of a triple relic/autograph of Derek Jeter that they were hoping for.

So based on my experiences, I assume this is a good product for high-end collectors, but I think the fact that there is redemption cards within will hurt reviews. They may hurt sales a small bit, but I don't see it being enough to show. However, if this becomes a habit for high-end products like it has with lower end products like Bowman and Co-Signers, Topps may find itself in some big trouble with collectors.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gimmickry poisons Topps football

Topps just can't help themselves.

After taking a tremendous amount of heat from collector's across trading forums and the blogsphere, they can't help themselves but put out gimmick cards. With no lower end baseball products due to be released anytime soon, they did the next best thing and went and messed with the football base set.

On the brink of what everyone thought might actually have been Brett Favre's real retirement, Topps created two gimmick cards as what they call "paying tribute" to Favre's legacy.

The first of two cards, categorized 34b and 34c, features a silhouette of Vince Lombardi peering over Favre's shoulder as he takes a snap.

The second features Favre driving a custom "Favre 4" lawn tractor while wearing his football helmet, supposedly resembling his slow retirement.

"We thought it would be cool to pay tribute to Favre as a legendary Packer and the fact that he was retiring, at least we thought he was, as one of the all-time great Packers," said Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi. "Packers fans see Favre as a legend, hence the Lombardi face card. And Favre is not going into retirement quietly, hence him driving a tractor with his helmet on."

Luraschi may call it a tribute, but many collectors may call it tom foolery. Seeded 1:12,000 packs, collectors would need to bust through 300 boxes before reaching the odds on these cards. Oh and also, these cards are definitely not cool anymore.

The one thing Topps did right with these Favres is that they also produced a regular base card that was printed in the same quantity as all other base cards. I know, I pulled one from a hobby box.

When others have fat fingers... may find a bargain.

As in this "Tim Linceum Exquisit" autograph card numbered to 15 that I just dropped $31 into. If properly listed, I should make a nice little profit off this guy's mistake.

While there hasn't been another of these completed in the past 30 days, there was another Lincecum autograph from Exquisite numbered to 20 that went above $53, a 2007 Exquisite Rookie Heroes numbered to 15 went for $71 and one numbered to 25 from the same set sold for $78.

One of the other Draft Choice Gold autographs sold on eBay for $49.99.

Rarest Allen & Ginter Card Surfaces

I do believe that the DNA relic of the Wooly Mammoth is the rarest card from 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter. I know the card had its own lettered tier in the DNA relics.

For a few thousand, it can be yours.

Personally, if I wanted some wooly mammoth hair, I would hit up this guy for $7.95.

The seller tells us that he thought the card would be another Paul Konerko jersey card. Understandable considering the odds on the card are 1:264,312 packs.

The Abe Lincoln DNA relic is also currently on eBay.

Others included in this year's Allen & Ginter DNA Relic set are:

-Alexander Hamilton
-Andrew Jackson
-Charles Dickens
-John Adams
-John F. Kennedy
-Jacqueline Kennedy
-King Edward VII
-Ludwig van Beethoven
-Ronald Reagan

Please notice the lack of actual baseball players. They didn't even include any sports figures.

Starting last year with three George Washington hair cards that got notoriety in the card world after the first was pulled from eBay, Topps may have started the next big thing. The DNA relic concept is a novel idea, and I give Topps credit for it, but why haven't they really made an effort to acquire DNA relics of legendary baseball players like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle or Jim Thorpe?

I suppose they are trying to get some historical memorabilia collectors to join the baseball card world, but I don't see how someone who collects old guns and other pieces of US history will be interested in a new baseball card release except for these cards. Just because Abe Lincoln was a fifth cousin twice removed from someone's family doesn't mean they want all the Raul Ibanez and Ivan Rodriguez cards that will come with a box of Allen & Ginter they buy trying to get some of Lincolns cards. All that person is going to do is go on eBay and bid on the Lincoln cards. No aviation buff or shark extraordinaire is planning on buying packs of Allen & Ginter in hopes of pulling a card from their area of expertise.

I know that the original Allen & Ginter cards weren't just of baseball players, but in today's market, the idea of non-baseball sets has been overdone to the max and is showing no signs of letting up.

Here's to hoping Topps at least produces some sports related DNA relics in 2009.

Sportkings' big price tag does not equal a big return

After going live yesterday, almost 200 Sportkings cards have appeared on eBay. The $350+ price per box is highway robbery when comparing it to the secondary market value of the actual cards.

Let the frustrated collector's rants begin.

So far, only a few single card auctions have ended, all via Buy-It-Now. Included are three autographs that went for $75 each and a Lou Brock base card that sold for $12.99.

Many cards are ending today in about 6-12 hours. Of them, the base cards have been bid up to the $10-$20 range with commons only garnering $5 or less. There hasn't been much significant activity on any of the autographs and relics yet, mostly because many of them have high starting bids or Buy-It-Now prices.

Take this guy for example. It appears he dropped about $700 into a couple boxes of Sportkings and pulled nothing spectacular. Now, he has listed his hits for prices he will never get in hopes of getting his money back. While these cards are limited in production, no collector's are stupid enough to pay top dollar for singles.

I always enjoy watching collectors who think they can buy this box fro $350 and then sell the hits for more. Historically, there have been so many high end products that do not yield nearly as much secondary value as the price you paid. Nevertheless, collector's continue to splurge in hopes of pulling one of the rare cards that will actually put a decent amount of cash back in their pockets.

I can't wait for the YouTube breaks displaying frustration to begin appearing.

I'll end on this: if anyone ever complains about their Sportkings box to me, I can't have any sympathy for them because a little market research will show that the odds of making good on the product are slim to none.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Poll Archives: Which of these is the biggest problem facing today's hobby?

This is one of the biggest topic in the hobby blogsphere and everyone seems to have a different take on what the answer is.

There is the eBay clan.

There is the high-end product clan, myself included.

And there is the greed clan, the majority of my readers included apparently.

Surprisingly, Beckett received just three votes in this poll. I know there are a few bloggers out there who think Beckett is the root of all evil so that was definitely the biggest surprise in this poll. I mean, sticker autographs received more votes than Beckett did.

In another surprise, Fake Patches received 10 votes. It's nice to see that some collectors actually see that there is a problem with fake patches. On one particular message board, they say anyone talking about fake patches is beating a dead horse.

Just like last time, if you are one of the two people who voted for other, I would love to hear what you think the biggest problem is.

Has Topps Jumped the Gun Again?

First, it was Johnny Cueto. Second, it was Jay Bruce. Now, Jeff Samardzija?

When you look back on the Finest Rookie Redemptions from 2008, the names don't stick out too much now other than Kosuke Fukudome, who was the third redemption.

Topps jumped on Cueto with the first redemption on the day of his second start just because his first start saw him strike out 10 Diamondbacks over seven innings. Now, Cueto stands at 7-9 with a 4.90 ERA. He does have 113 strikeouts but hasn't won since July 3.

Another Reds rookie, Bruce, jumped out to a fast start in late May. From his debut on May 27 to June 2, Bruce was hitting .579 with three home runs, including a three hit debut. Now, Bruce is now hitting .264 with seven homers. He did recently enjoy a 12 game hitting streak, but his power stroke has gone down since his early start, having just six extra base hits this month.

Now, we have Samardzija who has struck out five batters in his first four innings and recorded a save for the Cubs. He has allowed one run and two hits, both which came in a blown save in hid debut.

Given the track record of the other rookies featured in the Finest set, Samardzija may have more blown saves in his future.

Or, it could be that Reds rookies are streaky and Cubs rookies are solid. Those are the only two teams to be represented in the Finest Redemptions in case you hadn't noticed.

Mike Ditka Doing More Donruss Signings

Earlier this week, I broke the news on Sports Card Forum that the wait was over for collectors who sent in redemption cards for 2005 Mike Ditka autograph cards.

After signing those cards three years later, Donruss is taking another step to please its collectors by giving away 200 coupons this week for an opportunity to get a free autograph from Ditka at the National Sports Collector's Convention. Ditka will be signing on Friday at the show which is nowhere else but Chicago, the city that made Ditka famous.

"We are excited that Donruss will be bringing one of the most recognizable names in Chicago sports history to the National," Donruss Football Brand Manager Ben Ecklar said. "The autographs will be free to collectors, so that should make Iron Mike the most popular autograph guest of the week."

In order to get one of the coupons, collector's have to take their chance on the Donruss prize wheel at the Donruss booth. One space on the ten foot wheel will win collector's a coupon. To redeem the coupon for the autograph, collectors have to come to the Donruss booth again on Friday at noon.

Those holding coupons can get one of two 8X10 photos (pictured in this post) produced exclusively for Donruss to give away for this promotion. No personal items or inscriptions will be allowed for this signing.

2008 Upper Deck Goudey

Sport Royalty autographs, Kosuke Fukudome, short printed legends and original 1934-sized parallels are all different reasons why certain collectors may have interest in 2008 Upper Deck Goudey.

The set, introduced originally in 1933 and by Upper Deck in 2007, Goudey is expected to be one of Upper Deck's most popular mid-end releases. With a 200 card base set followed by 130 short prints (30 legends, 20 presidents, 20 1936 style black and white and 60 Sports Royalty) to chase, a large relic set (one per box) and a large autograph set (one per box), Goudey gives all types of collectors a little something to chase.

For high end collectors, there are cut signature cards, original buyback cards and Sports Royalty autographs. The latter two fall one per case.

The Sports Royalty autographs might cause a little controversy, however. The checklist includes many athletes from other sports like Amanda Beard, John Force and Tom Brady. The list of baseball players is far shorter than the list of non-baseball stars.

-Albert Pujols
-Cal Ripken Jr.
-Derek Jeter
-Josh Beckett
-Ken Griffey Jr.
-Nolan Ryan
-Ozzie Smith
-Prince Fielder
-Reggie Jackson
-Tony Gwynn

Additionally collectors can pursue Berk Ross inserts and the next installment of the Yankee Stadium Legacy collection.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

2008 Sportkings Series B Hits Stores Tomorrow

After a wildly popular 2007 release, Sportkings Series B is bound to be just as, if not more, popular as inaugural release that included the first Pete Rose autograph and relic cards.

I know, what could possibly be a bigger draw than the first Pete Rose cards in years especially since they were autographed or contained relic pieces? While there might not necessarily be any bigger single card draws this year, the whole concept of the set is growing in anticipation much like the demand for Topps Allen & Ginter has increased as the years go by.

The base set continues the numbering from last year's issue like Topp Turkey Red did from 2005 to 2006. Starting at card 49 (Sonja Henie - Figure skating) and ending with card 108 (Oscar Robertson - NBA), the set includes many different sports stars ranging from major sports like baseball and football to smaller ones like poker and weight lifting.

With three packs of three cards per box, collectors can expect to find at least one relic or autograph per pack. And they better be good considering the $350+ price tag each box will carry. There were 4,500 boxes produced.

The biggest draw in 2008 Sportkings will be the cut signatures, which feature some of the rarest in hobby history. Spanning over seven sets, collectors can hope to pull Jack Johnson, Payne Stewart, Teddy Roosevelt and John S. Douglas, boxing's founder. But, if you aren't lucky enough to pull a cut signature, there are still plenty of headlining regular autographs. Included on the autograph checklist are two Jim Browns /100, three John Elways /40, two Walt Frazier /50, two Arnold Palmers /50 and three Peles /35 (print runs include both silver and gold).

The autographed relic cards are also a big draw the set and include names like Ernie Banks /50, Elway /30 and Barry Sanders /50 (Print runs include both silver and gold). Add to those the Autothreads insert which an autographed strip of event worn memorabilia, and you have the best relic cards you can hope for. Annie Duke, Pele, Tony Perez and Angelo Dundee complete the Autothreads checklist. Each Autothreads card has nine silver versions and one gold version.

Not only that, the regular relic cards have been limited in production, with no more than 40 relics produced for one set.

The Single Memorabilia insert includes a checklist of 46 stars with a print run of 30 silver and 10 gold each. However, there are short prints of Bart Starr, Bill Russell, Georges Vezina and Payne Stewart which have just four silver and one gold cards in circulation. The Double Memorabilia cards have the same production run as the Single Memorabilia cards. The 14 card set has two short prints: Jacques Plante-Georges Vezina and Payne Stewart which have the same number of gold and silver cards as the Single Memorabilia short prints. There are also Triple (20 gold/10 silver) and Quadruple Memorabilia (nine gold/one silver) cards.

other relic inserts include Numerology, Sportkings Lumber, Cityscapes Double and Triple, Decades and Passing the Torch.

The 25 card Patch set are the second most common relic cards coming with a production of 20 gold and 10 silver including short prints of Jacques Plante and Jean Beliveau which have the same production as the Single Memorabilia short prints.

A new relic set called King-Sized relics is bound to be popular. The 40 card set gives collectors a jumbo swatch (probably all patches) that are also 1/1s. Included in the set are Bode Miller, Pele and Payne Stewart. The Sportkings Logo set is also a 1/1. The 60 cards included a painting of the player alongside a manufactured Sportkings patch.

But, the best relic set in 2008 Sportkings is the Vintage Memorabilia cards. The set consists of seven players who were in the original 1933 Sportkings set: Howie Morenz, Babe Ruth, Eddie Shore, Jim Thorpe, Ty Cobb, Ace Bailey and Red Grange with a piece of memorabilia. These seven cards are 1/1.

There are also nine 1933 Sportkings Gum Redemption cards. The first eight redemption cards are good for an original card from the 1933 set while the final card is good for an unopened pack of the product.

For additional information about Sportkings or to see a full checklist, please click here.

I think it goes without saying that Sportkings is for advanced, high-end collectors only. I do have to admit that I was happy to see that the relic cards were cut down in production and that no true legends on any sport were used for any of the common relic sets.

So what do you do if the player you are super collecting is in Sportkings and you don't have the funds to buy up their cards? Basically, you can basically do three things: hope you find a hidden auction on eBay, make a good trade with someone, or wait it out until everyone is in a tizzy about 2009 Sportkings and buy then. Even the latter is still going to put you back some if you are on a limited budget as many 2007 base cards still sell from $5-$10.

I know I won't be getting any Sportkings any time soon as I can't afford a $350 gamble at this stage of life, but maybe some of my readers will. Let me know if you plan on buying any of these and also let me know what you pull.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Topps Triple Threads Rip Party

I have to be honest, some of these cards do look very nice and all, but the 31-piece Jackie Robinson card at 1:49 makes me sick. You can read why here.

I also have to say that this is the first Rip Party video I have watched, and I was quite disappointed with professionalism in this video. Rachel, the rip girl, always had some corny interjection after every great pull.

Oh and why does a little kid get the thrill of opening Triple Threads for Topps? Where was my call?

Back on Topps Sneak Peek

Deadspin has gotten the Sklar Brothers to show everyone a sneak peek of the web series Back on Topps.

In the first episode, the premise for the series is set in about 12 seconds explaining a lot of what I described in my original report on the series. You are then quickly introduced to Gaylen Briggs, the hot shot supervisor who is making the decisions instead of Leif and Leyland, who slams down Mitchell Report Before & After cards put out by Topps' "competitor" in front of Leyland in his office. The cards were the "competitor's" hottest set from the past month and Briggs wants to have his own set of scandal cards that hit shelves when the scandal hits the paper.

Cue the first completely random interjection: Bob Tewksbury makes headlines for being involved in a cat fighting scandal. The report later turns out to be false.

Leif, meanwhile, is with his wife (one of those rich, stuck-up types) at the hair salon where he for some completely random reason starts flipping through the appointment book from the salon. Inside, he finds names like Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Vin Scully. So what does that mean: The Paul Mitchell Report - players who have enhanced hair that gives them an edge.

Cue second random interjection: Sweet mullet of Gaetti, the line of the series so far.

While this is only half on one episode, I like it. The Sklar do have a lot of lame humor in their act and this video shows that there will be some poor acting, but with all the guests who are scheduled to appear, now including Greg Oden, the schemes Topps comes up with could become very interesting.

One thing I did notice was that the card of the Sklars (pictured above) is numbered UH284, but it is the Opening Day design. Perhaps Topps wouldn't let them use an actual Update and Highlights card, but you would think they would just use a number not in the set in order to keep the design and numbering right.

When I know more, you'll know more.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stadium Club is Back but...

...Topps has ruined it much like Upper Deck ruined Ultra when it bought the Fleer company.

Some of you may remember my post about Stadium Club earlier this year. If you don't you should read that first before you get into this post. Don't feel like reading it? Well, I have a small synopsis of it in the next paragraph.

Stadium Club started out as a premium brand, but slowly became Topps' answer to the insert laden Ultra in the mid-1990s. Once relic and autographed cards became the thing to produce, Stadium Club lost its feel because most of the inserts were now autographed or had a piece of memorabilia encased in them. The product was last seen for baseball in 2003.

Now, there are rumblings going on about Stadium Club SE or as I like to call it, Stadium Club Steroids Edition. Once a product that would produce a parallel and an insert in one pack is now a $225, 12-pack box with 12 autographs and one Yankee Stadium relic guaranteed. Not to mention they 24 numbered parallels you'll also get in every box. These numbers leave at most 23 base cards per box, which apparently will be similar to the 2003 Gold parallels in stock.

The original report on Fielder's Choice made the product seem just a little sketchy as he only got word of it from a dealer newsletter. However, the dealer is legitimate according to him. I was pretty convinced this product is reality once I saw a pre-sell on eBay.

Am I happy to see the Stadium Club name return? Yes. Am I happy what the set is now? NO.

Stadium Club is supposed to be the kid friendly set with good photography and lots of inserts. What ever happened to Triumvirate Luminous and Ring Leaders? If 2008 Stadium Club doesn't have any regular inserts, that will be a shame.

The product is scheduled for a November 3 release.

Topps Update and Highlights Looks Better Than Ever

Information for 2008 Topps Update and Highlights has been released by Topps, and the set looks like it may be the best U&H release ever. The set is dated for release around October 3. Each box contains 36 packs of 10 cards.

The base set will be set up the same as it has in past years with veterans (197) and rookies (45) taking up the update portion of the set. The highlights follow and include Season Highlights (10), All-Star Game (60), Home Run Derby (8) and Classic Combos (10). The also includes a traditional Johan Santana Mets card, an Even Longoria RC, a Josh Hamilton Home Run Derby card, which is bound to very popular and a Kosuke Fukudome rookie, card number one.

The same parallels, Gold, Black, Platinum and Silk, that have been used for regular Topps can be found in Update and Highlights. This year's insert line-up is the following: Year in Review (60), 2009 WBC Previews (25), Take Me Out to the Ballgame (1), Mickey Mantle Story (10) and Hobby Sketch cards (100 1/1s) which one per case.

Topps is also introducing the popular football set, Ring of Honor to the baseball card world. For the initial baseball release, 10 World Series champions including Whitey Ford from 1961 will be featured. The set will come in Gold and Autograph parallels. To sweeten the set, Topps decided to feature its first team in the Ring of Honor series with the 1986 Mets. The following ten players from the team have regular and autographed Ring of Honor cards:

-MRH-HJ Howard Johnson
-MRH-RD Ron Darling
-MRH-JO Jesse Orosco
-MRH-DJ Davey Johnson
-MRH-KM Kevin Mitchell
-MRH-DS Darryl Strawberry
-MRH-DG Dwight Gooden
-MRH-GC Gary Carter
-MRH-RK Ray Knight
-MRH-KH Keith Hernandez

Other autographs in the set come from the 2008 Highlights set, it seems that autographed highlights are going to become a staple in the Topps arsenal. The U&H autograph checklist features a wide variety of players from superstars like Longoria and Hamilton to relatively unknowns like Greg Smith and Jo-Jo Reyes. Maybe Reyes actually pitched a Minor League no-hitter?

Another aspect of football that Topps has secured for 2008 U&H is the exclusive All-Star Game cards. Just like the Pro Bowl cards they produce for base football Topps, U&H will bring exclusive 2008 All-Star Game relics and autographs including jumbo patches and autographed relics. These come at a perfect time since everyone wants to get a piece of Yankees Stadium history and this will be one way to do it.

Finally, a box loader will also be found in every box, and they include all the best rookies in the game on Chrome refractors. Collector will also have the chance to pull an original T206 or T205 tobacco card framed inside a standard size card.

But before you think, "How exciting, a new 2008 product with just baseball cards," let's explore some of the political cards that will be included in the product (and yes, there are several).

The first of the sets sounds a little interesting, the Presidential Stamp Collection. While I am not a stamp collector, I have always thought that stamps and cards go well when put together. I just wish they were putting original baseball player stamps on cards instead of original presidential stamps. It would be neat to get my hands on a George Washington or Abe Lincoln one though simply because of the historical value the card would gain due to the stamp.

Secondly, we have the Presidential Couples insert. Seriously Topps? You are featuring all the presidents and their first ladies on the same card? I thought the dual Campaign cards from Topps Series Two were bad, and now we have these. When will the madness end?

Not only that, Topps now is producing First Lady cut signature cards. Why don't they just come out with Topps Pop Culture & History and put them in that set instead of Topps Update and Highlights?

The third set they have is a two card set of Barack Obama and John McCain in which collectors holding the card of the winning president can mail in their card and will receive some sort of prize within the next three years.

So assuming the rate at which you pull these political cards isn't very high, this could become one of the best products of the year simply based on all the new sets that are being brought into the baseball card world. Like I said, Ring of Honor is a vastly popular football set and could really catch on with baseball given the amount of World Series champions there have been. Perhaps this will lead to baseball Dynasties cards? If you're reading Topps, I for one, think those would catch on just fine with collectors.

Of course, this is a Topps product so you have to wary of the ever-so-unpopular gimmick card. With Poley Walnuts, Joba Chamberlain and Jacoby Ellsbury cards being affected last year, who knows what may happen to some cards this year? They wouldn't dare mess with Fukudome again would they? Hey, at least the WBC Fukudome in this set is legit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Chronicles of Cardboard Mania's Topps Dynasties Tribute Set - Part Two

Thanks to a trade with whatnobeer24 of Sports Card Forum, I am six cards closer to the 2008 Topps NFL Dynasties Tribute set. Here are the new cards.

Joe Greene - 1974 Super Bowl IX

Donnie Shell - 1979 Super Bowl XIV

Keena Turner - 1981 Super Bowl XVI

Joe Montana - 1984 Super Bowl XIX

Charles Haley - 1988 Super Bowl XXIII

Ted Johnson - 2004 Super Bowl XXXIX

Four more coming in a few days from now.

NFL Rookies Get NFL Logo Patches in Finest

Come September, NFL rookie collectors and Finest fanatics across the country will have a new set to drool over: 2008 Topps Finest Refractor Rookie Autograph/NFL Shield Patches.

The set, featuring 34 of the top rookies from the 2008 Draft (checklist below), will be numbered to 15 and uses sticker autographs.

While I can't believe that these will be player worn patches, considering there is 15 for each player, they still will carry quite the demand because of the autographs and low serial numbering. I have to make this assumption because Topps provided about two sentences about this set, one of which did not discuss whether the patches or player worn or not.

Here is the checklist for the set:

102 John David Booty Minnesota Vikings
104 Brian Brohm Green Bay Packers
105 Joe Flacco Baltimore Ravens
106 Chad Henne Miami Dolphins
109 Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons
112 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs
114 Matt Forté Chicago Bears
116 Chris Johnson Tennessee Titans
117 Felix Jones Dallas Cowboys
118 Darren McFadden Oakland Raiders
119 Rashard Mendenhall Pittsburgh Steelers
121 Ray Rice Baltimore Ravens
122 Dustin Keller New York Jets
123 Steve Slaton Houston Texans
124 Kevin Smith Detroit Lions
125 Jonathan Stewart Carolina Panthers
126 Kevin O'Connell New England Patriots
128 Donnie Avery St. Louis Rams
129 Earl Bennett Chicago Bears
130 Dexter Jackson Tampa Bay Buccaneers
131 Jerome Simpson Cincinnati Bengals
133 Andre Caldwell Cincinnati Bengals
134 Early Doucet III Arizona Cardinals
135 Harry Douglas Atlanta Falcons
136 James Hardy Buffalo Bills
137 Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers
138 DeSean Jackson Philadelphia Eagles
139 Malcolm Kelly Washington Redskins
140 Mario Manningham New York Giants
141 Limas Sweed Pittsburgh Steelers
142 Eddie Royal Denver Broncos
143 Devin Thomas Washington Redskins
149 Jake Long Miami Dolphins
150 Glenn Dorsey Kansas City Chiefs

McFadden is obviously the early draw followed by Ryan, Stewart, Flacco, Brohm and Mendenhall. I think it is interesting to note that Topps included Patriots quarterback Kevin O'Connell perhaps hoping he will end up just like Tom Brady in six or seven years.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's nice to know these still exist

Amidst all of the fake patches that have flooded the hobby in recent years, it's nice to know that there are still some very nice looking real patch cards out there.

The perfect combination of black, white and orange on this card makes for one of the nicest patch cards I have ever seen. I like this better than all of those real patches that have five or more colors because it isn't just the patch that makes the card nice. If you take away the relic pieces, this card would still look awesome.

Can anyone produce a nicer looking patch card than that?

Topps at it again

Come on in Topps haters, you'll love this card.

While it is not a short printed base card or another gimmick, it is down there on the Topps list of recent low lights. Has baseball become so dry that near no-hitters in Minor League baseball games have become worthy of being mentioned on cards? Apparently that's all the better Phillip Humber gets.

I now understand that Topps will stoop to whatever level they need to in order to have autographs in their product. My question is this: if Topps wanted a Humber autograph so bad, why didn't they create a regular autograph set to include him in?

A Highlights set should include highlights that all fans can remember, not insignificant player's achievements. Who outside of the Mets community knew that Humber almost had a no-hitter? Heck, who in the Mets community knew he almost threw a no-hitter?

I guess on good thing about this card is that it does feature baseball player instead of a boxer, actor or former president. However, if you start tinkering with the integrity of baseball autographs, we could have a pretty big problem.

TTM Autographs

Back around December of 2006, I began browsing through a couple of online trading communities in Sports Card Forum and Trade Cards Now. Back then, many terms and abbreviations used on these forums might as well have been Chinese to me. WTTF (want to trade for), FS/FT (for sale/for trade), WTB (want to buy), and HTG (hard to get) were all abbreviations I saw in the buying and trading forums. However, the letters TTM were found in buying and selling forums along with general card chat forums and other places on these sites.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I had no clue what those three little letters meant until last summer.

While I have never personally dabbled in Through The Mail autograph requests, I have read a lot about people who have. It's not that I am worried about losing my card, ticking off a player by using their home address or worried about having my card returned stating I need to cover a signing fee, it is that I never give it much thought. Because I'm not real huge into autographs and don't want to deal with the authentication process if I choose to sell a TTM, I never send them out.

The resources are out there as well as plenty of success stories. Despite that, I have never felt the urge to address an envelope.

Come collectors live by TTM and send out requests on a daily basis. I even remember reading about one collector who was trying to complete a 1992 Donruss set with TTM and in person autographs and another who finished a set of TTM autographs of the members of the 1987 World Series.

Photobucket user stlalways94 is a TTM seeker as he/she has an entire album dedicated to TTM and in person autographs he/she has acquired. The card pictured above came from that album.

Who, if anyone, from the blogsphere sends out TTM? I know Mario has several in person autographs, but what collector doesn't? I even have 15-20 of those.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Poll Archives: Of recent hobby innovations, which is your favorite?

Poll question: Of recent hobby innovations, which is your favorite?

Certified Autographs

7 (25%)

Cut Signatutres

6 (21%)

Game-Worn Relics

4 (14%)

Game-Worn Patches

4 (14%)

Manufactured Patches

0 (0%)

DNA Relics

2 (7%)


3 (10%)


2 (7%)

Votes so far: 28


This poll surprised me just a bit. While I knew certified autographs would be one of the top vote getters, I thought for sure that Cut Signatures would be the top dawg considering it allows the younger generation to get autographs of the legends of the game. Basically, I figured Cut Signatures and Certified Autographs would be switched.

One thing that wasn't a surprise was that Manufactured Patches received zero votes. I don't know much about these cards other than that many collectors dislike them, you can fraud an unsuspecting collector easily with them and I don't have any.

As for the other category, I would love it if the two people who voted would leave a comment sharing what their "other" is.

The Chronicles of Cardboard Mania's Topps Dynasties Tribute Set - Part One

When I first read about 2008 Topps football, I was immediately drawn in by the Dynasties Tribute insert set. I don't really know why considering half the set is of teams I don't like (Steelers and Patriots). Nevertheless, I am collecting the set and got a good start on it when I busted a hobby box of Topps on Saturday. These nine cards will be the start of The Chronicles of Cardboard Mania's Topps Dynasties Tribute Set.

Each time I get new cards whether it be one or 10, I will make a new post in the Chronicles until I have the complete set. Once I get that far, I will do something special here, but I haven't decided what I will do yet.

So without further ado, here are the first cards I got from the 2008 Topps Dynasties Tribute insert set.

Franco Harris - 1974 Super Bowl IX

Terry Bradshaw - 1979 Super Bowl XIV

Roger Craig - 1984 Super Bowl XIX

Joe Montana - 1988 Super Bowl XXIII

Randy Cross - 1988 Super Bowl XXIII

Troy Aikman - 1992 Super Bowl XXVII

Emmitt Smith - 1993 Super Bowl XXVIII

Tom Brady - 2004 Super Bowl XXXIX

Deion Branch - 2004 Super Bowl XXXIX

I have seven more incoming that will be here in a couple of days so expect to see those cards then.

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Won't Disappoint

As the reigning product of the year for two years now, Topps Allen & Ginter is the one product anticipated by many serious baseball card collectors, myself included. While I don't plan on going out and buying a box, I do plan on building the base set through trading and buying. I am also very interested in the mini autographs and relics.

This isn't the first set that has included these mini framed autographs and jerseys. I got my first one of Todd Helton way back from Topps 206. What they do with the jerseys is they produce a mini card with a jersey swatch in it and place that inside a colored border of some kind, making for a unique looking card.

I've never really looked for these too much in the past, but I think I may try to get a head start on this year's assuming I can find them for reasonable prices. I will probably have a regular feature chronically my quest to complete the set on here (like the Topps Football Dynasties feature I will be posting later on today).

While the product isn't scheduled for release until Wednesday, there are already several boxes and cards on eBay included one seller who individually listed just about every veteran base card in the set for $0.49. I still wish there was a way to prevent these people from opening their boxes early and starting to sell the stuff off.

**This is going to be the new format for Card of the Day. I am dropping that title but I still will be doing a post a day regarding a single card like I have done since the beginning. There still be a Card of the Day label for the posts**

Mystery Card #23

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Making recycling sense out of the hobby

Almost everything anyone does anymore has some negative effect on the environment. Some things more (dumping oil into the lake...that's a no-no children) than others (leaving a light on while you go downstairs to get dinner), but have you ever thought about the negative environmental effects the card hobby has? If you haven't, maybe you'll find some of this eye-opening, but if you've given it a thought or two, maybe you should help spread the word around the online card world.

There are two main areas of concern for the hobby: shipping cards and manufactures packaging. I'll start with the former.

Environmental costs in shipping cards

For anyone who has bought or sold on eBay, made a sale or trade on an online forum or has received or sent cards in the mail from some other source knows that cards are commonly sent in the tough bubble mailers. No biggie right because all sorts of companies use bubble mailers for various shipments. Well, if that's your train of thought, here's a question.

What do you do with those mailers after you get your cards from them?

You basically have two choices:

1. Toss it in the trash
2. Pull all the stickers off of it and put in a box to reuse

The life of a bubble mailer, if packaged and opened well by all parties involved, is around 3-4 trades. I have received mailers than has addresses crossed off and mine put over the old one. I have seen mailers where people have taped a new address sheet over the original address. I have seen mailers with more than one color of tape on them. And after I get mine cards from them, I put my customer's address over top of mine and send the mailer back into the world for someone else to pitch or reuse.

Other big recyclable items in the card buy/sell/trade market are penny sleeves, top loaders and team bags. All three of these items are customarily used in I would say at least 50% of all transactions which makes them an important commodity for you if you are selling or trading. Until ripped, penny sleeves and team bags can reused as many times as you please. If the sticky stuff on a team bag is gone, scotch tape is the answer. If your top loaders have multiple price stickers or lots of tape over them, ship them off to the next guy with the penny sleeve that has five different price stickers on it inside it. There is at least one trader on the online forums who requests that you use used materials like this. His name escapes me at the moment, but I will post it here if I find him again.

Finally, small 200 and 400 count boxes can be reused over and over as well. I don't know how many of these smaller boxes I have with my address scribbled on them. I mostly reuse those boxes to hold small sets or small player collections, but I do tape paper over them occasionally and ship cards out in them. Boxes can reused many times, but no matter the size, they do wear out after awhile.

Environmental costs in manufacture's packaging

So now that you have seen some of the things you can do to recycle shipping supplies, let's take a look at some of the things that companies do that serious environmentalists would call "wasteful."

For anyone who has picked up a blaster box from your local Wal-Mart or Target recently knows how much space those ten packs really take up. For those who don't know, it's not much. However, the companies still put the packs in a box that could at least twice as many packs. I understand that they need to have their logo big enough for people to see along with big lettering on why you should buy their box, but these boxes really could be cut down in size. And with as many blasters as there are, that's a lot of cardboard.

The bigger problem lies in high-end products. Products like Topps Sterling which only have five or six cards in them still come in a normal sized box. Why can't these products be like base Topps which houses its 36 packs in a box exactly the size of the packs? I know there aren't as many of those, but the extra cardboard used in those would still tremendously help save a tree or two.

What about those extra damaged base cards you have sitting around along with those annoying decoy cards found in packs? Don't throw them away. Use them in the shipping process, write notes on the backs of decoys or donate the damaged base to a hospital or other place where children are in need. That way, they get more use than they do getting smashed in by the garbage truck.

I'm sure there are many more environmental issues surrounding the card world. I'm sure those serious environmentalists from above would say this entire hobby is wasteful because the cards themselves are made from cardboard, but I'm pretty discrediting their opinion since they don't understand this hobby. I'm not ripping on those who love the environment at all, it's just that only serious card collectors can get the feel of community that can build by cards, the rush of seeing the hit and the timeless memories produced from a childhood filled by cards.

So if you like how this business is run right now, take a step and see if you can't recycle a thing or two you have lying around right now.