Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's nice that smeone else understands

Wow, I wish I would've jumped on this when it first came out four days ago, but that's what working for a real newspaper will do to you. In fact, the night of August 27th I was in the newsroom for almost 8 hours after my classes.

Anywho, I am happy to see that Topps had said something about the Kosuke Fukudome Bowman Chrome card that actually shows that I am right win my assumption this is gimmick.

Here is what Topps said about the card:

Topps announces it inadvertently inserted a Bowman Chrome Kosuke Fukudome Autographed Rookie Card (which is not autographed) into packs of the recently-released 2008 Bowman Chrome Baseball. A total of 1900 copies were issued. Fukudome is not a subject on the Autographed Rookie Card checklist nor was he ever solicited as one.

So if he was never supposed to be in the set, then Topps must have created this card for something. And given their recent reputation combined with the fact Fukudome was never supposed to sign equals gimmick cards used to drive sales.

So for those boneheads out there who criticized me for calling this a gimmick, I think you may want to think a little more before you type next time.

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Gift" from Trade Cards Now

I always enjoy getting a package unexpectedly and that happened today, but when I saw the return address of Trade Cards Now (TCN), I knew exactly what was inside.

TCN is slowly becoming one of the better trade forums on the Internet. Granted, it is not SCF or The Bench quite yet, the site has made serious strides since I became a regularly active member in Dec. 2006.

One of the things that has come with the growth is a sponsored from Topps in which Topps send boxes of products to the owner, Lynn, and he then gives away all the cards to his members. Products have ranged from base Topps to the current box offer of Topps Triple Threads baseball.

I call it a "gift" because it was but wasn't free all at the same time. The way these giveaways work is that users bid on hits and divisions using what is called TCN Cash. TCN Cash can be earned through contests as well as posting on the message boards. The longer your post, the more TCN Cash you get. So you have to put some work into getting these cards.

The first time I won a part of one of these auctions was on the last break of Topps Allen & Ginter. I received the second hit pulled from the box, an Ivan Rodriguez framed, mini bat card and the base and insert cards of all the AL Central teams. Included in the base and inserts were seven of the US State cards, two rookies, three minis (including one rookie) and 20 regular base cards.

To get in on this action, please visit Trade Cards Now and use intelliracer as your reference.

I could use some help

Obviously I have been out of the blog world for a few days. To see what I've been doing, check out the sports section of BG and the BG News Sports Blog.

I probably won't be around this weekend, but I should have some content tonight. Until then, can anyone help me with the banner? I thought I had it correct until I viewed my blog here in the newsroom. I obviously messed it up in some way. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Poll Archives: Which baseball program is better?

It appears collectors are pretty split about which rookie redemption program is the best with all three getting a decent percentage of vote totals.

In the end, Topps Red Hot Rookies and the SPx Rookie Signatures both garnered the most votes. But, the Finest Rookie Redemptions weren't far behind.

The Topps Red Hot Rookies are popular because it is a common set to get and it features a wide variety of players. The wonder of who the high numbered redemption cards are is also a big factor.

As for the SPx Signature's popularity, it comes from being the only exclusive autograph set of the three. While both the Finest and Topps have had a Jay Bruce autograph, that has proven to be a misstep.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What's up in the world of Cardboard Mania

Not too much honestly. Just a little construction that will hopefully lead to a nice face lift for this page. The blogroll should be changing as well as my links section. I also hopefully will have a banner that looks good in the coming days.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another highly graded quarterback RC

Yesterday, it was Joe Montana, (now up to almost $45,000 by the way) and today, it is his replacement, Steve Young.

A BGS 9.5 1986 Topps Steve Young rookie has hit eBay with a modest Buy-It-Now of $3,000.

With this isn't nearly as impressive as the Montana from yesterday, there are just four BGS 9.5 of these Young rookies. This one grades out with 10 centering, 9.5 corners, 9.5 surface and 9.5 edges.

So if you like highly graded Hall of Fame quarterbacks rookie card, but don't have 50 grand, this may be the option you will want to go with.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Here's one way to spend $33,100

The only Joe Montana Topps rookie card to ever receive a pristine 10 from BGS has surfaced on eBay and currently sits at $33,100 with the reserve yet to be met.

The seller touts this as the "best football card in the world" in response to a BGS 10 Michael Jordan Fleer rookie recently selling, which obviously would be the best basketball card in the world. The seller also gave the Beckett population report on this card:

1981 Topps Joe Montana #216

6.0 - 291
6.5 - 420
7.0 - 670
7.5 - 757
8.0 - 879
8.5 - 624
9.0 - 235
9.5 - 43
10 - 1

Total - 4465

There is still 36 hours remaining on this auction so it is hard to say how high this card might go or what the reserve is. However, there are some people around the Internet who think this seller is too good to be true.

Users on Sports Card Forum have speculated anything from the seller works or knows someone at BGS or is shill bidding on this card.

Reasons for for their first point is because the seller currently has 62 eBay listings that are all high end cards of key players with the best Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Albert Pujols and LeBron James rookies included. Many of these cards are also highly graded by Beckett.

Here is what one user posted:

"Somethings not right about this. If you look through his inventory he has way to much high end Beckett graded things. He either works there and is grading it himself or he has someone on the inside heping (sic) him. Theres (sic) no way someone could have that many high end things just by luck!"

The users on the forum are not realizing that someone can have this type of graded inventory without having connections. It's not hard for the highest of high-end dealers to acquire all these key rookies and have them slabbed. Every time you see such a collection on eBay, you have that initial "I wonder if this is too good to be true" thought, but it never lingers more than a few second once you really look at the seller's inventory.

As for the shill bidding point, I have one thing to say to those users: off eBay offer. It is very likely that the seller has an offer to the side that a collector not on eBay has given him (perhaps $50,000). At the same time, it's possible for any auction to be "shill bidded" by the seller, but again, no one really thinks about it until a high end auction like this pops up.

However, there is one thing I noticed (as well as members in the same SCF thread I've been referring to) about this card that does seem a little fishy. Based on the picture above, the front has all the look of a pristine card, but let me show the image of the back.

If you need a better look, click the image for a larger view

Is it just me or is the centering not quite of pristine quality? The bottom is clearly thicker than the top and the right side is clearly thicker than the left side. I would have to think that this would unacceptable of a pristine card, but perhaps they don't take into consideration the back of the card, which would be a huge strike against BGS.

Maybe, as a SCF member suggested, there will someday be an uncut sheet of 1981 Topps cards that includes a Montana and that the collector who owns it will be willing to cut it and make a Joe Montana pristine rookie with a centered back. If not, maybe there will be one discovered somewhere. There's bound to be another 10-worth Montana out there somewhere, right?

Does anyone else have an opinion about this card?

Friday, August 22, 2008

My take on the new eBay

A couple of days back, eBay announced some forthcoming changes to its policies. I would have talked about this two days ago, but I didn't have the appropriate time to make this post until this morning.

In a nutshell, eBay is changing the way you can pay and fees for the most part, but there are also a couple of smaller changes that will affect a small number of sellers.

Currently on eBay, sellers have three basic ways of accepting payment: PayPal, money order and check. I know there are other, less used ways as well, but those are the major three you will run into today. Before I give you the excerpt from the official eBay press release, please note that eBay owns PayPal.

Starting this fall, we're moving to an electronic checkout process that's faster and more reliable for sellers and buyers. As part of this move, checks and money orders will no longer be accepted on eBay, although buyers can still use these payment methods for item pick-up, at the seller's discretion. In addition, the electronic payment methods will be fully integrated into eBay checkout. For example, if a seller has an internet merchant account, a buyer will be able to directly enter a credit card and never have to leave the site.

While they talk big about being able to used credit card checkout, what they really are doing is getting more people to sign up for a PayPal account to use on the site, earning them the nickname Greedbay by a member on The Bench Trading.

Greedbay is about right as they are now utilizing their own secondary service to double their revenue from sellers, creating a very big conflict in interests (much like the one many people pin to Beckett). Had eBay not owned PayPal or another similar service, would this change have happened? I'm guessing not.

While I do have a problem with eBay trying to increase revenues in this manner, I am more upset that money orders can't be used anymore. I don't do much selling on eBay, but most of the card buying I do through PayPal which is all money that comes from selling cards elsewhere. However, when I buy something non-card related, usually a series of TV shows on DVD, I prefer to use money orders so I don't burn through my card money that fast. Outside of shows or the occasional blaster box, I don't spend money out of pocket on cards.

By using PayPal, sellers lots of times will implement an extra fee to the shipping and handling charges to cover the PayPal fees, thus making the next part of their resolution a little fuzzy.

Shipping is an important factor for buyers as they shop online – and expectations are higher than ever. Today, buyers want free or reasonable shipping. So, if you're already offering free shipping on items, we're going to reward you even more. Beginning on October 1, 2008 and running through the end of the year, all sellers will receive the option to use subtitle for free, worth $.50 per listing, when free shipping is offered. And for eligible PowerSellers, you will receive double your PowerSeller Final Value Fee discount on these items, starting on the same date and running through the end of the year when you offer free shipping - this is up to a 40% discount!

They also are including limits on items that can be shipped via media mail.

Sure, it's nice to give sellers who offer free shipping a discount, but it's no big secret that a lot of times with free shipping comes higher listing prices. eBay knows and loves this because it allows them to reap higher listing fees, despite giving the subtitle line for free. If the discount becomes the norm after the special offer, eBay has found another sneaky way to get more money from seller.

I've heard many people saying that the shipping limits are going to help eliminate the sellers who charge $3 or more for shipping on auctions for one card. However, cards aren't shipped through media mail and will probably remain the same.

Some other highlights of the new policy include:

Accordingly, we are shifting the majority of our costs for most categories to the back end (final value fees), which you only pay if you're successful in selling an item.

This is the funniest line in the whole message if you ask me. Yes, you only pay FVFs if you sell your item, but they don't mention that you still have to pay the listing fee whether you sell your item or not.

Finally, we're instituting a new minimum Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) requirement, as a way to further improve the customer experience for everyone on eBay. As of November 1, 2008, sellers will need at least a 4.3 across all four DSR categories, over the prior 30 day or 12 month period depending on volume, in order to list on the site.

I find this to be a bit unfair to sports card seller, especially given the type of rating system they have combined with the ignorance of many collectors. Many sellers find their shipping charges rating to be very low because most collectors will give one star for a $3 shipping charge. I don't feel that is appropriate considering there are people that get $4 and $5 for one card, which is far greater robbery that $3. I also am not saying $3 should get five stars, but I feel it should be given three or four stars depending on how the seller shipped the item.

So being almost exclusively an eBay buyer making purchases through PayPal 95% of the time, I don't really have any gripe with the new policy except for feeling bad for those who it does effect. The only really bad effect this may have on me is that my Omar Jacobs collection may continue to suffer. Anymore, there averages just 25-30 listings for him at any given time. With all these increased costs, people are bound to be only selling the big name stars making my collection even harder to build.

I have no doubt that eBay will still be the biggest marketplace for sports cards, but I can see prices increasing and listings decreasing because of these new standards.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The other Michael Phelps autograph

While everyone was talking up the 2004 Leaf Rookies and Stars Fans of the Game Michael Phelps autograph, they overlooked another, rarer Phelps autograph put out by Upper Deck.

In 2005, 10 Phelps autographs were given away at the Hawaii Trade Conference in the Signature Supremacy series.

If you thought $800 was crazy for the Leaf card, how does the tune of $3,850 sound for the Upper Deck card? Or maybe you just want to Buy-It-Now for $16,499.

Dick's Sporting Goods to have the next retail exclusives

Donruss and Dick's Sporting Goods have teamed up for a great promotion involving 2008 Donruss Threads retail boxes which will allow collectors the chance to get he best rookies from this year's draft class.

The ten card set, entitled Rookie Crown Collection, features the likes of Darren McFadden (above), Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones and Joe Flacco. The cards will feature the player's in their college uniforms.

In the past few years, many companies have been producing retail only cards exclusive to certain store. Press Pass has featured a star rookies set of Wal-Mart cards each year since the trend began in 2006.

Target seems to have been the choice store of many card companies since this trend started. Leaf Rookies and Stars had a whole series of Target Longevity cards that could pulled from boxes in 2006 and Press Pass also released a nine card Target set that additionally included four autographs. Ultra was also on board the Target Express with Target exclusive Lucky 13, autographs and regular rookies along with Upper Deck who produced a set of Target exclusive rookies and rookie autographs.

In 2007, Press Pass again released a set of Target rookies and autographs and Ultra made Target rookies, Lucky 13 and Lucky 13 autographs as well as Upper Deck's Target exclusive rookies and autographs numbered to five.

So far in 2008, there is the Press Pass Target rookies and autos and the Upper Deck rookies and autos. Topps also produced a special Target edition rookie jersey cards for factory sets in 2006 and 2007.

So with Dick's now getting its own card set, is Meijer the next retail chain to be included in the retail store set posse?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why I am convinced it's a gimmick

Soon after discovering the Kosuke Fukudome Bowman Chrome autograph error, many people began talking about it maybe being an honest manufacturing error. However, I am pretty well convinced it is an intentional short printed gimmick.

If you ask me, if it is a manufacturer's error, it's the same type of manufacturer's error that leaked a few Hillary Clinton Morganna The Kissing Bandit Presidential Predictor cards into packs of 2008 Upper Deck Series One earlier this year: an intentional one.

Back in the 1980s, there were several notable error cards that gained the card world a lot of notice. Billy Ripken's error was in the pages of USA Today just like the Jeter/Bush/Mantle card and the Giuliani Red Sox card were featured in all sorts of different mediums. Topps knows this and knows how many retail boxes sold out of Wal Mart, Toys R Us and other retail chains following the Jeter gimmick.

It seems we are in the second revolution of errors and variations. You can't tell me that all those mistakes in the 1980s and 1990s were accidents. Well you can, but I won't buy it. There hasn't been one short printed variation that isn't categorized as a gimmick by the hobby world since 2006 when it all started.

A true error from Topps is the 2008 Topps Limas Sweed wrong back rookie. I don't know how they messed it up, but I find that to be legitimate because everyone's cards are the same and no one has found a rare corrected version of it.

While I didn't report on it, I know there was a collector in Taiwan who supposedly pulled a ridiculous number Allen & Ginter rip cards from one box. Auctions for gimmicks always seem to include several from Taiwan collectors, such is the case with this Fukudome.

I should also not that the same collector who got all the rip cards also has one of these Fukudome cards.

Are these Taiwan sellers codeword for Topps? Could it be that Topps puts up these international auctions together just to promote themselves? I sure hope not, but any more, anything is possible from them.

It also doesn't help that this card is of one of the hottest players in the hobby worldwide. How convenient? Topps also loses some force considering they put out the base Topps Fukudome WBC card, a last minute SP of Fukudome in A&G and the UH1 Fukudome in Topps factory sets (which signals to me that there is something fishy involving Fukudome coming up in the real U&H).

As always, any new developments will be posted here as soon as I hear them.

The Ginter Code cracked and explained

Of all places that a collector could announce that he cracked the Ginter Code, I never would have guessed it would've been done on Trading Card Central, the forum where I got my online trading start. You'd think he would go straight to Beckett, Tuff Stuff, Sports Card Forum or The Bench Trading. Shoot, even Wax Heaven would have been a spot I would think it may show up first.

Alas, yesterday morning collector sportsfan4177 joined TCC, and by afternoon, he had explained his method to cracking the code.

Don't you hate how once someone explains something to you it seems like you should have noticed it yourself?

Here is the answer: "SEND 6 TEAM ORANGE MINIS, ALL 6 MEN WITH MUSTACHES." What this means is that the winning collector had to send the six Team Orange mini cards of the player's with mustaches.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Topps loves free publicity...yet another gimmick

Not only does Topps enjoy free publicity, they also enjoy gimmicking up Kosuke Fukudome's cards.

This time around, it is the Bowman Chrome phantom autograph Kosuke Fukudome. You can see in the pictures above that the front of the card has a sticker and the "Topps Autograph Issue" above Fukudome's knee on the front, and it has the wording "Not Valid Without Sticker" on the back to the right of his stat box.

There are currently four of these cards on eBay ranging in Buy-It-Now prices of $300 and two at $399.99.

It is hard to say how many of these surfaced, but I'm guessing as soon as more word gets out about this card, that the BIN prices will suddenly go up from $300-$400. I don't know why you would pay that for this card considering they forgot to put the autograph on it.

You can just add it to the pile of garbage Topps has produced in the last couple of years and call it done as far as I am concerned. While it isn't a gimmick, they also produced this lovely reminder of another card many collectors complained about earlier this year. Look familiar?

Can't you just wait for Topps Heritage High Numbers and Topps Update and Highlights to see why Topps comes up with next? I hope you are, because I'm not.

Poll Archives: Thinking of all sports, which company is the best?

In a surprising result, collectors favored Topps more than 2-to-1 in my recent poll. I was certain the final order would be this:

1. Upper Deck
2. Donruss/Playoff
3. Topps

However, I was just slightly off as it went:

1. Topps
2. Upper Deck
3. Donruss/Playoff

For the record, my personal preference is this:

1. Donruss/Playoff
2. Upper Deck
3. Topps

The worst part is that I am mainly a baseball collector, but I like the company that doesn't even produce baseball cards anymore.

Time for Quinn to shine

Not only did the entire starting roster for the Cleveland Browns look terrible last night, their starting quarterback may miss some of the regular season with a concussion. However, this could also be a good thing for the team and especially Brady Quinn.

Quinn, the team's second first round pick a year, was expected to be the starter by mid-season as neither Charlie Frye nor Derek Anderson had proved themselves in the past. However, a week one trade of Frye gave the Anderson the reigns and he never let go passing for 29 touchdowns and 3,701 yards.

Last night, Anderson looked shaky even before the sack that was his final play of the game by not getting a team a touchdown, not getting them from inside the Giants five which led to a blocked punt for a safety and subsequent free kick return touchdown and also botched a hand off to Jamal Lewis which turned into a 95 yard fumble recovery touchdown for the Giants.

Quinn, however, looked sharp and needs to take advantage of this door opening despite the unfortunate circumstances that are making it possible.

Quinn compiled a 69-yard touchdown drive as soon as he entered the game which ended on a backwards touchdown pass to Syndric Steptoe. Quinn later threw a 44-yard touchdown to Steptoe that was seen in to plays on ESPN.

Sure Quinn wasn't playing with the first team or against the Giants first team, but he is all but assured to get the start against the Lions and likely the Bears to close out the preseason. While the Lions first team defense is nothing special, the Bears will provide Quinn with a challenge and if he can face that challenge well, Anderson may be in trouble and out of his starting job sooner than expected.

By only taking part in one little drive last year, Quinn's cards took a huge nose-dive as the season rolled on. While he's not close to the bottom of the barrel, his market value is still lower now than it will be if he turns out to be a successful Browns starter like planned. For the football investors out there, you probably already have a Quinn autograph, but if you don't, this may be a good time to get your hands on one.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcome Johnny Cueto... the Bad Sig Hall of Fame that is. Cueto's signature is, well, not really a signature at all.

A company two for one

We all know about error cards that sometimes slip through the companies' finger's, but there is one company error that just a handful of collectors have had the joy of experiencing. One such collector can be found on Sports Card Forum.

The collector, 97S281_27, opened a pack of 2008 Donruss Classics and found a Frank Gatski card serial numbered to 999. After looking back through the pack, he discovered there was another Gatski stuck to the first. As it turned out, the cards were sequentially numbered 554 and 555.

A few other collectors then shared stories of their sequentially numbered cards pulled from one pack, including one collector who said he pulled two Adrian Peterson RPMs from one pack of 2007 Absolute Memorabilia. I haven't been lucky enough to pull sequential cards of even a lower end player, but I'm still holding out hope that my day may come at some point.

Has anyone else ever had a pull like this?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Video: Topps on Fox News

An interesting video featuring Fox News anchors on 2007 Topps baseball cards as well as a small look into what goes into producing cards.

Notice while Doocy is flipping through his cards that he passes over what looks like a Ryan Dempster autograph.

The hottest card on the market?

After making history with his eighth gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, Michael Phelps' one mainstream trading card has absolutely skyrocketed in value.

Born and raised in Baltimore, many fans of the Baltimore Ravens stayed in the stadium after a 23-15 loss to the Minnesota Vikings just to watch their hometown hero go for the record. Much to their pleasure, the USA 4X100 medley relay team continued the American domination of the event in a world record time.

With that record came strong sales on Phelps' only certified autograph which can be found in 2004 Leaf Rookies and Stars football as part of the Fans of the Game series. Two weeks ago, the first Phelps autograph appeared in anticipation for the Olympics selling for $98, seven days ago when his Olympic quest was just starting one of the autographs ended on eBay for just $140 and four days later, the price had jumped $300 to $449. The first two auctions to end after his record included a $650 sale and the $700 sale. Currently there are several auctions for the card that have been bid up to the $400 range.

So that's too expensive for your budget so you suppose you'll just buy the non autograph version of the card. Well, it isn't just that simple. As with the autograph, sales are through the roof on that card as well.

The card wasn't seen on eBay too much before August 14 when the first two copies of it sold for $55 and $50. The card continued to climb in sale value until reaching the $100 mark for the first time on Saturday evening and topping out at $177.50 just after the record. Current listings for the card have settled into the $50-$65 range with the chance of being bid to the $75-$80 before they end.

Just as with any big accomplishment, the market for these cards will diminish as the allure of this record settles in. Whoever gave $170 for the regular version of this card wasn't thinking straight or just didn't think it through when they made the purchase. Personally, I wish I had one of these to sell now so I would have enough money to buy another in a few months and still have some green leftover.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beckett's eBay error

I know I'm probably starting to sound like a Beckett basher on this blog, but trust me, that isn't the case. They've just been giving me good material lately, such as this Hideki Matsui rookie card they have on eBay.

Did you know that Matsui played for the Yankees in 2000? I sure didn't.

You know how a lot of time the seller will just have either the title or the description mislabeled, but Beckett has managed to mess them both up while their image clearly states this card is now from 2000.

When I saw this listing, I was really hoping the card was mislabeled on the BGS holder as well. That just would've been hilarious.

Besides that mistake, Beckett has probably listed this card at a price no one plans to pay. A Green parallel graded 10 by BCCG recently sold for a total $3.74 so how does Beckett think anyone will pay $10.99 for one of these?

I also don't find anything too special about this card. Do you?

Friday, August 15, 2008


The title of the post is what this person describes his video as. After watching, you will realize why that is the most insane title there has ever been in the history of the world.

At first, I thought this was actually an ignorant collector who thought he had something good, then he pulled out pliers and a measuring tape not to mention what he used as an ash tray.

The video is so stupid that it is funny so I suggest taking the five minutes to watch it.

The other series two from Topps

I don't mean the base Topps series two that came out however long ago, I'm talking about the Bowman Chrome releasing today which might as well be Bowman Chrome and Prospect Series Two if you think about it.

With 190 cards of veterans and 30 rookies, they are the first Chrome cards to be designed like the regular Bowman cards, but we all remember pulling some prospect Chrome cards from our regular packs of Bowman too. The prospects featured in the Bowman Chrome boxes are numbered BCP131-BCP240 with BCP1-BCP130 coming out in regular Bowman packs, meaning this is basically a second series of prospects intertwined with the regular Chrome cards.

Every box of Bowman Chrome will include two prospects per pack and one prospect autograph per box. There are also the same levels of parallels (six per box) you've come to expect to find Chrome - Refractor /500, Xfractor /250, Blue Refractor /100, Gold Refractor /50, Orange Refractor /25, Red Refractor /5 and Superfractor /1 - creating another set that causes player and team collectors to have a migraine.

There is one new set included in Bowman Chrome, Head of the Class dual autographs. In this set, a former first round pick is matched up with a current MLB star. These come in Refarctor /99, Gold /50 and Superfractor /1 parallels and also feature those bright silver refractive stickers Topps is fond of using.

According to Topps' checklist, there are only three autographs in the set:

HOC-FL Prince Fielder/Matt LaPorta
HOC-LP Evan Longoria/David Price
HOC-CH Joba Chamberlain/Phil Hughes

I would've liked to have seen more autographs in this set as it is a unique concept that will now cost a fortune since there are only three cards available. It would also separate 2008 Bowman Chrome from the last few years which have been the same as this year's. Bowman Chrome seems to slowly be becoming a very cut and dry product with no new glitz and glamor, making it a very boring product in my eyes.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What is, and more importantly what isn't, on that disc in your Beckett?

For anyone who has picked up the newest Beckett Sports Card Monthly with Darren McFadden on the cover, you are sure to have immediately opened up the magazine to the CD that was included which gives you free access to their website and a few extras.

When I first saw the disc, I was expecting all of Beckett's tutorials to be on the disc in one place for easy access if you got lost on their site. But, I was disappointed when I clicked on one of the four categories only to be linked to their website.

So I went to the extras to see if there was anything interesting there. And again, I didn't find too much. There was a video of Beckett staff gags which is sure to go over really well with all the Beckett haters out there. There were also some photo galleries of Beckett covers and the Beckett headquarters (dare I say I wouldn't mind working there someday).

The biggest problem is that most people who read/receive the Beckett magazine are already pretty aware of the website so why did they spend all the money to produce a CD to include with the magazine? Would it not be smarter to take those discs to the Nationals and hand them out to new collectors or those who admit they aren't familiar with Beckett's website?

Topps' next big blunder

While I don't mind seeing an update set for 2008 Topps Heritage, I do mind some of the reasons this set exists and some of the things you can expect to find in your box.

It appears Topps is phasing out both Bowman Heritage and Topps 52, two brands that many collectors enjoyed, in one fell swoop with Topps Heritage High Numbers. However, as much as collectors liked Bowman Heritage and Topps 52, they like Topps Heritage twice as much in most cases so it likely is a smart move for Topps to produce a second series.

The problem is that the 220 card set (501-720) won't be the easiest set to build from a box. Why? There are two reasons:

1. 35 short prints
2. Two Topps Update and Highlights cards per pack

Of course the official set name is Topps Update and Highlights presents 2008 Topps Heritage High Numbers so it somewhat makes sense that U&H cards are included. It's like a backwards Bowman and Bowman Chrome though. Bowman is the base brand that puts out Bowman Chrome so they include two Bowman Chrome cards in every pack of Bowman. So what this should be is two Heritage high numbered cards in every pack of regular Update and Highlights much like what used to be done with Topps Update Chrome.

Now, what is the gimmick going to be? An Evan Longoria perhaps?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Upper Deck Baseball Heroes looking weak

Upper Deck has produced yet another parallel laden set in Upper Deck Baseball Heroes. With 10 different colors ranging from traditional red to obscure colors like sea green and charcoal, Baseball Heroes is the next set in Upper Deck's line of confusing sets.

Outside of the parallels, the set is an excellent extension of the early 1990s insert set that featured legends of the game like Reggie Jackson and Johnny Bench. Today, the set has 175 single players, 10 dual heroes, 10 triple heroes and five quad heroes which mix and match current stars with each other or legends and current stars.

Upper Deck again makes player and team collecting harder than it needs to be by producing all of these random parallels. I'm completely alright with having one or two different colors to chase, but does anyone really want to have to find 11 cards of their favorite player? Just think about those player's that appear on more than of the dual, triple and quad heroes cards. How does that player collector feel right about now?

But collectors can also expect to find four hits in every eight card, 24 pack box with three relics and an autograph falling on average. However, with a $100 price tag, the secondary value of these hits make buying a box of Baseball Heroes a risky proposition.

Right now, there are only a handful of hits selling on eBay selling for over $20. A Roger Clemens autographed relic /10 has been bid up to $51 with one day remaining, a Josh Hamilton autograph /25 has been bid up to $32 with one day left, a Matt Kemp autograph /5 is at $26 with just over a day left and a Chin-Lung Hu autograph /50 also sits at $26 with just over a day left. Regular relics and autographs are getting between $2-$10 so unless you hit nicely, you aren't bound to strike it rich off your hits.

So when you combine the ridiculous parallels with the secondary value a box will most likely yield, I have to say stay away from Baseball Heroes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Has the next Ryan Leaf arrived?

I'm going to go ahead and say it up front: Matt Ryan will be the next Ryan Leaf.

No seriously, I really think that.

Ever since Matt Ryan was hyped up before the NFL Draft, I had my doubts simply because he always reminded me of Ryan Leaf. Just take a look at the similarities:

-Both were drafted in the top three of the first round (2nd for Leaf, 3rd for Ryan)
-Both attended semi-major Division I schools (Washington State for Leaf, Boston College for Ryan)
-Both were Heisman finalists
-Both were given record amounts of guaranteed money (Leaf $11.25 million signing bonus, Ryan $34.75 million guaranteed)
-Both were drafted to turn around a franchise in dire need of a quarterback
-Both have Ryan in their name
-Both stand 6'5" tall

So maybe the last two are just fun trivial facts, but the ones above are very intriguing similarities that are keeping me away from Ryan's cards. Hopefully the Falcons don't decide to rush him into the NFL which could also ruin his career, just ask Tim Couch about that.

So how many of you think I should go to the nut factory now? I answer that by saying someone has to make the bold predictions because you almost never see anyone making a prediction about how bad someone will be. The truth of it is that now everyone turns out like they appear they will, and I think Matt Ryan is next on that list.

Thanks Autographed Memorabilia

The first thing I do every single morning if check my Yahoo! e-mail and my college e-mail, which is hooked up to this blog. This morning a message arrived that I thought was the beginning of the spam that would be hitting that inbox. However, it turned out to be a legitimate e-mail from a new website called Autographed Memorabilia, the Internet's Premier Sports Memorabilia and Sports Card Directory.

Despite the name, the site is dedicated to far more than autographed sports memorabilia. The site provides links to all sorts of sites including blogs like mine, online sports cards retailers and memorabilia retailers for both sports and non-sports.

Once this site becomes more well-known, it could easily become the number one place for hobbyist to find and share information with each other. I have already found a couple interesting websites from the limited links they have now so just imagine how much you can find when they have hundreds of sports card links up there.

I strongly suggest that anyone with a sports card related site that isn't listed there submits it to them as soon as you can to help make them a great resource for all of us.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Poll Archives: Is admission to the National Card Show worth $18?

It looks like readers think that $18 is too much to spend for admission to the biggest card show on the planet.

Each year, thousands of collectors flock the National Sports Card Collectors Convention and drop $18 for one-day admission or up to hundreds for a VIP package. However, with the rising cost of almost everything, collectors now have to rethink that price.

I was unable to attend the show in Chicago this year, but I do know that the $18 charge was a good enough for the Cleveland show of 2007. If the show comes back to Cleveland in 2009, I plan to be there.

I think the biggest problem comes in when collectors from out of state spend money on a plane ticket, rental car and hotel or all the gas and a hotel, it is more of an annoyance to pay $18 at the door to a card show.

I would love to hear from some of the people who participated in this poll. Why did you choose yes or why did you choose no?

Score turns 20; goes old school

I don't know of too many serious collectors who get excited when Score football comes out each year, but this year many young football collectors will get plenty of enjoyment from the product. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of Score football cards, but there doesn't appear to be any special sets to commemorate the anniversary.

At just $0.99 per seven card pack, collectors are assured one Glossy parallel, one rookie and at least one other insert/parallel on average as well as Team Decal Tattoos falling 1:4 and Player Decal Stickers falling 1:6.

This isn't the first time this decade that companies have tried to use stickers or other kid-related items in their products to gear their selling. Topps used stickers in its baseball (2003-2006) and football (2004-2005) Bazooka releases and also included stickers in their Topps and Topps Opening Day baseball sets in 2001. Upper Deck also utilized stickers in Upper Deck Power Up! baseball and football. According to Beckett's new search, Donruss has never produced football sticker cards.

However, this is the first attempt at stickers in mainstream products since 2006 Bazooka baseball and 2006-07 Panini Stickers hockey.

Tattoos have also been seen in recent years but not nearly as often as stickers have. In 2000, Fleer/SkyBox produced a team tattoos set in Impact football and Topps produced tattoos for all its 2004 Bazooka brands and 2005 Bazooka baseball. Topps again is trying tattoos this year with a small selection in its 2008 Topps Opening Day baseball set. Otherwise, tattoos have been fairly uncommon with just 347 of them produced over the years.

For those who collect "real" inserts, this might also be the product you've been waiting for. At an inexpensive price, you will get all of this:

36 Glossy
2 Scorecard
1 Gold Zone
4 Hot Rookies
4 The Franchise
4 Future Franchise
4 Young Stars
6 Donruss Decals
9 Donruss Tattoos
4 Other inserts/parallels

Basically, you get one Glossy parallel and at least one other insert or parallel in every pack. Not only that, you have the chance to hit an autograph. I don't know about this year, but I did pull a redemption from a 2007 box so you may have to wait for the autograph. But, the pictures provided by Donruss show sticker autographs so there is a good chance they have some of these ready to go.

So while this product isn't for everyone, if it is for you, you should get plenty of what you bought it for. At around $30 for a box, I may just have to pick one up for myself and see what I can find.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Inductees to the Bad Sig Hall of Fame

Welcome aboard Matt Leinart and Greg Jones.

Phelps gets first in his quest for eight

Olympians aren't really known for having trading cards. Michael Phelps may be changing all that.

With a win and new world record time in this morning's 400-meter individual medley, Phelps has taken the first step towards winning eight Olympic medals. Tonight at 11:33 EST, his second race, the 4X100 meter relay, starts with the Americans being favored by some and expected to finish second to France by others.

While some Olympians have been featured in sets like Topps Allen & Ginter, Phelps' attempt at breaking Mark Spitz's medal record could land him in quite a few trading card sets including any late editions of Donruss celebrity sets and undoubtedly next year's Donruss celebrity set.

Honestly, I am surprised no company has made an Olympian set within a sports product this year. As big of a deal as there are making about producing political cards, you would think someone would've said "Well, the Olympics are this year and you know all the buzz there will be about Michael Phelps." Combine that buzz with all the talk about Dara Torres and think about the publicity that set would be gathering right now.

But, collectors will simply have to settle for a Phelps Sports Illustrated for Kids as his most plentiful card. He also appeared in the Donruss Fans of the Game series as well as other Olympic promotional cards. Torres, meanwhile, had a card released in the 1992 Impel Olympics series.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dumbest Brett Favre card ever eBay

It was only a matter of time before all the digitally produced Brett Favre Jets images were going to appear. This collector took it to a new level and conned someone out of $1.

While it was merely $1, this seller still advertised a custom-made Brett Favre "signed by Jets" digital trading card. By bidding, you would receive an e-mail copy of this digital card, presumably without the promo markings in the image above.

Worse yet, he doctored up this photo (which looks terrible in my opinion) and is getting at $3.25 out of it. I don't know if people just aren't reading that they will receive a digital version of this picture or what, but I don't understand what the point of bidding on these things is.

If you were to wait just a few more days, there will be Associated Press photos of Favre practicing with the team in his Jets jersey so why on earth would you pay for a poorly produced digital image of Favre in his Jets jersey?

A Tribute To Mr. 3000, Bernie Mac

As you have probably heard by now (I didn't as I was couped up at work all morning), Bernie Mac has passed away at age 50 due to complications from pneumonia.

Known more for The Bernie Mac show and his role in the Ocean's Eleven movies, Mac captured baseball fans with his role in Mr. 3000. Last year, he made his mainstream trading card debut in Donruss Americana and again in 2008 Donruss Celebrity Cuts.

Already a semi-popular seller, Mac's death has pushed his trading card prices to new highs. Previously, a 2007 Americana autograph like the one pictured above sold for $18.50. Today two are available for bidding with one standing at $33 with 23 hours left and a second at $55 with one day and six hours left.

Sadly, people will be selling this card simply to profit off his Mac's death. It happens with any celebrity or sports star and is unavoidable. I never understand why people pay the inflated prices for these cards right when someone passes. I remember back when Cory Lidle died in the New York plane crash and everyone was trying to sell off their Lidle's knowing he would be in high demand. Today, just one listing appears in a search for Cory Lidle.

However, Mac's death could cause a phenomenon like Heath Ledger's death did to the new Batman movie. With four movies in post production, many hardcore Mac fans and even some who aren't will be attending the theaters to see these movies if they do come out.

Hopefully, year's down the line, we will see some Mac cut signature cards on the market, perhaps in his Milwaukee Brewers uniform from Mr. 3000.

Friday, August 8, 2008

"Broadway" Favre hits trading card market

Upper Deck and Donruss have both released photos of some of the New York Jets Brett "Broadway" Favre cards that will be available very soon.

For Donruss, a photographer was on hand to get a picture for the Absolute Memorabilia set. However, this card will only be available as a short print in retail products since the hobby version of the set is packaged and ready to be shipped out. It is unknown how short printed the card will be.

All football fans, and most sports fans, know that Joe Namath was known as Broadway Joe during his tenure with the Jets. Upper Deck is now hailing their new quarterback as Broadway Brett, a slap to the face of Namath. How can Favre be given such a prestigious and historic nickname without throwing one pass in the city? If anyone knows, please tell me because there is nothing saying isn't going to the tank this season. I know there isn't anything saying he won't lead them to the playoffs, but I really think Upper Deck is taking quite the risk with the new letterman cards they are producing for Upper Deck NFL Icons.

The 13 piece letterman will be inserted as a redemption card to collectors and spells out "Broadway Brett" and features a photo of him from yesterday's news conference.

On a day when Upper Deck was praised by Mario A. of Wax Heaven for producing a far nicer autograph of Michael Beasley than Topps did, I think they have done themselves just as equal an injustice by producing these cards of Favre."

Why sticker autographs came to be and why they're not going away

Had Upper Deck realized what this card started, they would have produced more autographs during the dead years of 1991-1995

Back in 1990 when Upper Deck had Reggie Jackson sign 2,500 cards for the Jackson Heroes set, no one could have imagined what it all started. Year by year, more and more autograph cards came out until we had a full blown set of autographs in 1996 Leaf Signature Series. But as certified autographed trading cards gained popularity with collectors, the companies discovered they needed to find an alternative way of getting players' autographs.

The answer: sticker autographs.

The first stickers autographs reached mainstream sets in 2000. SAGE started to use stickers in 1998.

Starting in 1998, sticker autographs began to emerge in place of the traditional hard-signed, or on-card, autographs. They were started by SAGE in their college basketball and football releases and finally reached professional sports card with 1999-00 Ultra Fresh Ink basketball and also appeared in 2000 baseball Fleer products. Upper Deck first used stickers in 2000 Upper Deck Encore football and Topps joined the group in 2001 with Topps Reserve but did not use stickers again until 2004. Donruss also first used stickers in 2001. I actually have one.

I don't think these are the preferred method for getting autographs, but faced with the realities, companies really had no choice but to find a new way.

1. Shipping costs were increasing as more autograph sets were made and postage rose
2. Cards can get damaged in the shipping process
3. Late returns caused the need for often complicated redemption cards that collectors constantly gripe about

The first stickers were gaudy and took up a lot of the card, but they allowed companies to easily include the best player's in many sets across different brands with the player only hassled for one autograph signing. The companies also reaped many benefits.

1. Stickers allow companies to change designs close to printing time without worry
2. Stickers help make multi-auto cards easier to produce
3. Stickers strongly discourage counterfeiting
4. Stickers greatly reduced redemption cards
5. Stickers allow cards to stay out of the mail and help ensure their pristine condition
6. Stickers allow companies to use the same autographs for players for multiple sets
7. Stickers allow companies to produce autographs of a player who otherwise wouldn't be available to sign cards

However, while the companies were all excited over these cost-cutting benefits that increased supply, collector's had complaints of their own:

1. Stickers can be unattractive on cards
2. Stickers take away from the feel collectors get knowing the athlete handled their card
3. Stickers limit the athlete’s creativity in their signature
4. Stickers with non-centered autographs look very poor
5. Stickers can be affixed upside down or on the wrong player's card

Years after the beginnings of this part of the hobby, the companies have found ways to make the stickers less discreet and at time unnoticeable. By using clear stickers or a sticker that includes the company logo, collector's tend to more forgiving of pulling a sticker. However, some sets still include the obvious stickers and collectors never like it when one of those pops up in their pack.

If you read through any established collector's preview or review of a product, you will know if the set had hard signed autographs because it is a big deal to have that nowadays. Sportkings was sure to publicly note that before releasing Sportkings Series B earlier this year knowing that it would help generate interest in the product.

Collector's can be assured hard-signed autographs every year for some sets though. Press Pass delivers autographs of perspective NFL Draft Picks on the cards every year. Many early NFL products also utilize on-card autograph for rookies that come to the NFL Rookie Premiere (like the Steve Smith card below from 2007). While sheets of stickers are also signed there, many cards are also on hand to be signed. Obviously these cards feature the player in their college threads, but it is better than nothing.

For example, there were 2,094 on-card autographs in 2007 baseball products compared to 23,165 sticker autographs in 2007 baseball products according to Beckett's My Organize search.

So like it or not, sticker autographs are here to stay. Hard signed cards can still be found every year, but they will run you a little bit more than a sticker auto card will. For me, an autograph is an autograph whether it is on a sticker or on the card itself. Sure it's nice to have it right on the card since it looks better, but I'm not one to fret if I pull a sticker autograph from a pack or box.

David Clowney: Top WR in Preseason Week One

Drafted in the fifth round by the Green Bay Packers last season, David Clowney slowly became one of the forgotten rookies and disappeared from the Packers roster.

By October 2007, he was gone from the Packers and signed onto the Jets practice team (as you can see from the small print next to the autograph). After being released and resigned two days later, released again and resigned again a month later, Clowney showed up for the Jets in their first 2008 preseason.

While he didn't do work against the first team nor is he listed on the team's depth chart, the Favre to Clowney pass may end up being reality if he continues to put up numbers like 163 yards and two 70+ yard touchdowns every preseason game.

Clowney's cards are few and far between and fairly easy to find at a good price. With just 48 current eBay listings and 120 listings ended over the past 30 days, many of Clowney's autographs can be had for just $0.99. If Clowney can find a way to make the team, can Favre's strong arm help him get more of those 70 yard touchdowns?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Should I stay or should I go?

The Brett Favre soap opera needs to start advertising for the season finale because all the good stuff is coming to end: in New York.

The Packers have announced they traded Favre to the Jets for a conditional fourth round pick that could become as high as a first round pick if the Jets make the Super Bowl through Favre's play.

The trade may have gotten newly retired New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan thinking about his own decision. With Favre now in New York, Strahan may have a chance to tackle his buddy more than he used to. However, after checking this year's Giants schedule, he wouldn't want to come back simply to try to sack Favre again in a preseason game.

Ultra was always known as Stadium Club's photography rival, and the photographer who captured the image for Strahan's 2002 Ultra card almost captured a second perfect piece of history. The image comes from the final game of the 2001 season when Strhan sacked Favre to break the single season sack record held by Mark Gastineau. After the sack, both Favre and Strahan were questioned about whether they have planned the play. Both player's denied the allegations. However, the grand smile on Strahan's face does suggest otherwise.

The second piece of history this card could have captured no longer can come true. Had Favre stayed retired, the two would likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year, further making this one of the most unique base cards of all-time. Collectors will just have to settle for a card with two future Hall of Famers for now or hope that Strahan somehow isn't elected in his first year of eligibility.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The proper way to describe your Triple Threads Nick Markennis

I found this video where the collector actually realizes that it's pronounced Nick Markakis not Nick Markennis. Just imagine if the collector featured yesterday had tried to say Rizzuto.

Of course, I also found a young collector knows that it isn't Hohan Santana, but doesn't have a clue how to say Saltalamacchia (wow I got it right without looking). Oh and did I mention, this is the second sickest break of Triple Threads this year?

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

I have acquired a few more Topps Dynasties inserts in various trades and figured it was time for another installment of the set.

Mel Blount - 1974 Super Bowl IX

Dwight White - 1974 Super Bowl IX

Rocky Bleier - 1978 Super Bowl XIII

Terry Bradshaw - 1978 Super Bowl XIII

Dwight Clark - 1984 Super Bowl XIX

Ronnie Lott - 1984 Super Bowl XIX

Lawyer Milloy - 2001 Super Bowl XXXVI