The Beckett Blog

2010 National Treasures Pen Pal Autographs get an upgrade by Susan Lulgjuraj

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Panini America really took advantage of the 2010 NFL Rookies Premiere in May. With all the rookies in one spot, officials from the company got on-card autographs for some of its sets.

One of these includes the 2010 National Treasure Football Pen Pal Autographs subset.

2010 National Treasures is Panini’s final and most expensive product of the year and it looks like they aren’t holding anything back. Besides on-card autographs, which we all love, the product also features the rookies in their NFL helmet.

Last year’s set only had the guys in their college uniform.

Pen Pal Autographs offer so many different combinations of rookies, you’re bound to find your favorite grouped together. Pen Pal Autographs will come with two to eight signatures on the card.

The set it is scheduled to be released in early March with a $400 price tag.

See a gallery of Pen Pal Autographs inside.

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An Exclusive Interview with Dallas Cowboys Receiver Dez Bryant by Tracy Hackler


By Tracy Hackler and Jon Gold

Most pre-draft buzz pegged Dez Bryant as a guy with top-five skills and a Mr. Insignificant attitude. Still, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made no bones about wanting him. That Jones got his man – he seemingly always does – means that Bryant landed on football’s most collected team. That, of course, sent Bryant immediately ascending to the top of the rookie hobby heap.

But then he goes and suffers the dreaded high ankle sprain early in training camp and essentially goes undetected all summer by all but the most astute collectors or Cowboys fans.

That’s all about to change in a big way.

Bryant is ridiculously talented and really, really good. Certainly he’s too good to be lugging Roy Williams’ shoulder pads around and at some point sooner rather than later, he’ll be too good not to be in Dallas’ starting lineup.

The former Oklahoma State standout only improves an already-stacked offense that also includes Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Felix Jones and Marion Barber.

Even without the benefit of a full training camp, Bryant is an early favorite – along with San Diego’s Ryan Mathews – for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Hot List appearances later this season are virtually guaranteed.

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Topps Offers Bounty for Rare Quad-Signed Rookie Premiere Auto by Tracy Hackler

A limited-edition 2010 Topps Rookie Premiere Autograph card signed by Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Dez Bryant and Jimmy Clausen will land one lucky collector a full-size NFL helmet signed by the same four rookie stars in Topps’ latest bounty program that was revealed to Beckett Media on Thursday evening.

It’s possible that up to nine other collectors could find the card that’s limited to just 10 copies. They’ll be eligible for prizes, too.

For more information on the bounty, watch the video that stars a most sensational special guest . . .

Inside Tim Tebow’s Helmet: The Anatomy of a Fantasy Football Card by Tracy Hackler


I’ve been where few men have been before. I’ve been . . . inside Tim Tebow’s helmet.

He doesn’t know that — yet. But every time I see a preview these days for a new 2010 Tebow Rookie Card, I’m reminded of my moment in the sun — actually, it was in the shade — wearing Tebow’s most regal Riddell crown. I figured now was as good a time as any to come clean.

I’ve always dreamed of appearing on my own football card. The overly self-indulgent tale that follows is likely about as close as I’ll ever get. Besides, how often do you have the opportunity to look at a superstar’s Rookie Card and say, “Hey, I’ve worn that helmet” . . .

Part I: The Helmet
Tebow’s sweat-kissed, sun-soaked Denver Broncos helmet had been perched – silently majestic, metallically shining – on an inconspicuous table for most of the afternoon. It had traveled all the way from the Broncos’ training complex in Colorado to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for a weekend full of football card cameos.

And now, the very helmet atop Tebow’s head for many of his Rookie Card photos on a postcard-perfect, late-May Saturday morning at the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere was just . . . sitting there.

I first noticed it on the red-draped snack table after lunch, just out of bounds at about the 23-yard line. Tebow had spent the first half of the day with Panini America and Upper Deck; his afternoon was reserved for Topps.

Somewhere, one of the most polarizing football players of all time was posing for his football card photographs topless — you know, without his top, his headgear.

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Topps Football Sketch Card Contest Winner Announced by Tracy Hackler

Beckett Blog visitor Josh Manning correctly identified three of the six Topps Football Sketch Card artists from the June contest and will win a box of 2010 Topps Football when it comes out next month.

Fourteen other entrants identified two of the six artists correctly. Thanks to everyone who entered. Oh, and we reveal the identity of the first six artists below.

For those who missed out on this contest, you’re still in luck. Stay tuned for the August issue of Beckett Football, on sale next week. We’re running a second contest with the 20 remaining Sketch Card images. Topps gave us two boxes as prizes for that bad boy.

Good luck.

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Massive Gallery: 2010 Donruss Elite Football Autographs by Tracy Hackler

2010 Donruss Elite Football went live yesterday with the product’s first on-card autographs since 2001. Elite’s NFL Shield and Team Logo rookie-based insert includes limited signed versions that the company acquired during last month’s NFL Players Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles.

Consider the following gallery further proof of manufacturers’ ongoing quest to deliver collectors more on-card autographs.

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Details are Sketchy for 2010 Topps Football . . . But You Could Win by Tracy Hackler

Equip an NFL superstar rookie with nothing more than a pen, a 2 1/2-by-by-3 1/2-inch blank cardboard canvas and his own imagination and the results can be amazing, amusing and absolutely revealing.

Indeed, just when you think you’ve seen it all in the envelope-pushing arena of sports trading cards, Topps brings its brilliantly simple, genuinely refreshing athletes-as-Sketch-Card-artists concept to 2010 Topps Football following a successful debut in 2009 Topps WWE earlier this year.

At last month’s NFL Players Rookie Premiere, Topps officials asked each of the 35 players in attendance to draw, doodle or jot down whatever they wanted (provided it was in good taste) on an authentic Topps sketch card; 26 of the players ended up taking Topps up on its unique request. As a result, the pad-clad Picassos hand-crafted some of the most memorable Sketch Cards to date.

(Actually, 27 players obliged but one artist’s proof was not necessarily appropriate for packout.)

“They liked the idea and some of them really got into it,” says Clay Luraschi, Topps’ Director of Product Development. “There were no parameters.  We let them draw whatever they wanted.”

That included, among other things, a version of Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, some entertaining self portraits, some captivating play calls and some simple scribbles that ended up being dead giveaways.

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