The Beckett Blog

Baseball certainly not missing in Arlington by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor

Panini America may not be an official licensee of Major League Baseball when it comes to trading cards, but a small selection of behind-the-scenes autographs the company released on Wednesday certainly shows that the national pastime is certainly on some minds deep in the heart of Texas.

Given the names shown and the types of autographed items signed, some of the signatures are undoubtedly for its upcoming 2010 Century Collection set, one that will combine postage stamps with an autograph placed into a baseball card in a cut fashion. The baseball season may finally be over at the ol’ ballpark in Arlington, but there’s still plenty going on right down the road at Panini HQ.

While that sheet of Johnny Bench sticker autographs is an absolute work of art, you can see what we mean about the other autographs in a small selection of photos after the jump.

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Evolution of autographs: Which ones do you remember? by Chris Olds

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

Imaging getting paid $20, $50 or $100 for a single swipe of a pen … for your autograph.

Collectors know all about the practice of autograph signings for cash — we see it all the time at shows. However, have you ever put yourself in an athlete’s shoes?

For a multi-millionaire, a private autograph signing might be work — if an athlete even bothers because, after all, time is money. (Meeting and signing for fans? That’s another story. Many athletes have no worries about doing those events — or signing for free if it’s the right place and right time.)

And, when you think about it, signing autographs is work in a different way, too. Can you imaging sitting down and signing your name 500 or 1,000 times with only a break or two?

Many collectors don’t — and that’s why they complain when they get autographs that look like chicken scratch. (To some degree, I understand why they sometimes look the way that they do.)

We all have heard about the “give-up graph” — and we all know about the checkmark autograph of former Houston Texans running back Vernand Morency — but there’s another type of autograph out there that has always interested me.

It’s the “early” autograph — the one where an athlete either hadn’t yet adopted a shorter version of an autograph or a rarer signature where we just don’t commonly see it on items signed in bulk.

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Is a Derek Jeter autograph really all that rare? by Chris Olds

How rare is a Derek Jeter autograph?

That came to mind during a conversation I had with a few collectors on Twitter. And Beckett Baseball Senior Price Guide Analyst Brian Fleischer was able to answer it with a quick search of the Beckett Media database.

We can give a total stat for all 954 certified autographs with announced or serial-numbered press runs. Are you ready?

The autographed cards — his first coming in 1992 — have a combined print run of 48,183. (I own three of those, by the way … )

Throw in all those un-numbered autographs and it’s even higher.

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Box Busters preview gallery: 2009 Topps Sterling by Chris Olds

We’ve cracked a pair of 2009 Topps Sterling boxes for an upcoming episode of Box Busters but wanted to make sure you could see some of what’s to be found while the video is in the famous Beckett microwave.

Can you guess what our two boxes’ themes were based on this small selection of cards?

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Upper Deck releases Sweet Spot green ink quantities by Chris Olds


Upper Deck released the production numbers on Tuesday for its 2009 Sweet Spot Signatures autographs that were signed in green ink.

The greens are a new addition to the popular line — and they’re pretty rare on top of including basketball star LeBron James and several members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Get the rundown after the jump …

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WIN FREE AUTOGRAPHS right here on Friday by Chris Olds



The Big Apple Comic-Con is set for Oct. 16-18 in — where else — New York City and its promoters want to get free autographed photos into Beckett readers’ hands.

We’ve got six autographed 8x10s to give away — and it will happen this Friday (Oct. 9).

Who? We can’t divulge all the names now, but several are Hall of Famers.

We’ve got a linguistics legend, a doctor, an animal, a flower, a Madison Square Garden icon and even a Nature Boy.

(OK, we gave one name away… as in Ric Flair. Wooooooooo!)

How can you win? Visit The Beckett Blog on Friday as we’ll be holding contests throughout the day … one every hour beginning at 10 a.m. Central time.

What will you need to do? Examine the event’s guest list to do some research… and be ready to answer questions.

It’s that simple.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at

First look: 2009 TRISTAR Signa Cuts Limited Edition Baseball by Chris Olds


TRISTAR unveiled on Wednesday its latest baseball product — Signa Cuts Limited Edition — which will deliver one cut autograph per pack.

The product is set to arrive in mid-November.

The cards, which are slabbed by Beckett Grading Services but not authenticated or graded, are limited to either 25, five or just one copy.

That’s it — just one limited-run cut autograph card per pack — and only 100 24-box cases will be made with every box serial-numbered.

Get a look at the checklist by clicking here.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at