The Beckett Blog

First Look: 2011 Bowman Baseball by Chris Olds
January 6, 2011, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Beckett Media, First look, MLB, Topps | Tags: , , , , , ,

By Chris Olds | Editor

Topps unveiled its 2011 Bowman baseball set on Thursday, which will mark the first appearance of Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper in his MLB uniform on an officially licensed MLB card.

Scheduled to arrive on May 9, Bowman will feature only on-card signatures with every HTA Jumbo box including three Bowman Chrome autographs and each 24-pack hobby box packing one.

There will be 110 Chrome prospect cards to be found and a base set of 220 rookies and veterans. With a new twist, there will be Bowman Buyback Cut Signature cards in the fold.

Also new will be Topps 60th Anniversary autographs, USA Baseball patch cards and Futures Game Triple Relics.

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A speechless box break by Chris Olds
November 11, 2010, 10:56 pm
Filed under: MLB, Topps | Tags: , , , , ,

Technical difficulties derailed the Box Busters video for 2010 Bowman Chrome from appearing here on Thursday evening but that didn’t stop Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds from ripping his own hobby box he landed at Nick’s Sports Cards in Dallas.

The last time he busted a box from there, he pulled a Stephen Strasburg autograph. This time, the action left him speechless. Or something.

What will he find? Watch and find out … we’ll have the Box Busters video here on Friday morning.

We swear.

Topps unveils Bowman Chrome wrapper redemption; admits USA Buyback error by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor

Let the dumpster diving (for wrappers) commence.

Topps announced on Monday a wrapper redemption program for buyers of 2010 Bowman Chrome as well as admitted that one set of high-demand buyback autograph cards slated for the product — one thatincludes Bryce Harper — didn’t make pack-out and will be part of the hobby-only redemption program.

For every 18 wrappers (hobby-only) that collectors send in, they will receive a five-card pack of black-bordered 2010 Bowman cards. The set will include all 110 prospects from 2010 Bowman will be included in the redemption as well as a 37-card USA Baseball black-bordered Chrome autograph set where all cards will be limited to just 25 copies. Those cards will feature the 2010 Collegiate National Team and the 2010 18U National Team.

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Bryce Harper Superfractor sale confirmed at $12,500 by Chris Olds

The season started with a high-profile SuperFractor sale from 2010 Bowman and it’s winding down with one as well.

The Bryce Harper USA Baseball 1/1 from the overwhelmingly popular prospecting line has sold and was confirmed as a $12,500 purchase on eBay, emulating the other high-profile Washington Nationals sale of earlier this year — the $21,403 Stephen Strasburg.

This time, though, the card took a little more time on the auction block before actually selling — it was listed five times, according to original owner Earnest Clinton — before it was purchased by Aaron Marcus of Long Island, N.Y.

“I am not going to sell the card, as I want it for my personal collection,” Marcus said on Tuesday. “I might consider selling some of the other Bryces that I own someday, though.”

Among the other cards of the 17-year-old Nationals prospect in his collection are Refractors of a couple different rare shades.

“I also own Bryce’s Bowman Chrome USA Red Refractor (numbered out of five) as a BGS 9.5,” he said, “as well an Orange Refractor (numbered out of 25).”

So what was it that attracted him to the Harper?

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Topps fills in 2010 Bowman Draft Picks autograph checklist — but there’s no Bryce Harper … yet by Chris Olds
September 15, 2010, 4:40 pm
Filed under: Beckett Media, MLB, Topps, USA Baseball | Tags: , , , , , ,

When Topps released its 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects preliminary checklist recently, it appeared that “The Home of the Rookie Card” was populated by one not-so-popular player named TBD — To Be Determined.

While TBD still exists in its lineup, the lone fully licensed manufacturer of Major League Baseball cards released an updated version of the checklist for the always anticipated prospect-laden product, helping soothe the concerns of prospectors buying in bulk, hoping to bank on the big-name prospects with the most promise inside those heavily broken mylar wrappers.

While the biggest name of them all — Bryce Harper — is still nowhere to be found — not even on an Aflac autograph as he has apparently not yet signed — Topps has confirmed the following players for Bowman Draft as Chrome Autograph Prospects:
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Monday Morning Collector: NFL Week 1 by danhitt

Well it’s finally here the start of the NFL season – the best time of the year. It is at least for serious football card collectors like us. And with the new season comes our take on the weekend’s top on-field performances from the perspective of a collector. So every Monday morning throughout the NFL season, we’ll pick a rookie, veteran and breakout player of the week. Here are our selections for NFL Week 1.

By Dan Hitt

Breakout Player of the Week:
Arian Foster, RB, Texans
(231 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns)

Foster was many a fantasy football player’s sleeper pick this season and the Texans are considered a sleeper as a team. Put them together and you get great opening-game performances from both as the Texans defeat the divisional team they’re bound to be chasing in the Colts. Foster’s 231 yards on the ground is the second-most in NFL history for Week 1 and his three touchdowns the most for a single player this week.
Collectors have already taken notice of the card bargains bearing Foster’s likeness. In the past few weeks, his best 2009 Rookie Cards have moved up in value slightly, but with a very small number of autographed cards on the market (Foster signed for just six 2009 products), his signatures have nearly doubled. Watch for those to go even higher this week following the Texans huge win over the rival Colts, thanks to Foster’s triple-TD day.

Cards to Grab:
2009 Bowman Draft Rookie Autographs #183 ($30)
2009 Bowman Sterling #115 AU/599 RC ($40)
2009 Press Pass Autographs Bronze #AF ($20)

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Gallery: 2010 Aflac All-American Classic baseball cards by Chris Olds

This year’s Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic is just a few hours away, starting at 5 p.m. at PETCO Park in San Diego, but the annual favorites are already prepped and ready for collectors’ hands.

The Topps Aflac All-American baseball cards, which were produced in just the last couple of days.

While attendees will receive three cards selected at random, there’s no doubt that there will be collectors trying to scoop up all 38 cards — and perhaps get some of them signed — well before the cards ever appear in Topps packs.

See all 38 cards from this year’s set after the jump.

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Aflac baseball card set a quick turnaround for Topps by Chris Olds

The West squad's Christian Montgomery works away at his stack of cards to sign on Saturday in advance of today's Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic.

By Theo Chen | for Beckett Baseball

Hurry up and wait. That’s the name of the game for Topps each year when the company produces its highly sought after Bowman cards featuring players in the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic.

The Classic is today at Petco Park in San Diego.

Jim McKenna, Topps’ assistant brand manager for baseball, has helped plan the company’s Aflac effort for the past four years and said it starts with coordinating the player schedules with the event’s organizers. And then, after that, there’s one key aspect — finding a printer in San Diego who can turn around the entire job on a lightning-fast schedule.

“We get bids from printers weeks in advance – they like the notoriety of saying they worked with Topps,” McKenna said. “Then we have our photographer set up at the hotel to take photos of the players as they arrive on Thursday and are fitted for their uniforms. We choose the best pose to fit the card design and do color correction.”

Topps is one of several corporate sponsors of the game, but Aflac runs the show, and the players have a busy four days once they arrive in San Diego including meetings, practices, a children’s hospital visit, an awards dinner and other events.

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First look: 2010 Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic cards by Chris Olds

Beckett Baseball‘s Theo Chen will have the latest in the behind-the-scenes action from this year’s Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic festivities, which took place in Saturday afternoon in San Diego, here soon.

Until then, here’s the first look at the cards that Topps prepared for the event.

The game, which features some of the best prep talent in the country, is set for Sunday at PETCO Park.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

First look: 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Stephen Strasburg Autograph by Chris Olds

Topps is apparently taking a different  approach with what could be the biggest Chrome autograph card in recent years — if not ever — as it teased the card image for Stephen Strasburg‘s 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft RC on Thursday.

Interestingly, it doesn’t feature an action photo — instead a curtain call from his big-league debut game on June 8.

That’s a move that might make some collectors cringe but is perhaps one that will stand out among the countless cards Strasburg has this season.

Does it help or hurt a card like this? Thoughts on this move? Let us know in the comments and take the poll below.


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Video At The National: Topps’ Panel Discussion by Tracy Hackler

On Thursday evening at the 31st National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, Topps officials (from left to right Clay Luraschi, David Reel, Mark Sapir, John Buscaglia and Michael Mader) sat down with a small group of collectors and media members to discuss the company’s products and more.

Beckett Media was there and captured the event on video. Over the course of several video segments, you’ll feel like you were there, too. Here’s a sneak peek.

See Part 2 and the rest of seven segments after the jump.

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Stephen Strasburg 1/1 Red autograph card sells for $17,000 by Chris Olds

The premiere Stephen Strasburg card from 2010 Bowman — his 1/1 Red autograph — sold for $17,000 (not including any additional fees) after 10 bids Wednesday evening in an auction that ran for a good portion of this month with Huggins and Scott.

The Silver Spring, Md.-based company’s auction of the card opened at $9,000 after it was found by a collector in Florida who initially opted for an eBay auction that ended with plenty of bad bids.

The card jumped from $12,000 to $17,000 on its final day, prompting overtime in the auction. It had been set to end at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time but ended at 11:30 p.m. Eastern as interested bidders were allowed extra time if they remained interested if a bid was placed late.

The card came up short of the highest price paid for a Strasburg card from 2010 Bowman, though this card’s status as a 1/1 autograph clearly trumps the other card.

The Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman has been sold twice since it was discovered — on eBay for $16,403 and to Razor Entertainment’s Brian Gray for $21,403.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Strasburg 1/1 Red autograph set to hit auction block with Huggins and Scott by Chris Olds

The premiere Stephen Strasburg card from 2010 Bowman — his 1/1 Red autograph — will hit the auction block on Wednesday as part of Huggins and Scott‘s worldwide sports memorabilia catalog auction that runs through July 28.

Also on the block is an uncut sheet of 1954 Topps baseball cards — which includes a Hank Aaron Rookie Card — but the most talked-about card in the Silver Spring, Md.-based company’s auction of more than 800 lots is the Strasburg, which was found by a collector in Florida who initially opted for an eBay auction that ended with plenty of bad bids.

That card will start with an opening bid of $9,000.

Huggins and Scott cited rapid growth in the last year, which has prompted he company to double the frequency of its catalog auctions. It is now offering up to six auctions a year — the next to come in September.

“Our upcoming July auction will produce an industry stir as the company offers unique and rare items such as the Strasburg 1-of-1 and the 1954 Topps uncut sheet,” said the company’s head writer, Kevin Heffner. “But the company has many great items slated for our September sale, with many items to be displayed at The National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore this August.”

The Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman has been sold twice since it was discovered — on eBay for $16,403 and to Razor Entertainment’s Brian Gray for $21,403.

Strasburg SuperFractor buyer: “Negativity has driven me out” by Chris Olds

See two previous interviews with Robert J. Power here (the card’s sale) and here (discussing why he sold).

By Chris Olds | COMMENTARY

Stephen Strasburg probably never intended to be a polarizing figure in sports. By nearly all accounts, he’s a confident, quiet superstar in the making – and the results of his first five big-league games reinforce that.

Although the 21-year-old Washington Nationals pitcher sports just a 2-2 record, he’s got a 2.27 ERA and 48 strikeouts in his first 30 or so innings of work – good for second place in the history books for the start of an MLB career. By all accounts, this is Major League Baseball’s dream story – a highly successful college power pitcher arrives in a big-market baseball town that’s had little success on the field and becomes the talk of a nation; a “national treasure” as Sports Illustrated screamed from its cover.

But among the collecting community, where many have watched thousands of dollars in Strasburg cards sold – and even more money spent on boxes and packs of 2010 Bowman baseball cards — where Strasburg made his big-league cardboard debut — the story of the year resonates quite differently, particularly online.

Strasburg’s cards have generated resentment, hatred and vast conspiracy theories.

As well as harassment.

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What does the future hold for the Bryce Harper SuperFractor? by Chris Olds

The Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman seems to be getting all of the attention these days — and rightly so when it has generated sales of $16,400 and $25,000 — but there’s one other SuperFractor in the product that could give it a run for its prospecting money.

That’s the Bryce Harper card.

While Strasburg is the talk of the town in Washington, D.C., the 17-year-old Harper is the player who might be doing the same in a year or two.

And his SuperFractor was found by Ernest Clinton, a long-time collector from Hopewell Junction, N.Y.

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Ubaldo Jimenez’s 2007 SuperFractor sells for $4,200 by Chris Olds
June 29, 2010, 3:05 pm
Filed under: MLB, Topps | Tags: , , , , , ,

Another day, another big SuperFractor sale.

One day after the Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman re-sold for $25,000, another 1/1 of a successful pitcher has sold.

This time, it’s a $4,200 copy of Ubaldo Jimenez‘s card from 2007.

“I bought it 2 1/2 years ago for much less,” said Tal Blanchard, who is from Colorado Springs, Colo. “I thought it deserved slightly more. I had $5,000 in mind, but I honestly have gotten a little disillusioned with collectibles lately. I am thinking about liquidating my entire collection in the next few months in favor of more outdoor/exercise pursuits. Just shifting my focus to different things. Still love baseball.”

Blanchard said that he has followed the pitcher since long before his current run at the history books. He is presently at 14-1 with a 1.83 ERA this season and has been on the upsurge in the hobby.

“I have always loved him since they brought him up at the end of ’07,” he said. “And I’m glad he finally has his control issues in check.”

And, like other collectors and those who own SuperFractors, he said he marveled at the Strasburg sales.

“Can’t believe the Strasburg card sold for that much more the second time around,” he said.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor re-sells for $25,000 by Chris Olds

The Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor from 2010 Bowman has set yet another sales record.

The card sold for $25,000 after 75 bids on eBay Monday evening as Robert J. Power, opted to sell the card in the wake of the publicity that the since-removed 1/1 Red autograph generated on the auction block. (The Red autograph, the only card that can presently top the SuperFractor in significance, neared $1 million in bad bids before it the auction was ended this past weekend.)

Power’s auction ended Monday, topping the previous mark of $16,304 he paid for the card before Strasburg made his MLB debut earlier this month. The new sale sets a record for a SuperFractor.

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Beckett Grading Services discusses Strasburg SuperFractor by Chris Olds

Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds discusses the $16,400 Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor along with Beckett Grading Service Director Mark Anderson and BGS Senior Grader David Poole.

Want a closer look at the card, which was examined and graded a 9.5? Want to know more about what to look for when examining Bowman cards for grading?

Watch and find out …