The Beckett Blog

Beckett Tip Sheet: Where can you land an autograph? by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor

It’s no secret that the autograph is key to many a sports products these days as those certified authentic slips of the pen turn cardboard into collecting gold.

But the certified autograph is not the only way a collector can land a treasured item.

In fact, many a signer of certified autographs actually signs in other ways — ways that collectors may not always think about in a world of commodified, short-print chases and dreaming of winning mylar-wrapped lotteries. It may sound like common sense, but there are other ways to track down signatures besides ripping packs and buying singles at the card shop or online.

Here’s a rundown of ways that collectors — beginners through the long-time hobby veterans — should always consider trying to land an autograph without hitting up a pack of cards or buying a certified signature straight from a trusted dealer.

These days, it’s pretty common for athletes and celebrities to have their own websites where they sell autographed items directly to the public. The signed copy of WWE Magazine above, for example, was purchased on Trish Stratus‘ website, There, the former multi-time women’s champion sells signed magazines, books, photos, posters and more. If you have your own particular item you want signed, she’ll ink it up for a $10 fee.

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Recapping the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore by Chris Olds

This year’s National Sports Collectors Convention has come and gone but if you missed the show you can get an idea of what went on in Baltimore by checking out a link  or two.

Here’s a recap of all Beckett links from the show, which went fast…

Brian Gray revives Leaf brand at The National

Box Busters at the NSCC: 2010 Famous Fabrics

Strolling the floor at the National Sports Collectors Convention

The Unbelievable Story of a Tim Tebow 1/1 Autograph

Stephen Strasburg Topps Heritage Card Creates National Frenzy

Two Days at The National: A Photo Gallery

Fewer card brands seen on dealers’ shelves at NSCC

Video At The National: Topps’ Panel Discussion

At The National: Turning $14 into $9,000 with The Baseball Card Exchange

At The National: Talking baseball with Dirk Hayhurst, author of The Bullpen Gospels

At The National: Key cards & autographs …

At The National: Japanese baseball cards & more

At The National: No. 1 for a cause

At The National: Random sights of what’s up for sale

At The National: A picture’s worth …

Can The National be more like San Diego Comic-Con?

Tebow spotlight shines brightly on Palm Beach Autographs

At The National: A Vintage View

At The National: As Cool as Iceman

At The National: Collect ‘em all!

At The National: Scenes from the floor

At The National: Bustin’ Wax — 1980s hockey

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 Topps Heritage Card Creates National Frenzy by Tracy Hackler


BALTIMORE — The stampede was nearly heard across the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC) on Thursday afternoon. Collectors, flippers and baseball fans ran to get on line for an exclusive Stephen Strasburg 2010 Topps Heritage card, which can only be found at the NSCC at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Security tried to keep collectors back, but at 1 p.m., they rushed the line to get one of 225 cards given out that day.

Topps will hand out 998 of the Strasburg Heritage cards (the first was sold on eBay as part of a charity auction) as part of a wrapper redemption program at the NSCC. Ten packs of any 2010 Topps baseball products worth more than .99 cents will net a collector one of the Strasburg cards – while supplies last.

While there are many who like to grab the cards for their own collection, the common idea on the show floor this week has been to throw the Strasburg Heritage card on eBay and try to make money.

“Moving it is a no-brainer,” said Wes Yee, a prospector from San Francisco attending his first National. “It’s a cool card, but I would rather have the money to spend on stuff I really want.”

The Strasburg card was an instant hit with collectors from the moment Topps announced the redemption program. Early eBay sales have the National exclusive card selling between $80-$100.

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Panini unveils autograph quantities for NSCC exclusives by Chris Olds

Panini America‘s National Sports Collectors Convention wrapper redemption packs will have plenty of autographs to be found once the action at the show begins this evening.

The company released the list of signatures — as well as card types and quantities — to Beckett Media on Wednesday.

The Panini Wrapper Redemption set includes 50 cards. Highlights? The first official NBA cards of No. 1 pick John Wall, No. 2 pick Evan Turner and No. 4 pick Wesley Johnson.

All cards are numbered to 499 or less and the set includes the first card of  LeBron James in a Miami Heat uniform as well as a card of Chris Sale, who makes his MLB debut tonight for the Chicago White Sox just two months after being drafted.

Get the rundown, as well as a mini gallery of some of the autographs, after the jump.

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Gallery: Panini America National Convention Box Wars Prizes by Tracy Hackler

When the 31st National Sports Collectors Convention kicks off in earnest on Thursday in Baltimore, veteran show-goers will be treated to a bevy of familiar sights, including a sea of dealer tables, graded vintage cards galore, miles of new wax and the sparkling allure of the corporate pavilion.

That’s where the card manufacturers will be set up, enticing collectors with a stunning array of redemption programs, contests, handouts and promotions. One such contest that has become a staple of the Panini America booth is the company’s popular Box Wars program.

It returns this week in Baltimore with a full slate of showdowns incorporating the company’s football and basketball products. Once again, some of the collection-making cornerstones being offered as prizes (below) are sure to keep the box-busting crowds thick around the company booth come contest time.

A complete Box Wars schedule will be available at the Panini America booth. As for some of the prize cards, well, you can see those now . . .

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***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (7-30) Contest No. 2 — A National Sports Collectors Convention VIP package (courtesy of Blowoutcards) by Chris Olds

***NOW CLOSED*** winner to be selected on Tuesday.

We’re back with another Free Stuff Friday — our weekly ritual where we try and get some cool stuff into the hands of our readers just for answering some simple card-related trivia.

How can you win? Follow the directions below and answer the questions below in a comment right here …  it’s that simple.

Tips: Don’t try stuffing the comments box — it’s one try per person per contest and we’ll check IP addresses — and make sure to include your name and email address so you can be contacted if you win.

Get the question(s) after the jump …

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Chris Bosh’s First Heat Autograph to Arrive at The National by Tracy Hackler

Last week, Beckett Media’s Chris Olds was the first to report that the first Miami Heat trading cards of new teammates LeBron James and Chris Bosh would be part of Panini America‘s wrapper redemption program at next month’s National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore.

Today, Beckett Media confirmed that Bosh’s first Miami Heat certified autograph trading card will be part of that wrapper redemption, too.

Panini America unveils plans for this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention by Chris Olds

Panini America announced its plans for next month’s National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore on Monday evening with the highlight being a 50-card multi-sport set featuring NFL, NBA, NHL and college stars.

Collectors who open five packs of current NFL or NBA product at the company’s booth will receive a pack of cards from the set, which will include LeBron James (in new uni?), Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Tyreke Evans (and others) from the NBA.

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TRISTAR’s Obak returns at The National by Chris Olds

Obak is back once again.

TRISTAR‘s tobacco card-styled Obak baseball set, which arrived last year about a century after its namesake, will return for 2010 with a debut at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, Md. , early next month.

This year’s Obak set marks the 100th anniversary of the originals and each and every card will be printed on old-style recycled cardboard to give the throwback cards an even more distinct look and feel.

Each 20-pack hobby box will include four autographs (numbered to 125 or less), two parallels, one T212 mini parallel card, three short-prints and one T4 Cabinet Card. Each 24-box case will include one Hot Box that will have 10 autographs and a mix of 25 other “hit-type” cards.

See more — with a gallery of images — after the jump.

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What’s up for grabs at The National Sports Collectors Convention? by Chris Olds

Topps has unveiled its limited edition cards for the National Sports Collectors Convention, which will take place about a month from now in Baltimore, Md.

For the last few years, the longest-running manufacturer of baseball cards — and the lone MLB licensee — did not have a presence at the show, but this year the company will be there.

And, the first portion of that presence is being in the $119 VIP goody bag.

Topps will produce a five -card set for the show in the style of 1960 Topps — two Mickey Mantle cards (only one version per bag), a Nolan Ryan, a Yogi Berra and a Cal Ripken Jr.

While there will undoubtedly be more promotions, wrapper redemptions and other specially made cards for the event, here’s a rundown (and a gallery of images) of the other VIP freebies and other show-exclusive cards after the jump.

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At the National: Video Palooza by Tracy Hackler


Beckett Media editors are hard at work capturing the sights, sounds and scenes of the 30th National Sports Collectors Convention on video. Just so you don’t miss any of the excitement, we’ve provided all the footage here:

Collector Cashes in on Error

Dave and Adam’s Lands Hobby Rarity

Walking the Show Floor

What’s It Like to Own a Michael Jordan Rookie Jersey?

Now That Is Celtic Pride

He Really Wants MMA Star Rich Franklin’s Autograph

Q&A with Sketch Card Artist Brian Kong

On the Floor and More

He’s a True Heisman Collector

Showcasing Press Pass’ Latest Products

What’s New with Upper Deck

Q&A with “The Professor”

Talking Basketball Cards with NBA Rookie Tyler Hansbrough

UFC’s Rich Franklin Talk’s Memorabilia & More

Now That’s Some Pricey Wax

Tyler Hansbrough Reads Beckett, Too

A New Take on Baseball Storage

Sneak Peek: Upper Deck’s Special National Set by Tracy Hackler


During the 30th National Sports Collectors Convention that begins in earnest Thursday in Cleveland, Upper Deck will conduct a wrapper redemption program that will deliver a special 24-card set over the course of the four-day show.

Collectors who open five packs of 2009 Upper Deck product (pack SRP of $1.99 or more) at the UD booth can redeem those packs for one of four unique six-card sets while supplies last.

The sets will be distributed as follows:

Thursday: Derek Jeter, Grady Sizemore, Evgeni Malkin, Kobe Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, Derrick Rose
Friday: Ken Griffey Jr., LeBron James, Peyton Manning, Bob Feller, Alexander Ovechkin, Larry Fitzgerald
Saturday: Cliff Lee, Gordie Howe, Adrian Peterson, LeBron James, Brady Quinn, Paul Pierce
Sunday: Kerry Wood, Sidney Crosby, Joe DiMaggio, Michael Jordan, Mo Williams, Matt Ryan

“We’re extremely excited to once again have a major presence at the National Sports Collectors Convention,” said Kerri Kauffman, Upper Deck’s director of Marketing. “We anticipate there will be thousands upon thousands of LeBron fans, so we’re prepared to satisfy their collecting pursuits.”

Stay tuned to for reports from the National show floor beginning Thursday.

Panini Larry Bird Card Highlights National Promo by Tracy Hackler


Panini America is combining the best of all its worlds – football, basketball and Americana – to produce a wrapper redemption set for the 30th National Sports Collectors Convention that includes, among other goodies, the company’s first card of NBA legend Larry Bird.

Collectors who bring five unopened packs of 2009 Panini hobby product (or a full box of 2009 Panini retail product) to the Panini America booth during the show (July 29-August 2 in Cleveland) will receive a three-card pack, the potential contents of which are varied to say the least:

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Artist Brian Kong partners with Beckett at The National by Chris Olds


Noted Sketch Card artist Brian Kong will be on hand at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention in late July in Cleveland to showcase his work and offer a special bonus for collectors who decide to submit cards to Beckett Grading Services.

Collectors will have the chance to meet Kong and purchase or commission work as part of Beckett Media’s booth, but the first 50 collectors who place a $250 order with BGS will receive a Kong Sketch Card slabbed by BGS with a NSCC Beckett Exclusive label. (There is a limit of one sketch per person.)

If you’re not aware of Kong’s work, you will be. His work will be featured in this year’s Allen & Ginter baseball set from Topps.

See more of Kong’s work at and look for more on The National from Beckett in the coming days.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at

First Look: Sport Kings Series C checklist by Chris Olds


The base set checklist for Sport Kings Series C was announced on Thursday with the multi-sport set’s offerings rich in variety and star power.

Some of the notable inclusions in the set are Seabiscuit the race horse, Olympian Florence Griffith-Joyner pro surfer Kelly Slater, pro wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, boxer Mike Tyson, MMA fighter Ken Shamrock, soccer icon Pele and even poker player Daniel Negreanu.

The product will be released in conjunction with the 2009 National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland beginning on July 29.

“By releasing the product at The National we are able to expose Sport Kings to many collectors who have not yet collected the product,” said Sport Kings LP President, Dr. Brian H. Price.  “The timing of the release also allows us to conduct our exciting Wrapper Redemption program, which gives collectors opening product at our booth the chance to redeem their open boxes for valuable redemption cards.”

Check it out in full with more images after the jump.

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Tickets now on sale for The National by Chris Olds

Tickets for the 30th annual National Sports Collectors Convention set for July 29-Aug. 2 in Cleveland are now on sale at

General admission tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the show, while VIP tickets are $119 in advance online ($129 at the show). VIP tickets allow for admission to all five days of the show as well as an early sneek peak on July 29. It also includes 12 autograph tickets for certain VIP signers and a gift package including cards and promotional items made exclusively for the show.

New this year is a SUPERVIP Ticket, which is $159 in advance  or $199 at the show. It all VIP perks but adds another set gifts and a total of 18 VIP autograph tickets.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at