The Beckett Blog

Guest commentary: Sports Art For Less Than $100,000 by Chris Olds
July 17, 2010, 8:29 am
Filed under: Beckett Media | Tags: , , , , ,

by Russ Cohen

There is an eBay auction that caught my eye specifically because it had some “vintage” New York Rangers included in it. This 1968 Leroy Neiman oil painted masterpiece is valued at around $200,000 but the 89-year-old painter will let it go for $89,000.

The players involved are pretty special. That “No. 1” for the Rangers was Eddie Giacomin and his number has been hanging from the rafters from Madison Square Garden since 1989. It was the second number retired by the franchise. I love the way he’s playing so deep in the net (without a mask), very few goalies do that these days.

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Topps’ “You Sketch It” cards bring interactivity to a new level by Chris Olds

Collectors often clamor for more interaction with trading card companies — feeling the need to tell them their demands while also telling them what they don’t like, telling them what they do like and more.

Sometimes, for varying ego-related reasons, individuals insist they should appear on a card inside a Topps wrapper, too.

Now, they can … sort of.

Found in packs of the upcoming 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards will be Topps “You Sketch It” cards that have blank fronts that can be drawn upon and sent back to Topps for the chance to possibly win a prize (according to sales materials) and potentially have their sketch cards inserted into future Topps products for collectors to discover.

Talk about interactive and potentially influential for a product. A crowd-sourced baseball card set? If they’re good, it could be interesting. Who wouldn’t want to find their card in a pack?

Here’s what the back of the card says:

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***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (4-30) Contest No. 1 — An eight-pack lot of 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball hobby packs (three winners) by Chris Olds

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 triviaand this week’s biggest prizes are courtesy of Topps.

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 — we’ll check IP addresses — and make sure to include your name and email address so you can be contacted if you win. (Also note that you will see your comment on your screen after posting but that does not indicate its order of posting as it has not yet been approved. WordPress’ time-stamping of comments once all are approved will determine the winner.)

Get the question(s) after the jump …

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball cards by Chris Olds

Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler, Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they bust into a pair of 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball cards for this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out by clicking here.

Box Busters preview gallery: 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball cards by Chris Olds

While plenty has been said about the forthcoming 2010 National Chicle baseball card set from Topps, only a few have gotten their hands on the actual cards — well, other than all those athletes who signed on-card autographs — in advance of its release next week.

But the Beckett crew has busted a pair of hobby boxes for an upcoming Box Busters video — perhaps a pair of interesting, perhaps controversial breaks — and the results are in the microwave for now readying for release tomorrow.

Until then, though, feast on these actual card scans that show you a bit more of what Chicle is all about…

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Yankees’ World Series championship commemorated on new print by Chris Olds

On the day that the New York Yankees receive their World Series rings, artist Opie Otterstad has unveiled his latest piece, which will be displayed publicly at Pop International Galleries, in the SoHo district of New York City on Saturday.

The 24×36 prints showcase a montage of Yankees images celebrating the team’s record 27th championship. They are limited to 209 hand-signed and numbered copies, which cost is $1,650.

For the past seven years, baseball fans have looked to Otterstad for his panoramic paintings capturing World Series victories — this being the first for the Bronx Bombers in that time.

Showing alongside Otterstad at Pop International will be renowned artist Stephen Holland, who will debut three Yankees portraits — Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez.

“The Yankees and their iconic players as painted by Opie and Holland are just as much a part of ‘popular culture art’ as Warhol’s Monroe,” said Pop International co-owner Rick Rounick.

For a closer look at the piece, click on the image above.

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.

Official Super Bowl portrait lets Saints fans relive moment by Chris Olds

The Super Bowl has come and gone — but New Orleans Saints fans still can’t seem to get enough of their championship team’s memorabilia.

Here’s a piece that’s a little different than the typical sports cards, tribute magazines or autographed memorabilia that’s been hot for the last month or so since the Saints took out the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17.

It’s the official Super Bowl XLIV portrait by Tony Capparelli.

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Preview Gallery: 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball cards by Chris Olds

The 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball card set is still a ways away from its release in April, but we’ve gotten a glimpse at more artwork from the dozen artists who helped produce the set.

Here’s the first of three galleries — one piece per artist. It’s a roster that includes Monty Sheldon, Paul Lempa, Mike Kupka, Dave Hobrecht, Jason Davies, Ken Branch, Brett Farr, Chris Felix, Don Higgins, Chris Henderson, Brian Kong and Jeff Zachowski.

Look for another here soon and a final one in a future issue of Beckett Baseball closer to the set’s arrival.

Until then, check them out…

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Topps releases more National Chicle baseball images by Chris Olds

Topps released three more images of paintings that will be used in its 2010 National Chicle baseball card set that will arrive in April.

From left, they are Lou Gehrig (in a current New York Yankees uniform), Albert Pujols in a St. Louis Browns uniform and Ken Griffey Jr.

Read more about the product here and at additional links in that story.

2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball: The artists react by Chris Olds

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

While we’ve talked about the reactions to some of the surprise inclusions in the 2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball set in the wake of their preview’s release on Friday, one group of people we hadn’t yet heard from are the artists.

You know, those who are bringing those National Chicle cards to life.

Whether you love or hate their work, they probably have a different perspective than the typical collector — they also are the ones working on deadline and the ones who bear some of the brunt of reactions to their assignments from Topps.

They also can have distinctly different styles of work, ranging from paintings that carry almost a sketch quality to paintings that carry more of a folk-style aesthetic — some of which may not spark the same types of reactions from different collectors.

The artists also the ones whose names are attached to the work at the end of the day. It’s a challenge but an opportunity just to be a part of something they just might carry a life-long interest in — a set of baseball cards.

Paul Lempa, who was profiled in Beckett Baseball No. 42 last year for his work on Topps’ Sketch Cards, is one of the artists on board for Chicle.

And it’s his Babe Ruth card that’s drawing the ire of some collectors.

“Exciting stuff,” said Lempa to the reaction in an email to Beckett Media. “I am flattered that my artwork could cause such an uproar. I would rather my paintings be discussed and deliberated, than skipped over, that’s for sure.”

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First look: 2010 Press Pass Eclipse … The Art of Speed by Chris Olds

Press Pass unveiled basic information and preview images for what it is touting as “the first artistic NASCAR trading card set” — its 2010 version of Eclipse — which will arrive in hobby shops in February.

Sales materials for the product are printed on flat matte paper — a likely aesthetic choice for the set, which will consist of 90 cards that “elegantly match various artistic techniques with the excitement of NASCAR.”

Each hobby box will include one autograph and three memorabilia cards, while the product also promises a code-cracking program to win prizes from the Press Pass Vault as well as the next selection of NASCAR Hall of Fame cards.

See more images after the jump.

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Preview Gallery: Dave Hobrecht’s paintings for 2009 Topps National Chicle Football by Chris Olds

chicle3Noted sports artist Dave Hobrecht is one of several creators whose works will be showcased in the forthcoming 2009 Topps National Chicle football card set. (A little more info can be found by clicking here.)

Want to see more from the set well before it’s January release? Hobrecht figured Beckett Media’s readers did, so he sent us images of all of his paintings in the set.

See them all after the jump …

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2009 Topps National Chicle Product Details Announced by Tracy Hackler


After a month filled with previews of some the product’s compelling original-art images, Topps officials on Wednesday morning finally released some product-specific details on 2009 Topps National Chicle Football, the old-fashioned-feeling tribute to its 1935 predecessor.

Scheduled to release the week of Jan. 11, the product promises two autographs, one Relic and one Cabinet card in each 24-pack hobby box in addition to one parallel card per pack and 12 additional inserts per box.

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Topps’ propaganda-style cards to be sold as prints by Chris Olds


Topps hasn’t yet unleashed its 30-card propaganda-style insert sets upon the collecting masses — they don’t arrive until Topps Updates and Highlights does next week — but that hasn’t stopped them from their latest venture.

The pieces created by sports artist Chris Speakman of will be available as limited-edition 17×21 prints at the toppsonlinestore. Each is limited to just 200 copies.

The prints, 21 of which are available right now, are $60 apiece.

See them all after the jump.

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Topps’ upcoming National Chicle set isn’t just about the players… it’s also about the artists by Chris Olds


The forthcoming Topps National Chicle football card set is a nod to one of football’s most famed sets from the 1930s but it’s also one that has a modern-day nod as well.

Of the last few years, artists have had a growing influence on trading cards — from non-sports sets comprised solely of comic book art to Sketch Cards that have appeared in countless non-sports sets as well as more and more sports sets.

It’s a trend that seems to be growing in acceptance even though it’s really been there since the early days of Topps and the even earlier days of trading cards. It’s a trend that seems to indicate that collectors realize that it’s not all about a photograph and some certain design formula.

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Preview gallery: 2009 Topps National Chicle football cards by Chris Olds
September 30, 2009, 9:46 am
Filed under: NFL, Topps | Tags: , , , ,


Topps released a batch of preview images for its 2009 National Chicle football card set on Wednesday.

While no additional set details have been announced for the set scheduled to arrive this fall, you can check the the cards out after the jump.

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Baseball artist Monty Sheldon to commemorate 90th anniversary of Black Sox with eight sketch cards by Chris Olds

An example of Monty Sheldon's sketch cards -- a past Sheldon’s Sketch Card Champions card of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

Noted baseball artist Monty Sheldon is commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Black Sox scandal with a series of eight hand-drawn and intricately detailed pencil sketch cards that he will complete, unveil and sell on the anniversary of each game from the 1919 World Series.

His “Eight Men Out” concept is an interesting piece of self-promotion — he already sells his Sheldon’s Sketch Card Champions cards, which are part of a larger set weekly on eBay (user rube77) — but this project will acknowledge the history of the game and, with the auctions’ subjects and timing, also perhaps bring some attention to one of baseball’s more interesting stories.

But it’s also a project that ties into his creative past.

“When I first started painting on baseballs back in 1998, I knew the following year would be the 80th anniversary of the Black Sox scandal, and I finished painting a baseball of each player to correspond with each game’s date,” Sheldon said on Friday afternoon. “Back then, that group of baseballs proved to be quite popular when I would display them at the card shows.

“Now, it is 10 years later, and I wanted to add something special to my sketch card set, so the 90th anniversary set made perfect sense.”

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Upper Deck Authenticated unveils Shepard Fairey’s Michael Jordan artwork by Chris Olds

Jordan UNC-50

Upper Deck Authenticated unveiled on Tuesday three new Michael Jordan prints commissioned by Obama “Hope” artist Shepard Fairey.

The series of prints featuring the new Hall of Famer focuses on key accomplishments from Jordan’s career — his NCAA championship with the North Carolina, his six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and and his Hall of Fame induction.
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