Topps Ups the Ante


Since the advent of the “relic” card, manufacturers have been trying to find new things to cut up and stuff between two pieces of card stock. It started with basic squares of plain jersey, ramped up to multi-color swatches, and evolved into letter and logo patches of massive size. Companies have also gotten creative with the source of those relics by cutting up practice jerseys, game-used jerseys, “player worn” jerseys, pants (although it never stated what PART of the pants), and even laundry tags, which many collectors quipped were pulled right off of freshly worn jock straps.

But it didn’t stop with things worn by players. Several companies have bought and cut up anything and everything from old military photos, cancelled checks, and even other cards to stuff into cut auto cards, although obviously the emphasis is more on the signature than the fact that “this is a check personally used by Joe DiMaggio to pay his electric bill and is guaranteed to be authentic.” Topps added real hairs into their Allen & Ginter DNA relics, again leading to rather comical assumptions by collectors. Upper Deck started slabbing real bugs in their Goodwin Champions Entomology sets.

And then today, Topps showed us this photo:

Yes. You are seeing that correctly. An authentic fight-used mouth piece. In a card.

Part of me thinks this is a very cool and ingenuitive. There is no mystery surrounding the relic and its source. The teeth imprints take that away. But another part of me thinks is a tad…well…gross. Yes, collectors have joked about the jock strap tags and the pubic DNA, but there’s just no getting around a mouth piece. At least there isn’t a lost tooth lodged in it.

To see more photos of these “Grill Gear” cards, you can view the gallery on Topps’ Facebook page here.
Topps UFC goes live today.

What do you guys think? Is this totally awesome and a great idea, or did Topps go a bit too far in bringing us as close as possible to our favorite athletes?


New Listings


What have we been up to recently? Listing new items on eBay, that’s what! Today I just listed over 100 new items in our eBay store, including 80 basketball cards (nearly all of which are autographs or jerseys) and a bunch of non-card collectibles. If you haven’t checked out the eBay store in a while, now might be a good time to do so. A few items have already sold, so check them out before they’re all gone!

In blog news, be on the look out for a new product review (2011 Donruss Elite) and a return to business as usual for our HOF Spotlight and Heisman Highlight features. You might even see a Pearl Jam post in the next week.

Also, don’t forget to let us know your thoughts on possible 1st and Goal Group Breaks. We’d really like to get that ball rolling again, and your feedback is what we need to do so. Let your voice be heard! We hope to get even more participation this year than last year, so tell your friends, too!

UD Gets Another Amateur Exclusive


This just came through the wire:

Upper Deck named official partner of USA Football
Steve Alic, Director of Communications Tue, 03/29/2011 – 9:48am

USA Football and Upper Deck announced today that the Carlsbad, Calif.-based trading card and collectibles company is an official sponsor of USA Football, its national team program and its work in youth football. The agreement marks USA Football’s first partnership with a trading card manufacturer.

USA Football is the sport’s national governing body in the United States, assembling America’s national teams for international competition. Fifty-nine (59) countries spanning five continents possess a national federation of sport dedicated solely to football.

Upper Deck’s multi-year exclusive partnership with USA Football is its most significant foray into America’s youth football community, composed of approximately 3.0 million players age 6-14. USA Football also is the official youth development partner of the NFL and each of its 32 teams.

Starting this fall, Upper Deck will produce special edition U.S. Under-19 National Team football cards to be inserted into Upper Deck’s 2011 SP Authentic Football trading card packs slated to release in September.

On Feb. 2 in Austin, Texas, America’s Under-19 National Team in football earned a 21-14 victory against a World Team composed of top teenage football players spanning eight countries. The game was telecast nationally by NFL Network. Team USA was assembled of top high school seniors who will play college football this season for prominent Division I programs including Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas, Virginia Tech and others.

Special edition Under-19 National Team trading cards will include player images from February’s Team USA vs. The World game. Team USA players’ signatures and pieces of their game-worn jerseys also will be inserted into card packs.

USA Football teaches the game’s fundamentals and inherent values through more than 80 annual football training events and innovative online skill development resources. Indianapolis-based USA Football is an independent non-profit.

“It will be Upper Deck’s privilege and honor to join forces with USA Football,” said JASON MASHERAH, Upper Deck’s vice president of Marketing. “Any effort to promote the great game of football is a step in the right direction and the opportunity to capture members of the U.S. Under-19 National Team on trading cards is one we’re very excited about.”

“We are proud to call Upper Deck a USA Football family member,” said USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK. “Our national team program and Player Academies will benefit from Upper Deck’s industry-leading work and their commitment to youth football for the millions of kids who love to stay fit by playing America’s favorite sport and gain from the game’s team-first values.”

About Upper Deck
Upper Deck is the leading sports and entertainment trading card and collectibles company. For more information on Upper Deck and its products please visit

About USA Football
USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, hosts more than 80 football training events annually offering education for coaches and game officials, skill development for players and resources for youth football league commissioners. The independent non-profit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association. USA Football manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competition and awards $1 million annually in equipment grants to youth and high school football programs based on merit and need. Endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football is chaired by former NFL team executive Carl Peterson.

Sorta interesting that UD can pay all these exclusive licensing agreements for amateur cards but they couldn’t pay their NFL or MLB tabs…

Moss a Viking Once More


In what seemed like a very unlikely turn of events, Randy Moss is reportedly heading back to the Minnesota Vikings, the team that originally drafted him in 1998. The story has been in the process of breaking all morning and has nearly been made official.

To check out a full story from ESPN about the trade, you can go here.

Three thoughts instantly come to mind upon hearing this news:

1) Randy Moss was traded for a third-round draft pick? Really?

2) Maybe now Brett Favre can get back to “just having fun out there” with a now drastically improved receiving corps.

3) What does this do to Randy’s card values, especially his early cards from his first stint in Minnesota and whichever is the first set to feature him in his new (er…old?) uni?

Randy Moss RC
Wonder what jersey number Randy will don?

It just goes to show: in the age of free agency, nothing is predictable. Remember when Hall of Fame athletes spent an entire career in one jersey? Me neither.

Topps is Officially Back in Football!


This just came across the news release wire directly from Topps. After refusing to renew its license with Upper Deck recently, the NFL and NFL PLAYERS reconsidered its refusal to renew Topps’ license back in November. Panini no longer has an exclusive contract and football collectors will have some additional variety in 2010 than was feared just weeks ago. Here is the official press release:


Multi-Year Deal Begins with the 2010 NFL Season and the Release of Topps Football

New York, April 29, 2010 – The Topps Company, a leading creator and marketer of sports cards, today announced a multi-year trading card licensing agreement with the National Football League and NFL PLAYERS (the marketing and licensing arm of the NFLPA). This deal will allow Topps to continue its strong history of offering collectors the industry’s most sought-after football cards.

“We are excited to continue our deep, long standing partnership with the NFL and the NFLPA,” said Ryan O’Hara, CEO of The Topps Company. “Topps will bring innovative, exciting and fun products to the marketplace to serve consumers and customers well.”

“For more than a half century, football fans have been able to connect with the NFL and their favorite players through Topps football cards,” said Leo Kane VP of consumer products at the NFL. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Topps, bringing our fans collectibles for many years to come.”

“Topps has been instrumental in establishing the player-fan connection for more than 50 years,” said Keith Gordon, President of NFL PLAYERS. “We’re excited about the direction Topps is headed and are eager to see new products that will further enable football collectors to connect with our players.”

Topps is set to unveil its first product of the season, Topps Football, just prior to the start of the 2010 NFL season. “This year’s Topps Football will be our best ever as it will be loaded with amazing content and truly deliver NFL rookies and stars,“ said Warren Friss, Topps’ GM of Sports and Entertainment. “It will also include a special Gridiron Giveaway promotion, which will allow collectors to unlock vintage Topps football cards and win various football prizes.”

2010 Topps Drew Brees
Click image for a full-sized mock-up

Welcome back, Topps. I am looking forward to Topps and Topps Chrome. Don’t disappoint me…

eTopps 1956 Football Tribute


I was sitting around this weekend organizing my Emmitt Smith collection and watching some NFL playoffs when I thought to myself, “You know what this hobby really needs? ANOTHER vintage football card throwback…but with today’s technology!”

Well my friends, Topps has delivered just that. This came across the newswire just this morning from Topps:

As the NFL Playoffs begin, eTopps is proud to celebrate our storied football history with a special series of cards which celebrates the company’s first NFL release in 1956. These cards will feature NFL icons from the past, as well as superior gridiron performers of the present, on our classic 1956 Topps Football design.

We will begin offering cards from this collection today, Monday, January 11th, at 1PM EST and continue offering additional cards in the weeks that follow. The collection will include all-time NFL greats including Barry Sanders, Roger Staubach, Tom Landry (image attached) and Tom Brady.

The collection will be beautifully presented and delivered via the classic 1956 Topps Football design, but brought to life on stunning eTopps technology. Cards will be offered individually, encased and be sequentially numbered.

1956 eTopps Tom Landry
Click image for full sized mock-up

Sarcasm aside, this may not be such a bad ploy. Topps is losing their NFL license after this year, so why not bust out a throwback to their first NFL set? This may have been in the works for a future hard release anyway. I am not sure I get the whole eTopps thing, though (how does it work, anyway? Is it just a digital card or do you buy and trade the cards online and then request the actual card be mailed to you?). Perhaps it cuts down on production costs or gets the set to collectors faster? I dunno. All I can say with certainty is that I will be on the lookout to see if Emmitt is added to the checklist.

So what do you guys think? Awesome retro set? Modern junk? Only worth going after your favorite player/team?

Topps Not Dead Yet


On the heels of the Players, Inc. announcement that it would not be renewing Topps’ football card licensing contract after its February 2010 expiration, Topps has made an announcement of it own: product information for 2009 Topps Platinum.

Topps Platinum

Either Topps saw the downfall of their football releases coming and planned ahead, or they are quickly throwing together a last ditch effort to show everyone what a tragic mistake Players, Inc. has made. In a nut shell, 2009 Topps Platinum looks sweet. Each 24-pack box essentially guarantees 2 autographed refractor rookie cards and 1 autographed refractor patch card. Proving they dominated card inserts with refractor technology, every autograph card will be a refractor and will include the usual list of parallels we have come to expect from Topps. I have uploaded the official (and preliminary) sell sheet and checklist for you to review. I apologize for the last few items of each page of the checklist being weird, my pdf converter is acting up tonight. Topps has also released some preliminary card images, which you can see below (hover over image to see details):

2009 Topps Platinum Base2009 Topps Platinum Rookie Base2009 Topps Platinum Red Refractor RC
2009 Topps Platinum Autograph Refractor RC2009 Topps Platinum Autograph Superfractor RC2009 Topps Platinum Autograph Patch Red Refractor RC
Each tiny thumbnail leads to a full sized image

On obvious rookie-focused set, 2009 Topps Platinum is scheduled for release the first week in February, just weeks before its NFL license expires, and could be the final Topps football product for quite a while. The price per 24-pack box (each packs contains 5 cards) will run in the $80 range, obviously depending where you buy it.

What do you guys think? Is this a sorry attempt to dump the entire NFL sticker auto and jersey patch inventory Topps currently has, or is this a valiant effort to go out with a bang?

h/t to Mario for passing this information on to someone who is not important enough to receive these sort of emails directly.