Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Early Preview Images: 2012 Topps Tribute Baseball

Sandy Koufax Auto on-card Onyx parallel

Topps just released images of 2012 Topps Tribute Baseball, their first high-end product of 2012 with 6 pack boxes running $300 each. The set is scheduled to go live 2/7/12 and each box will contain 3 on-card autographs and each pack will include a parallel card #/99 or less.

Get ready for more gold, more parallels and more sticker autographs plus dime-sized relics to boot.

The base set consists of a 100-card checklist made up of active and retired players and there will be 7 parallels including printing plates for each card. Even the autograph cards will have 7 parallels of each. Way to kick it up a notch Topps.

The checklist is significant including Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly, Mike Schmidt and Nolan Ryan alongside current stars Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum, Robinson Cano and Evan Longoria.

Hank Aaron Base card

Willie Mays Base card

Mike Stanton Parallel Base card
Prince Fielder Dual Relic card
Adrian Gonzalez Auto on-card

Willie Mays Auto on-card

Evan Longoria Auto on-card Orange parallel

Reggie Jackson Auto sticker

Matt Kemp Auto sticker Purple parallel

Tim Lincecum Dual-relic

Jose Reyes Multi-relic

Nolan Ryan Prime Patch Relic Purple parallel 

Mike Schmidt Relic Gold parallel

Monday, August 29, 2011

Part III- 2011 Horrors of War Cut Signature Cards

This is part three of a three-part story

Benito Mussolini- WWII
The main focus of the revived Horrors of War set is the inclusion of 1/1 cut signatures in each pack. With each pack/box containing a 1/1 cut signature and 1600 total packs/boxes being created that means that the checklist is 1600 people long. Talk about an amazing feat putting this set together.

Here is the complete checklist available on Famous Fabrics Ink’s web site.

Douglas MacArthur- WWII Version
Each cut signature card design is different for each military action to designate that specific war. In some cases, such as in the case of Thomas Pinckney and Abner Doubleday where they served in multiple conflicts they were assigned a specific war and included in that portion of the checklist only while others like Douglas MacArthur were included in multiple sections- MacArthur has a cut signature in the World War I, World War II and Korean War checklists. The WWII checklist is by far the largest portion of the set

Wilber Brucker- WWI

The checklist is amazing to say the least and includes soldiers, world leaders and other personalities tied to each military action. Here is the list of all wars including in the set.

American Revolution (1776-1783)

Boer War (1899-1902)

Civil War (1861-1863)

Cold War (1945-1991)

Great French War (1792-1815)

Gulf War (1991)

Korean War (1951-1953)

Mexican-American War (1846-1848)

Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

Spanish-American War (1898)

Vietnam War (1963-1975)

War in Iraq (2003-2011)

War of 1812 (1812)

War on Terror (2001-2011)

World War I (1914-1918)

World War II (1939-1945)

Prices of the cut signatures range most topping $100 easily and as far as I know none of the major signatures have been pulled yet. Some of the bigger names include Fidel Castro, JFK, Saddam Hussein, Adolph Hitler, Erwin Rommel, Benito Mussolini and Douglas MacArthur.

Erwin Rommel- WWII

Robert Mason- Vietnam War

Jame Tallmadge- War of 1812

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Part II- 2011 Horrors of War Base Cards

This is part two of a three-part story

In 1938 Gum, Inc., released the 288-card Horrors of War set over two separate releases, now 73 years later Famous Fabrics Ink has released their “addition” to Gum, Inc.’s original set. The new 48-card base set picks up where the original set ended, the onset of World War II, and includes cards from WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi War and The War on Terror with the final 8 cards (covering the Iraqi War and War on Terror) being only available as case toppers. All base cards are encased with the regular base cards having silver labels and case toppers having green labels (The promo materials showed gold labels on all of the base cards but the live product actually has silver labels on the base cards and green for case toppers).

 The set is extremely limited with only 1,600 total boxes being produced. Each $160 box will contain 2 cards, 1 base card #/40 and a 1/1 cut signature card. Interestingly they have numbered each base card #/40 as well as #/1600 to designate where each card stands within that specific card number on the checklist as well as overall in the entire base set run.

The product is still pretty new, released 8/11/11, and there are only a couple of base cards available for auction right now and the prices really range starting at a dollar or two all the way up to $150, which is insane considering you spend another $10-15 and you can purchase a 2-card box which comes with a base card and a cut signature card. Someone posted a complete 48-card base set for $4800, which I guess would be a fair price if you were looking to build the set.

 I am not a fan of the illustrations used with the updated set, it is obviously not as bright and much tamer in comparison to the original set which can be attributed to a by-product of our "P.C." world and bleeding hearts that would file a lawsuit because "Won't somebody please think of the children?' (Admit it, you all read that in Rev. Lovejoy's wife's voice) . In all honesty I do not see this set holding up to the test of time like the original and the only real selling point to the set is the cut signatures.

#2- Hitler Visits Mussolini
#6- Rommel, the Desert Fox

#13- PT 109

#36- Kent State Massacre

#44- Osama bin Laden

#45- World Trade Center

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Part I- 1938 Horrors of War

This is part one of a three-part story

In 1938 Gum, Inc., a Philadelphia based candy company owned by Warren Bowman (yes that Bowman) looking to create some buzz created the “Horrors of War Bubble Gum” set, each penny-gum came with a single card depicting the horrors of war. The set, designated R69 1938 Horrors of War, included an illustration on the front and a description on the back.

The initial 240-card set, included illustrations showing the atrocities of the ongoing Chinese-Japanese War, the Ethiopian War (Italian invasion of Ethiopia) and the Spanish Civil War. The set sold so well that Bowman decided to release an additional 48 cards showing the horrors that were happening in Europe that eventually lead up to World War II (Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland). These final 48 cards did not sell as well as the original 240 cards but are now among the most coveted cards in the entire 288-card set due to their scarcity with the 3 cards containing Adolph Hitler demanding a premium (Cards # 277, 283 & 286). Bowman even brought in additional staff including artists, illustrators and distributors just to keep up with demand.

#277- Hitlers Border Tour Raises War Scare

Warren Bowman later went on to say that the reason he created the set was because he wanted to try and teach peace by exposing the horrors of war. Obviously there was a controversy with some saying the set was created solely to make money based on shock value while others, rumored to include President Franklin D. Roosevelt, supported the set as a way to show the violence that was happening around an isolated United States. Some would claim the set was created as war propaganda and some would claim that the cards were to be used as an educational tool.

Original Artwork

 Since the initial release in 1938 we have seen Bowman release similar sets, one of the more notable sets being the 1951 Bowman Red Menace set, we have seen reprints and we now see serious collectors hunting down the original artwork used in the set along with proofs. With well over 10,000 Horror of War singles having been graded only 16 proofs have been graded and are demanding $5,000 or more with original artwork selling near $10,000 for authenticated pieces. There are many ungraded base cards that can be picked up for less than $10 and is a great way to collect one of the most significant non-sports sets ever. Violent nature aside, this set is easily one of the most beautifully illustrated card sets of the first half of the 20th Century.
Can you believe that you could have picked up the complete first-series 240 base cards for only $1 in 1938 or you could have taken your chances and bought each card one at a time for 1 penny each ($2.40 if you never pulled a double). Partial sets now are selling for well over $1,000 depending on how many cards are in the lot.

1938 Horrors of War Display Box

Additional cards showing the variety of illustrations, some quite gruesome, that are included in this set:

#3- U.S. Marine Shot While Aiding Americans

#21- The Siege of Toledo

#67- Women Fighters In Spain

#71- The Emperor Leaves Ethiopia
#72- Profile of Attack on American Legation at Addis Ababa
#88- Human Hands Warn Newspaper Publishers

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vintage Card of the Month: Byron Whizzer White

The August Vintage Card of the Month is from the 1955 Topps All American set which featured college stars of the era (1920s-1955). Before he became a Supreme Court Justice Whizzer White was a monster halfback on the football field. He played basketball, baseball and football at the University of Colorado where he led the nation in rushing his senior year.

He was the 4th pick in the 1938 NFL Draft by the Steelers (Pirates at the time) and in 1938 he led the NFL in rushing before returning to school as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. In 1940 he decided to return to the NFL and signed with the Detroit Lions for the “insane” salary of $15,000/year. Again he led the NFL in rushing before cutting his pro career short to join the Navy at the onset of World War II. After the Navy he decided to go back to school to work on his Law degree instead of playing football.

 The big draw for White’s cards is because of the error, Topps accidently switched White’s back with Gaynell Tinsley’s back and the error cards sell usually for $125 and up while the corrected card sells in the $25-50 range. My copy is the corrected version with White’s bio on the back.

Besides the obvious Topps quality control issues the card is in great shape with only a bit of staining along the right border. The surface is nice and the color is solid. The 1955 All American cards are notorious for being mangled and as you can see with mine, the card is not only off-center but it was cut at an angle. You can actually see the upper corner of the next card on the top right border of my card. Good to know Topps has kept up the tradition poor quality control after 56 years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I am finally getting around to posting it but I recently had a bit of a hot streak going. Within a 14 day period last month I won contests held by Panini, Upper Deck and Beckett. I am not normally a lucky sports card person, besides coming in a second place  tie last year at Thozul Will Rule's Nightmare On Cardboard III I have not won any contest's lately so this was a nice change.

 It all began with box break of Panini’s Luxury Suite Hockey on Panini’s The Knight’s Lance blog. They asked that collectors leave a message about the box break for a chance to win some of the cards pulled from the break and when I was contacted by Tracey Hackler I was floored. What was even more surprising is that when I received the package I found out that I had won 4 cards and not the original 1 card that I thought I had won.

2011 Luxury Suite Hockey:
Marco Scandella rookie card

Zac Dalphe autograph rookie

Marian Hossa dual relic

Pakke Rinne & Shea Weber dual relic

Next up was Beckett with a box break of 2011 Donruss Football and again, leave a comment about the product for the chance to win one of two cards. I won second place (First place got a Cam Newton Autograph/Relic card) and scored a nice Colin Kaepernick Autograph Rookie card.

The final contest was Upper Deck’s contest for a special unnumbered Abby Wambach 2011 Upper Deck card that was not released in packs. This contest was in support of the Women’s World Cup and the U.S. run in to the finals, 20 winners were selected from those who posted on the USA Women’s Soccer Facebook page. Upper Deck also sent a 2011 Upper Deck MLS Landon Donovan base card with the Abby Wambach card, to bad I am a Seattle Sounders FC supporter.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Images From The "Game Changing" 2012 Topps Baseball Set

A bit more information has been released about the game changing 2012 Topps Baseball set, ready for the big plan?

The base set will consist of 330 cards, comprised of 265 veterans, 30 rookies, 10 league leaders, four award-winners, five record-breakers, four World Series highlight cards and 10 career statistical leaders.

But wait, there is more...

Tons of parallels and inserts, minis and reprints and the game changer? Well, the game changer is...GOLD

That is right, the game changer is that they are changing the  2011 Diamond Giveaway, Diamond parallels and Diamond-themed inserts to Golden Giveaway, Golden parallels and Gold-themed inserts.

The information has been changed to 36 packs/box, the original announcement of 24 packs/box was incorrect.

OK, I have had enough fun with this so I am done talking about the 2012 Topps set for now.