2012 National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore

A lot of information was just released for the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC) in Baltimore this year.

First, sadly, I will not be able to attend this mecca of card collecting once again this year. At least this year I have a very valid excuse: I’m getting married. The NSCC will be held from August 1-5, 2012. I am getting married on August 7th. While a trip would be great for myself and the blog…I’d rather not get an early divorce.

The Baltimore Convention Center should be packed once again with sports card collectors from around the world. With over 40,000 people expected to visit during the few days it should be a good time in the Charm City.

From what I’ve seen on the official NSCC website, there are going to be A LOT of awesome names signing autographs at the show all week long. Hall of Famers from all four sports and some big names currently playing their respective games. Names like Gordie Howe, Alexander Ovechkin, Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Barry Sanders, Jamal Lewis, John Havlicek, Gary Payton and more. That list doesn’t even scratch the surface of the names expected to be there.

And of course, you go for the deals. With every top trading card manufacturer in attendance as well as some of the major online retailers, it will be a good time for everyone.

Except for me. I won’t be there. Maybe I can find a way to spread the word about SportsCardBlog.net without going? Who among my readers is going to the National? Maybe I can send some t-shirts for people to wear…

Preview: 2012 Panini Triple Play Baseball

Panini knows how to put the “fun” in….collecting. Okay, that may not have worked out so well but it’s definitely true. I’ve been saying for almost as long as this blog has been alive that Panini puts out the best low-end offerings of any company out there. Their Score line in football and hockey are great and the newly redone version of Hoops is great as well. Triple Play adds that baseball product that anyone can collect and does it well.

This may scare young children.

Panini Triple Play is another product brought back from the dead. I remember collecting the old school Triple Play as a kid but this version is a lot different. First, this product is 99 cents per pack, so both kids with allowance to spend or really big kids like me with some change can pick up packs of this product.

While the base set is kind of small at 90 cards, it’s something new and interesting with every card done with illustrations. It makes every player look like comic book characters but every illustration shows some personality.

Who's was this?

The insert subsets in this product are fun and educational at the same time. From the actual Eye Black that you can peel off the card and wear to the Baseball 101 and Hall of Fame inserts, you can learn about the rules and the history of the game. This product also introduces game used materials cards if you’re a new collector by including a piece of a game used bat embedded into a card. While it doesn’t say who it’s from (which I think it should), it provides a glimpse into how these cards are made.

At 24 packs per box and for 99 cents per pack, it’s a great starter product for new collectors, young collectors, or young people at heart who just love collecting. Definitely fun and definitely affordable.

You can find out more from the official Panini blog.

Preview: 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball

Coming out for its sophomore season on April 18, 2012, is the return of a 2011 hit. 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball is back after a great first season where collectors were extremely happy with the products and the hits in the product. (Despite Topps screwing up on the hit collation.)

The basic structure of the set at 350 cards, minis, and paper parallel inserts is just about the same. You’ll get just about everything that appeared in last year’s product once again, including some new hits. Every box will contain 4 hits at 2 autographed and 2 game used relics per box.

Some of the autographs on the checklist are spectacular with players like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Ken Griffey Jr. amongst others. And again, all these autographs will be on-card which makes this product look that much better and can also be found in mini form. You’ll also find your standard bat and jersey relic cards as well and the combination relic/autograph cards.

Some new inclusions in the “hit” realm are patch cards and 1887 Indian head pennies embedded into the cards. I know I’ve given Topps flak for embedding coins into cards but I like the 1887 pennies in here.  Also included is the “Gypsy Kings” insert set, kind of mirrored off the “Gypsy Queens” from last year. These “Gypsy Kings” are a fictional 1887 team with “autographs” and “relics”. Again, if these count as one of my hits when opening this product I would be pissed.

It seems like 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen should be another hit for this season. It should retail at right around $100 and while prices shouldn’t go up too much as it wasn’t heavily produced last season, it still looks like a worthy break once again.


2012 Topps Tier One Bat Knobs Checklist

Bat barrels and bat knobs are the two biggest attractions when it comes to game used bat memorabilia cards. Topps is bringing out the knobs in it’s soon to be released 2012 Topps Tier One product releasing on June 19, 2012.

Featuring 100 players and each card a 1 of 1, there will be quite a few to chase after from some of the top players who have ever played the game…and Nick Swisher. Here are the 100 names:

Hank Aaron
Dustin Ackley
Luis Aparicio
Ernie Banks
Jose Bautista
Carlos Beltran
Johnny Bench
Wade Boggs
George Brett
Jay Bruce
Miguel Cabrera
Robinson Cano
Rod Carew
Steve Carlton
Gary Carter
Starlin Castro
Shin-Soo Choo
Roberto Clemente
Ty Cobb
Carl Crawford
Andre Dawson
Joe DiMaggio
Jacoby Ellsbury
Cecil Fielder
Carlton Fisk
Freddie Freeman
Lou Gehrig
Bob Gibson
Carlos Gonzalez
Curtis Granderson
Josh Hamilton
Todd Helton
Rickey Henderson
Jason Heyward
Matt Holliday
Ryan Howard
Catfish Hunter
Monte Irvin
Reggie Jackson
Fergie Jenkins
Andruw Jones
Chipper Jones
Al Kaline
Matt Kemp
Harmon Killebrew
Ralph Kiner
Ian Kinsler
Paul Konerko
Carlos Lee
Tim Lincecum
Evan Longoria
Mickey Mantle
Roger Maris
Victor Martinez
Eddie Mathews
Don Mattingly
Joe Mauer
Bill Mazeroski
Willie McCovey
Andrew McCutchen
Paul Molitor
Joe Morgan
Eddie Murray
Stan Musial
David Ortiz
Jim Palmer
Dustin Pedroia
Tony Pérez
Buster Posey
Albert Pujols
Lance Berkman
Aramis Ramirez
Hanley Ramirez
Jose Reyes
Jim Rice
Cal Ripken Jr.
Brooks Robinson
Frank Robinson
Alex Rodriguez
Ivan Rodriguez
Jimmy Rollins
Babe Ruth
Ryne Sandberg
Pablo Sandoval
Mike Schmidt
Tom Seaver
Gary Sheffield
Enos Slaughter
Ozzie Smith
Duke Snider
Darryl Strawberry
Nick Swisher
Mark Teixeira
Jim Thome (Chicago White Sox)
Jim Thome (Cleveland Indians)
Troy Tulowitzki
Justin Upton
Dave Winfield
Carl Yastrzemski
Robin Yount

Just a joke about the Nick Swisher, but there are a ton of names on there that are highly collectible. Topps is really pulling out all the stops this year with some of their products, making  huge improvements over last season. Another kudos to Topps!


2012 Topps Museum Collection is a Pleasant Surprise

One of the common gripes amongst baseball card collectors in recent years is “Why can’t Topps put together a decent high end product?” We’ve seen great things from Topps in other high end departments like Topps Five-Star, but nothing close to that in baseball.

Until this year. Until now.

For all intents and purposes, I call 2012 Topps Museum Collection a high end product. Really, any product over $150 at release I consider high end. I remember when it used to be anything over $100, and some people would only claim those $300-$400 boxes are the only true high end nowadays.

Would you call it a game changer? Some would. I would. The quality of this product reminds me of something that Upper Deck would of done, but with the signature Topps flair. As one person has stated on Twitter, “It’s like Marquee and Tribute had a baby.”

The reason I mention former Upper Deck products is that one of the gripes of Topps collectors is about how stingy Topps has been in the use of the uniform patch relics. This product features no shortage of patch relics, that’s for sure. Usually it seemed that Topps reserved the best patches for the most hard to get cards, that has definitely changed with this product. While the numbering on the jaw dropping patches is low, and that’s rightfully so, there are still a ton of other great looking patches in this product that are easier to pull.

And that has definitely reflected on secondary prices as well. Just checking the secondary market prices on places like eBay really showcases what a well designed card, some on-card autographs, and beautiful patches can do to the value of cards.

Good show, Topps. Good show.