A Sweet Birthday Present

I like surprises that show up for my sports card or sports memorabilia collection. This time is no different and I always thank my awesome fiancee for coming up with great things for me. While sometimes it seems she may not care for my collecting or understand why I do it, she always finds a way to add something great to my collection.

The last awesome thing she added was from last Christmas. She bought me a Jon Lester autographed photo from him celebrating after his no-hitter in 2008. It’s a beautiful picture and autograph that sit right against the wall I look at while sitting at my desk. This time, it’s something different.

How awesome is that? It has his autograph and an inscription of what appears to be his favorite verse.

The best part is that my fiancee told me how she utilized the information I have taught her over the years on how to determine whether an autograph is authentic or not, COAs, and legitimate online retailers of authentic memorabilia.

Maybe she does care for my collection but won’t admit it!

Happy Birthday to me!

Preview: 2011 Bowman Chrome Baseball

The rookie favorite in baseball is coming out in a few days bringing back the chromey and on-card goodness that Topps always delivers with this product. Prospectors and collectors rejoice every year when Bowman Chrome comes out by buying cases of this product in hopes to pull some of the most coveted rookie autographs of the season.

This year, each box should supply one on-card prospect autograph from a great checklist of possible autographs. You can find your standard chrome autographs or a chrome autograph refractor with a multitude of different parallels. Red, gold, orange, blue, regular, or superfractor! The lower numbered the parallel, the more it will be wanted by other collectors and prospectors out there.

This year, Bowman will be including several different inserts to kind of break up the monotony a little bit. You will find 1 Bowman’s Best Prospects card per box, 2 Bowman Chrome Throwbacks, and 2 Bowman Chrome Futures inserts. All of these you can find in different refractor versions as well.

As always, there are several veteran and prospect base cards as well with different refractor versions coming in about 2 per box as well.

And as an additional hit, you may find a Team USA autographed card as well in your box which is a nice little addition for Bowman Chrome. Some of these “pre-rookie” autographs come in handy in the future if the player makes a name for themselves.

At 18 packs per box and a little under $70 for a box, Bowman Chrome always provides solid value, especially if you hit a nice rookie auto.

Preview: 2011 Leaf Metal Draft Baseball

As much as I don’t care for prospecting, it has become a huge thing for baseball collectors looking to make a quick buck – or lose it all. With it gaining steam every season and the media making a big deal of these up and coming names, Leaf is right there bringing you some on-card autographs of some of the most highly sought prospects out there.

There are over 80 different prospect autographs you can pull from this product with big prospecting names like Anthony Rendon, Manny Machado, Bubba Starling, and Trevor Bauer. While I can not tell you a thing about any of these prospects, the prices for these autographs alone speak volumes on what scouts and collectors alike think of these players.

The interesting addition this year is the possibility to find autographs of Ichiro Suzuki in this product. Ichiro has signed an exclusive deal with Leaf for autographs of this Japanese superstar to appear in Leaf products. I can’t imagine the money Brian Gray, owner of Leaf, threw at Ichiro but it will be worth it for collectors to find his first autographs in a product in 6 years.

You will find 6 autographs per box. There are parallels of each card as well numbered to 99, 25, and 1 so if you hit a prospect autograph of one of the parallels, especially the highly touted prospects, it should bring in some extra cash for the prospectors.

While I thought this product wasn’t to release until next week, it looks like it released a little earlier than I thought, so I apologize. But you can find this product now for around $85.

Preview: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Glossy Set

Well this is kind of a preview I guess, but Topps has just announced it will be releasing the full base set of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball but with a glossy finish and in a boxed set for $99.

This set will only be available online at ShopTopps.com and will be the complete 360 card base set but it will also include 10 additional cards not found in the regular 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter boxes. Every card will be numbered to 999 copies, so this will be a limited set.

The 10 additional cards will include rookies of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Dustin Ackley along with Dee Gordon, Anthony Rizzo, Charlie Blackmon, Brandon Crawford, Juan Nicasio, The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, and U.S. Navy Seals.

So if you are an Allen & Ginter fan, this product is perfect for you.

Preview: 2011 Topps Update & Highlights Baseball

As always, Topps is here at the end of the season to bring you all the highlight of the past season with all the big games, big trades, and big rookies to make an impact on the 2011 baseball season.

The base design is the same as Topps Series I and II, just a forewarning. Each box will contain 1 autograph or 1 relic card and the full set is 330 cards.

But you can find 192 players with cards on their new teams, 55 rookies who were not in Series I or II, and some highlights from the season including the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, and some Record Breakers this season.

For the base cards, there are parallels numbered to 1, 50, 60, and 2011. Again, you will find diamond parallels as well with all their sparkly goodness. As has been seen over the past few seasons, you will be able to find inserts featuring relics from the All-Star game including regular jersey and patch cards, some of them autographed. You will also be able to find the Topps 60 continuity program once again with relics and autographed versions.

So really, there isn’t much difference between this product or Topps Series I and II besides the addition of several rookies, some different Topps 60 cards, and some highlights from throughout the season.

This product should be out today, October 5th, 2011, for just under $60.