Professional Football Celebrates It’s 125th Anniversary

On Sunday, professional football celebrated it’s 125th anniversary.  According to a November 12, 1892 expense accounting sheet from the Allegheny Athletic Association, a W. Heffelfinger was paid to play.  The official entry on the sheet reads “game performance bonus to W. Heffelfinger for playing (cash) $500.00”.  This is the earliest known evidence of an individual being paid to play football.  Historians consider this document to be professional football’s birth certificate.  $500.00 was a lot of money back then.  He must have been worth it, because the Allegheny Athletic Club beat the Pittsburgh Athletic Club that day 4-0.  Heffelfinger recovered a fumble to score the only touchdown.  In those days a touchdown was only worth four points.

You would think someone as historically significant as William “Pudge” Heffelfinger would have lots of cards.  That is far from the case.  I’d say his 1955 Topps All-American SP #18 is his most important card.  He also has a handful of cards in 2011 TRISTAR Obak, and a cut signature in 2014 Panini National Treasures.

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Prints Available For Jamie Cooper’s The Greatest All Stars Dream Scene

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Earlier this year, sports artist Jamie Cooper wrapped up his most recent piece of MLB artwork for a private collector in California.  Its a masterpiece that collector will enjoy for many years to come.

I’m happy to announce that prints of this piece are now available.  Just like his Phillies and Yankees Dream Scenes, there was quite the demand for prints to be made of this one as well.  On his website, be sure to read the description Jamie Cooper has written about it.  He points out a lot of things you may not recognize at first.  Mike Schmidt continues to stand out the most to me thanks to his powder blue uniform.  Pete Rose found his way into this piece too.  You’ll find him sitting in the stands disguised as a janitor.

Jamie Cooper’s artwork is truly unique.  Prints based on his work make excellent gifts.  Every time you look at one of them, you’ll see something new.

Monty Sheldon’s 2016 Topps MLS Sketch Patch Card Gallery

Hand-drawn sketch cards, especially ones containing a multi-colored swatch, are some of my favorite modern day cards.  In addition to Gypsy Queen this year, sports artist Monty Sheldon contributed his talent to 2016 Topps Major League Soccer too.  There are (10) sketch patch cards inserted within ’16 Topps MLS, and Monty Sheldon drew all of them.  Each card is numbered “1 of 1” and is incredibly difficult to pull.  I think they look absolutely stunning.  I like how the patch seems to be shinning a beam of light on the player.  Even though this product was released in April, I’ve only seen two of these cards arrive on the secondary market – Obafemi Martins and Federico Higuain.

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Brandon Crawford Is First 2016 Topps Now Autograph

 photo 16toppsnowauto2_zpsmq5dueb5.jpgTopps Now is one of the coolest innovations that Topps has come out with recently.  Its gained national coverage and that’s always good for the industry.  Having cards made on the spot to commemorate special events has been at the core of their digital products, but Topps Now carries that over into the physical card realm.  After watching the Phillies have a terrible season last year, I wasn’t expecting them to have any Topps Now cards for 2016.  They’ve actually been doing much better compared to 2015, and have had three moments worthy of Topps Now cards.  I know its early in the season, but that Cameron Rupp game winning out at home plate Topps Now card will probably be one of the greatest action shots in the set.  Topps Now is just overall really cool.  Especially when they offer up a card of a player who doesn’t have any rookies in other products.  It can create some fun situations.

Special inserts, parallels, autographs, and relics were not part of the Topps Now program at first.  That seems to have changed at least when it comes to the autographs.  Rockledge Breaks posted a picture of this Brandon Crawford Topps Now autograph he received with his latest order.  To commemorate the 100th Topps Now card, Topps got Brandon Crawford to sign ten of them.  They look to have been randomly distributed.  Although, a few lucky people that did receive an autograph have said that they have been purchasing large quantities of Topps Now cards.  So they might have gone to big buyers.  It sure is a nice little surprise that Topps didn’t announce.

Now when you purchase that Topps Now card, you can think there is a slight chance it could be autographed.  I’m betting collectors will keep this in mind when the 200th Topps Now card rolls around.

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Goal Line Art: 2016 Pro Football Hall Of Fame Class

Members of the 2016 Pro Football Hall Of Fame Class have received the Goal Line Art treatment.  Artist Gary Thomas has once again worked his magic.  These paintings are extremely well done and look great.

As it has been the case since 1989, a 4″ x 6″ card set has been made based on these original pieces of artwork.  The 2016 set has just been released, and can be purchased here.  Sets usually sell for $30.00.  This year’s HOF inductees include Edward DeBartolo, Tony Dungy, Brett Favre, Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison, Orlando Pace, Ken Stabler, and Dick Stanfel.

If you’re heading to the Hall Of Fame this summer for the Enshrinement Ceremony, I’d take one of these sets along.  You might be able to get some autographed, and these look cool signed.  Plus, they’re a little easier to carry around versus a football, helmet, or jersey.

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Jamie Cooper Wraps Up His Latest MLB Masterpiece

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Renowned sports artist Jamie Cooper recently completed his latest piece of MLB artwork.  This masterpiece was done for a private collector in California.  After working on it for three years in Australia, its finally arrived in its new home.  Complete with a museum grade frame of water gild gold leaf.  This All Stars painting now rests peacefully in what looks like a very high-end collection located on a sprawling seven-acre estate on the side of a mountain.  The collector’s name was left unsaid for privacy.  I think we can all agree this collector has some cool stuff we can only dream about owning.  Jamie Cooper documented his entire trip to the U.S. on Facebook.  There you can see where this painting now resides.  In addition to the painting, its fun to look around the room to see what else is there.  I spot a lot of bats, and what looks like some 1992 Donruss Diamond Kings – Supers.  Jamie Cooper is pictured on the right, with the owner to the left.

One glance at this painting and you’ll see a who’s who of ballplayers coming from multiple generations.  Much like the Phillies and Yankees Dream Scenes he has done.  My eyes go straight to Mike Schmidt.  That powder blue uniform and red hat really stand out.  I think I can even see Jamie Cooper and the painting’s owner back there behind the dugout next to Nolan Ryan.  I wonder what all these guys are talking about while sitting around 1933 Comiskey Park?

Card companies here in America need to recognize Jamie Cooper’s talent.  His work would look great on some MLB sets.  He’s already done caricatures for an AFL product.

Monty Sheldon’s 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen Original Art Patch Card Gallery

When Topps revived the Gypsy Queen brand in 2011, they introduced collectors to the Original Art Patch Card.  These are by far some of the nicest looking modern day cards.  I always enjoy hand-drawn cards the most, and these come with a multi-colored patch.  Its definitely not something you see done all the time.  Maybe once a year at the most.

With 2016 Gypsy Queen releasing on 4/6, I’d like to show you all (37) Original Art Patch Cards that you’ll have the chance to pull.  Every single card was drawn by sports artist Monty Sheldon.  They look great!  Monty has really outdone himself this time.  Any of these cards could easily be considered the centerpiece of someone’s collection.  Each card is a one-of-one, and is incredibly difficult to pull.  Congrats to anyone that gets one.

According to Topps, many of these masterpieces have been shipped out within the product.  A few of them might come as a redemption.  Either way it doesn’t really matter.  Topps has them already, and are ready to ship.  They shouldn’t take long to arrive.

The checklist this year includes top guys like Ken Griffey, Jr., Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, and Maikel Franco.  Click on each image for a closer look.

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