Card of the Day: Alexander Ovechkin 2005-06 Upper Deck BeeHive Rookies #102

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Card of the Day: Maxime Lagace 2017-18 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns #482

Card of the Day: Mark Prior 2001 Upper Deck Sweet Spot #139

Upper Deck Bringing Ohtani Autographs To The 39th National

One of my favorite activities to participate in while attending the National Sports Collectors Convention are the wrapper redemption programs.  I mainly focus on Upper Deck and Topps as they both seem to do the best work.  While attending the 2016 National in Atlantic City, I pulled a decent amount of valuable promos from both companies.

Upper Deck is the first manufacturer to give us a glimpse as to what their promos will look like for the National this year.  Have you heard of this guy named Shohei Ohtani?  Only a few people have been hunting for his cards 🙂  From the looks of it, he will have autographs randomly thrown into Upper Deck wrapper redemption packs.  Upper Deck seems to be bringing back the Prominent Cuts theme.  As we get closer to August, more details pertaining to VIP sets and wrapper redemption programs will become available.

I can imagine Topps will have Ohtani autographs too.  They’d be crazy not to have them.  Upper Deck has been using the Prominent Cuts name for National promos for awhile.  One of these years I’d like them to put that Fleer brand into use.  I believe Upper Deck stays away from creating special parallel promos for the National because Topps does that with their products.

The 39th National Sports Collectors Convention takes place 8/1-8/5 in Cleveland at the I-X Center.  Be sure to pickup an official t-shirt beforehand.  TRISTAR has already announced a hefty autograph lineup.

Card of the Day: Steve Wozniak 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Auto

How To Spot A Fake 1999 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition Dan Marino Autograph

Dan Marino is no stranger when it comes to counterfeit cards.  His 1984 Topps rookie has been heavily faked over the years.  So much in fact its not safe to purchase one raw.  You’re safer buying one that’s been graded and/or authenticated.  I’m not saying fakes don’t get by them, but it can drastically reduce the odds of owning one that isn’t real.

Rookies aren’t the only cards of his that get counterfeited.  Autographs from popular sets are also in danger.  Take for example this 1999 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition Autograph.  Cards from this set are highly sought after.  Especially big name players like Dan Marino.  Every 12-pack box featured an on-card autograph inside each pack.  Still a relatively new concept at the time.  This is also one of the earliest brands to introduce cut signatures.  Sealed boxes command major dollars today.  The asking price for a single sealed box is usually around $1,000.

Adding a Dan Marino autograph from this set to your collection is a great choice.  But you need to be extremely careful.  Over the last few years counterfeits have flooded the market.  When compared to authentic versions, the counterfeits usually have these characteristics:

  • Slightly smaller in size
  • Blurred lettering and logos
  • Completely glossy – authentic cards have a matte background, and just the player is glossy
  • Incorrect coloring

Another big giveaway is the autograph.  Of the counterfeits I’ve seen, the autograph looks nothing like the real thing.  There are lots of discrepancies.  Dan Marino almost always includes the #13 in his signature.  These forgers didn’t even do that.  Plus the pen they used looks to be much thicker.

For a detailed side-by-side comparison, check out this post over on the Blowout Cards Forums.

Fake

Authentic

Added A Sweet Harry Kalas Card To The Collection

I’ve been a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies since the mid to late 90’s.  That’s when I began to follow baseball.  Before that, I played a little t-ball and had a small shoe box full of cards, but really didn’t pay that much attention to the sport.  All of a sudden, one weekend morning I decided to pull that shoe box out of my closet.  Despite not having anything major, all of that 1992 Topps and 1992 Topps Stadium Club must have turned my brain on to something because I’ve been involved in this hobby ever since.  After I discovered eBay, things reached a whole new level.

Some collectors have bubble mailers stuffed in their mailbox everyday.  That certainly isn’t me.  I’m extremely picky when it comes to adding a new card to my collection.  There is so much out there it can be overwhelming.  The nonstop buying can easily get expensive too.  When it came time to choose a Philly I wanted to collect, there were lots of players to pick from.  All had tons of cards.  But I didn’t want a never ending flow of cards pouring in.  That can get old after awhile.  I wanted a challenge.  So I settled on former Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas.

As long as I’ve watched the Phillies, they’ve always had a fantastic broadcast team.  Right now the team consists of Tom McCarthy, Ben Davis, John Kruk, and Greg Murphy.  On weekend home games Mike Schmidt joins the fun.  Viewers are well informed about the game, while the broadcasters are cracking jokes and poking fun at each other the whole time.  I think its one of the top broadcast teams in all of baseball.  The Yankees, Pirates, and Mets are televised in my area, and I find their broadcasts to be quite boring.  Nothing compares to the show the Phillies put on.

Harry Kalas joined the Phillies in 1971.  He helped open up Veterans Stadium.  Over the decades his voice instantly became one of the most recognizable during the summer.  This 2002 Hall Of Fame broadcaster and Ford C. Frick Award Winner has an endless amount of famous calls.  My favorite being “The 0-2 pitch — swing and a miss, struck him out!  The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball!

Its not very often I get to add a Harry Kalas card to my collection.  He has such a minimal amount of them.  In December 2016 I was alerted to the whereabouts of one of his rarest cards – 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Classic Signatures Black Stitch Auto #’ed 1/1.  I thought for sure this card was still sitting in a sealed box.  Even though the seller, who originally pulled the card, received higher offers for it chose to accept my offer since he knew it was going into my Harry Kalas collection.  Thank you very much!

And here it is.  The last Harry Kalas Sweet Spot card I needed.  This card was made when Upper Deck used real baseball leather and not that manufactured stuff.  Into the safe it goes.  I think it was meant to be.  I bought this card on April 13th, which was the ninth anniversary of his death.

As far as what I’m looking for, there are only three more Harry Kalas cards left:

  • Mike Schmidt/Harry Kalas 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game Announcing Greats Dual Auto #’ed/25
  • Harry Kalas 2012 Sportkings Series E Sketch Card Premium Back Redemption #’ed 1/1
  • Harry Kalas 2015 Topps Five Star Cut Signature #’ed 1/1

Of those three, I believe the 2012 Sportkings Series E Sketch Card Premium Back Redemption #’ed 1/1 will be the most difficult to locate.  That card was only available to those people who collected enough base cards with letters on the back to spell out the word “SPORTKINGS” twice.  In June of 2013 this redemption program expired.  I’ve only seen one of these cards surface, and it was of Phil Rizzuto.  Recently, I contacted Dr. Brian Price who at the time had the rights to use the Sportkings name in hope that I might get some info on it.  According to him, all of the records pertaining to that program are long gone.  There is no way of knowing which cards were redeemed before the deadline.  In addition to that, who knows what happened when Leaf took over the Sportkings brand a few years later.  It could be residing in someone’s collection right now.  It also could have been trashed.

I don’t see Harry Kalas showing up in any upcoming sets.  In July, Topps plans to release Big League Baseball which is suppose to contain an insert titled Ballpark Landmarks.  Its possible a card featuring the Harry Kalas statue that is on display at Citizens Bank Park could sneak in there.  That’s a long shot though.  SAGE’s Sportkings is another possibility too.