Product Highlight: NCAA College Basketball 2K3 for Nintendo GameCube

When an athlete doesn’t live up to the expected hype, their cards and memorabilia take a hit in price.  Its the natural law.  Unless that individual goes on to do something historically spectacular outside of their sport, prices will remain in the gutter.  But every now and then we’ll come across a crazy anomaly that defies this way of thinking.  Enter NCAA 2K3 College Basketball for the Nintendo GameCube.

I can imagine that in 2002 cards of Jay Williams carried some weight.  The Duke point guard was drafted second in the first round by the Chicago Bulls.  Right after the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming.  He did alright during his first year in the NBA, but nothing mind blowing.  In June of 2003, he suffered a severe motorcycle crash in Illinois.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet, didn’t have a license to drive a motorcycle in that state, and was in violation of the terms of his contract with the Bulls by riding a motorcycle to begin with.  Its safe to say that smarter decisions could have been made.  When he finally recuperated, attempts were made to get back into professional basketball.  None were that successful.  Jay Williams now works for ESPN as a college basketball analyst.

Today you can’t giveaway cards of Jay Williams.  The only cards that carry any real value are ones which have him teamed-up with stars like Michael Jordan, Yao Ming, or Kobe Bryant.  Trust me.  Collectors aren’t buying them for the Jay Williams part of the card.  In fact, they’re probably getting a good deal on a star relic and/or autograph.  Dual relics and/or autographs featuring stars and dud rookies tend not to sell for as much compared to if that star was pictured alone.

Its not uncommon for a popular rookie to be pictured on the cover of a video game.  Jay Williams received this honor with the release of NCAA 2K3 College Basketball in December, 2002.  The game was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube platforms.  Copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox are readily available.  The GameCube version is a completely different story.  The general consensus is that Sega decided they didn’t want to release sports games for the Nintendo GameCube anymore.  NCAA 2K3 College Basketball just barely made it out.  What copies made it to the stores didn’t sell very well.  This led to the game becoming rare.

While copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox can be bought for next to nothing, complete GameCube examples have been known to reach $200.  Although Jay Williams isn’t the driving factor, its interesting to see him attached to something that continues to sell for so much.

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Topps Readies Exclusive Bowman Chrome Cards For The 2017 National

Of all the promotional programs that take place during the National Sports Collectors Convention, Topps usually draws the largest crowd.  For 2017, specially made Bowman Chrome cards make a return.  The 50-card set includes Hall Of Famers, current stars, and rookies.  Randomly inserted parallels and autographs will be thrown in.

Other than Opening DayBunt, and Sticker Collection, all 2017 Topps baseball products are eligible for this promotion.  Boxes of 2017 UFC Knockout and 2017 Major League Soccer can also be used.

Compared to last year, the biggest change is that (1) 4-card promo pack will be given out for each hobby box opened in front of a Topps employee.  This should drastically speed up the line while helping to extend the lifespan of the promo packs.  Before it was (1) promo pack for every (5) packs of Bowman and (1) promo pack for every (10) packs of everything else.  I would think that once the plastic is off the box you’d receive your promo pack.  It doesn’t sound like you would need to stand there and open every pack in front of them.  This should help move things along.

This promo was a big hit in Atlantic City last year.  I participated in it a lot and pulled numerous gold refractors including one of Babe Ruth #’ed/50 and an autograph of Julio Urias #’ed/30.  Both Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger will have cards in here.  As long as they’re still playing like they are, it’ll be fun to see the values of those cards.

Update:

Certain boxes will get you more than (1) promo pack.

Card of the Day: Brooks Koepka 2015 Sports Illustrated for Kids #407

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(2) 2012 Sportkings Series E Box Break – The Search For HK

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On Black Friday I pulled the trigger on a few boxes of 2012 Sportkings Series E from Blowout Cards.  Former Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas had a cut signature inserted into this product, and I’ve never seen it surface.  Sportkings also supposedly made a sketch card of him too that could only be obtained via redemption, but that too has gone undetected.  In order to get a 1/1 sketch, you needed to spell out the word “SPORTKINGS” a few times, and then mail those cards into Sportkings.  Every box had one base card containing a letter on the back, so it could get expensive.  Whether or not that Harry Kalas sketch was redeemed is a total mystery.  I don’t believe they let you choose which sketch you got.  If you met the criteria, they probably shipped you what was available at the time.  It was either redeemed, and is currently sitting in someone’s collection.  Or it was still in their inventory when Sportkings was sold to Leaf.  If that’s the case, who knows what happened to it.  The only sketch card from this product I remember seeing popup was of Phil Rizzuto.

Sportkings ran what I think was a decent promotional program during the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention.  For each box of Sportkings Series E opened at their booth, you received a raffle ticket with a number on it.  That number would then be matched to a specially made relic card just for the show.  It would either be limited to (19) copies or (1).  I got lucky and received a Roberto Alomar/Eddie Murray Gold Version Dual Jersey #’ed 1/1.  A collector offered me $200 for it, and I took the deal.  Even though it was numbered 1/1, dual jersey cards usually never sell for that much unless they’re autographed or have crazy patches in them.  I wish Leaf would continue this program in the future.  At the time this promotion was offered, Dr. Price was still in control of the Sportkings name.

Here is what I pulled from my two boxes.  No Harry Kalas cut signature.  Its still floating around out there with a handful of other 1/1’s I need.

Relics

  • Roberto Alomar/Paul Molitor Double Memorabilia Jersey Silver Version
  • Paul Molitor/Ken Griffey, Jr./Scottie Pippen/Patrick Roy Decades 1990 Quad Jersey Silver Version

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Premium Backs

  • Doyle Brunson #246 – letter “G”
  • Mark Wells #237 – letter “T”

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Base

  • Dick Vitale #222
  • Martina Navratilova #251
  • Dick Weber #224
  • Annika Sorenstam #235
  • Man O’ War #241
  • Evander Holyfield #225

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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.

Topps Creates Special Bowman Chrome Refractors For The 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention

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The corporate area during the National Sports Collectors Convention is always a busy place.  At least that’s what I’ve experienced during the five Nationals I’ve attended.  Of all the companies setup, I think Topps is one of the better run and more active booths.

Topps knows how to do promotional cards the right way.  Creating special cards that can be integrated into an already successful existing product is the best way to go.  For the last few years, Topps stuck with making National-exclusive Allen & Ginter cards.  Before that, they also touched on special Gypsy QueenBowman Platinum, and Heritage cards too.  In 2010, I remember it being a battle to obtain that Stephen Strasburg National-exclusive Topps Heritage rookie.

Over on the Topps blog, they recently announced their wrapper redemption plans for the 2016 National.  They’re going with commemorative “National” refractors all designed to look like 2016 Bowman Chrome.  You can see the entire checklist here.  You’ll find plenty of young talent within this set, but prospects and rookies aren’t the only thing Topps included.  Current stars and retired legends are in here too.  Its uncommon to see someone like Babe Ruth in a set reserved for many players who haven’t even made their MLB debut yet.  Randomly inserted parallels and autographs will be found.

According to Topps, it sounds like a lot of the qualifying products for their wrapper redemption program will be some of the more affordable ones.  This way more collectors can participate.  But I bet if you walked over with a box of Bowman Inception or another high-end 2016 baseball product you’d still be eligible for some promo packs considering the cost is much more.  I’d ask before doing so though.

Major Giveaways Scheduled For The 2016 National

Although the odds of winning are very slim, it can’t hurt to enter some of the contests that will be held during the 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention.  This year in particular there seems to be some heavy prizes up for grabs that you might regret not registering for.  Most only require you to stop by their booth and fill out a short form providing them with your name, e-mail, and phone number.  As of this writing there are three companies holding some nice giveaways that you might want to check out – Baseball Card Roadshows, Wheatland Auction Services, and PSA.

Baseball Card Roadshows (corporate booth #632) will be giving away a Sandy Koufax 1955 Topps RC #123 graded by SGC an 84 (Near Mint 7).  Simply stop by their booth, fill out the entry form, and you’re done.  You don’t even need to be present to win.

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Wheatland Auction Services (corporate booth #’s 657 and 756) has a Muhammad Ali JSA authenticated signed print that you can win.  Stop by and fill out the entry form for your chance to win.

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PSA might take the cake when it comes to prizes this year.  Four lucky collectors will walk away with a Derek Jeter signed baseball, Joe DiMaggio signed check, Mickey Mantle signed photo, or Babe Ruth signed check.  You can enter during the show or on their website right now.  In addition to their on-site grading/authentication services, PSA also has some special giveaways for those who sign up for their Gold or Platinum Collectors Club.  Those people who sign up for the Collectors Club will receive a copy of the book The 100 Greatest Baseball Autographs.  You’ll even have a chance to get the authors to sign it.  Getting your book signed automatically enters you in a contest to win a Ted Williams signed photo.  While supplies last, new Collectors Club members will also receive a commemorative Ty Cobb Lucky 7 promo.  These will be limited to 777 copies.  PSA will be located at corporate booth #49.

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