Artist Jared Kelley Returns To Work On SAGE’s Sportkings

Since the announcement that SAGE will be producing the next incarnation of Sportkings, little information has been provided about it.  So far, the two Walter Payton promo cards found in 2018 SAGE Hit Premier Draft Low Series are what we have to go on.  Granted its only two cards, I do like what I see.  I’m a total sucker when it comes to artistic sets, and that is what Sportkings has always been.

On the reverse side of those Walter Payton promo cards, SAGE does list what we can expect:

  • Game Worn Cards
  • On-Card Autographs
  • Spectacular Patches
  • 1/1 Sketch Cards w/ Autographs
  • 1/1 Hand Painted Art Cards
  • Original 1933 Sportkings Cards

After some intense investigating, I’ve learned that artist Jared Kelley is working on some cards for the next edition of Sportkings.  Specifically the 1/1 Hand Painted Art Cards.  If that name sounds familiar, its because Mr. Kelley worked on various products when Dr. Brian Price had control of the Sportkings brand.  I’m glad to see that SAGE brought him back.  His artwork is amazing.  Every now and then one of his Hand Painted Art Cards pops up for sale.  Most remain in collector’s private stash.

When talking with Mr. Kelley, it sounds like SAGE could be looking at a summertime launch for Sportkings.  That’s not definite.  Although it would be great to see them release it during the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.

Here is a little taste of the 1/1 Hand Painted Art Cards that Mr. Kelley has been working on for SAGE’s Sportkings set.  No checklist quite yet, but we know Kevin Durant, Mickey Mantle, and Ty Cobb are in the mix.

 

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Topps Customer Service Makes Good On Goof

No company is perfect.  Mistakes are bound to be made.  How those mistakes are handled are what make or break their customer service department.  Ask any collector about their experience with a card manufacturer’s customer service, and you’re guaranteed to be flooded with great stories and horrific ones.  With the internet overloaded with so much negativity towards company’s customer service, I’d like to share a positive experience.

On August 21, 2017 I purchased card #504 from the 2017 Topps Now set celebrating the 1st MLB Little League Classic At Historic Bowman Field.  This was such a cool game that took place at a stadium that isn’t far from me, and I visit a few times every summer.  I had to have one of these cards.  I placed my order and eagerly awaited for my card to arrive.  When the package showed up, I dove into it like a child on Christmas morning.  But there was a little problem.  Inside was card #503 of Bartolo Colon commemorating him being the 18th player in MLB history to defeat all 30 clubs.  Definitely not the card I purchased.  The receipt had the correct card listed though.

I fired an e-mail off to the Topps Store (storehelp@topps.com) and explained to them what had happened.  That was a Friday night right before a three day holiday weekend.  The following Wednesday I received an e-mail back from a Topps customer service representative.  In the message they informed me that a replacement card had been ordered, and they supplied me with a prepaid FedEx label so I could ship the incorrect card back.  Not long after they received the Bartolo Colon card, my correct card arrived.

A big thank you to the Topps customer service team for taking care of this so promptly.  If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I suggest following the same steps I took.

It was announced that the Phillies and Mets will play in the 2nd MLB Little League Classic next year on August 19, 2018.  We should see another Topps Now card for this.  Relics and autographs from this game would be great.  I’d also like to see a Topps Now card next year celebrating the Phillie Phanatic’s 40th birthday.  We have yet to have a Topps Now card featuring a mascot.

On Location: Inside The Penn State All-Sports Museum

Located inside Beaver Stadium is the Penn State All-Sports Museum.  Shortly after it opened in 2002, I remember taking a tour through it.  That was long before Sports Card Info existed, and I’ve always wanted to go back.  That’s exactly what I did over the weekend.

This museum is a mecca for Penn State fans.  Between the two floors it covers major moments from every sport they’re involved in.  Penn State memorabilia galore.  Given that the school was founded in 1855, it has a lot of history.  Football probably gets the most coverage, but all sports get their good share of recognition.  You don’t need to be a Penn State fan to appreciate all of the historical artifacts on display here.  Just being a sports fan is enough.

Once you’re finished visiting the museum, a guide will take you into the stadium.  Getting to see the field without anyone else around is really cool.  Usually the place is packed with 100,000 fans.

Before leaving, I stopped by the gift shop and found a new pin for my collection.  I was looking for a bobblehead, but didn’t find any.  The closest I got to a bobblehead was a Penn State-themed nutcracker.

I didn’t realize that John Montgomery Ward attended Penn State.  He assisted in helping them start their baseball program, and played one season for them in 1875.  Then he got kicked out for stealing some chickens.  Ward eventually went on to have a very successful professional baseball career.  The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted him in 1964.  You can find cards of him in the 19th century Allen & Ginter and Old Judge sets.

If you’re passing through State College, PA I highly suggest stopping.  They don’t charge for admission, but donations are appreciated.

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The 1886 College Nine.  Standing: Halter, Jackson, Rose, Mock, Quigley, Mitchell.  Seated: McLean, Gibson, McClaren, Lencz.  Robert Gibson actually made it to the pros.

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Vintage Penn State baseball memorabilia.  Two game baseballs from 1905 and one from 1906.

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John Cappelletti’s Heisman trophy

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1986 National Championship trophy

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1969 Orange Bowl trophy

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Early 1900s basketball jersey.  Game ball from 1921.

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The Gene Wettstone Most Valuable Gymnast Award

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The Nittany Lion mascot is based on the eastern mountain lion which went extinct during the late 1800s.  This one was shot in 1856.  Considering the techniques for stuffing an animal back then are nothing like they are today, its in great condition.  Its probably one of the finest examples of a taxidermied eastern mountain lion.

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Sears sponsored fencing trophies.  When was the last time Sears could sponsor anything?

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Q&A – What’s Up With Those Black Marks On 80’s Topps Boxes?

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Question: Dear Sports Card Info: I really enjoy your blog, especially the weekly contests.  I’ve got a question for you.  I’m looking to purchase a box of 1984 Topps Football.  Why do so many of them have black marks on the front?  It seems like a lot of Topps boxes from the 80’s have these markings.  Thanks!

Answer: Great question!  Congrats on wanting to purchase a box of 1984 Topps Football.  That set has some great rookie cards including Dan Marino and John Elway.  Opening a box like that can be really fun.  If that’s what you plan to do.

During the 1980’s, Topps allowed distributors and stores to return older products that they were having a difficult time selling.  A way to get rid of old inventory.  The people making the return would get a little something back.  When an old case would be sent back, Topps would open it, place a black mark on the front of each box, and then send it back out to discount retail outlets for sale.  If I’m not mistaken, Topps would even allow individual boxes to be sent back too as long as they contained all (36) packs.  Back then, Topps did not seal their boxes with plastic like they do today.  Its possible that individual boxes sent back could’ve been compiled from other boxes in order to make a complete box.  Its almost impossible to know if the packs inside are the original ones Topps put in there.  They could be from other ’84 Topps Football boxes.

Authentic boxes without the marks will almost always be more desirable.  I wouldn’t purchase a valuable older box without the people at Baseball Card Exchange looking at it.  They have a great reputation with collectors.  The last thing you want to do is spend $1,000 and find out your box was tampered with.

On Location: Inside The Pro Football Hall of Fame – Canton, OH

Over the weekend I took a trip to Canton, Ohio and visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I first visited back in 1998.  That year, guys like Paul Krause and Anthony Munoz got inducted.  It was also the year Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were neck and neck in the single season home run race.

Going through the Hall of Fame is a blast!!!  They’ve really changed a lot since the last time I was there.  Right after buying your tickets to get in, you’re greeted by a photographer who will take your picture in front of a green screen.  When you’re finished touring the museum, you can stop and see your pictures before leaving.  They put a whole photo package together for you.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the holy land for any football fan.  You can sit there and open every high-end football card product on the market today, and it will never come close to the fun stuff you see inside this place.  All the way from professional football’s 1892 birth certificate to memorabilia used by players today.  The Hall of Fame covers everything.

Its difficult to pick what parts of the Hall of Fame are my favorite.  Every corner I turned there was another priceless artifact.  The older memorabilia fascinates me the most.  Mainly because its a miracle that its still around.  The Hall of Fame Gallery filled with all of the inductee busts is really cool too.  That was dramatically better looking than what I remember it being.  But if I had to pick one artifact to be my personal favorite, it would probably be the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The gift shop is massive and contains every NFL themed item you could possibly think of.  I bought three new pins, lanyard, golf shirt, and a Hall of Fame mini helmet.  I also ate lunch at the Hall of Fame Cafe.  They serve lots of stuff from hot dogs and hamburgers to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

Take a look!!!

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Pro Football’s Birth Certificate – this is an expense sheet from the Allegheny Athletic Association dated November 12, 1892.  The “game performance bonus to W. Heffelfinger for playing (cash) $500.00” is the earliest evidence of someone being paid to play football.

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Jim Thorpe’s Carlisle Indians Letterman Sweater.

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(Top Middle) Arnie Herber’s sideline coat, (Top Left) Butch Gibson’s 1934 N.Y. Giants jersey, (Top Right) “Wooky” Roberts Canton Bulldogs jersey.  Also seen in this picture is the helmet worn by Link Lyman in the 1934 NFL Championship Game, game ball signed by the 1925 N.Y. Giants, and coach’s cap worn by Redskins founder-owner George Preston Marshall.

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Jerseys of Bob Waterfield #7, Bronko Nagurski #3, and Sid Luckman #42.

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Jerseys of Johnny Unitas #19 and Doak Walker #37.

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Jerseys of Jim Brown #32, Lance Alworth’s AFL All-Star jersey #19 , and Sonny Jurgensen #9.  Helmets of Dick Butkus (left), and Tommy Nobis (right).

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Jerseys of Peyton Manning #18, Reggie White #92, and Tony Gonzalez #88.  Shoulder pads of Cortez Kennedy and college helmet of Larry Allen.

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Tim Tebow jersey – this jersey was worn during the playoff win over the Steelers in 2012.  Tebow threw an 80-yard bomb to win the game 29-23.

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Miami Dolphins Perfect Season.

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The “Immaculate Reception” Turf – Franco Harris removed this piece of turf at the exact spot where the “Immaculate Reception” took place in Three Rivers Stadium.

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Toys!!!

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The inaugural Hall of Fame class from 1963.

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Jim Thorpe

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Vince Lombardi

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O.J. Simpson

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Mike Ditka

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Dan Marino

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John Madden

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Team Postcards – (Left) 1911 Nutshell Tigers of Canton, (Right) Game action from a 1900 game.

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World Football League football – they didn’t make it.

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United States Football League football – they didn’t make it either 🙂

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Player bench from the last game Vince Lombardi coached at Lambeau Field.  Green Bay, Dec. 31, 1967.

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LeSean McCoy wore this jersey, gloves, and cleats in a game against the Lions in Dec. 2013.  On that day, in blizzard conditions, McCoy ran for 217 yards setting a new franchise record.

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Vince Lombardi Trophy

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Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XLIII ring.

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“I’m ready to go in coach, just give me a chance.  I know there’s a lot riding on it, but it’s all psychological.  Just gotta stay in a positive frame of mind.” – Ace Ventura

Flashback Product of the Week: 1991-1997 Thunder On The Water

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They’re loud.  They’re fast.  And for seven consecutive years the sport of hydroplane racing had its very own set thanks to J&W Productions & Promotions.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a hydroplane is, its basically a very fast speedboat.  Most of the engines come from the aviation industry, and these boats use the water mainly for lift rather than to stay afloat.  They also use the water for propulsion and steering too.  The best way to describe these beasts is to think of them as jet airplanes on water.  Ken Warby currently holds the record for going the fastest in his hydroplane, Spirit of Australia.  On October 8, 1978, Warby set the speed record at Blowering Dam, Australia clocking in at 318.75 mph.  Its a record that continues to hold today.  Hydroplane racing has many different circuits to follow.  The real badass drivers can be found in the H1 Unlimited league, due to its fewer restrictions.

From 1991 to 1997, J&W Productions & Promotions issued an annual 25-card set.  Series 1 started in ’91, Series 2 in ’92, and so on.  In all there are 175 cards to the complete series, plus 16 Hall of Fame drivers, and 8 promotional cards.  These were only available in set form, no packs or boxes.

Sportkings Series F To Focus On Miami Dolphins Perfect Season

The Miami Dolphins 17-0 Perfect Season is one of the biggest accomplishments in NFL history.  Fans probably won’t see this ever happen again.  Despite all of this, no card manufacturer has ever dedicated a portion of any of their products to this monumental event.  Over the years they keep praising teams like the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots.  Finally, someone has stepped up to the plate and has given members of this team their long over due time in the light.  That someone would be Sportkings.

Sure, some of these players have autographs and relics in other products, but nothing like this.  Sportkings Series F, due out August 1, will feature a new concept called Anthology.  The first Anthology Autograph Card insert set will feature the members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.  13 members of the Dolphins will be featured in this insert set.  There are 72 of each player hard-signed featuring their home jerseys and 72 of each player hard-signed in their away jersey.

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The Perfect Season Anthology autographed/memorabilia cards feature pieces of seat from the Orange Bowl that are signed by players such as Bob Griese, Jim Kiick, Howard Twilley, Nick Buoniconti, and more.  I’m glad Sportkings was able to include guys like Buoniconti, Twilley, and Fernandez.  These guys don’t have many modern day cards.

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After the way collectors reacted to the Art Cards found in Series E, it shouldn’t surprise you that they’d make a return this year.  Check out these all hand-painted bad boys!

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1933 Sport Kings Gum Hand-Drawn Cards

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Body of Work

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Memorable Moments Puzzle Cards

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First Pitch

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First Pitch

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First Class

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First Class

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Sportkings Series F will also have a ton of cut signatures, autographs, and relics.  Be sure to visit Dr. Price’s blog for more info.