My Collecting Commandments And Absolute Damnation

The first Absolute Football case break has been posted on blowout, and I think this may be the first year where I wont even buy a single or pack even. To borrow from Mario, the set pretty much breaks all of my commandments of card design, especially in the content of the set. Ill go over a few of them here in the context of the pictures posted by the user.

Thou Shalt Not Use Rainbow Foil Board

I talked earlier on how awful the use of rainbow foil and mirror board has become. Absolute is ENTIRELY printed on it. Every card. Every single fucking card. The cards look ridiculous in a bad way, almost making the practice of “collecting a rainbow” a new thing entirely. The condition of the cards out of the packs are obviously going to be the same as last year, something that everyone thought was a huge drawback to this set.

Thou Shalt Not Obscure The Player On The Card

There is no worse practice in cards than when a player is hidden by needless additions to a card. In this set, there are MANY examples of players being more than 50% disrupted by a swatch window. I really couldn’t care less about having a ginormous swatch on a card, as design will always be more important. When that mammoth swatch covers up the player, I would rather run my hand through a wood chipper than pay my money to get one of them. In 2005, DLP managed to put together a great set in the tools of the trade giant swatch set, and NONE of the swatches were intrusive on the actual subject’s picture.

Thou Shalt Not Use Event Used Football Swatches

Its one thing to use a swatch of a football from the rookie premiere that was tossed around for two throws before going in a bucket (10 per player!), but to force it into the design of the card when its not needed, deserves even more lightning from the heavens in smitten anger. Donini is weirdly obsessed with including these swatches of football into as many products as it can, despite the fact that they have less connection to the player than a jersey worn around for 30 seconds. Its really unfortunate.

Thou Shalt Not Break Line Borders With Swatch Windows

If you are going to put die cuts and oddly shaped swatch windows into a product, you have to fit it seemlessly into the design. That means creating the borders to fit the placement, not just plopping them willy nilly whereever you want. Take a look at the line borders of the cards featuring swatches, and not just the edges of the cards. Each line could be considered a border, and when you have swatches that break those lines, it looks amateurish and poorly conceived. A line should never be broken by a swatch window, unless it makes sense in the context of the design. This set is ripe with cards that break every last word of this commandment.

Thou Shalt Not Overuse Parallels In ANY Product

Although Tracy Hack-ler thinks that Donruss never uses many parallels in their products, they are known industry wide for the practice of paralleling their cards to hell. Absolute is a testament to that fact, with the set featuring humongous numbers of needless parallels of each card. Like many Donruss products, each card has a series of parallels of the non-hit base card, a jersey parallel, a patch parallel, an auto parallel, and an auto jersey parallel, and an auto patch parallel. That means there could be in upwards of ten parallels for every subset in the product (this is the DLP standard). Tools of the trade takes it to a whole new level, with a good percentage of the cards featuring more than 20 parallels, including a parallel series without a swatch. That is just absurd in every way.

Thou Shalt Not Lie About All Star Game Jerseys

If you remember, Topps has used their flagship product and Triple Threads in baseball to showcase all star game swatches, when really they are just jerseys used in a topps event with the players. All star game jerseys are extremely hard to come by, as many players want to keep them as a memento of the game, therefore making them sought after items by jersey collectors. This year, Absolute has an entire fucking subset of tools of the trade dedicated to the “jerseys,” when really they seem to be not even close to being game worn. The cards also say “event worn” leading us to believe these were just slipped on and off at the pro bowl just like the rookies at the premiere.

(This one breaks more than one commandment!)
Thou Shalt Use Bright Backgrounds With Sticker Autos

Since Panini RARELY uses on card autos, Absolute is 100% sticker autos. The problem is that many of the stickers are slapped onto cards that feature blocks of dark colors. The rookie premiere materials cards are a focus of this set, and many of the team colors are featured in some way in weirdly designed line blasts. These awful looking blocks of color created by the line blasts cross the places where the stickers go. Because teams like the Vikings and others use darker colors, those rookies autos are interrupted. At least it still looks better than Topps using bordered boxes for theirs.

Its really too bad that Absolute has made it to a point of parody, as it used to be a favorite set of mine. I bought one solitary single last year, was disappointed and gave up on the set altogether. This year im not even going to waste my time. What a waste.

Hiding Is Not Worth The Effort

Yesterday, Beckett posted the end to their highly publicized in depth three year long expose about the fake Topps Rookie Premiere autos. This move sparked quite a frenzy over why this approach was taken, a lot of those comments focusing on Beckett’s lack of professionalism. Rather than moving on or examining the impact of said news, Hackler instead decided it was better to take passive shots at the vast amounts of discussion over the merits of Topps move. After discussing with some of the other bloggers the reason for this idiotic display of douchebaggery, it became clear to us why this was all happening in such a weird fashion.

As most people said, including myself, the move by Topps was just a minor chink in the armor created by these people who sell hundreds of fake Rookie Premiere Autos. Beckett, as most of us expected, focused more on the inconsequential parts of the story, as not to disturb the plethora of people who come to them with news. I mean, because “player issue” cards are a HUGE part of the problem, right? Personally, I now see why Topps decided that Beckett would be a better outlet to break this story to. Rather than giving the story to a blog like this one, they chose a more familiar outlet. Clearly, its easier to go with a friend who wouldnt question the lack of action or call them out for focusing on the future rather than the present. Topps knew that going with Beckett would provide them with the opportunity to hide behind a solution that only covers upcoming cards instead of securing one that deals with the current problem.

Despite what people may say about my motives, many were left scratching their heads as to why Topps wasn’t going after the scammers more aggressively. If you think about it, it’s a good way to guard against future transgressions if the people responsible are punished for their crimes. Of course, there is a large discrepancy over the amount of time needed to execute this bust and the time available to execute it, which is a great reason why its important to have the discussion now. By throwing this solution at the problem, you still leave the collector base open to decade worth of fake cards, all being sold to unsuspecting people who pay hundreds to get them. How about protecting the customer rather than yourself? Hmm, becoming clearer now why Beckett got the resolution rather than the blogs?

Luckily here in the blog network we have established, its no longer an easy task to hide in plain sight, as many of the people who read Beckett’s blog also read Mario, Rob and I. That means the people who read the kid gloves version of the story, are also going to get a lot of the riff raff you create by handling it that way.

Topps Finally Takes Action On The Fake RPAs

Even though Beckett stepped in and took the credit for all the work I have done with this blog and for my watchdog pieces at Tuff Stuff, I think it bears coverage here. Voluntarheel passed this story along to me from those fucking asshats, and I am glad that Clay Luraschi decided enough was, well, kind of enough.

Per their release, Topps will now be foil numbering the Rookie Premiere autos, which should prevent SOME of the counterfeiters from doing their shit-tastic fakes. This is good. Sadly, its too little too late, as they should have just gone in an pulled down all the obvious ones already on eBay. Its not even that hard to tell which arent real, so im not sure why those shit eaters are allowed to continue to sell counterfeit pieces, especially when we now know Topps has knowledge of the situation. Typical bullshit.
I know that its very good that Topps has assured the future should be taken care of, but I think the fact that scammers are getting a free pass for their reprehensible businesses is just as pressing of an issue. Well, we will see how long it takes Topps to get in on that, if they ever do.
Now, since Beckett has the wonderful reputation of taking credit for the work of others, Im not surprised that this happened. I am kind of disappointed that Topps didnt even have the common courtesy to give me the heads up that they were changing this production practice, though the outcome is really all that matters. Thank you for doing this Topps, it makes me very happy, and gives me a LITTLE confidence that you have someone there who knows what they are doing. Of course, this does not give you a free pass on the ones that are up right now, posted on here as recent as fucking YESTERDAY. So get off your asses and do something before you dig yourself right into another hole.

Beckett’s Upcoming National Show Report: REVEALED!

Guys, I just got an exclusive preview of Beckett’s national card show report, as my personal psychic has dictated it word for word to me per her vision of the future. At this point in our technology, we are unable to time travel into the future, but this is a pretty good replacement. For your warning, I want to post this just so you have an idea of what is going to go down this week, before it happens. Thanks to Madame Cleo for this:

Beckett Is A Bright Star At The National Card Show

By Tracy Hackler, Editor, Beckett Everything Magazine

Golly! What a week at the national card show! We had a blast showing everyone the awesome things that Beckett has done over the last year as well as what is coming up for 2009 and 2010! I cant believe how many collectors we met, as well as all of the amazing things that at the best booth at the show! Here is a recap of what went down.

– Most of you heard about the Pristine 10 BGS Montana RC from last year’s show, but just wait until you hear about this year! In front of everyone, we graded the first ever Pristine BGS Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer RC! It was a sight, and a great investment for a collector who wished to remain anonymous. At least he was wearing a Beckett shirt, which was great for working the booth after the commotion died down! Who would have guessed that the biggest card grade in history would have come from the biggest show on the planet? We didnt!

– There were also a ton of people who came and told us how much they loved seeing us do our Beckett Box Busters! Unfortunately, there are a few vocal people out there who tell us that this is a huge problem, but the ten or so people we talked to all told us how much they loved it. Shows how much those downers out there know about collectors! Then, when those Beckett fans broke the boxes we gave them, they told us about how much more they loved the Beckett Box Busters! We aim to please!

– On Friday, our own Chris Olds and Timmy, a ten year old collector from Cleveland, got a chance for his own special episode of box busters! Thanks to our “friends” at Panini, they were able to break dueling boxes of Panini’s upcoming Absolute Memorabilia, more than 2 months early! To our amazement, Chris ended up pulling a 1/1 Michael Crabtree auto patch! Talk about luck, right? As for Timmy, he pulled a sweet Andre Caldwell auto, so he went away happy too!

– Beckett also unveiled that in addition to grading cards on the spot at the show, they were also starting up the first ever completely graded card live auction! We opened the huge Beckett vaults, pulled out as many 9.5s of some of the most important cards in history, and made them available for the first time to you! The auction was a huge success, and it also allowed us to pay the electric bill we have been trying to avoid paying for so long. People may have complained that the cards we sold didn’t look right, but our grades are completely legit, as they always truly are. These are the ones graded by our top graders over the last few years, and the grading standard has been accepted by collectors worldwide. Also, some of these graded cards will be available again on the new Beckett Graded Card Marketplace, where you can buy the 9.5s directly from us!

– We also got compliment after compliment from kids at the show who told us how happy they were to find out that their collections were worth so much in the price guide. After using our “my collection” station, 8 year old Joey C found out that the cards his dad had given him from 1987 were worth over $1000 dollars due to the sheer number he had! Again Beckett satisfies another collector, good luck selling those million cards Joey!

– Fresh off his sweet box break, Chris Olds was also a big hit! He wowed us with material from the best blog on the net, showing everyone why the Beckett blog should be the ONLY stop you make on the blogosphere. We are so glad to see that his work paid off in talking about the Craigslist Collector Corner, where he tried to educate a few people on how outdated their ads were. He also showed a few previews for his expose on the fake Topps rookie premiere autographs, as well as his “man on the street” features. Chris is definitely the most innovative blogger out there.

– Lastly, Panini and Beckett embarked on a long standing relationship with our teams formally announcing that all high end Panini products will feature Beckett/JSA authenticated player autos, as well as a special Panini page on the Beckett site. Despite accusations that the new partnership stood against everything that is right and just in the hobby, we promised that no favoritism would occur. In fact, we even showcased the first pricing for Panini’s Donruss Elite, the most valuable set of the year so far! This is great news for this new company on the block, as well as great news for our new special Panini Market Analysts, who will be working directly with the manufacturer to make sure all pricing reflects exactly what the cards are worth.

The folks here and in Texas cannot wait for next year’s show, so be sure to check back to for more overage and pictures!

Im so glad that Madame Cleo had such a good vision of the future! This is some gold right here!

How Deep Does The Relationship Between Beckett and Panini Really Go?

We all know the events of the past four or five months, Beckett and Panini have basically declared their sloppy love for each other, even going pretty far in showing that relationship off to the public. Although its pretty sickening to me, not many people know how deep that love really is.

It starts with tiny stuff, like Beckett receiving boxes weeks ahead of their release, and larger amounts exclusive info here and there. For each of the last Panini releases, Beckett has gotten boxes up to ten to fifteen days ahead of the street date, some of them with pretty nice stuff in it. You may remember that after the hype machine behind the school colors on card autos, Beckett pulled a Percy Harvin, a card I have yet to see being offered to the public. Although it wasnt a huge dollar pull, it was a card from an overhyped, ugly product that needed a little push. I rarely believe these things to be a coincidence.

Of course, this was after the massive amounts of exclusive previews that Beckett receives directly from Panini, sometimes needlessly so. Its almost like they are providing Beckett with these things to try to show people that when it comes to news, Beckett is it, despite the fact that are continually out-scooped by the blogs. Add in that stories are consistently ripped off of the people who do it for fun, and you see why this practice is necessary. Beckett is basically facing the fact that message boards and blogs are now the number one source for hobby news, and they are left with Wrestling cards and promises of finding love for lonely collectors.

What people arent familiar with is that Scott Prusha of Panini Marketing, and Tracy Hackler have been best friends since Prusha started his career with Beckett media. In fact, Prusha and Hackler have such a close relationship, that Hackler was the best man at Prusha’s wedding. To think that these two people have teamed together to boost each of the products the other offers, doesnt seem like so much of a stretch anymore. Not only that, but it may be the evidence people are looking for when it comes to establishing the link between Panini and Beckett’s coexistance.

Its also kind of interesting that Panini products have been hailed by Beckett Football as the best of the year so far, even though there are less than 10 total products from three companies on the market. Plus, the UD products have made the Panini products look like they were done by people who didnt know what the fuck they were doing, so the title of best of the year seems like a huge stretch. Why else would that be the case other than pure favoritism?

The reason that I focus on this so much is because of what it means for average collectors, who may not spend the time on the blogs. They see Beckett as a legit news source, when really it is just advertising for their buddies. Im guessing that prices for Panini will also be higher this year despite the “market analysts” they have, yeah fucking right. I would go so far as saying that new collectors may be so jaded on this that Panini sales are above where they actually should be, despite the already poor performance they have had on the primary and secondary markets.

Lastly, we already know that Beckett and Panini have had and will have events together that showcase the relationship they have built. There have also been multiple sources that have told me that Panini reps will be at Beckett’s national booth, and vice versa. So, based on that information, isnt it safe to say that a company like Panini should not be supported the way that other companies are? I dont remember hearing anything about a Topps/Tuff Stuff relationship where both companies worked together to help the other out.

See, when you present yourself as an objective news source and price guide for the hobby, relationships like the one Panini and Beckett have should not be fucking tolerated. Bottom line. The problem is that Beckett has no responsibility to the people they consider to be their reader base, so they end up doing some of the douchebaggiest things since UD printed extra griffey rookies on the weekends. Sadly, the people they hurt are not the type of people that read SCU and Wax Heaven, but rather the collectors who dont have those opportunities. Each kid who picks up a Beckett forms an opinion, some of those opinions being ones entirely based on the info they read. I know I did as a kid. With that information and those opinions, new ideas are formed, most of which are based on lies.

Ask yourself, are these the type of people you want to support?