“The Vault: Boston Celtics Unlocked”

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is raising the excitement levels for basketball aficionados with its newest showcase – “The Vault: Boston Celtics Unlocked.” Expected to be a highlight of the summer, this collaboration with the Boston Celtics promises to be a groundbreaking addition to the museum’s collection, offering a distinctive experience not seen before.

John L. Doleva, the President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, is thrilled to introduce this cutting-edge exhibit. Describing “The Vault” as a temporary display aimed at deeply engaging sports enthusiasts while celebrating the universal appeal of basketball, he expressed his enthusiasm. The exhibit’s primary goal is to captivate visitors, taking them through a journey that pays homage to the Celtics’ rich history and ongoing impact.

Shepherded by Matt Zeysing, the museum’s Vice President of Curatorial, the development of “The Vault” has been a meticulous process unfolding over a year. The concept was born out of admiration for the Boston Celtics’ illustrious past and present achievements, motivating the team to curate a collection of revered Celtic memorabilia from various corners of the world.

Immersed in the thematic ambience of a bank vault, this exhibit unfolds a narrative guided by Celtic legends from different eras. Guests will delve into the core of “Celtic Pride” as they encounter a range of priceless treasures, including authentic game-worn jerseys, championship rings, the original 1981 NBA championship trophy, rare archival footage, and other valuable artifacts.

Sharing his sentiments, Rich Gotham, the Team President of the Boston Celtics, expressed his delight in collaborating with the Basketball Hall of Fame for this one-of-a-kind initiative. Beyond bringing the Celtics’ legacy to life, “The Vault: Boston Celtics Unlocked” offers fans an interactive and educational glimpse into the team’s esteemed history.

This groundbreaking exhibit is poised to be a goldmine for Celtics enthusiasts and basketball historians, offering a never-before-seen exploration into the illustrious journey of one of the NBA’s most iconic franchises. Whether you are a die-hard Celtics fan or a basketball aficionado, “The Vault: Boston Celtics Unlocked” promises to be a memorable experience celebrating the legacy of the Boston Celtics.


Panini America and PFL Strike Multi-Year Deal

Panini America, a powerhouse in the sports and entertainment collectibles realm, has teamed up with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), known for its rapid growth and groundbreaking approach in the sports industry. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in the world of MMA trading cards, promising fresh and thrilling products for fans.

The partnership between Panini and PFL is a strategic move aimed at introducing new offerings to the market. Starting with the launch of Panini Instant, a platform geared towards providing real-time collectibles directly to consumers, the alliance is set to captivate MMA enthusiasts. Following this exciting venture, PFL Prizm is anticipated to make its debut later in the year, expected to become a standout product in the trading card category.

Jason Howarth, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Athlete Relations at Panini America, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration. He highlighted the vast growth and global presence of PFL, emphasizing the potential for this partnership to invigorate the MMA trading card sector, already a thriving segment within Panini’s offerings. The goal of this alliance is to deepen fan engagement by offering exclusive Panini products featuring PFL athletes and events.

Bryan Calka, Chief Commercial Officer of the PFL, echoed Howarth’s excitement, acknowledging Panini America’s leadership in collectibles. He reiterated the PFL’s dedication to providing top-notch experiences for MMA fans worldwide, a commitment that is expected to be enhanced through this partnership with Panini.

One of the innovative elements of this collaboration is the introduction of digital trading card collectibles, including NFTs, catering to the evolving preferences of collectors who are embracing digital formats alongside traditional physical cards. This move reflects a keen awareness of the changing landscape in the collectibles market and a commitment to meeting the needs of a diverse fan base.

The timing of this partnership aligns with the PFL’s upcoming events, including the second half of its 2024 Global Season kicking off on June 13 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Athletes from various weight classes will compete for playoff berths and the coveted title of PFL World Champion, along with a substantial $1 million prize pool. The PFL’s unique sports-season format, mirroring major league sports, coupled with innovative technologies like the SmartCage, sets it apart in the MMA world.

Panini America, a subsidiary of the esteemed Panini Group based in Italy, boasts a rich history spanning over six decades in the collectibles industry. With a wide array of partnerships across sports and entertainment domains, Panini America is poised to leverage its global presence and robust distribution network to bring PFL trading cards to a broad audience. This collaboration promises to elevate the visibility and appeal of both brands in the competitive collectibles market.

In conclusion, the partnership between Panini America and the Professional Fighters League heralds a new era for sports memorabilia, blending innovation with the electrifying world of MMA. Fans can anticipate a diverse range of collectibles that celebrate the dynamic nature of the sport and its talented athletes, promising an exciting journey for enthusiasts worldwide.


Knoxville Store Burglarized

In a daring and audacious move that left the Knoxville community in shock, Cody Denning found himself in hot water after a heist at Underdog Collectibles that saw him making off with a staggering $22,000 worth of autographed jerseys. This escapade not only landed Denning behind bars but also left the store reeling from the significant loss and damage caused by his criminal activities.

The sequence of events leading up to the burglary unfolded with meticulous planning on Denning’s part, evident from his initial visit to the store where he meticulously assessed the valuable merchandise he later sought to pilfer. Surveillance footage captured his sinister actions as he brazenly toyed with the jerseys, giving an early indication of his devious intentions. Little did the store owners know that his harmless perusal would escalate into a full-blown theft operation.

Under the cover of darkness on May 18, Denning executed his nefarious plan by shattering the storefront window with a rock, gaining illicit access to the store premises. Once inside, he wasted no time in snatching a total of 17 prized autographed jerseys, leaving a trail of devastation in his wake. The store’s inventory took a substantial hit as a result of Denning’s greed-fueled rampage, with the stolen items amounting to a significant financial blow.

Denning’s attempts to offload the stolen jerseys were quickly foiled when he brazenly tried to peddle his ill-gotten gains at Pro Image Sports in West Town Mall. Alert staff members became suspicious of his offerings, alerting the authorities to his dubious activities. Additionally, incriminating evidence in the form of missing hats from the store, found in Denning’s possession, further solidified his involvement in the crime.

After the alarming incident came to light, Underdog Collectibles took to social media in a plea for assistance from the public. They implored anyone who might come across the stolen jerseys to reach out to them, providing specific serial numbers for verification to aid in the apprehension of the culprit and the safe return of the pilfered goods. The outpouring of support from the community was instrumental in bolstering their efforts to track down the stolen merchandise and prevent any further illicit transactions.

Despite the chaos and turmoil wrought by the burglary, Underdog Collectibles sought to reassure the public that the physical damage inflicted upon the store was minimal. More importantly, no individuals were harmed during the break-in, dispelling fears of potential violence associated with such criminal activities. As the store perseveres in their quest to recover the stolen jerseys and restore normalcy to their operations, they remain steadfast in their call for continued assistance from the community at large.

The brazen burglary perpetrated by Cody Denning serves as a stark reminder of the ever-present threat of theft and vandalism faced by businesses, underscoring the importance of vigilance and cooperation within the community. As the authorities press forward with their investigation and legal proceedings against the perpetrator, the resilient spirit of Underdog Collectibles shines through as they rally support in their pursuit of justice and restitution.


Historic Sports Memorabilia Auction

Freeman’s/Hindman is currently hosting a captivating sports memorabilia auction that is not to be missed. At the heart of this auction is a complete set of 1984-85 Star Company basketball cards, a rare find that includes the highly coveted Michael Jordan rookie card. What makes these cards even more special is that they come in their original team bags, preserving the nostalgia of how they were sold decades ago. With 288 cards in tow, this set is expected to fetch a hefty sum of between $50,000 and $70,000, owing to the rarity of such a complete collection and the undying appeal of Michael Jordan in the world of sports collectibles.

The significance of the Star Company’s venture into NBA trading cards in the early 1980s cannot be overstated. When Topps decided not to renew its contract, Star seized the opportunity and produced cards that were primarily distributed through mail orders and handpicked hobby shops and sporting events. This limited accessibility has made the remaining sets, especially those still in their original packaging, incredibly rare and valuable.

While basketball steals the spotlight with the Michael Jordan rookie card, baseball enthusiasts will also find treasures in this auction. Among them are three autographed baseballs signed by none other than the legendary Babe Ruth, one of them being a mini baseball showcasing Ruth’s bold and clear signature right on the sweet spot. These items serve as a poignant reminder of Ruth’s enduring legacy and are a must-have for collectors of historical sports memorabilia.

The auction doesn’t stop there. It also boasts other remarkable Jordan cards from his rookie season, including the 1984 Gold Medalist No. 195 and the 1985 Rookie of the Year No. 288, along with a PSA 8 graded 1986-87 Fleer rookie card of Jordan. Vintage card aficionados will delight in rare finds such as a 1968 O-Pee-Chee Nolan Ryan rookie card graded PSA 8 and a near complete set of 1952 Topps baseball cards featuring over 60 high numbers. With multiple Mickey Mantle cards from the 1950s and 60s also up for grabs, this auction is a treasure trove for collectors of iconic sports figures.

The auction’s allure extends beyond cards to include a varied selection of sports-related collectibles. Standout items include a San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XXIV Champions ring, a 1926 New York Yankees multi-signed baseball bearing the autographs of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and a cluster of 1920s-30s St. Louis Cardinals contract agreements signed by the esteemed Branch Rickey.

Running through June 13 on the Freeman’s/Hindman website, this auction not only showcases the rich tapestry of history woven into these collectibles but also provides sports enthusiasts and collectors alike with a chance to claim a slice of that history for themselves. Whether your passion lies in basketball, baseball, or the overarching narrative of American sports, this auction promises a little something for every collector on the hunt for a piece of sports history.


Michael Jordan’s Logoman Card Sells for $2.9 Million

In a world where the value of sports memorabilia can reach astronomical heights, one piece stood out amongst the rest. The 2003 Upper Deck Ultimate Logos autograph card of basketball legend Michael Jordan took center stage at a recent Goldin Auctions event, commanding a staggering price of over $2.9 million. This remarkable card, designated as 1/1, features a game-used NBA “Logoman” patch alongside Jordan’s signature in striking blue ink, making it a coveted treasure for collectors far and wide.

The journey of this extraordinary card began with a modest opening bid of $200,000 on April 19, sparking a whirlwind of excitement amongst bidders who quickly recognized its unparalleled rarity and significance. As the bidding war ensued, 38 bids later, the card found its new owner for an impressive $2.4 million on a Saturday night. Authenticated and graded by the reputable PSA, the card received an ‘Authentic’ rating with a perfect 10 for the signature, solidifying its impeccable condition and exceptional uniqueness.

This groundbreaking sale not only shattered the previous record for the highest-selling Michael Jordan card, surpassing the $2.7 million mark set by a 1997-98 Upper Deck Game-Used Jersey Jordan card, but also shed light on the enduring allure and value of Jordan-related collectibles in the world of sports memorabilia. The former record-holder featured a fragment of Jordan’s jersey from the 1992 All-Star Game and marked an early integration of jersey cards into sports card packs.

Even in retirement, Michael Jordan’s legacy continues to reign supreme, with his memorabilia fetching top dollar in prestigious auctions. From the most expensive sports jersey ever sold—a 1998 NBA Finals jersey that commanded a jaw-dropping $10.1 million—to a range of highly sought-after trading cards, Jordan’s presence in the collectibles market remains unmatched and immensely profitable.

The Goldin ‘Elite 100’ auction, distinguished by its showcase of luxury sports memorabilia, featured a slew of notable items that captured the attention of collectors worldwide. Alongside the record-breaking Jordan card were two additional standout pieces: an 1986-87 Fleer rookie card and a 1997-98 Skybox Precious Metal Gems Red card, which sold for $292,800 and $298,900 respectively, further underscoring the robust market and fervent interest in rare Jordan memorabilia.

Beyond the realm of basketball, the auction spotlighted a diverse selection of sports memorabilia, including a rare graded 1890-92 John Ryder Studio Cy Young cabinet card that fetched an impressive $500,200. Notable sales also included iconic cards like Babe Ruth’s 1933 Goudey card and a unique 2017 Panini Flawless Symbolic Signatures card of football sensation Patrick Mahomes.

One poignant highlight of the auction was the jersey worn by the late Kobe Bryant during the game in which he famously tore his Achilles tendon but remarkably stayed to shoot his free throws. This autographed jersey of Bryant’s sold for over $1.2 million, a testament to the emotional and historical significance attached to such memorabilia.

Among the intriguing array of items was a pair of Nike shoes worn by Michael Jordan during a 1985 exhibition game in Italy, where he famously shattered a backboard. Still containing a shard of glass in the sole, these iconic shoes fetched $413,580, albeit slightly lower than their previous auction price in 2020.

From a Mickey Mantle game-used jersey dating back to 1957, which sold for $457,500, to a captivating mix of sports relics that pay homage to revered legends, the auction served as a celebration of sports history and the indelible impact these icons have left on the world. Through items they once owned or utilized, these sports legends continue to captivate collectors and enthusiasts alike, showcasing the profound legacy they have etched in the annals of athletic lore.


Washington State Men Arrested in $2 Million Sports Cards Fraud

Two men from Washington state, Anthony Curcio and Iosif Bondarchuk, have recently found themselves in hot water after being arrested and charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charges were a result of their involvement in a fraudulent scheme that revolved around the sale of sports and Pokémon cards, raking in a whopping $2 million from unsuspecting buyers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York formally announced the charges against Curcio, 43, from Redmond, and Bondarchuk, 37, from Lake Stevens. According to the authorities, the duo engaged in deceptive practices between 2022 and May 2024 to sell these cards. The crux of their scheme involved swapping lower-grade cards with cases that falsely presented them as top-tier PSA 10 specimens, thereby inflating their market values significantly.

A standout among the fraudulent items sold was a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card, which was deceitfully passed off as gem mint and fetched a hefty sum of $171,000 through an online marketplace in Manhattan. However, the selling platform, MySlabs, later exposed the card as fraudulent and promptly reported the issue to PSA and law enforcement. Other misrepresented cards included a 2009 Topps rookie card of Stephen Curry and a 1980 Topps card showcasing Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Julius Erving.

The scope of the fraud wasn’t limited to sports cards alone; Pokémon cards were also part of the scheme. In a particularly brazen move, a 1999 first-edition Venusaur card was sold to an undercover law enforcement officer in Manhattan for $10,500, falsely labeled as PSA 10.

Curcio and Bondarchuk are alleged to have peddled these deceitful cards at various venues, including card shops, shows, and online auctions. When buyers raised concerns about the authenticity of their purchases, Bondarchuk reportedly misled them by furnishing false contact information, attributing it to third parties.

If found guilty, both men could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The FBI and PSA’s Brand Protection division worked in tandem during the investigation, underscoring the dedication to safeguarding collectors and preserving the integrity of the trading card market.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance in the field of collectibles and cautions individuals against partaking in fraudulent activities similar to those orchestrated by Curcio and Bondarchuk.


Fanatics and Topps Amplify Fan Experiences and Collector Engagements

In a move that proves sports meets entertainment and culture, two top companies, Fanatics and Topps, are setting the stage with a diverse array of events and promotions set to launch across the United States. Fanatics, the global leader in licensed sports merchandising, is broadening its American events roster. Meanwhile, Topps, renowned for their sports trading cards and sports memorabilia, is bringing collector promotions back, bigger and better.

At the Topps Industry Conference in Atlanta, Fanatics detailed its ambitious plans for the ‘FanaticsFest’. Tailoring each event to the unique cadence of the destination, Fanatics will roll out fanfests that blend the vivacious energy of fandom with the appreciation for culture and collecting. The conference highlighted the scheduled fanfest at New York’s Javits Center, poised for an August 16-18 happening. However, Fanatics will not be a one-event wonder. They have planned an Orlando, FL event from November 1-3, a collective collector’s dream, and a more intimate gathering at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park on September 28-29 which is expected to play host to autograph sessions with local athletes.

Additional events from Fanatics are tipped to offer a zestful mix – Large-scale gatherings, regional shows, venue-specific events at stadiums, and more. Paired with collaborations with sports leagues, Fanatics will bring the thrill of drafts and major events to its attendees. While we know the hype is real, further details regarding such events are awaited in anticipation.

While Fanatics is setting the sports event scene on fire, Topps is not far behind. The nostalgia-inducing Trading Card Day is back, slated for an August 3 release, where hobby shops will offer free exclusive packs. Collectors are in for a thrill with the MVP Buyback program making a comeback this fall, a lucrative deal that allows collectors to swap cards of recent MLB MVPs for some much-desired store credit.

Last year’s Hobby Rip Night was a roaring success, leading to a staggering surge in sales for 18% of the participating 409 stores. Riding on the wave of this success, Topps is geared to launch its second edition on September 14. A completely original initiative, the Hobby Break Night, is marked for December 14. This online event will feature a smorgasbord of live case, box, and pack openings, with the cherry on top being guest appearances and giveaways.

In their relentless pursuit of enhancing fan experiences and engaging collectors, Fanatics events alongside Topps promotions form two sides of a coin. Whether it is amping up the energy of fandom, offering intimate autograph sessions, providing lucrative collector engagements, or fuelling the desire for sports and culture together, Fanatics and Topps are leaving no stone unturned. Both companies are stretching the boundaries and moulding the essence of what it means to be a fan and a collector, all while offering unique, fulfilling experiences that will keep sports enthusiasts coming back for more.


Excitement Builds for 2023 Panini Select Football Release

The 2023 Panini Select Football is revving up for its highly awaited summer launch just before the hustle and bustle of NFL training camps. A mesmerizing display of chromium-styled cards, this edition has solidified its spot as a must-have in Panini’s array of sports card releases. With a robust 500-card base set sliced into five distinctive levels, the 2023 edition promises to deliver excitement and collectible treasures for all avid football card enthusiasts.

Kicking off at the Concourse Level with cards #1 – 100, these are the bread and butter of the set, the ones likely to be found in most collections. On the other end of the spectrum lies the elusive Field Level, boasting cards #401 – 500, where the real gems lie waiting to be uncovered. Expect a medley of sought-after parallels such as the entrancing Zebra and Disco, alongside the limited-edition Tie-Dye parallels that add a touch of exclusivity to any collection.

A fan-favorite feature making a return in the 2023 release is the XRC Mystery Redemption program. This enticing addition offers collectors the chance to snag some of the premier licensed rookie cards from the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft class. Featuring Silver Prizm variants, low-numbered editions, and even autographs, the XRC cards are sure to set pulses racing for collectors seeking that extra thrill.

Astounding autographs and memorabilia await in this year’s release, including the tantalizing Jumbo Rookie Signature Swatches and the opulent Prime Selections Prizm Signatures Tie-Dye autograph memorabilia cards. Furthermore, legendary player autographs are set to make a grand appearance in the Spectra Hall of Fame Signatures Prizm series, adding a touch of class to any collection.

In addition to the base set and autographs, collectors can look forward to the return of captivating inserts such as Starcade, Color Wheel, and Select Anniversary, perfectly aligning with the aesthetic and vibe of this year’s NBA Select release, promising a visual treat for all collectors.

For those eagerly anticipating the release, the hobby box configuration offers an enticing glimpse into what to expect. Each pack will contain 5 cards, with 12 packs nestled snugly in every box and 12 boxes encased in a single case. The expected contents per box include 2 autographs, 1 memorabilia card, 15 Prizm parallels, 6 inserts, and 2 Field Level base cards, making it a treasure trove for collectors.

With each hobby box retailing at an approximate price of $450, collectors are in for a comprehensive experience, chock-full of high-value cards and the thrill of the hunt. As the release date draws closer and summer edges its way in, the excitement mounts for the 2023 Panini Select Football amongst collectors and NFL aficionados alike, who are poised to capture the iconic moments and athletes of the forthcoming NFL season.


Historic Shohei Ohtani Home Run Ball in Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions is gearing up for its Summer Platinum Night Auction, featuring a remarkable piece of baseball history – the ball struck by Shohei Ohtani for his 176th career home run. Breaking Hideki Matsui’s record for the most home runs by a Japanese-born MLB player, Ohtani’s incredible feat at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2024, has etched his name in the annals of baseball lore.

The significance of this ball extends beyond mere memorabilia; it symbolizes a groundbreaking moment in the MLB timeline. Ohtani’s exceptional talent as both a pitcher and hitter adds layers of awe to this historic achievement. Authenticated by Major League Baseball, the ball bears a holographic sticker and a unique serial number, offering enthusiasts the opportunity to validate its authenticity and trace its storied past.

With an estimated value surpassing $200,000, this artifact isn’t just for sports memorabilia aficionados; it appeals to anyone who reveres notable sports accomplishments. The upcoming auction at Heritage Auctions promises a thrilling opportunity for bidders to acquire a tangible connection to baseball greatness embodied by Shohei Ohtani. As a player who continues to mesmerize fans worldwide, Ohtani’s legacy is now encapsulated in this coveted home run ball, making it a must-have item for collectors seeking a slice of sporting history.


Mile High Card Company Post-Holiday Auction of Vintage Collectibles

Mile High Card Company, the renowned hub for vintage sports cards and collectibles, has launched its coveted Extra Innings Auction right after the holiday weekend. This enticing auction, which began on Tuesday, May 28, features a stunning array of over 1,200 lots, inviting collectors of all budgets and preferences to join the bidding frenzy in pursuit of timeless treasures.

At the heart of this auction lie some exceptional pieces that are sure to captivate seasoned collectors and enthusiasts alike. Standout items include a PSA 9 graded 1973 Topps Mike Schmidt rookie card, a 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie card graded PSA 6 (MC), and a rare T206 Ty Cobb Portrait card boasting a striking red background with an SGC 3 rating – offering a glimpse into the rich history of sports card collecting.

Adding to the allure are complete and partial sets on offer, such as the 1956 Topps set, which boasts a plethora of graded cards, enriching the collection with variety and depth. Fans of baseball legends like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig will also find treasures from the 1933 Goudey series, a 1950 Bowman Jackie Robinson card graded SGC 5 EX, and a 1952 Topps Willie Mays card graded SGC 5 up for grabs.

The auction transcends eras, featuring stars from different time periods, including a 1954 Topps Henry Aaron card graded PSA 3, and a 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle card graded PSA 7. Modern collectors are not left out, with items like a 2000 Bowman Tom Brady ROY Promotion card graded PSA 6, and sealed Pokémon Base Set boxes from 1999 and 2000 making an appearance, catering to a diverse range of interests.

Collectors have until Thursday, June 6, to participate in this thrilling auction that promises an unparalleled opportunity to own rare and sought-after pieces that narrate the compelling history of sports memorabilia and trading cards. Moreover, the anticipation mounts as Mile High Card Company prepares for its upcoming major catalog auction, set to entice collectors later this summer, while also welcoming consignments from interested parties eager to share their prized collectibles with fellow enthusiasts.