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Press Releases

Steiner Sports Offers Unique "Xmas Collection" on eBay Sports

NEW YORK, NY (Dec. 10, 2002) -- Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Stan Musial and other stars have joined with Steiner Sports and eBay Sports to provide collectors with a unique Christmas offering.

The athletes each inscribed a special "Merry Xmas" notation to 10 baseballs at recent Steiner Sports signing sessions. The Steiner "Christmas Collection" will be available exclusively on today through Christmas Eve.

"We're always looking for unique opportunities to help collectors enjoy their hobby, and what better way than a 'Merry Christmas' wish from their favorite athlete this holiday season," said Jared Weiss, Steiner Sports executive VP.

"The pairing of star signatures, Steiner's strong brand identity and a limit of 10 baseballs per athlete will create aggressive bidding," said Brad Porteus, category manager for eBay Sports. The eBay listings will be managed by Isaacson Direct, a Wisconsin-based service provider.

"We're excited to be working with Steiner Sports on this creative holiday offering," Porteus said. "We look forward to plenty of action as fans bid on their favorite star's 'Merry Xmas' signed baseball." Featured athletes include Jeter, Musial, Don Zimmer, Mattingly and New York Rangers favorite Adam Graves; additional athletes will be added.

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Press Pass to Preview 10th Anniversary Set on

CHARLOTTE, N.C (Nov. 25, 2002) -- Press Pass is teaming with eBay Sports to offer collectors a sneak peak at its much-anticipated 10th anniversary trading card release, Press Pass 2003.

Beginning today, collectors visiting will be able to bid on extremely rare preview versions of cards featuring 33 NASCAR Winston Cup drivers, including Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and 2002 Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart. In total, Press Pass will auction 165 special red-foil preview cards in preparation for Press Pass 2003's release to retail and specialty stores beginning Dec. 10.

"We have many fun and collectible surprises in store as part of our 10th anniversary, starting with this special Press Pass 2003 preview program with eBay," said Tom Farrell, Director of Marketing for Press Pass, a division of Racing Champions (NASDAQ: RACN).

Press Pass first teamed with in October to preview the Optima 2002 brand. Collector response to the Optima preview cards exceeded all expectations, said Jon Fitch, senior category manager for eBay Sports.

"We were amazed at the high activity and number of page views of the Optima 2002 cards," Fitch said. "Press Pass has certainly captured the attention of racing collectors, and we anticipate plenty of action as fans bid on their favorite drivers' Press Pass 2003 preview cards."

The Press Pass 2003 auctions feature 5 unique versions of the 33 Winston Cup drivers featured in Press Pass 2003's base set. Each card is sequentially numbered (1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc.) and features a red foil treatment created especially for the preview auctions. Isaacson Direct, a Wisconsin-based auction service provider, is coordinating the promotion. To preview all the new cards, visit

For more information on Press Pass 2003, visit or visit your local sports collectible retailer.

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Hawaii Auction to Benefit National Industry Campaign

IOLA, WI (Nov. 3, 2002) -- The Hawaii Trade Conference's annual auction will fund a national sports collectibles promotion, organizers announced today.

The "Great Hawaii Auction" features new product samples and one-of-a-kind pieces from the sports collectible industry's leading manufacturers and service providers. It has generated more than $250,000 for industry charities in its six-year history.

The upcoming auction, sponsored by eBay Sports and scheduled Feb. 19 as part of the weeklong Hawaii Trade Conference, will benefit an emerging industry marketing campaign, said Dean Listle, publisher at Krause Publications and host of the trade conference.

"Many people in our industry have talked about the need to create more awareness of sports cards and collectibles among the general public," Listle said. "We think the best way to get a campaign off the ground is with some seed money. The eBay-sponsored auction is a great place to start."

Isaacson Direct, a leading industry service provider, will manage the online and "live" auction components. To watch the bidding, visit

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Press Pass ® to Preview Optima 2002 Base Cards on

CHARLOTTE, N.C (Oct. 7, 2002) -- Press Pass is teaming with eBay Sports to offer collectors a sneak peak at the much-anticipated new trading card release, Press Pass Optima 2002.

Beginning Oct. 8, collectors visiting will be able to bid on extremely rare preview versions of cards featuring more than 40 Winston Cup and Busch Series drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon. In total, Press Pass will make 250 preview cards available for bidding in preparation for Optima 2002's release to retail and specialty stores beginning Oct. 15.

"We're excited about the impending release of Optima 2002, and we wanted to share that excitement with collectors and racing fans through these special preview events on eBay," said Tom Farrell, Director of Marketing for Press Pass, a division of Racing Champions (Nasdaq: RACN).

The Press Pass items feature 5 unique versions of Optima's 50-card base set. Each card is sequentially numbered (1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc.) and features a red foil treatment created especially for the preview events. A total of 44 drivers are featured, including 14 Busch Series competitors.

"We're pleased to work with Press Pass to promote the release of Optima 2002," said Jon Fitch, senior category manager for eBay Sports. "Racing collectibles are among the hottest growth areas on eBay, and we anticipate plenty of action as race fans bid on their favorite drivers' Optima preview cards."

To follow the action, visit For more information on Press Pass Optima 2002, visit or visit your local sports collectible retailer.

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Mariners Fan Shoots, Scores During Prize Trip to Texas

ARLINGTON, TX (Sept. 23, 2002) -- As the winner of Donruss Studio's Photographer for a Day contest, Jerry Bjork didnít exactly know what to expect when company officials flew him and wife Gerrie from their home in Kent, Wash., to Donruss' headquarters in Arlington, Texas.

All he knew for certain was that he was going to serve as Donruss' staff photographer for the Texas Rangers ® Sept. 11 game against the Seattle Mariners, visit Donruss' offices and, perhaps most importantly, pack accordingly.

"Our first reaction," said Gerrie, 61 and a semi-retired realtor, "was that we didn't want to come down here in the heat of summer. But it wasn't too bad."

It didn't take long for "wasnít too bad" to turn overwhelmingly wonderful during the couple's two-day, expenses-paid trip.

Jerry, equipped with a $13,000 camera and professional guidance from Donruss photographer Brad Newton, nestled into the first-base camera well at The Ballpark in Arlington for his one-night stint as a Major League Baseball photographer.

The Bjorks, diehard sports fans of any Washington-based team, hand-picked the Rangers/Mariners game so they could get a whole new perspective on their favorite baseball team, and it didnít take long for Jerry to turn shutterbug.

Perhaps the highlight of the trip came the next morning, when the Bjorks visited Donruss headquarters only to find out that not only was Jerry a fine photographer but that some of his images would be appearing in a future trading card set.

"It's amazing," Jerry said. "I didn't think any of my shots would be worth a darn. It's kind of neat. I didnít really expect that one of my shots would be used in a card set. It's surprising."

Added Randy Strand, Donruss' director of photography: "Jerry came away from the game with a couple of nice action shots—one of Pudge Rodriguez and another of Edgar Martinez, who just happens to be his favorite player. We plan on using a few of his photos in our upcoming 2003 Donruss Baseball product. Jerry did a great job, but most of all, he had a great time."

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Graded Autographs Add 47% to eBay Sale Prices

CLARKS SUMMIT, PA (Aug. 10, 2002) -- TracerGrade's first consignment auction on eBay provided "proof of concept" for the sports collectible industry's first autograph grading company. Items authenticated by TracerGrade provided consignors with average bonus revenue of 47 percent on their eBay auctions.

"It's clear that collectors want authenticated, graded autographs—and they're willing to pay a premium to acquire them," said Bill Fleming, TracerGrade CEO. "The demand is building for TracerGrade authenticated items. We're taking consignments from both collectors and leading dealers, and it's everything we can do to keep up."

A highlight of the eBay consignment auction: A Mickey Mantle-signed baseball that sold for $355, more than 57 percent over the two-week eBay average of $225. Additional percentage increases for single-signed baseballs: Johnny Mize, 46 percent; Bob Gibson, 61 percent; Willie Stargell, 54 percent; Frank Robinson, 50 percent.

TracerGrade's next consignment auction is scheduled for early October. For details, call 800-581-7328 or visit

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Playoff Hosts Five US Navy Sailors at the Super Bowl

ARLINGTON, TX. (Feb. 4, 2002) -- Not only was Super Bowl XXXVI a thrilling experience for the players and fans, but in coordination with the US Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division, Playoff Trading Cards played host to five US Navy Sailors for the week in New Orleans at the Super Bowl. The five Sailors are currently serving aboard ships on active duty in the Middle East and were flown to New Orleans for a one-week furlough.

Navy's MWR Division Headquarters raffled off the four one-week leaves in New Orleans, which included transportation and lodging, two Super Bowl game tickets, and a host of VIP experiences provided by Playoff Trading Cards. All Navy service members on active duty to reenlist in the past six months were eligible. Playoff also provided thousands of packs of football cards and autographed cards for the MWR Division Super Bowl promotion being staged on 28 ships for 55,000 sailors.

Playoff also created personalized football cards for each of the crewmen. NFL great Emmitt Smith presented the sailors with the special cards when they arrived in New Orleans last Friday. Along with the NFL and PLAYERS INC, the company also arranged for several special events and meetings with current and former NFL players.

The winners were: SSGT Leodis Smith, Jr.(Hometown: Latta, SC); serving on the USS John C. Stennis; SK2 Glen Basco (Hometown Sacramento, CA) stationed on the USS Dubuque LPD-8; AS2 (AW) Kenzy Nazaire (Hometown: Brooklyn, NY) serving on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71); and FC2 Bruce Frickey, Jr (Hometown: Des Allemands, Louisiana, pictured) aboard the USS Leyte Gulf CG-55. Three of the winners picked a girlfriend as a guest and one Sailor, Frickey, a Louisiana native, picked shipmate FC2 Jason R. Stone (Hometown: Lafayette, CO).

"These men are true heroes, so we thought it would be appropriate for them to be honored on a Playoff football card, just like the top players in the NFL," said Playoff's Kevin Isaacson. "It is our honor to host these men for the week as representatives of the US armed services. We hope this small gesture shows that America truly appreciates the work that they are performing."

Bruce Frickey, Jr Trading Card

Playoff created personalized cards for the crewmen

The event generated plenty of national exposure for Playoff, including an estimated 50 TV placements and live segments on CBS's The Early Show, FOX News Channel's FOX & Friends, ESPN Classic and both ESPN's and FOX's Super Bowl pre-game shows.

Navy MWR's principal mission is to contribute to the retention, readiness and well-being of active duty, reserve and retired personnel and to the welfare of their families by providing a varied program of recreational, social and community activities. Program information can be found at Future contest information is under the link Saluting Sailors.

Founded in 1992, Playoff Corporation (, based in Arlington, TX, has established a reputation in the realm of sports collectibles as the manufacturer of the finest, trading cards available at any price. The company's other brands include Donruss and Score.

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BGS Honored As Best Grading Service

HONOLULU, HI (March 1, 2001) -- After just its first year of business, Beckett Grading Services was named Best Grading Service of 2000 in a readerís poll conducted by Card Trade Magazine, it was announced today.

The 6th Annual Card Trade Awards were presented at the 2001 Kit Young Hawaii Trade Conference currently taking place in Honolulu. This is the first year that the Grading Service Award has been included, with most of the voters being hobby shop owners and wholesalers.

"We felt that the grading market has matured to the point where it is now valid for dealers to vote for who they are most satisfied with," says Scott Kelnhofer, Editor of Card Trade Magazine.

The grading question posed to survey participants was: "Please nominate the third party grading service you believe did the best job in 2000 (only vote for a company whose products you have dealt with)." Ballots were included in the December 2000 edition of Card Trade Magazine, and the full results of the poll will run in the magazine's April 2001 issue. Tradeshow Sales Manager Pepper Hastings accepted the award on behalf of BGS from Publisher Kevin Isaacson of Krause Publications, sponsors of the conference.

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