Last week, we brought you the story of Kobe Bryant's autographed nose-protecting mask selling for $67,000 in an eBay auction benefitting homeless kids in L.A. through the foundation set up by the Laker star and his wife Vanessa.The
Hasmit Popat, a native European and huge Laker fan who runs Hascor International Group, an international metals and minerals firm, has already paid for the mask and has it in hand.
Bryant wore the mask for 11 games after breaking his nose during contact in this year's All-Star Game. He signed it (first name and number only) and then watched bidding soar.
It may seem like a lot of money, but Popat says it's what Bryant did with the mask that makes it special--but he told ESPN.com that he also liked the fact that the money was going to a good cause.
Earlier this year, Panini signed a deal with the Baseball Hall of Fame for card sets. First up is 2012 Panini Cooperstown Baseball, a 24-packs-per-box issue that releases in late July. As part of the set's promotion, Panini will give away a trip to the Hall.
Each box of 2012 Panini Cooperstown Baseball will deliver at least one Cooperstown Signatures autograph, two commemorative Class Patches, three Bronze History cards, three Crystal Collection parallels, two Voices of Summer inserts, two Induction inserts and two Credentials inserts.
A Famed Cuts checklist featuring cut signatures Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Dizzy Dean and more.
- A 200-card base set that includes 20 short-printed Color Tint cards.
- The chance to win a trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
- Class Patches inserts feature embroidered patches detailing specific Hall of Fame induction years.
- 'Fameous Moments' inserts detail the greatest memorabilia (and the men who used it) en route to induction.
If you didn't send in your 2012 Bowman wrappers almost immediately after opening your packs to get those special Blue Wave cards, you're probably out of luck. Topps had offered a special Blue Wave refractor pack with a chance for an autograph to the first 10,000 that responded but the company sent out a message Monday afternoon stating, "The initial response has been great and we expect all wrappers that arrive by 5/14 and possibly 5/15 will be handled, but outside of that it is very unlikely we will have any inventory left."
Have you signed up for the Sports Collectors Daily newsletter? We're giving away two Panini Black Boxes from the Industry Summit and some nice vintage sports cards in a random drawing later this month. Just click on the box in the upper left to sign up.