Preview: 2010-11 Upper Deck All Time Greats Basketball

Upper Deck brings you their next basketball product of the season on July 6, 2011, and this one comes with a bang. The man who really holds the crown in basketball has a ton of autographs ready for you to pull. Every 1 out of 6 boxes will have a Michael Jordan autograph. That’s right, your chances of pulling a MJ autograph are 1 in 6 boxes.

Each tin will have 3 base cards and 1 autographed card. The product will also be player specific, which means every box will have only one player in it. There will also be some mystery boxes with multiple players in it. This will be the next high end basketball product from Upper Deck however, so if you want 6 boxes to try and pull your MJ autograph, it’s going to cost you some dough. But “Sir Altitude” is not the only great autograph you can pull from this set.

There are only 20 players in this checklist. These 20 players are chosen specifically and you would want an autograph from just about any of them. This 2010-11 Upper Deck All Time Greats Basketball checklist is so small I am going to list it here for you. The checklist is as follows: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Dr. J, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Steve Nash, James Worthy, Jerry West, John Havlicek, David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, Hakeem Olajuwon, Walt Frazier, Derrick Rose, Clyde Drexler, Grant Hill, Chris Paul, Larry Johnson, and finally Penny Hardaway. That is the complete checklist.

These players will be found in a number of different types of cards. Letterman signatures, Storybook Career booklet, One on One dual signature booklets, and All-Time 9 signatures which are 1 of 1s. Also is regular insert sets which are variably numbered.

One thing I don’t like is Upper Deck is bringing the Letterman subset with signatures on plastic across the top of it, not signed directly on the manufactured patch. Now I’ve always disliked manufactured patches, however, I have less of a problem with Letterman as being manufactured as it brings a fun set to collect the players whole name. But Topps tried this plastic piece over the top of relics and it didn’t go very well with collectors. I’m pretty sure this won’t go well either as it’s the same concept. Who knows, maybe the mainstream collector has changed their mind about this.

Finally there will also be some cut signatures of deceased players mixed with current legends in a dual signature booklet. I am hoping these cut signatures will be a little better designed then the recent Legendary Cuts product which wasn’t the best design in my eyes.

Otherwise, this set is filled with the current and former legends of the game and autographs will be plenty. With the odds of pulling a Jordan box in 1 every 6 boxes for around $285 a box, it’s definitely a gamble but with a solid checklist it will be a gamble worth taking.

Here is an example of the new Lettermans which I’m not a huge fan of. At least the signatures are more clear this way.

Benchwarmer: My Secret Collection

It’s not really a secret collection, but it’s something not many people collect when it comes to cards. These cards sell out their cases consistently. I once sold a card I pulled for $400 on eBay. These cards are not a joke or gimmick but will bring in a ton of money if sold correctly. This is a sports card blog, but these aren’t sports cards.

I’m talking about Benchwarmer Trading Cards. I was introduced to these cards in 2008 when the staff at Sports Card Forum went to the National Sports Collector’s Convention in Chicago and came back with this beauty for me:

Mary Riley, one of the top promoters for Benchwarmer and is probably in every product. Little known fact, she happened to grow up a town over from me in Connecticut. I knew when I received this card after a giveaway that I had to collect her. So I did what any guy in his 20s would do. I bought a case of 2007 Benchwarmer Gold Edition.

That was the start to my Benchwarmer collection. A ton of autographs, some bikini swatches, and kiss cards. I was in it for the long haul. I was now able to trade and sell for what I wanted and needed. I even started smaller collections of Jennifer Korbin and Nikki Ziering to start, especially since I pulled an awesome autographed kiss card from Nikki Ziering.

I traded my way towards bigger collections of the girls I wanted to collect and eventually ended up with some pretty nice cards. I bought an occasional box here and there to supplement my trade bait and to try and pull more of my girls. Benchwarmer cards at one point even became my main focus of collecting.

When 2009 Benchwarmer Limited came out I loved the cards they had. I decided to grab another case. In this case I actually made my money back plus extra. I pulled a Brandy Grace Autographed Bikini Swatch numbered to 5 which I sold immediately for $400. I pulled a Jennifer Walcott School Girl swatch which I sold for another $100. Those two cards practically paid for my case. At the time I had started collecting Spencer Scott and I was able to trade for some of her high end cards with another pull in that case. Yes, Benchwarmer has high end cards.

Right now I have kind of been in a Benchwarmer lull. I haven’t bought any in awhile and even sold off my Jennifer Korbin, Nikki Ziering, and Spencer Scott collections. I probably won’t ever move my Mary Rileys or a personalized card from the 2009 Convention in which Benchwarmer model Lisa Gleave personalized an autographed kiss card for me and even said hi to me on camera for Sports Card Forum and posted it on YouTube.

I plan on buying some again someday, it’s probably one of the most fun products to open. At least if you’re a male. Brian Wallos does a great job with the product time after time and always tries innovative new cards for his products. His models sell the product itself, but he does a great job with signing popular models. He’s grabbed WWE and TNA girls, girls from TV and Playboy, just about anywhere.

If you haven’t tried a box yet, I recommend it. It’s definitely a fun experience.

Trading Sports Cards Online

We at Sports Card Blog love to trade cards, but the location is absolutely terrible for trading. Living in kind of a mountain, cow town has it’s disadvantages in this regard. The closest decent shops are 30 minutes to an hour away and they really don’t have any events for collectors or their customers. Once a month there is a show at a mall about 35 minutes away. I have actually never been to Jantzen Beach Mall for this card show, but if it is anything like some of the hobby shops in the city I’m going to be disappointed. They need to take some of my ideas to run a better hobby shop.

So I have to resort to doing 99.9% of my trading online, but that is okay with me. Even though I have to pay to ship the cards in some sort of protective package and send it to far away countries like Canada, it’s still worth it in the end. I haven’t had the opportunity to trade with anyone farther away then Canada but I am always happy to trade with anyone else.

I use different sports card forums for my trading. When choosing a sports card forum for trading, you look to find the most legit forums. I’ve been browsing several forums lately looking for the best of the best. First, let me start off by saying no site is 100% safe when you are trading. But I would stay away from places like YouTube where there is absolutely no method of weeding out the bad traders.

My favorite and the place I trade the most is Sports Card Forum. Sports Card Forum probably has the largest number of people to trade with across all sports. These people come from all ages and backgrounds from around the world. I admit I may have somewhat of a “homer” bias with them because it was my first forum I ever joined and I was a staff member there for 3 years. But over 200 transactions and never having any of my cards or money stolen is definitely a good thing. I would say their forte is their football area which is probably the biggest of any forum sites. They are always looking for ways to improve the experience and have a ton of features. Finally, SCF as it’s called, has the best custom built Trade Manager of any site to keep everything organized and in place.

My second favorite place to trade is at CloutsnChara. First, I want to start by stating they are 95% hockey collectors. I collect all sports but this is definitely a great place to trade if you are into hockey. Plus they hold the most group breaks I have ever seen with just about every product imaginable in hockey. If you’re American like me you’ll be sending to Canada quite a bit and Canada Post isn’t always the most reliable when it comes to international shipping. This owner also owns their own card shop in Canada so they can help you getting the newest hockey products.

Although I’ve never traded on this site, I find the discussion to be top notch and it has great possibilities for trading. Freedom Cardboard is that site. Although at times I find some of the discussions to be brash and some of the members to be kind of rude to newer people, I think they mean well. I would recommend this site to those in the slightly older crowd and those with thicker skin. There are a lot of baseball people there and a lot of prospectors so if you are into prospecting or just baseball cards this is probably the best site for baseball card collectors. The owner here is also always trying to improve the experience with new ideas and also owns his own card shop in Georgia.

I’ve traded on Trading Card Central as well, but I feel like this site is slowly going downhill. The members are leaving and it’s becoming more and more inactive on the forums. Secondly, I haven’t traded on Card Collector’s World but I know a lot of the members and staffers there to be good people. It’s a pretty tight knit community that is easy to integrate yourself into. Finally, I’d like to add The Bench as well. I almost forgot about them but they are still a popular forum to trade on, but like others it has tapered off over the years.

So there is a short list of sites for you to check out if you are interested in trading sports cards online.

Preview: 2011 Topps Chrome Football

2011 Topps Chrome football looks to be the best Topps Chrome product to come out in years in any sport. With newly minted inserts, solid on-card rookie autographs, and sleek design, this Topps Chrome should set the mark for future Topps products in the future. There will be some sticker autograph in this product though, but I’m sure it is impossible to get everyone on card.

As collectors, we love hard-signed content and Topps has been doing their best to get as much on-card goodness as they can and they have been doing a great job listening to the collectors. On-card Cam Newton, AJ Green, Mark Ingram…the list for the season goes on and Topps has it all in that regard. Then add in all of Topps’ famous refractors and it’s a rookie autograph party. Included this year is a new red and crystal atomic refractor for these autograph. Nothing brings nostalgia like an atomic refractor in your pack of cards.

But where Topps Chrome really shines this year is their insert sets. I admit, I love inserts. Nothing breaks up the monotony of pulling base after base then solid insert cards. Personally, I wish I could have one every pack. This year Topps breaks up that monotony in a number of ways. The best part is that there is an autographed version to every insert subset. A limited edition Bowman Chrome will be inserted along with a Rookie Recognition set. But my favorite is the different die-cut inserts you can pull. Superlative Rookies and Finest Freshman are both very nice looking cards and die-cut into nice shapes. Maybe I’m a little old-school with my inserts, but there is nothing wrong with that.

The only problem I see with this product is that I don’t see any information on veteran autographs. I know Topps Chrome is known for their rookie autographs and it’s a great rookie product but I like pulling veterans too. It would add a little bit of value to a very hit or miss product. You either hit a top rookie or you don’t. That’s really what it comes down to in the end. I’d just like to see a little more autographed content.

More information to come soon on release and price, but for now we’ll assume it’s around the same price and time as last year.

For now I leave you with some die-cut goodness.

Preview: 2011 Panini Elite Football

The NFL may not be able to get a product on the field yet this year, but Panini isn’t having any problems with their next release of NFL licensed football cards.

2011 Panini Elite football is set for release later this month with all the rookies and stars you need this season. Well so does Panini Rookies & Stars, but we haven’t gotten there yet. June 22, 2011 is the day to mark down for when you can find this product online.

5 cards per pack and 20 packs per box. 4 autographed or memorabilia cards per box with at least 1 being an autograph. I’ve noticed when Panini says this you can usually find 2 autographs, but they are being cautious. This seems to be the year of the insert for Panini, which I love by the way, so there will be a ton of inserts to get your hands on. Included is at least 4 rookies in your box too from some of the best rookies of this year’s draft class and they are all numbered to 999.

Now I love a lot of the designs of the cards in this set such as the Throwback Threads booklet, Down and Distance, and other inserts, but the rookies seem a little weird to me. They are designed horizontally. They use a big and wide photograph of the player in the center with “Rookie” down the side and kind of a plain background. You can see all 36 rookie cards from Panini Elite here. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the fact they are horizontal throws me off. Maybe they look better in person, sometimes scans don’t do cards justice.

That’s about the only thing amongst the whole product that I find odd. Otherwise check out these beauties as I mentioned above, Down and Distance and the Throwback Threads booklet cards:

I love both of those cards. The field design in the Down and Distance subset with the team logo in the field looks great and it’s just very pleasing to the eye. A cool idea would be to have the jersey piece cut out in the shape of a football on the field. Just a random idea that just came to my head as I was typing this.

Also looking good in this set is the Throwback Threads booklet. I love the throwback design where the jersey sits. These are probably my two favorite cards of the set.

I know people love rookies but the inserts in this set appear to be where it’s at. With great design and some great names in these subsets, their value should be great for the 2011 football season.

Find 2011 Panini Elite football on June 22, 2011 for around $90-$100 a box.