Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey

Upper Deck Artifacts hockey is the first hockey product of the new season. Featuring all your stars of the previous seasons and some of your newest rookies, Artifacts is what hockey collectors get excited for, it means hockey season is right around the corner.

This year’s rookie that everyone will want to get their hands on is Cody Hodgson of the Vancouver Canucks. Upper Deck has that covered in 2011-12 Artifacts. A box of Artifacts this time around will contain at least 3 multi-swatch memorabilia cards. At least one of them will be a dual/triple player card. One of the new memorabilia cards in Artifacts this year is a fight strap card containing the fight strap of a player’s jersey. Also, finally, making it into products more often is pieces of a game used stick. It seems that stick cards have only been reserved for the higher end of all brands but it’s nice to see them a little more often. Returning is the great patches from last year, so don’t forget about those.

The box will also contain 2 rookie cards and 1 rookie redemption. Yes, you hear the word redemption and you think of terrible things. But with the NHL rules on rookie cards, they must step foot on the ice, it gives the company a chance to get more rookies out with their initial product. Again, it might take awhile, but the rookies will be made and they will show up in your mailbox.

Finally, as far as hits go, there will be one autographed card inserted in a box. This year though, they have added some autographed memorabilia hits to the foray so it adds a little bit of value to the possible hits.

The base set will be 100 cards and you will find one base parallel numbered to 100 per box. There will also be two Legends or Stars insert sets included as well.

At 4 cards per pack and 10 packs per box it will take a few boxes to complete a set.

I have to say that the design hasn’t changed much from the past couple of years so if you’re looking for something different then it’s not going to come. The Auto-facts design for autographed cards look a little sharper this year, so I’m impressed with that. But one thing I would like to see is to incorporate some of the designs from UD Ice into this product. A lot of their Artifacts designs have some sort of wintery feel to them and I think the acetate designs from Ice would make a great insert or memorabilia set inside Artifacts. Just an idea.

This product is set to release in September and although I don’t have a price for it, I can expect it to be about the same price as last year, around $80 to $90.

Minor Victory: Daily Views

This is a minor victory in the scheme of things, but a victory nonetheless.

Yesterday was the first day that this blog has reached over 100 views in a single day. It not only went over 100, it hit 133. In the grand scheme of things this is not very impressive. However, for a blog that is a month and a day old, it’s not bad considering I haven’t done much in the way of promotion other then links on forums and talking cards in other blogs.

So I would like to say “Thank You!” to everyone who has come to visit to read my stuff. It may not be anything ground breaking, but it is the information you need to stay up to date in the hobby. I try to keep it somewhat entertaining and informative and I hope I have done that for you.

In celebration, hopefully this weekend, I will be posting a contest for all to enjoy. It’s going to be something you have never seen before, and there will be a few winners if I can get enough entries. Stay tuned for that, as it will be pretty cool. I have some cool stuff including autographs, game used, and a mighty mystery box!  But how will the winners and prizes be chosen? You’ll have to wait and see.

So make sure you subscribe to this blog here on the left. Make sure you subscribe to our Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe on YouTube, and if you’re really inclined, sign up for our RSS Feed. Or even bookmark us, I don’t care.

This is only a minor victory and the first goal of a ton of goals. My next goal is to try and get the companies to send me boxes to review and then give away the contents to readers. That’s probably going to be one of the harder goals to achieve, but it will be done!

So keep reading and supporting this blog. Your loyalty will soon be rewarded.

May the mojo be with you!

Note: Don’t worry, I’ll get something important up for you all today. Just thought I would share the news.

Vote For NBA Hoops Insert Design

Just a quick PSA for those out there.

I’ve noticed a lot of people like to get on Panini’s behind for some of their design choices across a number of products. I understand some of their arguments, but now is your chance to be heard.

Votes will pick the design of an 2011-12 NBA Hoops insert set.

You can read the article and place your vote:

‘A Night To Remember’ Checklist Selected; Collector Vote on Final Design Starts Now!

Now if only Panini had a “Design A Card” contest. I know a ton of people who would enjoy that and could see some awesome designs. For the record, Press Pass a few years ago had a “Design A Card” contest on Sports Card Forum and Trader Retreat that went off pretty well. I’d like to see Panini step up and bring this back. Panini could pick a low end product or a product they want to revitalize their designs. They could have their collectors design a card as part of a contest to have it featured in a set. The winner could get their design featured plus a box of that product. The back of the card could even have a blurb about the design in small print. The voting process could be done by Panini designers and the faces of marketing, or it could be a public vote. Not only do I think it would be great for marketing by Panini, it would shut up some of the people who dislike every design Panini puts out there.

Scott and Tracy, don’t miss this opportunity.

Preview: 2011 Topps Finest Baseball

When Topps announced information regarding Topps Finest baseball recently, a lot of the hobby community seemed very excited for the possibilities this year. Far gone are the manufactured patches of the past few years and included are autographed on card rookies. It seems like Topps has listened to the die hard collectors out there and have made positive changes. For that, we thank you.

As always this will be a two mini box to one master box product. Each mini box will have one rookie autograph in it. One of those rookie autographs will be a rookie autograph with dual relics. Since there are other veteran autographs from the Finest Moments subset and the 60th Anniversary subset I am guessing you may find as many as three or four autographs per master box. Don’t hold me to that, but I’ve seen it in years past. Also returning are the large number of parallels. There will be 14 different parallels for each base card, which will give player collector’s a fit trying to find each card of their player. Thankfully, the parallels don’t look to be just border color changes and will be seen across the whole card. The aesthetics of the card really look that much better then just a different border color as you might see in Bowman.

New this year are rookie jumbo patch cards featuring 26 rookies with nice jumbo patches. These will be hard to find with the easiest parallel to get will be numbered to 10. These will also feature SuperFractors which should be awesome to pull. Also new, is the new inserts which are seeded 1 per mini box. Finest Freshmen featuring rookies, Finest Foundations featuring veterans, and Finest Moments featuring the best moments of a player’s career. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the 60th Anniversary autographed cards will be running in this product also celebrating Topps 60th birthday.

Finally, your case hit this year will be a Finest Moments autographed relic card featuring some of the top players in the game. Roy Halladay, Carl Crawford, and Joe Mauer are featured on the sell sheet of this product.

This product will be 5 cards per pack with a 100 card base set. There will be 12 packs per master box. The parallels of the base set include refractors from the past as well as a Die-Cut Mosaic numbered to 10, and a Canary Diamond numbered 1/1 celebrating Topps 60 years, totaling 14 different versions. You want to know who’s on the checklist? I can give you 2011 Topps Finest Baseball Checklist.

I believe this is set to arrive in September 2011, so you have plenty of time to get your money saved. This looks to be the best Finest product in years.

Here’s a pretty patch card to keep you occupied.

Review: 2010 Topps Triple Threads Football

Hey there football fans, this time I’ve brought you a Topps football product. A kind of higher end product in the sports card collecting world. 2010 Topps Triple Threads football. With the lack of 2011 products out yet with decent hits, I decided to go back to last year and get a product that is either hit or miss.

2010 Topps Triple Threads is full of possibilities. You get two packs of cards in a box with a guarantee of at least one autographed triple relic card. The other is either another autograph or some sort of relic card with at least three relic pieces. There are a ton of rookies you can pull from your 2010 rookie class as well as a nice selection of veterans available. The great part is that everything is serial numbered! Let’s dig into what was pulled from my box.

Base (all numbered out of 1350):

Parallels:

Hits:

Design:

The design of the base and parallels is very nice. I like the simple design that doesn’t try and do too much. It has the type of photography you expect from Topps with the players in nice action shots during the game. I like what they did with their parallels as well. A lot of other Topps products only change the border in their parallels, which I don’t care for. But Triple Threads has a different color scheme for the whole card in their parallels which is the way to do parallels. The colors aren’t too extravagant either or overpowering. The hits are very nice and glossy, definitely makes it look more like a premium product. The only real gripe I have with the design of the hits is the small pictures of the players on the card. I understand if you pull a 24 piece booklet like I did the pictures are going to be smaller, but there has to be a better way to show off the player inside the booklet.

Checklist:

The checklist is large and varied. I have to say that this is a very rookie heavy product. The majority of hits you will receive are rookies. But of course, there is the possibility for some of the great rookies for the year as well as Hall of Fame players and current superstars, but those are few and far between all the rookies loaded in this product. I’ve seen a lot of box breaks of this product online, which is the reason I decided to review this. I think there is just too many rookies for a product like this, and that leads me to value…

Value:

I’m not very sure the value is there. First off, where are the patches? With this product being as expensive as it is per pack, why don’t I see any patches? If the price is going to be that high for this box, I would expect the rookies to be patches and the cards without autographs to be patches as well (except for huge piece booklets). Game used is going the way of junk wax, nobody wants just plain pieces anymore. I can see the want for huge booklets like the one I pulled, but if I had pulled just 3 single color jerseys of some low end rookie, I would not have been happy at all. I would of been satisfied if they were patches, regardless of the player. Speaking of patches, I would of liked to have seen my rookie autograph patched as well. Again, with such a high price point, there needs to be value or the smarter collectors will stay away. If you’re going to pay over $50 per pack, there had better be a patch in there.

Overall:

Overall, despite my rants on value, I actually really like the product and think it has the potential to be that much better. The simple design is great and the hits really make it look like a premium product. The checklist is there, but I would add more current players to even out the hits a bit as I feel there are too many rookies in this product and it seems too rookie heavy. Finally, there needs to be more value put in these boxes. If I am going to spend my money on a product that is $50+ a pack, I want to see some patches. I don’t want to see single colored game used pieces like I pulled. The booklet I am okay with the chosen relics, but the rookies need to be a little bit more. This product needs a tiny upgrade to really make it a great product. For now, it’s just average. Step up the game Topps, I know you can do better.

As always, I have done a little video break of this product and the video is located here, it seems the blue and orange theme really worked, just no Tebow: