Review: 2010-11 Panini Contenders Hockey

2010-11 Panini Contenders, after delay, is finally here.

2010-11 Panini Contenders hockey marks the first time that Contenders has ventured over into the hockey area. Overall, I would call it a success. With every rookie autograph signed on-card, this is going to be Panini’s best product for rookie autographs for years to come.

Panini Contenders comes with 4 autographs in a hobby box, at least 3 of them are those hard signed rookie autographs. There is no game used relics in this product as it is strictly an autograph only product, which I enjoy. Game used relics have become too common in this hobby. A lot of people like to see some, especially patches, but I don’t think this product would be any better with game used relics. It’s great the way it is.

Base:

Some of the cool inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

The base design of this set is fabulous. As I stated in my review video, I love the ticket design on base cards. It’s nothing revolutionary by no means and has been used by several companies for years. But it looks clean and it works. Another great aspect is the room for on card autographs. On card autographs are the way to go with the rookie autographs and I would like to have seen the whole set as on card autographs but this is a step in the right direction. I’m not a huge fan of the foilboard insert sets (except the base parallel) but the cards look solid and would look okay with sticker autographs. I want to say I love the acetate Behind the Glass insert set and the Leather Larceny set is something new as well. Both insert sets are great. If I could recommend something else, I would make the frame on the Winter Classic insert set smaller to really show the great photography those cards bring to the table. Overall, it deserves a high grade.

Checklist:

I think the checklist is solid. A large amount of rookies are found in this product as well as the 100 card base set featuring the stars of all your favorite teams. I like a smaller base set as it makes completing a set a little easier for those who may only be able to afford one box of a product. I only missed 2 cards to complete the 100 card base set in my box, which is a good sign. I did have 5 dupes, but that is understandable with a smaller set. I didn’t have any collation issues that other have been reporting so I can’t hold that against them in my review of this one box. I think the Legendary Ticket set may be a little too big since you only get about 1 of those a box. I like inserts and this set is loaded with them. You have your hard hitters in Behind the Glass, your stars with the Award Contenders, and more rookies with your Rookie Contenders. Plus, who doesn’t want a little goalie set to support the men who have pucks shot at them? Overall, there is something for everybody.

Value:

The value of this box is obviously hit or miss. But I’ve seen a lot more misses then hits. You get four autographs a box which is nice. I would put this product on par with what Upper Deck brings with SP Authentic. However, this box is $30-$40 more then that product. I think this product is over priced for what it is. If they throw in an extra autograph of one of the insert sets I would think the price was about right, but with a product containing at least 3 rookies, sometimes 4, I think the value should be a little bit lower as you may not hit an established player. I understand that some of these rookie tickets will be short printed as well, but not knowing that when the product is released doesn’t help the value. I also believe that all inserts should be serial numbered, but they will still probably fall into the same range as price is concerned on the secondary market. Drop the price down a bit, put it on par with SP Authentic, and the value will be perfect for this product.

Overall:

Finally a product that is on par with SP Authentic. You may not be able to pull any autographed patches in this product, but the autographs are a plenty and the insert sets are definitely better then SP Authentic. The design is solid, although has been used for a long time. It works though, which is a positive. The checklist is chock full of stars, rookies, and retired players so I think just about everyone will be happy with the possibilities they could pull. I love the 14 karat gold card promotion, although I didn’t get one this time around. There are only 20 but they are definitely great chase cards. This is a great start for Panini using the Contenders brand. I really hope they decide to keep this in their product run for the next season as it was a lot of fun to break, just lower the price a tad or add another autograph.

Here is the video break so you can see everything. Make sure to subscribe to our channel.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dAE6nPcZ0M]

Site News: 2 Boxes Arriving

Just a quick note:

My post for today will be later then usual. I have 2 boxes coming in today that I will be breaking and reviewing.

2010-11 SP Authentic hockey
2010-11 Panini Contenders hockey

Stay tuned.

Edit: Plus, new YouTube button at the top! Look for box breaks and contests posted there! Make sure you subscribe to keep up to date! While you’re up there, make sure you Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! More exclamation points!

2011 Bowman Bryce Harper – The Hype Needs to Stop

Since everyone else is talking about 2011 Bowman Bryce Harper, I’m going to make a simple post about it.

I understand Bryce Harper was the number one pick and is projected to be a great hitter and a great player. But the prices for his cards are absolutely outrageous right now. Why are people paying such high prices for someone who hasn’t stepped foot in the Major Leagues yet? It’s like signing bonuses given to players after the draft or the guaranteed money the NFL gives newly drafted players. You are overpaying for someone who no one really knows how they will produce, it’s a giant gamble.

People are paying HUGE numbers on these freshly produced Bryce Harper sports cards. A simple eBay completed listings search will show you how much people are really selling these for. Just the other day, the 2011 Bowman Bryce Harper Red Version 1/1 was pulled and is expected to get between $7,000 and $10,000. Does this tune sound familiar? Anyone remember last year? Stephen Strasburg lit up collector’s eyes with money when they pulled one of his cards. Prices grew even more after his major league debut in which he struck out 13. Prices took a hit from reality when it was discovered Strasburg needed Tommy John elbow surgery. The Nationals GM just stated yesterday that Bryce Harper will not play in the majors this year. But prices are still out of control.

The way the hobby market works is that there is an initial price surge on cards for prospects when a product comes out. These prices will slowly come down as more and more come into the market. If he is still tearing up the minors, the price will finally flat line at a number, probably still kind of high. If he starts struggling, prices will dip a very small bit. The day he is called up the majors, the price will rise again and if he has a monstrous first game, prices will rise a bit more. The thing is, with Bryce Harper’s hype machine, prices may never reach that initial surge that people paid and are paying right now. That is unless he does something absolutely crazy like breaks DiMaggio’s hit streak or hits .400 his first season.

People are overpaying for Bryce Harper and the people lucky enough to pull his more rare cards are making a killing because of these idiots spending so much money. I thought everyone learned last year with everything surrounding Strasburg, but I guess not. This is just too crazy, it’s boggling the mind.

Acetate Card of the Day – 2005 Donruss Studio Jason Varitek

Last week I wrote about my love for acetate sports cards and my experiences collecting them. I figured I would start a post every week or so about an acetate card in my collection. I will be discussing the design, set, and anything else I feel is pertinent to the discussion. And with 2010-11 Panini Contenders hockey coming out today with their acetate insert set, I figured it would be a good day to start. My box is probably being sent out today, but I have plenty of other acetate cards laying around.

Featured acetate card of the day:

2005 Donruss Studio – Studio Stars – Jason Varitek

2005 Donruss Studio was one of the first sets I worked on in my return to the hobby in 2005. Studio Stars was one of the first insert sets I completed as well. Sadly, when I moved a bunch of my cards left over in Connecticut out to Oregon, a box with this insert set in it went missing. Luckily, I keep all my Red Sox cards separate from the others and they survived.

2005 Donruss Studio was fun because of the city scape in the background. I know it’s been done for years before that but I enjoyed the player on the front with the city in the background. There was also a bunch of nice insert sets with some pretty nice patch or autograph hits. The highlight of my several boxes of 2005 Studio was a Masterstrokes Auto/Jersey/Bat of Miguel Cabrera numbered out of 25. But I always loved the acetate insert set.

The design of this card is definitely top notch. The player is featured in the middle of the card with a fiery background which makes the player pop out from the card. The lettering on the top and bottom is bold with team colors on top of the clear area making it pop out even more and easily readable, even if shown through my back window. The foil area on the top left changes according to the parallel, this time being blue as this card is numbered out of 50. Overall, absolutely beautiful looking card.

Jason Varitek is currently the backup catcher for the Boston Red Sox. He has spent his entire Major League career with the Red Sox after he was traded as a prospect from the Seattle Mariners in one of the best deals in Red Sox history. The Red Sox traded Heathcliff Slocumb to the Seattle Mariners for prospects Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Needless to say, this deal would reap great benefits for the Red Sox. Derek Lowe would throw a no-hitter and become a central piece to the 2004 World Championship team. Jason Varitek would become one of the best defensive and offensive catchers in the league as well as the best caller of a game in the league. He went on to catch no hitters from Hideo Nomo, Derek Lowe, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz which is a Major League record. He may have had another when Devern Hansack had a no hitter through 7 innings, but the game was called due to rain. He was the first Red Sox captain since Jim Rice and in my eyes should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame someday.

Preview: 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions

First off, please God, we can only hope this is not as bad as World of Sports. I want to get into the whole multi-sport thing, but World of Sports wasn’t Upper Deck’s best effort. You can check the review tab for my personal box break and review of that product.

Anyway, this product is filed under baseball on most website, but you can find a ton of autos from a large cross spectrum of sports in this product. The best part about this product is that every card is hard signed. Finally companies are starting to give what the collectors want and that is hard signed autographs. This product will have 20 packs with 5 cards per pack. The base set is 150 cards so it will take 2 boxes to make a complete set.

Every box will contain a total of three of the following: Hard signed autographs, Memorabilia, Embroidered patch cards (more manu-patches! ew), or a 1 of 1 printing plate. Every pack will have a mini, a short print, or an insert inside it so you will get your insert fixes. Also, this marks the return of the 5×7 box topper in all the boxes. Personally, I think all boxes should have some sort of box topper and this is a great addition.

Included as relics in this product are several intriguing possibilities. World leaders from the past and present, inspirational people, and landmarks from around the world. Did I mention the bugs are back? Yes, Entomology is making a comeback with all new bugs and beetles and all that stuff if you are into it. They were a hit last time, but personally I would squish them. I’ve never been a fan of non sports in my sports cards. I can understand the occasional Americana relic in certain sets, but bugs? Not my piece of the pie. Although animals involved in sports are different. There will be Kentucky Derby winner relics in this product as well which I don’t mind.

Although this is not officially licensed in any sort of way, the design of the cards is nice and it looks like the checklist is full of stars from the sporting world. Most of the cards have the player in a casual, non-competitive setting which I’m not crazy about, but I don’t hate it either. It’s definitely different but hopefully in a good way. But I don’t think it will be hard to do better then World of Sports.

Right now it’s set to come out the first week of July 2011. The price point is around $70 for a full hobby box.