Review: 2013 Panini Prestige Football

The second NFL product of the season has been upon us from Panini and it is ready to grab the headlines showcasing the new rookie class. Prestige is one of those products you see year after year, but you get excited for it as it signifies the beginning of the season. Usually one of the first products with autographs, memorabilia, and players in their new uniforms, it is a great time to begin prospecting for the upcoming season. Want to see what you can pull in a box? Let’s check it out.

Design:3 and half stars blue

Pros: Inserts look great. Great use of acetate. Nice use of foil.

Cons: Same designs as last year. Huge lettering. Rookie photo choices (Just home jerseys?).

Ideas: I’m looking for something more innovative nowadays. Collectors have seen the same thing over and over again, and in some cases repeats from last year. The diecut acetate cards were awesome. Some of the foil techniques were great. I’d like to see a more innovative base card in a product like this.

Checklist:4 stars blue

Pros: Rookie in their NFL uniforms. Updated roster information.

Cons: A ton of cards of the same rookies. A lot of rookies, period.

Ideas: Knowing the rookie class wasn’t as good this year, it would have been a great time to expand the checklist with some left over inventory from last year.

Value:4 stars blue

Pros: $82 at DA Card World. Four hits per box. Top rookies and still some veterans sprinkled inside. Leon Sandcastle autographs.

Cons: Four hits per box may be all rookies. The checklist is rough for a non-hyped rookie season.

Ideas: Knowing the rookie class wouldn’t be as good and in the interest of trying to sell more product, the Leon Sandcastle gimmick was nice, but not enough. A more veteran laden product might be beneficial until the rookies can showcase themselves on the field and develop a following in a year like this.

Overall:4 stars blue

Overall, the product is interesting this year from Panini comparatively to last year. Much of that comparison lends itself to the rookie class which prospectors deem to be sub-par. However, that can still change as soon as the season starts and into the season. However, that does not bode well for early season products. Perhaps product order could have changed a bit. But there are some things I didn’t like and some that I loved. Everyone is different, but I think my thoughts have some merit. The repetitive designs and the “all rookie” hits are a couple things. I also found some nice surprises like the acetate inserts and the price of the product. To each their own.

Thanks to Panini America for providing this product for review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

You can find the full checklist of this product at Cardboard Connection.

I don’t think I made a video of this break as I was traveling, but subscribe anyway for break videos.

And here are some of the cards. Buccaneers heavy because I can!

 

 

Interview: A Day With CheckOutMyCards (COMC)

As most people who follow the official SportsCardBlog Twitter feed, I recently spent some time up in Seattle at some Red Sox games. Upon deciding that I would base my stay out of the nearby city of Redmond, I decided to shoot a message over to the fine people at CheckOutMyCards (COMC) to determine if I could get some face time over there. Well, the answer was, of course, yes!

COMC

And the time couldn’t have come any more perfect. I wanted to start selling some inserts and lower end cards on there to see how it all works, so I was able to drop off 300 cards (currently processing). It was also during that time in which COMC changed their policy on Beckett prices. I was also able to chat with Jeremy Williams, Strategic Projects Manager for COMC. He invited me out for a hot cuppa’ tea and we chatted…and chatted…and chatted. For about three hours we chatted about the industry, cards, COMC, my blog, and everything in between.

I wanted to spend the time learning more about COMC and how it worked. I wanted to learn some things people may not be aware of or know about COMC. I also wanted a tour, but I wasn’t able to secure that deal due to proprietary issues (I still won’t tell, I promise!) So let’s talk about what I learned:

Beckett Pricing

I want to start, first and foremost, with the ongoing issue with COMC that is on everyone’s mind. Beckett pricing is no longer available for free. Personally, I knew this was a long time coming due to my past involvement with Sports Card Forum. Beckett owns the rights to their pricing and giving it away for free became too big of a price for COMC. With 7 million cards (and almost 2 million different cards), I’d imagine that tag was getting pretty high. In order to financially feasible, it was important to change how that worked. And based on what little I do know about business and what I know about the legal issues behind supplying this information, it was inevitable. However, I do like COMC’s solution of paying for it when you process a card with them and seeing past sales history on the site. Personally, I don’t think Beckett value really matters anyway, but it is a decent gauge. One could argue COMC may have gotten the short end of the deal with the new contract with Beckett, but would you rather have the information or not have it?

As far as their communications went about announcing the changes. They do realize the mistakes they made and are already working on improvements on that front. I think the latest post on their apology was a big step forward for most collectors and they are continuing to try and improve their process.

I also want to mention, technically, purchasing a Beckett subcription is 20% cheaper with COMC credit because you would have to “cash out” to pay for it normally and get that 20% taken off. Just a thought.

New Ideas

One of the big things I was interested in was “What’s next for COMC?” I got a large number of answers. COMC has continued its evolution as quickly as Tim can churn out the programming for what he wants to implement. From what I can see, he has the vision for a lot of things and his staff really supports his work. So what is coming up?

Base cards - While I can’t go into much detail, as I couldn’t get much detail myself, COMC is working on a way to buy/sell base cards as effectively, efficiently, and most importantly cheaply as possible. Set builders can start rejoicing now.

Trading – I’ve made this apparent in the past that I would love to see this implemented. Tim has the same thoughts as well. Trading, at some point, may be implemented into COMC. It all depends on how the service works, how tough it is to code, and all that other fun stuff you have to strategize about. Imagine the possibilities of a 5 person trade or trading your cards online where you can see just about everything about the card you want, including pictures. Yes!

Shipping - One of the things COMC is trying to improve on is how the product gets to them and how they get it back to you with minimum fees. As far as I was told, and I fully believe them, COMC makes $0 on shipping. In fact, they have in the past lost money on shipping. In order to increase survivability of COMC, they have tried to create new ways to ship to them and receive your cards. Basically, it is their new Mailbox program on steroids. COMC is working on teaming up with local card shops, card shows, and other trusted individuals to ship items for you up to Redmond, and back to you. Imagine your own little mailbox at your favorite card shop or card show. It will save you some good money on shipping!

Final Thoughts

Everything about COMC is revolving around the customer, whether you choose to drink the Kool-Aid or not. You can tell by their constant innovations on the site, trying new ideas, taking customers thoughts on ideas to improve the site and the hobby, a lot of things. Me? I’m drinking the Kool-Aid as I firmly believe they are looking out for the customer first. I thought that before my meeting, and my meeting reaffirmed those beliefs.

Is it your best option for selling? It depends on what you are selling and why you are selling it. Quick flip on a hot player on cards that just came out yesterday? Yeah, might not be the best for you right now. But you know what? They know that and are working on ways to help you get the maximum amount for your card. The entire staff has all the faith in the world in Tim and the company, and from talking to Jeremy I can see why. Tim is meticulous and plans everything. Every contingency, every thought, every piece of information that comes to mind is thought through. The hobby needs someone like him to be a visionary of the future.

One of the last questions I was asked is “Where do I see the hobby going in the future?” My answer? I have no clue. And from the clues I see today coming from the depths of the hobby, I’m not entirely optimistic. But I think Tim, Jeremy, and the rest of the COMC staff do have a clue and they want to be the innovators who change the hobby for good.

Some fun facts:

- Up to over 50 employees!

- Want to know why items get shipped so efficiently? They are right next to a USPS warehouse! (Planned when new warehouse was bought.)

- The company with the largest number of SKUs in the world! (Unverified, but likely.)

Review: 2012-13 Panini Brilliance Basketball

Yes, I’m a bit behind. Graduate school and working 40 hours is catching up to me.

Panini is still bringing out all the stops with this year’s full year of basketball, and the “new” Brilliance basketball is another example of what is on the plate for the future at Panini with their basketball products. Will this rookie product shine in the lineup, or is it destined to be trade or relegated to the “second team” of products for your buck. Let’s check it out.

Design:4 stars blue

The Pros: Good looking designs when you can see them. Some old school themes with inserts. Good use of etching and team colors.

The Cons: Oh. My. God. So shiny. I know Panini loves the foilboard, I get what Brilliance once was, but when it is hard to make out the writing sometimes, you need some contrast in the colors. I had the same issue with Certified. Contrast please! Huge fonts.

Ideas: Tone down the shininess a bit with contrasting colors. Maybe change the fonts around so they don’t take up so much of the cards on the bottom half. Definitely keep the thoughts for inserts as they remind me of past products.

Checklist:4 stars blue

The Pros: Double rookie class. Interesting group of players in autograph checklist from past years. Really good checklist of players for memorabilia cards.

The Cons: Double rookie class. Are the players or fan favorites too obscure? I mean, I loved Dana Barros growing up. I love seeing his autograph in the product.  Is he worth being in the product though? Basketball is a strange mistress when it comes to cards.

Ideas: Well the double rookie class is almost over. I feel like it took over basketball products this season, so we won’t have to worry about that. I have a thought for autograph checklist of older players. Remember the Panini “Design a Card” vote? How about “Design a Checklist”? The logistics may be difficult due to contracting and such, but a post on the blog about players that people want to see would be interesting, and eye opening.

Value:3 and half stars blue

Currently, this box is sitting at $75 over at DA Card World.

The Pros: 3 hits in a box. Top rookies of the past season. Top autographs available at low print runs. Large memorabilia pieces.

The Cons: Double rookie class. Obscure players on the checklist that don’t bring value. Non-numbered cards. Memorabilia cards.

Ideas: The three hits in a box is a good start, however, two autographs and a memorabilia card isn’t the best Panini has done. The names on memorabilia are always solid, but we all know the value of the cards. Why not lower the print run on memorabilia cards in a product and have a larger checklist. I know it increases costs, but there needs to be something done with memorabilia card values. I know Panini has made great strides in increasing autographed content, we just need to figure out something to improve value in memorabilia cards now.

Overall:4 stars blue

Oh Panini. Brilliance was interesting to say the least. In the beginning, I was sort of expecting something retro. I was kinda hoping to see the late 90s Fleer product redone by Panini. Instead it is a bit overly shiny and needs some more contrast. But the cards that are done right look awfully good. The checklist could use some work and I think some tweaking in how players are decided could yield interesting results. Finally, the value can be there with the right box, but the checklist is a bit rough so it is almost there. Maybe we can also find a way to increase the value of these memorabilia cards while we are at it.

Thanks to Panini for providing this box for review. you can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

You can find the full checklist on Cardboard Connection.

Subscribe to us on YouTube to view the break video.

And here are some of the cards. (I’m a Trailblazers fan, sorry!)

 

Contest: Show Me Your ‘Bum! (Sports Card Album)

Show me your ‘Bum! That’s right. Show me your Sports Card Album.

What I have been given is an opportunity to showcase one of the greatest new additions to the hobby that will improve the community and your ability to share your favorite cards. That innovation was created by the awesome Sergio at BustingPacks.com. Sports Card Album allows you to upload your photos of your cards to share with the world. Hate the new Photobucket? Don’t like using any of those other services which only caters to certain people? Now you can upload your photos to your Sports Card Album and have that hosting you desire. It is also a great organizational tool for your collection. You can upload from your PC or mobile device. (There are rumors there will be an app coming sometime in the future as well!)

So I have been given some sweet ‘Bum swag to give away. The only way you can get a hold of this MASSIVE prize pack is to show me your ‘Bum. You will get a sealed box of cards from Sports Card Album and some other goodies. It should be loaded with awesome cards to add to your ‘Bum. (Sorry Sergio, I really enjoy refering to it as a ‘Bum.)

To enter, write a comment below with a link to your Sports Card Album. You can get a bonus entry by tweeting on Twitter “The @SportsCardBlog made me show my ‘Bum @SportsCardAlbum #showmeyourbum http://wp.me/p1NZ5Y-1d8“. Winner gets all! You have until Sunday, July 14, 2013, at 2359 PST to enter! Winner is chosen at random.

Extra Bonus: I will send out a prize pack of my own to whoever creates the best graphic with Sports Card Album and the hashtag #showmeyourbum (Judged by Sports Card Album)

sportscardalbum

Winner: Ben Swagga! Via his Twitter entry!

Review: 2013 Panini USA Champions Baseball

Happy Independance Day to all of the Americans out there who read this blog. (And belated Canada Day to my Canadian friends as well!) But waiting to post the review of this product on this day was important to me. USA Baseball from Panini! Bringing the most comprehensive product in the history of USA Baseball you will get to learn the history of the program from the players that played for the country. So want to see what is in the box of this star striped product? Check it out. And let me know if this review style works better for you guys. A little more organized.

Design:4 stars blue

The Pros: The stars and stripes theme is perfect and any other way wouldn’t have been good. Great looking, patriotic inserts like Game Gear, Stars and Stripes, and Pride.

The Cons: Certified parallels don’t fit in this product for me. Same goes with Diamond Kings. First, I love the thought to bring back DK, but not in this product. At least the color scheme on the parallels is spot on.

The Ideas: Get rid of the shiny Certified parallels. Build a new parallel set that fits with the product.

Checklist:4 and half stars blue

The Pros: Everyone from the old school USA players to the 15U players. Variety of different “hit” cards from jerseys to bat knobs. Rather large checklist.

The Cons: The 15U players. I don’t know, maybe I just don’t pay attention to the want for 15U USA baseball cardboard.

The Ideas: If you want to keep the 15U players, I would limit them a bit and include more of the older teams and veterans that helped make USA baseball.

Value:4 and half stars blue

The Pros: $62 a box over at DA Card World. Multiple autographs. Multiple memorabilia cards. Parallels. One low price. And the chance to hit something REALLY nice.

The Cons: Mostly checklist issues with names you might never see again. But that is expected.

The Ideas: Don’t change too much. Great price for the content.

Overall:4 and half stars blue

Overall, Panini USA Champions baseball delivers what it promises. A history of the USA baseball national team as well as current players that will be making their way through the ranks of the national team, through collegiate, and hopefully pro ball someday. Whether or not the value will continue is up in the air, but if any of these players end up being the next big thing, we saw what happened with Bryce Harper USA cards.

Thanks to Panini America for providing this product for review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, or Twitter accounts.

Check out Cardbord Connection for the full product checklist.

Subscribe to us on YouTube and you can watch the break!

Or check out some pics below: