Review: 2012 Panini Signatures Series Baseball

2012 Panini Signature Series baseball is out as one of Panini’s premier products that produces penmanship from prospects and pros. All alliteration aside, it’s a product with a three autographs per pack/box along with three parallels. Without the use of the MLB logos, this product is still a great looking set with an old-school Donruss Studio look to it. Let’s see what you can find in a product like this…

Design:

As stated in the introduction, the design is sort of a license-less homage to the former Donruss Studio products. A studio setting face shot, dark background, with a slight appearance of the hat that is cropped out just enough so you know it’s a baseball player. Great use of cropping in the product to give it a great feel. Now most know about my feeling toward manufactured patch autographs, and this product is full of them. If they came up with a different design for that portion of the product, I easily would have given this at least another half star. But we also have the inclusion of faux baseball leather autographs on the Sweet Spot, which I have always loved. I’m glad to see those brought back again in baseball products.

Checklist:

The checklist is heavy on the rookies and short on the veterans. There really isn’t much else to say about that. If you pull one of the stars or legends of the game you’ve got some luck on your side. While the selection of rookies is large, it is still larger than the selection of veterans/legends in terms of variety and numbering. For instance, most of all rookies are numbered to 299…veterans and legends? 25 or less.

Value:

I was actually shocked when while doing my research I saw the original and current price for this product. Right now you can find the product for $97 at DA Card World. I thought that was still too high, but it originally came out at $120. For a product that leans heavy on the rookies, despite the three autographs per box, it feels very overpriced. Even at $97 it feels overpriced. I’ve seen this and other breaks of the product and I can’t justify $120, let alone $100 for this product. I’m not sure why it was priced so highly, but it could definitely use a price drop if Panini wanted to sell more product earlier in the cycle. My one issue with the MAPP is that I shouldn’t have to wait until after it expires to get a price that is accurate.

Overall:

It’s weird going from a huge success in Panini Cooperstown to a semi-fail in this product. The product design is nice, despite not being a huge fan of manufactured patch autographs. The Sweet Spot autographs was a nice addition to the product as it has always had a solid backing in a lot of previous sports card products. The checklist is sort of disappointing, but there are still some really nice autographs to be found in the product. At the price of $120, it’s definitely a no-go. Even at the newly lowered price, it is still a tough break.

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

You can find the full checklist and other information at the Cardboard Connection website.

Video is below, it’s short and sweet.

Review: 2012 Panini Cooperstown Baseball

Panini’s baseball products are now in full swing to round out the 2012 season of baseball cards. Without the MLB license, they are putting out bigger and better products this season, especially with the addition of the Hall of Fame license, now is a great time for Panini to show what they can do. No better example would be this product. Panini Cooperstown is a product filled with just Hall of Famers and displays at the shrine to baseball’s best. Check out what we thought of the product:

Design:

The design of this product is one that takes the history of the Hall of Fame and places it directly in front of you on the card. I called it in my review video, “a time capsule on cardboard”. That truly is what the product is, more directly what it stands for, and more importantly what I believe Panini was striving for. While you won’t see symbols of the teams, or even the team city on the front of the card (the only fault I found), it showcases the players first and foremost. The inserts are just as informative in showcasing some of the greatest items the Hall has to showcase, as well as a bit about the city of Cooperstown itself. Finally, hard-signed autographs. They are just beautifully done. Well done. One final addition, I would of liked to have seen the year they were inducted on the base cards.

Checklist:

What makes this great is that you buy the product knowing full well that every card, including autographs, feature Hall of Famers or those with displays in the Hall. In a lot of products you might end up with with less desirable cards, but there is no denying what will be in this box in terms of content. You will find everyone from Lou Gehrig to Joe Tinker, and the Doubleday ball to Walter Johnson’s glove. Everyone and everything is immortalized.

Value:

You will be able to find these boxes for about $90 over at DA Card World. I find that price to be a tad bit high for only one or two autographs per box. At two autographs it is a bit easier to take, but I also understand the money probably needed to secure Hall of Fame autographs as well as the Hall of Fame license. It’s not terrible though. With a checklist full of Hall of Fame talent, how can you really go wrong with this product? There are also 20 SPs and a number of different numbered cards as well. Definitely fair though.

Overall:

Overall, this is by far Panini’s best baseball product it has put out since acquiring the MLBPA license. The fantastic design, complete checklist, and Hall of Fame credentials makes this a real complete product. Add in hard signed autographs from Hall of Famers, and you continue to have a fantastic product from the people over at Panini. With this product now being looked back upon, you hope that this translates to other great products to come out from Panini.

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

To view the full checklist of the product check out Cardboard Connection.

I’m STILL having trouble with photos, but check out this video on YouTube….it’s a bit long.

Review: 2011 Panini Limited Baseball

First and foremost, this review is part of our “Good Cause Breaks” in which we are holding a group break to support charity. We would like to thank Panini America for the product to review and all of the participants for donating to be part of this group break. All of the proceeds will be donated to the National MS Society, as voted on by the participants.

2011 Panini Limited baseball has been brought back to life by the people at Panini and their shiny new MLBPA baseball license. This product was a solid product by Donruss in the early 2000s and was one of the first multi-hit, single pack products on the market at the time. 6 years later, it’s been brought back with extra hits and some new surprises for collectors.

Let’s get to the review.

Design:

The design brings back memories of the last time Donruss put this product out in 2005, especially with the Lumberjacks set. To me, that’s a great thing as Limited was one of my favorite products back then. Even if you look at the video, you’ll see one of the empty boxes from 2005. It also appears Panini is attempting to use some sort of Chrome/gloss technology on some of the cards. Those cards have an interesting look to them when turned into the light, giving the card a little bit of depth and some eye catching looks. Overall, a very good job doing what they can without the actual MLB license. That Braun autograph looks great (besides the white box thing), although the Votto insert looks like he’s in 1906 and Adam Jones looks like he’s in a white t-shirt. They could use a splash of color on their clothes.

Checklist:

I’m a little hard on the checklist because I’m going back to what Limited used to mean in baseball. Limited rarely had prospects, or even rookies for that matter, in their products. It was often full of veterans, superstars, fan favorites, and Hall of Famers. Having one of my two autographs being a prospect was a little tough to swallow as a fan of the product, especially one I had never heard of. I understand the need for content as well and the limitations of the licenses, but I just hope Panini understands baseball collectors are different than any other sport and not everyone enjoys prospects or prospecting. The current MLB talent is pretty good, and the Hall of Famers and fan favorites aren’t bad as well. Maybe I’m just picky, but I’d want less prospect content.

Value:

The $100 per box is a little bit high in my opinion, but again, that’s nothing new in my opinions of Panini products. This product would probably sit better in the $80 range, like it sits in the other sports currently. The four hits in the box of Limited is nice, however, the use of little known prospects and plain single jerseys or bats is kind of depressing. Although that is nothing new to the Limited line as well as it’s been that way even 6 years ago. But collectors and cards have changed to where these types of relics are so common now, nobody cares for them anymore unless they are extremely limited. I think Limited should be more of a platform for uncommonly used items. Bases, bat knobs, buttons, logo patches, helmets (thank you), batting gloves, pitcher’s rubber, cleats, stitches from a confirmed thrown baseball, just something different. I think it would add a little value and promote more ideas for memorabilia.

Overall:

Overall, I think I was tough and fair on my assessment of this product. I may have let my past love of the product interfere a bit, but things have changed in the sports card landscape since the last time this product was released in 2005. The design team did a good job with what they had to work with and I enjoy the semi-new technology from Panini on some of the cards. I know the lack of license for logos does a few things design wise, however, a splash of color on some of the clothes would be useful. The checklist wasn’t overly impressive, and the number of high numbered prospects kind of puts a damper on opening the product for me. There are still some great names to be had though, so don’t let that scare you away too much if you’re like me. The value is a little hard to swallow as well as I feel $100 is a little too much. It should sit a little lower and include some more “Limited” items like those I listed. It would create a more fun and unique product with items that are truly limited across the baseball card spectrum.

I’d like to thank Panini for providing this box for review. You can find them online at their official site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere you can find a company online nowadays.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/GouZGBiI0q4]

Congratulations to our group breakers.

Bustin’ Blasters: 2012 Topps Series I Baseball

It’s time for another round of Bustin’ Blasters!

This time, we will be opening a blaster of 2012 Topps Series I baseball…and a bonus of a retail fat pack! Oooooh. (Or whatever they are called.)

So I ripped into a blaster and a fat packy retail thing in search of…well I wasn’t really searching for anything. Red Sox cards? Trade bait? So a little bit of both. Instead, I really just got some set fillers and my bonus commemorative patch.

And trying to hide from Yankees cards has proven to be extremely difficult. Too many Yankees for my liking. But all in all, ripping packs is fun so it was fun. Here is a sampling of what you might find in your retail or retail fatty packs.

(And if you don’t know what the base looks like by now, check out what I got in my mini-break of half a jumbo hobby box.)

 

Review: 2011 Panini Contenders Baseball

With Panini giving us a list of all the Panini Contenders SPs for their baseball product this season, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to post my review of that same product. 2011 Panini Contenders baseball is the first time Panini/Donruss has come out with a Contenders product line and it is full of what you’d expect…prospect autographs. Just like the other Contenders products, the product seems like it will be known for prospect autographs. With 6 autographs per box on average, you will hit a ton of these. So if you are into prospecting, this newest product from Panini may be the perfect product for you to rip open so you can collect those future star autographs.

But that all depends on my review, right? As I said, 6 autographs per box will come in this product along with some parallels and inserts of both major league talent and minor league prospects. There are a few MLB star autographs thrown in the product as well, so you may get lucky and pull a major league star. The bottom gallery shows what we pulled from our box…now for the review.

Design:

I actually really like the base designs in this product. The prospect cards have a wood grain border and look like baseball cards of old, with a modern twist. The Draft Tickets and the Season Tickets cards also look really good and I like the lighting effects on the cards with the baseball lights kinda showing in the back of the card. Not to mention, the parallel versions of these cards with the shiny and sparkly background look really cool and are on a thicker card stock. I’m not psyched about the inserts though as like some other products, I just don’t think the space is utilized the best. I’ve always thought this about Panini/Donruss products over the years, but for some reason it stands out a little more in this product. Overall though, solid.

Checklist:

My issue with the checklist lies with one thing, I don’t know who half these players are. I mean, I’m not a prospector. This is just not geared towards the really casual collector. The casual collector would want pretty much all major league talent. This provides some major league talent, more than say Elite Extra Edition, but I would like to see more. I know the MLBPA license is new and you want to start using it and it’s hard getting all those pictures done the first year, so you should be given a little pass. Otherwise, this product is almost just like Elite Extra Edition but with a few more MLB players. Please don’t create something like Bowman, Bowman Draft, Bowman Chrome, Bowman Sterling, Bowman Black, Bowman’s Best, Bowman’s Bowman, etc.

Value:

This product is $50 more than Elite Extra Edition and you’re getting just about the same number of autographs. The only difference between the autographs in this product is that you might hit a veteran if you’re lucky and the autograph print runs are lower. Is it worth the extra $50? Well you can compare this review to Elite Extra Edition and see for yourself. The autographs with their SPs will hold more value over time and the addition of MLB autographs is nice for those lucky to pull them. I think the value is kinda there, it just depends if you are into trying to collect prospect autographs. I think if maybe they add some lower parallels to each prospect and/or their autograph, it will add some good value. I’d even go as far as taking the suggestion of having some rookies only having a rookie and no autograph or vice versa, like Bowman Chrome used to do. I’d use that successful formula if you are looking to compete.

Overall:

Overall, this is a great first step for Panini with their first Contenders product. The design is very good, but the inserts could use a little work filling up the space, especially since we all know that the duals and inserts won’t be having game used relics in them. You can do a lot more knowing that, and I didn’t see that. The checklist could be improved to be more like the other sports versions of Contenders, however with this being the first year for their MLBPA license, I can kinda give them a pass because of the way they are choosing to do photography for their cards. If you are looking for value, it’s there if you are a prospector. Casual collectors may have trouble wanting to put down $120+ for a product with players they don’t really know. They’ll like the 6 autographs per box though, so that’s a plus.

As always, thanks to Panini for providing this box for review. I will be using some cards from this break for the Blogoversary, so check that out in April. Until then, why don’t you join this contest?

Check out the cards we pulled!