Review: 2011 Panini Crown Royale Football

Crown Royale is back in it’s second season in a return from the dead right before Halloween and it looks just as good, if not better than last year. With a hit per pack and averaging at least 2 autographs and 2 memorabilia cards per box, it has the possibility to yield some great hits including some legendary swatches and some awesome Rookie Silhouette prime material autographs.

Well let’s see what is in our box given to us for review from the wonderful people at Panini America, shall we?

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Design:

I’m a sucker for die-cuts. I always have been a sucker for die-cuts. The only thing that I am more of a sucker of is very shiny die-cuts. But these look fantastic. I’ve always loved the design and the great colors that come along with the cards around the crown area which matches the team colors. The shiny borders look good too. Panini is getting better at designing their inserts to where you are starting to not be able to see boxes where memorabilia goes as those get kind of annoying after awhile. The only real complaint is that I’m getting tired of seeing white boxes where the autographed stickers go. I understand you need the autograph to be legible, but can’t you incorporate something into the design like just fading out the deep colors towards the bottom of the card where you put the sticker? Maybe a little round area faded design for the auto cards instead of box (ala Inception)? Surely the design team can do something other than a white box.

Checklist:

In my honest opinion, it’s too large for the amount of cards you get in a box and a pack at the price point it’s at. And by that I mean the base set and the base rookies. How on earth is anyone supposed to put together a set of these cards? The base set is huge. I love the insert sets and especially the great on-card checklist for the Rookie Silhouettes, but I think the base set needs to be cut down a bit. Maybe 100 total cards? 75 veterans and 25 rookies? Even 125 would be better than the current amount of 200.

 Value:

At $25 per pack, this is really hit or miss. But as a box, you might hit it big and get something worth the box itself. It’s tough as there are plain jerseys in here, which is obviously needed, but there are also some REALLY nice possibilities for hits. This sort of feels like Absolute Memorabilia Jr. So I’m kind of not sure how to rate this for value. Two autos and two memorabilia per box, which is better than most boxes at the price, but less total cards. I think there needs to be maybe one more single case hit kind of like the Net Fusion cards to make something for people to chase besides the Rookie Silhouettes. Finally, I’d also like to see the inserts numbered. I mean this is a product where you have to number the inserts. I really want to give this a 3.5 because of its hit or miss nature by pack (and my case by box, just look at sale values), but I always round up for the benefit of the doubt.

Overall:

Overall, I still absolutely love Crown Royale. I love the die-cut design, the colors, and the great Rookie Silhouettes cards. It’s an extremely fun product to open, but I find the huge checklist of base cards kind of disappointing as it takes a lot to try and put a base set together of those awesome looking cards. Back to the Silhouettes, I love that all the autographs are all on-card as it just makes them look that much better. We just need to work on those white boxes…please? Otherwise, it won’t kill your pocket, but you should definitely purchase this by the box and not by the pack. I like the addition of a case hit, but maybe one more type of limited case hit that would shine and be a welcome addition.

Oh, and for those who might want to complain about the Net Fusion manufactured net cards, they count as an insert, not as one of your hits. So you can either like them or not and you don’t have to worry because they aren’t taking the place of any of your mojo.

Again, I’d like to thank Panini for providing this box for review. Make sure you visit their website and blog for more information about products like this.

Video is coming up soon!

Review: 2011 Panini NFL Sticker Collection

It took awhile, but my local store finally had some stickers available. Well, they had some available once already, but it appears I was too slow as I think they were gone in less than a week. But I could totally see why they would be.

I never thought I would enjoy stickers and sticker books or anything as a 25 year old. Even when I was a youngin’, I wasn’t a huge fan of stickers. I know I had some baseball team stickers back then and would collect those, but didn’t actually stick them anywhere. I don’t think there was a book or anything for them back then. Who knows, I was little. But these were a lot of fun.

Regular:

Star Player:

Team:

Design:

I really like the design of these. I’ve been saying over and over again, Panini does a really great job of designing their lowest end products. These stickers look great. The player is cut out and the focus of the sticker, while the background is a team color with a team symbol. The star stickers look great in all their foil glory, as well as the team stickers which even have some etching in their foil. Very cool. The book design is solid and I love that under each sticker area is information about the player and some stats. I also really like the inclusion of the Pop Warner insert set, Super Bowl, and NFL Hall of Fame subsets. There really is a great variety of stickers.

Checklist:

There are a ton of stickers for you to collect. Every team has a team logo and 12 regular player stickers along with 3 star player foil stickers. There are also stickers for the NFL, each division, Hall of Fame players, Pop Warner, and Super Bowl. There is so much variety in this product that it makes trying to collect all the stickers not only challenging, but a lot of fun as it breaks up the monotony of the same kind of sticker over and over again. I bought 9 packs of stickers and it seems like I got something different in terms of insert stickers in each pack.

Value:

$2 for a sticker book and $1 for a pack of stickers. How could the value get any better? The stickers are what you would expect and then some. How many companies out there have etching on their foil stickers? None that I know of other than Panini. If you are thinking, well, they’re just stickers, you are mistaken. The promotions involved in this product are great. There are random inserts for Madden 12 or Madden 12 Hall of Fame Edition and special rare sticker backs that if you collect all the sticker backs you can win some awesome prizes from Panini. Or do you want to win your Pop Warner football team a brand new sponsorship with new uniforms and equipment? Collect 3,000 sticker backs and be put in a drawing to win that as well. With all the added promotions and giveaways Panini has added, it gives you another reason to want to buy these.

Overall:

Wait a minute, this is close to a perfect score. These are stickers, should they even count as a trading card set? Both are valid concerns. This product deserves the close to perfect score. The only problem with this product and any sticker product is trying to unpeel the backs. The design is wonderful, there are a ton of great stickers to be had, and it’s a cheap thrill with some great added bonuses. Should they be counted as a trading card? Can you trade the stickers? Yes? You can? Well then, I guess that answers that question. I wouldn’t go as far to say this is the best product ever created, but for what it is, it deserves the stars in every category. It’s fun, cheap, looks good, and does a great job to get kids into collecting. Whether you are into stickers or not, this is definitely a winner of a product.

I didn’t even mention that if you are just a few stickers short, go on the Panini website and order the stickers you need to complete your set!

Have you checked out Panini’s blog on how to stick your stickers properly?

Review: 2011 Panini Threads Football

2011 Panini Threads football has been out for a bit now and once again has divided the football card collecting community. Some people love it, some people hate it, and there really isn’t anything in between. But don’t worry, I am here to bring you that voice of the collector who is the one person out there who doesn’t love it, but doesn’t hate it either.

After opening and going through the product, it looks to me to just be an average mid-range product. There are some highlights though that you won’t find in other Panini products like autographed manufactured letterman patches, a wider crop of rookie autographs with some that may not have made prior releases, and some really nice insert sets that I haven’t seen before. So let’s see what we got…

Base:

Inserts:

Autographs/Memorabilia:

Design:

Okay, I’ll start with the things I like. I love the use of team colors across this product. It seems like every card incorporates the team colors of the team that player plays on. From the regular base set to the inserts, the team colors proudly wave across the cards. I also really enjoy the action shots and the horizontal design of the cards. The inserts are also done very well, I especially enjoy the Gridiron Kings and Star Factor sets. Now, the bad. I still don’t like manufactured patches but in a product called “Threads” I can live with it. I also don’t like the random stripes going down the side of some cards that have the set names and the team logo. For example, I already love the Gridiron Kings set but would love it even more without the stripe. I know you use it for placement of game used material, but couldn’t there be a less intrusive way? Maybe it’s just me.

Checklist:

I really like a nice base set like this. A ton of different players from your favorite teams can be pulled. I’m still not a huge fan of the rookie per pack thing, I’d like to see Panini do something like Upper Deck does with hockey and Young Guns. Limit the rookies in the product to keep them at a higher value. It seems like product after product is one rookie per pack. Other than that, they feature quite a few players from today and years gone by, which is always nice in moderation. This is definitely my type of product with the small insertion of former players. As always, Panini does a great job of inserting case hits being stars of the NFL including the newly added Troy Polamalu autographs can be found in this product. I was lucky enough to pull a nice patch card of his.

Value:

At $85 a box, I think it may be a little high. I mean, I only received one autograph in the box and we all know autographs are really what collectors are looking for nowadays. Some boxes have 2 autographs in them, but I’d like to see 2 autographs and 2 memorabilia in each box. Even if it was another rookie of some sort, at least that has more potential to rise in value while game used memorabilia cards are going down in value what seems like every day. The Polamalu should hold decent value as he doesn’t have many out there, but the Tebow and the Packers rookies might not. Then again, fans of both are pretty rabid. I’d just like to see a little more ink.

Overall:

Part of me really thinks that with some tweaking, this product has the potential to be a really great product. The designs have improved and have some really great things to see. I love the use of team colors and the action shots showing everything is really nice. Even the inserts look nice, but I would still find a way to get rid of that line down the side. The checklist is pretty good, but I’d still like to limit the rookies. I say this through a lot of products, but it’s just something I see over and over again. It was nice to pull a Julius Thomas rookie finally for my PC though. Finally, I would find somewhere to add a little more value or lower the price $10 or so. Make it two autographs and two memorabilia or even add in an extra memorabilia card and I think it would hold up pretty well. But I think with a few minor tweaks, this product has the potential to be so much better.

Again, thanks to Panini for providing this box for me to review. I will be giving away some cards from it in the future because I have the Panini NFL POD contests going on until November so make sure to check those out.

I’ll have the video up shortly, it is kind of a long one.

Review: 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars may not be at the top of your list of products to break for this NFL season, but it appears to be better than you may think. It returns this year with 4 autographs or memorabilia cards per box with at least one of them being an autograph. You can find patches, jumbo jerseys, prime jerseys, just about anything in a box of this product. It features a 100 card base set with 50 base rookies which are only inserted 1 per pack.

The inserts are plentiful too with a homage to Donruss Studio with Studio Rookies, Longevity, and Freshmen Orientation amongst other insert sets. With a bunch of parallels and so low numbered cards, it’s definitely worth the time to check out this review and decide what you think about the product.

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia/Autographs:

Design:

The base design on this product is better than many other Panini designs. It features an action shot of the players on the front with a little bit of the background faded into a solid white background. This is a very clean base design with clean lettering along the sides. I believe this clean base design is great and should be in more products. The inserts look great too. Freshmen Orientation is great with the memorabilia embedded and Longevity looks much better in person then on scans that I’ve seen. Impressive. Now I do not like manufactured patch autographs with the autograph on the cloth…I would much rather have a sticker or on-card autograph as it’s cleaner looking. Also, the way some inserts look when they don’t have memorabilia embedded look really weird, like the one I have pictured. It’s just a weird shape with a symbol inside? That just looks lazy.

Checklist:

The checklist features 100 veteran base cards and 50 rookie base cards. You can pull rookies and stars hence the title of the product. But I find there are more rookies than stars when it comes to memorabilia and autographs. With the abundance of rookies, it may seem like it cheapens the product a bit as it’s harder to pull veterans of the game. Other than that, you can find all the top rookies of the game from the draft for this season so there is no complaints there. The base set and rookie set is reasonable as you just about get a full set in a box. So the checklist of players is pretty solid overall. I think it could use a few more stars.

Value:

Overall, the value appears to be there. It looks to be a mostly rookie driven product, as I don’t see much in the way of stars as far as the real value, game used and autographs, goes. But a good job is done with the rookies here as there are plenty of autographs and memorabilia cards to go around and you may get to pull a nice veteran as well. The patches are nice, there are nice jumbo swatches, and autographs from all the rookies you could want. The only problem I have is the lack of veterans but also a bit of a collation issue. There are 100 cards in a the base veteran set, I’m missing two from completing it and I have like 8 dupes. Just throw in the extra 2 next time, seriously, that’s a bit tacky. Other than that, this is a decent mid-range product.

Overall:

Overall, as I said above this is a very solid mid-range product. The base design is nice but there are still a couple of issues with insert designs and I still don’t like manufactured patch autographs with the way they are done now. The checklist is full of rookies but I feel like it could use more stars in the product to fill the stars void. The value is there, but mentioned with the above issues it could be a little bit better and get 5 stars across many of the areas. But overall, it’s definitely worth looking into as your next box of cards.

I’d like to thank Panini America once again for providing this box for me to review. Check out their new Facebook page here.

The contest for the manufactured patch autograph, my base doubles, and some inserts/rookies will be to tell me what you think of this product and tell me your honest opinion on manufactured patch autographs that Panini makes. I will pick a winner from a randomizer. One per person please!

Review: 2011 Score Football

Happy Independence Day to every American out there!

Panini is bringing you the best value in football cards this season with 2011 Score football. Why is this product the best value? Well wouldn’t you consider anything nowadays that is 99 cents a very good value? That’s right, this product is 99 cents per pack. It is less than one dollar. Now that’s value.

Every box comes with 36 packs if you choose to buy a box. You get 7 cards per pack. Every pack has at least one rookie in it and one glossy card in it. You can find tons of inserts like Millennium Men, In the Zone, Hot Rookies, and Complete Players. Among those you could also pull parallel versions including a glossy version, End Zone, Scorecard, Red Zone, or Gold Zone. The rookies even have an SP version with a different picture. You can pull tons of great cards and parallels in this box. Also, you can find autographs in a box at a rate of 5 per case. Not bad at all for 99 cents.

Base:

Rookies:

Gold Zone paralleled rookie

Inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

I actually really enjoy this retro design from Score. I can’t quite put a year on when this design was used or something very similar was done, but it just reminds me of the good times in the 1990s when I first started collecting cards. I love the design of all the inserts as well as the parallels as well. The Complete Players insert is my least favorite as it just doesn’t seem as colorful as the others and kind of feels out of place. I’m not sure it would look better with colors either, but with the rest of the product having some life, it just feels off. But that’s not why I’m docking the star, only a very small part. The reason I am docking the star is that huge white empty space on the top left of the card. I don’t like empty spaces on cards, but especially just plain white empty spaces. I understand that it is used to show you if you have a parallel or not, but couldn’t there just be some sort of placeholder there instead of a plain white spot? And finally, the only other things I don’t like is not being able to tell the SP rookies from the non-SP rookies besides the photo. So there is a different photo…how do we know which one the SP is?And the other is the lack of numbering on the parallels. Last year there was numbering on these same parallels, what changed? Are they still the same as terms of rarity goes?

Checklist:

Well this one is a no brainer. All the rookies you could want? Check. All the veterans you could want? Check. And yeah, some people might want legends in their product. But I could care less sometimes. Sometimes you need to step back and just create a product featuring today’s great players. I love it. There is also a rookie and veteran checklist which is solid as well. I mean, what 99 cent per pack product can you find the possibility of pulling a Tom Brady autograph in it? If I could give it 6 stars for the checklist, I would.

Value:

For 99 cents a pack you get 7 cards. At least one rookie, one glossy, and some other cards. If you look at my videos of me opening the packs you will see I’ve even opened packs that had 3 rookies in them. One glossy rookie, one base rookie, and a rookie insert. Include the other veteran cards from just about anyone in the NFL and you have great value to set collectors, team collectors, kids, player collectors, just about everyone. Secondary values on this product won’t be great, but can you expect a 99 cent per pack product to have high secondary values with everything else on the market? But I’d imagine if you pulled a top rookie autograph or one of the top veteran autographs you would easily pay for your box, which is cheap in price itself. This is great value for your money, just not the greatest if you’re investing or prospecting. It’s a little too low end for that. Everyone else should be buying this up.

Overall:

Overall, this is another low end winner for Panini. I have to say that Panini has been doing a phenomenal job on their lower end products. The last few I have reviewed have been great. This is just another great lower end product to add to that list. The design is great despite the few very small things I had a problem with. Those small things could be fixed in a snap so I couldn’t take off a lot for them. The overall design was great. The checklist has just about anyone currently in the NFL that you could possibly want. I’m just waiting for a few of my favorite rookies, but that’s the lockout’s fault, not Panini. If you’re looking for value in a product this is it. With a ton of inserts and rookies for 99 cents a PACK this is right up your alley.

A huge thank you goes out to Panini for providing this box for me to review. Honestly, I probably had the most fun opening this product than I have opening other products from any manufacturer. You can probably see it in my video that I was having fun with it. I hope the people reading the review see that as well and have their own fun opening it because it is definitely worth it.

To see that video please look below! Sorry that it took two videos, but opening up 36 packs of cards and showing off cards takes awhile.

Let me know what you think of 2011 Score in the  comments below and I’ll draw a name for a prize from the break. Not sure what I’ll be giving away, but it’ll be something. Might save the auto for the Wheel O’ Prizes, not sure yet!

(SCB Note: Panini has posted all the SP rookie variations so you know if  you pulled one on their official blog)