Review: 2011-12 Upper Deck Series I Hockey

Series I hockey. Upper Deck’s flagship product. What other flagship product out there has base rookie cards that go for the amount of money Upper Deck’s Young Guns go for? What other product period has something like that? Right now, the “Nuge” Young Guns are hitting $80-$100. Did I pull one? Did I pull another great rookie? Time to find out.

Base:

Inserts:

Game Used:

Young Guns:

Design:

I don’t know what it is this year Upper Deck has done differently, but I’m not huge on the design. I do love the full bleed pictures and love the photography. But the oval design with the abstract lines across the bottom kind of turn me off. The Young Guns don’t look as good as year’s past, but I find them pretty average in general. That doesn’t change the value though! Oh, and the UD Canvas cards are very, very nice looking and I like that it was made an insert set. That Lundy is just a gorgeous picture of MSG.

Checklist:

The checklist is very nice as well. A huge base set for a flagship brand is great. Tons of Young Gun rookies for you to get your hands on of some of the best rookies in the league. There is also a solid checklist of game used jerseys that are found in every box. My only gripes are the checklist on the Hockey Heroes insert set and the rare to find autograph checklist. Not bad though, not bad at all.

Value:

A ton of packs for about $60. A bunch of possibly extremely valuable rookies and the potential for some rare autographs of some great players and just as rare patches and other case hits. It’s exactly what you want in a flagship product and I think it has pretty good value. I would love to have an increased odds of an autograph by subtracting the jersey cards, but that’s just me. Otherwise, solid all around as far as value goes.

Overall:

Overall, this is probably the best flagship product out there covering any sport. While the design has been better in recent years, it still looks great with the great photography and full bleed photos.¬† The checklist is always full of your favorite veterans along with some of the best rookies of the year. Speaking of those rookies, they hold more value then any other base rookie out there in a similar product and that’s a great thing. While you also get two jerseys a box with a rare autograph here and there, I’d like to see maybe a jersey phased out and throw in a higher chance at an autograph. We all know that game used jerseys are overdone nowadays and autographs are really where it’s at now.

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

Review: 2010-11 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Hockey

I know it’s a little late and this product has been out awhile now, but I have been wanting to bust open a box/pack of this for awhile. With all the great rookies last year and some of the big hits that come out of this product, why not give it a shot? Well I did, with a little Black Friday help from DA Card World.

This Upper Deck product features one pack in a box with a base, rookie, a game used, and an autograph. Let’s see what we pulled:

Base:

Game Used:

Autograph:

 Design:

Overall, I really enjoy the design of these cards. The design is very clean as it is with most Upper Deck products. I also like the photo and color designs with this product, especially the base card that I pulled. I even notice some of the little subtleties in the design, like on the Crosby game used card that I really like, for example where they placed Sid’s number is different, but looks really good. Even though the background is similar to other Upper Deck high end releases, it is always just enough tweaking to look fresh and clean.

Checklist:

Upper Deck usually seems to put out a quality checklist with their high end offerings and this is no different. Not only can you pull some unbelievable cards from some of the season’s top rookies, the veteran presence in this product is great. With Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and other stars, combined with Upper Deck exclusives Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, and Bobby Orr, there is always a chance for a nice hit. While some may complain it dilutes the market or they want more of a variety, I like having those possibilities when I buy a box. But I would like to see more veteran/retired variety every once and awhile.

Value:

Value is a tough one with a product like this. It’s a single pack product with two hits. It’s going to be extremely hit or miss with a product like this. But when you do hit it good, it’s a big hit that will hold some value, especially if you hit a big name rookie. My rookie auto isn’t the greatest, but it was made up for by the Sidney Crosby dual game used. While there are a ton of big hits, there are even more of hits like my Brandon Yip rookie autograph. The Sid is a good hit though for a game used card. Combining the checklist with value gives me a pretty good idea where to rate value in a product like this.

Overall:

Overall, I do really like this product. It’s definitely a lesser gamble than say, my break of The Cup. But you still have the possibility for some huge hits like great rookie autograph patches or shields, or some legends autographs. Single packs products are a gamble and you need to recognize that when purchasing a product like this. But with a solid design and checklist like I found here, even if you don’t pull something extremely valuable, you have some good looking cards that do hold some value while giving you some pretty nice trade bait.

What did you think of this product? Let me know!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV3k-yeJ18k]

Review: 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup Hockey

After having a dual review of both 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup hockey and Panini Dominion and writing my full review of Panini Dominion, it’s time to fully review this year’s The Cup hockey from Upper Deck. Upper Deck The Cup is a single pack product with a current price at $420. Every box should have 6 cards, although I have seen several with only 5.

2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup has always been a hit amongst collectors as one of the must get products of the season. People often break this product by the case, however I could not afford a case of The Cup and found a box on sale at DA Card World with my Premier Account. So I saved a bit of money and made sure I got the really thick toploaders you’ll need for the cards in this product. Here’s what I pulled.

Base:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Design:

The design on this product is always top notch and always one of Upper Deck’s best designed products year after year. The design is extremely clean with some great accents in the back but it features the player fully and completely. While I think some designs could use some work, like the Quad jersey above, most everything else is absolutely beautiful to look at and really it should appeal to everyone. Really, there isn’t much left to say about that.

Checklist:

Sure, Upper Deck has the reigns when it comes to the greatest hockey players of all time. They have an exclusive contract with Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Gordie Howe. This product features a ton (I think too much) of the hottest rookies of the last year. I did a count of Taylor Hall autographs and counted around 600. I was in shock and surprise at this number. Sure, it’s good for some people, but what this product lacks is variety. It could use a lot more in terms of other players. I understand that the players they choose help keep the value of the product high, and I respect that. However, I know some people would like a great looking high end card of their favorite player of the past or present that just may not make the cut for this product. Compared to the other product, The Cup has less of a player selection.

Value:

If I gave Dominion a 5 star rating here, certainly The Cup deserves it as well. I am going to mention this here as well, I have seen a lot of The Cup boxes be absolutely terrible when it comes to value. Moreso than the other offering. However, this is a great product to open by the case with awesome case hits that make great money. Even some of the standard hits are selling very well on the secondary market. I’ve already checked prices on my pulls and I can see I didn’t do too bad myself. I like the value that this product brings, but if I got one of those terrible boxes, I would have been pissed. Maybe some better hand collating could be done.

Overall:

Overall, Upper Deck The Cup is a great product that should be high on your list of products to purchase if you can afford it. The designs are always sleek and clean, featuring your favorite hockey players completely and fully. While the checklist could use some more variety, you can’t complain with some of the possible names in this product from the hottest rookies to some of the greatest hockey players of all time. The value is definitely there, but be careful on single boxes as you do have a chance for a really terrible box. But if you open this by the case, you will find some awesome hits.

Make sure you check my dual box break review for the video of the break.

Review: 2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey

Well I flipped a coin between doing a full review for 2010-11 Panini Dominion hockey or Upper Deck The Cup and Panini won. But don’t worry, I’ll have the other review up for you guys tomorrow. Right now, it’s Panini’s time.

After my head to head dual box break and review of both products, I am now featuring a full review of Panini Dominion. I will not have a video at the bottom as I opened both products at the same time, so if you wish to watch my ugly mug open either product, click the link above. Other than that, it’s just a typical review, but of the $390 per pack nature.

Base:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Design:

In the design area, there are things that I think look beautiful and things that I think are just average. Some of the more beautiful cards I didn’t exactly pull like the rookie patch autographs and the stick cards, but the Nifty 50 set and the rookie autographs are beautiful themselves. They are very clean looking and have a great big area for players to sign their names. I mean, look at that Bobby Hull autograph, it’s gorgeous. Some of the things I don’t like are that dual game used card I pulled and I’m not a huge fan of the different foil colors on the parallels. The black parallel above is a 1/1, but you can’t really read it while some of the other foils just don’t look right with the colors chosen on the layout.

Checklist:

I give the checklist 5 stars because of the wide variety of players from today and yesterday. Some of these players on the checklist you can’t really find anywhere else in any hockey product out today. I pulled a Johnny Bower autograph, which is a player that doesn’t have many autographs out there so that was kinda cool. I’m not a huge historian of the game, but it’s nice to see some older players get some recognition today. I also like that Dominion does not overload it’s product full of top rookie autographs and keeps the patch autographs to a minimum. Some may not like that they may not get a patch autograph, but keeping them rare is really a good thing for the hobby, even if you may not like it as a collector.

Value:

As I’ve said in the past, sometimes I have a hard time deciding whether to give a product one star or another. I don’t use half points, so I tend to always round up unless I have sufficient reasons not to. If I could, I would give the value a 4 1/2. One of the reasons behind wanting to deduct that little bit of a point is the use of plain jerseys. The dual jersey and the plain jersey aren’t really my favorites and really should be limited in a product of this price. However, Panini did raise the original number of cards per box from 8 to 10, so I can consider these plain jerseys just to be like free extras. The patches are very nice with a 3 color of Anze Kopitar and a 2 color of Patrick Kane. The autographs are very nice as well with great on-card goodness including a great Bobby Hull. I also had the luxury of pulling a 1/1 (the black base) so that was a pleasant surprise as well.

Overall:

Overall, 2010-11 Panini Dominion is a great product to open. If you are a high end collector and can afford the $390 price tag, you are in for a treat. While the design could of been a little bit better when differentiating between parallels, overall the design is pretty good. The checklist has a wide number of players from today and yesterday which makes every hit you pull a surprise. I know I was definitely surprised to see the autographs I pulled and even the memorabilia. The value is there and there are some pretty huge hits in this product. Collectors seem to be a bit wary on the secondary market for some reason, probably because this product is new to the scene, but it should be given the same weight as The Cup.

As always, I would like to thank Panini America for sponsoring this product for me to open and review. I always thank them but I wanted to be sure to thank them a bit extra this time around because you don’t often get to review a $390 product and for that I am extremely thankful. Make sure you visit Panini’s official blog and their official facebook page.

I will be giving away a couple cards from this break in the future, as I am currently running the Panini NFL Player of the Day promotion.

 

 

Review: 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup vs. Panini Dominion Hockey

I decided that I will do an informal “vs.” review and a formal review of each product. With Upper Deck The Cup finally having some competition, I was able to secure a box of each product for a head to head review. As you will see below (when I upload the video) in the first ever Upper Deck The Cup – Panini Dominion box break dual video, the cards from both sets are absolutely beautiful.

But which product is superior? Some people have to make a choice between buying one product or the other and this will serve as the best review guide in terms of picking the product which is right for you.

As always, let’s start with design.

On the left we have The Cup and on the right we have Dominion. The Cup base design is extremely clean with the vertical layout showcasing the player and the information on the bottom. The Dominion base design is also pretty clean, using a horizontal layout which has all the information going vertically on the left (except the player number on the top right). This allows Panini to build from the base card some subsets to put memorabilia and autographs. Upper Deck does not have this luxury and must create new designs for their subsets as you can see below.

The only thing I’m not a huge fan of with this is the foil Panini uses to denote the parallel for the patch. Sometimes, it just makes the card look a little bit off. Upper Deck also has parallels of their base cards, however they are just paralleled to 25 and 1 with basic colors that work with the design. I did not pull either of those in The Cup, but I did pull one in my box of Dominion below.

This is the black 1/1 base parallel from Dominion. The Cup is similar, as I’ve seen, but the black foil just looks a little off as a main component of the card. I don’t hate it, I just don’t like it as much as the way Upper Deck does parallels. Based on the design factor, I would give the design nod to Upper Deck.

Next, I will go to the checklist.

Everyone will immediately think the answer for this one is easy and go with Upper Deck because of their exclusive deals with Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Orr. However, Panini has rounded out their checklist with quite a few Hall of Famers and stars of today and yesterday with a greater number of possibilities than Upper Deck. For instance, I pulled these two legendary player autographs from Dominion.

Not too shabby. But the real issue I have with the checklist is with Upper Deck’s usage of rookie players. There seems like there are a billion different subsets that include autographs from the best rookies of the past year. Lots of Taylor Hall, lots of PK Subban, etc. With all the different versions of these hot players, they are diluting the market with first year autographs that aren’t really rookies. A lot of them look very nice, but the relative ease to pull these players in their rookie year is just well…easier. Easier is not better. Panini did a great job limiting the amount of rookie autographs from those top rookies, and top rookies in general. You may not be guaranteed one of these autograph rookie patches, like I got in The Cup, in Dominion, however this keeps the value high for those rookie patches. They are even numbered lower in Dominion.

But at least they are pretty rookie patch autographs. Some people are going to be pissed about this, but I’m giving the checklist nod to Panini. The variety, the rarity, and the selection is just better. I’m sure everyone who hasn’t pulled a Gretzky, Orr, or Howe would love to pull one, but they seem to be in every Upper Deck product now and are getting diluted by the year. Sometimes you don’t need the best names to sell a product. I’m not saying I hate The Cup checklist, I just think variety is better.

Finally, I will hit the value button. This area is tough. Going by current prices, The Cup is $420 at DACW and Dominion is $390 at the same shop. A $30 difference. You get 6 cards (sometimes 5) per pack/box of The Cup and 10 cards per pack/box of Dominion. Based on sheer numbers which we can turn into possibilities for a big hit, Dominion gives you more bang for your buck. You get almost double the amount of premium cards for $30 less then The Cup.

However, based on eBay sales, The Cup seems to hold a little bit of a higher value then Dominion, and also doesn’t have as many plain jerseys. Although I did pull some plain jerseys from each product as seen below.

And I know some of you are going to mention the players on the card, however as a collector, I am happier to pull the Cogliano jersey because he plays for the Oilers and I collect the Oilers. I’m probably just going to sell the Crosby/Ovechkin/Malkin/Stamkos quad to the left. So I’m happy the product with the better aftermarket prices I hit the higher end sale card, but it’s just not a card I’d want for my collection. Again, I like the variety in Dominion. It may dilute the value a bit, but you get players you may not find in Dominion.

I’m adding this just so collectors have the information, it seems you have more of a chance to get less value from a box of The Cup versus a box of Dominion based off of a number of case breaks I have seen. However, it appears the case hits may be worth a little more if you hit one in The Cup.

Based on all of this information, I am going to give the value selection to both products. You really can’t go wrong purchasing either product. Personally, if you are opening the product by the case, I would go with Upper Deck The Cup. If you just wanted to get a single box of either one, I would go with Dominion.

So basically it is a toss up to which product I would deem the most superior. It also really depends on what type of collector you are as well. If you are more casual you will probably be better off with Dominion because of the additional cards and less price. But if you are hardcore and just care about hits and resale, The Cup would be a better gamble, especially if opening by the case.

I, of course, have other goodies from both products that I didn’t show, but I’ll save those for the official reviews. So stay tuned for official reviews from both products.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk-1Rbtk3iI]