Panini Doing It Right at the 2011 National

When you watch sporting events you always hear about that one dedicated player who does everything they can and works extra hard for their team. Announcers love to use the example how the player is always the first one on the court or field and the last one off.

Well from reports I’ve heard at the National, Panini has been just that this past week. From the time the doors opened on the first day, until after everyone else was packing up Sunday night, Panini was there for it’s customers and future customers delivering the goods they had prepared for the National. Wrapper redemptions, autographed memorabilia, and great displays available from beginning to the very end.

Panini even earned some kudos from of it’s toughest critics in the blogging community for the way they handled their corporate area at the 2011 National. At times, it seemed like Panini could do nothing right to them. But Panini’s work at the National even turned the biggest critics into fan boys, even if only for this one weekend.

From reports, the Panini booth was swamped all weekend long with people opening thousands of dollars worth of products to get their hands on some great wrapper redemptions and other offerings from Panini. And from what I’ve been told, Tracy Hackler and Scott Prusha, the marketing men over at Panini, handled it with zen like abilities.

For one weekend, no matter which brand of cards you preferred and no matter what your previous opinion was, everyone was a Panini fan.

Check out some live blog posts from Panini.

A Frenzied First Day at the National

Wrapper Redemptions Highlight Panini’s Thursday

Wrapper Madness on Day 2

Sights and Sounds from Day 3

A Wild Saturday at the National

If you didn’t get a chance to head out to the National, Panini saved some wrapper redemption packs just for you.

I will try and have complete coverage of the National and final thoughts about it from a guest in the coming days. But look out Baltimore in 2012, I’m saving up!

 

August 2011 Sports Card Releases

Here we go again for the month of August. Plenty of goodness about to be released in all 4 major sports. It’s heating up here in the dog days of summer with this product line up about to go out to collectors. As always, ratings are my excitement level for each product and what should be your excitement level too. Dates are subject to manufacturer change.

Baseball:

2011 ITG Heroes & Prospects “Hits” Series 2 Baseball – August 3, 2011 – Price: $85 – 7/10

This one pack per box baseball product brings you only the hits. Find autographs from players of the future and yesteryear including cuts of players like Hank Aaron and future stars like Manny Banuelos.

2011 Topps Lineage Baseball – August 3, 2011 – Price: $100 – 7/10

Find autographs from past and today as Topps uses it’s popular designs from the 60s and 70s including autographs on the old 1952 card design. It should be loaded with some great hits.

2011 Topps Marquee Baseball – August 24, 2011 – Price: $175 – 8/10

This new hit per pack product looks to be a mix of Tribute and Triple Threads. While I’m not excited about the relics unless I pull a patch, for this high end of a product I would want more patches. Other than that, the autograph checklist looks pretty good in itself so it’s definitely worth it to check it out.

2011 Tristar Obak Baseball – August 10, 2011 – Price: $105 – 7/10

11 hits per box! With autographs from history’s greatest baseball players as well as future stars, this product looks loaded with the possibilities for some nice hits. When you get 11 of them, there is sure to be a ton of filler, but the really good hits should be really good.

Basketball:

2010-11 Panini Elite Black Box Basketball – August 31, 2011 – Price: ? – 9/10

The newest high end offering from Panini looks like it has great promise for it. A ton of beautiful on card autographs and a few embedded autographs that don’t look that bad besides the autograph getting cut out a bit is what you’ll find and will be what everyone is looking for. A nice insert set dedicated to Kevin Durant has been long in the making. This product just depends on the checklist. But for now, I got the hype.

2010-11 Panini National Treasures Basketball – August 10, 2011 -Price: $440 – 8/10

The prominent high end product of the basketball season comes out with awesome patches, great autographs, and the rookie cards of the season for basketball. The rookie class may not be that great, but these cards are always top of the line from Panini.

2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Basketball – August 30, 2011 – Price: $115 – 6/10

I can honestly say that I’m not very excited about this product. The only excitement comes from the fact it’s possible to pull a Michael Jordan or Lebron James autograph. The man-crush on North Carolina and the amounts of possibly Lebron or Jordan autographs is kind of killing their values, but if you want another good chance to pull one, here’s another shot.

Football:

2011 Panini Threads Football – August 24, 2011 – Price: ? – 8/10

One of the better Panini football products, there is a ton of great looking cards in this year’s set with some great looking rookie and veteran autographs, including the always popular rookie letterman autographs. The veteran and rookie autographs you can pull are pretty solid in this product and it looks like a winner.

2011 Topps Finest Football – August 31, 2011 – Price: $100 – 8/10

Topps Finest football is always a hit amongst collectors. Rookie autographs, rookie patch autographs, and veteran autographs, you can find some great cards in this product but also some duds. It’s a fun break as it’s one of the first Topps products of the season featuring rookies and veterans.

2011 Topps Inception Football – August 11, 2011 – Price: $90 – 9/10

I’m impressed with this product with the rookies and the design Topps was able to use despite not getting great pictures at the NFL Premiere when the lockout was in place. I’m in love with the design and what Topps has done with this product and I think it would be a great pickup.

2011 Upper Deck NCAA Sweet Spot Football – August 3, 2011 – Price: $110 – 8/10

A hit per pack product again, I think the price is a little high for this product, but it should be filled with some great autographs from the incoming NFL rookie class in their college uniforms. With college football gaining popularity by the year, it looks to be a solid product as it gives collectors, especially college collectors, what they want.

Hockey:

2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey – August 31, 2011 – Price: $390 – 10/10

I am beyond hyped up for this product. Finally, a competitor with The Cup in the hockey arena and it looks like it will do a great job with some great cards and new concepts in this set. Plus, who doesn’t love an insert set dedicated to the Hartford Whalers?

2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup Hockey – August 30, 2011 – Price: $390 – 10/10

The Cup hockey. Really, what else is there to say here? The highest of high end from Upper Deck is back and looking just as good as ever. It will be challenged by Panini Dominion, can it claim it’s spot at the top of the high end hockey world with some new competition?

2010-11 ITG Heroes & Prospects Update – August 30, 2011 – Price: $40 – 7/10

H&P Update isn’t my favorite ITG product, but it always has very decent hits with heroes from the game of hockey and ITG’s great players that they have signed and some of the top prospects in the minors and junior hockey leagues.

2011-12 Upper Deck Victory Hockey – August 2, 2011 – Price: $30 – 8/10

How can you not like the first NHL product of the season? All the new rookies and the offseason trades and pick ups. This is the first cards of the new season’s hottest rookies from this year’s draft!

Check this post back often as I will be releasing official Sports Card Blog preview information in the coming weeks before the products are released!

Racing:

2011 Press Pass FanFare Racing – August 24, 2011 – Price: $115 – 8/10

Press Pass’s newest hit per pack product hits the shelves running with some of your favorite NASCAR drivers as well as some of your favorite Nationwide and truck series drivers. A lot of first time drivers on these cards make for some great value before you even open a pack!

NFL Lockout To End This Week

With several articles pointing to the end of the NFL lockout this week, I am excited. Not only are teams and players going to be heading straight to training camp and getting ready for a great season of NFL action, card companies will finally be able to get pictures of players in their jerseys, with correct uniform numbers, and not taken at the Rookie Premiere.

No more pictures at the combine.

No more pictures at the Rookie Premiere:

No more staged photos with 00 on their chest:

It’s finally going to start heading back into the direction we all love. Action shots of hard nosed football at it’ s finest. That’s another reason to love the end of the NFL lockout.

Are You Ready For The 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention?

Well I sure hope that you are prepared. I hope you have your plane tickets to Chicago or your hotel rooms in that area paid for because as always, it will be an awesome time. I have never been to the National before, but I think it would be a great experience. It hasn’t visited the west coast since I think 2005 or 2006 so I’ve been definitely disappointed. Oh, and it won’t come back west anytime in the foreseeable future. For the record, I believe it would do well again in Anaheim, Phoenix, or even Seattle (my personal choice). If I had the money, I would create a NSCC-West Show every winter. Just something to think about.

Anyway, the show is coming up the first weekend in August and the major trading card companies are announcing their plans for the show. So here is a rundown of the information I have found regarding each company and their wrapper redemptions, VIP swag, and whatever else I can find. I will update this post as I find more information for everyone and the day draws closer.

Panini:

Panini unveils autographed memorabilia available as prizes in their wrapper redemption packs!

Panini unveils its wrapper redemption set!

You think Panini forgot about it’s hockey collectors?

More Panini autographs in redemption packs.

Panini is putting the goods in this year, Football Hall of Fame autos!

How about some box war prizes?

More specifics about redemption packs at the Panini booth.

Upper Deck:

Upper Deck announces plans for 2011 National in Chicago!

Press Pass:

Press Pass announces promotions for 2011 National!

Topps:

Topps announces limited Heritage set for 2011 National!

If you are interested in the VIP experience or getting some great free autographs make sure to visit the official National Sports Collectors Convention website for all information related to this year’s National.

2011 Topps Monopoly Baseball

Something that his been moving like a virus across the baseball blogosphere is the preview and reveal of 2011 Topps Monopoly baseball. I mean, have you seen the YouTube video of this product yet?

Absolutely amazing.

The first time I read about this product is on one of my favorite sports card blogs, The Mojo Beard. Make sure to check their site for a full blown preview of the product. I would do a preview myself, but I wouldn’t do it as much great justice as Beardy could over on his blog.

This product looks stacked and you should go to Wal-Mart or whatever and try and find a box.

OMG! More preview images leaked  of 2011 Topps Monopoly baseball!

Speaking of boxes, Brent and Becca are opening up like 35 cases of 2011 Allen & Ginter. Some may call them crazy, but I would call them genius. Especially since I got dibs on Oregon and Connecticut if they pull either one of those state cards. That is quite possibly the biggest case break of any product I have ever seen. I can’t even afford to get one case of Allen & Ginter. I just want to open one! I do have my box coming in for the Gint-A-Cuffs contest so let’s hope for a victory in my part of opening up the product!

Keep on truckin’ ladies and gentlemen. I’m going to take a nap.