Panini Prime Hockey Released…Best of the Year?

2011-12 Panini Prime hockey was released today and I’ve been watching box breaks of the product all afternoon and everything that I’ve seen I’ve been hugely impressed with. In a time where football products are just getting started and the hockey season is well over, this treat before Dominion is exactly what Panini needed to remind collectors that their season isn’t over yet.

From game used letters, to giant swatches of patches and regular jersey cards, to strings from the jerseys, beautiful on card autographs, this product has everything you could probably want in a product with a price half of Dominion.

With some amazing and colorful cards to be had, the breaks look like a ton of fun. It feels almost like the “Gold Standard” product moved to hockey, but with a much better usage of the game used hits. Instead of small plain jerseys, there are a ton of large swatches and large patch cards. It’s a formula that the basketball and football teams could use in their similar products.

Either way, Prime hockey looks to be one of the best hockey products of the season. All around with the design and the beauty, quality, and uniqueness of the hits, it’s going to be hard to beat Panini Prime as a product. Will Dominion or The Cup take over or can Prime sustain the current title of one of the best of the year?

Hockey fans, what do you think of Prime hockey?

Topps Has Finally Changed Things Up with 2012 Chrome Baseball

Repeatedly, I am always down on Topps for their flagship Chrome products. Mainly because that’s all it is. Flagship with Chrome finishing. Personally, I don’t think that will ever change, but this year Topps has finally changed things up enough with 2012 Topps Chrome baseball to keep me interested in the product.

No black background, die-cut!

While I was unable to provide a preview before heading off to my honeymoon, I wanted to make sure I write something about a product that I usually don’t really care about. This year though, I wish I had done a preview before the product came out so I could discuss some of the changes that looked good.

My main gripe about Topps Chrome has always been the same. Same design, smelly chrome on top of it. Big whoop. And yeah, the base set is still the same design with chrome on top of it. But there are improvements in other areas that really caught my eyes. It’s kind of like Topps Chrome meets Topps Finest as far as the inserts go.

I’m a sucker for die-cuts, and 2012 Topps Chrome really showcases some neat designs with the die-cuts involved front and center. Whether it’s die-cut autographs or some sweet die-cut inserts, Topps has literally changed the landscape that they have done in the past with Topps Chrome inserts. In the past, it’s been nothing really new or striking. This is a big change.

Also included are buybacks for autographed Chrome cards for players that never had a Chrome rookie autograph card? Not a bad idea, but I could see that going over much better in Bowman Chrome or something like that where those are the rookie cards people really carry a lot of weight for.

Topps really had to fill a void because of the USA National Team being licensed by Panini now, but I really think that was a god send to Topps as it gave them a chance to be a little more creative and provide some cards that really make the set more exciting.

SCB Review: MojoBreak.com (Contest Included!)

MojoBreak.com is one of the seemingly endless number of sports card group break sites out there. Nowadays, there are new group break sites popping up daily. You need to know where the most trustworthy group breaks are, right? Well, the fine folks at Mojo Break wanted me to experience their product firsthand and were able to give me a shot in one of their group breaks for 2012 Panini Prestige football.

The type of break was a team draft style break. Everyone in the group break was listed and then randomized for draft order. The people in the break then picked the teams they wanted from the product. Of course, with this season being hyped up for Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the Colts and Redskins were the first two teams taken. As for me, I was way down in the 20s. I was stunned and happy when my favorite team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were still available, so I snatched them up. Every person gets the cards pulled from their team of choice.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my draft spot. I had thought about giving it away, but depending on where my draft position was, I thought giving away a card from the break would be better. Then I was able to grab my favorite team, so that threw another bone into what I wanted to do.

Then finally, my one hit from the product was this card:

The one card I wanted from the product for my PC was pulled. Ah, crap. Well…it looks like I’ll have to give SOMETHING away for this good luck.

So instead of giving away a PC card, which every collector would hate to do, I have a couple things here I’m going to give away to one person:

2012 Prestige Passports Ryan Broyles RC autograph and Prestige Picks Andrew Luck RC. I’ll also throw in a few more goodies as well.

 

All you have to do to enter this contest is click on the little box on the right that will direct you to MojoBreak.com. Check out their site, maybe join a group break or two if that’s your thing, and report back to me what you think of their site or services. Simple as that. One random entrant will receive the two cards listed above. This contest will run for one week, so get moving!

2012 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition Disappoints as Expected

When we previewed 2012 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition baseball a month or so ago, we had already heard the rumors. In case you missed it, Upper Deck released the product without any preview images other than what the box looks like.

We heard the rumors loud and clear at the time. The rumors were that this product would not feature any photos of the players depicted. It would pretty much be just autographs on cardboard…well, it’s worse. Autographed stickers on cardboard.

For $300 a box, you get a good number of autographs from legends, current stars, and prospects. However, that’s about all you get. The cards don’t feature any pictures of players at all. Nothing on the card was taken with any sort of camera.

It looks to be the biggest waste of money to hit sports cards since The Great Chase from Tri-Star where you get a bunch of 80s/90s junk wax. Sure, you might get some autos from some fantastic players, but they are only worth the cardboard the stickers are stuck on, and it doesn’t look good.

It’s sad, really. Upper Deck lost the MLB license a couple years ago and had all these autographs in stock with nothing to do with them. Well, they figured out something to do with them instead of waiting to see what the future of baseball cards will bring.

“We’ll let the product speak for itself.” Those were the last words from Upper Deck on the product. Confidence collectors will enjoy it? Not much of it in that statement and it shows.

I’d probably just peel the stickers off and put them on a different Upper Deck card of that player from a few years ago so at least it looks a bit nicer.

Here’s a couple auctions:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&_trksid=p4340.l2557&hash=item19d2bc6cb7&item=110909746359&nma=true&pt=US_Baseball&rt=nc&si=o7EMj8Tk7wd3X3%252BceqObNNUkfMU%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2012-Upper-Deck-SP-Signatures-Triple-Auto-Reid-Brignac-Wade-Davis-Matt-Joyce-/140790669344?pt=US_Baseball&hash=item20c7c72020

Guest Blog Post: Women In Collecting

by Ashley Reyes

I am counting down the days until the NSCC. But, as a woman, I also dread certain aspects of it. Such as, will I hear comments that I don’t belong? Will I be assumed to be there just for the purpose of pushing my husband’s wheelchair. I take the high road and don’t tell them they’re wrong, but it bothers me that my gender still means so much to some. They say we are taking over “their sports,” by having professional levels of basketball, soccer, and limited forays into softball and football, but the truth is that they aren’t watched in the numbers that their male counterparts are. They say we are taking over “their hobby” by being involved. I know men who quilt, crochet and knit, and I couldn’t be prouder. But in a hobby that some say is dying, does it really matter? If people are buying cards and paying attention, I’m personally thrilled no matter what gender, color, or orientation a person is. No one should ever feel embarrassed by their choice of hobby. Personally, I play video games, collect cards, and yes; sew, knit, quilt and crochet. In a time where 85% of all purchases are decided by women, does it really make sense to see anything as male only anymore?

On the website listed below, they have some pretty interesting statistics as to viewership of sports and even merchandise purchasing. With women accounting for:

  • 47.2 % of major league soccer fans
  • 46.5% of MLB fans
  • 43.2% of NFL fans
  • 40.8% of fans at NHL games
  • 37% of NBA fans
  • Women purchase 46% of official NFL merchandise
  • Women spent 80% of all sport apparel dollars and controlled 60% of all money spent on men’s clothing
  • Women comprise about one-third (34%) of the adult audience for ESPN sport event programs

Why would collecting be any different? We make buying decisions, we care about the teams and players, and we like collecting too. My husband may laugh at some of the reasons I give for my decisions on whether or not to buy a product, but they have a purpose – if it’s not outstanding, I don’t want it. I don’t care for sets that look like they took last year’s failed idea and threw into production because they had nothing better; I want clean, crisp and thoughtfully designed cards.  I want something that looks like they cared enough to really think about how it would look, feel, and yes, smell; because nobody wants to get high off the boxes. What I look for most in a product is a common theme – that the insert set flows with the rest of the set. As much as I love butterflies, I don’t care  for them as inserts in my baseball card set. Yes, they look awesome, but I buy cards for autographs and patches. With swatches and patches, I want to see color, to know where in the jersey it came from.  I like acetate and acrylic as they give the clean and uncluttered appearance, but I’m not a big fan of metallics.  Any set with too many metallics, or too many refractors, and they no longer become special or unique.

So, yes, I’m a woman who collects cards. I’m also a woman who knows what I want and what to look for, and most importantly, I buy what I love.  I’m not asking for the cards to be designed differently, or even marketed differently, just for those in the industry to take us seriously and realize we watch, we buy, and yes – we collect. So the next time you are at your local card shop, or a show, don’t dismiss that woman or girl you see; see her as part of the next generation.

(Data from: http://www.she-conomy.com/facts-on-women)

SCB Note: Ashley Reyes is a regular reader of the blog and wanted to contribute on her thoughts and experiences as a woman involved in card collecting. You can follow her on Twitter @cardgirlashley. I invite other women to share their thoughts on gender and collecting in the comments below.