What Was Your Favorite Product of the Last 10 Years?

This is sort of an informal poll, but I’m just wondering what your favorite product was over the last 10 years. Why did you like that product so much? What would you have done to make it better?

Pretty simple question.

Mine would probably be 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball.

Why? Well the rehashing of the over 100 year old designs was a great start. They product looked beautiful from the start. The autographed checklist was also extremely good, filled with talented Major League players as well as icons such as Hulk Hogan, John Wooden, and Mike Tyson.

More great selling points were the buyback of original 1887 Allen & Ginter mini cards that were inserted into the product, the rip cards, and just the overall quality of the set Topps put together that year.

While I had a lot of other products I really liked including 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball, 2005 Donruss/Playoff Absolute Memorabilia baseball, and 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite basketball, Allen & Ginter began a phenomenon that even the casual collector could get into.

What would yours be?

2011-12 Hoops Blake Superior and Black Mamba SPs

Along with the Dallas Mavericks World Champions base card to finish off your base set, there are a couple of other really hard pulls in Panini’s new basketball product, Hoops. Both of these inserts are extremely nice looking and extremely limited.

The first features Panini exclusive Kobe Bryant, also known as “The Black Mamba”.

The second features another Panini exclusive athlete, Blake Griffin. This insert is called “Blake Superior”. Probably for his superior hops, not many players can jump over a Kia.

As you can see, both of these cards are absolutely beautiful looking. But they are both absolutely difficult to pull from a box. So difficult in fact, none of the Blake Superior cards have shown up on eBay yet, while only two of the Kobes have shown up and have each sold for $100+.

An non-autographed  insert hitting the triple digit mark is unheard of in today’s trading card landscape so it’s nice to see Panini adding the extra value if you are lucky enough to pull one of these inserts.

Check out our preview of 2011-12 Panini Hoops for more information about this product.

Topps Five-Star Football Out and Looks Good

Why can’t Topps do a high-end baseball product like they can with football?

2011 Topps Five-Star is out and is what everyone had expected when previewing the product. Tons of on-card autographs, nice patches, and even redemptions for full autographed jerseys and helmets.

Five-Star was a welcome surprise last year and the product continues to be a great product again this year. It is once again, definitely a contender for football product of the year. The addition of those aforementioned full autographed jerseys and helmets really pushes it over the edge. I’ve been wanting a product to do this for years, and the fact that it has finally come true is exciting. Who wouldn’t want to pull one of those cards?

The only real complaint I’m hearing from collectors is the single, plain, jersey cards that you can find in any other product. That is a very legitimate complaint and is something that Topps should figure out how to avoid next year.

Now we have to wait and see the final product of 2011 Panini National Treasures football and 2011 Upper Deck Exquisite football products to see how they compare to a great Topps product this year.

What do you think of what you’ve seen from this product so far?

Great Sports Card Twitter Follows

A few weeks ago, I featured some of my favorite sports card blogs. Now I want to feature some of my favorite sports card related Twitter accounts that deserve a follow for their information, their personality, or whatever else I feel determines a good follow. I’ll list out my top 10 of my favorite sports card related Twitter follows and let you go see for yourself. To start, if you aren’t following me on Twitter, you can follow me here.

@stalegum – His take on sports cards is both interesting and sometimes vulgar. But it’s definitely worth the time to read.

@VOTC – The Voice of the Collector, opinionated but down to earth on his views of sports cards.

@RyanTatsuko – A professional baseball player who loves collecting baseball cards, how cool is that?

@dougology – Another member of the Cardboard Connection gang with @VOTC, I like his mix of humor and sports cards.

@chrisolds2009 – Beckett’s own. Editor of several Beckett’s price guides.

@LongFlyBall – A Canadian’s take on baseball cards and occasionally hockey.

@FieldLevelView – A solid Twitter commentary on sports cards.

@brentandbecca – A product case breaker with great insight on products.

@TomTheRipper – Why do I like his tweets? I don’t know. They are weird and sometimes about sports cards, but I like weird. He’s also the guy who does all the video production stuff for Panini.

@cardboardicons – Another blogger who is a great read on Twitter, like most of the above listed.

So those are 10 of my favorite Twitter follows. I follow 100+ people for one reason or another, so all of them are good follows to me, but these are some of my favorite.

And as a shout out to the actual companies, if you’re a collector you need to be following @PaniniAmerica @UpperDeckSports @toppscards @InTheGame @Leaf_Cards

Panini’s Social Signatures or “Twittergraphs” Create Stir

When Panini announced the Social Signatures autograph subset in 2011-12 Panini Elite hockey, it was kind of looked over on their blog. With Chris Olds’ piece on Beckett recently, collectors started to take notice.

A little more about the concept, Panini will be inserting an autographed subset that is the first of it’s kind…an autograph from the player along with an inscription of their Twitter handle will be signed on their card. Not only is that an interesting twist to the autograph genre of cards, it’s great self promotion for the hockey players included in that set. A ton of new followers means new fans to connect with.

With players being able to reach out to their fans with greater ease then ever before, this is a unique idea for collectors and players alike.

Personally, I love that Panini plans on this subset being very limited and I would love to see this brought to football, basketball, and baseball as well. As a Blazers fan, I follow a ton of very talkative Trailblazers on Twitter and I know they would enjoy inscribing their Twitter handles as they love talking with the fans. As I said in my preview of this product, it’s a little gimmicky, but it’s new and interesting so I like it.

Check out at least one confirmed player in 2011-12 Donruss Elite hockey, Paul Bissonnette, or  @BizNasty2Point0