Review: 2012 Panini Americana Heroes & Legends

When I was given the opportunity to break and review 2012 Panini Americana trading cards, I was excited. I’ve always wanted to try the product, but sports cards always take the cake for me compared to a product based around history. Now don’t get me wrong, I love history. But finally being able to open this product was a nice change of a pace for a (mostly) sports card collector like myself.

Each box has 3 hits consisting of autographs and memorabilia cards. You’ll also find a few parallels and a couple different insert cards showcasing some of those American Heroes and Legends. Let’s see what we pulled from this product, after the review:

Design:

The base set features a black and white photo, with a very subtle waving American flag in the bottom. The full bleed, borderless, design is actually really nice looking with a great big photo of the subject. The cards are intentionally black and white, with parallels in full color or with a Artist’s Proof logo on them. The use of black and white photos is interesting, but allows for the parallels in full color which I like. But I’m not a huge fan of the complete black and white base set. I see why they did it, and it makes sense with the parallels too, but it’s not that appealing to me. The US flag at the bottom in color looks good in contrast with the black and white though too. Maybe it’s the execution I don’t like more than the idea. What do you think?

Checklist:

The checklist features all 44 Presidents of the United States, which is awesome. As I was opening the cards I was putting together the whole set of Presidents and was excited for each one pulled. However, less excited I was for the large number of US Women’s Soccer cards and medium excitement for the war heroes, astronauts and Olympians. It’s purely a personal thing, and there are a TON of collectors who would enjoy those, but I was expecting a wider variety. Basically the base set boils down to Presidents, war heroes, astronauts, Olympians, and US Women’s Soccer. Maybe it’s my unfamiliarity with opening the product showing or in my head I compare it with something like Goodwin Champions. I just wish there was a little more.

Value:

When I saw that this product was $100, I was bit skeptical when it came to value. However, the autographs actually sell for a decent coin, as well as the parallels. I was a little surprised, but not really. Collectors really do enjoy Americana and it shows with the secondary sales. It also looks like a fun set to put together, so that would add into it as well. Even the plain jersey from the US Women’s Soccer player Heather Mitts isn’t that bad on the secondary market either. So yeah, definitely pleasantly surprised by the value in the box despite a price tag that reaches $100. I’m just not sure what huge hits are in the boxes, but the checklist does show some rare collectibles that I’m sure sell very well.

Overall:

Overall, I’m inexperienced when it comes to a product like this and it shows a little bit. However, it’s exciting to get to review a product that you aren’t used to and showcase the cards to the world. It also gives a different view, not really knowing what to expect from the product. The design is pretty good, but I have a love/hate relationship with the black and white photos for the base set. Panini does do a good job with the colored parallels and the color they do use in the product. The checklist has a decent variety of Heroes & Legends, but I was expecting a bit more. Surprisingly, there is some value to be had in this product, and Panini keeps some of the more popular people more rare, which means you can actually hit it big in a product like this.

A big thanks to Panini for providing a product like this to me for review. I wasn’t expecting the opportunity to open this, but it was definitely a fun break. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Twitter, or Facebook accounts.

You can find a full checklist of this product on the Cardboard Connection product information page.

 

Mini-Break: 2011 Upper Deck SP Game Used Soccer

Hey there. I have a nice little mini-break to show you guys courtesy of the fine folks at Upper Deck.

I broke 3 packs of 2011 Upper Deck SP Game Used soccer. While it was not enough for a full review, I am going to share the contents and then after a few days of Upper Deck reviews, I’m going to have a mega-contest with a ton of Upper Deck cards. How’s that sound? So here’s what we pulled from these packs of futbol goodness.

Base:

As you can see, I got some Abby Wambach action in those base cards. Nice looking base cards too with some great shots. Definitely nice looking.

Rookies:

A couple of rookies here. Look similar to the NHL version from this brand, but that’s pretty usual. Nice looking rookies numbered to 499 so decently limited. Not bad at all.

Game Used:

I was never a fan of the game used design here in the NHL version so I feel the same with these. However, the best part about soccer jerseys is that they often feature some nice colors. That orange jersey of Brian Ching looks great embedded into that card.

So those cards look pretty good for the most part. The checklist is hit or miss in the US right now because we are just now getting accustomed to what star players are like. Everyone knows Donovan and Beckham but who else may others know? And at a price this high, the casual soccer collector may not want to buy a product like this. Is it too early for an SPGU product in the soccer market? It may be, but it will definitely catch on in the future as soccer is one of the fastest growing sports at the professional level in America.

Overall, a pretty nice product, just a tad bit expensive. What are your thoughts?

Thanks to Upper Deck for providing the packs to show to you all. You can visit them at their official website, their official blog, the Upper Deck Facebook page, or the Upper Deck Twitter account. They always have a ton of contests on Facebook and are quite chatty if you have questions on Twitter.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emny9EiA8ao]

Bustin’ Blasters: 2011 Topps American Pie

As I state in the below video, I bust a couple blasters a month but have never really posted anything about them. Well, that is about to change. Taking a few notes from Chris Olds of Beckett, I decided to start posting videos of what you might find in some blasters.

Well our first and inaugural blaster is 2011 Topps America Pie. Full of pop culture and Hollywood icons, this is the product for all those who love American nostalgia. Well, here is American Pie and all it’s glory.

The base cards…1 from each decade shown:

┬áThe insert cards…a variety of inserts and a shiny foil:

And a commemorative patch of John Wayne numbered to just 25! Complete all the letters for your own Hollywood sign!

Overall, this America Pie blaster was a lot of fun. I’ve been seeing a ton of relics come out of these blaster boxes so I would recommend picking one up and taking your chances, especially if you enjoy nostalgia like I do. I may not have been alive for half these cards, but I love the ones that I do remember.

As always, have fun.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah-oS2VvEKM]

Review: 2010 Upper Deck World of Sports

This may be rough, but it’s honest and that’s the way I’m going to keep it.

This is a review of 2010 Upper Deck World of Sports provided to me by Upper Deck. The video of the break is at the bottom. But first a little back story on how I got the box. Upper Deck had a contest on their Facebook page located on the Upper Deck official Facebook page. Check out the link and Like them for a ton of contests and the chance to win free stuff. Anyway, the contest I entered was called the “most different box break”. At the time I had a box of 2009 Exquisite Football and happened to be going on a trip. So what do I do? I open the box of Exquisite in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the cruise ship. I use the word Exquisite alot, promote the Upper Deck Facebook and Upper Deck, it was alright. A month or so later I get an email from Chris Carlin, their Marketing and Social Media dude saying I won. Awesome, I had no idea what was I would be getting. I ended up receiving the 2010 SP Authentic Football box that I reviewed and Upper Deck World of Sports which I am reviewing now. I decided in both videos to do something a little “different” hence the little pre-break show. My acting is terrible and I have a playoff beard. The video is at the bottom, but on with the review!

Upper Deck lost it’s license on several professional sports over the last couple of years and decided to come out with a set of a mix of all sports creating this, World of Sports. Featured in this box are a ton of sports from baseball and basketball to BMX and Lacrosse and everything in between. All main sports are in college or Olympic uniforms so it really is a wide range of cards. The cool thing is your can pull an autograph from pretty much everyone in the base set from Tiger Woods, Stephen Strasburg, Michael Jordan, Sidney Crosby, Taylor Hall, the list keeps going. Every box contains 2 autographs, 1 game used, and 1 Clear Competitors numbered insert which is an acetate card. Here is what I pulled.

Base:

Autographs:

Game Used:

Clear Competitors:

Design:

This would of been a 4 star rating had there not been an Athletes of the World subset without any pictures on it. I assume it has something to do with not being able to secure image rights on the person. If not, there really isn’t an excuse for a card with just a sticker autograph on it. Other then that, the photography is solid and the designs are crisp. I’m a sucker for acetate cards and have been since I was little and the first time I opened a pack of acetate cards. The autographs are sticker autos (ew) and I think the cards would look better had they been hard signed. I like that there is only one game used per box as game used is kind of a dying breed of cards and the design is what you’d expect from Upper Deck.

Checklist:

When you open a pack and don’t recognize a name on the pack, that is a bad thing. I know sports, I’m a fan of the 4 major sports plus I know all the stars from soccer around the world. But when you open a pack and don’t know a name, that is kind of depressing. There are 400 regular cards in the set, so you can see how many athletes there are that you probably will not know. Since every person has an autograph, your odds of pulling something of someone you know are lower. Luckily, I’m a Portland Trailblazer fan and know who Armon Johnson is or else I would not know who anyone was (except Yao, of course). Honestly, I don’t know what to say about some of the names added. How many names were just thrown in to fill the set out? The sell sheet says to look for some of the best from extreme sports but where are the snowboarders and skateboarders? I didn’t pull any, just a Matt Hoffman BMX card. The X Games are huge around the world, but some of their athletes were not represented well.

Value:

Go huge or go cry yourself to sleep. You can pull a huge name or a bunch of names you have never heard of. That seems to be what this box consists of. Where is the medium level talent that people have heard of? With the current price of this box at $60, I really can’t justify that price if most boxes are like this. The card stock is ultra thin, the checklist is sub-par and could be better, and some autographs don’t even have the person’s picture, but I guess the Clear Competitors fall one per box so they don’t over do the inserts. That isn’t enough to bring the value up to a 2 and I was even lucky enough to pull an extra autograph. I don’t see the value here, maybe I’m missing the point?

Overall:

Well the design is there and features the players more than anything else, which is a good thing. Autographs on stickers are common even though people are starting to dislike them more and more. The checklist is bad and could have had so much more potential to be a great and fun product. Pulling cards of people you never heard of really hurts this product, especially if your hits are all people you haven’t heard of as well. It hurts to open this and I didn’t even spend any money on it! Well I guess my Exquisite paid for it, but most people would be spending real American or Canadian dollars on this and I have a feeling that most won’t be too happy. I love what you are trying to do Upper Deck, I really do, but this could have been so much better.

As promised, here is me making an idiot of myself opening this box:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RAaKWsxjGo]

And finally, you’ll understand this if you watch the video.