Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Basketball

Upper Deck is coming back with another NCAA licensed basketball set featuring their two best exclusives in the sport with Michael Jordan and LeBron James. You can’t get better exclusives then those two and Upper Deck is the only place to find their autographs if you want them, besides eBay.

2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic will have 5 cards per pack and 24 packs per box. There are 6 boxes per inner case and 2 inner cases per full case. Each inner case will have either a Lebron or Jordan autograph and the other will have a Lebron, Jordan, Bird, Bill Russell, Magic, Dr. J, or some of the top rookies of the year.

Now I’m not one to complain about great autographs but the possibility of two Jordan autographs in a full case or Lebron autographs, wouldn’t that bring down the value of those cards? Having them in their college and high school jerseys already brings down the value a little bit, but now by adding more to the market it’s killing their autographs in those jerseys. Not surprisingly, their autographs in NBA jerseys are being sold for a little bit more now…but there are a ton of Lebron and Jordan autographs out there now over the last couple of years since the NCAA licensing. I know you’re trying to find a reason to sell more product since the loss of the NBA license, but I don’t think flooding the market with Jordan and Lebron autographs is really the way to do it.

Anyway, there are 50 cards per regular set with the always popular Rookie F/X cards and By The Letter autographs which has become a staple of basketball products by Upper Deck. You can also find College Pride autographed jersey cards, the Sign of the Times autographs with single, dual, and triple autographs as always, and again this year more North Carolina featured cards.

Okay, I understand North Carolina is possibly the greatest college basketball team of all time with some of the best players, including Jordan. But do we need more North Carolina sets? Not everyone is a Jordan or North Carolina lover. In fact, I hate North Carolina. And how many Jordan floor pieces from his time at North Carolina do we need? What about some of the best players from Duke? How about UCONN? There are plenty of other great teams that have had great players over the years, not everything has to be North Carolina. You even put out a set dedicated to North Carolina. Haven’t we seen enough Tar Heel blue?

I just want to see something different. This 2011-12 SP Authentic basketball looks pretty similar to last year, mixed with some North Carolina basketball. I know there is only so much you can do with just a college license, but maybe it’s time to try something different? I think it’s time to take a gamble.

I don’t know how to say that I’m disappointed without being kind of mean, but I’m disappointed. At least hockey is looking better and better every season.

You can find this product for $115 or so dollars on August 30, 2011 at Diamond Dealers and Authorized Internet Retailers.

Here’s something not Jordan, Lebron, or North Carolina.

Preview: 2011 Panini Certified Football

2011 Panini Certified football is back with all the rookie and veteran goodness that makes it one of the favorite products of the early to mid season year in and year out. This year’s improvements look to make 2010 look like child’s play in comparison as Panini has been stepping up their game across the board doing their best to bring collectors closer to their favorite rookies with on-card hard signed autographs.

All 36 Rookie Premiere invitees lend their John Hancock directly onto the Freshmen Fabric set this year making this a first in Panini Certified history. Nothing like the beauty of a fresh, clean, on card autograph.

Each box will feature 10 packs again this year with a total of 4 autographs or memorabilia cards with at least 1 of them being an autograph. You will also find one parallel numbered to 250 or less, two rookies numbered to 999 or less, and two additional inserts, rookies, or parallels.

Besides the rookies you will find the usual veterans of the game plus some retired legends autographs like Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, and Joe Namath. Now those are some huge names signing for Certified this year and should bring some premium elements to this mid ranged product.

There will also be Platinum hot boxes inserted which every base card is replaced with a limited parallel. I love me some hot boxes and just knowing there are going to be some makes me excited for the possibilities when opening my box. Could it be a hot box? What great cards could I pull?

There is no announced release date yet, but last year this was released in November so I’m going to guess it’s around the same time frame. I’ll let you know more when more information is available.

Until then, check out some of the cards from the latest Panini Peek of 2011 Panini Certified Football.

Preview: 2011 Panini Crown Royale Football

Panini revived Crown Royale with a bang last season. While I personally didn’t open up any of the football, I did get a chance to open their hockey product. While I scored no big hits, I knew it was something special when I saw a glimpse of the first cards and they were amazing. As a matter of fact, money willing, I may do a little time machine review of 2010 Crown Royale football. Anyway, Panini is bringing Crown Royale back for a second revival season and it looks just as good, if not better, than the last.

The highlight of the product, Rookie Silhouettes, has returned and looks just as good as ever. If you aren’t familiar, these are very short printed cards with a jumbo patch embedded into the card and the photo of the player going over the patch. Also on the card this year is hard signed autographs from all 36 NFL Premiere invitees. Check out this Julio Jones and tell me you don’t like it, because you can’t. You love it.

Now this product isn’t exactly for everyone. It’s 4 packs per box with a hit per pack and usually costs around $100 bills. But with great value in store this year, it will definitely be worthy of your money. You’ll get 4 hits, at least one autograph per box. The pieces of memorabilia are larger this year so that is a great addition along with more hard signed autographs.

You’ll find 4 rookies per box with 1 being numbered to 100 or less. You’ll also find 7 inserts per box as well, giving you some new designs and nice looking numbered cards to chase of your favorite team or players.

But included are also autographs from some of the game’s top players like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers and some living legends like Jack Lambert. I know there is more but the checklist has yet to debut.

I also know this product releases on October 5, 2011, and will most likely be around that $100 price point for a box of 4 packs. But from what we are seeing so far, it will definitely be worth it.

You want to see more images and get a little more information? Click here to visit the Crown Royal World Premiere post by Panini.

See the first box busted on Panini’s blog!

Preview: 2011 Panini Timeless Treasures Football

Timeless Treasures is coming to football!

With Panini just posting more and more images and other great stuff about 2011 Timeless Treasures football I had to write the preview post for this product a little bit early. But first I need to show off this little graphic and get your opinion on something:

Okay, you see that little promo picture up there? You see those mini cards in that promo picture? I’m 99% sure they don’t have mini cards in this product. How cool would those mini cards actually look if they were actually inserted into the product? Sure we only see mini cards in baseball products but just imagine the black and white or sepia like mini with a design around the edges to make it look like the edges are rounded or there are creases in the card but in actuality it is as mint as can be. See those cards in that graphic? I want those cards to be real. If you think so too, please make sure you comment that you want to see those made. There is still time to get them in! My rant is done…

Okay, now let’s get into what is really in this product. This product  comes with 5 cards per pack and 1 pack per tin. I love the use of tins as boxes as it adds another cool collector’s item. Just had to mention that. There will be 3 autographed or memorabilia hits per tin with a guarantee of at least one of them being an autograph. Everything will numbered to 499 or less when it comes to hits. And of course, 2 base cards.

For such a small amount of cards per pack it has a huge base set at 225 cards to collect for just the base set consisting of 100 commons, 25 legends, and 100 rookies. Again, Panini is packing another product with a ton of rookies which is both good and bad at the same time.

But I’m sure you want to know what kind of hits you can pull from this. Again, Panini is returning the on-leather autographed embedded cards. I put these into the same realm as manufactured patches and I just don’t like them. I’ve heard about problems with bleeding from these cards over the course of time so that can’t be very good and I hope they at least fixed that issue. Along with those, you will be able to find some rookie, veteran, and retired shield autographs as well which is always a hot seller and a collector favorite.

You will also be able to find Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders on special Hall of Fame 2011 cards. Speaking of Hall of Famers, you’ll be able to find cut autographs of greats like Jim Thorpe and Red Grange in this product as well.

But I’m skipping to my favorite thing in this product which Panini has showcased recently. Game Date Souvenirs. This is something that collectors have been asking for awhile. Game day photography coupled with the actual game used jersey from that game and printing when it was used on that same card. Finally, we know when it was used, how it was used, and what awesome things happened during that game. Imagine pulling a jersey card from the game in which you attended your first game or a patch card with a ton of dirt when your favorite player made a game saving tackle. This is very cool and is something every company should be doing and Panini is leading the way with this product. I think it will definitely excite even those who aren’t huge into game used pieces just knowing more about the memorabilia itself. As I said, Panini recently showcased some of the jerseys they just got in for this product and you have to check them out before they cut them up. I’m seeing some gross, dirty, sweaty jerseys being put into these cards.

Overall, I think it looks like a great product, with or without my addition of wanting mini cards. But I still think they’d be awesome. If you want to see some more images from this product you need to visit Panini’s blog post about premiering 2011 Panini Timeless Treasures.

This product is set to release on September 7, 2011, for a retail price of…I don’t know. Let’s take an educated guess based off of last year’s basketball product and say a little less than $100? I’ll stick with that until I hear something different. But it’s probably pretty close.

How was the base card design, actually designed?

Take a look at the Legends subset from the official Panini blog.

Check out these sweet beat up looking inserts. Whether or not I had any input on the creation of these inserts is still up in the air and I’m waiting to find out.

Preview: 2011 Topps Tier One Baseball

With 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter so close to release I am psyched right now about baseball products. All that is on television right now is baseball with the lockouts of the NFL and NBA. The NHL is always quiet this time of year unless there are some huge free agent signings. There has been some of those huge signings, but baseball is just at the top of it’s game. Sort of like Manny Pacquiao, top of their games.

Speaking of Manny Pacquiao, he has an autograph in the previously mentioned Allen & Ginter, but also in this brand new product put out by Topps this season. 2011 Topps Tier One baseball. And frankly, I’m not hugely impressed when I really want to be.

Topps has sunk it’s teeth into the 1 pack per box products and this is another one. Each pack will net you 3 base cards, 1 parallel, 1 relic card, and 2 autographs. Every 12 box case will yield 1, just 1, top tier autograph. Top Tier autographs are what everyone will be chasing, but they only fall 1 in 12 boxes. The best part about the autographs though is that they are all on-card, except for cut autographs and the triple autographs. Again, this should not be a selling point but it is.

If you do not hit one of these Top Tier autographs you will probably hit a On The Rise autograph or Crowd Pleaser autographs. There are also dual and triple autographs available to pull as well. The On The Rise subset and Crowd Pleaser autographs look alright, but no where near the Top Tier autographs. At least all autographs appear to be numbered to 25 or less so that should help with some of the value.

You will also find relics that come in patch form numbered to 10 or single, dual, or triple jersey form. And I’m guessing the regular swatches will all be single colored and boring as usual from Topps with their jersey swatches. At least they do a decent job on patches, but they make them so hard to get.

Finally you will find 3 base cards each numbered to 799 and a parallel numbered to 199, 50, 25, or 1.

And for once I am not impressed at all with Topps design on this product. It just looks lazy with a faded background to a single color on the base and parallel. Although the autograph designs look decent.

I can’t find a price on this product but it could fall from anywhere between $85 and $200 if I know Topps correctly. I’m hoping it will be closer to the lower side as Topps doesn’t have many products like this that is around the same price point as Panini Limited or Upper Deck Ultimate Collection. My guess is that it will be higher, kind of like Tribute or Triple Threads because I just have a feeling it will be higher. I hope I’m wrong as right now the product doesn’t stack up and baseball needs a product in that range like Panini and Upper Deck.

We have found a preliminary 2011 Topps Tier One baseball checklist available too so you can see what I’m talking about. Let me know what you think of this product that arrives in November 2011.