Preview: 2011 Score Football

Set collectors, low end collectors, team/player collectors, and children will rejoice on July 6th, 2011, when 2011 Score football hits the shelves. This $0.99 per pack retail product has always been a great buy throughout the years for people getting started in collecting or those looking for some cheap packs to open and build a set or find their favorite players. The hobby needs products like this and I’m always happy to see it on the shelves. My rule for these types of products is if they are coming off the shelves, there will be more new collectors to the hobby. That’s a good thing.

2011 Score, produced by Panini, looks like they have revamped the design a bit compared to past seasons and it definitely is looking great. In a regular retail box there will be 36 packs and it looks like it will be a rookie per pack as well as a glossy parallel per pack.  You will also find a few different inserts scattered around as well. I have to say I really enjoy the look of the inserts as well, especially In The Zone and Complete Players. This is all pretty impressive for a buck a pack but that’s not it.

What you won’t find is memorabilia cards. I’m actually happy there isn’t any in this product. It will keep the pack searchers away when I want to pick up a few packs at a dollar store or my grocery store. What this product will have is the occasional autograph though which is great. One per case of blasters and 5 per case of standard retail boxes and you will find current studs like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Adrian Peterson as well as rookie studs Julio Jones, AJ Green, and Jake Locker, amongst other players. This is a great autograph checklist if you’re lucky enough to pull one from these retail boxes. Again, this is a buck a pack.

One paper Washington. One pack. And you’ll get a shiny new penny in return (at least in Oregon with no sales tax). Can’t beat that.

Don’t forget to check out the Panini Peek for 2011 Score football!

Here is a picture of what a Tom Brady autograph looks like from this set. Is it just me or does it look like Tom took too many hits last year? His autograph is a little messy compared to other recent versions.

Preview: 2010-11 Panini Zenith Hockey

Dear hockey collectors,

Do you love rookie cards? Of course you do, especially with this season’s rookie crop. This is the best rookie crop since 2005-06 with the first draft after the lockout. Well 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey will bring you 200 different rookie cards for this season. Every rookie that took the NHL ice and every backup goalie that sat on the bench will most likely be in this product. That is a lot of rookies.

Your box of Zenith hockey will have 10 packs and 5 cards per pack. You are going to need a TON of boxes if you want to hand collate the entire set. The one really cool feature about this box is the Dare to Rip box topper. I’ve been saying for years that every box of cards should come with some sort of box topper. Box toppers are awesome and companies can really let their creativity flow with the types of cards in there. Well the Dare to Rip is just that. The Dare to Rip box topper can be a regular base card OR an exclusive signed rookie from any Panini product like the unreleased National Treasures or Elite hockey. Personally, I love rip cards as it brings a whole new dimension to opening boxes. You have a decision to make. You could keep it as a collectible if you like what’s on the card, which you will as it’s a rookie or a legend, or you can sell it. But you could also rip it and get something good or just another base card. All I hope for is Panini has taken the steps to avoid some way to determine if there is an autograph in the pack or not.

Panini has been making this the year of the inserts and it continues here with more inserts and parallels. I love inserts so I’m not complaining and I’ve always enjoyed the Zenith inserts. The Red Hot and White Hot parallels look great as always with a shiny, fiery background. In 2005 Zenith baseball I pulled a Ted Williams White Hot and it looks awesome. The same technology to make those is still in use for this set it appears. You will also find 4 short print legends, 1 Crease is the Word insert, 1 Gifted Grinders insert, and 1 Z-RC.

Finally, everyone loves the hits. You will find 3 autographs or memorabilia cards per box with at least 1 being an autograph. One of the coolest autograph hits is the Yours Truly subset with the player on the card and Yours Truly written in beautiful lettering above where the star player signs. It’s a neat idea to bring to the table for autographed cards. A case break seems to contain 4 Yours Truly and 5 autographed rookies which makes me think the 1 autograph will be for most boxes. A great thing about this product is there will be SP rookie autographs of the top rookies numbered to just 199 which should keep them very collectible.

Overall, this looks like a great product for hockey prospectors and rookie collectors as well as if you want to have some fun with the Dare to Rip cards or try pulling one of those nice looking Yours Truly autographs. 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey releases around July 6th, 2011, with a price tag around $85 for a box.

Yours Truly,

Alexander Ovechkin

PS: To hold you over here is some images from the Panini Peek of Zenith hockey.

(SCB Note: PSS: Need the 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey checklist? Or how about some good ol’ fashioned 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey box ripping?)

July 2011 Sports Card Releases

July 2011 is going to be busy with sports card releases. It seems like every sport is throwing a ton of product out in July. I’m not entirely sure why July is that month, but it’s going to be very interesting to see what collectors will be spending their money on and what they will be pushing aside. But rest assured, I am here to help you. Below will be a list of all releases in the month of July and their dates in every sport. I will also link to any previews I may have up and rate them from 1 to 10 on my excitement level. I’ll even include a price point. Sounds like a big undertaking? Well it is. But it’s going to be informative. Release dates are subject to change.*

BASEBALL

2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $110 – Excitement: 8/10

The Bryce Harper chase will continue with 2011 Bowman Platinum baseball. While a rookie autograph relic for Harper is not yet confirmed in the checklist, you know Topps is going to do everything in it’s power to get that card in this set, just like Strasburg from last year. You will be able to find plain rookie autographs though and that is enough to get the nod as a product to buy.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball – Release: July 13th, 2011 – Price: $90 – Excitement: 8/10

A fan favorite since it was brought back from the dead, Allen & Ginter will be out in July. With one of the better autograph checklists in recent years and a fun set to collect, everyone will continue to buy Ginter.

FOOTBALL

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $85 – Excitement: 7/10

While not traditionally one of the strongest releases of the football season, 2011 Rookies & Stars will have all your top draft players and a mix of veterans with jerseys, autographs, and patches. This will also have an insert set that pays homage to the old Donruss Studio brand as well which is pretty cool to me.

2011 Score Football – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $30 – Excitement: 6/10

The set for just about anyone is back. Mainly aimed at lower end set builders and those without the money to spend on cards, Score Football is back and will include all the top rookies and a few scattered autographs here and there. I am not a set builder so this rating is a little lower, but lower end flagship sets are definitely a need in this hobby and Score football supplies that.

2011 Topps Football – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $55 – Excitement: 7/10

Topps flagship football is here year after year with all your new rookies and players in their new uniforms. It may be harder to do without official workouts going on, but it will be out. A big set to put together and a ton of new Super Bowl themed inserts to keep it fresh, Topps is looking good as usual.

2011 Upper Deck NCAA Sweet Spot – Release: July 13th, 2011 – Price: $110 – Excitement: 7/10

Your premium one autograph a pack Upper Deck product is back with the newest draft picks and veterans all in their college glory. Usually a very hit or miss product, this is for those who love autographs and are looking to get a head start on the rookies for the upcoming season.

BASKETBALL

2010/11 Panini Gold Standard – Release: July 14th, 2011 – Price: $175 – Excitement: 9/10

This new product by Panini looks like it is going to be a hit amongst collectors. Just from looking at the number of Google searches coming into my site looking for information on Gold Standard is astounding. With real gold embedded into the cards and a great selection of autographs and memorabilia, this first time product looks like it may become a Panini staple.

2010/11 Panini Season Update – Release: July 20th, 2011 – Price: $65 – Excitement: 7/10

To wrap up the season in full, Panini Season Update is released at the end of the season and finishes with updates of trades, champions, and history making games of the season. Last year, this was the best value of the season with tons of extra hits and one can hope for the same this year.

2010/11 Panini Totally Certified – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $100 – Excitement: 8/10

The newly renamed Totally Certified will be coming out as well highlighting the best rookies and stars of the season. Tons of low numbered parallels and the debut of Panini HRX video trading cards, Panini Totally Certified should be near the top of your list for basketball products.

2010/11 Upper Deck All-Time Greats – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $285 – Excitement: 8/10

With a Jordan autograph every 6 boxes, it’s hard not to like this product. The checklist looks great for a 20 living legend checklist. Included will be deceased cut autographs as well. You want stars of the game today and the past, look no further. This should be a fun product to open.

HOCKEY

2010/11 Panini Dominion – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $375 – Excitement: 9/10

Panini’s debut high end hockey product of the season releases in July with great hits and already tons of buzz from the hockey community. Tons of great memorabilia hits and autographs of stars, rookies, and legends, this is a product that I would want most this July, but will only be able to afford if I find a job. Please let me find a job.

2010/11 Panini Zenith – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $85 – Excitement: 7/10

Panini debuts Zenith with their first Rip Cards and the largest rookie checklist of the year. Over 200 rookies for you to get your hands on in this product. Also find rookie autographs and veteran autographs as usual with some neat insert concepts.

2010/11 Upper Deck Ultimate – Release: July 20th, 2011 – Price: $90 – Excitement: 9/10

Upper Deck Ultimate hockey is the premium product that leads to The Cup in August. Great rookie and veterans autographs and usually awesome patches, this product is always a hit with hockey collectors. If I had the money it would be a tough decision to go with one box of Dominion or multiple Ultimate boxes. I’d have to find a way to do both.

That’s it for July. 13 products from four sports across the whole month and I didn’t even mention Upper Deck Goodwin Champions which will release July 5th, 2011 a week early at the end of June and covers a whole mess of sports. So make that 14 products over the course of one month. It will definitely be a busy month for collectors. Everything from a $30 box of Score football to a $375 box of Dominion hockey will be released.

But either way, all these products means a lot of fun for those who want to rip open some new product! May the mojo be with you this July!

Preview: 2011 Topps Inception Football

It may be the middle of the Major League Baseball season, but football products are coming out like hotcakes. Topps Inception football is just as the name implies. Topps is welcoming the top drafted rookies this year in their own focused product with Topps Inception. Chock full of rookies, if you’re a rookie collector or looking to try and prospect some football players before they take the field this year (hopefully) this product is for you.

This product is full of great things. I’ll start with the rookie autographs. Every rookie autographed card is hard signed. Topps has done a great job getting these done in this department. It shouldn’t be a selling point more than it should be a requirement for autographs, but Topps is making the necessary steps. There will be dual, triples, and quad autographs all on card. This is shaping up to be a monster rookie product. There is also a black version signed in silver ink which looks awesome.

The second great thing is the design. These cards look great. Sure, the jerseys on the players are photoshopped on, but the look of a very realistic painting looks really good. But the overall design of the cards makes that seem like a non-issue. The players look like they are coming out of the smoke from the tunnel for their first NFL game. Instead, they are coming out for their first high-end rookie trading cards.

The final great thing is the price. What would you pay for a rookie product with a ton of autographs, great looking design, and a ton of relics? You would need to know what you get per box. Each box comes with one pack. Inside each pack is 2 autographs, 1 relic card, 2 parallels, and 2 veteran base cards. Every card is numbered. Sounds like a lot of other products out there that cost $150+. Try $90 for this product. The lack of veteran and star autographs drives the price down to an affordable level to pick up some of the hottest rookies of this coming season. With all the low serial number possibilities, you can find some real value in this box.

The only thing I kind of don’t like about this product is the relics. Now you need to understand where I am coming from with this. Every relic is just event worn from the NFL Rookie Premiere. Worn for two seconds or worn in multiple layers, these are not game used. I don’t like event worn memorabilia. BUT! I understand the need for event worn memorabilia when there hasn’t been a game played yet. If you want to get products out before the season starts you need to use the event worn jerseys, I understand that. I just like my stuff game worn, it means more to me as a collector.

But I can’t complain about how they use these relics. Shields, jumbo relics, jumbo patches, letterman, laundry tags, autographed versions of all of those…great use of the memorabilia. They are really using every bit of the jersey for this product and for that we do thank you. So honestly, I can’t not like it that much. It’s more of a preference I guess.

Either way, this product is looking good. Right now the release date is set for August 10, 2011. It will definitely be a favorite of the rookie collectors out there and with more people getting into prospecting in football, it looks like it will do well. If you want star autographs or legend autographs, you will not find it in this product, however.

Here is one of those sweet silver signatures:

Stanley Cup and NBA Finals Champs Collectors Rejoice

With both the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals completing in the same week, that leaves us with only baseball for the time being. A lockout looming for the NBA and a continuing lockout for the NFL makes baseball the only major sport we have left to watch. Unless you are one of those few American soccer fans, in that case two sports.

First I am going to show what you collectors can get for your team winning the ultimate prize.

Panini America will have for sale the official 2011 NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks commemorative box set available soon.

This set will feature 36 cards and will have one card for every player on the NBA champs roster. It will also have a highlight card of all 16 Dallas victories this postseason, a card of Coach Carlisle, and a special Dirk Nowitski MVP card. Maybe a Dirk “OneRingSki” we should call it now.

Upper Deck will also be releasing a 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins commemorative set in a few weeks as well.

This box set will feature cards for 25 players that helped make it happen this year and bring the Cup back to Beantown. There will be a jumbo card, a shot of the whole team with the Cup, and 5 season highlight cards of highlights that propelled them to the playoffs and eventually the Cup!

You can find out more about Panini’s 2011 NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks Commemorative Set here and Upper Deck’s 2011 Stanley Cup Champions Boston Bruins Commemorative Set here on the Upper Deck Store site. Sorry, I can’t post a link directly to the product as WordPress.com doesn’t like that on their hosted blogs. Apparently, if I didn’t make the product myself I can’t post a link to buy it. A reason why I’m looking to move to either my own host or a different host. But if I review the product I am allowed to link to it. Weird. So since I am unemployed currently, I can not be paying for hosting (it would be from my box breaking fund) but may consider moving to Blogger. I know you posted that on your blog just for me Upper Deck.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say that I am appalled by the acts of the people in Vancouver. I have always had a favorable view of the people of Vancouver but that view has gone down slightly. I understand that these actions do not speak for all the people of Vancouver and their surrounding suburbs. However, the actions put on by the rioters after their team lost a SPORTS EVENT is despicable. It is a sports event people. There are much more important things in the world going on than the Canucks losing in the Stanley Cup finals. To the people who kept it civil, I’m sorry your beautiful city turned into a war zone for a night. I hope you all stayed safe away from the rioting.