Preview: 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified Basketball

What is the difference between last year’s Certified basketball and this year’s Totally Certified basketball? Obviously this one is totally better then last year.

This product is coming out with 6 packs and 5 cards per pack for around $120. That’s $20 a pack and each pack will yield a hit with at least 2 autographs coming out of a box. There will also be 6 inserts so I am guessing there will be an insert in a pack as well, all these being serial numbered from 599 to 1 of 1. This price point is very similar to their other hit per pack products so let’s hope the 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified checklist gives us great value for the money.

Panini has always done great making sure there are multiple possible case hits to bring value to your boxes. I love how they have a list of possible case hits and the number there will be in a case. Each case will include one or more of an autograph from Kobe, Durant, Blake Griffin, John Wall, a 1 of 1, or an autograph numbered to 5 or less. I think Panini has been over doing their legends recently so it’s refreshing to not have any case hits of them in this product.

Next, all rookie autographs will be on card. Panini again is listening to the consumer to bring on card autographs and we couldn’t be happier.

But what really makes this product stand out is finding Panini’s newest technology. You will find Panini HRX video trading cards in these boxes. Now I have not seen these up close but I have a feeling they will do better then Upper Deck’s video cards. You know why? Some of these will be autographed! I’ve always wanted to see one of these since they came out, so I’m hoping to find one if I buy a box. I’m not sure how often these will be seeded but I’m excited just for the chance. Having a video trading card with highlights and seeing the player sign the card is awesome. The autograph sweetens it to the point where it’s not just a gimmick anymore. Even though 1 out of 5 of these video cards are signed, it’s still great some are going out signed. These will be redemptions so there is no pack searching the box for heavy cards. Here is Blake Griffin talking about the new Panini HRX technology.

Here are some production floor images from Panini’s Official Blog so you can check out some cards from the set. I’m not sure how I feel about the “mirrors” this year. Being called “Totally Green” or “Totally Blue” just sounds weird to me. I like that the colors are vibrant though and the player stands out but just the naming seems weird. Then again the name change to “Totally Certified” seems weird too. As it wasn’t certified before? Why the change? I understand Panini needs to transition from Donruss to their own identity but just adding an adverb before it doesn’t make sense to me. At least the cards look nice. Kind of reminds me of a mixture of Certified and classic Pinnacle/Zenith mixed together at times.

You can find this product out on July 6, 2011. And I’m seeing prices less then the $120 on the Panini sell sheet so pick them up via preorder now!

(SCB Note: Want to see what Panini pulled in their World Premiere box breaks?)

Preview: 2010-11 Upper Deck All Time Greats Basketball

Upper Deck brings you their next basketball product of the season on July 6, 2011, and this one comes with a bang. The man who really holds the crown in basketball has a ton of autographs ready for you to pull. Every 1 out of 6 boxes will have a Michael Jordan autograph. That’s right, your chances of pulling a MJ autograph are 1 in 6 boxes.

Each tin will have 3 base cards and 1 autographed card. The product will also be player specific, which means every box will have only one player in it. There will also be some mystery boxes with multiple players in it. This will be the next high end basketball product from Upper Deck however, so if you want 6 boxes to try and pull your MJ autograph, it’s going to cost you some dough. But “Sir Altitude” is not the only great autograph you can pull from this set.

There are only 20 players in this checklist. These 20 players are chosen specifically and you would want an autograph from just about any of them. This 2010-11 Upper Deck All Time Greats Basketball checklist is so small I am going to list it here for you. The checklist is as follows: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Dr. J, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Steve Nash, James Worthy, Jerry West, John Havlicek, David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, Hakeem Olajuwon, Walt Frazier, Derrick Rose, Clyde Drexler, Grant Hill, Chris Paul, Larry Johnson, and finally Penny Hardaway. That is the complete checklist.

These players will be found in a number of different types of cards. Letterman signatures, Storybook Career booklet, One on One dual signature booklets, and All-Time 9 signatures which are 1 of 1s. Also is regular insert sets which are variably numbered.

One thing I don’t like is Upper Deck is bringing the Letterman subset with signatures on plastic across the top of it, not signed directly on the manufactured patch. Now I’ve always disliked manufactured patches, however, I have less of a problem with Letterman as being manufactured as it brings a fun set to collect the players whole name. But Topps tried this plastic piece over the top of relics and it didn’t go very well with collectors. I’m pretty sure this won’t go well either as it’s the same concept. Who knows, maybe the mainstream collector has changed their mind about this.

Finally there will also be some cut signatures of deceased players mixed with current legends in a dual signature booklet. I am hoping these cut signatures will be a little better designed then the recent Legendary Cuts product which wasn’t the best design in my eyes.

Otherwise, this set is filled with the current and former legends of the game and autographs will be plenty. With the odds of pulling a Jordan box in 1 every 6 boxes for around $285 a box, it’s definitely a gamble but with a solid checklist it will be a gamble worth taking.

Here is an example of the new Lettermans which I’m not a huge fan of. At least the signatures are more clear this way.

Preview: 2011 Topps Chrome Football

2011 Topps Chrome football looks to be the best Topps Chrome product to come out in years in any sport. With newly minted inserts, solid on-card rookie autographs, and sleek design, this Topps Chrome should set the mark for future Topps products in the future. There will be some sticker autograph in this product though, but I’m sure it is impossible to get everyone on card.

As collectors, we love hard-signed content and Topps has been doing their best to get as much on-card goodness as they can and they have been doing a great job listening to the collectors. On-card Cam Newton, AJ Green, Mark Ingram…the list for the season goes on and Topps has it all in that regard. Then add in all of Topps’ famous refractors and it’s a rookie autograph party. Included this year is a new red and crystal atomic refractor for these autograph. Nothing brings nostalgia like an atomic refractor in your pack of cards.

But where Topps Chrome really shines this year is their insert sets. I admit, I love inserts. Nothing breaks up the monotony of pulling base after base then solid insert cards. Personally, I wish I could have one every pack. This year Topps breaks up that monotony in a number of ways. The best part is that there is an autographed version to every insert subset. A limited edition Bowman Chrome will be inserted along with a Rookie Recognition set. But my favorite is the different die-cut inserts you can pull. Superlative Rookies and Finest Freshman are both very nice looking cards and die-cut into nice shapes. Maybe I’m a little old-school with my inserts, but there is nothing wrong with that.

The only problem I see with this product is that I don’t see any information on veteran autographs. I know Topps Chrome is known for their rookie autographs and it’s a great rookie product but I like pulling veterans too. It would add a little bit of value to a very hit or miss product. You either hit a top rookie or you don’t. That’s really what it comes down to in the end. I’d just like to see a little more autographed content.

More information to come soon on release and price, but for now we’ll assume it’s around the same price and time as last year.

For now I leave you with some die-cut goodness.

Preview: 2011 Panini Elite Football

The NFL may not be able to get a product on the field yet this year, but Panini isn’t having any problems with their next release of NFL licensed football cards.

2011 Panini Elite football is set for release later this month with all the rookies and stars you need this season. Well so does Panini Rookies & Stars, but we haven’t gotten there yet. June 22, 2011 is the day to mark down for when you can find this product online.

5 cards per pack and 20 packs per box. 4 autographed or memorabilia cards per box with at least 1 being an autograph. I’ve noticed when Panini says this you can usually find 2 autographs, but they are being cautious. This seems to be the year of the insert for Panini, which I love by the way, so there will be a ton of inserts to get your hands on. Included is at least 4 rookies in your box too from some of the best rookies of this year’s draft class and they are all numbered to 999.

Now I love a lot of the designs of the cards in this set such as the Throwback Threads booklet, Down and Distance, and other inserts, but the rookies seem a little weird to me. They are designed horizontally. They use a big and wide photograph of the player in the center with “Rookie” down the side and kind of a plain background. You can see all 36 rookie cards from Panini Elite here. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the fact they are horizontal throws me off. Maybe they look better in person, sometimes scans don’t do cards justice.

That’s about the only thing amongst the whole product that I find odd. Otherwise check out these beauties as I mentioned above, Down and Distance and the Throwback Threads booklet cards:

I love both of those cards. The field design in the Down and Distance subset with the team logo in the field looks great and it’s just very pleasing to the eye. A cool idea would be to have the jersey piece cut out in the shape of a football on the field. Just a random idea that just came to my head as I was typing this.

Also looking good in this set is the Throwback Threads booklet. I love the throwback design where the jersey sits. These are probably my two favorite cards of the set.

I know people love rookies but the inserts in this set appear to be where it’s at. With great design and some great names in these subsets, their value should be great for the 2011 football season.

Find 2011 Panini Elite football on June 22, 2011 for around $90-$100 a box.

Preview: 2011 Topps Marquee Baseball

This year Topps has brought another new product to the table in 2011 Topps Marquee baseball and so far, it looks very nice.

Every box will contain 4 packs at 5 cards per pack. Every pack will have a hit and according to Topps they will all be “premium” hits.

The hits per box will be:

  • One on-card autograph
  • One autographed multi-relic card
  • One jumbo relic card
  • One quad relic card

The only thing that bothers me about these “premium” hits is the actual relics themselves. Topps has had a history of putting in one color jerseys in their higher end products. Topps considers this box to be a “mid-end” product when in reality the majority of us will consider it high-end. This product is going to be $200 for a box or $50 a pack. Who in the world is that “mid-end” to? Maybe to actual Topps executives, not to the every day collector. This is a high-end product and should be treated as such.

There will be single and dual on-card autographs which look great from the sell sheets. Another thing that bothers me is Topps adding in non-baseball autographs in premium products like this. Remember Topps Co-Signers and their boxing autographs and others? No one was happy to pull one of those autographs unless they could sell it for a ton of money. Included in this product will be Manny Pacquiao autographs which some baseball purists won’t be happy with. Personally, I’d be happy pulling one if I could sell it for a decent price because I don’t care about pulling a Pacquiao, but to each their own.

The triple relics and autographed triple relics are the ones that scare me. As I mentioned above if there is all single color jerseys in this product, again, Topps has something to work on. There are patch versions of these cards and it appears these are only 1 of 1 versions. That is unacceptable in a product at this price. It kind of sounds like Triple Threads to me. The jumbo jerseys look multi-colored which is nice, but you’re bound to find more than one color in a relic as large as that.

Finally, the base cards look slick and solid as Topps usually provides in this type of product.

But the best hits will come at an odds of 1 per case. Never will you have to worry about dinged corners on a high end product again. Museum Collection features an on-card autograph with a metal frame around the edges. I’m assuming the checklist for these cards is extremely nice and they are numbered to just 10. It’s something different that definitely looks very nice and would be a welcome addition to any collection.

You can have your chance at these cards when they drop into stores on August 24, 2011.

You can find a 2011 Topps Marquee checklist here to see the possibilities.

Ichiro number one…any complaints?