Preview: 2012 Panini Gridiron Football

Long gone is Gridiron Gear, with Panini Gridiron taking over as the name behind the cards this year. It’s almost a completely retooled product, but it does bring back some collector favorites over the past few years. With a bigger base set, action photography, and a better overall theme, it appears as though it will be more well rounded product.

At 18 packs per box and 8 cards per pack, you’re still going to get a ton of cards. You’re also still going to find autographs and memorabilia cards like you have in the past versions of this product. Each box will contain at least 2 autographs and 2 two memorabilia cards with some boxes having 3 autographs. Those of you that were autographed Rookie Gems fans, don’t worry, they will be returning with a slight tweak. Also returning is the popular Gridiron Kings and Rookie Gridiron Kings subsets.

X’s and O’s have a new meaning this year with die-cut X’s and O’s cards featuring pieces of prime game used memorabilia. Include that with Monday Night Heroes, Arms Race, and Aerial Assault, and there are some nice new inserts to collect this year. And don’t forget, you can also find superstar autographs on the Gridiron Signatures insert card as well.

Gridiron Gear definitely lost it’s flavor last year, but the revamping of the product is a good step in the right direction for the Panini football team.

You’ll be able to find this product on October 24, 2012, for a little more than $100 a box. You can find out more about the product by visiting the Panini blog and the product information page on Cardboard Connection.

Preview: 2012-13 Panini Threads Basketball

With this full season of NBA products scheduled for Panini, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of the basketball season and the product that accompany it. 2012-13 Panini Threads basketball is back this year and with it is the return of a collector’s favorite. With a couple new twists to the product, it should be able to keep the interest of those collectors.

Panini Threads features 24 packs per box at 5 cards per pack. Also included inside the packs is 3 autographs and 1 memorabilia card per box. I like Panini’s stance on more autographs and less memorabilia that they have been incorporating the past couple of years.

The autographs will mostly consist of the 100 rookies that are inserted into the product due to the combined rookie class in basketball products. Each of the rookies is printed on a wood stock and features an on-card autograph. You’ll find all your big names from the last couple of years, and a few others.

Some of the highlights of the product include the die-cut team jersey signatures, rookie team threads signatures, and the Private Signings autographed insert set as well as some prime memorabilia inserts.

This product releases on October 24, 2012, to the tune of around $100.

Check out more information on the official Panini blog and on the Cardboard Connection info page.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball

Yes, you heard that right. 2011-12 Exquisite basketball from Upper Deck will be released this season, and in just 8 days. Unbelievable, you think. Well it’s true, and we have all the details for you passionate hardwood collectors out there.

Releasing on October 16, 2012, a day before my birthday (wink-wink Upper Deck), the high end favorite makes its return debut. Featuring 5 autographs per box, including one rookie autograph numbered to 199, this product packs a ton of ink into a small 6 pack box.

One of my favorite parts of the product is that at least one of the autographs is an Upper Deck Black autographed card. Upper Deck Black was one of those brands that just about every collector enjoyed, and it’s returning for a limited time in this product. Another cool thing, is like the football version, you’ll be able to find the Exquisite dimensions cards which add a very cool 3D look to the autographed cards.

Exquisite is definitely back in a big way, however, I’m not seeing any actual used memorabilia in this product, so that kinda bugs me a bit.

At $870 a box, it’s a HUGE gamble for a product that hasn’t been along in years, but has a great name behind it. If you open it, I wish you the best of luck.

Check out more about 2012 Exquisite basketball on Cardboard Connection.

Preview: 2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball

Please join me in the Bowman prayer:

Our Topps,
Who art in NYC,
Baseball be thy name,
Thy prospects come,
Thy will be chrome,
In our box as it is in production.
Give us this day,
Our daily pack,
And forgive our anger,
As we forgive our busts.
And lead us not into scrubs,
But deliver us the superfractors.
And thy is the blue, red, and gold refractors forever,
Amen.

October 17th, 2012, is the day of the prospectors sabbath. It also happens to fall on my birthday. It’s the day that 2012 Bowman Chrome baseball is set to release, showcasing some of the best up and coming talent in the game. One of the most collectible sets for rookies of all time, it’s back with everything prospectors need to either make or break their banks.

Each box contains 18 packs per box with 4 cards per pack. You will also find 1 autograph per box with every third box containing an extra autograph. You will no longer find USA baseball autographs this year, but Topps has added a couple of cool additions.

My favorite addition is the Legends in the Making die-cut autographs, featuring some of the best young talent in the game with a sweet die-cut design and autograph. While the full checklist isn’t out, it’s rumored you may find Albert Pujols, Felix Hernandez, Yoenis Cespedes, and Buster Posey amongst others. I love the addition of some solid veteran autographs in a product, and while limited, I like the idea here.

You’ll also be able to find the return of Bowman Black autographs from other products and Future Game patches and patch autographs. Again, while limited, I really love these additions compared to the typical cards you get in the box.

Your typical box is again lots of colorful refractors and an autograph or two. The refractors really haven’t changed all that much, so you know what you are getting into with those. Each parallel is numbered lower than the next one going from standard refractors all the way down to superfractors. That formula hasn’t, and will probably never, change.

So get ready to take a day off from work and open your case or boxes of this product. I already have the day off since I do turn 27 years old, so hopefully I’ll be able to find a box somewhere to open at a price around $67.

You can find out more information about 2012 Bowman Chrome on Cardboard Connection.

And don’t forget, you can get Blue Wave refractors through wrapper redemption once again this year.

Preview: 2012-13 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey

One of the first complete hockey products of the season is ready to come out tomorrow, despite the NHL lockout continuing on. By complete, I mean there are rookies (although usually redemptions), game used, and autographed cards. Artifacts isn’t really a set builders set like the early season releases and features the hits.

Each box of Artifacts comes with one autograph and three game used memorabilia cards. These memorabilia cards will have at least one with multiple players and one that features some sort of prime memorabilia. You’ll also find two rookie cards and one rookie redemption. The main draws of the product are often it’s widely known design, rookie redemptions, and some awesome memorabilia cards.

Each box of Artifacts has 10 packs with four cards per pack, where you can find cards like the ones listed above. As usual, you’ll find your Tundra Tandems, Frozen Artifacts, and other game used cards. But this year you’ll also find Team Canada and Goalies insert sets that feature some sweet memorabilia pieces as well.

Artifacts has been around a long time and makes a great product to hype up the next NHL season. Only problem is, we might not have an NHL season nor do we know how many products may actually come out if the strike continues. Either way, Artifacts still looks to be a solid buy once again.

Again, the product streets tomorrow, October 2, 2012, for around $100 a pop.

For more information, check out the product information page on Cardboard Connection.