Review: 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite Hockey

Happy Canada Day to all you Canadians who read this blog. I know there are a ton of you and have I got a great break for you guys. Being a quarter Canadian myself and having a fiancee who is 100% authentic Canadian, we celebrate Canada Day in our household in the States. I am celebrating it this year by opening and reviewing a box of 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite hockey!

Luxury Suite hockey is in it’s first year of production. What makes this product interesting is that it features a checklist of zero base cards. Every card is either a rookie, game used memorabilia, or autograph. Pretty cool concept if you ask me to have a product with no base cards. So with 4 packs a box and 3 or 4 cards in a pack (it seems like it couldn’t decide) and 8 total game used/autographs per box, I bring you my break and review of this product from Panini.

Rookies:

Game Used:

Autographs:

Design:

As I have stated in my preview on this product and on the official Panini America blog, I think this is one of Panini’s best designs of the year. While we weren’t able to see the beautiful rookie patch autographs in this break, you can see the good designing in these other cards. I would compare it to the design quality of SP Authentic mixed with Pinnacle. It shares very common characteristics and I think overall it’s a good design. On card autographs galore, great use of memorabilia, and I absolutely love the Private Signings set with the gold foil lettering. That looks great.

Checklist:

Everyone loves rookies, we get that. This product is full of a billion of them. Okay, not a billion but 125 rookies are in this product. There are a ton of star common jersey cards which is great too so you can pull some of the games best current players there. I’ll even say that the retired signatures checklist is okay with names like Gilmour, Roenick, and Dionne. The only thing lacking is the quality of star autographs in the Private Signings set. This is considered to be a high end product by most people. You can find this product at most places for about $170 right now. With a price point this high you should expect at least a few huge names in that list. Johnny T is the biggest name on that list. No Crosby, no Ovechkin, no Brodeur or Thomas…the star power on that portion is really lacking. Sure you have a chance to pull some absolutely awesome rookies in this product, but there should be at least a little bit of star power in your veteran players checklist at this price. If there were a chance for a Sidney and maybe Brodeur that subset would have been easier to swallow.

Value:

So the odds state you should get 8 autographs or memorabilia cards in your box. I received 9 so that is a good start. Including the rookies that breaks down to about $10 per card in this box. At the same price point as something like Absolute Memorabilia, you get a lot more hits for your money. The plain jerseys are high numbered and nothing special but the patches, sticks (which I didn’t pull), and autographs you can pull definitely make up for that. If there was a little more star power in these boxes as far as veteran players went, I think we could of moved closer to a 5 here. This is closer to 3 stars than it is to 5 stars as it stands. I didn’t receive a redemption which is nice and the autographs I pulled were on card autographs as well. Include the multi-colored swatches you can pull and the multi-colored stick pieces and this product definitely has value. But it’s hit or miss for the most part. Still, pretty solid.

Overall:

The design is one of Panini’s best in the hockey arena this year. I think the only product that can outdo it will be Dominion later this month. The swatches and sticks are very nice and the autographs are on card so that makes these cards look even better. While the veterans names on the checklist for autographs are kinda so-so, the rookies you have the possibility to pull amazing cards of are endless and rare so they hold great value. You get a ton of hits, including rookies, for your money and that beats other Panini products and even Upper Deck products at a similar price point. Just some of the selection could be improved in the veteran area. Overall, it is hit or miss but definitely a fun box to open as you know you are getting a couple of hits per pack.

I’d like to thank Panini America for providing this box for me to sponsor, please check out the various links I have posted around the site and visit them. I will be giving away a few cards from this break. Not sure which ones yet but I will give some away nonetheless. View the video below to find out how.

Okay, I’ll be nice for all those who don’t want to see my ugly mug. I’ll be giving away something to a random viewer who posts their comments on Luxury Suite in the comment area. Leave a comment about Luxury Suite, get your chance to win a random card or two from the break. Simple as that.

Review: 2011 Panini NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks Box Set

The Dallas Mavericks are NBA Champions! With the Dallas Mavericks taking home their first NBA Finals trophy by defeating the hated Miami Heat, Panini America is proud to produce a 36 card box set commemorating the championship won by the Dallas Mavericks.

Every box set gets you 36 cards with 19 cards being player cards, including coach Carlisle. There is also one card for every playoff victory the Mavericks had during these 2011 NBA Playoffs. Finally, the box ends with a card dedicated to the 2011 NBA Finals MVP, Dirk Nowitzki. This product will be tough to review as it is exactly what it states it will be. No guessing, just a quality set of cards for your collection. Let’s break it down for you.

Base (players):

Base: (wins and MVP):

First, I want to apologize for the kind of blurry photos. As I state in my bright video, the fiancee went out fishing with her grandfather all day today and I’m stuck using my laptop camera and my iPhone camera. Let’s get to the ratings.

Design:

This is how a box set should be designed. No frills, just a solid design all around. I love the basic design for a number of reasons. First is located at the bottom of the card. The bottom of the card clearly has the player’s name and a beautiful type font displaying that the Mavericks are the 2011 NBA Champions. But I think what makes this product stand out is the awesome action photography from the playoffs. It fills up the top of the card and the photos chosen were great. I can’t believe how fast this product came out with the great photography used during the post season. It really makes you remember those fall away jumpers from Dirk and Jason Kidd driving the lane for those hard fought victories. Absolutely no complaints on the design end. This is how it should look and it was done perfectly.

Checklist:

I’m giving the checklist 4 stars. The only reason why I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I feel it is missing something. If Panini chose to produce a card for every game the Mavericks played in the playoffs, I believe it would of told a better story. The looks of disappointment and shock when Brandon Roy took the game over in Game 3 of the first round and won the game for the Blazers. The buzzer beaters that fell on the wrong side of the coin for the Mavericks. I think if every game were produced, the story would be complete. Everything else was great though with featuring all the players on the team, the wins, and Dirk’s MVP card. Still, very solid.

Value:

This is a commemorative box set of trading cards. Everything in it is the same across every box. And for $20, it definitely has value for those aficionados of the game of basketball and Dallas Mavericks fans. But let’s compare it to another $20 Panini product, All-Goalies hockey. That set has 100 cards, 5 inserts, and a game used memorabilia piece. Same price, a ton more cards. I’ve bought commemorative boxes before for my teams championships and it’s always been around the same price. It’s definitely a collector’s item for those fans. Maybe drop the price down to a cheap blaster or between those products? How’s $15 sound? $5 less sounds a little bit better to my wallet in the end for 36 cards. Otherwise, you already know what you are getting. But to Dallas Mavericks fans out there, I’m sure they would have no problem paying $20. This is just a thought from an unbiased observer not letting any fandom get in the way.

Overall:

Overall, this is an extremely nice product. It is a box set that carries just base cards really, but it is done extraordinary well. The design is perfect for this type of set and it really provides a glimpse at the players, coach, and the wins the Dallas Mavericks pulled off during their amazing playoff run. The Dirk MVP card is a nice little addition at the end too. The only very small problems I have is I think the checklist should tell the story of the postseason a little more with cards from Mavericks losses and maybe drop the price down $5. Overall, very little complaints with this product and as I stated in the value section, this is the perfect product out there for you Dallas Mavericks fans, Dirk fans, or just plain old fans of the game of basketball. Great job Panini.

I’d like to thanks Panini for providing me this box to review for their company. I have a ton of links around for you to find them. You can visit them at the official Panini America website and definitely check out their blog.

Here is a video of me opening and displaying this box set. Enjoy!

Preview: 2011 Topps Lineage Baseball

I’m running out of products to preview. Don’t worry, that is a good thing. That just means this blog is becoming a great source of information on all the products that will be arriving at your hobby shop real soon, exactly what my plans were when I started it. But right now, we have the brand new 2011 Topps Lineage baseball to preview.

First, we know it’s all about the baseball lineage. The front of the packing even looks like Mickey Mantle and Joe Mauer are holding hands. Two great number 7s. I’m sure Joe Mauer has always wanted to hold hands with the Mick and finally he gets his chance other then digging up his grave. But I’m sure you want to know what is actually inside the box…got that information.

You will find at least two autographs per box of this product with at least one being on card. Since this set will pay homage to it’s older sets, hence the name Lineage, by having some of these autographs on reprints of their famous 1952 Topps design. You will find stars of that set with these new autographed reprint versions. Players like Yogi Berra, Ralph Branca and Monte Irvin will grace these reprint autographs. While you will still find the younger stars like Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, and Hammerin’ Hank Aaron on reprints of other famous Topps card sets. Finally, you will find some future legends on the 1952 card design as well with autographs. I’m guessing they will have Topps perennial players like Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols as some of the top hits.

Oh, and since it’s Topps 60th birthday, the celebration autographs will also be randomly inserted like it has been through most products this year.

Next there will be 1 relic per box. Some of these will be printed on reprints of the 1964 Topps Giants series if you’re old enough to remember these. I’m not old enough as my father was barely born at this time, but I definitely know about this series. These will be numbered low with jersey and bat relics and will be a box loader only. Again, I love the return of the box topper and it should be in every product. You can also find 1975 mini relics as well as more 60th Anniversary relics and jumbo relics with patch versions.

Finally, we have everything else. These past couple years have been the return of the inserts and this product has a ton of them with parallels. Anyone remember 1968 Topps 3D? That one I’m not familiar with but that concept will return as an insert set using life-like 3D technology and inserted 2 per box. Their words, not mine. You will also find 2 stickers per box based off of the 1972 cloth stickers set. Hablas espanol? You will find 2 Venezuelan Spanish versions of the base cards per box as well. These next two insert sets are my favorite. The first is the rookies on vintage 1980s style designed cards. I grew up grabbing these cards from my friends so it is definitely a great nostalgia trip. The second is the 1964 Topps stand ups that will be reprinted or have current stars on that design. You can bet your bottom dollar I will find the Red Sox versions and have them standing around my man cave. But look at all those inserts! They will be everywhere, don’t worry they won’t be taking up your precious base.

You will find 8 base cards per pack printed on several different Topps designs over the years. There will be an All-Time Rookie Cup set of rookies in the base set as well highlighting the greatest rookies ever. With these cards you will be able to find mini versions, printing plates, canary diamond parallels, diamond anniversary parallels, and platinum diamond parallels.

Releasing August 3rd, 2011, this product looks to be full of awesome legends and even more awesome current players. You will find 24 packs in a box and apparently 8 cards per pack. Apparently 8 cards in a pack even though it says there are 8 base in a pack. I’m guessing there will be 6 base per pack and the others will be inserts or parallels. You will find this product at around $100 for a box.

One last thing to mention. If you’ve been trying to get the 60th Anniversary ring in the Topps Diamond Giveaway…well there is now another way to get it. Randomly inserted in hobby boxes of Topps Lineage is a redemption to receive a ring. All of you who have been buying up Series I and Series II to collect the rings and can’t find that Mantle to finish your collection? You have another redeeming chance.

Let’s change this up a bit and feature a card almost certainly everyone had at one point or another, without the autograph, this Nolan Ryan which can be found in these boxes.

A Gift From Jim Irsay – Owner of the Indianapolis Colts

So I really wanted to do a video of me opening the package. I didn’t want to have to break out the camera and film from there so I tried from my laptop. FireFox wasn’t cooperating so I used IE. Halfway through, boom-pow! IE blows up in my face effectively losing the video.

But thanks to voodoo technology, I was able to take a picture with my cell phone camera!

Jim Irsay is definitely now a dear friend to the blog. He has probably never read the blog, nor ever will unless he Googles himself all the time. The guy is a billionaire, he probably has minions do it for him. I would express all my gratitude toward him in this blog post, however, I am going to hand write him a letter so he knows how much this means to me. I am doing it because it really does mean a lot to me. It’s not the alcohol or the Red Bull that I am most appreciative of, it’s the single Benjamin. Just know, this generosity does not go unnoticed.

The Colts have moved up in my personal favorite team Power Rankings and will likely stay in that position for as long as Mr. Irsay owns the team.

  1. Bucs
  2. Patriots
  3. Colts (+8)
  4. Seahawks (-1)
  5. Broncos (-1)

Mr. Irsay, again, thank you. Expect a handwritten letter to arrive on your desk sometime soon.

I Want A Day Off

Being unemployed has it’s benefits. Every day is a day off. That’s about the only benefit it has. Well today I want a day off from blogging something actually useful. I haven’t slept well the past couple of nights and my mind is completely fried. It is so fried that I have made numerous spelling mistakes and have already worn out my backspace button in these few sentences.

But I must keep the Ironman posting alive. I’ve posted every day since I started this blog and I’m not going to let two days with lack of sleep stop me now. I know there is a lot of time left in the day but I can’t nap. I have to stay up for a number of things. FedEx will be arriving and I need to sign it off and show ID. I may have another package coming today as well. And I have to stay awake since my fiancee’s sister is visiting and she doesn’t have a key to the house. I never leave a door in my house unlocked. Just a habit I guess.

So to make this somewhat meaningful, I am going to say a couple of things.

Gint-A-Cuffs III should be amazing. This is the last time I am pimping this battle of the bloggers contest so if you have the money and want to join in the fun, it will be fun. Just prepare to lose. Especially you Cardboard Junkie. I saw that smack talk to everyone on your blog. The Braves and Jason Heyward? I will beat that with a blaster box of A&G that has been pack searched. When I’m done? You’ll be thrown away like most of Pro Debut. SO YEAH!

In the words of my boy Vinny Mac from the Jim Rome Show:

And for those who can’t view the YouTube, “To all those double talking jive turkeys out there, you better watch out because their about to get their asses ragged on. And all these Raggedy Ann and Andys out there…I’m the bottle on the top shelf. I’m the steroid….*AARRRRR*” Seriously, you need to listen to this guy calling in and trying to talk smack back in 2009. Hilarious, especially listening to Rome berate him after the call.

Gint-A-Cuffs III: Release the Kraken! …. Catch the fever!

Maybe I’ll post later if something exciting happens. Maybe a video of my package from FedEx. That should be exciting for some of you.