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?)

My First Red Sox Game

October 4th, 1992, was my first Red Sox game I ever attended. I was 6 years old and still remember enough of it that it’s great to look back on. This was also my first experience trying to get autographs of my favorite players. That part isn’t a fun thing to look back on.

We were in the midst of trying to sell our house and my dad told me we were going to a real estate place out in the city that had a baseball field across the street and we could go play catch there so he told me to grab my glove. I was excited as I was just about to start Little League and needed to practice as much as I could so I would make a team as I wanted to join the league early. We drove off from our house in Connecticut and 20 minutes later we hit the Massachusetts border. I was wondering why we were going to Massachusetts to check with real estate people but I didn’t care.

My 5 year old sister had a bloody nose on the way, right before we reached the Mass Pike and blood started flowing everywhere. We had to stop and grab some napkins to clean up and then finally hit the Mass Pike. We get to the first toll booth and grab our ticket. My dad very loudly yells, “Which exit is Fenway Park?” Well that ruined the whole surprise. All of the sudden a huge smile came over my face as I knew where we were headed. He tried to play it off like I misheard him but my mom knew the jig was up. I was going to my first Red Sox game.

It was a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon in Boston and we got their early enough to see some batting practice. My dad gave me a ball and said to go down towards to dugout and try and get some autographs, he followed shortly behind me. Our seats were great, row GG right behind the dugout. We weren’t a rich family, turns out my dad got them from his job in Hartford for us to attend the last Red Sox game of the season. It wasn’t an important game as they were out of the playoff picture, but the place was busy.

I went down right in front of the batting circle and just held out my ball and a pen. I had no idea what to do. Everyone around me was yelling for the players warming up to come over and sign. I just stood there with my ball and pen held out. Mike Greenwell, who I thought the Green Monster was named after since he played left field, came over and started signing autographs to my right. He stops one person short of me and then stops as my dad yells, “Sign one for this kid!” He looked at my dad and turned and walked away. I was devastated, so close to getting my first Red Sox autograph and Mike Greenwell stopped at a 6 year old kid.

The rest of my time down there no one else signed. John Valentin was running out to do some stretches as my mom came down to console me and her and I waved to him as he ran out. He just smiled and blew a kiss at my mother. My mom was happy, but I wasn’t! I wanted an autograph! I remember looking over at the batting circle and one of the player’s kids and wife was there. The kid had to be 2 or 3 and pretended to swing a bat and run in circles on the dirt in front of me.

Needless to say I didn’t get my autograph. But the game was next. It was against the rival Yankees. I don’t remember much about the game besides Mo Vaughn had a big double and Tom Brunansky came in as a pinch hitter. I loved Bruno as a kid, he was my favorite player so being able to see him get a hit was the highlight of my day. I also remember a foul ball landing about 3 rows in front of me and I was so excited I was almost able to catch it.

Finally, I remember a Red Sox win. 8 – 2. After the third out was caught, I remember the Red Sox throwing all their batting gloves and sweat bands over the dugout for the fans. I was a few rows too far away.

It would of been a let down except I had the most fun that day. I was able to see the team I loved for the first time. I was able to watch them win. I was able to see Ted Williams famous home run seat in right field before the game from my seat. I was finally able to say to my friends at school that I went to a Red Sox game. I will never forget the sights and smells from that first game in Boston.

It was the best experience a 6 year old Red Sox fan could ever have.

 

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.

Benchwarmer: My Secret Collection

It’s not really a secret collection, but it’s something not many people collect when it comes to cards. These cards sell out their cases consistently. I once sold a card I pulled for $400 on eBay. These cards are not a joke or gimmick but will bring in a ton of money if sold correctly. This is a sports card blog, but these aren’t sports cards.

I’m talking about Benchwarmer Trading Cards. I was introduced to these cards in 2008 when the staff at Sports Card Forum went to the National Sports Collector’s Convention in Chicago and came back with this beauty for me:

Mary Riley, one of the top promoters for Benchwarmer and is probably in every product. Little known fact, she happened to grow up a town over from me in Connecticut. I knew when I received this card after a giveaway that I had to collect her. So I did what any guy in his 20s would do. I bought a case of 2007 Benchwarmer Gold Edition.

That was the start to my Benchwarmer collection. A ton of autographs, some bikini swatches, and kiss cards. I was in it for the long haul. I was now able to trade and sell for what I wanted and needed. I even started smaller collections of Jennifer Korbin and Nikki Ziering to start, especially since I pulled an awesome autographed kiss card from Nikki Ziering.

I traded my way towards bigger collections of the girls I wanted to collect and eventually ended up with some pretty nice cards. I bought an occasional box here and there to supplement my trade bait and to try and pull more of my girls. Benchwarmer cards at one point even became my main focus of collecting.

When 2009 Benchwarmer Limited came out I loved the cards they had. I decided to grab another case. In this case I actually made my money back plus extra. I pulled a Brandy Grace Autographed Bikini Swatch numbered to 5 which I sold immediately for $400. I pulled a Jennifer Walcott School Girl swatch which I sold for another $100. Those two cards practically paid for my case. At the time I had started collecting Spencer Scott and I was able to trade for some of her high end cards with another pull in that case. Yes, Benchwarmer has high end cards.

Right now I have kind of been in a Benchwarmer lull. I haven’t bought any in awhile and even sold off my Jennifer Korbin, Nikki Ziering, and Spencer Scott collections. I probably won’t ever move my Mary Rileys or a personalized card from the 2009 Convention in which Benchwarmer model Lisa Gleave personalized an autographed kiss card for me and even said hi to me on camera for Sports Card Forum and posted it on YouTube.

I plan on buying some again someday, it’s probably one of the most fun products to open. At least if you’re a male. Brian Wallos does a great job with the product time after time and always tries innovative new cards for his products. His models sell the product itself, but he does a great job with signing popular models. He’s grabbed WWE and TNA girls, girls from TV and Playboy, just about anywhere.

If you haven’t tried a box yet, I recommend it. It’s definitely a fun experience.

Trading Sports Cards Online

We at Sports Card Blog love to trade cards, but the location is absolutely terrible for trading. Living in kind of a mountain, cow town has it’s disadvantages in this regard. The closest decent shops are 30 minutes to an hour away and they really don’t have any events for collectors or their customers. Once a month there is a show at a mall about 35 minutes away. I have actually never been to Jantzen Beach Mall for this card show, but if it is anything like some of the hobby shops in the city I’m going to be disappointed. They need to take some of my ideas to run a better hobby shop.

So I have to resort to doing 99.9% of my trading online, but that is okay with me. Even though I have to pay to ship the cards in some sort of protective package and send it to far away countries like Canada, it’s still worth it in the end. I haven’t had the opportunity to trade with anyone farther away then Canada but I am always happy to trade with anyone else.

I use different sports card forums for my trading. When choosing a sports card forum for trading, you look to find the most legit forums. I’ve been browsing several forums lately looking for the best of the best. First, let me start off by saying no site is 100% safe when you are trading. But I would stay away from places like YouTube where there is absolutely no method of weeding out the bad traders.

My favorite and the place I trade the most is Sports Card Forum. Sports Card Forum probably has the largest number of people to trade with across all sports. These people come from all ages and backgrounds from around the world. I admit I may have somewhat of a “homer” bias with them because it was my first forum I ever joined and I was a staff member there for 3 years. But over 200 transactions and never having any of my cards or money stolen is definitely a good thing. I would say their forte is their football area which is probably the biggest of any forum sites. They are always looking for ways to improve the experience and have a ton of features. Finally, SCF as it’s called, has the best custom built Trade Manager of any site to keep everything organized and in place.

My second favorite place to trade is at CloutsnChara. First, I want to start by stating they are 95% hockey collectors. I collect all sports but this is definitely a great place to trade if you are into hockey. Plus they hold the most group breaks I have ever seen with just about every product imaginable in hockey. If you’re American like me you’ll be sending to Canada quite a bit and Canada Post isn’t always the most reliable when it comes to international shipping. This owner also owns their own card shop in Canada so they can help you getting the newest hockey products.

Although I’ve never traded on this site, I find the discussion to be top notch and it has great possibilities for trading. Freedom Cardboard is that site. Although at times I find some of the discussions to be brash and some of the members to be kind of rude to newer people, I think they mean well. I would recommend this site to those in the slightly older crowd and those with thicker skin. There are a lot of baseball people there and a lot of prospectors so if you are into prospecting or just baseball cards this is probably the best site for baseball card collectors. The owner here is also always trying to improve the experience with new ideas and also owns his own card shop in Georgia.

I’ve traded on Trading Card Central as well, but I feel like this site is slowly going downhill. The members are leaving and it’s becoming more and more inactive on the forums. Secondly, I haven’t traded on Card Collector’s World but I know a lot of the members and staffers there to be good people. It’s a pretty tight knit community that is easy to integrate yourself into. Finally, I’d like to add The Bench as well. I almost forgot about them but they are still a popular forum to trade on, but like others it has tapered off over the years.

So there is a short list of sites for you to check out if you are interested in trading sports cards online.