Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Game Used Hockey (SPGU)

Releasing tomorrow is one of Upper Deck’s flagship memorabilia based products that has been coming out for several years now. 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Game Used hockey will return featuring a ton of game used and autograph cards from your favorite NHL rookies and stars in the league.

SPGU features everything from your plain jersey card to stick cards, patch cards, autographs, and even goalie pads this year. Every pack will contain a memorabilia or autographed card in this box so the excitement is there with every pack you open.

And at 6 packs per box, you are getting a ton of what you collectors look for when opening products like this…the hits! So you’ll get 6 hits per box along with 2-3 rookies.

Some of the new additions this year include manufactured patch autographs of letters and numbers, a subset of autographs of 500 goal scorers, Trophy Marks manufactured patch autographs, Rookie Faceoff patches from All-Star Weekend, and Supreme Pads featuring ginormous pieces of leg pads from some of the games greatest goaltenders.

The new additions are great, but this product seems to have an issue with unnumbered plain jersey cards, so I’m hoping with these additions there are less of those plain jersey cards this year which ends up in the dollar bins. So I hope Upper Deck added some value in this direction.

We’ll see it all when this product releases tomorrow, April 12, 2012. Each box should run around $180.

I also have the checklist for 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Gamed Used hockey for your disposal as well.

Ernie Els Signs First Autographed Trading Card Deal

Former number one world ranked golfer Ernie Els has finally signed a trading card deal with Upper Deck for the upcoming 2011-12 SP Authentic Golf set.

The former U.S. Open champion from South Africa will be signing his first autographed trading cards that will be inserted into the set with other widely known and popular golfers such as Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

Golf collectors everywhere should be excited to hear this news as not only has he never had an autographed trading card on the market, but he is a great golfer and contributes quite a bit to charity off the course.

Additionally, Upper Deck is adding some other top names in sports who are actually quite the golfers themselves, in order to add some value. You can find autographs from stars such as Wayne Gretzky, Drew Brees, and Michael Jordan in the new “Parade of Stars” insert set.

Stay tuned for our full preview of 2011-12 SP Authentic Golf which releases on July, 10, 2012.

Preview: 2011-12 ITG Captain-C Hockey

ITG has come out with another new hockey trading card product this year featuring those are their team’s fearless leaders. ITG Captain-C features those which have that coveted “C” stitched onto the front of their sweaters. And coming on March 29th, 2012, these leaders on and off the ice will be immortalized in trading card glory.

Each box of Captain-C will contain 10 cards. 5 of these cards will be the “base” cards featuring players from a 100 card checklist who donned the “C”. The other five cards will be a mix of autographs and game used memorabilia cards from players like Dave Keon, Roberto Luongo, Bobby Clarke, and Jean Beliveau.

Like ITG Enforcers, this product will be limited so get your hands on it early. A full checklist for autographs and base cards can be found on the official ITG website here. And I have to say the checklist looks pretty good with a ton of great players from today and the past in the set.

I commend Dr. Price for trying something else new with his products and this looks like a great product to open. And at $88, it’s not priced terribly high either.


Preview: 2011-12 Panini Contenders Hockey

Coming in for it’s sophomore season on the ice, Contenders hockey has returned and will be released early next week on March 28, 2012 (May now be April, 25, 2012, after some research). After a decent freshmen product, Panini has tweaked a few things this time around for collectors and has some great additions planned for collectors who choose to buy the product this year.

Besides your rookie autographs that Contenders is famous for, also seeded into the product this year are booklet cards and autographed patch cards from some of the top players in the game. The best part? Every card will be hard signed except for the booklet cards.

Every box will contain either 3 or 4 autographs, with at least one Calder Contenders autographed rookie card. You may also find the booklet cards with up to 6 autographs inside the booklet, Calder Contenders autographed patches which look phenomenal in all black and signed in silver pen, and some great NHL Ink autographs of very collectible players.

The content added to this product looks like it could be a great addition and when this product comes out, I can see collectors loving the additions. I’ve always wanted to see an autographed patch element to Contenders and that makes this product that much more valuable.

I just hope there isn’t terrible collation issues like there was last year. And at $108 it’s at a lower price than last year, we are happy to see more content.

For more information, check out this post on the Panini blog.

Review: 2011-12 Panini NBA Hoops Basketball

NBA Hoops is back after years in hiatus. One of basketball collectors favorite sets of all time is re-imagined and back in 2012, with all the modern additions you would find in today’s trading card products. At a very cheap price and a couple of autographs per box, the product looks like a winner for both set collectors and hit collectors.

With buybacks of rookies autographed from players like David Robinson, the hits can be very nice for a lower end product. Also, with the insertion of rare and hard to find inserts and SP’ed cards, the value seems to be higher.

So Panini sent us over a box to review. Want to see what’s inside and our thoughts? Your waiting has ended.


As I’ve said time and time again throughout various low end Panini products, they know how to design low end product. This one is no different. A great design utilizing the design of “the paint” on the basketball floor, most every picture features an action photograph of your favorite players in action. Basketball collectors have been looking for great action photos like these, and Panini doesn’t disappoint. Another great aspect of this product is the insert designs that Panini had collectors vote on which one they preferred. A great promotion for this product that I hope to see again.


Don’t get me wrong here, the checklist is really solid. You pretty much have your starters and main reserves for each team in the league. You have a number of legends of the game as well. But the one reason I took off practically an entire star is the lack of rookies. There are no rookies in this product. I understand the lockout and the issues there. The lack of photography and time to get those rookies made. But there are cards of players in their new uniforms and that is where I have trouble believing that rookies couldn’t get made. Maybe they didn’t want to make only a partial number of rookies from this year? I don’t know, but the lack of rookies really cripples the checklist in this product. I’d also mention the multiple cards of the same player, but that was probably because of the lack of rookies.


At $2 a pack for a hobby product you are getting some pretty good value here. With 2 autographs per box, you definitely get what you really want as a collector, and that’s ink. But this is also a great product, and better yet, affordable product for set collectors. The base set is a decent size for collectors and with the price tag where it is, it appeals to all different types of basketball card collectors. That’s a good thing. The inserted buybacks of original rookies is great, the fact that they are also autographed is awesome. Panini does a great job with low end products and this is no different.


Overall, this is a fine product by Panini. Again, low end collectors and Panini are a great match up with their creation of lower end products. The design is solid and a great remake of a classic Hoops brand. The base set and inserts all look great, plus who’s to complain when the collectors voted on an insert design? The checklist is good, but the lack of rookies really cripples this product from being a slam dunk. The value is of course there, $2 a pack for hobby or $1 a pack for retail. A couple autographs in a hobby box too for the hit collectors. This product gets both kids and adults appeal which is great for the hobby.

As always, a big thank you goes out to Panini for providing this box to review. You can visit them at their official website, blog, or Twitter.

Now, for the cards.