Preview: 2011-12 Panini Pinnacle Hockey

Last year’s Pinnacle product released without much fanfare and with a mix of reviews from hockey collectors around the world. Some loved it, some hated it, but a lot felt it was just plain and average. People thought it was nothing too special. This year though, Panini has made some additions and improvements to the product that may get some buzz this time around.

First, they have redone the rookie card design of Ice Breakers and brought back the famous Nufex design that has made Pinnacle popular for years. This is a great change of pace over last year’s design which was kind of hard to make out so I look forward to the enhancements.

Second, they have created a 6 piece game used card called “Starting 6 Threads” which will feature game used jersey pieces from 6 different players. While collectors in general are moving away from game used jersey cards, this idea is nice, especially that it will feature an entire team. It would be great for team collectors out there. For me, if I pulled an Edmonton Oilers 6 piece jersey card of their “kid line”, that would be a pretty cool hit to me.

Last, they have added a brand new case hit, Pinnacle Black. This new one-per-case card sort of looks like a card from Elite Black Box with a full black design featuring some of the sport’s greatest stars.

All of these items are enhancements over last year’s product and should add some value to the product.

Autographs are a tough pull in this product, which is a good thing if the price point is right. Each box will yield 4 rookies, with autographed rookies falling one per case of the top rookies. You will also find one Home Game Materials memorabilia card, one Pinnacle Threads memorabilia card, two Tough Times inserts, two Breakthrough inserts, and one Rink Collection insert.

The 9 autographs per case should limit some autographs, but there are some Fans of the Game autographs in this product. I’m hoping these autographs of celebrities are found as bonus hits in the case as some people may not be too happy about pulling a celebrity autograph. I know that feeling carries over to collectors of other sports.

You can check out the official Panini Peek here with some more images and information about the product.

This product will release on November 23, 2011, for a price of around $70 at release date.

2011-12 Basketball Rookie Cards

The NBA lockout has caused a number of issues with fans of the NBA, people who work for these professional teams, the players themselves, but also with trading card companies.

Panini America, the exclusive licensee of NBA trading cards, has not made any NBA licensed trading cards this season because of the lockout and will not create any products during the lockout. There does not appear to be any NBA trading cards as long as there is no NBA season. Definitely a bummer as there will be some great rookies to watch in their first season like Jimmer Fredette (exclusive Upper Deck signer), Derrick Williams (exclusive Panini signer), and Kemba Walker.

Since Panini will not be creating cards, what will happen to rookie cards of these future stars of the NBA?

2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic basketball released just last week and features some of the future stars in their product, which is fully licensed by the NCAA. You can find your autographed rookies of future stars like Jimmer Fredette, Nolan Smith, or the Morris twins.

But if there is no NBA season, how will the collectibility of these rookies be affected? With no season these rookies won’t get any exposure and won’t get to debut until next year with another class of rookies coming from the college ranks.

Will these Upper Deck cards be considered “true rookies” still or will they be marked as a “XRC” by a place like Beckett. Will the values of these rookie autographs drop or will they out gain next year’s products as they were produced first?

I guess time will tell, but I can see either occurrence having a legitimate chance of happening. My guess is that they are considered a “XRC” and really don’t have much of a rise in value nor a drop after the prices have been established. But they could possibly jump up in value as well, especially if one of the rookies in that product becomes a superstar.

We’ll find out if this NBA lockout ever ends.

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Crown Royale Hockey

This is exciting news that Panini Crown Royale hockey is coming back for another season. Before last year, I had never opened a hobby box of hockey product nor had I opened any Panini product before. So obviously, this product has a special place in my collecting heart. So I’m happy to see a return from probably the most successful Panini hockey product from last year.

The Rookie Silhouettes will return as probably one of the hottest rookie autographed cards from last year. This trend will likely continue after all the great feedback I saw around the hockey collecting community and this may again be the hockey rookie card of the season. On card autographs with a patch from the player behind the picture.

But new this year will be a limited set of veterans with the Silhouette design which will surely make several collectors excited. They added this to football this year and I’ve only heard good things about it, but the hockey version will be different with on-card signatures.

Ice Kings will feature legends of the NHL with more on-card autographs limited to just 99 copies and Scratching the Surface will return with the autographs on the faux playing surface with signatures like Alex Ovechkin, Marty Brodeur, Jaromir Jagr, and Steve Yzerman just to name a few.

And surely several of your favorite inserts should return with jersey and patch parallels to fulfill all of your collecting wants.

I’ve said before that I love die-cuts so this product will always be at the top of products I want to open, plus of the special place in my collecting heart.

This product will hit stores in sometime in the coming months and the price range will probably be about $25/pack or $100/box.

Make sure you check out the official Panini Peek of this product for more information and photos!


2011-12 Upper Deck Artifacts Autographed Rookie Redemption Checklist

When Upper Deck put in redemptions for rookie autographs inside 2011-12 Artifacts boxes, people were trying to figure out which player corresponded to which roman numeral on their redemption card. Upper Deck has finally released the checklist matching the players to the roman numerals and that checklist looks fantastic.

I     Ryan Nugent-Hopkins     Edmonton     #d to 99
II     Gabriel Landeskog     Colorado     #d to 99
III     Cody Hodgson     Vancouver     #d to 99
IV     Sean Couturier     Philadelphia     #d to 99
V     Brett Connolly     Tampa Bay     #d to 99
VI     Mark Scheifele     Winnipeg     #d to 99
VII     Ryan Johansen     Columbus     #d to 99
VIII     Adam Larsson     New Jersey     #d to 99
IX     Mika Zibanejad     Ottawa     #d to 99
X     Jake Gardiner     Toronto     #d to 99
XI     Erik Gudbranson     Florida     #d to 99
XII     Matt Read     Philadelphia     #d to 99
XIII     Teemu Hartikainen     Edmonton     #d to 99
XIV     Joe Colborne     Toronto     #d to 99
XV     Matt Frattin     Toronto     #d to 99
XVI     Craig Smith     Nashville     #d to 99

There are some pretty good rookies on this list and the fact that they are numbered to only 99, might make these some early sought after rookie autographs this season. We just wonder how long it will take Upper Deck to fulfill these redemptions.

But that’s not all, Upper Deck is waiting for more rookies to skate to fill the wild card spots so hopefully they pick some great wild cards as well.

Check out the Upper Deck Blog for more information.

The 2011-12 Hockey Season is Underway

With every team now having played a game for this 2011-12 NHL season, we can now sit back and watch the new teams, new players, and new story lines unfold throughout the season. As a sports card collector, the first thing I think of is all the new rookie cards that will be coming out soon.

The NHL rules when it comes to rookie cards work like this. If you are a skater, as soon as your skates hit ice you are eligible to be on a licensed trading card. If you are a goalie, if you are sitting on the bench and active you are eligible to be on a licensed trading card.

So with all the rookies hitting the ice the past few nights like Cody Hodgson (actually got some time last year), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Adam Larsson (amongst others) will finally have their rookie cards made and inserted into products. You better believe that Panini and Upper Deck already had cards designed and ready to be printed for some of these top rookies. Some probably even printed beforehand for autographs.

My personal favorite rookie this season is the number one pick in the NHL Draft, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers. Being a part-time Oilers fan (Hurricanes will always be number one since they were the Whalers) I am excited to see RNH in products. I wasn’t lucky enough to pull any Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, or even Jeff Skinner cards in 2010-11 products, so I’m hoping I can pull some RNH this year.

Who is your favorite rookie you are looking forward to collecting this NHL season?

Here are some rookie autographs ready to go out from Panini.

A big congrats to RNH for scoring his first goal in his first NHL game!