Review: 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars may not be at the top of your list of products to break for this NFL season, but it appears to be better than you may think. It returns this year with 4 autographs or memorabilia cards per box with at least one of them being an autograph. You can find patches, jumbo jerseys, prime jerseys, just about anything in a box of this product. It features a 100 card base set with 50 base rookies which are only inserted 1 per pack.

The inserts are plentiful too with a homage to Donruss Studio with Studio Rookies, Longevity, and Freshmen Orientation amongst other insert sets. With a bunch of parallels and so low numbered cards, it’s definitely worth the time to check out this review and decide what you think about the product.

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia/Autographs:

Design:

The base design on this product is better than many other Panini designs. It features an action shot of the players on the front with a little bit of the background faded into a solid white background. This is a very clean base design with clean lettering along the sides. I believe this clean base design is great and should be in more products. The inserts look great too. Freshmen Orientation is great with the memorabilia embedded and Longevity looks much better in person then on scans that I’ve seen. Impressive. Now I do not like manufactured patch autographs with the autograph on the cloth…I would much rather have a sticker or on-card autograph as it’s cleaner looking. Also, the way some inserts look when they don’t have memorabilia embedded look really weird, like the one I have pictured. It’s just a weird shape with a symbol inside? That just looks lazy.

Checklist:

The checklist features 100 veteran base cards and 50 rookie base cards. You can pull rookies and stars hence the title of the product. But I find there are more rookies than stars when it comes to memorabilia and autographs. With the abundance of rookies, it may seem like it cheapens the product a bit as it’s harder to pull veterans of the game. Other than that, you can find all the top rookies of the game from the draft for this season so there is no complaints there. The base set and rookie set is reasonable as you just about get a full set in a box. So the checklist of players is pretty solid overall. I think it could use a few more stars.

Value:

Overall, the value appears to be there. It looks to be a mostly rookie driven product, as I don’t see much in the way of stars as far as the real value, game used and autographs, goes. But a good job is done with the rookies here as there are plenty of autographs and memorabilia cards to go around and you may get to pull a nice veteran as well. The patches are nice, there are nice jumbo swatches, and autographs from all the rookies you could want. The only problem I have is the lack of veterans but also a bit of a collation issue. There are 100 cards in a the base veteran set, I’m missing two from completing it and I have like 8 dupes. Just throw in the extra 2 next time, seriously, that’s a bit tacky. Other than that, this is a decent mid-range product.

Overall:

Overall, as I said above this is a very solid mid-range product. The base design is nice but there are still a couple of issues with insert designs and I still don’t like manufactured patch autographs with the way they are done now. The checklist is full of rookies but I feel like it could use more stars in the product to fill the stars void. The value is there, but mentioned with the above issues it could be a little bit better and get 5 stars across many of the areas. But overall, it’s definitely worth looking into as your next box of cards.

I’d like to thank Panini America once again for providing this box for me to review. Check out their new Facebook page here.

The contest for the manufactured patch autograph, my base doubles, and some inserts/rookies will be to tell me what you think of this product and tell me your honest opinion on manufactured patch autographs that Panini makes. I will pick a winner from a randomizer. One per person please!

Preview: 2010-11 Panini Elite Black Box Basketball

Black Box you say? Isn’t that a little box given to people who attend special card conferences and usually contain only the highest of high end players and cards? Don’t those usually sell on the secondary market for huge amounts of money that only Paul Allen may be able to afford? He’s the owner of the Trail Blazers and a former Microsoft head man in case you didn’t know that name. Well today, Panini announced the future release of this product next month with a stunning gallery of cards.

Well this is almost that product. Think about a box of Exquisite…probably on steroids, or at least some heavy duty vitamins. Better yet, combine Upper Deck Black with Exquisite and add in those steroids or “vitamins” or “the clear” whatever you want to call it. This product could be that epic.

At 7 cards per box and 1 pack inside that box we hope for epic hits and of course some solid design. It actually looks like a combination of everything their NBA players could put together in one great product. Every box will contain 3 autographs, 2 memorabilia cards, and 2 inserts. All those autographs and memorabilia cards? They are numbered to 149 or less. Those inserts? All 99 or less. This is the premium product for the premium collector.

Someone cue some AC/DC.

Inside you may find some of the first NBA Booklet cards numbered to 25 or less. How about Champions cards featuring a 5-auto card of the 1969 Boston Celtics or the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers teams numbered to just 10? Do you love Kevin Durant? Who doesn’t? A 10 card insert set called Thunderstruck featuring on-card autographs of Kevin Durant numbered to 10 each will also be featured. There will also be Elite Series Signatures with NBA autographs numbered to just 49 or less, Crusade with autographs, memorabilia, or autographed memorabilia pieces numbered to 149 or less, and other great insert sets signed on card as well.

With the design of some of these cards, my jaw has hit the floor with some of the most beautiful Panini cards to date.

August 31st is the date to get your paws on probably the hottest product of the year. No price has been released yet, but I’m expecting close to $400 for this product.

Seriously, these on card autographs blow my mind.

So does this 10 on-card autographed Kevin Durant subset.

More on card goodness in store for Black Box Elite basketball.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Basketball

Upper Deck is coming back with another NCAA licensed basketball set featuring their two best exclusives in the sport with Michael Jordan and LeBron James. You can’t get better exclusives then those two and Upper Deck is the only place to find their autographs if you want them, besides eBay.

2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic will have 5 cards per pack and 24 packs per box. There are 6 boxes per inner case and 2 inner cases per full case. Each inner case will have either a Lebron or Jordan autograph and the other will have a Lebron, Jordan, Bird, Bill Russell, Magic, Dr. J, or some of the top rookies of the year.

Now I’m not one to complain about great autographs but the possibility of two Jordan autographs in a full case or Lebron autographs, wouldn’t that bring down the value of those cards? Having them in their college and high school jerseys already brings down the value a little bit, but now by adding more to the market it’s killing their autographs in those jerseys. Not surprisingly, their autographs in NBA jerseys are being sold for a little bit more now…but there are a ton of Lebron and Jordan autographs out there now over the last couple of years since the NCAA licensing. I know you’re trying to find a reason to sell more product since the loss of the NBA license, but I don’t think flooding the market with Jordan and Lebron autographs is really the way to do it.

Anyway, there are 50 cards per regular set with the always popular Rookie F/X cards and By The Letter autographs which has become a staple of basketball products by Upper Deck. You can also find College Pride autographed jersey cards, the Sign of the Times autographs with single, dual, and triple autographs as always, and again this year more North Carolina featured cards.

Okay, I understand North Carolina is possibly the greatest college basketball team of all time with some of the best players, including Jordan. But do we need more North Carolina sets? Not everyone is a Jordan or North Carolina lover. In fact, I hate North Carolina. And how many Jordan floor pieces from his time at North Carolina do we need? What about some of the best players from Duke? How about UCONN? There are plenty of other great teams that have had great players over the years, not everything has to be North Carolina. You even put out a set dedicated to North Carolina. Haven’t we seen enough Tar Heel blue?

I just want to see something different. This 2011-12 SP Authentic basketball looks pretty similar to last year, mixed with some North Carolina basketball. I know there is only so much you can do with just a college license, but maybe it’s time to try something different? I think it’s time to take a gamble.

I don’t know how to say that I’m disappointed without being kind of mean, but I’m disappointed. At least hockey is looking better and better every season.

You can find this product for $115 or so dollars on August 30, 2011 at Diamond Dealers and Authorized Internet Retailers.

Here’s something not Jordan, Lebron, or North Carolina.

Preview: 2011 Panini Certified Football

2011 Panini Certified football is back with all the rookie and veteran goodness that makes it one of the favorite products of the early to mid season year in and year out. This year’s improvements look to make 2010 look like child’s play in comparison as Panini has been stepping up their game across the board doing their best to bring collectors closer to their favorite rookies with on-card hard signed autographs.

All 36 Rookie Premiere invitees lend their John Hancock directly onto the Freshmen Fabric set this year making this a first in Panini Certified history. Nothing like the beauty of a fresh, clean, on card autograph.

Each box will feature 10 packs again this year with a total of 4 autographs or memorabilia cards with at least 1 of them being an autograph. You will also find one parallel numbered to 250 or less, two rookies numbered to 999 or less, and two additional inserts, rookies, or parallels.

Besides the rookies you will find the usual veterans of the game plus some retired legends autographs like Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, and Joe Namath. Now those are some huge names signing for Certified this year and should bring some premium elements to this mid ranged product.

There will also be Platinum hot boxes inserted which every base card is replaced with a limited parallel. I love me some hot boxes and just knowing there are going to be some makes me excited for the possibilities when opening my box. Could it be a hot box? What great cards could I pull?

There is no announced release date yet, but last year this was released in November so I’m going to guess it’s around the same time frame. I’ll let you know more when more information is available.

Until then, check out some of the cards from the latest Panini Peek of 2011 Panini Certified Football.

Preview: 2011 Panini Crown Royale Football

Panini revived Crown Royale with a bang last season. While I personally didn’t open up any of the football, I did get a chance to open their hockey product. While I scored no big hits, I knew it was something special when I saw a glimpse of the first cards and they were amazing. As a matter of fact, money willing, I may do a little time machine review of 2010 Crown Royale football. Anyway, Panini is bringing Crown Royale back for a second revival season and it looks just as good, if not better, than the last.

The highlight of the product, Rookie Silhouettes, has returned and looks just as good as ever. If you aren’t familiar, these are very short printed cards with a jumbo patch embedded into the card and the photo of the player going over the patch. Also on the card this year is hard signed autographs from all 36 NFL Premiere invitees. Check out this Julio Jones and tell me you don’t like it, because you can’t. You love it.

Now this product isn’t exactly for everyone. It’s 4 packs per box with a hit per pack and usually costs around $100 bills. But with great value in store this year, it will definitely be worthy of your money. You’ll get 4 hits, at least one autograph per box. The pieces of memorabilia are larger this year so that is a great addition along with more hard signed autographs.

You’ll find 4 rookies per box with 1 being numbered to 100 or less. You’ll also find 7 inserts per box as well, giving you some new designs and nice looking numbered cards to chase of your favorite team or players.

But included are also autographs from some of the game’s top players like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers and some living legends like Jack Lambert. I know there is more but the checklist has yet to debut.

I also know this product releases on October 5, 2011, and will most likely be around that $100 price point for a box of 4 packs. But from what we are seeing so far, it will definitely be worth it.

You want to see more images and get a little more information? Click here to visit the Crown Royal World Premiere post by Panini.

See the first box busted on Panini’s blog!