Preview: 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football

This is the last product I have to preview for July 2011 releases and we are going out with 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football. Panini attempts to put the “rookies” back in Rookies & Stars football this year. But we will see how that works out for them with this product. Let’s hope there is enough “stars” as well to keep things interesting and worth the price of admission.

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football releases with 24 packs with 8 cards per back. Each pack is $4 which makes this product…some quick internet math tells me that a box would cost around $96. You will find 4 total autograph or material cards with at least 1 of them being an autograph. 24 rookies, 4 parallels, 1 Rookie Revolution, 1 Studio rookie, and 2 other inserts or parallels. So I’m guessing this is a 1 rookie per pack product this year.

The first thing I always notice is something I don’t like about the product and of course I found one right away. People who have been reading this blog for awhile now know of my hatred for manufactured patches. Well Panini Rookies & Stars carries several variations of this manufactured patch goodness. Okay Panini, I get it. Manufactured patches aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. So I have a proposition. Hear me out, this is something that will make these manufactured patches more bearable. Stop having the athlete sign cloth. It looks incredibly tacky. If you want to keep the manufactured patches, that is fine. Embed them in the card as you would a regular patch but have the athlete sign a sticker or the card itself. Seriously, I would rather have a sticker autograph than an athlete sign a piece of cloth. 100% of the time. Take out the American flag, embed just that part in the card and add an autograph to the card itself. I know you have seen Upper Deck Black flag patches and autographs. That is the best way to do manufactured patches in my opinion. I can’t stand the signing of cloth that isn’t even game/event worn. Okay…I’m done with that rant.

Besides the manufactured patches, everything else looks to be on par what you would expect from Rookies & Stars. With a billion rookies and some sweet veteran cards you are in for a treat. If you’re a rookie collector or prospector this is another product for you with the tons of rookies and consequently probably a billion rookie autographs.

As for me, I like veterans. With some great autographs and material cards for veterans I really enjoy the look of some of these subsets, Prime Cuts being my favorite. There is a subset called Statistical Standouts with some random statistic on the front and an autographed patch version for veterans. While I’m not a huge fan of the concept as I feel it is over done, it looks nice too. Panini seems to be doing a great job in the subset and insert department. The Donruss Studio brand of old makes a slight return as an insert as well with Studio Rookies featuring posed photography. I love the back of these cards almost more than the front. They have their backs to the camera showing off the name on the back of their jerseys. Panini has a great blog post about this Studio Rookies insert set with a ton of pictures.

Finally, as far as base cards go, I love the design of this year’s base cards. Panini did a great job with action shots where the whole player isn’t cut out and you can see some of the field before it fades to a white background. It looks pretty slick to me. Everything looks pretty slick, but something needs to be done about those manufactured patches.

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars will release on July 27th, 2011 at a dealer near you.

Let’s see a picture of those Prime Cuts I love so much. Since Panini doesn’t pay to host their blog, I’m just going to hot link this photo. This is for you Jim Irsay!

Want more? Check out the Panini Peek of 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football on their official blog.

Want a 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars checklist too?

Want to see more awesome cards from this set?

Panini Unwrapped: Opening 2011 Rookies & Stars!

This concludes all July 2011 sports trading card releases. Phew! I wonder what August will have in store for us?

Review: 2011 Score Football

Happy Independence Day to every American out there!

Panini is bringing you the best value in football cards this season with 2011 Score football. Why is this product the best value? Well wouldn’t you consider anything nowadays that is 99 cents a very good value? That’s right, this product is 99 cents per pack. It is less than one dollar. Now that’s value.

Every box comes with 36 packs if you choose to buy a box. You get 7 cards per pack. Every pack has at least one rookie in it and one glossy card in it. You can find tons of inserts like Millennium Men, In the Zone, Hot Rookies, and Complete Players. Among those you could also pull parallel versions including a glossy version, End Zone, Scorecard, Red Zone, or Gold Zone. The rookies even have an SP version with a different picture. You can pull tons of great cards and parallels in this box. Also, you can find autographs in a box at a rate of 5 per case. Not bad at all for 99 cents.

Base:

Rookies:

Gold Zone paralleled rookie

Inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

I actually really enjoy this retro design from Score. I can’t quite put a year on when this design was used or something very similar was done, but it just reminds me of the good times in the 1990s when I first started collecting cards. I love the design of all the inserts as well as the parallels as well. The Complete Players insert is my least favorite as it just doesn’t seem as colorful as the others and kind of feels out of place. I’m not sure it would look better with colors either, but with the rest of the product having some life, it just feels off. But that’s not why I’m docking the star, only a very small part. The reason I am docking the star is that huge white empty space on the top left of the card. I don’t like empty spaces on cards, but especially just plain white empty spaces. I understand that it is used to show you if you have a parallel or not, but couldn’t there just be some sort of placeholder there instead of a plain white spot? And finally, the only other things I don’t like is not being able to tell the SP rookies from the non-SP rookies besides the photo. So there is a different photo…how do we know which one the SP is?And the other is the lack of numbering on the parallels. Last year there was numbering on these same parallels, what changed? Are they still the same as terms of rarity goes?

Checklist:

Well this one is a no brainer. All the rookies you could want? Check. All the veterans you could want? Check. And yeah, some people might want legends in their product. But I could care less sometimes. Sometimes you need to step back and just create a product featuring today’s great players. I love it. There is also a rookie and veteran checklist which is solid as well. I mean, what 99 cent per pack product can you find the possibility of pulling a Tom Brady autograph in it? If I could give it 6 stars for the checklist, I would.

Value:

For 99 cents a pack you get 7 cards. At least one rookie, one glossy, and some other cards. If you look at my videos of me opening the packs you will see I’ve even opened packs that had 3 rookies in them. One glossy rookie, one base rookie, and a rookie insert. Include the other veteran cards from just about anyone in the NFL and you have great value to set collectors, team collectors, kids, player collectors, just about everyone. Secondary values on this product won’t be great, but can you expect a 99 cent per pack product to have high secondary values with everything else on the market? But I’d imagine if you pulled a top rookie autograph or one of the top veteran autographs you would easily pay for your box, which is cheap in price itself. This is great value for your money, just not the greatest if you’re investing or prospecting. It’s a little too low end for that. Everyone else should be buying this up.

Overall:

Overall, this is another low end winner for Panini. I have to say that Panini has been doing a phenomenal job on their lower end products. The last few I have reviewed have been great. This is just another great lower end product to add to that list. The design is great despite the few very small things I had a problem with. Those small things could be fixed in a snap so I couldn’t take off a lot for them. The overall design was great. The checklist has just about anyone currently in the NFL that you could possibly want. I’m just waiting for a few of my favorite rookies, but that’s the lockout’s fault, not Panini. If you’re looking for value in a product this is it. With a ton of inserts and rookies for 99 cents a PACK this is right up your alley.

A huge thank you goes out to Panini for providing this box for me to review. Honestly, I probably had the most fun opening this product than I have opening other products from any manufacturer. You can probably see it in my video that I was having fun with it. I hope the people reading the review see that as well and have their own fun opening it because it is definitely worth it.

To see that video please look below! Sorry that it took two videos, but opening up 36 packs of cards and showing off cards takes awhile.

Let me know what you think of 2011 Score in the  comments below and I’ll draw a name for a prize from the break. Not sure what I’ll be giving away, but it’ll be something. Might save the auto for the Wheel O’ Prizes, not sure yet!

(SCB Note: Panini has posted all the SP rookie variations so you know if  you pulled one on their official blog)

Review: 2011 Donruss Elite Football

2011 Donruss Elite football produced by Panini is back this season with all the die-cuts, autographs, and memorabilia you have come to expect from the brand since it was created. Also returning is the foil board design that has made this product stand out from the beginning as well. This product will bring you all the rookies from the recent draft as well as the veterans that you have always love and delivers in that department. It definitely has it’s positives and negatives, but with the right adjustments next year I believe that this product will be capable of returning to it’s former glory.

2011 Donruss Elite football comes with 5 card per pack and 20 packs per hobby box. On average you will find four hits in your box. There are autographs, game used jerseys, and patches available including Panini’s new booklet cards. At a little less than $100, this is now about average for this type of product. Let’s see what we got.

Base:

Inserts:

Rookies:

Game Used/Autos:

Design:

First we are going to talk about the design and I have a few things to say about that. First, I understand the lack of images because of the lockout. I will not take points off for that, it’s not your fault. Also, Elite has always been a foil board brand so I won’t take points off for that. I’ll start with the rookies. The horizontal rookies just don’t look right. Why the change from a vertical layout I don’t understand. And putting the serial numbering on top of the words on the left? There is so much other room on the card not used you could of put those anywhere else. It’s terrible to try and read. Finally, the huge white box where the autograph stickers go on the rookie could of been made smaller. I know that’s where the die-cut goes but the sticker won’t be on the die-cut anyway as there is plenty of room. Speaking of the die-cuts, a little boring there, but it does allow less of a possibility for damage to be honest so I don’t mind it that much. The inserts are awesome and I actually like the NFL Shield and helmet rookies. The base is boring to me, which means the rookies are also boring to me on the whole. I think those should start again from scratch, but I enjoyed everything else.

Checklist:

If there is one problem I have with the checklist is the 100 rookies. 100 rookies means 100 rookies autographs. With them numbered to 899 you are going to have a ton of rookie autographs. I understand they are cheap, but how many people really collect offensive and defensive lineman? Personally, I would cut those autographs in half and use the left over money for some extra veteran autographs. The veteran autographs you do have though are solid. There is a solid group of veteran autographs you have the possibility of pulling and the Throwback Threads with NFL legends is a great subset as well as Passing the Torch and Down and Distance. Great insert subsets which include autographs and game used pieces. I’m all for cutting down those rookies though.

Value:

The number of rookies used and I think just the looks of the rookies alone cut down on value. To the vast majority of collectors, not many want offensive and defensive lineman autographs. They just don’t hold value and aren’t worth the price of the box. I do know that some do, so I think cutting down on these would be a great start. As I said above, use the money towards more veteran autographs. I can’t say anything about photography because of the lockout so I won’t. I’m just really hoping for this lockout to end so I can see players in their actual jerseys on cards this season, otherwise it might be kind of grim which does weigh on value just a little bit on the secondary market. Out of my 4 hits, I hit 3 rookies. Two stickers autographs and an event worn jersey. We all hate sticker autographs and event worn jerseys are just that, event worn. I know the use of the event worn jersey is important for rookies, but when I have 2 sticker autographs to go along with it, it hurts a little bit. This product needs a little more of a veteran presence in the common box break.

Overall:

Overall, 2011 Donruss Elite is a decent product. It’s definitely good for the period of time it is to get ready for the season but after that there are much better products coming out by all the companies making NFL trading cards. The design needs some work and I would actually either completely re-tool the set from scratch or create something new that Panini can say is originally theirs. The number of rookies and rookie autographs is too large and can use some work on filtering out who and how many players sign. It can allow for some more freedom on the veteran side which I feel this product lacks a little bit.

I’d like to thank Panini for providing this box for me to review. Please visit their various links I have posted around the blog. I don’t get anything for you clicking on them, but they have a GREAT blog and lots of information about their products on their website. I highly recommend it.

And, as always, here I am opening the box so you can see everything pulled as I pull them along with some random commentary and information how to win some of the cards!

And again, for those who don’t want to see my ugly mug for 10 minutes, post your comments about this year’s Donruss Elite in the comments for your chance to win. I’m giving every review I have a contest one week to post.

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.

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.