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.

Preview: 2011 Topps Chrome Football

2011 Topps Chrome football looks to be the best Topps Chrome product to come out in years in any sport. With newly minted inserts, solid on-card rookie autographs, and sleek design, this Topps Chrome should set the mark for future Topps products in the future. There will be some sticker autograph in this product though, but I’m sure it is impossible to get everyone on card.

As collectors, we love hard-signed content and Topps has been doing their best to get as much on-card goodness as they can and they have been doing a great job listening to the collectors. On-card Cam Newton, AJ Green, Mark Ingram…the list for the season goes on and Topps has it all in that regard. Then add in all of Topps’ famous refractors and it’s a rookie autograph party. Included this year is a new red and crystal atomic refractor for these autograph. Nothing brings nostalgia like an atomic refractor in your pack of cards.

But where Topps Chrome really shines this year is their insert sets. I admit, I love inserts. Nothing breaks up the monotony of pulling base after base then solid insert cards. Personally, I wish I could have one every pack. This year Topps breaks up that monotony in a number of ways. The best part is that there is an autographed version to every insert subset. A limited edition Bowman Chrome will be inserted along with a Rookie Recognition set. But my favorite is the different die-cut inserts you can pull. Superlative Rookies and Finest Freshman are both very nice looking cards and die-cut into nice shapes. Maybe I’m a little old-school with my inserts, but there is nothing wrong with that.

The only problem I see with this product is that I don’t see any information on veteran autographs. I know Topps Chrome is known for their rookie autographs and it’s a great rookie product but I like pulling veterans too. It would add a little bit of value to a very hit or miss product. You either hit a top rookie or you don’t. That’s really what it comes down to in the end. I’d just like to see a little more autographed content.

More information to come soon on release and price, but for now we’ll assume it’s around the same price and time as last year.

For now I leave you with some die-cut goodness.

Preview: 2011 Topps Marquee Baseball

This year Topps has brought another new product to the table in 2011 Topps Marquee baseball and so far, it looks very nice.

Every box will contain 4 packs at 5 cards per pack. Every pack will have a hit and according to Topps they will all be “premium” hits.

The hits per box will be:

  • One on-card autograph
  • One autographed multi-relic card
  • One jumbo relic card
  • One quad relic card

The only thing that bothers me about these “premium” hits is the actual relics themselves. Topps has had a history of putting in one color jerseys in their higher end products. Topps considers this box to be a “mid-end” product when in reality the majority of us will consider it high-end. This product is going to be $200 for a box or $50 a pack. Who in the world is that “mid-end” to? Maybe to actual Topps executives, not to the every day collector. This is a high-end product and should be treated as such.

There will be single and dual on-card autographs which look great from the sell sheets. Another thing that bothers me is Topps adding in non-baseball autographs in premium products like this. Remember Topps Co-Signers and their boxing autographs and others? No one was happy to pull one of those autographs unless they could sell it for a ton of money. Included in this product will be Manny Pacquiao autographs which some baseball purists won’t be happy with. Personally, I’d be happy pulling one if I could sell it for a decent price because I don’t care about pulling a Pacquiao, but to each their own.

The triple relics and autographed triple relics are the ones that scare me. As I mentioned above if there is all single color jerseys in this product, again, Topps has something to work on. There are patch versions of these cards and it appears these are only 1 of 1 versions. That is unacceptable in a product at this price. It kind of sounds like Triple Threads to me. The jumbo jerseys look multi-colored which is nice, but you’re bound to find more than one color in a relic as large as that.

Finally, the base cards look slick and solid as Topps usually provides in this type of product.

But the best hits will come at an odds of 1 per case. Never will you have to worry about dinged corners on a high end product again. Museum Collection features an on-card autograph with a metal frame around the edges. I’m assuming the checklist for these cards is extremely nice and they are numbered to just 10. It’s something different that definitely looks very nice and would be a welcome addition to any collection.

You can have your chance at these cards when they drop into stores on August 24, 2011.

You can find a 2011 Topps Marquee checklist here to see the possibilities.

Ichiro number one…any complaints?

 

Preview: 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite Hockey

2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite hockey is one of last hockey products I have yet to preview that is set to come out this season. But rest assured, your preview is here hockey fans!

Your next mid-high end product from Panini is Luxury Suite and boy does it look luxurious from the what I can see. Each box will deliver 8 autographs or memorabilia cards. That’s right 8! At least two of them will be autographs, but I’m sure it’s safe to assume that you will find more. This product will be loaded with the hits you want.

There will be 4 packs in a box. Each pack will contain 2 autographs or memorabilia cards. But that’s not all. Every pack will also contain a rookie card. This product will contain a ton of rookies. 125 different rookie cards have made it into Luxury Suite making it one of the biggest crops of rookie cards. All rookies will be numbered to 899 copies so make sure you grab who you want for your collection. 50 of the rookies will contain an autograph or memorabilia on them. Some of these players are the highly collectible Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner, and Tyler Seguin.

Did I mention yet some of the cool memorabilia cards you can pull from this set? Every base card has a memorabilia insert associated with it. You can pull game used swatches of jerseys, patches, and sticks. Sticks have been under used for the most part when it comes to the hobby and Panini is right there by including game used sticks in their memorabilia pieces. The possibilities of hits in this product are definitely up there with higher end products, but for about half the price. Plus the base parallels numbered to 10 and 1 make it a chase for your favorite players more rare cards.

Now a lot of people have been criticizing the designs by Panini on some of their products. However, those critics will be speechless for some of the designs in this product. In my opinion, this is probably one of those most visually appealing designs that Panini has put together across all their products. Luxury Suite looks great. Nice big patch windows, looks to be on card autographs, and fluid designs featuring the player first and foremost. I would put the designs along the lines of SP Authentic of old with Panini’s own twist to it. It’s definitely a good thing. The rookie patch/autographs look amazing and I really enjoy most of the designs. Good work design team.

The end of June will bring you the most luxurious set to come to Panini hockey for a little under $200. I can’t wait to see some of the cards to come out of this product.

Want more? Check out the Panini Peek: 2010-11 Luxury Suite hockey

And as is mandatory in my hockey previews, ladies and gentlemen, Taylor Hall.

Preview: 2011 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Football

2011 Upper Deck Sweet Spot football is back with all your favorite players in their college glory.

This year, every pack you open will feature an autograph! With 4 packs per box and 8 cards per pack, you are guaranteed 4 autographs from the hottest rookies of the year to some of the great veterans and retired players of the game.

Back again is the on-helmet autographs embedded into the cards. Though I’m not a huge fan of players signing manufactured materials, I think Upper Deck does it right when it comes to that regard if it HAS to be done. The signings on “By the Letter” patches or on other fabrics just look messy and incoherent. Athlete autographs are already messy and incoherent, like my doctor. At least on a hard and smooth surface these autographs come out nicely. There will be two of these on-helmet autographs in every box with several different helmet variations. Also back again is Sweet Beginnings autographed cards and it looks like they are including Ultimate Collection Rookie Signatures in this product as well combining one of their old products with Sweet Spot.

New this year are two different autographed parallels to change things up a little bit. It appears as if Upper Deck has signed on with Todd McShay and Chris Mortensen of ESPN to feature their likeness on a new subset of Scouting Report inserts. These cards feature a picture of the analyst along with some of the players they have reviewed on their scouting reports. Some of these inserts will have an autographed parallel. While I’m not a huge fan of Mortensen or McShay staring at me from the card, I applaud UD for trying something a little different. I wonder what kind of information will be on the back of the card?

There is also the new Sweet Spot Rivalry booklet featuring two on-helmet autographs in booklet form. From the sound of the set and what I can see, it looks like these will feature some of the biggest rivalries in college football with autographs from each side in the booklet. I hope to see a “Civil War” booklet featuring an Oregon and Oregon State autographed helmet on each side. How could you possibly leave out one of the longest rivalries in all of college football?

In all, at a $100 price point for 4 autographs, it appears to be right around where it should be as far as price goes. I know collectors would rather have an NFL licensed product, however, these cards do look sharp and the autographs are just the same as any other product. Upper Deck is the only NCAA license in town, so for those who love college football and the pros, this should be a fun product to open when it comes out at the end of June. Roll Tide.

Note: Okay, I’m not an Alabama fan but I thank the Bama fans who were chanting “Roll Ducks” during the National Championship game. At least you stand by your team and don’t cheer for the whole conference.