Review: 2010-11 Panini Contenders Hockey

2010-11 Panini Contenders, after delay, is finally here.

2010-11 Panini Contenders hockey marks the first time that Contenders has ventured over into the hockey area. Overall, I would call it a success. With every rookie autograph signed on-card, this is going to be Panini’s best product for rookie autographs for years to come.

Panini Contenders comes with 4 autographs in a hobby box, at least 3 of them are those hard signed rookie autographs. There is no game used relics in this product as it is strictly an autograph only product, which I enjoy. Game used relics have become too common in this hobby. A lot of people like to see some, especially patches, but I don’t think this product would be any better with game used relics. It’s great the way it is.

Base:

Some of the cool inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

The base design of this set is fabulous. As I stated in my review video, I love the ticket design on base cards. It’s nothing revolutionary by no means and has been used by several companies for years. But it looks clean and it works. Another great aspect is the room for on card autographs. On card autographs are the way to go with the rookie autographs and I would like to have seen the whole set as on card autographs but this is a step in the right direction. I’m not a huge fan of the foilboard insert sets (except the base parallel) but the cards look solid and would look okay with sticker autographs. I want to say I love the acetate Behind the Glass insert set and the Leather Larceny set is something new as well. Both insert sets are great. If I could recommend something else, I would make the frame on the Winter Classic insert set smaller to really show the great photography those cards bring to the table. Overall, it deserves a high grade.

Checklist:

I think the checklist is solid. A large amount of rookies are found in this product as well as the 100 card base set featuring the stars of all your favorite teams. I like a smaller base set as it makes completing a set a little easier for those who may only be able to afford one box of a product. I only missed 2 cards to complete the 100 card base set in my box, which is a good sign. I did have 5 dupes, but that is understandable with a smaller set. I didn’t have any collation issues that other have been reporting so I can’t hold that against them in my review of this one box. I think the Legendary Ticket set may be a little too big since you only get about 1 of those a box. I like inserts and this set is loaded with them. You have your hard hitters in Behind the Glass, your stars with the Award Contenders, and more rookies with your Rookie Contenders. Plus, who doesn’t want a little goalie set to support the men who have pucks shot at them? Overall, there is something for everybody.

Value:

The value of this box is obviously hit or miss. But I’ve seen a lot more misses then hits. You get four autographs a box which is nice. I would put this product on par with what Upper Deck brings with SP Authentic. However, this box is $30-$40 more then that product. I think this product is over priced for what it is. If they throw in an extra autograph of one of the insert sets I would think the price was about right, but with a product containing at least 3 rookies, sometimes 4, I think the value should be a little bit lower as you may not hit an established player. I understand that some of these rookie tickets will be short printed as well, but not knowing that when the product is released doesn’t help the value. I also believe that all inserts should be serial numbered, but they will still probably fall into the same range as price is concerned on the secondary market. Drop the price down a bit, put it on par with SP Authentic, and the value will be perfect for this product.

Overall:

Finally a product that is on par with SP Authentic. You may not be able to pull any autographed patches in this product, but the autographs are a plenty and the insert sets are definitely better then SP Authentic. The design is solid, although has been used for a long time. It works though, which is a positive. The checklist is chock full of stars, rookies, and retired players so I think just about everyone will be happy with the possibilities they could pull. I love the 14 karat gold card promotion, although I didn’t get one this time around. There are only 20 but they are definitely great chase cards. This is a great start for Panini using the Contenders brand. I really hope they decide to keep this in their product run for the next season as it was a lot of fun to break, just lower the price a tad or add another autograph.

Here is the video break so you can see everything. Make sure to subscribe to our channel.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dAE6nPcZ0M]

Preview Update: 2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey Brass Bonanza Found

I asked Tracy Hackler of Panini for an image of what the Hartford Whalers Brass Bonanza set would look like so I could see what I will be searching the ends of the earth for. He got back to me he that he would find something for me.

In the mean time, I’ve done my own detective work. This is PROBABLY what Tracy would of sent me anyway. Maybe I can convince him to send me an image of a card not seen yet.

But I unveil you this:

Oh it was so tiny. Now it’s blurry because I had to make it bigger. But at least this will give you an idea of what to look for all you Whaler fans out there.

It looks like Shanny is confirmed.

My personal checklist would be:

Gordie Howe (UD exclusive, sadly), Brendan Shanahan, Ron Francis, Bobby Hull, Kevin Dineen, Geoff Sanderson, Pat Verbeek, Dave Babych, Ulf Samuelsson, Dave Keon, Sean Burke and Mike Liut

I would add Andrew Cassels just for the fact he has the most career goals…knocked in with his face. Check out his first goal with his face and his second goal with his face.

Anyone else going to go for the full set of Bonanza Brass? I can’t wait for July to come.

No Hobby Love – Trailblazers Edition

What is love?

The Portland Trailblazers were a playoff team the past few years and have a number of very good players on their team. Sure they are in a small market, but the fans here are rabid. I love picking up new Trailblazers autographs, especially of my favorite Blazer Nicolas Batum. But it seems as though the Blazers get no love in the hobby.

It’s hard finding sports cards featuring some of the smaller market teams in every sport. But due to economics, a lot of those teams don’t have much talent. The Trailblazers have a ton of talent but barely any higher end autographs or game-used cards on the market.

Everyone reading this is thinking about all the great Brandon Roy cards out there. I know, I understand, but Brandon Roy isn’t the whole team. This year I was lucky enough to see a Marcus Camby patch from Absolute on eBay but missed my chance at it. But I never see anyone other then Brandon Roy and the occasion LaMarcus Aldridge autographs floating around. What is it about the players that the card companies don’t like?

I understand Brandon Roy is a super star despite his injuries. Who else besides LeBron or Kobe could of taken over that playoff Game 3 against the Mavericks? But where is more LaMarcus, Batum, Wes Matthews, or Andre Miller? Nicolas hasn’t had an autograph in a product since Upper Deck was dropping inventory for 09-10 Upper Deck. Wes Matthews only has rookie autographs and he is probably one of the best sophomores in the league this last year. Andre Miller is probably the smartest and deceptive point guards in the league and has been around for years bringing great success. Hell, Andre Miller dropped 52 against Dallas 2 years ago. It was kind of a fluke but which point guards in the NBA can say they dropped 52 in a game?

The Lakers are a more popular team but a simple search of eBay shows several different current Lakers autographs. Lamar Odom autographs? I’m sorry, but isn’t he a backup? Sasha Vujacic? Who? Luke Walton? Does he even play anymore? Derek Fisher? Any other team and he wouldn’t have the same minutes because Kobe has a man crush on him. And finally, headcase Ron Artest?

Blazers on eBay? Roy, Aldridge, and rookie autos. Will I ever see an Andre Miller auto with a Blazers uniform on? A Wes Matthews? Marcus Camby? If I can get an autograph of Ron Artest I should be able to get an autograph of at least Wes Matthews.

Panini, I think it’s time to expand the autograph checklists a bit. Bring us closer to the game and the players and teams we love. Sure, everyone would love to pull a Kobe auto, but I’m sure others would love to pull a Nicolas Batum just as much.

Panini don’t hurt me, no more.

Hobby vs. Retail Packs and Boxes

So you’re new to collecting and are ready to start buying some product directly from the stores. Wonderful, welcome to the hobby. But before you go, do you understand the difference between hobby and retail packs or boxes? Sports Card Blog is here to help you.

Manufacturers bring out to separate types of boxes to broaden the spectrum of who and where they sell their products. Retail products are often sold at places like Wal-Mart, Target, Fred Meyer, or Winners (for you Canadians out there). These products usually cost less then hobby products and are good for collecting if you are on a low budget or you want to collect a brand’s set. Hobby products are almost exclusively sold at hobby shops and can get quite expensive depending on what you are buying. Yes, you will receive pretty much the same cards from both retail or hobby. The difference is the odds.

Hobby product odds are usually significantly better to pull something of value in your packs or box. Just take a look at the back of a pack of cards from a hobby box and then from a retail box and you can see the differences in what the odds are to pull something nice. On rare occasions, the odds are exactly the same. In this case, you may find the product cheaper at retail stores, so go for it! But the vast majority of the time, your odds are much better in hobby boxes to get a game used or autographed card as well as those harder to get inserts or rookies. However, one of the newer trends by the companies is to insert special “retail only” inserts to get you to buy retail boxes, so there are benefits to buying retail if you are looking for more then just set building or you are on a lower budget.

But Sports Card Blog, what should I buy?

Buy retail if:

  • You plan on just building base sets
  • Have a lower budget to spend on cards
  • Low priced gifts to fellow collectors
  • Better for little kids who are new to collecting
  • Want to open packs just for fun
  • You don’t have a hobby shop around and are too impatient to wait for online hobby shops to send to you (me!)

Buy hobby if:

  • You want to get better, more valuable hits more often
  • Have a higher budget to spend on cards
  • Want to build a full set (including autographs, game used, and inserts)
  • Want more variety. There are a ton more sets available as hobby only

I hope this helps any new collectors who come across this blog and want to know what is best for them.

Whether it be retail or hobby, may the mojo be with you.

Review: 2010 Upper Deck World of Sports

This may be rough, but it’s honest and that’s the way I’m going to keep it.

This is a review of 2010 Upper Deck World of Sports provided to me by Upper Deck. The video of the break is at the bottom. But first a little back story on how I got the box. Upper Deck had a contest on their Facebook page located on the Upper Deck official Facebook page. Check out the link and Like them for a ton of contests and the chance to win free stuff. Anyway, the contest I entered was called the “most different box break”. At the time I had a box of 2009 Exquisite Football and happened to be going on a trip. So what do I do? I open the box of Exquisite in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the cruise ship. I use the word Exquisite alot, promote the Upper Deck Facebook and Upper Deck, it was alright. A month or so later I get an email from Chris Carlin, their Marketing and Social Media dude saying I won. Awesome, I had no idea what was I would be getting. I ended up receiving the 2010 SP Authentic Football box that I reviewed and Upper Deck World of Sports which I am reviewing now. I decided in both videos to do something a little “different” hence the little pre-break show. My acting is terrible and I have a playoff beard. The video is at the bottom, but on with the review!

Upper Deck lost it’s license on several professional sports over the last couple of years and decided to come out with a set of a mix of all sports creating this, World of Sports. Featured in this box are a ton of sports from baseball and basketball to BMX and Lacrosse and everything in between. All main sports are in college or Olympic uniforms so it really is a wide range of cards. The cool thing is your can pull an autograph from pretty much everyone in the base set from Tiger Woods, Stephen Strasburg, Michael Jordan, Sidney Crosby, Taylor Hall, the list keeps going. Every box contains 2 autographs, 1 game used, and 1 Clear Competitors numbered insert which is an acetate card. Here is what I pulled.

Base:

Autographs:

Game Used:

Clear Competitors:

Design:

This would of been a 4 star rating had there not been an Athletes of the World subset without any pictures on it. I assume it has something to do with not being able to secure image rights on the person. If not, there really isn’t an excuse for a card with just a sticker autograph on it. Other then that, the photography is solid and the designs are crisp. I’m a sucker for acetate cards and have been since I was little and the first time I opened a pack of acetate cards. The autographs are sticker autos (ew) and I think the cards would look better had they been hard signed. I like that there is only one game used per box as game used is kind of a dying breed of cards and the design is what you’d expect from Upper Deck.

Checklist:

When you open a pack and don’t recognize a name on the pack, that is a bad thing. I know sports, I’m a fan of the 4 major sports plus I know all the stars from soccer around the world. But when you open a pack and don’t know a name, that is kind of depressing. There are 400 regular cards in the set, so you can see how many athletes there are that you probably will not know. Since every person has an autograph, your odds of pulling something of someone you know are lower. Luckily, I’m a Portland Trailblazer fan and know who Armon Johnson is or else I would not know who anyone was (except Yao, of course). Honestly, I don’t know what to say about some of the names added. How many names were just thrown in to fill the set out? The sell sheet says to look for some of the best from extreme sports but where are the snowboarders and skateboarders? I didn’t pull any, just a Matt Hoffman BMX card. The X Games are huge around the world, but some of their athletes were not represented well.

Value:

Go huge or go cry yourself to sleep. You can pull a huge name or a bunch of names you have never heard of. That seems to be what this box consists of. Where is the medium level talent that people have heard of? With the current price of this box at $60, I really can’t justify that price if most boxes are like this. The card stock is ultra thin, the checklist is sub-par and could be better, and some autographs don’t even have the person’s picture, but I guess the Clear Competitors fall one per box so they don’t over do the inserts. That isn’t enough to bring the value up to a 2 and I was even lucky enough to pull an extra autograph. I don’t see the value here, maybe I’m missing the point?

Overall:

Well the design is there and features the players more than anything else, which is a good thing. Autographs on stickers are common even though people are starting to dislike them more and more. The checklist is bad and could have had so much more potential to be a great and fun product. Pulling cards of people you never heard of really hurts this product, especially if your hits are all people you haven’t heard of as well. It hurts to open this and I didn’t even spend any money on it! Well I guess my Exquisite paid for it, but most people would be spending real American or Canadian dollars on this and I have a feeling that most won’t be too happy. I love what you are trying to do Upper Deck, I really do, but this could have been so much better.

As promised, here is me making an idiot of myself opening this box:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RAaKWsxjGo]

And finally, you’ll understand this if you watch the video.