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.

Contest #3 Winners

I’ll make this short and sweet for you guys.

The winner from the 2010-11 Totally Certified basketball review is the person who guessed closest without going over to the serial number 192. That would be….BA Benny with a guess of 177! We had a lot of people closer, they just went over the number :( Congrats BA Benny with another contest win! That’s two in a row.

The winner from the 2010-11 Zenith hockey review is the person who guessed closest without going over to the serial number 067. That would be….Ashley with a guess of 056! I believe that is RJ’s wife, a Twitter follower of mine. Glad to see a loyal follower with a win! Congrats!

I will be emailing each of you for your address and notice of winning. I think I still have yours BA Benny from the last time you lucky dog.

Thanks to everyone for entering and stay tuned for more awesome giveaways! I haven’t used the Wheel O Awesome in awhile…might have to break that out pretty soon.

And be sure to thank Panini America as well for sponsoring the site with great boxes to review. Every time I get a box to review from Panini, free hits from the product will be going out and others will be added to the vault for future prizes.

2 More Contests Running!

Some more hot contest action here at Sports Card Blog. We have two guess the serial number contests going on for all of you readers. Check read the reviews of Panini Zenith hockey and Panini Totally Certified basketball! Then post a comment about the product and your serial number guess. Simple as that. Both contests feature some nice game used pieces from both products. So another big thanks goes out to Panini for providing the boxes to review.

First Contest: 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified Basketball Review

Second Contest: 2010-11 Panini Zenith Hockey Review

Comment and guess, you could be our next winner! Entries will cease on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, at 10pm PST with winners announced on Wednesday.

Also, I have opened my 2011 Allen & Ginter box for the Gint-A-Cuffs Battle of the Bloggers contest. I will have a review on that product shortly as I have been a busy man recently.

Review: 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified Basketball

Now, I don’t know what makes this “totally” certified compared to just regular certified, but this year’s product looks pretty good compared to years past. 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball is back yet again with great improvements from last year as well as some new additions, mainly the reveal of Panini HRX video trading card technology. While these are extremely hard to pull, they are some of the best looking and include the first autographed video trading cards to hit the market.

While our box did not contain such awesomeness, we were able to see what really make 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball stand out this year and that is the color, some on card autographs, and some nice looking game used pieces. Want to see what we got? The video provides some information, but when I started I thought the camera was runing, but it wasn’t. So I was halfway through when I noticed it, but reviewed the cards pulled. But look no further than below:

Base:

Parallels:

Game Used:

Autographs:

Design:

Actually, I really enjoy the design. I’m usually not huge on foil board type designs unless it is done really well, but I believe this is actually done really well. The starburst effect in the background looks great on the base cards, I just don’t understand the need for the abstract lines in the back. I see that the effect changes when the line is there, but couldn’t you do it without the abstract lines? The lower ones look out of place, but I wouldn’t mind just the triangle design. I’m not sure what they did with the finish on these cards but it feels pretty cool. It feels kind of grainy in the foil area but the player actually is raised up on the card and gives it a cool depth feeling.

Checklist:

While I can’t find a list of the veterans who actually signed in this product, the overall checklist is actually very solid. There are 35 different rookie autographs to pull including the top picks in the draft which is not an over kill like other sports. The base set is kind of big for being limited, but the 150 cards presents a challenge to set builders and player collectors if you want all the parallels. The Certified Potential autographs list is great and the names on the game used jerseys is very good. Don’t forget about the HRX video trading cards! Making them hard to pull was a great strategy and keeping them limited in the future is something I would recommend.

Value:

Honestly, I wasn’t sure whether to give this a 3 or a 4. As I say, I always round this to the nearest whole number, so we’ll just say it’s around 3.6. The hit per pack thing is great and it has it’s place in the hobby. But a box of this product is nearly $100 right now. I ended up with nearly 1/10th of the base set, 6 or 7 parallels, and 6 “hits”. I would like to see just a little more content in these packs. The hits can stay as they were solid, the insert per pack is good enough for me, but maybe add in another base card or two. It would take at least 10 boxes to build a full base set and that is being generous. The names on the hits are solid which is nice compared to other Panini products with sometimes too many retired players. Just add another base card or two and I’d be very happy.

Overall:

Overall 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball gets 4s across the board from me. The design is very nice with a few odd things here and there but it really is something to see for yourself in your hands. The foil board looks great and the jerseys are done well. Just the autograph space on the rookie autographs looks a bit small but the nice big jersey piece is there too. Gotta take the bad with the good there. The checklist is solid overall and not killing you with retired players. The HRX makes it’s long awaited debut and even though I did not pull one, they look great. Finally, value wise I would like to see maybe another card or two added to the pack. Maybe it’s just me on that one and maybe I’m over reacting a bit. But it’s still not bad.

Now you get to see my ugly mug do a horrible job at opening it on video. It’s such a bad video, I forgot to press play or something when I started. So it’s a review of the half the box I had opened plus me opening the second half of the box, oops, sorry.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fLtVqFCJ5g]

Now as for the contest part, I have in my hands the Brandon Roy Totally Blue insert numbered to 299. The winner of this contest will be the person closest to guessing the serial number without going over, Price is Right style. Please also include at least one thought on the product in which I reviewed. The winner will receive the Danny Granger jersey and the Dejuan Blair jersey. Good luck!

A big thanks again goes out to Panini America for providing this box for me to review.

July 2011 Sports Card Releases

July 2011 is going to be busy with sports card releases. It seems like every sport is throwing a ton of product out in July. I’m not entirely sure why July is that month, but it’s going to be very interesting to see what collectors will be spending their money on and what they will be pushing aside. But rest assured, I am here to help you. Below will be a list of all releases in the month of July and their dates in every sport. I will also link to any previews I may have up and rate them from 1 to 10 on my excitement level. I’ll even include a price point. Sounds like a big undertaking? Well it is. But it’s going to be informative. Release dates are subject to change.*

BASEBALL

2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $110 – Excitement: 8/10

The Bryce Harper chase will continue with 2011 Bowman Platinum baseball. While a rookie autograph relic for Harper is not yet confirmed in the checklist, you know Topps is going to do everything in it’s power to get that card in this set, just like Strasburg from last year. You will be able to find plain rookie autographs though and that is enough to get the nod as a product to buy.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball – Release: July 13th, 2011 – Price: $90 – Excitement: 8/10

A fan favorite since it was brought back from the dead, Allen & Ginter will be out in July. With one of the better autograph checklists in recent years and a fun set to collect, everyone will continue to buy Ginter.

FOOTBALL

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $85 – Excitement: 7/10

While not traditionally one of the strongest releases of the football season, 2011 Rookies & Stars will have all your top draft players and a mix of veterans with jerseys, autographs, and patches. This will also have an insert set that pays homage to the old Donruss Studio brand as well which is pretty cool to me.

2011 Score Football – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $30 – Excitement: 6/10

The set for just about anyone is back. Mainly aimed at lower end set builders and those without the money to spend on cards, Score Football is back and will include all the top rookies and a few scattered autographs here and there. I am not a set builder so this rating is a little lower, but lower end flagship sets are definitely a need in this hobby and Score football supplies that.

2011 Topps Football – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $55 – Excitement: 7/10

Topps flagship football is here year after year with all your new rookies and players in their new uniforms. It may be harder to do without official workouts going on, but it will be out. A big set to put together and a ton of new Super Bowl themed inserts to keep it fresh, Topps is looking good as usual.

2011 Upper Deck NCAA Sweet Spot – Release: July 13th, 2011 – Price: $110 – Excitement: 7/10

Your premium one autograph a pack Upper Deck product is back with the newest draft picks and veterans all in their college glory. Usually a very hit or miss product, this is for those who love autographs and are looking to get a head start on the rookies for the upcoming season.

BASKETBALL

2010/11 Panini Gold Standard – Release: July 14th, 2011 – Price: $175 – Excitement: 9/10

This new product by Panini looks like it is going to be a hit amongst collectors. Just from looking at the number of Google searches coming into my site looking for information on Gold Standard is astounding. With real gold embedded into the cards and a great selection of autographs and memorabilia, this first time product looks like it may become a Panini staple.

2010/11 Panini Season Update – Release: July 20th, 2011 – Price: $65 – Excitement: 7/10

To wrap up the season in full, Panini Season Update is released at the end of the season and finishes with updates of trades, champions, and history making games of the season. Last year, this was the best value of the season with tons of extra hits and one can hope for the same this year.

2010/11 Panini Totally Certified – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $100 – Excitement: 8/10

The newly renamed Totally Certified will be coming out as well highlighting the best rookies and stars of the season. Tons of low numbered parallels and the debut of Panini HRX video trading cards, Panini Totally Certified should be near the top of your list for basketball products.

2010/11 Upper Deck All-Time Greats – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $285 – Excitement: 8/10

With a Jordan autograph every 6 boxes, it’s hard not to like this product. The checklist looks great for a 20 living legend checklist. Included will be deceased cut autographs as well. You want stars of the game today and the past, look no further. This should be a fun product to open.

HOCKEY

2010/11 Panini Dominion – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $375 – Excitement: 9/10

Panini’s debut high end hockey product of the season releases in July with great hits and already tons of buzz from the hockey community. Tons of great memorabilia hits and autographs of stars, rookies, and legends, this is a product that I would want most this July, but will only be able to afford if I find a job. Please let me find a job.

2010/11 Panini Zenith – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $85 – Excitement: 7/10

Panini debuts Zenith with their first Rip Cards and the largest rookie checklist of the year. Over 200 rookies for you to get your hands on in this product. Also find rookie autographs and veteran autographs as usual with some neat insert concepts.

2010/11 Upper Deck Ultimate – Release: July 20th, 2011 – Price: $90 – Excitement: 9/10

Upper Deck Ultimate hockey is the premium product that leads to The Cup in August. Great rookie and veterans autographs and usually awesome patches, this product is always a hit with hockey collectors. If I had the money it would be a tough decision to go with one box of Dominion or multiple Ultimate boxes. I’d have to find a way to do both.

That’s it for July. 13 products from four sports across the whole month and I didn’t even mention Upper Deck Goodwin Champions which will release July 5th, 2011 a week early at the end of June and covers a whole mess of sports. So make that 14 products over the course of one month. It will definitely be a busy month for collectors. Everything from a $30 box of Score football to a $375 box of Dominion hockey will be released.

But either way, all these products means a lot of fun for those who want to rip open some new product! May the mojo be with you this July!