Redemption Monday

Today was a good day at the Sports Card Blog household. It was a day that I’ve been waiting for for 3 months. 3 months is the time it took to put in this redemption and get the resulting card back in hand.

I’m excited because this is a guy who doesn’t sign too often and is a Hall of Famer, he won a NBA championship, and is one of the greatest big men to ever play the game. Plus, it’s a sweet die-cut card with an on-card autograph. Oh, and it’s numbered out of just 10 copies.

2011-12 Panini Preferred Panini’s Choice Hakeem Olajuwon Autograph #/10

Bam! Now that’s a pretty card if I don’t say so myself.

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Limited Basketball

The next of the few basketball products set to be released in this shortened season by Panini is 2011-12 Panini Limited basketball. It’s also the second product to come out this year with redemptions for Panini’s 2011-12 rookie redemption program.

Just like this brand in other sports, each box/pack consists of of six cards and will deliver one memorabilia card and two autographs including a wide variety of autograph designs to keep your interests as you try and collect your favorite team or player autographs. From the Glass Cleaners to Trophy case subsets, you’ll have a ton of great autographs to collect.

And it’s not just all about the numerous designs in this product. There are also numerous signers set for this product. With names like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitski, Derrick Rose, Magic Johnson, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and even a few Shaq autographs. The possibilities are quite limitless. Not to mention redemptions for rookie autographs and cards from this year and next.

Back to the subsets, there are more than just Glass Cleaners and Trophy Case. Masterful Marks and Potential are both autograph subsets that feature some of the best young talent in the game of basketball today. While Decade of Dominance is a subset that features some of the best veteran talent in the game. The autograph checklist appears to have just as wide of a variety as the autograph designs.

For more information and more pictures, make sure you check out the Panini blog and their preview of this product. So get ready to break out your single Benjamin to pick this up on June 13, 2012.

 

Review: 2011-12 Panini Past & Present Basketball

If this product doesn’t bring back some nostalgia, I don’t know what will. 2011-12 Panini Past & Present basketball is one of the limited basketball releases by Panini this year because of the lockout, but it’s definitely one of the most fun and exciting products of the season. In our preview, you were about to see a ton of the great offerings from this product and the product delivered all of that which looks fantastic.

This is also the first product of the year to contain autographed redemptions for 2011-12 rookies which because of the lockout, had a hard time being produced in such a short time frame. So if you’re looking for your first rookies of the season, this product will have them for you. (With the players for the redemptions being announced in October 2012.) Full of the NBA past and present, this product looked the part to be a real winner this season. So let’s find out how it stands up. Let’s get to the review…

Design:

The design in Past & Present brings you the best of both times. The base designs are very old-school looking showing homage to the past. With a retro kind of look, these cards look great. I also enjoy the several different variations of the retro cards, which changes things up a little bit and brings a lot of variety to the base product. Then we have some of the inserts which are definitely present. The inserts are 90s like with a brand new twist. The Raining 3s and fiery insert cards are absolutely gorgeous both on camera and even better in person. The finish on the fiery cards is amazing with the reflecting surface and the Raining 3s embossed areas are very cool to the eye. Even the basketballs in Changing Times have a great feel to them. Really well done all together.

Checklist:

While the lack of rookies isn’t entirely Panini’s fault in their base form, having autographed redemptions is a nice addition to the product to get some rookies in. Also, some may argue that the autograph checklist isn’t that great with a bunch of names you may not have heard of if you are a recent fan to the game. The Elusive Ink series is a set with a checklist of names you may have a hard time finding autographs for that were popular in their time. Personally, I would prefer the bigger names to the harder to find names, but that’s probably just me. These players will have their collectors and should have some decent secondary value. But other than that, the mix of current NBA stars and past legends is fantastic with names you’ll find enshrined in the Hall of Fame and fan favorites.

Value:

$100 for 3 autographs and 1 game used card isn’t bad at all. You also get a ton of base cards and some really cool inserts which you know people are going to try and collect. It may be a tad bit pricey because of some of the hit content, however the large number of cards you get along with the inserts kinda makes up for a bit. Also, the game used swatches were pretty large as well. While I’m happy that they put in less swatches in this product, I’m also happy that the large swatches were included. The autographs I pulled would look much better on card as well, but you do what you can with autographs nowadays. The redemptions for autographed rookies are great too.

Overall:

Overall, this is a great addition to the Panini basketball family. I really think there is a lot they can do with this product in the future and should remain around for a bit. The design is a beautiful representation of the past and present of basketball cards, as well as sports cards in general. It’s a great mix that brings back nostalgia and makes you think of some of the future technology that can be used. The checklist is solid, but nothing real noteworthy. The Elusive Ink set is interesting as it has names that may not have many autographs, but it appears as though collectors aren’t buying into it too well. Which leads to the value being pretty good, but not as good as it could be. I really think a slightly upgraded autograph checklist would boost this product up to be close to perfect. But the addition (finally) of rookie autograph should make most collectors happy.

A big thanks goes out to Panini America for providing this box to review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and all around.

Not shown: Redemption for 2011-12 autographed rookie #12

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

One of my favorite basketball products from last year returns for it’s sophomore season, and season 2 won’t be disappointing. From solid gold cards, to gold pieces, and some fantastic autographs and memorabilia cards…well you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Each 10-card box of this product will all gold themed once again. It will feature one 2011-12 Draft Class Redemption Autograph, two additional autographs, and two memorabilia cards. Yes, I know Panini is doing redemptions for the rookies, however, isn’t that better than no rookies at all?

Besides the solid gold cards and the gold embedded cards, Panini will feature cards with autographs from the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players known as Greatest Graphs, Hall of Famers in the Marks of the Hall autograph subset, 14k Memorabilia Prime insert featuring a nice piece of memorabilia from one of the 14,000 point scorers in NBA history, and other great goodies like the Bullion Brand Logos featuring some HUGE swatches from the jersey tags on the player’s jerseys.

As I said, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by this the second time around.

This product is set to release in July and will probably retail around $200, the same price as last year. Check out a couple links on Panini’s blog for more information and photos!

For a comparison, check out our review of 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard basketball.

Review: 2011-12 Panini NBA Hoops Basketball

NBA Hoops is back after years in hiatus. One of basketball collectors favorite sets of all time is re-imagined and back in 2012, with all the modern additions you would find in today’s trading card products. At a very cheap price and a couple of autographs per box, the product looks like a winner for both set collectors and hit collectors.

With buybacks of rookies autographed from players like David Robinson, the hits can be very nice for a lower end product. Also, with the insertion of rare and hard to find inserts and SP’ed cards, the value seems to be higher.

So Panini sent us over a box to review. Want to see what’s inside and our thoughts? Your waiting has ended.

Design:

As I’ve said time and time again throughout various low end Panini products, they know how to design low end product. This one is no different. A great design utilizing the design of “the paint” on the basketball floor, most every picture features an action photograph of your favorite players in action. Basketball collectors have been looking for great action photos like these, and Panini doesn’t disappoint. Another great aspect of this product is the insert designs that Panini had collectors vote on which one they preferred. A great promotion for this product that I hope to see again.

Checklist:

Don’t get me wrong here, the checklist is really solid. You pretty much have your starters and main reserves for each team in the league. You have a number of legends of the game as well. But the one reason I took off practically an entire star is the lack of rookies. There are no rookies in this product. I understand the lockout and the issues there. The lack of photography and time to get those rookies made. But there are cards of players in their new uniforms and that is where I have trouble believing that rookies couldn’t get made. Maybe they didn’t want to make only a partial number of rookies from this year? I don’t know, but the lack of rookies really cripples the checklist in this product. I’d also mention the multiple cards of the same player, but that was probably because of the lack of rookies.

Value:

At $2 a pack for a hobby product you are getting some pretty good value here. With 2 autographs per box, you definitely get what you really want as a collector, and that’s ink. But this is also a great product, and better yet, affordable product for set collectors. The base set is a decent size for collectors and with the price tag where it is, it appeals to all different types of basketball card collectors. That’s a good thing. The inserted buybacks of original rookies is great, the fact that they are also autographed is awesome. Panini does a great job with low end products and this is no different.

Overall:

Overall, this is a fine product by Panini. Again, low end collectors and Panini are a great match up with their creation of lower end products. The design is solid and a great remake of a classic Hoops brand. The base set and inserts all look great, plus who’s to complain when the collectors voted on an insert design? The checklist is good, but the lack of rookies really cripples this product from being a slam dunk. The value is of course there, $2 a pack for hobby or $1 a pack for retail. A couple autographs in a hobby box too for the hit collectors. This product gets both kids and adults appeal which is great for the hobby.

As always, a big thank you goes out to Panini for providing this box to review. You can visit them at their official website, blog, or Twitter.

Now, for the cards.