Review: 2012 Panini Signatures Series Baseball

2012 Panini Signature Series baseball is out as one of Panini’s premier products that produces penmanship from prospects and pros. All alliteration aside, it’s a product with a three autographs per pack/box along with three parallels. Without the use of the MLB logos, this product is still a great looking set with an old-school Donruss Studio look to it. Let’s see what you can find in a product like this…

Design:

As stated in the introduction, the design is sort of a license-less homage to the former Donruss Studio products. A studio setting face shot, dark background, with a slight appearance of the hat that is cropped out just enough so you know it’s a baseball player. Great use of cropping in the product to give it a great feel. Now most know about my feeling toward manufactured patch autographs, and this product is full of them. If they came up with a different design for that portion of the product, I easily would have given this at least another half star. But we also have the inclusion of faux baseball leather autographs on the Sweet Spot, which I have always loved. I’m glad to see those brought back again in baseball products.

Checklist:

The checklist is heavy on the rookies and short on the veterans. There really isn’t much else to say about that. If you pull one of the stars or legends of the game you’ve got some luck on your side. While the selection of rookies is large, it is still larger than the selection of veterans/legends in terms of variety and numbering. For instance, most of all rookies are numbered to 299…veterans and legends? 25 or less.

Value:

I was actually shocked when while doing my research I saw the original and current price for this product. Right now you can find the product for $97 at DA Card World. I thought that was still too high, but it originally came out at $120. For a product that leans heavy on the rookies, despite the three autographs per box, it feels very overpriced. Even at $97 it feels overpriced. I’ve seen this and other breaks of the product and I can’t justify $120, let alone $100 for this product. I’m not sure why it was priced so highly, but it could definitely use a price drop if Panini wanted to sell more product earlier in the cycle. My one issue with the MAPP is that I shouldn’t have to wait until after it expires to get a price that is accurate.

Overall:

It’s weird going from a huge success in Panini Cooperstown to a semi-fail in this product. The product design is nice, despite not being a huge fan of manufactured patch autographs. The Sweet Spot autographs was a nice addition to the product as it has always had a solid backing in a lot of previous sports card products. The checklist is sort of disappointing, but there are still some really nice autographs to be found in the product. At the price of $120, it’s definitely a no-go. Even at the newly lowered price, it is still a tough break.

Thanks to Panini for providing this product for review. You can visit them on their official site, blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

You can find the full checklist and other information at the Cardboard Connection website.

Video is below, it’s short and sweet.

Review: 2011-12 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

Last year’s 2010-11 Gold Standard set a mark for future products and the success of the product brought it back for a second season. The price point stays the same at about $200 a box and there are a few tweaks to a very good product last season that collectors will notice. With more of a game used element with the autographs, less inserts, more base, and the same number of hits, the basics are generally the same with this product. Want to see what’s in your typical box break? Well here we go…

Design:

The design of this product is about as clean of a design as you can get with the foilboard. I really enjoyed the design as there wasn’t too much going on in the background. The base cards look great, and my favorite design has to be the Signs of Gold autographs. It’s almost the perfect design for the autograph placement and picture. The one thing I didn’t like which I will complain about for just about every product is the sideways autographs. This product features some of them and I just need everything to be uniform design-wise. I think if they put the Career Points over on the right instead of the autograph like the game used cut outs, it would have been much better. Otherwise, I really enjoy most every design that I pulled. Good work on changing it just enough to keep the collector interested this year.

Checklist:

I don’t think the checklist is as good as last year’s product. The one improvement I see is the cutting down of the inserts and including more base cards. That makes set collecting possible and really improves the feel of the break. But I think it has just enough of the legends and current stars to keep it interesting. With a few different retired stars and a few different current players in the product it changes things up, but there are more players out there who would make a better appearance in this product to improve the checklist which would also improve the…

Value:

Value wise, it’s a little tough this year. Last year’s checklist was a little bit better and the additions to this year’s product weren’t quite as good. For instance, we pulled Earl Monroe. Once a great player, not many autographs, sells alright. The rookie autograph redemptions, good work getting those out, but waiting until October for the draft is too long. Finally, Kevin Martin as an autograph hit in a $200 product isn’t good. Include the fact you’ll get two plain game used jersey cards in the $200 product and you’re hurting. This is a product that screams one patch per box as your game used hit. Make that Dirk a patch and have a cut out “5 piece” game used card, and it’s a bit easier. It definitely has room for improvement in this department next year, but it’s just more of the little things. I’ve been tired of plain game used jerseys in expensive products for awhile without patches, and I’m going to continue that until I see results in products.

Overall:

Overall, this is an average to below average break for the product. The design is well done this year and is very clean and really focuses on what you need to focus on located on the card. I could do without the vertical autographs though. The checklist needs a little work but I do like the cutting out of the numerous plain old inserts from last year and think that makes for a better opening experience as well as collecting the base cards. The value needs a little work and I really want to see a patch included in every box instead of two game used pieces. 1 game used jersey, 1 game used patch. That’s all I ask for in a $200 product when it comes to memorabilia. That’s not a stretch offer.

As always, a big thank you goes out to the folks at Panini America for providing this box for review. You can find them online at their official site, blog, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with them.

2011 Allen & Ginter Code

Just posting this now before the release of Allen & Ginter that I may attempt to break the code. But I know I can not do it alone. If anyone else is thinking about going for it and serious about figuring it out, let me know.

It has been a lifelong dream to get my ugly mug on a trading card. I don’t know why, but it has. I’m sure it’s a dream for other people out there too. So let’s do it together!

You may now continue with your regularly scheduled programs. My next review should be up in a little less than 3 hours, it’s set to auto-post. See you then!

Site News: Incoming Boxes

For all you who enjoy box breaks of nice products, I have 3 boxes coming in. One from each of the 3 major league card companies.

- 1 Box 2010-11 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey

- 1 Box 2010-11 Panini Contenders Hockey

- 1 Box 2010 Topps Triple Threads Football

I wanted to do a “fight to the death” of Upper Deck and Panini hockey products. I think Contenders has a serious chance to take SP Authentic on as one of the hockey favorites of the year. So this will be a head to head product break and review.

I wanted to get Topps in on the madness so I also ordered a box of Triple Threads football. Probably the second best Topps football product of the year (after 5 Star) and just fit in my price range.

And finally, to add one more bit of madness to this, I ordered 2 of the boxes from Blowout and the other box from DA Card World. There will be blood! I will review both companies afterwards as well.

The Triple Threads should be here first, as Contenders isn’t released until Wednesday. At least, I think that’s how it works. I’m not sure if the product will be sent to arrive after release date or if they have to wait to send until street date.

So I hope you’re looking forward to the breaks and reviews. At least I have some time to think of more ways to make an idiot out of myself on camera.

Depending on when they come in and when I can get something totally awesome done for this site, I might be having some giveaways in celebration. Stay tuned.

A Nice Easter Surprise

Easter baskets are a great place to put little presents. Whether it’s your children, family, or significant other, it’s always nice to receive a little surprise in your Easter basket. But sometimes you truly do get a surprise inside your basket.

Let me preface this by saying that this year my fiancee and I agreed not to give each other Easter baskets. The fact that I am unemployed and we just had our 2 year anniversary is part of it, but I made sure we had verbal confirmation that neither of us would be giving Easter baskets this year.

Well we were eating dinner before she went to work for the night and she goes upstairs to finish getting ready. As she is coming back down both dogs turn and look at the stairs, so being the observer I am, I turn and see what they are looking at. I turn and see a bright orange basket. Oh crap, I thought we agreed not to give each other anything. This wasn’t one of those instances where the girl says she doesn’t want anything but really does. It turns out her co-worker was talking about getting an Easter basket and how happy he was so she changed her mind and made me one.

The basket had all the regulars. Starburst jelly beans, Reese’s peanut butter eggs, the always yummy chocolate bunny, but what is this little box? It appears to be a little blaster box (7 packs) of Upper Deck Series II hockey! Awesome! This hockey season has been one of my favorites for collecting. My two favorite teams have awesome rookies. Carolina has Jeff Skinner and Edmonton has Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi. So what’s better then trying to pull a Magnus Paajarvi Young Gun? I know it’s retail, but there’s still the chance!

Here’s how I did with the hits:
Victory RC Cam Fowler
Victory RC Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Victory RC Gold Mattias Tedenby
Young Guns Checklist Paajarvi/Seguin/Shattenkirk
Young Guns Korbinian Holzer
Young Guns 20th Anniversary Evgeny Grachev

Not bad at all for a retail box! I almost got the Paajarvi I was looking for. Well I can’t say I didn’t pull a Paajarvi Young Gun because I kinda did. The odds of pulling a Young Gun were 1:6 and I technically pulled 3 of them. The odds of a 20th Anniversary Young Gun were 1:96 which was a nice surprise too, especially since after opening 2 HOBBY boxes of Series I hockey I didn’t pull one 20th Anniversary Young Gun. Overall, this retail blaster was definitely one of the better ones I’ve opened in awhile. I never seem to get lucky with blasters. Perhaps I should let the fiancee pick out my retails from now on!

The mojo was lurking with me, and may the mojo be with you!