Review: 2012 Topps Chrome Football

Yeah, it’s a little late to be reviewing this product. Especially since I bought it on Black Friday. But late is better than never. I’ve had to catch up on all of the other (sponsored) breaks and those definitely get first priority. But now we can check out Topps Chrome football, one of the hottest products of the year from Topps. With their Chrome technology, on-card autographs, and sweet refractors, it is always a hit season after season. Want to see how this season fares? Check out the review:

Design:4 and half stars blue

The design this year is clean, organized, and has a great look to it. One of the best parts about most Topps products is that the designs always have great order to them. They may not be crazy fancy, but everything is neat, in order, and appealing to the eyes. This is one of those sets that looks great even without the Chrome finish. And of course, the Chrome finish itself is always the same. Good part though is the less bend in the cards this year. The inserts are very nice too and Topps has taken hold of the die-cut resurgence with more great offerings. Overall, a very well designed product for one of their biggest products of the season.

Checklist:4 and half stars blue

Flagship Topps has always been about two things. Current players and rookies. That’s what it does well and that’s what everyone expects. That is exactly what it does as well. It features all of your favorite players of the game and the rookies from the incoming draft. The checklist also features a couple of insert sets that are pretty sweet as well including the rookies like the Tall Boys and the 1957 replica cards. Very well put together set by Topps. (Don’t forget the refractors as well, but were there too many colors?)

Value:4 stars blue

I was able to grab my box for $80 during a Black Friday special at DA Card World, but you can now find it there for $113. The price keep continuing to rise with the hot play of the rookie in the product and the value of those different rookies autographs and paralleled cards. It really is a product that is full of value with the autographs and refractors. If it wasn’t for the refractor parallels, I would be going off on how high the price is for essentially one autograph, but these cards always hold value. These are really the best rookie cards to have on the season. I just give the product 4 stars in value as the autograph hit and refractors may not line up to be too good, sort of like my box, and especially at a price as high as the current price. And the inclusion of memorabilia cards, are they just an added hit? If so, that’s fine, but the autographs are what makes this product. At $80, it’s a great break. $113? Not so much. But that’s the market for you.

Overall:4 and half stars blue

Overall, 2012 Topps Chrome football is one of the best product of the football season once again, and possibly the best product for rookies and autographs that is easily available to the masses. The design once again is top notch, although the “camo” refractor would look alot nicer if it was a camoflauge like x-fractor. That’s just nit-picking though. I mean, the product is what we thought it was. IT IS WHAT WE THOUGHT IT WAS! That’s a good thing as the product has enough legs to keep the set up the same year after year. The value holds up, although the market has really played with it alot with everyone purchasing it. Topps, please don’t release more cases next year.

Check out the full checklist over at Cardboard Connection.

Check out the video, I recorded it awhile back when camera was down…

 

Review: 2012-13 Panini Prizm Basketball

2012-13 Panini Prizm is the newest product from the Panini basketball team that features a “chrome” like appearance with the shine and etching that makes a product exciting to go through. Prizm is the perfect name for the product and it looks to be a great new addition. Each box contains 2 autographs and contains some of the new Prizm parallels, or Prizmatics as I call them. Want to see what you can pull in a box? Well look no further.

Design: 4 and half stars blue

The design on this product is a design style that will last a long time for this product. The look of the etchings throughout the cards is something you normally only see in another specific product that is a bit similar. The same with the coating, although I much prefer this coating than that of the competitors. It doesn’t smell, it doesn’t warp the cards to bending (at least not yet) and it has a much smoother, almost glass like feel to them. The design is practically flawless. My only issue is that it is possibly TOO shiny or reflective. It’s really a spectacular level of reflectiveness on the product. But the “Prizms” as they call it, “Prizmatics” for myself, are beautiful all the way from the regulars to the golds. Bravo.

Checklist:4 and half stars blue

The checklist sort of surprised me. 300 total cards. With Panini coming out with their “staple” brand later this year, the one where you want to build the sets and everything, was this really necessary? I think this SHOULD be the flagship brand as it is that good and the set up is that good as well. A product featured with rookies, stars, and legends of the game. A little bit of everything for everyone. The autographed rookie checklist was interesting, and I would like to see more veteran autographs but the double rookie class probably put a damper on that. Either way, it’s what you want and what you’d expect.

Value:4 stars blue

The value is definitely there in this product. Could it be better? Absolutely. Right now you can find the product for $100 at DA Card World. Some of the highlights include some of the top rookie autographs, superstar autographs, and the “Prizmatic” cards. The parallels are selling quite well on the secondary market, especially the gold prizms. That raises a question though, why not more colors? Let’s use ROY G. BIV here and get all sorts of colors of parallels. Putting together a rainbow is always fun, but the lower numbered cards always add a bit of value. Imagine a gold prizm auto of Kyrie Irving…sweet right? Parallel the autographed cards more than just the regular parallel to 25. I would love to see some additions to the product that include some more color! It would break up that bit of monotony with just a lot of really silvery and shiny cards.

Overall:4 and half stars blue

Overall, Panini Prizm is going to be the breakout hit and maybe the basketball product of the year from the company. The design is beautifully done, and many argue better than that of it’s competitors. The checklist is expansive and good enough to build sets and the perfect number of inserts for a product this size. The parallels are a great addition to value, but I’d like to see a bit more in the veteran side, but the rookie class makes that difficult with “double rookies” from Panini. Either way though, I REALLY look forward to seeing this product next year.

Thanks to Panini for providing this product for review. You can find them online at their official site, blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Give them a shout.

You can find the full checklist over at Cardboard Connection.

Below is the video from the product break. Let me know what you think of the product. And make sure you subscribed on YouTube, I need more subscribers over there!

Preview: 2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball

Please join me in the Bowman prayer:

Our Topps,
Who art in NYC,
Baseball be thy name,
Thy prospects come,
Thy will be chrome,
In our box as it is in production.
Give us this day,
Our daily pack,
And forgive our anger,
As we forgive our busts.
And lead us not into scrubs,
But deliver us the superfractors.
And thy is the blue, red, and gold refractors forever,
Amen.

October 17th, 2012, is the day of the prospectors sabbath. It also happens to fall on my birthday. It’s the day that 2012 Bowman Chrome baseball is set to release, showcasing some of the best up and coming talent in the game. One of the most collectible sets for rookies of all time, it’s back with everything prospectors need to either make or break their banks.

Each box contains 18 packs per box with 4 cards per pack. You will also find 1 autograph per box with every third box containing an extra autograph. You will no longer find USA baseball autographs this year, but Topps has added a couple of cool additions.

My favorite addition is the Legends in the Making die-cut autographs, featuring some of the best young talent in the game with a sweet die-cut design and autograph. While the full checklist isn’t out, it’s rumored you may find Albert Pujols, Felix Hernandez, Yoenis Cespedes, and Buster Posey amongst others. I love the addition of some solid veteran autographs in a product, and while limited, I like the idea here.

You’ll also be able to find the return of Bowman Black autographs from other products and Future Game patches and patch autographs. Again, while limited, I really love these additions compared to the typical cards you get in the box.

Your typical box is again lots of colorful refractors and an autograph or two. The refractors really haven’t changed all that much, so you know what you are getting into with those. Each parallel is numbered lower than the next one going from standard refractors all the way down to superfractors. That formula hasn’t, and will probably never, change.

So get ready to take a day off from work and open your case or boxes of this product. I already have the day off since I do turn 27 years old, so hopefully I’ll be able to find a box somewhere to open at a price around $67.

You can find out more information about 2012 Bowman Chrome on Cardboard Connection.

And don’t forget, you can get Blue Wave refractors through wrapper redemption once again this year.

My First Auto Pull From Retail

Now I’ve been purchasing retail packs and blasters for a long time now. From back when I was little to even today, purchasing retail packs is the easy way to get your sports card fix when you just want to open some packs or work on a base set.

I’ve pulled numerous game used cards from blasters before. Most recently, I pulled a Cal Ripken Jr. bat card from Gypsy Queen. Some blasters even contain guaranteed game used cards now so that doesn’t make it too difficult. But I’ve never pulled an autograph from retail packs. Maybe it’s bad luck or everything I open seems to be pack searched.

But the other day I bought a rack pack of 2012 Topps Chrome on a whim. I like Chrome over the flagship set as it holds its value better, looks better, and the inserts are nicer. So I thought, let’s take a look and see what Chrome has to offer.

Then in one of my packs…

2012 Topps Chrome Ryan Lavarnway autograph. Not only is it my first autograph from retail, it’s the first time in a long time I’ve hit a Red Sox autograph that will go straight into my personal collection.

On a bonus note, Ryan Lavarnway used to play for the Manchester Silkworms in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. My brother also used to play for that team in the same league. I believe he played the year before Lavarnway though. Manchester, Connecticut, is right next to the towns that I used to live in growing up, so it’s nice seeing someone local, although he’s originally from California, make it to the big leagues and to the Red Sox.

It definitely makes it another reason why this should stay in my personal collection.

Topps Has Finally Changed Things Up with 2012 Chrome Baseball

Repeatedly, I am always down on Topps for their flagship Chrome products. Mainly because that’s all it is. Flagship with Chrome finishing. Personally, I don’t think that will ever change, but this year Topps has finally changed things up enough with 2012 Topps Chrome baseball to keep me interested in the product.

No black background, die-cut!

While I was unable to provide a preview before heading off to my honeymoon, I wanted to make sure I write something about a product that I usually don’t really care about. This year though, I wish I had done a preview before the product came out so I could discuss some of the changes that looked good.

My main gripe about Topps Chrome has always been the same. Same design, smelly chrome on top of it. Big whoop. And yeah, the base set is still the same design with chrome on top of it. But there are improvements in other areas that really caught my eyes. It’s kind of like Topps Chrome meets Topps Finest as far as the inserts go.

I’m a sucker for die-cuts, and 2012 Topps Chrome really showcases some neat designs with the die-cuts involved front and center. Whether it’s die-cut autographs or some sweet die-cut inserts, Topps has literally changed the landscape that they have done in the past with Topps Chrome inserts. In the past, it’s been nothing really new or striking. This is a big change.

Also included are buybacks for autographed Chrome cards for players that never had a Chrome rookie autograph card? Not a bad idea, but I could see that going over much better in Bowman Chrome or something like that where those are the rookie cards people really carry a lot of weight for.

Topps really had to fill a void because of the USA National Team being licensed by Panini now, but I really think that was a god send to Topps as it gave them a chance to be a little more creative and provide some cards that really make the set more exciting.