Review: 2012-13 Panini Preferred Basketball

The NBA Playoffs are here which means the close of the NBA season is approaching. That also means  we are shifting into more of the high end basketball products from Panini sure to make the season even more memorable. Panini Preferred is out again this year, bringing it’s high end mark with “just the hits”. Does it stack up compared to last year? Let’s see what the product brings this year…

Design: 4 and half stars blue

 This design does not have any central theme. It also changed extremely little from the last installment of the product. But it continues to work for a couple reasons. The first is there isn’t a saturation of that design in the product. When you see the same cards over and over again in a product, you don’t want to see the same design next year. It also works because these designs are tweaked very lightly. It isn’t the same exact card, except for maybe Panini’s Choice, but there are small enough changes to keep it interesting. Small tweaks every year in a product like this may be what this product is known for, and I don’t really mind that.

Checklist: 4 stars blue

 The checklist this year is not nearly as good as last time the product came out. The last product was low on rookies because of the restraints and also higher on veterans and retired players. This one had the double rookie class so you knew you were going to get more than one rookie autograph in the product. That said, the names in the booklets are always solid and continuing with a strictly veteran subset is a nice touch. I think it can even out more next year without alll the rookies you need to pack into the product.

Value:

3 and half stars blue  

Right now this product is sitting at $190 over at DA Card World. Because of the abundance of rookies this year in the product, I think it is sitting a little too high for a four hit product. It is a high risk/high reward product. Many people are opposed to product this expensive for no base cards, and I disagree with that. How much are base cards worth anyway on the secondary market? One of the benefits this year was every card, except the booklet, was numbered very low. Like 25 and under low. That was a good thing for my particular box, including the awesome patch autograph. While it may not be a top star, that card would bring in some good money because of the quality of the patch.

Overall: 4 stars blue

 Overall the product took a small step back after the last installment because of the checklist. The double rookie class has taken away from a bit of the content in many products this season if you aren’t totally into just rookie autographs. With that in mind, the designs, while not themed, are still great to look at. The value is mostly dependant on the checklist and what you pull in the box. This is a high risk/high reward product. I think my box would be about average for the product. The low print runs help a bit, but I’ll be happy when the double rookie class thing is done. Then I get to look forward to all the rookie autographs in hockey…

Thanks again to Panini America for providing this box to review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

You can find the checklist of this product over at Cardboard Connection.

Subscribe to us on YouTube and see the video break of this product.

And here’s what we pulled…

Bad Sunday for My Teams

This Sunday was just a bad overall Sunday for my teams.

My Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field for the first NFL game this season and proceeded to get beaten by the Detroit Lions. The last time these two teams played in Tampa last season, the Lions won as well, all but assuring the Buccaneers wouldn’t make the playoffs. I’ve had a lot of questions whether the Bucs defense would be able to step it up without Barrett Ruud in the middle. Matthew Stafford did have a great game and the Lions defense really contained the run causing the Bucs not to run much with LeGarrette Blount who ran for over 1000 yards in 13 games last season.

At least Mike Williams and Josh Freeman still have great chemistry. I was able to snag this today on CheckOutMyCards for just 85 cents. I love how shiny the card is and I love die-cuts so this was a perfect addition to my collection. (And he helped me in my Battle of the Bloggers Fantasy Football League)

Moving on to my other favorite team today, the Boston Red Sox lost another game to the Rays with their ace Jon Lester on the mound. It seems the Rays have the Red Sox number this year going 9-5 so far against the Sox and that doesn’t make me very happy. The Red Sox are a dreadful 2-8 in their last 10 and Tim Wakefield hopes to finally win game number 200 after an off day on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.

I notice when Adrian Gonzalez isn’t hitting, the Red Sox aren’t winning. So I picked up this Adrian Gonzalez card off CheckOutMyCards today for 30 cents in hopes that it might turn things around. Again, a nice, shiny card to add to my collection. I love all the shiny cards Topps has put out this year in baseball so I’ve been trying to get my hands on all the shiny Red Sox cards I can. Plus I have 3 Diamond Die-Cut Red Sox cards (Beckett, Youkilis, Buchholz) coming in the mail tomorrow, I hope.

So this Sunday was a bad day for my sports teams but a good day for picking up cards from my sports teams.

Just a friendly reminder, make sure to stay tuned to the blog this week as I will be revealing the season long NFL contest along with the fabulous prizes I have to give away to you guys who read this site. It should be awesome, so make sure you tell all of your friends to stop by this week a few times. Or don’t, that way you have a better chance to win the awesome stuff I will be giving away.

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Certified Hockey

I was just waking up when I got an email from my subscription to the Panini America blog. The newest post from Panini was something that I did not expect to see one bit, it’s time to get ready for some 2011-12 Panini Certified hockey with previews and images already coming out. Is it hockey season already? It seems like yesterday the Boston Bruins took down the Vancouver Canucks for the Stanley Cup title. The 2010-11 Panini hockey season hasn’t ended yet with 2010-11 Panini Dominion now set to release September 14, 2011, thanks to the NHLPA forcing the release to be later.

Now I enjoyed last year’s product. I didn’t have an official review because I opened the product about 1-2 months before I started this blog and didn’t write a review about it anywhere since I opened up in the middle of Canada while supporting my favorite sports card shop up in Edmonton. Actually, I was even shorted a hit and I still enjoyed the break. For the record, Panini did a great job replacing my missing hit.

This year’s product is an improvement off an already solid product last year. Returning are some of the great hits from last season like the Fabric of the Game inserts, more rookies, new inserts to the product, and the always popular Freshmen Signatures with new die-cut designs similar to 2010-11 Totally Certified basketball.

One very cool addition this year is the Soft Hands insert which feature pieces of game worn gloves from the players. Having played a little hockey myself, I really hope those gloves are washed a little bit. There is not a more disgusting smell then hockey gloves. But hey, some may like these possibly scented pieces of memorabilia.

(SCB Note: Per Clint at Panini, the game used glove set has been canned because of what appears to be acquisition problems. They will be using stick cards as replacements.)

You can find this product hitting shelves in November 2011 with probably a similar price range as last year.

You need to check out this Panini Peek of 2011 Certified hockey for more information and pictures!

Want to see some recent autographed arrivals?

How about some finished product from the QC department?

Preview: 2011 Panini Crown Royale Football

Panini revived Crown Royale with a bang last season. While I personally didn’t open up any of the football, I did get a chance to open their hockey product. While I scored no big hits, I knew it was something special when I saw a glimpse of the first cards and they were amazing. As a matter of fact, money willing, I may do a little time machine review of 2010 Crown Royale football. Anyway, Panini is bringing Crown Royale back for a second revival season and it looks just as good, if not better, than the last.

The highlight of the product, Rookie Silhouettes, has returned and looks just as good as ever. If you aren’t familiar, these are very short printed cards with a jumbo patch embedded into the card and the photo of the player going over the patch. Also on the card this year is hard signed autographs from all 36 NFL Premiere invitees. Check out this Julio Jones and tell me you don’t like it, because you can’t. You love it.

Now this product isn’t exactly for everyone. It’s 4 packs per box with a hit per pack and usually costs around $100 bills. But with great value in store this year, it will definitely be worthy of your money. You’ll get 4 hits, at least one autograph per box. The pieces of memorabilia are larger this year so that is a great addition along with more hard signed autographs.

You’ll find 4 rookies per box with 1 being numbered to 100 or less. You’ll also find 7 inserts per box as well, giving you some new designs and nice looking numbered cards to chase of your favorite team or players.

But included are also autographs from some of the game’s top players like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers and some living legends like Jack Lambert. I know there is more but the checklist has yet to debut.

I also know this product releases on October 5, 2011, and will most likely be around that $100 price point for a box of 4 packs. But from what we are seeing so far, it will definitely be worth it.

You want to see more images and get a little more information? Click here to visit the Crown Royal World Premiere post by Panini.

See the first box busted on Panini’s blog!

Preview: 2011 Topps Chrome Football

2011 Topps Chrome football looks to be the best Topps Chrome product to come out in years in any sport. With newly minted inserts, solid on-card rookie autographs, and sleek design, this Topps Chrome should set the mark for future Topps products in the future. There will be some sticker autograph in this product though, but I’m sure it is impossible to get everyone on card.

As collectors, we love hard-signed content and Topps has been doing their best to get as much on-card goodness as they can and they have been doing a great job listening to the collectors. On-card Cam Newton, AJ Green, Mark Ingram…the list for the season goes on and Topps has it all in that regard. Then add in all of Topps’ famous refractors and it’s a rookie autograph party. Included this year is a new red and crystal atomic refractor for these autograph. Nothing brings nostalgia like an atomic refractor in your pack of cards.

But where Topps Chrome really shines this year is their insert sets. I admit, I love inserts. Nothing breaks up the monotony of pulling base after base then solid insert cards. Personally, I wish I could have one every pack. This year Topps breaks up that monotony in a number of ways. The best part is that there is an autographed version to every insert subset. A limited edition Bowman Chrome will be inserted along with a Rookie Recognition set. But my favorite is the different die-cut inserts you can pull. Superlative Rookies and Finest Freshman are both very nice looking cards and die-cut into nice shapes. Maybe I’m a little old-school with my inserts, but there is nothing wrong with that.

The only problem I see with this product is that I don’t see any information on veteran autographs. I know Topps Chrome is known for their rookie autographs and it’s a great rookie product but I like pulling veterans too. It would add a little bit of value to a very hit or miss product. You either hit a top rookie or you don’t. That’s really what it comes down to in the end. I’d just like to see a little more autographed content.

More information to come soon on release and price, but for now we’ll assume it’s around the same price and time as last year.

For now I leave you with some die-cut goodness.