Review: 2012 Panini Crown Royale Football

Panini Crown Royale football has come out again featuring some of the best die-cut and autographed patch cards of the year. With some new features that are sure to impress die-cut aficionados and autographs from one heck of a rookie class, this product is loaded with things collectors love most. Hits, die-cuts, and low numbered parallels. Want to see what we pulled in your typical box break? Here we go.

Design:4 stars blue

The design is classic and something that is changed so subtly, that you are going to miss any little tweaks they make to the product. I’ve always loved the die-cut designs so really there isn’t much to complain about there on this side. This year, I really like the look of the inserts and the lettering and other new designs they’ve used. They went away from some of the classics and really found some great looking cards like that Clay Matthews below. I also really like the die-cut jersey cards, keeping with that tradition. Oh, and you may have missed it last year, but the parallels weren’t numbered. A very fair complaint on my part about the product, and it was remedied this year with numbering. Thank you!

Checklist:4 stars blue

Every product this year can stand up to the checklist scrutiny because of the fantastic rookie class and their beautiful play on the field this year. That would drive sales for every product no matter what the sport. My only issue is, once again, there is too much rookie content. Again, I open a $100 box with four hits, and pull all rookie hit cards. I still find this to be unacceptable, especially when 85% of the products are like this. There will be ranting soon on this, trust me.

Value:4 stars blue

The hero of the product is obviously the rookie silhouettes. Ours was a redemption so we can’t show it off, but we’ll be definitely showing it off when it arrives because it is former Oregon Duck LaMichael James! Can’t wait to see that one. But the value of the product comes in with that great rookie class. If it wasn’t for that, this product would be far from that considering all the rookie hits you can pull from the product. This year’s rookies may carry the products, but next year it may not be so lucky.

Overall:4 stars blue

Overall, the product continues to keep the nostalgia alive while producing some beautiful signatures in the rookie silhouettes. Panini continues to innovate with new designs on the inserts, which are definitely at their peak this year then the past years of this product. But again, like many Panini products, content seems to be lacking. Too many rookies, not enough veterans. Again, this year is fine with all that top rookie talent. Next year there needs to be a shift due to the lesser rookie class, or there will be unhappy collectors. All products across the board need more veteran content. We can only wait and see.

A big thanks goes out to Panini America for providing this product for us to review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Some of the best social media people on the planet.

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

For a video box break, make sure you subscribe to us over on YouTube.

But for your viewing pleasure, here are some of the cards we pulled. (Not pictured: LaMichael James Rookie Silhouettes Patch/Auto Redemption)

Review: 2012 Panini Rookies & Stars Football

A product that I didn’t get a chance to preview, 2012 Rookies & Stars is a product that’s been coming out for years that features just as the product states, Rookies & Stars. The product features at least 2 autographs per box with 4 hits total. It also features a rookie card per pack and a bunch of numbered inserts and some parallels. The box itself boasts “find rookie material signatures featuring autographs and oversized swatches of event worn jerseys from the 35 rookies who participated in the 2012 NFLPA rookie premiere!” At 8 cards per pack and 24 packs per box, you get a ton of cards in the box. How about we see what we found in our box?





I have a love-hate relationship with the design of this product, but ultimately, my better side won the argument on whether I liked the design or really didn’t care for it. When I opened the product, the first thing I thought of was this product reminds me of the 2011 Threads design from last year. The top of the card features a stripe of the team colors, sort of like Threads from last year which featured the team colors on the side. Every time I looked at the stripe I thought of last year’s product, which kind of bothered me a bit. But the bottom half of the card looks great with a great use of foil on the letters and a cleaner design. There are some fantastic inserts as well like the die-cut pennants, Crusade and Greatest Hits insert set. Again, inserts like Statistical Standouts looks like it came from Prestige this year or Contenders last year. This product feels like it’s elements are just taken from other products which kind of annoys me. But in all, it’s not a terrible looking product at all and I actually like most of it.


This year, I make the same point as I made last year. This product should be called Panini Rookies. Just take out the “Stars” part of it. I received my four hits with all but the one jersey card being rookie autographs. This product seems to be filled with more rookies than anything else, and I like more of a mix of rookies and veterans, especially when this product’s title also mentions stars. I was lucky enough to receive 3 autographs in my box with product guaranteeing at least two. That’s great and all, but I would think if you were to hit 3 autographs at least one would be a veteran. Here’s a recommendation for the product, if you’re lucky enough to receive a 3 autograph box, have at least one of them be a veteran. Just saying. I’m usually critical of the rookie per pack thing, but in a product that has “rookies” in it’s name, I can accept that.


The breakdown of four hits for around $100 isn’t so bad. As I stated above in the checklist area, I’d love to have the extra third autograph in the 3 auto boxes to be a veteran autograph. Rookies come and rookies go, sure one of these could be worth a lot one day, but having the majority of your hits being rookies makes you feel like you aren’t getting anything bad. Unless of course it’s a top rookie, but those are harder to come by in general. A veteran autograph would really even things out a little bit here. Most of the inserts aren’t numbered either and I think that effects value a bit as well, but it’s not something huge. There are some sweet patch autographs in this product which should add some great value for some of the upper tier rookies, but I wasn’t lucky enough to pull them. Trying to find value in sports cards is usually a gamble, so I’m sure there are much better boxes out there than this one.


Overall, it’s an average to very slightly above average product based on those factors. The design is solid, but it brings back too many memories of products from last season. Some may call that a bit lazy or uncreative, but there are inserts and elements I really do like. The checklist is generally solid as usual, but the product feels like it’s more rookie centered than a “Rookies & Stars” as the product describes itself. The value is a bit lower because of the large rookie population of cards, and although we didn’t hit a big rookie, getting 3 rookie autographs is a bit of a letdown. It would of been nice to have that bonus autograph be a veteran autograph to really showcase the “Stars” in the set. You can’t just have the only focus of the Stars in the product be in the plain jane inserts and plain jersey cards. I’d like to see more Stars content in this Rookie focused product.

As always, a big thanks goes out to Panini America for providing this box for review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Twitter, or Facebook pages.

And here’s what may be in the typical box…

(Not shown: Rookie Material Autographs Dwayne Allen)

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.