July 2011 Sports Card Releases

July 2011 is going to be busy with sports card releases. It seems like every sport is throwing a ton of product out in July. I’m not entirely sure why July is that month, but it’s going to be very interesting to see what collectors will be spending their money on and what they will be pushing aside. But rest assured, I am here to help you. Below will be a list of all releases in the month of July and their dates in every sport. I will also link to any previews I may have up and rate them from 1 to 10 on my excitement level. I’ll even include a price point. Sounds like a big undertaking? Well it is. But it’s going to be informative. Release dates are subject to change.*

BASEBALL

2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $110 – Excitement: 8/10

The Bryce Harper chase will continue with 2011 Bowman Platinum baseball. While a rookie autograph relic for Harper is not yet confirmed in the checklist, you know Topps is going to do everything in it’s power to get that card in this set, just like Strasburg from last year. You will be able to find plain rookie autographs though and that is enough to get the nod as a product to buy.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball – Release: July 13th, 2011 – Price: $90 – Excitement: 8/10

A fan favorite since it was brought back from the dead, Allen & Ginter will be out in July. With one of the better autograph checklists in recent years and a fun set to collect, everyone will continue to buy Ginter.

FOOTBALL

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $85 – Excitement: 7/10

While not traditionally one of the strongest releases of the football season, 2011 Rookies & Stars will have all your top draft players and a mix of veterans with jerseys, autographs, and patches. This will also have an insert set that pays homage to the old Donruss Studio brand as well which is pretty cool to me.

2011 Score Football – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $30 – Excitement: 6/10

The set for just about anyone is back. Mainly aimed at lower end set builders and those without the money to spend on cards, Score Football is back and will include all the top rookies and a few scattered autographs here and there. I am not a set builder so this rating is a little lower, but lower end flagship sets are definitely a need in this hobby and Score football supplies that.

2011 Topps Football – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $55 – Excitement: 7/10

Topps flagship football is here year after year with all your new rookies and players in their new uniforms. It may be harder to do without official workouts going on, but it will be out. A big set to put together and a ton of new Super Bowl themed inserts to keep it fresh, Topps is looking good as usual.

2011 Upper Deck NCAA Sweet Spot – Release: July 13th, 2011 – Price: $110 – Excitement: 7/10

Your premium one autograph a pack Upper Deck product is back with the newest draft picks and veterans all in their college glory. Usually a very hit or miss product, this is for those who love autographs and are looking to get a head start on the rookies for the upcoming season.

BASKETBALL

2010/11 Panini Gold Standard – Release: July 14th, 2011 – Price: $175 – Excitement: 9/10

This new product by Panini looks like it is going to be a hit amongst collectors. Just from looking at the number of Google searches coming into my site looking for information on Gold Standard is astounding. With real gold embedded into the cards and a great selection of autographs and memorabilia, this first time product looks like it may become a Panini staple.

2010/11 Panini Season Update – Release: July 20th, 2011 – Price: $65 – Excitement: 7/10

To wrap up the season in full, Panini Season Update is released at the end of the season and finishes with updates of trades, champions, and history making games of the season. Last year, this was the best value of the season with tons of extra hits and one can hope for the same this year.

2010/11 Panini Totally Certified – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $100 – Excitement: 8/10

The newly renamed Totally Certified will be coming out as well highlighting the best rookies and stars of the season. Tons of low numbered parallels and the debut of Panini HRX video trading cards, Panini Totally Certified should be near the top of your list for basketball products.

2010/11 Upper Deck All-Time Greats – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $285 – Excitement: 8/10

With a Jordan autograph every 6 boxes, it’s hard not to like this product. The checklist looks great for a 20 living legend checklist. Included will be deceased cut autographs as well. You want stars of the game today and the past, look no further. This should be a fun product to open.

HOCKEY

2010/11 Panini Dominion – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $375 – Excitement: 9/10

Panini’s debut high end hockey product of the season releases in July with great hits and already tons of buzz from the hockey community. Tons of great memorabilia hits and autographs of stars, rookies, and legends, this is a product that I would want most this July, but will only be able to afford if I find a job. Please let me find a job.

2010/11 Panini Zenith – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $85 – Excitement: 7/10

Panini debuts Zenith with their first Rip Cards and the largest rookie checklist of the year. Over 200 rookies for you to get your hands on in this product. Also find rookie autographs and veteran autographs as usual with some neat insert concepts.

2010/11 Upper Deck Ultimate – Release: July 20th, 2011 – Price: $90 – Excitement: 9/10

Upper Deck Ultimate hockey is the premium product that leads to The Cup in August. Great rookie and veterans autographs and usually awesome patches, this product is always a hit with hockey collectors. If I had the money it would be a tough decision to go with one box of Dominion or multiple Ultimate boxes. I’d have to find a way to do both.

That’s it for July. 13 products from four sports across the whole month and I didn’t even mention Upper Deck Goodwin Champions which will release July 5th, 2011 a week early at the end of June and covers a whole mess of sports. So make that 14 products over the course of one month. It will definitely be a busy month for collectors. Everything from a $30 box of Score football to a $375 box of Dominion hockey will be released.

But either way, all these products means a lot of fun for those who want to rip open some new product! May the mojo be with you this July!

Preview: 2011 Topps Inception Football

It may be the middle of the Major League Baseball season, but football products are coming out like hotcakes. Topps Inception football is just as the name implies. Topps is welcoming the top drafted rookies this year in their own focused product with Topps Inception. Chock full of rookies, if you’re a rookie collector or looking to try and prospect some football players before they take the field this year (hopefully) this product is for you.

This product is full of great things. I’ll start with the rookie autographs. Every rookie autographed card is hard signed. Topps has done a great job getting these done in this department. It shouldn’t be a selling point more than it should be a requirement for autographs, but Topps is making the necessary steps. There will be dual, triples, and quad autographs all on card. This is shaping up to be a monster rookie product. There is also a black version signed in silver ink which looks awesome.

The second great thing is the design. These cards look great. Sure, the jerseys on the players are photoshopped on, but the look of a very realistic painting looks really good. But the overall design of the cards makes that seem like a non-issue. The players look like they are coming out of the smoke from the tunnel for their first NFL game. Instead, they are coming out for their first high-end rookie trading cards.

The final great thing is the price. What would you pay for a rookie product with a ton of autographs, great looking design, and a ton of relics? You would need to know what you get per box. Each box comes with one pack. Inside each pack is 2 autographs, 1 relic card, 2 parallels, and 2 veteran base cards. Every card is numbered. Sounds like a lot of other products out there that cost $150+. Try $90 for this product. The lack of veteran and star autographs drives the price down to an affordable level to pick up some of the hottest rookies of this coming season. With all the low serial number possibilities, you can find some real value in this box.

The only thing I kind of don’t like about this product is the relics. Now you need to understand where I am coming from with this. Every relic is just event worn from the NFL Rookie Premiere. Worn for two seconds or worn in multiple layers, these are not game used. I don’t like event worn memorabilia. BUT! I understand the need for event worn memorabilia when there hasn’t been a game played yet. If you want to get products out before the season starts you need to use the event worn jerseys, I understand that. I just like my stuff game worn, it means more to me as a collector.

But I can’t complain about how they use these relics. Shields, jumbo relics, jumbo patches, letterman, laundry tags, autographed versions of all of those…great use of the memorabilia. They are really using every bit of the jersey for this product and for that we do thank you. So honestly, I can’t not like it that much. It’s more of a preference I guess.

Either way, this product is looking good. Right now the release date is set for August 10, 2011. It will definitely be a favorite of the rookie collectors out there and with more people getting into prospecting in football, it looks like it will do well. If you want star autographs or legend autographs, you will not find it in this product, however.

Here is one of those sweet silver signatures:

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.

Preview: 2011 Panini Elite Football

The NFL may not be able to get a product on the field yet this year, but Panini isn’t having any problems with their next release of NFL licensed football cards.

2011 Panini Elite football is set for release later this month with all the rookies and stars you need this season. Well so does Panini Rookies & Stars, but we haven’t gotten there yet. June 22, 2011 is the day to mark down for when you can find this product online.

5 cards per pack and 20 packs per box. 4 autographed or memorabilia cards per box with at least 1 being an autograph. I’ve noticed when Panini says this you can usually find 2 autographs, but they are being cautious. This seems to be the year of the insert for Panini, which I love by the way, so there will be a ton of inserts to get your hands on. Included is at least 4 rookies in your box too from some of the best rookies of this year’s draft class and they are all numbered to 999.

Now I love a lot of the designs of the cards in this set such as the Throwback Threads booklet, Down and Distance, and other inserts, but the rookies seem a little weird to me. They are designed horizontally. They use a big and wide photograph of the player in the center with “Rookie” down the side and kind of a plain background. You can see all 36 rookie cards from Panini Elite here. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the fact they are horizontal throws me off. Maybe they look better in person, sometimes scans don’t do cards justice.

That’s about the only thing amongst the whole product that I find odd. Otherwise check out these beauties as I mentioned above, Down and Distance and the Throwback Threads booklet cards:

I love both of those cards. The field design in the Down and Distance subset with the team logo in the field looks great and it’s just very pleasing to the eye. A cool idea would be to have the jersey piece cut out in the shape of a football on the field. Just a random idea that just came to my head as I was typing this.

Also looking good in this set is the Throwback Threads booklet. I love the throwback design where the jersey sits. These are probably my two favorite cards of the set.

I know people love rookies but the inserts in this set appear to be where it’s at. With great design and some great names in these subsets, their value should be great for the 2011 football season.

Find 2011 Panini Elite football on June 22, 2011 for around $90-$100 a box.

Celebrating Pat Tillman on this Memorial Day

By now we should all know who Pat Tillman was.

By now we should all know the story that brought Pat Tillman from fame and fortune in the NFL to his tragic death in Afghanistan in 2004.

Today being Memorial Day will bring that story once again to the sports media and will surely be on ESPN numerous times throughout the day. Pat Tillman is just one of 1598 Americans who have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and one of the 2495 total deaths including all the countries fighting along side us. And Pat Tillman was  just one of the millions who have died for our country.

But this is a sports card blog and Pat Tillman was an athlete as well as a soldier.

Pat Tillman’s cards still are being bought, sold, and traded for today. He only has 5 cards made from his rookie season in 2001 and those are the only 5 that were ever made. Pat Tillman cards are a rarity. While they aren’t worth much monetarily, to some they are worth much more than that.

Here is a list of Pat Tillman cards:

  • 2001 Fleer Tradition
  • 2001 Fleer Tradition Glossy
  • 2001 NFL Showdown
  • 2001 UD MVP
  • 2001 UD Rookie FX

In my opinion, the most valuable or the most inspirational of his cards should be his 2001 Fleer Tradition card. Have you seen this card before? I think the insert set name says it all.

Unsung Heroes.

In the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals, Pat Tillman was an Unsung Hero. But in the United States for the US Army Rangers, Pat Tillman was a hero to them all.

Remember to keep all those who have died for our country and along side us in your thoughts on this day.