Preview: 2011 Upper Deck World of Sports

Upper Deck is trying again with their World of Sports brand after a dismal attempt last time around. Many hobby blogs and collectors around the internet slammed this product for the lack of quality that it brought to the table. I know I wasn’t the only one who gave last year a bad review. But I’m willing to give Upper Deck a clean slate to try again since I thought it was that bad.

Not only is the design better this season, the autograph checklist looks better as well. This is still a monster of a product to put together with 100 SPs and 300 cards, but the overall better looking quality and somewhat better checklist makes it better to me.

Each box will yield 3 autographs/game used from some of the top names in sports including Upper Deck exclusives Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Wayne Gretzky, and Landon Donovan. Some of these will be featured on dual, triple, and quad autographs as well!

There will also be one SPx Shadowbox card inserted one per case as a nice little chase element.

Each box will contain 20 packs with 6 cards per pack. All I ask is a better checklist this season with athletes I actually know. I know a lot about sports and alot of sports and I still had trouble naming some of the people in the last product. A better checklist this season will help immensely.

This product will hit your local store on October 11, 2011 for around $75 a box.

Review: 2010-11 Panini Season Update Basketball

Panini Season Update is back this year with all the updates from the past NBA season. This is one of those end of the season products that features a ton of players with a huge base set, all the highlights of the season, and of course a few game used memorabilia cards and autographs. Last year, this was a favorite product amongst collectors because of the amount of hits you would receive for such a low box price and this year appears to be the same.

2010-11 Panini Season Update basketball features a 200 card base set with a subset for All-Stars and Rookie Challenge participants. You can find a ton of different autographs and game used memorabilia cards from just about every subset in this box. It guarantees at least one autograph and a few game used memorabilia cards.

Base:

Inserts:

Autographs/Game Used:

Design:

The design is extremely basic, but this is a lower end product. There is nothing eye popping or jaw dropping about it. The player is featured in an action shot with the top right corner and side blocked off for some team colors and a team logo. I think anytime you can incorporate team colors into the color scheme of the design, that is a great thing. It gives a nice variation and change of colors throughout the cards and it’s welcomed by me in any set I open to break up the monotony. The only thing I really don’t like about this design is the way the player name and brand logo is kind of stamped on there with a black ink. At times it is not very clear and sometimes looks damaged because of the rollers after printing. Basic design, but works well.

Checklist:

Basically, the checklist breaks down to this. Was the player a starter? Was the player a rookie? If you could answer either of these questions with a yes, then that player is featured somewhere in this set. The perfect set for team collectors, set builders, or hard to find player collectors, this is that. I pulled probably at least 5 of every team in the base set and then even more in the subsets including a few rookie autographs and some game used memorabilia of veterans. Overall, a wide and expansive checklist covering 90% of the players in the league. This was close to being 5 stars, but there is absolutely zero hall of famer presence. I’d like maybe a couple of hall of famer cards inserted at the end of the set. No more than 10 would be great for this set.

Value:

You can’t beat the value for the price you are getting. At least one autograph and 3 game used relics with 240 cards per hobby box this is great for just about every type of collector out there. Some boxes will contain more as well in terms of hits, just like last year, and that is always welcomed when a lot of products sometimes come shorted. It will be hard to pull something worth big money, but the number of pulls and nice autographs that can come out of here makes it worth buying a box. I finished 249/250 of the base set with probably 15 doubles. Jose Calderon is hiding from me somewhere, but honestly, just put that last card in the box Panini. Even if they are missing 1 card from the set, no one will buy another box for just that one card. Oh, I love the added touch of a low numbered parallel per box, no die-cut like Panini flagship though?

Overall:

Overall, this is a fun break with a ton of packs and cards. The design is what you’d expect from a lower end product, nothing flashy but just solid all around. The checklist is large at 200 base cards plus a ton of subsets to collect so it is great for set collectors as it isn’t too hard to complete. The value is good as the product is priced pretty low and you get more than a few hits, even if they may not be worth a large amount. This product is great for first time collectors, set builders, and those looking for a fun break of licensed NBA trading cards.

Again, I’d like to thank Panini America for their sponsoring of this box of cards for me to review.

I will combining a bunch of inserts and game used from both Panini Gold Standard and this set in one contest that will be posted in a day or so. Since I’m keeping the big hit from Gold Standard for my personal collection for now, I’m combining these two so the winner will get a bigger package. But that will be later.

And finally, the video is here. Had to cut out the ending statements, so it ends kind of abruptly. Stupid 15 minute limit.

Review: 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

The Gold Standard has arrived by Panini. This product is one of those single pack products that tries to bring the boom with every hit. Not only are there great possibilities for autographs in this product, you can pull cards either with a piece of gold embedded into them or pull a card made entirely of gold itself. This product redefines value in terms of adding actual gold to cards. I think it’s a cool idea, which is why I was excited to receive a box in the mail to review for you guys.

2011 Panini Gold Standard basketball is one pack with 12 cards per pack. The first thing I noticed was how amazing the packaging is. If I could give a rating for design of packaging, that would be 5 stars. It looks like a gold bar. Nothing denotes a product based on gold then having gold bar packaging! Let’s get to the goods from what I pulled.

Base:

Inserts:

Autographs/Memorabilia:

Design:

Some of you may like the design and others will hate it. I love it and think it looks great. I think you may only hate it if you haven’t held the cards live in your hands as they look great in person. The inserts look just as good as the base and I enjoyed all the gold themed inserts. The Gold Record is solid but I love the gold insert with the team ring up top in the corner and the year the player won the title. Finally, I actually like the use of sticker autographs in this product. I like how they used a gold background to give it that gold look and may even look best that way. The only thing I don’t like is the manufactured patches in this high end of a product. Meh.

Checklist:

The checklist is solid all around. You can pull anyone from some of the top rookies to Kobe Bryant and even some great Hall of Famers like I did. David Robinson! There are always a few duds mixed in there but I think overall you have a better chance at pulling something decent then you do not pulling something decent. Rookies, veterans, hall of famers, very good retired players…overall there is something for everyone in this product in all the insert sets. No complaints here as there are a ton of different hits for each player.

Value:

In my opinion, there are a couple of things that really hurt the value of this product. One being manufactured patches. Why would you put manufactured patches like that in a high end product like this? Sure they are gold threaded, but it’s just not the place to be putting those types of cards. Again, take the autograph off the cloth and I would like them a lot more and find more value in them. Secondly, plain game used cards. I received two plain game used cards. I believe in a product that is priced this high you have to guarantee at least one patch. Patches are the standard nowadays when it comes to higher priced products so this just needs to be guaranteed here. I don’t mind one regular swatch, but make one a patch.

Overall:

Some of you are going to completely hate me for my overall grade and some are going to agree with me. That’s only the nature of the beast with this product. If my camera wouldn’t have died taking photographs at the 3 on 3 Portland Trailblazers Street Jam, I would of showed you some of the reactions from people around the area whom I showed the cards to. Most were very impressed and some of the kids who were watching from a distance while I was taping were impressed too. I told them to meet up with me tomorrow and I’d give them some cards. I’m a nice guy. But am I being too nice with my review here? I really don’t think so. Despite the couple of things I didn’t like, I really found this to be a great and fun product to break.

As for the contest to win some cards here, I am going to combine it with my next review and have a super big contest for a bunch of cards. Stay tuned for how to win that!

This video was live from the 1977 NBA Champion Portland Trailblazers court assembled outside the “glass palace” known as the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. Have fun.

Preview: 2011 Panini Certified Football

2011 Panini Certified football is back with all the rookie and veteran goodness that makes it one of the favorite products of the early to mid season year in and year out. This year’s improvements look to make 2010 look like child’s play in comparison as Panini has been stepping up their game across the board doing their best to bring collectors closer to their favorite rookies with on-card hard signed autographs.

All 36 Rookie Premiere invitees lend their John Hancock directly onto the Freshmen Fabric set this year making this a first in Panini Certified history. Nothing like the beauty of a fresh, clean, on card autograph.

Each box will feature 10 packs again this year with a total of 4 autographs or memorabilia cards with at least 1 of them being an autograph. You will also find one parallel numbered to 250 or less, two rookies numbered to 999 or less, and two additional inserts, rookies, or parallels.

Besides the rookies you will find the usual veterans of the game plus some retired legends autographs like Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, and Joe Namath. Now those are some huge names signing for Certified this year and should bring some premium elements to this mid ranged product.

There will also be Platinum hot boxes inserted which every base card is replaced with a limited parallel. I love me some hot boxes and just knowing there are going to be some makes me excited for the possibilities when opening my box. Could it be a hot box? What great cards could I pull?

There is no announced release date yet, but last year this was released in November so I’m going to guess it’s around the same time frame. I’ll let you know more when more information is available.

Until then, check out some of the cards from the latest Panini Peek of 2011 Panini Certified Football.

Review: 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified Basketball

Now, I don’t know what makes this “totally” certified compared to just regular certified, but this year’s product looks pretty good compared to years past. 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball is back yet again with great improvements from last year as well as some new additions, mainly the reveal of Panini HRX video trading card technology. While these are extremely hard to pull, they are some of the best looking and include the first autographed video trading cards to hit the market.

While our box did not contain such awesomeness, we were able to see what really make 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball stand out this year and that is the color, some on card autographs, and some nice looking game used pieces. Want to see what we got? The video provides some information, but when I started I thought the camera was runing, but it wasn’t. So I was halfway through when I noticed it, but reviewed the cards pulled. But look no further than below:

Base:

Parallels:

Game Used:

Autographs:

Design:

Actually, I really enjoy the design. I’m usually not huge on foil board type designs unless it is done really well, but I believe this is actually done really well. The starburst effect in the background looks great on the base cards, I just don’t understand the need for the abstract lines in the back. I see that the effect changes when the line is there, but couldn’t you do it without the abstract lines? The lower ones look out of place, but I wouldn’t mind just the triangle design. I’m not sure what they did with the finish on these cards but it feels pretty cool. It feels kind of grainy in the foil area but the player actually is raised up on the card and gives it a cool depth feeling.

Checklist:

While I can’t find a list of the veterans who actually signed in this product, the overall checklist is actually very solid. There are 35 different rookie autographs to pull including the top picks in the draft which is not an over kill like other sports. The base set is kind of big for being limited, but the 150 cards presents a challenge to set builders and player collectors if you want all the parallels. The Certified Potential autographs list is great and the names on the game used jerseys is very good. Don’t forget about the HRX video trading cards! Making them hard to pull was a great strategy and keeping them limited in the future is something I would recommend.

Value:

Honestly, I wasn’t sure whether to give this a 3 or a 4. As I say, I always round this to the nearest whole number, so we’ll just say it’s around 3.6. The hit per pack thing is great and it has it’s place in the hobby. But a box of this product is nearly $100 right now. I ended up with nearly 1/10th of the base set, 6 or 7 parallels, and 6 “hits”. I would like to see just a little more content in these packs. The hits can stay as they were solid, the insert per pack is good enough for me, but maybe add in another base card or two. It would take at least 10 boxes to build a full base set and that is being generous. The names on the hits are solid which is nice compared to other Panini products with sometimes too many retired players. Just add another base card or two and I’d be very happy.

Overall:

Overall 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball gets 4s across the board from me. The design is very nice with a few odd things here and there but it really is something to see for yourself in your hands. The foil board looks great and the jerseys are done well. Just the autograph space on the rookie autographs looks a bit small but the nice big jersey piece is there too. Gotta take the bad with the good there. The checklist is solid overall and not killing you with retired players. The HRX makes it’s long awaited debut and even though I did not pull one, they look great. Finally, value wise I would like to see maybe another card or two added to the pack. Maybe it’s just me on that one and maybe I’m over reacting a bit. But it’s still not bad.

Now you get to see my ugly mug do a horrible job at opening it on video. It’s such a bad video, I forgot to press play or something when I started. So it’s a review of the half the box I had opened plus me opening the second half of the box, oops, sorry.

Now as for the contest part, I have in my hands the Brandon Roy Totally Blue insert numbered to 299. The winner of this contest will be the person closest to guessing the serial number without going over, Price is Right style. Please also include at least one thought on the product in which I reviewed. The winner will receive the Danny Granger jersey and the Dejuan Blair jersey. Good luck!

A big thanks again goes out to Panini America for providing this box for me to review.