Preview: 2010-11 Panini Zenith Hockey

Dear hockey collectors,

Do you love rookie cards? Of course you do, especially with this season’s rookie crop. This is the best rookie crop since 2005-06 with the first draft after the lockout. Well 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey will bring you 200 different rookie cards for this season. Every rookie that took the NHL ice and every backup goalie that sat on the bench will most likely be in this product. That is a lot of rookies.

Your box of Zenith hockey will have 10 packs and 5 cards per pack. You are going to need a TON of boxes if you want to hand collate the entire set. The one really cool feature about this box is the Dare to Rip box topper. I’ve been saying for years that every box of cards should come with some sort of box topper. Box toppers are awesome and companies can really let their creativity flow with the types of cards in there. Well the Dare to Rip is just that. The Dare to Rip box topper can be a regular base card OR an exclusive signed rookie from any Panini product like the unreleased National Treasures or Elite hockey. Personally, I love rip cards as it brings a whole new dimension to opening boxes. You have a decision to make. You could keep it as a collectible if you like what’s on the card, which you will as it’s a rookie or a legend, or you can sell it. But you could also rip it and get something good or just another base card. All I hope for is Panini has taken the steps to avoid some way to determine if there is an autograph in the pack or not.

Panini has been making this the year of the inserts and it continues here with more inserts and parallels. I love inserts so I’m not complaining and I’ve always enjoyed the Zenith inserts. The Red Hot and White Hot parallels look great as always with a shiny, fiery background. In 2005 Zenith baseball I pulled a Ted Williams White Hot and it looks awesome. The same technology to make those is still in use for this set it appears. You will also find 4 short print legends, 1 Crease is the Word insert, 1 Gifted Grinders insert, and 1 Z-RC.

Finally, everyone loves the hits. You will find 3 autographs or memorabilia cards per box with at least 1 being an autograph. One of the coolest autograph hits is the Yours Truly subset with the player on the card and Yours Truly written in beautiful lettering above where the star player signs. It’s a neat idea to bring to the table for autographed cards. A case break seems to contain 4 Yours Truly and 5 autographed rookies which makes me think the 1 autograph will be for most boxes. A great thing about this product is there will be SP rookie autographs of the top rookies numbered to just 199 which should keep them very collectible.

Overall, this looks like a great product for hockey prospectors and rookie collectors as well as if you want to have some fun with the Dare to Rip cards or try pulling one of those nice looking Yours Truly autographs. 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey releases around July 6th, 2011, with a price tag around $85 for a box.

Yours Truly,

Alexander Ovechkin

PS: To hold you over here is some images from the Panini Peek of Zenith hockey.

(SCB Note: PSS: Need the 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey checklist? Or how about some good ol’ fashioned 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey box ripping?)

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: 2011-12 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey

Upper Deck Artifacts hockey is the first hockey product of the new season. Featuring all your stars of the previous seasons and some of your newest rookies, Artifacts is what hockey collectors get excited for, it means hockey season is right around the corner.

This year’s rookie that everyone will want to get their hands on is Cody Hodgson of the Vancouver Canucks. Upper Deck has that covered in 2011-12 Artifacts. A box of Artifacts this time around will contain at least 3 multi-swatch memorabilia cards. At least one of them will be a dual/triple player card. One of the new memorabilia cards in Artifacts this year is a fight strap card containing the fight strap of a player’s jersey. Also, finally, making it into products more often is pieces of a game used stick. It seems that stick cards have only been reserved for the higher end of all brands but it’s nice to see them a little more often. Returning is the great patches from last year, so don’t forget about those.

The box will also contain 2 rookie cards and 1 rookie redemption. Yes, you hear the word redemption and you think of terrible things. But with the NHL rules on rookie cards, they must step foot on the ice, it gives the company a chance to get more rookies out with their initial product. Again, it might take awhile, but the rookies will be made and they will show up in your mailbox.

Finally, as far as hits go, there will be one autographed card inserted in a box. This year though, they have added some autographed memorabilia hits to the foray so it adds a little bit of value to the possible hits.

The base set will be 100 cards and you will find one base parallel numbered to 100 per box. There will also be two Legends or Stars insert sets included as well.

At 4 cards per pack and 10 packs per box it will take a few boxes to complete a set.

I have to say that the design hasn’t changed much from the past couple of years so if you’re looking for something different then it’s not going to come. The Auto-facts design for autographed cards look a little sharper this year, so I’m impressed with that. But one thing I would like to see is to incorporate some of the designs from UD Ice into this product. A lot of their Artifacts designs have some sort of wintery feel to them and I think the acetate designs from Ice would make a great insert or memorabilia set inside Artifacts. Just an idea.

This product is set to release in September and although I don’t have a price for it, I can expect it to be about the same price as last year, around $80 to $90.

Review: 2010-11 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey

I am posting this 1 minute before the supposed end of the world. That way, when I’m raptored, eaten by a raptor, my work will live on. Especially the awesome beginning to video break.

Anyway, 2010-11 SP Authentic hockey brings you the clean, slick, design Upper Deck brings year after year to the SP Authentic series. This year’s rookie crop in hockey is the best since 2005-06 so the fun in this break could be endless. Each box has 24 packs per box with 6 cards per back. You are guaranteed at least 3 autographs, with at least 1 being a Future Watch autograph. Some autographs may be accompanied by a patch. You can pull rookies, veterans, or legends. As always, SP Authentic is a fun product to break and here’s the results.

Base:

Inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

Honestly, although the design is crisp and clean as I mentioned earlier, the more I look at it, the more it bores me. The white background and just a sliver on the side with the player’s name isn’t enough for me. I want to see something that I can’t do in PhotoShop. The Holo FX looks great. The colors correspond with the player’s team and it looks awesome when triggering the hologram. The SP Essentials is essentially black and white with some ice blue. Sure there is a little head on the open part of the card but you can barely see it, it looks like just a wide open space. Maybe that’s it with this set, too much wide open spaces. It’s good for the autographs but if there isn’t an autograph it’s boring. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve seen SP Authentic sets in the past do better and I was expecting something along those lines.

Checklist:

You can’t beat the checklist. Do you want the best rookies or just some rookies from your favorite team? Got it. Do you want you favorite players or just some regular players from your favorite team? Got those too. Do you want legends like Gretzky, Orr, and Howe? Got it. Patches and autographs of all of the above? Got all of that. What more could you possibly want from a checklist? Upper Deck has the best exclusives which makes their checklists amazing and filled with future, current, and past stars. You just can’t beat that.

Value:

The box goes for around $90 right now. For 3 or 4 autos that isn’t a bad price. Especially when you can pull a Gretzky, Crosby, Ovechkin, or any of the fabulous rookies this year. I would of given this 5 stars if it weren’t for some of the filler autos. Some of the autographs make me shake my head, but in the end someone will want them somewhere. Plus I gave the checklist a perfect score so I shouldn’t be complaining. SP Authentic is always the best place to find rookie autographs at a reasonable price in which the cards maintain their value. That’s the best part about this set. You get value almost every time you open a box.

Overall:

Imagine where this product would of been if the design was amazing? That’s the only thing really holding this back from getting an overall 5 stars. The design is lacking this time around. Yes it’s crisp and clean and really features the player but the plain white background isn’t enough for me. The checklist is amazing as Upper Deck has the best exclusives so you can’t go wrong at all with what you could possibly hit, and I’ve seen some amazing ones. Value is always top notch as it is the best product for rookie cards season in and season out. I’m disappointed I couldn’t give a perfect score, but I guess there is always next year.

And here is the box break video with an EPIC opening scene. I really enjoyed creating this one so I hope you like it:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=507Ox506NSI]

Review: 2010-11 Panini Contenders Hockey

2010-11 Panini Contenders, after delay, is finally here.

2010-11 Panini Contenders hockey marks the first time that Contenders has ventured over into the hockey area. Overall, I would call it a success. With every rookie autograph signed on-card, this is going to be Panini’s best product for rookie autographs for years to come.

Panini Contenders comes with 4 autographs in a hobby box, at least 3 of them are those hard signed rookie autographs. There is no game used relics in this product as it is strictly an autograph only product, which I enjoy. Game used relics have become too common in this hobby. A lot of people like to see some, especially patches, but I don’t think this product would be any better with game used relics. It’s great the way it is.

Base:

Some of the cool inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

The base design of this set is fabulous. As I stated in my review video, I love the ticket design on base cards. It’s nothing revolutionary by no means and has been used by several companies for years. But it looks clean and it works. Another great aspect is the room for on card autographs. On card autographs are the way to go with the rookie autographs and I would like to have seen the whole set as on card autographs but this is a step in the right direction. I’m not a huge fan of the foilboard insert sets (except the base parallel) but the cards look solid and would look okay with sticker autographs. I want to say I love the acetate Behind the Glass insert set and the Leather Larceny set is something new as well. Both insert sets are great. If I could recommend something else, I would make the frame on the Winter Classic insert set smaller to really show the great photography those cards bring to the table. Overall, it deserves a high grade.

Checklist:

I think the checklist is solid. A large amount of rookies are found in this product as well as the 100 card base set featuring the stars of all your favorite teams. I like a smaller base set as it makes completing a set a little easier for those who may only be able to afford one box of a product. I only missed 2 cards to complete the 100 card base set in my box, which is a good sign. I did have 5 dupes, but that is understandable with a smaller set. I didn’t have any collation issues that other have been reporting so I can’t hold that against them in my review of this one box. I think the Legendary Ticket set may be a little too big since you only get about 1 of those a box. I like inserts and this set is loaded with them. You have your hard hitters in Behind the Glass, your stars with the Award Contenders, and more rookies with your Rookie Contenders. Plus, who doesn’t want a little goalie set to support the men who have pucks shot at them? Overall, there is something for everybody.

Value:

The value of this box is obviously hit or miss. But I’ve seen a lot more misses then hits. You get four autographs a box which is nice. I would put this product on par with what Upper Deck brings with SP Authentic. However, this box is $30-$40 more then that product. I think this product is over priced for what it is. If they throw in an extra autograph of one of the insert sets I would think the price was about right, but with a product containing at least 3 rookies, sometimes 4, I think the value should be a little bit lower as you may not hit an established player. I understand that some of these rookie tickets will be short printed as well, but not knowing that when the product is released doesn’t help the value. I also believe that all inserts should be serial numbered, but they will still probably fall into the same range as price is concerned on the secondary market. Drop the price down a bit, put it on par with SP Authentic, and the value will be perfect for this product.

Overall:

Finally a product that is on par with SP Authentic. You may not be able to pull any autographed patches in this product, but the autographs are a plenty and the insert sets are definitely better then SP Authentic. The design is solid, although has been used for a long time. It works though, which is a positive. The checklist is chock full of stars, rookies, and retired players so I think just about everyone will be happy with the possibilities they could pull. I love the 14 karat gold card promotion, although I didn’t get one this time around. There are only 20 but they are definitely great chase cards. This is a great start for Panini using the Contenders brand. I really hope they decide to keep this in their product run for the next season as it was a lot of fun to break, just lower the price a tad or add another autograph.

Here is the video break so you can see everything. Make sure to subscribe to our channel.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dAE6nPcZ0M]