Review: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Basketball

We are still looking at the college stuff here, but this time in a different light under a brand that just about everybody recognizes, 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic basketball. What I have always loved about the SP Authentic brand in all sports is the quality of the base and hits that goes into each box. This year is no different.

You will get about 3 hits per box this year in SP Authentic, but the interesting thing is that you can find a Jordan or Lebron auto in one half case, or a Jordan/Lebron/Bird/other legendary high value autograph in the other half case. Some may say it dilutes the autograph market a bit, which it does, but it makes opening a box a little more exciting. Let’s see what we pulled:

Design:

It seems like every year SP Authentic has some great designs. This year again is no different. There are some very clean looking cards with a white background, as usual. The photos they use are great action shots in the player’s college uniform and I like the light background design that really makes the bold colors in the player photos stand out. The lettering is easier to read, unlike last year. If I had any complaint what so ever, it’s gotta be that large white box below the player’s typed name. What is it and why is it there? I mean, it looks okay, but it just sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s the first thing I noticed when I opened the first pack of cards. But other than that, very good design work.

Checklist:

The checklist has it’s negatives and positives but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. First, why is the plain base set just 50 cards? I pulled two complete plain base sets (minus Rookie F/X) in one box with a few cards left over. That is asinine and strangely impressive. I also find that there just isn’t a lot of current NBA talent on the checklist. A ton of rookies, just not many current players. I’d love to see more current players in their college uniform. There are some great legends as well so can’t complain with that. Next, the hit checklist, especially for autographs, is wonderful. There are tons of awesome legendary player autographs to be had. Again, lacking in current talent as well. I feel like they should rename this product Rookies & Legends.

Value:

First, the doubles and triples hurts. I know it saves the company money, but it doesn’t help the consumer (unless it’s put toward more autos). Second, the Jordan Brand Classic jerseys are just that. Plain old jerseys. I know what they tried to do, but this is a $120 product. Plain jerseys aren’t fun. Next, Jordan floor cards are played out. Great with an autograph, played out when plain. But everything else is pretty nice. I like that I got a full regular base set and like that the Rookie F/X cards are a little hard to get. I also really like the auto checklist and the Alonzo Mourning auto I pulled makes me giddy as I’ve always been a fan of ‘Zo. The manu-patch autos I could still care less about, but some of the names are solid. Overall, not bad at all.

Overall:

Overall, UD Rookies & Legends is a solid product and is what I will now call this product this year. The design is beautifully done with another great, clean look for this brand. It always brings that sort of nice clean design so I shouldn’t be surprised. The checklist is a bit small for the base set, but the autographs checklist is pretty stacked. While the doubles and triples hurts the consumer value a little bit, as well as the plain jersey cards, the autographs can easily make up for it. I like what Upper Deck tried to do with this product and I would judge it as a moderate success. But I can’t wait to see SP Authentic football.

As always, I’d like to thank Upper Deck providing the box to review. Please visit their official website, official blog, Facebook and Twitter pages for more information about them.

And remember, after tomorrow’s last review I will be giving away a ton of Upper Deck cards to some people so stay tuned for that.

Video coming up soon.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck SPx Hockey

Upper Deck is back again with SPx hockey, looking to improve a bit on last year’s product and they are adding the cards needed for that improvement.

With a large number of game used jersey cards and autographs, this is one product where the “hit” seekers will be happy to find their hits. Each box will include 1 rookie autograph jersey, 1 rookie jersey/materials card, 1 Winning Materials dual jersey card, 1 Winning Combos dual jersey card, and an ICE Premier bonus pack featuring a limited rookie card.

With 8 packs per box and 5 cards per pack, you’ll also have a nice little base set to put together as well.

But there are also other additions you might pull like Upper Deck’s patented Shadowbox cards featuring the Programme of Excellence with Team Canada. While I like seeing Upper Deck feature the Programme of Excellence with Team Canada and understand most of hockey product is sold in America’s hat, why not feature some Team USA players sometime? Just a thought.

You may also find some legendary autographs as well with Flashback Fabrics or a Winning Trios card, each found 1 per case.

You want hits, 2011-12 Upper Deck SPx hockey brings you hits. This product is set to hit stores January 17, 2012, but I’m guessing it is going to be pushed back a little bit and you’ll be paying around $120 for a box.

 

Review: 2011 Topps Finest Football

Yes, I’m a little late with this one too but I really wanted to try the product. The one patch autograph and one patch jersey card per master box really caught my eyes. Plus with the addition of a ton of different refractors and the possibility for some veteran autographs was right up my alley along with the solid rookie checklist. I put down a little bit of cash on this and here is what I pulled.

Base:

Parallels:

Inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

There is really only one reason I dinged this down a little bit and that is the autographs. I’m not a huge fan of entrapped autographs that are embedded into the card. Sure it makes it look less stickery, but if you end up cutting off part of the persons signature, as seen with the Stevan Ridley…though only partially, it just takes away from the autograph. Maybe it’s just me. But also, why no on-card autographs here? You were able to get on-cards for Inception, why not here? I know it’s probably part of your process, but Panini was able to get a ton of rookies done on card. That Cam would of looked so much better on-card then it already does. But I love everything else, the die-cuts, the refractors, the dotted design in the background, thumbs up.

Checklist:

Again, a great showing here. With the rookies AND veterans, this product would please just about everyone on the map, besides those who want legend possibilities in their product too. I dinged it a half star because I would of liked to see a little more depth with the veteran autographs and a little more with the Finest Moments cards. The non-autoed Finest Moments are probably the only thing I don’t like alot about this product. I know it’s been around awhile, I don’t mind it, but compared to everything else it’s just there.

Value:

Value, value, value. I got great value. Others may not have done too hot. I also spent more because the prices with this product have gone up as well. But overall, this has more value then most of Topps football products this season. With the inclusion of the veteran hits and the patch autographs, this rivals Topps Chrome as Topps’ best full product of the year. (Inception is a different type of product with it’s few cards) Not only are you guaranteed a patch auto and jersey auto, you may get a bonus hit…like mine. I just wish the patch autographs weren’t all numbered so high, but when every box has one, I guess that should be expected.

Overall:

Overall, there really isn’t much bad to say about this product. It is as close to perfection as you can get, in my eyes. You have a great looking design all the way around. You have a checklist with rookies and veterans and possible hits for both. You also have a solid value because of the nice rookie class and the inclusion of those veteran hits and rookie patch autographs. I thoroughly enjoyed opening this product and if I had the cash, I would probably put down enough for a case of it. I had that much fun. This is my kind of product.

Funny how my first Cam Newton card of the season is an autograph numbered to 25!

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