Review: 2011 Panini Plates & Patches Football

2011 Panini Plates & Patches is back out again this year as a high end offering featuring an on-card autographed patch card per box and some other goodies. The highlight is obviously the auto patch, but there are some other interesting hits as well in the form of printing plates and other rare collectibles which help add value to this product. While it is only a one pack per box product, it’s a blast to open knowing you will have some possible great hits inside. Our hits are at the bottom after the review.

Let me know if you like the gallery at the bottom where you can view all of the cards at once compared to the little clickable slide show I had before. Any information is good information.

So let’s get to the reviewing!



My main complaint about the design of this product is that it looks exactly like the product from last year. I like some differential from year to year and Plates & Patches doesn’t really change all that much. However, it was not a bad design to begin with so that’s a good thing. Another small complaint is that there could be a little more room for autographs with the patch autographed cards. It looks great that they are on-card, just looks like it could use like a 1/4 inch more space. The inserts all look great and to the theme but City Lights (as I pulled below) looks completely out of place in this set. Not sure where they were going there.


As always, I never really have a problem with Panini checklists for products. They included all the top rookies and a few rare top veteran autographs here and there. Thankfully the low end rookies aren’t in the patch autograph version, but in a product this expensive I wish the low end rookies were at least offensive rookies. I mean, the linebacker I pulled probably has no chance of EVER being a superstar. At least I have a chance if I pulled Greg McElroy or Julius Thomas. A higher end product should be more about value then catering to someone who would want a Bills linebacker rookie autograph. Just me on that one.


I won’t mention my thoughts on lower end rookie autographs here as it is above but that is part of it. But the plain jersey cards should at least contain another patch as well. Again, high end product should bring out higher end cards. The on-card rookie patch autos are great though and feature some of the top rookies and offensive rookies of the draft. It helps with the great draft class too so there is a ton of value in the patch autos. But the rest of the product should have a little bit of an upgrade, besides the printing plate and low numbered type stuff (like the DeAngelo Williams auto). Not terrible value, I’ve seen a ton worse, but I think it could use a little bit of an upgrade.


Overall, Plates & Patches isn’t a great product, but it’s not terrible either. It suffers most in the value department as it falls under a high end product, but delivers slightly below that with the plain jerseys and an underwhelming plain rookie autograph checklist. The highlights of the on-card autographs and decent design are great as well as some of the rare stuff you could pull from this product that make this a decent seller. I think it needs a few little upgrades to make it feel a little more high end and it would definitely be a great product.

As always, thanks to Panini and make sure you check out their official blog for all new product information.

Video will be uploaded soon.


Preview: 2011 Panini Prime Cuts Baseball

Donruss (Panini) is back! One of the most revered baseball products ever created is coming back to form under the Panini label and will be bringing the heat in March. March will be known for a few things now, St. Patty’s Day, Spring Training, and Prime Cuts baseball.

With Panini’s new MLBPA licensing and their freshly minted National Baseball Hall of Fame license, this product is ready to be filled with your every want and desire (besides MLB logos).

March 15, 2012, is the day to get ready for baseball fans. Every box will contain 5 cards with at least 2 of them being autographs while the other cards being game worn memorabilia pieces. Want to know some names involved? I can’t wait to tell you.

You might find say, a 1/1 bat barrel piece of players such as “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Ted Williams, Nellie Fox, or Roger Maris. Or maybe you prefer cut signatures from players like Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, Thurman Munson or Mel Ott.

How about some of the living legends out there? You might find an autograph from Ken Griffey Jr., David Ortiz, Yogi Berra, Nolan Ryan, or a number of other stars.

If Prime Cuts baseball doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will. While the price may be around $250 for a box of this product, this could be what everyone is waiting for.

Why don’t you check out some more images on the Panini blog?

How about a glimpse of the “Shoeless” Joe Jackson bat barrel card?

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Elite Hockey

For the 2011-12 hockey season, Panini is bringing over the Elite brand to it’s hockey line up. 2011-12 Panini Elite hockey will be in stores in late February, but that doesn’t stop the folks over at Panini from providing an inside look at the product. Nothing stops Tracy Hackler from providing that insight. So here’s mine as I can’t stop, won’t stop. (Puff Daddy voice)

This product is loaded up for the hit loving collector with 1 rookie variation autograph, 2 memorabilia cards, three Aspirations parallels, and two additional Elite rookies per box. You will find 20 packs per box with 5 cards per pack in this product.

First off, I am psyched that there isn’t a billion rookies in this product like what Panini has been doing with every product. Although the rookie checklist is kind of big at 80, at least there isn’t like 15 rookies in a box. I am also psyched about the Aspirations parallels and the possibilities of some of the top rookies with that parallel. Imagine what an Aspirations Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would do?

Panini also is breaking ground with some of the newer and legendary inserts in this product. How about the new Social Signatures parallel autograph which highlights the social media presence of some of the game’s top players? I can just imagine a Twitter username on the card and a bunch of new followers for those players. New and interesting to me as I am interested in social media. A little gimmicky but I’m a fan of athletes on social media so I’m all for it.

Returning is the Passing the Torch insert set with a young superstar paired with a legendary player in autograph form. Prime Numbers returns with 3 versions of cards from some of the top players in the league, and finally the Elite Series will honor six hobby legends with a 6 card insert set of their own – Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, Lemieux, Messier, and Yzerman. And there is a special 7th card that includes an on-card autograph.

Elite looks to be full of on-card autographs so make sure you check it out in late February. It already looks like a winner.


Review: 2011 Panini Gridiron Gear Football

Gridiron Gear is back for another season under Panini’s wing and we have some of the major components returning for another season. Most notably, the pull out autographed jerseys make a return and are now found in one out of every two boxes or so. Also, one of my favorites, Gridiron Signatures returns as well with an autograph on what looks like the player’s home football field.

Every box should contain about 2 autographs and 2 memorabilia cards along with a bevy of inserts, rookies, and paralleled cards. I think just about every card is paralleled in this set so there are a lot of cards for player collectors to search for. Let’s see what we got:

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Not pictured: Demarco Murray Rookie Orientation Auto/Jersey Redemption


I must say I’m not huge on this year’s design. I really liked last year’s design and it just looks like they put in a little too much with this. Like the last product reviewed by Panini, I feel that there is just too much going on at the bottom. I know I mention that it also sort of reminds of the Elite design as well in the break video. Maybe if they designed the whole product like their rookies I would really like it. I do like the fading of the picture towards the bottom of the card. Why can’t they do that in autograph subsets instead of a big white box? I think that Schaub auto would look find without the white box personally. But I like that the white box doesn’t take up the whole card this time. Baby steps.


What is it with Panini and a rookie per pack? Another product with a ton of rookies that just waters down the base rookie cards. Not even a top rookie has a base rookie card which I find kind of strange. They can be found in the other rookie subsets with the material autographs though and they are all there. As always, you can find a ton of different legends or veteran autographs as well in this Panini product which always makes it a good day in my opinion. I just want to see a cut down of the rookie base cards.


You can find boxes for around $100. Do I feel it’s worth that much? No. But since Panini has instituted it’s MAPP policy, a lot of products start out at a high price only to go down in price after the end of the policy. It will be a good break in a month or two, but the collector wants to open this product now and may overpay a bit for it. If it were me, I would wait until it drops in price a bit.


Overall, Gridiron Gear is an okay product, about average. The design is too much for me, but it does have some highlights like the rookie cards and a couple of the insert sets. Otherwise, it’s nothing to write home about as there is too much going on. The checklist is always solid, but I’m getting way too many rookies at one per pack. I don’t need rookies of everyone who got drafted. But they make up for it with great veterans and legends autographs and memorabilia cards which I always see as a positive. That also keeps the value up a little, but I feel the product is a bit overpriced. I would wait until it drops before grabbing a box, so it should be a good break in a month or two.

Again, a big thanks goes out to Panini America for providing this box to review.

Video coming soon. Lots of uploading going on today.

Preview: 2011 Topps Bowman Sterling Football

Topps is coming out with it’s next higher end football product this season with 2011 Bowman Sterling football. Well, maybe it has already come out as I have seen box breaks of the product but I have the release date as December 14th which is tomorrow. I thought I had time but we’re coming out with our preview anyway.

Every 5 card pack of Bowman Sterling comes with 2 rookie cards, 1 autographed card, and 2 relic cards. That is just per pack. There are 6 packs per box of this product so there are a ton of hits for you hit collectors out there. Every box will give you 12 rookie cards, 4 autograph cards, 2 autographed relic cards, 12 relic cards, and 1 dual relic box topper. I’m stoked that Topps has brought a box topper to this product as you may have read my post earlier this month wanting companies to bring those back out there.

Every autographed card comes in 6 refractor versions while the autographed relics come in 5 refractor versions. This product has both veterans and rookies so it looks like it would be my type of product and I’m picky about my products.

You will also be able to find dual, triple, quad, and 6 autographed rookies including the new pulsar refractor dual rookie autographed relics. Why Topps chose to create a new refractor is beyond me, but it looks pretty cool from the sell sheet photos.

This product appears to be out a bit earlier then I had on my schedule so check out your local store where you should be able to find this product for around $260.