Preview: 2011 Panini Totally Certified Football

The future of the Panini Certified brand is here.

2011 Panini Totally Certified football will be released this January. The best part about this product? Panini’s HRX video cards will be coming to football! These limited cards are embedded with a highlight video of your favorite player and some include an autograph as well.

Another great part about this product is the crazy designs this product brings. Remember my review of Totally Certified basketball? I loved those designs and they are being brought over to the football product. These cards should look great, but here is some more information.

Each set will have 100 base cards, 50 Immortals, 50 Freshmen Phenoms, and 36 on-card rookie autographs. Every box contains 6 packs at one hit per pack. Every box will contain at least one on-card autographed jersey rookie card to 499 or less, one additional autograph numbered to 299 or less, and four memorabilia cards…just like it’s basketball counterpart.

These subset hits will include cards like Stitches in Time, which features four players with a piece of memorabilia for each player featuring some of the greatest players in the game. You will find some Totally Certified Future Materials which includes jerseys worn by top players at the Rookie Premiere. The Immortals set with 50 of the greatest players ever, each with an autograph. Pieces of the Game which features a piece of the players jersey. And also Heritage Collection which will feature game worn jerseys from some of the most collected retired NFL Players. So there is a big lineup of possible hits in this product with a great veteran focus in some of the insert sets.

I know I’m excited as I loved the design and look of Totally Certified basketball. Let’s just hope it translates well to the football arena. We’ll find out in late January.

You can check out the official Panini Peek here with more information and images.

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Pinnacle Hockey

Last year’s Pinnacle product released without much fanfare and with a mix of reviews from hockey collectors around the world. Some loved it, some hated it, but a lot felt it was just plain and average. People thought it was nothing too special. This year though, Panini has made some additions and improvements to the product that may get some buzz this time around.

First, they have redone the rookie card design of Ice Breakers and brought back the famous Nufex design that has made Pinnacle popular for years. This is a great change of pace over last year’s design which was kind of hard to make out so I look forward to the enhancements.

Second, they have created a 6 piece game used card called “Starting 6 Threads” which will feature game used jersey pieces from 6 different players. While collectors in general are moving away from game used jersey cards, this idea is nice, especially that it will feature an entire team. It would be great for team collectors out there. For me, if I pulled an Edmonton Oilers 6 piece jersey card of their “kid line”, that would be a pretty cool hit to me.

Last, they have added a brand new case hit, Pinnacle Black. This new one-per-case card sort of looks like a card from Elite Black Box with a full black design featuring some of the sport’s greatest stars.

All of these items are enhancements over last year’s product and should add some value to the product.

Autographs are a tough pull in this product, which is a good thing if the price point is right. Each box will yield 4 rookies, with autographed rookies falling one per case of the top rookies. You will also find one Home Game Materials memorabilia card, one Pinnacle Threads memorabilia card, two Tough Times inserts, two Breakthrough inserts, and one Rink Collection insert.

The 9 autographs per case should limit some autographs, but there are some Fans of the Game autographs in this product. I’m hoping these autographs of celebrities are found as bonus hits in the case as some people may not be too happy about pulling a celebrity autograph. I know that feeling carries over to collectors of other sports.

You can check out the official Panini Peek here with some more images and information about the product.

This product will release on November 23, 2011, for a price of around $70 at release date.

Review: 2011 Panini Absolute Memorabilia Football

One of the higher end staples from Panini is back on the table this year with some nice improvements to the quality of the product. This year, all the 36 rookies who attended the Rookie Premier have on-card autographs in this product which results in some great looking cards. But how will the rest of the product hold up?

We have been given a box to review once again by Panini and we will check out some the great hits that you can pull from this product. And by great, I mean great, because we ended up pulling a great looking card below.

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Not shown: Greg McElroy Rookie Spectrum Auto GOLD (Redemption)

Design:

The overall base design is very solid in foil with a great action shot and a great layout for name and position. To me, it seems like they got confused and put the team logo where the brand logo should be. But that’s not a big deal at all. Even the Spectrum layouts are solid as well. The inserts are very…”Panini-like” as they have the same feel as other products. Player off-centered, team logo where memorabilia goes, and then the other information. It’s been that way as far back as I can remember since I got back into the hobby in 2005 so no change there. I’m not a huge fan of the design of the RPM cards, I mean look at that Steven Ridley card. That Patriots logo is HUGE! I’m guessing that’s where an autograph would go if it was an autographed version? Just not a fan. But that Ingram looks great with everything filled up (as well as the Tony Gonzalez patch).

Checklist:

A great bunch of rookies that you will find in every product, but the paralleled RPM materials help make the rookies pulled that much better. The jumbo patch autograph really added the needed value to the box and having future Hall of Famers like Tony Gonzalez on the checklist is a solid addition. You can pull just about anything from this product, but you’ll more than likely hit mostly rookies, which can be good or terrible. But they make the rookies well worth it if you hit a nice card like that Ingram. But again, this product suffers from too large of a base set of veterans and rookies and needs to be cut down a bit.

Value:

I really didn’t hit any plain jerseys in this box which is a great start to a product that costs over $150 for four packs of cards and a hit per pack product. The RPM you could consider a plain jersey, but you’re bound to find them in every product like this. The other hits were great with the Tony Gonzalez two color patch, the Mark Ingram jumbo patch autograph, and even a solid rookie autograph redemption. I still have faith in Greg McElroy. I’ve seen a lot of great boxes of this product, more then a lot of products out there by any manufacturer and more “good boxes” then “bad boxes”.

Overall:

Overall, Absolute is a fun break at a hit per pack but it’s also an expensive break. If I bought one pack and got that Steven Ridley as my hit, I wouldn’t be a happy camper. This is definitely best bought by the box. The design is solid and I think they did a good job with the traditional Absolute foil on the base and inserts. The design on the hits are okay but that doesn’t matter as much when you get some solid hits like this box provided. The checklist is too large for this type of product for the base veteran and rookie set, but the hit checklist is pretty solid and the rookie on-card autographs are great. I mean, the Ingram wouldn’t look half as good if that was a sticker. The product is going to be hit or miss, but it looks like there are more hits and then misses this time around from the number of box breaks I’ve seen which is a good thing.

Again, I’d love to thank Panini for providing this box for me to review. You can visit their official site or their official blog to find out more information on great cards like the ones pulled above.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/yy-kwk2biD4]

Review: 2011 Panini Crown Royale Football

Crown Royale is back in it’s second season in a return from the dead right before Halloween and it looks just as good, if not better than last year. With a hit per pack and averaging at least 2 autographs and 2 memorabilia cards per box, it has the possibility to yield some great hits including some legendary swatches and some awesome Rookie Silhouette prime material autographs.

Well let’s see what is in our box given to us for review from the wonderful people at Panini America, shall we?

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Design:

I’m a sucker for die-cuts. I always have been a sucker for die-cuts. The only thing that I am more of a sucker of is very shiny die-cuts. But these look fantastic. I’ve always loved the design and the great colors that come along with the cards around the crown area which matches the team colors. The shiny borders look good too. Panini is getting better at designing their inserts to where you are starting to not be able to see boxes where memorabilia goes as those get kind of annoying after awhile. The only real complaint is that I’m getting tired of seeing white boxes where the autographed stickers go. I understand you need the autograph to be legible, but can’t you incorporate something into the design like just fading out the deep colors towards the bottom of the card where you put the sticker? Maybe a little round area faded design for the auto cards instead of box (ala Inception)? Surely the design team can do something other than a white box.

Checklist:

In my honest opinion, it’s too large for the amount of cards you get in a box and a pack at the price point it’s at. And by that I mean the base set and the base rookies. How on earth is anyone supposed to put together a set of these cards? The base set is huge. I love the insert sets and especially the great on-card checklist for the Rookie Silhouettes, but I think the base set needs to be cut down a bit. Maybe 100 total cards? 75 veterans and 25 rookies? Even 125 would be better than the current amount of 200.

 Value:

At $25 per pack, this is really hit or miss. But as a box, you might hit it big and get something worth the box itself. It’s tough as there are plain jerseys in here, which is obviously needed, but there are also some REALLY nice possibilities for hits. This sort of feels like Absolute Memorabilia Jr. So I’m kind of not sure how to rate this for value. Two autos and two memorabilia per box, which is better than most boxes at the price, but less total cards. I think there needs to be maybe one more single case hit kind of like the Net Fusion cards to make something for people to chase besides the Rookie Silhouettes. Finally, I’d also like to see the inserts numbered. I mean this is a product where you have to number the inserts. I really want to give this a 3.5 because of its hit or miss nature by pack (and my case by box, just look at sale values), but I always round up for the benefit of the doubt.

Overall:

Overall, I still absolutely love Crown Royale. I love the die-cut design, the colors, and the great Rookie Silhouettes cards. It’s an extremely fun product to open, but I find the huge checklist of base cards kind of disappointing as it takes a lot to try and put a base set together of those awesome looking cards. Back to the Silhouettes, I love that all the autographs are all on-card as it just makes them look that much better. We just need to work on those white boxes…please? Otherwise, it won’t kill your pocket, but you should definitely purchase this by the box and not by the pack. I like the addition of a case hit, but maybe one more type of limited case hit that would shine and be a welcome addition.

Oh, and for those who might want to complain about the Net Fusion manufactured net cards, they count as an insert, not as one of your hits. So you can either like them or not and you don’t have to worry because they aren’t taking the place of any of your mojo.

Again, I’d like to thank Panini for providing this box for review. Make sure you visit their website and blog for more information about products like this.

Video is coming up soon!

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Limited Hockey

For some time now, I’ve thought Limited was in a downward spiral in terms of it’s life as a product. But this season, Panini has changed things up a bit and included some new things to the product that might it some life once again.

It will still contain 3 autograph or memorabilia cards, plus some base and inserts, but a new addition this year is the High Numbers cards. High Numbers will feature some of the leagues best goalies and be numbered to 99 each.

But some of the nicer updates and additions are the Phenom Rookies (still manufactured patches though), Net Presence memorabilia with pieces of game used goalie net from the 2011 All Star game in Carolina, and the Game Pucks inserts which will include pieces of the biscuit used in NHL games.

The Phenom Rookies are still manufactured patch autographs, however, the patches will be different according to the level of parallel. That is a neat idea to change the difference of look of the cards. I’m still not huge on manufactured patches, and that will probably never change, but I like the different logos for different levels.

I did mention to Panini America on their official Twitter that the Game Pucks should include a date and the game the puck was used. I also asked if in the future the pieces of puck could be autographed by someone who played in that game, maybe someone who scored a goal or a goalie. I think that would add some interesting value to those pieces and would make nicer collectibles.

As always, you will see the return of the big hits as well. Shields, nice patches, cut signatures, all the high end offerings you could want.

The base set is a big 175 cards for a high end product with rookies numbered to just 299. I’d like a smaller base set, but that’s just me.

The product will be ready to hit stores on December 14th, assuming no delays, and will probably be in the same price range as last year at around $85, I think.

Take a look at the official Panini Peek of this product for more information.