Preview: 2010-11 Panini Elite Black Box Basketball

Black Box you say? Isn’t that a little box given to people who attend special card conferences and usually contain only the highest of high end players and cards? Don’t those usually sell on the secondary market for huge amounts of money that only Paul Allen may be able to afford? He’s the owner of the Trail Blazers and a former Microsoft head man in case you didn’t know that name. Well today, Panini announced the future release of this product next month with a stunning gallery of cards.

Well this is almost that product. Think about a box of Exquisite…probably on steroids, or at least some heavy duty vitamins. Better yet, combine Upper Deck Black with Exquisite and add in those steroids or “vitamins” or “the clear” whatever you want to call it. This product could be that epic.

At 7 cards per box and 1 pack inside that box we hope for epic hits and of course some solid design. It actually looks like a combination of everything their NBA players could put together in one great product. Every box will contain 3 autographs, 2 memorabilia cards, and 2 inserts. All those autographs and memorabilia cards? They are numbered to 149 or less. Those inserts? All 99 or less. This is the premium product for the premium collector.

Someone cue some AC/DC.

Inside you may find some of the first NBA Booklet cards numbered to 25 or less. How about Champions cards featuring a 5-auto card of the 1969 Boston Celtics or the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers teams numbered to just 10? Do you love Kevin Durant? Who doesn’t? A 10 card insert set called Thunderstruck featuring on-card autographs of Kevin Durant numbered to 10 each will also be featured. There will also be Elite Series Signatures with NBA autographs numbered to just 49 or less, Crusade with autographs, memorabilia, or autographed memorabilia pieces numbered to 149 or less, and other great insert sets signed on card as well.

With the design of some of these cards, my jaw has hit the floor with some of the most beautiful Panini cards to date.

August 31st is the date to get your paws on probably the hottest product of the year. No price has been released yet, but I’m expecting close to $400 for this product.

Seriously, these on card autographs blow my mind.

So does this 10 on-card autographed Kevin Durant subset.

More on card goodness in store for Black Box Elite basketball.

Contest #3 Winners

I’ll make this short and sweet for you guys.

The winner from the 2010-11 Totally Certified basketball review is the person who guessed closest without going over to the serial number 192. That would be….BA Benny with a guess of 177! We had a lot of people closer, they just went over the number :( Congrats BA Benny with another contest win! That’s two in a row.

The winner from the 2010-11 Zenith hockey review is the person who guessed closest without going over to the serial number 067. That would be….Ashley with a guess of 056! I believe that is RJ’s wife, a Twitter follower of mine. Glad to see a loyal follower with a win! Congrats!

I will be emailing each of you for your address and notice of winning. I think I still have yours BA Benny from the last time you lucky dog.

Thanks to everyone for entering and stay tuned for more awesome giveaways! I haven’t used the Wheel O Awesome in awhile…might have to break that out pretty soon.

And be sure to thank Panini America as well for sponsoring the site with great boxes to review. Every time I get a box to review from Panini, free hits from the product will be going out and others will be added to the vault for future prizes.

Review: 2010-11 Panini Zenith Hockey

2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey marks the return of one of the most favorite brands of all time amongst collectors. Donruss revived it in the mid 2000s after it was a staple of the industry in the 90s. It disappeared again for a short period only to be revived once again with 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey. It brings back all your favorite parts of the product from the past, red and white hot parallels, Dufex which is now called Nufex technology, and of course the Dare to Tear rip card!

So with that introduction I would like to bring to you the official review of 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey brought to you by Sports Card Blog. A big thanks and shout out goes out to Panini once again for providing this to review. I can’t ever do it without them, so I hope this helps you decide to want to buy a box!

Base:

Inserts:

Game Used:

Autographs:

Design:

The design leaves more to be desired. As I sit here in look at the base design of the product I feel like it is something that I have seen before, which I have. It looks almost exactly like 2005 Donruss Zenith baseball which I had the pleasure of opening at that time. The design is just too plain and abstract in my opinion. I see some differences from the older product but the basis is pretty much the same. I was hoping with the revival of the product maybe the design could be updated a little bit. I don’t hate the design but it’s nothing real new and nothing appealing about the base set. While most of the inserts are sharp, especially the ones using Nufex technology, a couple look kinda similar to other products.

Checklist:

The checklist is massive with inserts and has a nice combination of both young and old inside the packs. There are a ton of rookies you can collect from the checklist itself, plus even more rookies if you Dare to Tear your rip card. They put in some very nice stuff inside the rip card which would pretty much make you want to rip the rip card no matter what. It’s almost not even worth it to keep the jumbo card unless you collect the player. The game used and autographs you can pull from this product is laden with stars, I would even say you have a better chance at pulling a star hit in this product than Luxury Suite. Overall, a very solid checklist.

Value:

If I were to price this product over what I believe its worth to be, I would put it at around $70-$80 based off what you get from opening it. That is exactly where this product sits right now, so I believe it’s at a good price. The name on the checklist are pretty good and the rookies being numbered to 999 or below keep the value in the rookies. The only problem that may hurt the value is just the sheer number of products that have come out this year. Product after product has these rookies in them and it’s hurting the value a little bit. I believe Panini tried to fix this by putting in a billion rookies in every product. But still, there are a ton of rookies out there if you wanted a specific one. Otherwise, Panini does a great job on patches and a lot of on card autographs in this product. For what the box sells at, it’s worth a purchase.

Overall:

Overall, this is a pretty average product by Panini. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it has some value to it with the great checklist and the current great price you can find it for. The design leaves more to the imagination as a whole, but the Nufex technology is fantastic. The Dare to Tear rip card is awesome and Panini, I’m leaving it to you to bring back the box toppers. Box toppers add such great value to boxes because you could do anything with them. Put in short prints, Dare to Tear, jumbo autographs, game used, or parallels, anything you want. If every product had a box topper I would be a happy man. The value as it stands is solid so I would definitely consider picking up a box.

Now, it’s time for some hot pack ripping action.

Oh, by the way. The best part of the Dare to Tear rip cards is that it makes a great puzzle afterwards! Sorry Sidney Crosby, you are torn up.

Oh yeah, want a contest too? We’ll do another guess the serial number. This time you are guessing the serial number from the Jacob Josefson rookie that is numbered to 199. I hope I didn’t say it in the video, lol. Closest to the number without going over wins a prize pack from this product including the Gifted Grinders Jersey and insert, along with another insert or two from this product at my disposal. Any comments about the review will help your chances! (Not really, but it’s preferred!)

Just In: 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup…It’s Coming!

I know I have been lacking in the Upper Deck news. However, they just aren’t putting out a lot of products with only one fully professional license. But this news is great for hockey collectors as arguably Upper Deck’s best product, and most high end, finally has some information on this year’s product.

With one of the best rookie classes since the class that brought us Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, this year’s product should not only fly off the shelves, may be a great product to invest in. I’m going to say this only once, if you aren’t into stock or into gold, this may be one of the product you want to throw a couple grand in and just sit on the cases. If I had the money, I would do it.

A new edition to this product and I believe hockey products in general is the booklet cards. They look sorta like this:

While I’ve never been a HUGE fan of booklet cards, these look like solid additions to the product. That P.K. Subban autographed rookie gear booklet on the left looks great and would make a great addition to any collection. That is probably one of my favorite rookie subsets and would almost rather pull that than a regular rookie patch. Imagine displaying that bad boy.

It will also mark the return of Limited Logos autographed patches, Property Of game used stick nameplates, Team Canada hockey autographs from stars of the past and present, and the ever popular shield autographs.

But 2011 Upper Deck The Cup comes with more awesome new goodness.

On stick autographs! (Slapshoterific!)

Base card autographed laundry tags! (Made in Canada!)

And dual cuts! (Let’s hope they aren’t as bad looking and cut up as Legendary Cuts was!)

All we really have is pictures and a retail price of $380 for one pack with 5 cards in it. And it releases sometime in August. I’m sure there is more to come. Learn more from Upper Deck’s announcement post on their blog.

A little birdie who has his own blog called the Topps Archives told me I need more pictures in my posts because reading lots of text hurts his head. I hope this post is colorful enough for him. I think I’ll add more pictures from now on though, good idea?

And here is my 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup haiku:

My eyes shed great tears,
When I see The Cup released,
I must open it.

Let’s hope I can come up with the Benjamins to have a head to head breaking battle with 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup vs. 2010-11 Panini Dominion. It would be the battle of the century.

More information on this product when it is announced!

Preview: 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football

This is the last product I have to preview for July 2011 releases and we are going out with 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football. Panini attempts to put the “rookies” back in Rookies & Stars football this year. But we will see how that works out for them with this product. Let’s hope there is enough “stars” as well to keep things interesting and worth the price of admission.

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football releases with 24 packs with 8 cards per back. Each pack is $4 which makes this product…some quick internet math tells me that a box would cost around $96. You will find 4 total autograph or material cards with at least 1 of them being an autograph. 24 rookies, 4 parallels, 1 Rookie Revolution, 1 Studio rookie, and 2 other inserts or parallels. So I’m guessing this is a 1 rookie per pack product this year.

The first thing I always notice is something I don’t like about the product and of course I found one right away. People who have been reading this blog for awhile now know of my hatred for manufactured patches. Well Panini Rookies & Stars carries several variations of this manufactured patch goodness. Okay Panini, I get it. Manufactured patches aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. So I have a proposition. Hear me out, this is something that will make these manufactured patches more bearable. Stop having the athlete sign cloth. It looks incredibly tacky. If you want to keep the manufactured patches, that is fine. Embed them in the card as you would a regular patch but have the athlete sign a sticker or the card itself. Seriously, I would rather have a sticker autograph than an athlete sign a piece of cloth. 100% of the time. Take out the American flag, embed just that part in the card and add an autograph to the card itself. I know you have seen Upper Deck Black flag patches and autographs. That is the best way to do manufactured patches in my opinion. I can’t stand the signing of cloth that isn’t even game/event worn. Okay…I’m done with that rant.

Besides the manufactured patches, everything else looks to be on par what you would expect from Rookies & Stars. With a billion rookies and some sweet veteran cards you are in for a treat. If you’re a rookie collector or prospector this is another product for you with the tons of rookies and consequently probably a billion rookie autographs.

As for me, I like veterans. With some great autographs and material cards for veterans I really enjoy the look of some of these subsets, Prime Cuts being my favorite. There is a subset called Statistical Standouts with some random statistic on the front and an autographed patch version for veterans. While I’m not a huge fan of the concept as I feel it is over done, it looks nice too. Panini seems to be doing a great job in the subset and insert department. The Donruss Studio brand of old makes a slight return as an insert as well with Studio Rookies featuring posed photography. I love the back of these cards almost more than the front. They have their backs to the camera showing off the name on the back of their jerseys. Panini has a great blog post about this Studio Rookies insert set with a ton of pictures.

Finally, as far as base cards go, I love the design of this year’s base cards. Panini did a great job with action shots where the whole player isn’t cut out and you can see some of the field before it fades to a white background. It looks pretty slick to me. Everything looks pretty slick, but something needs to be done about those manufactured patches.

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars will release on July 27th, 2011 at a dealer near you.

Let’s see a picture of those Prime Cuts I love so much. Since Panini doesn’t pay to host their blog, I’m just going to hot link this photo. This is for you Jim Irsay!

Want more? Check out the Panini Peek of 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars football on their official blog.

Want a 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars checklist too?

Want to see more awesome cards from this set?

Panini Unwrapped: Opening 2011 Rookies & Stars!

This concludes all July 2011 sports trading card releases. Phew! I wonder what August will have in store for us?