Preview: 2013 Topps Heritage Baseball

A staple of the Topps brand is back for another season in 2013 Topps Heritage.

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An always popular set is back again in the Real One Autographs. This set features retired and active players and the cards are hand numbered to 64. There are also Real One Dual Autographs hand numbered to 25, and Real One Triple Autographs hand numbered to 5.

Also look out for Clubhouse Collection Relics and Autograph Relics. The Autograph Relics are hand numbered to 25 and there are Autograph Dual Relics hand numbered to 10.

Another interesting set are the Flashback Autograph Relics. This set will feature retired players from the 1964 season. Each card will be numbered to 25 or less.

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Each box contains 24 packs with 9 cards. In each box, it will contain 1 autograph or memorabilia card.

You can find the product at DA Card World when it releases on March 6, 2013.

You can also find the checklist on Cardboard Connection.

Preview: 2012 Panini Totally Certified Football

A staple of Panini’s Football brand is back in 2012 Panini Totally Certified.

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The most popular part of Panini Totally Certified is and always has been the Freshman Fabric autographs. These cards feature the top rookies and will be signed on-card. There are also Platinum Black 1 of 1 versions to be pulled!

Collectors can also look for Certified Future jersey autographs. These will also be signed on-card and will be numbered to 175 unless you pull a prime parallel, which will then be numbered to 49. Also be on the look out for Down & Dirty jersey cards numbered to 299 or less with prime versions being numbered to 49.

A real treat that will be featured in Panini Totally Certified this year are the HRX cards. These are video cards that should be highly collectible. The best part is there are autograph versions numbered to 10, or maybe you will be lucky enough to pull a 14K gold autographed HRX card numbered 1 of 1! Just imagine how nice that would look in your collection.

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Each box contains 6 packs with 5 cards per pack. In each box, it will contain 1 on-card rookie autograph, 1 additional autograph as well as 4 autograph or memorabilia cards per box.

You can find the product at DA Card World for around $113 when it releases March 6, 2013.

You can also find the checklist on Cardboard Connection and more information on the official Panini America blog.

Preview: 2012 Panini National Treasures Baseball

Panini is bringing a new product for the Baseball collectors, and it’s one of the higher-end sets you’ll see all year in 2012 Panini National Treasures Baseball.

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Panini is pulling out all the stops this year. Collectors will be able to find button cards numbered to 8, Legends Booklets numbered to 25 or less, and Bat Knob cards which are 1/1′s!

Collectors can also look for Rated Rookie Signature Material Gold cards which feature top rookies such as Bryce Harper and Yu Darvish numbered to 25.

Be on the lookout for the Hall of Fame Logo Signature cards that includes players such as Stan Musial, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr. and more.

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Each box contains 1 pack with 8 cards. In each box, every card will be either a memorabilia or autograph card including 1 on-card autograph and 1 booklet card per box.

You can find the product at DA Card World for around $340 a box when it releases on February 27, 2013.

You can also find the checklist on Cardboard Connection and more information on the official Panini blog.

Review: 2012-13 Panini Timeless Treasures Basketball

Timeless Treasures basketball has arrived featuring the one pack per tin content that many collectors enjoy due to its quick break that yields plenty of hits. The product has returned this year after last year’s lockout and come with a few base cards and three hits per tin. With the double rookie class, there are a ton of great rookies for you to find in the product, with the chance at some solid veteran content as well. Want to see what you can find in a typical box? Here we go:

Design:4 and half stars blue

The design of the product is simple and elegant all around. I have to start by saying that I really enjoy products that come in collectible packaging. Specialized tins and wood boxes are under utilized in the hobby today and provide a collectible that many like to keep to either store cards or display. I received a Kobe Bryant tin and it looks great. Might I make a suggestion to hide the identity of who is on the tin and include rare autographed tins? That may increase the length of time to work on packaging, but wouldn’t a Kobe autographed tin be kinda cool? Other than that, the base design of the product is simple and utilizes foil in all the best ways highlighting exactly what is needed. I also enjoy the acetate rookie autographs where they sign what seems to be a super large sticker. (You can see an example of the super large sticker on a card from my Absolute basketball break.) But overall, sometimes simplistic is best and this product showcases that.

Checklist:4 stars blue

The double rookie class means there are generally more rookies this season, and that is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing being that you can get some solid rookies from the past couple of years. The bad thing is there isn’t as much veteran content to fill the product and you can also find some scrub rookies from the past couple of years. It’s a difficult proposition and while it made the product cheaper to produce (most likely) the content isn’t as good as it could have been.

Value:4 stars blue

Right now, you can find the product for $87 at DA Card World which isn’t a bad deal itself. At three hits per box, you have the chance for some decent cards as always. This isn’t really a set building product unless you are building the rookie autographs which are definitely appealing to the eyes. Other than that though, you may end up with 3 rookie hits or a couple and a plain game used card like my box. Most previews and sell sheets say the product guarantees at least one on-card autograph, but that was not the case here and many others I’ve seen. That doesn’t hurt too much, but it would have been nice to have one.

Overall:4 stars blue

Overall, not a terrible product from Panini at all. The product looks nice and I really like the rookie autographs on the acetate and stickers. It would have been nicer to see those directly on the acetate, but the sticker doesn’t look totally bad in it’s place. It’s something that looks even better with the sticker area being cut out as opposed to just a sticker. The checklist is what you’d expect this season, heavy on the rookies, which still needs to be toned down a little. But the value is there at the current price of the product. I’d pick up a tin or two, especially if you like collecting the different player tins as well as the cards. It’s a nice little bonus for collectors.

Once again, a big thanks goes out to Panini America for providing this product to review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

You can also find that full checklist over on Cardboard Connection.

Want to see a video of the break? Subscribe to us on YouTube. Then check out the gallery below.

Card Companies: It’s Not All About Rookies

I continue to open boxes and packs of cards, in every sport. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, I love collecting every one of those sports. These past couple years, with every box and pack that I open I continue to pull more and more “rookie” hit cards. The vast majority, and I mean vast, continues to be rookie autographs or memorabilia cards. Sometimes scrubs, sometimes future stars of the game. And that disappoints me.

When I got back into collecting in 2005, this wasn’t always the case. I would receive hit cards from superstars and stars on a consistent basis. Cal Ripken Jr., Deion Sanders, Roger Clemens, I was pulling hit cards of veteran players and retired stars from just about every single box. Now, it’s one out of every 4-5 boxes. And that disappoints me.

Now I haven’t posted my review of this product yet since I’m a little backed up, but I opened a box of 2012-13 Upper Deck SP Game Used hockey a week or so ago. It was fantastic. Do you know why though? I did not pull one single rookie autograph or memorabilia card. It was that anti-rookie card box. Every box I’ve opened this season has been rookies and more rookies, but this time, I pulled a bunch of jerseys of veteran players, most All-Stars even, and autographs from Eric Staal and Jordan Eberle. And that made me happy.

It sounds weird to say, doesn’t it? I pulled a bunch of hit cards, all of players I’ve heard of, I’ve been able to watch play over the past couple of years, and know that they are staying in the NHL. It was the anti-rookie box and it made me feel good while opening it and reaping the rewards afterwards of some solid hits all around.

Now I’m not saying get rid of rookie cards or memorabilia hits. They are definitely needed in the hobby. They are cheaper for companies to attain and produce, and are sometimes the only cards you might find of someone for a few years. We saw what happened with Jeremy Lin. But does every single product need to contain all these rookie hit cards? Absolutely not. And that disappoints me.

It can be better. I think it may come to the point where boxes of cards or products need to guarantee at least one veteran autograph per box and one rookie autograph per box. I’ve said before, how much more is an autograph of someone like Logan Mankins, Jeff Saturday, or skill position players that aren’t exactly superstars, but everyone knows their names? Fantasy football is huge, most people can name almost the entire set of skill positions on a team.

Or maybe a product where we don’t have rookie autographs. Panini Classics hockey was fun because you knew that you were going to get autographs of players you’ve seen skate before, some Hall of Famers, fan favorites, it was a fun product. Topps Fan Favorites baseball, same thing! Upper Deck Past Time Pennants, there have been some great products out there that give non-rookie collectors, non-flippers, something to collect.

Me? I may be biased because I don’t collect rookies and I generally don’t buy cards to flip them. I am really picky when I purchase my own cards. I make sure I know what I’m getting into and understand the hit checklists. I watch YouTube videos and read about box breaks on forums. I know what I want, and if the product doesn’t provide me with what I want, I choose something else. Yeah, I bought Topps Strata. I knew it was all rookie autographs, but it was a fun product with the technology. I also bought SPGU hockey because of the lack of rookies and all the veteran hits I saw coming out of it. I would of bought Museum Collection if prices didn’t skyrocket (missed the boat on that one.) A product with good veteran content is now too difficult to find, maybe 1-2 products a year out of 15 products per sport. And that disappoints me.

Give me a good product with one rookie hit, a few good veteran hits, and I’ll buy it every time.