Site News: A Week In Review

This past week I’ve been trying to catch up with previews for all the releases in July. That meant a little more Panini previews than anything else because of their large July lineup. Most are looking pretty good however in the design and value department so I am definitely happy to see the improvements that many people have been bothered by with this year’s earlier releases. In other Panini news, I heard that they have hired a new Customer Service person to man the phones, so if you haven’t heard about your Panini redemptions, they will be easier to contact.

Speaking of redemptions, for those who didn’t know why they couldn’t get a hold of Upper Deck this past week, it is because they were moving their facilities down the street to a smaller building. They have also been shipping their redemption team and supplies out to North Carolina to expedite the process. It’s been a busy time of changes at Upper Deck and they should be settling down completely soon. Hold off on calling them about redemptions, they’ll be there.

As far as the blog goes, the top post of the week was my interview with Adam of Dave & Adam’s Card World. I learned a few things from Adam and he answers some questions from me and his consumers about issues they may have. His responses were extremely well thought out and is probably one of the best interviewees I have seen in the industry. I couldn’t have asked for a better response from him and from the community by reading the post. I thank everyone from Adam to my readers for taking their time for that post.

Finally, Sports Card Blog has put in it’s application for the Ginta-cuffs Battle of the Blogs 2011!  Open a box of 2011 Allen & Ginter baseball and you score points based on your favorite team and favorite player. Plus the Commish picks a series of other ways to get points or lose points based off the cards in the box. I am very excited for this as the winner receives a hobby box of 2011 Allen & Ginter for free provided by Topps, bragging rights, and it’s just a ton of fun to open Allen & Ginter. Someone had already chosen my favorite player, Jon Lester, so I couldn’t go with him. Instead, I am going with Adrian Gonzalez of my Boston Red Sox as he has a ton of cards in the set. It’s a good thing I couldn’t get Lester, it turns out he is a SP in the set. It will be my first year in the battle when approved, so I’m hoping I can make headlines like Bryce Harper as a rookie. If there are any bloggers out there who want to play along you can join us for a rousing game of Ginta-Cuffs. May the best blog win! Believe me, if I do win, there will be a giant spectacle and I will bribe the Commish with amazing bribes to get that win.

So that has been the week that was. Next week brings on some more interesting things. I’ll be sending off some questions to Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards as he has emailed me recently (so if you have any questions for him please send me an email or leave a comment), a couple more product previews, and I’m really hoping I can get a couple reviews in. How about some 2011 Donruss Elite football and 2010-11 Panini All-Goalies? A little birdy told me I may have a package coming with those boxes in it. Did I mention when I do reviews from Panini I will be giving out fabulous prizes? Sounds like a good week ahead for you the awesome reader and me.

Again, thanks for reading and make sure you check back soon. Maybe I’ll pull something awesome to give away.

Preview: 2011 Score Football

Set collectors, low end collectors, team/player collectors, and children will rejoice on July 6th, 2011, when 2011 Score football hits the shelves. This $0.99 per pack retail product has always been a great buy throughout the years for people getting started in collecting or those looking for some cheap packs to open and build a set or find their favorite players. The hobby needs products like this and I’m always happy to see it on the shelves. My rule for these types of products is if they are coming off the shelves, there will be more new collectors to the hobby. That’s a good thing.

2011 Score, produced by Panini, looks like they have revamped the design a bit compared to past seasons and it definitely is looking great. In a regular retail box there will be 36 packs and it looks like it will be a rookie per pack as well as a glossy parallel per pack.  You will also find a few different inserts scattered around as well. I have to say I really enjoy the look of the inserts as well, especially In The Zone and Complete Players. This is all pretty impressive for a buck a pack but that’s not it.

What you won’t find is memorabilia cards. I’m actually happy there isn’t any in this product. It will keep the pack searchers away when I want to pick up a few packs at a dollar store or my grocery store. What this product will have is the occasional autograph though which is great. One per case of blasters and 5 per case of standard retail boxes and you will find current studs like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Adrian Peterson as well as rookie studs Julio Jones, AJ Green, and Jake Locker, amongst other players. This is a great autograph checklist if you’re lucky enough to pull one from these retail boxes. Again, this is a buck a pack.

One paper Washington. One pack. And you’ll get a shiny new penny in return (at least in Oregon with no sales tax). Can’t beat that.

Don’t forget to check out the Panini Peek for 2011 Score football!

Here is a picture of what a Tom Brady autograph looks like from this set. Is it just me or does it look like Tom took too many hits last year? His autograph is a little messy compared to other recent versions.

Preview: 2010-11 Panini Zenith Hockey

Dear hockey collectors,

Do you love rookie cards? Of course you do, especially with this season’s rookie crop. This is the best rookie crop since 2005-06 with the first draft after the lockout. Well 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey will bring you 200 different rookie cards for this season. Every rookie that took the NHL ice and every backup goalie that sat on the bench will most likely be in this product. That is a lot of rookies.

Your box of Zenith hockey will have 10 packs and 5 cards per pack. You are going to need a TON of boxes if you want to hand collate the entire set. The one really cool feature about this box is the Dare to Rip box topper. I’ve been saying for years that every box of cards should come with some sort of box topper. Box toppers are awesome and companies can really let their creativity flow with the types of cards in there. Well the Dare to Rip is just that. The Dare to Rip box topper can be a regular base card OR an exclusive signed rookie from any Panini product like the unreleased National Treasures or Elite hockey. Personally, I love rip cards as it brings a whole new dimension to opening boxes. You have a decision to make. You could keep it as a collectible if you like what’s on the card, which you will as it’s a rookie or a legend, or you can sell it. But you could also rip it and get something good or just another base card. All I hope for is Panini has taken the steps to avoid some way to determine if there is an autograph in the pack or not.

Panini has been making this the year of the inserts and it continues here with more inserts and parallels. I love inserts so I’m not complaining and I’ve always enjoyed the Zenith inserts. The Red Hot and White Hot parallels look great as always with a shiny, fiery background. In 2005 Zenith baseball I pulled a Ted Williams White Hot and it looks awesome. The same technology to make those is still in use for this set it appears. You will also find 4 short print legends, 1 Crease is the Word insert, 1 Gifted Grinders insert, and 1 Z-RC.

Finally, everyone loves the hits. You will find 3 autographs or memorabilia cards per box with at least 1 being an autograph. One of the coolest autograph hits is the Yours Truly subset with the player on the card and Yours Truly written in beautiful lettering above where the star player signs. It’s a neat idea to bring to the table for autographed cards. A case break seems to contain 4 Yours Truly and 5 autographed rookies which makes me think the 1 autograph will be for most boxes. A great thing about this product is there will be SP rookie autographs of the top rookies numbered to just 199 which should keep them very collectible.

Overall, this looks like a great product for hockey prospectors and rookie collectors as well as if you want to have some fun with the Dare to Rip cards or try pulling one of those nice looking Yours Truly autographs. 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey releases around July 6th, 2011, with a price tag around $85 for a box.

Yours Truly,

Alexander Ovechkin

PS: To hold you over here is some images from the Panini Peek of Zenith hockey.

(SCB Note: PSS: Need the 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey checklist? Or how about some good ol’ fashioned 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey box ripping?)

Contest Winnings Mail Day

As I state in the below video, I normally don’t do mail days unless there is something really nice in there. I mean, who wants to see some common jersey or rookie autograph no one has heard of. I’ll keep my mail day videos to be something special to look at. This time is one of those times.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK6x5Cs0T4U]

In case you can’t view the above video, here is how I won this bad boy. Sports Card Forum held a VIP Contest for it’s VIP members and had it sponsored by Panini. The prize was well worth how in depth this contest was. Let’s talk about the contest first. The contest involved the entire Stanley Cup playoffs. Every game each day I had to guess one person who would score a goal. Every game. That’s a lot of research and commitment. I knew I had it in me, I mean, I’m a hockey fan and love the NHL Playoffs. I think it’s the best playoff system in sports next to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Anyway, long story short, I won with 36 total goals correctly guessed over the course of the playoffs. Second place finished with 33. It was a long battle in which I was victorious. And to the victor goes the spoils.

This is not a PC card but will be used to get a PC card or towards my box breaking fund for the site. I wish I could give it away again, but I can’t afford to right now.

So again, I would like to thank Sports Card Forum and Panini for holding this contest. This is one of the nicest  1 of 1 cards I’ve ever had in my possession. Here are some pictures for those who can’t view YouTube at work, don’t worry, I got you guys covered.

2010-11 Panini Limited Material Monikers Patrick Kane Autograph/Prime Jersey 1 of 1

Sweet.

July 2011 Sports Card Releases

July 2011 is going to be busy with sports card releases. It seems like every sport is throwing a ton of product out in July. I’m not entirely sure why July is that month, but it’s going to be very interesting to see what collectors will be spending their money on and what they will be pushing aside. But rest assured, I am here to help you. Below will be a list of all releases in the month of July and their dates in every sport. I will also link to any previews I may have up and rate them from 1 to 10 on my excitement level. I’ll even include a price point. Sounds like a big undertaking? Well it is. But it’s going to be informative. Release dates are subject to change.*

BASEBALL

2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $110 – Excitement: 8/10

The Bryce Harper chase will continue with 2011 Bowman Platinum baseball. While a rookie autograph relic for Harper is not yet confirmed in the checklist, you know Topps is going to do everything in it’s power to get that card in this set, just like Strasburg from last year. You will be able to find plain rookie autographs though and that is enough to get the nod as a product to buy.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball – Release: July 13th, 2011 – Price: $90 – Excitement: 8/10

A fan favorite since it was brought back from the dead, Allen & Ginter will be out in July. With one of the better autograph checklists in recent years and a fun set to collect, everyone will continue to buy Ginter.

FOOTBALL

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $85 – Excitement: 7/10

While not traditionally one of the strongest releases of the football season, 2011 Rookies & Stars will have all your top draft players and a mix of veterans with jerseys, autographs, and patches. This will also have an insert set that pays homage to the old Donruss Studio brand as well which is pretty cool to me.

2011 Score Football – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $30 – Excitement: 6/10

The set for just about anyone is back. Mainly aimed at lower end set builders and those without the money to spend on cards, Score Football is back and will include all the top rookies and a few scattered autographs here and there. I am not a set builder so this rating is a little lower, but lower end flagship sets are definitely a need in this hobby and Score football supplies that.

2011 Topps Football – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $55 – Excitement: 7/10

Topps flagship football is here year after year with all your new rookies and players in their new uniforms. It may be harder to do without official workouts going on, but it will be out. A big set to put together and a ton of new Super Bowl themed inserts to keep it fresh, Topps is looking good as usual.

2011 Upper Deck NCAA Sweet Spot – Release: July 13th, 2011 – Price: $110 – Excitement: 7/10

Your premium one autograph a pack Upper Deck product is back with the newest draft picks and veterans all in their college glory. Usually a very hit or miss product, this is for those who love autographs and are looking to get a head start on the rookies for the upcoming season.

BASKETBALL

2010/11 Panini Gold Standard – Release: July 14th, 2011 – Price: $175 – Excitement: 9/10

This new product by Panini looks like it is going to be a hit amongst collectors. Just from looking at the number of Google searches coming into my site looking for information on Gold Standard is astounding. With real gold embedded into the cards and a great selection of autographs and memorabilia, this first time product looks like it may become a Panini staple.

2010/11 Panini Season Update – Release: July 20th, 2011 – Price: $65 – Excitement: 7/10

To wrap up the season in full, Panini Season Update is released at the end of the season and finishes with updates of trades, champions, and history making games of the season. Last year, this was the best value of the season with tons of extra hits and one can hope for the same this year.

2010/11 Panini Totally Certified – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $100 – Excitement: 8/10

The newly renamed Totally Certified will be coming out as well highlighting the best rookies and stars of the season. Tons of low numbered parallels and the debut of Panini HRX video trading cards, Panini Totally Certified should be near the top of your list for basketball products.

2010/11 Upper Deck All-Time Greats – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $285 – Excitement: 8/10

With a Jordan autograph every 6 boxes, it’s hard not to like this product. The checklist looks great for a 20 living legend checklist. Included will be deceased cut autographs as well. You want stars of the game today and the past, look no further. This should be a fun product to open.

HOCKEY

2010/11 Panini Dominion – Release: July 27th, 2011 – Price: $375 – Excitement: 9/10

Panini’s debut high end hockey product of the season releases in July with great hits and already tons of buzz from the hockey community. Tons of great memorabilia hits and autographs of stars, rookies, and legends, this is a product that I would want most this July, but will only be able to afford if I find a job. Please let me find a job.

2010/11 Panini Zenith – Release: July 6th, 2011 – Price: $85 – Excitement: 7/10

Panini debuts Zenith with their first Rip Cards and the largest rookie checklist of the year. Over 200 rookies for you to get your hands on in this product. Also find rookie autographs and veteran autographs as usual with some neat insert concepts.

2010/11 Upper Deck Ultimate – Release: July 20th, 2011 – Price: $90 – Excitement: 9/10

Upper Deck Ultimate hockey is the premium product that leads to The Cup in August. Great rookie and veterans autographs and usually awesome patches, this product is always a hit with hockey collectors. If I had the money it would be a tough decision to go with one box of Dominion or multiple Ultimate boxes. I’d have to find a way to do both.

That’s it for July. 13 products from four sports across the whole month and I didn’t even mention Upper Deck Goodwin Champions which will release July 5th, 2011 a week early at the end of June and covers a whole mess of sports. So make that 14 products over the course of one month. It will definitely be a busy month for collectors. Everything from a $30 box of Score football to a $375 box of Dominion hockey will be released.

But either way, all these products means a lot of fun for those who want to rip open some new product! May the mojo be with you this July!