Preview: 2011 Topps Precision Football

Topps is creating another new football product this season and bringing in a hit per pack premium product with 2011 Topps Precision football. With a wide checklist of both rookies and veterans, this product looks like it could be a solid offering from Topps this year although it comes at a price.

$180 is that price for four packs of this product. Each pack will contain 3 base cards along with an autograph or an autographed jersey card. But the best part about this product is finally a sports card company is changing things up with autographs…Topps is featuring different color inks for it’s various autographed parallel cards.

The rookie checklist features 36 rookie subjects with red ink (#/75), gold ink (#/50), white ink (#/25) with all of them on-card autographs. You will find parallels of veterans as well in red, gold, green, and Precision parallels as well. There is even a small retired checklist at red, gold, and Precision parallels.

This product looks to be quite interesting with the possibility of up to an octograph booklet and all the way down to duals and some autographed patch cards.

Topps, you have my attention with this product. Precision and then Five Star look to be a great one-two combo in terms of Topps higher end products and I’m excited. I’ll be watching as this product goes on sale January 25, 2012.

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:

Not pictured: Demarco Murray Rookie Orientation Auto/Jersey Redemption

Design:

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.

Checklist:

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.

Value:

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:

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 Update & Highlights Baseball

As always, Topps is here at the end of the season to bring you all the highlight of the past season with all the big games, big trades, and big rookies to make an impact on the 2011 baseball season.

The base design is the same as Topps Series I and II, just a forewarning. Each box will contain 1 autograph or 1 relic card and the full set is 330 cards.

But you can find 192 players with cards on their new teams, 55 rookies who were not in Series I or II, and some highlights from the season including the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, and some Record Breakers this season.

For the base cards, there are parallels numbered to 1, 50, 60, and 2011. Again, you will find diamond parallels as well with all their sparkly goodness. As has been seen over the past few seasons, you will be able to find inserts featuring relics from the All-Star game including regular jersey and patch cards, some of them autographed. You will also be able to find the Topps 60 continuity program once again with relics and autographed versions.

So really, there isn’t much difference between this product or Topps Series I and II besides the addition of several rookies, some different Topps 60 cards, and some highlights from throughout the season.

This product should be out today, October 5th, 2011, for just under $60.

Review: 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified Basketball

Now, I don’t know what makes this “totally” certified compared to just regular certified, but this year’s product looks pretty good compared to years past. 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball is back yet again with great improvements from last year as well as some new additions, mainly the reveal of Panini HRX video trading card technology. While these are extremely hard to pull, they are some of the best looking and include the first autographed video trading cards to hit the market.

While our box did not contain such awesomeness, we were able to see what really make 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball stand out this year and that is the color, some on card autographs, and some nice looking game used pieces. Want to see what we got? The video provides some information, but when I started I thought the camera was runing, but it wasn’t. So I was halfway through when I noticed it, but reviewed the cards pulled. But look no further than below:

Base:

Parallels:

Game Used:

Autographs:

Design:

Actually, I really enjoy the design. I’m usually not huge on foil board type designs unless it is done really well, but I believe this is actually done really well. The starburst effect in the background looks great on the base cards, I just don’t understand the need for the abstract lines in the back. I see that the effect changes when the line is there, but couldn’t you do it without the abstract lines? The lower ones look out of place, but I wouldn’t mind just the triangle design. I’m not sure what they did with the finish on these cards but it feels pretty cool. It feels kind of grainy in the foil area but the player actually is raised up on the card and gives it a cool depth feeling.

Checklist:

While I can’t find a list of the veterans who actually signed in this product, the overall checklist is actually very solid. There are 35 different rookie autographs to pull including the top picks in the draft which is not an over kill like other sports. The base set is kind of big for being limited, but the 150 cards presents a challenge to set builders and player collectors if you want all the parallels. The Certified Potential autographs list is great and the names on the game used jerseys is very good. Don’t forget about the HRX video trading cards! Making them hard to pull was a great strategy and keeping them limited in the future is something I would recommend.

Value:

Honestly, I wasn’t sure whether to give this a 3 or a 4. As I say, I always round this to the nearest whole number, so we’ll just say it’s around 3.6. The hit per pack thing is great and it has it’s place in the hobby. But a box of this product is nearly $100 right now. I ended up with nearly 1/10th of the base set, 6 or 7 parallels, and 6 “hits”. I would like to see just a little more content in these packs. The hits can stay as they were solid, the insert per pack is good enough for me, but maybe add in another base card or two. It would take at least 10 boxes to build a full base set and that is being generous. The names on the hits are solid which is nice compared to other Panini products with sometimes too many retired players. Just add another base card or two and I’d be very happy.

Overall:

Overall 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball gets 4s across the board from me. The design is very nice with a few odd things here and there but it really is something to see for yourself in your hands. The foil board looks great and the jerseys are done well. Just the autograph space on the rookie autographs looks a bit small but the nice big jersey piece is there too. Gotta take the bad with the good there. The checklist is solid overall and not killing you with retired players. The HRX makes it’s long awaited debut and even though I did not pull one, they look great. Finally, value wise I would like to see maybe another card or two added to the pack. Maybe it’s just me on that one and maybe I’m over reacting a bit. But it’s still not bad.

Now you get to see my ugly mug do a horrible job at opening it on video. It’s such a bad video, I forgot to press play or something when I started. So it’s a review of the half the box I had opened plus me opening the second half of the box, oops, sorry.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fLtVqFCJ5g]

Now as for the contest part, I have in my hands the Brandon Roy Totally Blue insert numbered to 299. The winner of this contest will be the person closest to guessing the serial number without going over, Price is Right style. Please also include at least one thought on the product in which I reviewed. The winner will receive the Danny Granger jersey and the Dejuan Blair jersey. Good luck!

A big thanks again goes out to Panini America for providing this box for me to review.

Preview: 2011 Topps Lineage Baseball

I’m running out of products to preview. Don’t worry, that is a good thing. That just means this blog is becoming a great source of information on all the products that will be arriving at your hobby shop real soon, exactly what my plans were when I started it. But right now, we have the brand new 2011 Topps Lineage baseball to preview.

First, we know it’s all about the baseball lineage. The front of the packing even looks like Mickey Mantle and Joe Mauer are holding hands. Two great number 7s. I’m sure Joe Mauer has always wanted to hold hands with the Mick and finally he gets his chance other then digging up his grave. But I’m sure you want to know what is actually inside the box…got that information.

You will find at least two autographs per box of this product with at least one being on card. Since this set will pay homage to it’s older sets, hence the name Lineage, by having some of these autographs on reprints of their famous 1952 Topps design. You will find stars of that set with these new autographed reprint versions. Players like Yogi Berra, Ralph Branca and Monte Irvin will grace these reprint autographs. While you will still find the younger stars like Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, and Hammerin’ Hank Aaron on reprints of other famous Topps card sets. Finally, you will find some future legends on the 1952 card design as well with autographs. I’m guessing they will have Topps perennial players like Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols as some of the top hits.

Oh, and since it’s Topps 60th birthday, the celebration autographs will also be randomly inserted like it has been through most products this year.

Next there will be 1 relic per box. Some of these will be printed on reprints of the 1964 Topps Giants series if you’re old enough to remember these. I’m not old enough as my father was barely born at this time, but I definitely know about this series. These will be numbered low with jersey and bat relics and will be a box loader only. Again, I love the return of the box topper and it should be in every product. You can also find 1975 mini relics as well as more 60th Anniversary relics and jumbo relics with patch versions.

Finally, we have everything else. These past couple years have been the return of the inserts and this product has a ton of them with parallels. Anyone remember 1968 Topps 3D? That one I’m not familiar with but that concept will return as an insert set using life-like 3D technology and inserted 2 per box. Their words, not mine. You will also find 2 stickers per box based off of the 1972 cloth stickers set. Hablas espanol? You will find 2 Venezuelan Spanish versions of the base cards per box as well. These next two insert sets are my favorite. The first is the rookies on vintage 1980s style designed cards. I grew up grabbing these cards from my friends so it is definitely a great nostalgia trip. The second is the 1964 Topps stand ups that will be reprinted or have current stars on that design. You can bet your bottom dollar I will find the Red Sox versions and have them standing around my man cave. But look at all those inserts! They will be everywhere, don’t worry they won’t be taking up your precious base.

You will find 8 base cards per pack printed on several different Topps designs over the years. There will be an All-Time Rookie Cup set of rookies in the base set as well highlighting the greatest rookies ever. With these cards you will be able to find mini versions, printing plates, canary diamond parallels, diamond anniversary parallels, and platinum diamond parallels.

Releasing August 3rd, 2011, this product looks to be full of awesome legends and even more awesome current players. You will find 24 packs in a box and apparently 8 cards per pack. Apparently 8 cards in a pack even though it says there are 8 base in a pack. I’m guessing there will be 6 base per pack and the others will be inserts or parallels. You will find this product at around $100 for a box.

One last thing to mention. If you’ve been trying to get the 60th Anniversary ring in the Topps Diamond Giveaway…well there is now another way to get it. Randomly inserted in hobby boxes of Topps Lineage is a redemption to receive a ring. All of you who have been buying up Series I and Series II to collect the rings and can’t find that Mantle to finish your collection? You have another redeeming chance.

Let’s change this up a bit and feature a card almost certainly everyone had at one point or another, without the autograph, this Nolan Ryan which can be found in these boxes.