Preview: 2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology Hockey

You remember all those rookies that you wished you pulled from Panini products earlier this season? How about those players that skated late and didn’t get a chance to get into some of Panini’s most valuable products for rookie autographs?

Well Panini has an answer to all those questions with the new 2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology hockey.

The rookies who were pulled from products because of redemptions and players who skated later in the season are finally available in all of your favorite Panini designs. Rookie Silhouette? Check. Limited Phenoms? Check. Other designs you may not have seen this year? Check.

Each box will contain 10 packs with 5 cards per pack. Each box will deliver one Rookie Treasures dual memorabilia autographed rookie card, one additional autograph and two memorabilia cards. On a 12 box case basis you will find 1 Luxury Suite autograph patch, 2-3 Limited Phenoms rookie autographs, and either a Rookie Silhouette auto jersey, patch autograph, or a Rookie Treasures patch autograph.

If you’re a rookie collector, this is the perfect product to feed those needs.

Need to feed the need from more pictures? Check out the official Panini blog.

Personally, I think it’s a great idea to get players who skated late into products as well as using a later product as a hold out in case you have too many redemptions for a product. This is a nice creative way to releases those cards to the public while keeping them collectible instead of just adding more redemptions that collectors hate or waiting to create those new rookies next year.

The price and release date is currently to be announced, but we’ll have that information when it’s made available.

2012 Topps Museum Collection is a Pleasant Surprise

One of the common gripes amongst baseball card collectors in recent years is “Why can’t Topps put together a decent high end product?” We’ve seen great things from Topps in other high end departments like Topps Five-Star, but nothing close to that in baseball.

Until this year. Until now.

For all intents and purposes, I call 2012 Topps Museum Collection a high end product. Really, any product over $150 at release I consider high end. I remember when it used to be anything over $100, and some people would only claim those $300-$400 boxes are the only true high end nowadays.

Would you call it a game changer? Some would. I would. The quality of this product reminds me of something that Upper Deck would of done, but with the signature Topps flair. As one person has stated on Twitter, “It’s like Marquee and Tribute had a baby.”

The reason I mention former Upper Deck products is that one of the gripes of Topps collectors is about how stingy Topps has been in the use of the uniform patch relics. This product features no shortage of patch relics, that’s for sure. Usually it seemed that Topps reserved the best patches for the most hard to get cards, that has definitely changed with this product. While the numbering on the jaw dropping patches is low, and that’s rightfully so, there are still a ton of other great looking patches in this product that are easier to pull.

And that has definitely reflected on secondary prices as well. Just checking the secondary market prices on places like eBay really showcases what a well designed card, some on-card autographs, and beautiful patches can do to the value of cards.

Good show, Topps. Good show.

 

Review: 2011-12 Panini Preferred Basketball

2011-12 Panini Preferred basketball is the first high end offering from Panini during this shortened NBA season. It features four cards per pack/box with 3 autographs and one booklet card. At $200 it’s quite a gamble, but the product is a nice mix of a bunch of products that Panini would have put out this season if it wasn’t for the NBA lockout.

It features some of it’s higher end cards from a couple products, including the collector favorite Silhouettes from Crown Royale. We got our box in for review and can show you what kind of amazing cards you can pull from this product, as we pulled a sweet patch autograph in which you will see below the review.

If you want to see some other possibilities in this product, check out our official preview of 2011-12 Panini Preferred basketball after checking out this product review. Until then, check out what we pulled and you can possibly win in future contests here!

Design:

Trying to rate the design on this product is interesting. You have a bunch of different designs that would of all been in separate products had Panini had a full season of products. So while there is no real underlying theme to this set, the cards they chose to pack out in this product are some of their best designs in the respective products they used. For instance, the Silhouettes patch autograph we pulled is absolutely beautiful and a beautiful patch with an on-card autograph. The booklet card looks great, but wish they included autographs in booklets in the product. Otherwise, I’d be impressed whether these were in separate products but it’s cool they are combined into one.

Checklist:

The one thing I always enjoy about Panini products is the mix of current players and NBA legends. The one thing I don’t like about this product is the lack of rookies. I buy the excuse of the lockout a little bit, but I’ve seen some cards produced of players in their new uniforms without an issue so the rookies could of been made. Other than that, I received a nice second year player autograph, a current budding star, and a Hall of Famer for my autographs as well as a great mix of retired players in my booklet.

Value:

I actually got great value out of my box and I really think a lot of boxes will provide some pretty decent value. The three autographs is great with the chance for low paralleled autographs and solid booklet combinations, despite there not being autographed booklets. The checklist helps too with the great number of veteran players and retired players whom collectors do like to search for. At $200 a box, it may be well worth the gamble considering what Panini is trying to do this season with their products. It’s definitely fun to open as well.

Overall:

I shouldn’t be surprised on how good this product can be considering the types of cards they are putting into it, but it’s a nice pleasant surprise to get a $200 product and get some pretty good value in it despite getting only 4 cards in the box. The design is solid and uses some of the best designs over a number of Panini products. The checklist is very good despite the lack of rookies, and the value looks like it could actually have some good value across the entire run at average. I’d have to see more of what others pulled, to see if this box was better than average, but while I didn’t get big names except for the redemption, I think I still just about came out even.

As always, I appreciate Panini sending out this product for review. You can find them on their official blog, Twitter, or website.

Now, for the haul. Not shown: Hakeem Olajuwon Autograph Redemption #/10

Review: 2011-12 Panini Crown Royale Hockey

My personal product of the year last year as returned, featuring some of the best rookie patch autographs of the season as well a great looking die-cut base set. I fell in love opening this product last year, and this year was no different. Although I still have a redemption out for this product from last year. *shakes my fist* That hasn’t stopped me from opening another box this year, but this time, sharing it all with you and reviewing it. We want to see if the magic is still there from last season’s version of Crown Royale hockey.

Every box contains 4 packs and 4 hits. You can find usually at least 2 autographs per box from some of the best rookies and veterans of the game. For more, check out our official preview of this product. You can see what we didn’t pull and maybe something you could pull from this product.

As is the new standard in my reviews, the hits are at the bottom. But don’t skip down unless you want to ruin the suspense. So let’s get to it…

Design:

You should all know by now that I’m a sucker for two things, die-cuts and shiny cards. This has a bit of both. The die-cuts are fantastic again this year, despite them being the same design. But that’s what Crown Royale is all about. You also have die-cuts in the rookie patch autographs that are fantastic, albeit we didn’t pull one. What I did pull looked very nice though, including the colored parallel base cards. Only issue with those is why aren’t they numbered this year? I pulled a red parallel and a light blue parallel. What does that mean? I’m lost. But why did football only get 3 1/2 stars for practically the same product? Simple. The inserts here are a little better, more on-card autographs, smaller white box of death, and the colored base parallels. Some improvements were made, and I’ve noticed.

Checklist:

Great list of rookie autographed patches for one. I mean, you can’t beat the best rookies of the year combined with the best rookie autographed patches. Priceless. As always, a great selection of current veterans as well. But Panini also has changed things up in this product where it hasn’t in any other product by adding some of the best hockey announcers in the game. While I personally wouldn’t want one as my hit, there is a place for collecting these announcers and I know Canadian fans love their announcers.

Value:

The rookie patch autographs bring tremendous value to the hockey collectors out there, more so then football. They aren’t found in every box like they are in football, which keeps the value up and the collectors wanting them that much more. The patches in this product are always decent and as the checklist shows, you can pull just about anyone. It’s one of the better mixes in a product out there with the highly valued Silhouette autographs mixed with other hits of patches and autographs. If you like hits, this is the product for you.

Overall:

Overall, I didn’t feel the same magic as I did when opening it last year. But don’t get me wrong, there was still magic felt while opening it. I just think the magic was just that big last year. This year, the design is the same, but it’s a solid design in the first place, so don’t change that up too much. The checklist for Panini products is usually quite solid and this shows that once again that Panini likes to pack up just about everyone in every product. Finally, the value is there with the tremendous Silhouette patch autographs and the other great possible hits in patches and autographs. I think 2 autographs, a patch, and a jersey card is okay in my book. But please, return the numbering back to the parallels! I don’t want to have to look up how rare a certain color is, it should just tell me.

Thanks again to Panini for providing this box to review. There won’t be a contest yet for these groupings of products as we are going to put together something nice for the 100,000 views and one year blogoversary combo party. Stay tuned!

And ah! My camera cut off some of the pictures when I uploaded them…sorry!

Topps Five-Star Football Out and Looks Good

Why can’t Topps do a high-end baseball product like they can with football?

2011 Topps Five-Star is out and is what everyone had expected when previewing the product. Tons of on-card autographs, nice patches, and even redemptions for full autographed jerseys and helmets.

Five-Star was a welcome surprise last year and the product continues to be a great product again this year. It is once again, definitely a contender for football product of the year. The addition of those aforementioned full autographed jerseys and helmets really pushes it over the edge. I’ve been wanting a product to do this for years, and the fact that it has finally come true is exciting. Who wouldn’t want to pull one of those cards?

The only real complaint I’m hearing from collectors is the single, plain, jersey cards that you can find in any other product. That is a very legitimate complaint and is something that Topps should figure out how to avoid next year.

Now we have to wait and see the final product of 2011 Panini National Treasures football and 2011 Upper Deck Exquisite football products to see how they compare to a great Topps product this year.

What do you think of what you’ve seen from this product so far?