Preview: 2011-12 Panini Crown Royale Hockey

This is exciting news that Panini Crown Royale hockey is coming back for another season. Before last year, I had never opened a hobby box of hockey product nor had I opened any Panini product before. So obviously, this product has a special place in my collecting heart. So I’m happy to see a return from probably the most successful Panini hockey product from last year.

The Rookie Silhouettes will return as probably one of the hottest rookie autographed cards from last year. This trend will likely continue after all the great feedback I saw around the hockey collecting community and this may again be the hockey rookie card of the season. On card autographs with a patch from the player behind the picture.

But new this year will be a limited set of veterans with the Silhouette design which will surely make several collectors excited. They added this to football this year and I’ve only heard good things about it, but the hockey version will be different with on-card signatures.

Ice Kings will feature legends of the NHL with more on-card autographs limited to just 99 copies and Scratching the Surface will return with the autographs on the faux playing surface with signatures like Alex Ovechkin, Marty Brodeur, Jaromir Jagr, and Steve Yzerman just to name a few.

And surely several of your favorite inserts should return with jersey and patch parallels to fulfill all of your collecting wants.

I’ve said before that I love die-cuts so this product will always be at the top of products I want to open, plus of the special place in my collecting heart.

This product will hit stores in sometime in the coming months and the price range will probably be about $25/pack or $100/box.

Make sure you check out the official Panini Peek of this product for more information and photos!


Review: 2011 Panini Absolute Memorabilia Football

One of the higher end staples from Panini is back on the table this year with some nice improvements to the quality of the product. This year, all the 36 rookies who attended the Rookie Premier have on-card autographs in this product which results in some great looking cards. But how will the rest of the product hold up?

We have been given a box to review once again by Panini and we will check out some the great hits that you can pull from this product. And by great, I mean great, because we ended up pulling a great looking card below.





Not shown: Greg McElroy Rookie Spectrum Auto GOLD (Redemption)


The overall base design is very solid in foil with a great action shot and a great layout for name and position. To me, it seems like they got confused and put the team logo where the brand logo should be. But that’s not a big deal at all. Even the Spectrum layouts are solid as well. The inserts are very…”Panini-like” as they have the same feel as other products. Player off-centered, team logo where memorabilia goes, and then the other information. It’s been that way as far back as I can remember since I got back into the hobby in 2005 so no change there. I’m not a huge fan of the design of the RPM cards, I mean look at that Steven Ridley card. That Patriots logo is HUGE! I’m guessing that’s where an autograph would go if it was an autographed version? Just not a fan. But that Ingram looks great with everything filled up (as well as the Tony Gonzalez patch).


A great bunch of rookies that you will find in every product, but the paralleled RPM materials help make the rookies pulled that much better. The jumbo patch autograph really added the needed value to the box and having future Hall of Famers like Tony Gonzalez on the checklist is a solid addition. You can pull just about anything from this product, but you’ll more than likely hit mostly rookies, which can be good or terrible. But they make the rookies well worth it if you hit a nice card like that Ingram. But again, this product suffers from too large of a base set of veterans and rookies and needs to be cut down a bit.


I really didn’t hit any plain jerseys in this box which is a great start to a product that costs over $150 for four packs of cards and a hit per pack product. The RPM you could consider a plain jersey, but you’re bound to find them in every product like this. The other hits were great with the Tony Gonzalez two color patch, the Mark Ingram jumbo patch autograph, and even a solid rookie autograph redemption. I still have faith in Greg McElroy. I’ve seen a lot of great boxes of this product, more then a lot of products out there by any manufacturer and more “good boxes” then “bad boxes”.


Overall, Absolute is a fun break at a hit per pack but it’s also an expensive break. If I bought one pack and got that Steven Ridley as my hit, I wouldn’t be a happy camper. This is definitely best bought by the box. The design is solid and I think they did a good job with the traditional Absolute foil on the base and inserts. The design on the hits are okay but that doesn’t matter as much when you get some solid hits like this box provided. The checklist is too large for this type of product for the base veteran and rookie set, but the hit checklist is pretty solid and the rookie on-card autographs are great. I mean, the Ingram wouldn’t look half as good if that was a sticker. The product is going to be hit or miss, but it looks like there are more hits and then misses this time around from the number of box breaks I’ve seen which is a good thing.

Again, I’d love to thank Panini for providing this box for me to review. You can visit their official site or their official blog to find out more information on great cards like the ones pulled above.

Review: 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup Hockey

After having a dual review of both 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup hockey and Panini Dominion and writing my full review of Panini Dominion, it’s time to fully review this year’s The Cup hockey from Upper Deck. Upper Deck The Cup is a single pack product with a current price at $420. Every box should have 6 cards, although I have seen several with only 5.

2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup has always been a hit amongst collectors as one of the must get products of the season. People often break this product by the case, however I could not afford a case of The Cup and found a box on sale at DA Card World with my Premier Account. So I saved a bit of money and made sure I got the really thick toploaders you’ll need for the cards in this product. Here’s what I pulled.





The design on this product is always top notch and always one of Upper Deck’s best designed products year after year. The design is extremely clean with some great accents in the back but it features the player fully and completely. While I think some designs could use some work, like the Quad jersey above, most everything else is absolutely beautiful to look at and really it should appeal to everyone. Really, there isn’t much left to say about that.


Sure, Upper Deck has the reigns when it comes to the greatest hockey players of all time. They have an exclusive contract with Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Gordie Howe. This product features a ton (I think too much) of the hottest rookies of the last year. I did a count of Taylor Hall autographs and counted around 600. I was in shock and surprise at this number. Sure, it’s good for some people, but what this product lacks is variety. It could use a lot more in terms of other players. I understand that the players they choose help keep the value of the product high, and I respect that. However, I know some people would like a great looking high end card of their favorite player of the past or present that just may not make the cut for this product. Compared to the other product, The Cup has less of a player selection.


If I gave Dominion a 5 star rating here, certainly The Cup deserves it as well. I am going to mention this here as well, I have seen a lot of The Cup boxes be absolutely terrible when it comes to value. Moreso than the other offering. However, this is a great product to open by the case with awesome case hits that make great money. Even some of the standard hits are selling very well on the secondary market. I’ve already checked prices on my pulls and I can see I didn’t do too bad myself. I like the value that this product brings, but if I got one of those terrible boxes, I would have been pissed. Maybe some better hand collating could be done.


Overall, Upper Deck The Cup is a great product that should be high on your list of products to purchase if you can afford it. The designs are always sleek and clean, featuring your favorite hockey players completely and fully. While the checklist could use some more variety, you can’t complain with some of the possible names in this product from the hottest rookies to some of the greatest hockey players of all time. The value is definitely there, but be careful on single boxes as you do have a chance for a really terrible box. But if you open this by the case, you will find some awesome hits.

Make sure you check my dual box break review for the video of the break.

Preview: 2011 Panini Plates & Patches Football

Panini is back with a reformatted 2011 Panini Plates & Patches football to improve on the solid product from last season. I enjoyed last seasons product and watching all the pretty nice group breaks and box breaks of the product.

The first improvement is the new on-card signed rookie patch cards that will be in the product this year. The top 36 rookies, probably who attended the NFL Rookie Premiere, will all have on-card autographs. This includes Cam Newton, Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Randall Cobb. All of these rookie autographs will be numbered to 499 or less.

Also new and improved this year is the insert set called Signal Callers which will feature some of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, with a nice list of autographs for that set.

Each box of 2011 Panini Plates & Patches football will have 10 cards in it. You will get one on-card rookie autographed patch card, two more autographs numbered to 499 or less, and two memorabilia cards numbered to 299 or less. It will be rounded out with some inserts and base cards as well. There will be some great 1 of 1 printing plates found in this set including autographed printing plates, some with prime memorabilia and some without.

This product is set to release on December 14, so look out for this improved product!

Make sure you check out the Panini Peek for 2011 Plates & Patches football!

Plates and Patches rookies part 1!

Plates and Patches rookies part 2!

One Week Until 2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey

Finally, the wait is coming to an end.

2010-11 Panini Dominion hockey is set to hit store shelves on September 14, 2011. The biggest debut of the season is about to unfold. Will it end up like Jeff Skinner and win the rookie of the year award? Or will it end up being like Taylor Hall who showed glimpses of greatness only to get injured in a stupid play? (Yes, I am bitter about that.)

I’m still betting on the former. Like Jeff Skinner, this product has pulled out all the stops in order to make it contend with the best. While The Cup has released to great fanfare and non-stop breaks, Panini should see the same hype and number of boxes opened. I mean, have you been following the Panini America blog and have been seeing all these glimpses of Panini Dominion? Look at this one:

Or this one:

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. It’s not just the pain meds for the kidney stones.

How can you not like these? Amazing patches and probably one of the nicest book cards I have ever seen. If all of these images put out by Panini are what is in the majority of their beautiful blue Dominion wooden boxes, it is sure to not disappoint many. Of course there are some who may not get big pulls, but if they are as beautiful as some of these, it won’t matter too much.

I’m still working on trying to get a box of this product so I can have a head to head box break against The Cup, which should be here tomorrow. If I can, you can expect an epic battle on video between the two products with punches thrown, riots everywhere, and fire. Well, maybe not most of those, but you will have the most in depth review of both products head to head. So keep your fingers crossed.

Until then, keep watching the Panini blog as I’m sure there will be more goodness posted. Or if you haven’t seen my other posts about The Cup or Dominion and some of the other posts comparing the two, make sure you check those out. (Yeah, I’ve written alot!)