Preview: 2011 Topps Platinum Football

2011 Topps Platinum is coming back again, but this time, I’m not too impressed.

I really like what Topps has done with most of their other products. Some Photoshop work here and there to make the rookies look like they are actually pictured in NFL jerseys. Or even used some photos from the Rookie Premiere with their team jersey on. But from what the sell sheet looks like, it will just be college team photos with the logos edited out. Nothing on the sell sheet mentions any other changes to the photos like the others have, so I am assuming this is how the cards will be delivered. That is disappointing.

While I enjoy most of the designs with die-cut parallels, rookie jumbo patches, and the rookie on-card autographs, I still can’t get past the images of the players on the cards. It’s just a personal thing for me, if you have access to the licensing of NFL logos and players wearing those NFL logos, why aren’t you using them?

You will get 3 hits per box. 2 being on card rookie refractor autographs and another being an autographed refractor patch card. Plus you will get one rookie refractor card per pack. So again, a ton of rookies. As always, there will be a ton of refractor versions as well. You can find green, blue, white, gold, superfractor, and printing plates.

Replacing your on card autographs may be dual, triple, or hexagraph cards. That’s 2, 3, or 6 autographs on one card.

The regular autographed patch cards are kind of disappointing as far as the checklist goes. There are only a few veterans on that list compared to a ton of rookies. I know more rookies means a less price for a product but the lack of veterans really takes away from some of the people who may buy this product. This seems to be reoccurring thing with Topps recently and I don’t like it too much.

You will find 20 packs per box and 5 cards per pack according to DACW.

This product should hit store on September 7, 2011 for a price around $86 dollars or so.

Here’s a checklist so you can see what I’m talking about.

Review: 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite Hockey

Happy Canada Day to all you Canadians who read this blog. I know there are a ton of you and have I got a great break for you guys. Being a quarter Canadian myself and having a fiancee who is 100% authentic Canadian, we celebrate Canada Day in our household in the States. I am celebrating it this year by opening and reviewing a box of 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite hockey!

Luxury Suite hockey is in it’s first year of production. What makes this product interesting is that it features a checklist of zero base cards. Every card is either a rookie, game used memorabilia, or autograph. Pretty cool concept if you ask me to have a product with no base cards. So with 4 packs a box and 3 or 4 cards in a pack (it seems like it couldn’t decide) and 8 total game used/autographs per box, I bring you my break and review of this product from Panini.

Rookies:

Game Used:

Autographs:

Design:

As I have stated in my preview on this product and on the official Panini America blog, I think this is one of Panini’s best designs of the year. While we weren’t able to see the beautiful rookie patch autographs in this break, you can see the good designing in these other cards. I would compare it to the design quality of SP Authentic mixed with Pinnacle. It shares very common characteristics and I think overall it’s a good design. On card autographs galore, great use of memorabilia, and I absolutely love the Private Signings set with the gold foil lettering. That looks great.

Checklist:

Everyone loves rookies, we get that. This product is full of a billion of them. Okay, not a billion but 125 rookies are in this product. There are a ton of star common jersey cards which is great too so you can pull some of the games best current players there. I’ll even say that the retired signatures checklist is okay with names like Gilmour, Roenick, and Dionne. The only thing lacking is the quality of star autographs in the Private Signings set. This is considered to be a high end product by most people. You can find this product at most places for about $170 right now. With a price point this high you should expect at least a few huge names in that list. Johnny T is the biggest name on that list. No Crosby, no Ovechkin, no Brodeur or Thomas…the star power on that portion is really lacking. Sure you have a chance to pull some absolutely awesome rookies in this product, but there should be at least a little bit of star power in your veteran players checklist at this price. If there were a chance for a Sidney and maybe Brodeur that subset would have been easier to swallow.

Value:

So the odds state you should get 8 autographs or memorabilia cards in your box. I received 9 so that is a good start. Including the rookies that breaks down to about $10 per card in this box. At the same price point as something like Absolute Memorabilia, you get a lot more hits for your money. The plain jerseys are high numbered and nothing special but the patches, sticks (which I didn’t pull), and autographs you can pull definitely make up for that. If there was a little more star power in these boxes as far as veteran players went, I think we could of moved closer to a 5 here. This is closer to 3 stars than it is to 5 stars as it stands. I didn’t receive a redemption which is nice and the autographs I pulled were on card autographs as well. Include the multi-colored swatches you can pull and the multi-colored stick pieces and this product definitely has value. But it’s hit or miss for the most part. Still, pretty solid.

Overall:

The design is one of Panini’s best in the hockey arena this year. I think the only product that can outdo it will be Dominion later this month. The swatches and sticks are very nice and the autographs are on card so that makes these cards look even better. While the veterans names on the checklist for autographs are kinda so-so, the rookies you have the possibility to pull amazing cards of are endless and rare so they hold great value. You get a ton of hits, including rookies, for your money and that beats other Panini products and even Upper Deck products at a similar price point. Just some of the selection could be improved in the veteran area. Overall, it is hit or miss but definitely a fun box to open as you know you are getting a couple of hits per pack.

I’d like to thank Panini America for providing this box for me to sponsor, please check out the various links I have posted around the site and visit them. I will be giving away a few cards from this break. Not sure which ones yet but I will give some away nonetheless. View the video below to find out how.

Okay, I’ll be nice for all those who don’t want to see my ugly mug. I’ll be giving away something to a random viewer who posts their comments on Luxury Suite in the comment area. Leave a comment about Luxury Suite, get your chance to win a random card or two from the break. Simple as that.

Preview: 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite Hockey

2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite hockey is one of last hockey products I have yet to preview that is set to come out this season. But rest assured, your preview is here hockey fans!

Your next mid-high end product from Panini is Luxury Suite and boy does it look luxurious from the what I can see. Each box will deliver 8 autographs or memorabilia cards. That’s right 8! At least two of them will be autographs, but I’m sure it’s safe to assume that you will find more. This product will be loaded with the hits you want.

There will be 4 packs in a box. Each pack will contain 2 autographs or memorabilia cards. But that’s not all. Every pack will also contain a rookie card. This product will contain a ton of rookies. 125 different rookie cards have made it into Luxury Suite making it one of the biggest crops of rookie cards. All rookies will be numbered to 899 copies so make sure you grab who you want for your collection. 50 of the rookies will contain an autograph or memorabilia on them. Some of these players are the highly collectible Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner, and Tyler Seguin.

Did I mention yet some of the cool memorabilia cards you can pull from this set? Every base card has a memorabilia insert associated with it. You can pull game used swatches of jerseys, patches, and sticks. Sticks have been under used for the most part when it comes to the hobby and Panini is right there by including game used sticks in their memorabilia pieces. The possibilities of hits in this product are definitely up there with higher end products, but for about half the price. Plus the base parallels numbered to 10 and 1 make it a chase for your favorite players more rare cards.

Now a lot of people have been criticizing the designs by Panini on some of their products. However, those critics will be speechless for some of the designs in this product. In my opinion, this is probably one of those most visually appealing designs that Panini has put together across all their products. Luxury Suite looks great. Nice big patch windows, looks to be on card autographs, and fluid designs featuring the player first and foremost. I would put the designs along the lines of SP Authentic of old with Panini’s own twist to it. It’s definitely a good thing. The rookie patch/autographs look amazing and I really enjoy most of the designs. Good work design team.

The end of June will bring you the most luxurious set to come to Panini hockey for a little under $200. I can’t wait to see some of the cards to come out of this product.

Want more? Check out the Panini Peek: 2010-11 Luxury Suite hockey

And as is mandatory in my hockey previews, ladies and gentlemen, Taylor Hall.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey

Upper Deck Artifacts hockey is the first hockey product of the new season. Featuring all your stars of the previous seasons and some of your newest rookies, Artifacts is what hockey collectors get excited for, it means hockey season is right around the corner.

This year’s rookie that everyone will want to get their hands on is Cody Hodgson of the Vancouver Canucks. Upper Deck has that covered in 2011-12 Artifacts. A box of Artifacts this time around will contain at least 3 multi-swatch memorabilia cards. At least one of them will be a dual/triple player card. One of the new memorabilia cards in Artifacts this year is a fight strap card containing the fight strap of a player’s jersey. Also, finally, making it into products more often is pieces of a game used stick. It seems that stick cards have only been reserved for the higher end of all brands but it’s nice to see them a little more often. Returning is the great patches from last year, so don’t forget about those.

The box will also contain 2 rookie cards and 1 rookie redemption. Yes, you hear the word redemption and you think of terrible things. But with the NHL rules on rookie cards, they must step foot on the ice, it gives the company a chance to get more rookies out with their initial product. Again, it might take awhile, but the rookies will be made and they will show up in your mailbox.

Finally, as far as hits go, there will be one autographed card inserted in a box. This year though, they have added some autographed memorabilia hits to the foray so it adds a little bit of value to the possible hits.

The base set will be 100 cards and you will find one base parallel numbered to 100 per box. There will also be two Legends or Stars insert sets included as well.

At 4 cards per pack and 10 packs per box it will take a few boxes to complete a set.

I have to say that the design hasn’t changed much from the past couple of years so if you’re looking for something different then it’s not going to come. The Auto-facts design for autographed cards look a little sharper this year, so I’m impressed with that. But one thing I would like to see is to incorporate some of the designs from UD Ice into this product. A lot of their Artifacts designs have some sort of wintery feel to them and I think the acetate designs from Ice would make a great insert or memorabilia set inside Artifacts. Just an idea.

This product is set to release in September and although I don’t have a price for it, I can expect it to be about the same price as last year, around $80 to $90.

Preview: 2011 Topps Finest Baseball

When Topps announced information regarding Topps Finest baseball recently, a lot of the hobby community seemed very excited for the possibilities this year. Far gone are the manufactured patches of the past few years and included are autographed on card rookies. It seems like Topps has listened to the die hard collectors out there and have made positive changes. For that, we thank you.

As always this will be a two mini box to one master box product. Each mini box will have one rookie autograph in it. One of those rookie autographs will be a rookie autograph with dual relics. Since there are other veteran autographs from the Finest Moments subset and the 60th Anniversary subset I am guessing you may find as many as three or four autographs per master box. Don’t hold me to that, but I’ve seen it in years past. Also returning are the large number of parallels. There will be 14 different parallels for each base card, which will give player collector’s a fit trying to find each card of their player. Thankfully, the parallels don’t look to be just border color changes and will be seen across the whole card. The aesthetics of the card really look that much better then just a different border color as you might see in Bowman.

New this year are rookie jumbo patch cards featuring 26 rookies with nice jumbo patches. These will be hard to find with the easiest parallel to get will be numbered to 10. These will also feature SuperFractors which should be awesome to pull. Also new, is the new inserts which are seeded 1 per mini box. Finest Freshmen featuring rookies, Finest Foundations featuring veterans, and Finest Moments featuring the best moments of a player’s career. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the 60th Anniversary autographed cards will be running in this product also celebrating Topps 60th birthday.

Finally, your case hit this year will be a Finest Moments autographed relic card featuring some of the top players in the game. Roy Halladay, Carl Crawford, and Joe Mauer are featured on the sell sheet of this product.

This product will be 5 cards per pack with a 100 card base set. There will be 12 packs per master box. The parallels of the base set include refractors from the past as well as a Die-Cut Mosaic numbered to 10, and a Canary Diamond numbered 1/1 celebrating Topps 60 years, totaling 14 different versions. You want to know who’s on the checklist? I can give you 2011 Topps Finest Baseball Checklist.

I believe this is set to arrive in September 2011, so you have plenty of time to get your money saved. This looks to be the best Finest product in years.

Here’s a pretty patch card to keep you occupied.