Review: 2012 Panini Contenders Football

Panini Contenders is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this season, which means you can find some special surprises in this year’s rendition of the product. As always, you can find your top rookie autographs of the season along with some of the most popular short printed cards in any product or in any sport. Contenders continues to make their mark on the hobby this season with one of the best rookie classes in quite some time. Want to see what you can pull from a box? Check this out.

Design:4 stars blue

Unlike many others out there, I’m not huge on the design. It does pay homage to the past of the product which is cool, but I’m not big on one thing. Vertical signatures. When you have a trading card oriented a certain direction, and then put on an autograph in the other direction, it sort of throws off the card. Luckily, some players didn’t heed the warnings and signed the cards “correctly” so it makes it look better. But the white spot on the right with the players name really faded into the background looks off. But you know what it makes me think of? How cool an acetate based Contenders product would be with that kind of design. Sort of reminds me of the old school Fleer E-X design if they did that. I can’t see Contenders breaking tradition to do it, but I think it would be cool to explore.

Checklist:4 and half stars blue

Contenders always has, and always will be a rookie centric product. With that in mind, you have one of the best NFL draft classes in a long time when it comes to skill players, especially quarterbacks. That makes this season even better when it comes to the rookie checklists. Of course you will find your no name rookies in the product, but one of the best parts about Contenders is that some of those rookies are VERY short printed and will get high secondary prices just because of that. Lower tier names aren’t worth as much, but short print them in a set that people always want to collect the entire set of, and you’ll have some positive pulls even if it’s just a DE.

Value:4 and half stars blue

Contenders holds its value better than any other product out there by Panini. If you don’t like Panini products, it is still the one product you want to buy year after year. I’ve seen even the biggest Panini haters get boxes of this product, so you don’t have to just quote me on that. There is proof. It is one of the most highly collected products of the season and at 5-6 autographs per box at $143 at DA Card World, it is a winner. The additions of the Cracked Ice anniversary parallels? Awesome. Adding that to the great rookie class and this is a product that will continue to sell well until supplies have disappeared.

Overall:4 and half stars blue

Overall, Contenders continues to be a winner for Panini year after year. The design this year is above average, but there are still little things that seem a little off to me. But no one buys this product for the design anyway (although I do love the ticket themes). They buy it for the rookies and this year has a ton of the rookies everyone loves this year. At the current price for a chance at some superb autographs that will hold their value, Contenders is one of the best.

Thanks to Panini for providing this box to review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

You can find the full checklist over on Cardboard Connection.

Want to watch our break video? Subscribe to us on YouTube.

Wanna see what we pulled right now in photo form? I’m having issues with uploading, but at least I got the hits up! Look below:

 

Review: 2012 Topps Chrome Football

Yeah, it’s a little late to be reviewing this product. Especially since I bought it on Black Friday. But late is better than never. I’ve had to catch up on all of the other (sponsored) breaks and those definitely get first priority. But now we can check out Topps Chrome football, one of the hottest products of the year from Topps. With their Chrome technology, on-card autographs, and sweet refractors, it is always a hit season after season. Want to see how this season fares? Check out the review:

Design:4 and half stars blue

The design this year is clean, organized, and has a great look to it. One of the best parts about most Topps products is that the designs always have great order to them. They may not be crazy fancy, but everything is neat, in order, and appealing to the eyes. This is one of those sets that looks great even without the Chrome finish. And of course, the Chrome finish itself is always the same. Good part though is the less bend in the cards this year. The inserts are very nice too and Topps has taken hold of the die-cut resurgence with more great offerings. Overall, a very well designed product for one of their biggest products of the season.

Checklist:4 and half stars blue

Flagship Topps has always been about two things. Current players and rookies. That’s what it does well and that’s what everyone expects. That is exactly what it does as well. It features all of your favorite players of the game and the rookies from the incoming draft. The checklist also features a couple of insert sets that are pretty sweet as well including the rookies like the Tall Boys and the 1957 replica cards. Very well put together set by Topps. (Don’t forget the refractors as well, but were there too many colors?)

Value:4 stars blue

I was able to grab my box for $80 during a Black Friday special at DA Card World, but you can now find it there for $113. The price keep continuing to rise with the hot play of the rookie in the product and the value of those different rookies autographs and paralleled cards. It really is a product that is full of value with the autographs and refractors. If it wasn’t for the refractor parallels, I would be going off on how high the price is for essentially one autograph, but these cards always hold value. These are really the best rookie cards to have on the season. I just give the product 4 stars in value as the autograph hit and refractors may not line up to be too good, sort of like my box, and especially at a price as high as the current price. And the inclusion of memorabilia cards, are they just an added hit? If so, that’s fine, but the autographs are what makes this product. At $80, it’s a great break. $113? Not so much. But that’s the market for you.

Overall:4 and half stars blue

Overall, 2012 Topps Chrome football is one of the best product of the football season once again, and possibly the best product for rookies and autographs that is easily available to the masses. The design once again is top notch, although the “camo” refractor would look alot nicer if it was a camoflauge like x-fractor. That’s just nit-picking though. I mean, the product is what we thought it was. IT IS WHAT WE THOUGHT IT WAS! That’s a good thing as the product has enough legs to keep the set up the same year after year. The value holds up, although the market has really played with it alot with everyone purchasing it. Topps, please don’t release more cases next year.

Check out the full checklist over at Cardboard Connection.

Check out the video, I recorded it awhile back when camera was down…

 

Review: 2012 Panini Signatures Series Baseball

2012 Panini Signature Series baseball is out as one of Panini’s premier products that produces penmanship from prospects and pros. All alliteration aside, it’s a product with a three autographs per pack/box along with three parallels. Without the use of the MLB logos, this product is still a great looking set with an old-school Donruss Studio look to it. Let’s see what you can find in a product like this…

Design:

As stated in the introduction, the design is sort of a license-less homage to the former Donruss Studio products. A studio setting face shot, dark background, with a slight appearance of the hat that is cropped out just enough so you know it’s a baseball player. Great use of cropping in the product to give it a great feel. Now most know about my feeling toward manufactured patch autographs, and this product is full of them. If they came up with a different design for that portion of the product, I easily would have given this at least another half star. But we also have the inclusion of faux baseball leather autographs on the Sweet Spot, which I have always loved. I’m glad to see those brought back again in baseball products.

Checklist:

The checklist is heavy on the rookies and short on the veterans. There really isn’t much else to say about that. If you pull one of the stars or legends of the game you’ve got some luck on your side. While the selection of rookies is large, it is still larger than the selection of veterans/legends in terms of variety and numbering. For instance, most of all rookies are numbered to 299…veterans and legends? 25 or less.

Value:

I was actually shocked when while doing my research I saw the original and current price for this product. Right now you can find the product for $97 at DA Card World. I thought that was still too high, but it originally came out at $120. For a product that leans heavy on the rookies, despite the three autographs per box, it feels very overpriced. Even at $97 it feels overpriced. I’ve seen this and other breaks of the product and I can’t justify $120, let alone $100 for this product. I’m not sure why it was priced so highly, but it could definitely use a price drop if Panini wanted to sell more product earlier in the cycle. My one issue with the MAPP is that I shouldn’t have to wait until after it expires to get a price that is accurate.

Overall:

It’s weird going from a huge success in Panini Cooperstown to a semi-fail in this product. The product design is nice, despite not being a huge fan of manufactured patch autographs. The Sweet Spot autographs was a nice addition to the product as it has always had a solid backing in a lot of previous sports card products. The checklist is sort of disappointing, but there are still some really nice autographs to be found in the product. At the price of $120, it’s definitely a no-go. Even at the newly lowered price, it is still a tough break.

Thanks to Panini for providing this product for review. You can visit them on their official site, blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

You can find the full checklist and other information at the Cardboard Connection website.

Video is below, it’s short and sweet.

Review: 2012 Panini Gridiron Football

It’s no longer the “Gear” it is just “Gridiron”. 2012 Gridiron football made its…sorta debut with the same things you loved about Gridiron Gear but just under a different moniker. Don’t get confused, your favorite cards are still there with some added new surprises from the people at Panini. With 2/3 autographs per box and some memorabilia action too, it’s a fun break. Add in the dynamic photography and inserts and you will see what you can get below in the review…check it out:

Design:

There is a lot to like about 2012 Gridiron from Panini in terms of design. The first is obviously the beautiful photography that you can find in the product. With action shots from just about every possible angle and full bleed photos, the NFL action is really the first thing you notice about the product. The second is I really like the insert designs this year, I’m not digging the foil so much, but the concepts behind them are solid. The only issues I seem to have are the X’s and O’s designs. They make the autographs look a little better, but I just feel like it’s missing something to complete it. Maybe it would have looked better die-cut, but the background is kinda bland to me. But as always, design is always according to the eyes of the beholder.

Checklist:

Of my three autographs, all three of them were rookies. Two of them I had never heard from. We understand that not every player can be a first rounder but when you are pulling defensive ends and safeties you’ve never heard of, it’s probably gonna be a bad day. At least I heard of Alshon Jeffrey. I understand the price of getting these rookie autographs and getting them into sets, but there has got to be some veterans out there that you’ve heard of that play those positions that would make better replacements. Is Logan Mankins cheap? Probably. Do more than Patriots fans know who he is? Probably. Wilfork? Of course. Better names, cheaper veterans, better options.

Value:

At $100 bucks a pop, again my ongoing issue with Panini is their starting price for everything. I still feel like everything they put out is overpriced during their MAPP program. People still buy it, but it never feels like the value is equal to where it should be. When your hits consist of those types of rookies I described above, as stated, it’s not a good time. Although I do have to admit, there are some amazing patches on that Nick Toon patch card, it still doesn’t equate to what I would find to be a box worth the $100. How about a product where you are guaranteed one/two rookie autos, one veteran auto, and a mem card?

Overall:

Overall, Panini Gridiron looks good on the eyes, but the product itself may be a bit deceiving. The product is a little weak when it comes to the autograph checklist and when you are getting 2/3 of those in a box, you want to at least hope you know of one or two of them. I knew Alshon Jeffrey but the others are just your typical later round defensive players that half of the collectors don’t know anything about. They make great filler, but it shouldn’t be 50% of your total hits. Just your typical 3+ rounder defensive players. That really takes away some of the value when you’re paying $100 a box, a price that I feel is a bit too much for the product. I know it’s weird to say this, but I find the base and inserts more appealing than the hits…and you don’t spend $100 a box on just base cards.

Thanks to Panini America for supplying this box for review. You can find them online on their official site, Twitter, Facebook, and blog.

Check out the full checklist of the product over at Cardboard Connection.

Now here are photos of some of the beauties and the beasts…after Photobucket starts working. Working on the image issue. Until then, check out the video!

Review: 2011-12 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

Last year’s 2010-11 Gold Standard set a mark for future products and the success of the product brought it back for a second season. The price point stays the same at about $200 a box and there are a few tweaks to a very good product last season that collectors will notice. With more of a game used element with the autographs, less inserts, more base, and the same number of hits, the basics are generally the same with this product. Want to see what’s in your typical box break? Well here we go…

Design:

The design of this product is about as clean of a design as you can get with the foilboard. I really enjoyed the design as there wasn’t too much going on in the background. The base cards look great, and my favorite design has to be the Signs of Gold autographs. It’s almost the perfect design for the autograph placement and picture. The one thing I didn’t like which I will complain about for just about every product is the sideways autographs. This product features some of them and I just need everything to be uniform design-wise. I think if they put the Career Points over on the right instead of the autograph like the game used cut outs, it would have been much better. Otherwise, I really enjoy most every design that I pulled. Good work on changing it just enough to keep the collector interested this year.

Checklist:

I don’t think the checklist is as good as last year’s product. The one improvement I see is the cutting down of the inserts and including more base cards. That makes set collecting possible and really improves the feel of the break. But I think it has just enough of the legends and current stars to keep it interesting. With a few different retired stars and a few different current players in the product it changes things up, but there are more players out there who would make a better appearance in this product to improve the checklist which would also improve the…

Value:

Value wise, it’s a little tough this year. Last year’s checklist was a little bit better and the additions to this year’s product weren’t quite as good. For instance, we pulled Earl Monroe. Once a great player, not many autographs, sells alright. The rookie autograph redemptions, good work getting those out, but waiting until October for the draft is too long. Finally, Kevin Martin as an autograph hit in a $200 product isn’t good. Include the fact you’ll get two plain game used jersey cards in the $200 product and you’re hurting. This is a product that screams one patch per box as your game used hit. Make that Dirk a patch and have a cut out “5 piece” game used card, and it’s a bit easier. It definitely has room for improvement in this department next year, but it’s just more of the little things. I’ve been tired of plain game used jerseys in expensive products for awhile without patches, and I’m going to continue that until I see results in products.

Overall:

Overall, this is an average to below average break for the product. The design is well done this year and is very clean and really focuses on what you need to focus on located on the card. I could do without the vertical autographs though. The checklist needs a little work but I do like the cutting out of the numerous plain old inserts from last year and think that makes for a better opening experience as well as collecting the base cards. The value needs a little work and I really want to see a patch included in every box instead of two game used pieces. 1 game used jersey, 1 game used patch. That’s all I ask for in a $200 product when it comes to memorabilia. That’s not a stretch offer.

As always, a big thank you goes out to the folks at Panini America for providing this box for review. You can find them online at their official site, blog, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with them.