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.

Base:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Design:

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.

Checklist:

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.

Value:

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:

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.

Review: 2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey

Well I flipped a coin between doing a full review for 2010-11 Panini Dominion hockey or Upper Deck The Cup and Panini won. But don’t worry, I’ll have the other review up for you guys tomorrow. Right now, it’s Panini’s time.

After my head to head dual box break and review of both products, I am now featuring a full review of Panini Dominion. I will not have a video at the bottom as I opened both products at the same time, so if you wish to watch my ugly mug open either product, click the link above. Other than that, it’s just a typical review, but of the $390 per pack nature.

Base:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Design:

In the design area, there are things that I think look beautiful and things that I think are just average. Some of the more beautiful cards I didn’t exactly pull like the rookie patch autographs and the stick cards, but the Nifty 50 set and the rookie autographs are beautiful themselves. They are very clean looking and have a great big area for players to sign their names. I mean, look at that Bobby Hull autograph, it’s gorgeous. Some of the things I don’t like are that dual game used card I pulled and I’m not a huge fan of the different foil colors on the parallels. The black parallel above is a 1/1, but you can’t really read it while some of the other foils just don’t look right with the colors chosen on the layout.

Checklist:

I give the checklist 5 stars because of the wide variety of players from today and yesterday. Some of these players on the checklist you can’t really find anywhere else in any hockey product out today. I pulled a Johnny Bower autograph, which is a player that doesn’t have many autographs out there so that was kinda cool. I’m not a huge historian of the game, but it’s nice to see some older players get some recognition today. I also like that Dominion does not overload it’s product full of top rookie autographs and keeps the patch autographs to a minimum. Some may not like that they may not get a patch autograph, but keeping them rare is really a good thing for the hobby, even if you may not like it as a collector.

Value:

As I’ve said in the past, sometimes I have a hard time deciding whether to give a product one star or another. I don’t use half points, so I tend to always round up unless I have sufficient reasons not to. If I could, I would give the value a 4 1/2. One of the reasons behind wanting to deduct that little bit of a point is the use of plain jerseys. The dual jersey and the plain jersey aren’t really my favorites and really should be limited in a product of this price. However, Panini did raise the original number of cards per box from 8 to 10, so I can consider these plain jerseys just to be like free extras. The patches are very nice with a 3 color of Anze Kopitar and a 2 color of Patrick Kane. The autographs are very nice as well with great on-card goodness including a great Bobby Hull. I also had the luxury of pulling a 1/1 (the black base) so that was a pleasant surprise as well.

Overall:

Overall, 2010-11 Panini Dominion is a great product to open. If you are a high end collector and can afford the $390 price tag, you are in for a treat. While the design could of been a little bit better when differentiating between parallels, overall the design is pretty good. The checklist has a wide number of players from today and yesterday which makes every hit you pull a surprise. I know I was definitely surprised to see the autographs I pulled and even the memorabilia. The value is there and there are some pretty huge hits in this product. Collectors seem to be a bit wary on the secondary market for some reason, probably because this product is new to the scene, but it should be given the same weight as The Cup.

As always, I would like to thank Panini America for sponsoring this product for me to open and review. I always thank them but I wanted to be sure to thank them a bit extra this time around because you don’t often get to review a $390 product and for that I am extremely thankful. Make sure you visit Panini’s official blog and their official facebook page.

I will be giving away a couple cards from this break in the future, as I am currently running the Panini NFL Player of the Day promotion.

 

 

Review: 2010-11 Panini Elite Black Box Basketball

Another new and original by Panini has hit the basketball court in this final product for 2010-11 in the basketball arena. This one looks beautiful and is kind of a mix between Panini’s Donruss Elite brand and well known Black Box. This product has 8 cards per single pack box with 3 autographs and 3 game used memorabilia cards. Every card is numbered and you will see what we pulled below.

“Base”:

Game Used/Memorabilia:

 

Design:

I really love the design of this product. You won’t often find a full bleed black out background in trading cards anymore as everyone is obsessed with condition nowadays. Speaking of condition, yes, some of these cards do have a few condition issues that you can see because of the black background. Even the Artis Gilmore base card has some weird scratching on the front that really takes away from the card and I’m deciding whether to send it in to be fixed because it is numbered 4 of 5. Just be careful, because although the design is beautiful, it may cause some issues. I will get into the manufactured patch logoman cards in the value area.

Checklist:

The checklist is very cool. A very nice mix of veterans, rookies, hall of famers, and stars of the past. The only huge problem I have with the checklist is the way the product is collated. I’ve seen a few box breaks and there seems to be a weird mix to the collation with people getting multiple cards of the same player or teams, and that is something that should be fixed. For example, there are enough autographs and memorabilia cards in this product that I should not receive a Dan Majerle memorabilia card and an autograph card int he same pack. It just shouldn’t be happening.

Value:

I wasn’t sure whether this should be 3 or 4 stars. This product is $250 a pop. You get 8 cards. There are some collation issues, a little bit of damage issues, and then there is the manufactured patch logoman cards. I’m not sure this brings the value that some collectors want, but then again, I’ve seen some amazing cards come out of this product as well. It seems like it can’t make up it’s mind whether it wants to be a lower high end product or something like National Treasures. The manufactured logoman patches are scary. Logoman cards are supposed to be the cream of the crop when it comes to memorabilia. A fake logoman on a card like that is really a shame. That is probably the most disappointing part of an otherwise pretty good product.

Overall:

As I said, this product feels like it can’t decide whether it is supposed to be a lower high end, or National Treasures. I didn’t hit a rookie autograph, but the veteran, hall of fame, and former star autographs are pretty nice. The design is gorgeous, but with that comes some damage issues that may come along because of it. For that high priced of a product, I think there should be a guaranteed game used patch card as I feel like maybe there was a little too much plain jersey action. But overall, I really enjoyed the break and think it would be fun to open and fun to collect. This is definitely one of the hardest products to rate. I think I may have had too high hopes, but it didn’t disappoint too much.

Once again, a big thank you goes out to Panini America for sponsoring this review. Check out their official blog for tons of great product information.

Since I am running a huge promotional contest right now for the next month and a half, I will hold a contest for some of these at a later date.

 

Review: 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

The Gold Standard has arrived by Panini. This product is one of those single pack products that tries to bring the boom with every hit. Not only are there great possibilities for autographs in this product, you can pull cards either with a piece of gold embedded into them or pull a card made entirely of gold itself. This product redefines value in terms of adding actual gold to cards. I think it’s a cool idea, which is why I was excited to receive a box in the mail to review for you guys.

2011 Panini Gold Standard basketball is one pack with 12 cards per pack. The first thing I noticed was how amazing the packaging is. If I could give a rating for design of packaging, that would be 5 stars. It looks like a gold bar. Nothing denotes a product based on gold then having gold bar packaging! Let’s get to the goods from what I pulled.

Base:

Inserts:

Autographs/Memorabilia:

Design:

Some of you may like the design and others will hate it. I love it and think it looks great. I think you may only hate it if you haven’t held the cards live in your hands as they look great in person. The inserts look just as good as the base and I enjoyed all the gold themed inserts. The Gold Record is solid but I love the gold insert with the team ring up top in the corner and the year the player won the title. Finally, I actually like the use of sticker autographs in this product. I like how they used a gold background to give it that gold look and may even look best that way. The only thing I don’t like is the manufactured patches in this high end of a product. Meh.

Checklist:

The checklist is solid all around. You can pull anyone from some of the top rookies to Kobe Bryant and even some great Hall of Famers like I did. David Robinson! There are always a few duds mixed in there but I think overall you have a better chance at pulling something decent then you do not pulling something decent. Rookies, veterans, hall of famers, very good retired players…overall there is something for everyone in this product in all the insert sets. No complaints here as there are a ton of different hits for each player.

Value:

In my opinion, there are a couple of things that really hurt the value of this product. One being manufactured patches. Why would you put manufactured patches like that in a high end product like this? Sure they are gold threaded, but it’s just not the place to be putting those types of cards. Again, take the autograph off the cloth and I would like them a lot more and find more value in them. Secondly, plain game used cards. I received two plain game used cards. I believe in a product that is priced this high you have to guarantee at least one patch. Patches are the standard nowadays when it comes to higher priced products so this just needs to be guaranteed here. I don’t mind one regular swatch, but make one a patch.

Overall:

Some of you are going to completely hate me for my overall grade and some are going to agree with me. That’s only the nature of the beast with this product. If my camera wouldn’t have died taking photographs at the 3 on 3 Portland Trailblazers Street Jam, I would of showed you some of the reactions from people around the area whom I showed the cards to. Most were very impressed and some of the kids who were watching from a distance while I was taping were impressed too. I told them to meet up with me tomorrow and I’d give them some cards. I’m a nice guy. But am I being too nice with my review here? I really don’t think so. Despite the couple of things I didn’t like, I really found this to be a great and fun product to break.

As for the contest to win some cards here, I am going to combine it with my next review and have a super big contest for a bunch of cards. Stay tuned for how to win that!

This video was live from the 1977 NBA Champion Portland Trailblazers court assembled outside the “glass palace” known as the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. Have fun.

Review: 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars Football

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars may not be at the top of your list of products to break for this NFL season, but it appears to be better than you may think. It returns this year with 4 autographs or memorabilia cards per box with at least one of them being an autograph. You can find patches, jumbo jerseys, prime jerseys, just about anything in a box of this product. It features a 100 card base set with 50 base rookies which are only inserted 1 per pack.

The inserts are plentiful too with a homage to Donruss Studio with Studio Rookies, Longevity, and Freshmen Orientation amongst other insert sets. With a bunch of parallels and so low numbered cards, it’s definitely worth the time to check out this review and decide what you think about the product.

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia/Autographs:

Design:

The base design on this product is better than many other Panini designs. It features an action shot of the players on the front with a little bit of the background faded into a solid white background. This is a very clean base design with clean lettering along the sides. I believe this clean base design is great and should be in more products. The inserts look great too. Freshmen Orientation is great with the memorabilia embedded and Longevity looks much better in person then on scans that I’ve seen. Impressive. Now I do not like manufactured patch autographs with the autograph on the cloth…I would much rather have a sticker or on-card autograph as it’s cleaner looking. Also, the way some inserts look when they don’t have memorabilia embedded look really weird, like the one I have pictured. It’s just a weird shape with a symbol inside? That just looks lazy.

Checklist:

The checklist features 100 veteran base cards and 50 rookie base cards. You can pull rookies and stars hence the title of the product. But I find there are more rookies than stars when it comes to memorabilia and autographs. With the abundance of rookies, it may seem like it cheapens the product a bit as it’s harder to pull veterans of the game. Other than that, you can find all the top rookies of the game from the draft for this season so there is no complaints there. The base set and rookie set is reasonable as you just about get a full set in a box. So the checklist of players is pretty solid overall. I think it could use a few more stars.

Value:

Overall, the value appears to be there. It looks to be a mostly rookie driven product, as I don’t see much in the way of stars as far as the real value, game used and autographs, goes. But a good job is done with the rookies here as there are plenty of autographs and memorabilia cards to go around and you may get to pull a nice veteran as well. The patches are nice, there are nice jumbo swatches, and autographs from all the rookies you could want. The only problem I have is the lack of veterans but also a bit of a collation issue. There are 100 cards in a the base veteran set, I’m missing two from completing it and I have like 8 dupes. Just throw in the extra 2 next time, seriously, that’s a bit tacky. Other than that, this is a decent mid-range product.

Overall:

Overall, as I said above this is a very solid mid-range product. The base design is nice but there are still a couple of issues with insert designs and I still don’t like manufactured patch autographs with the way they are done now. The checklist is full of rookies but I feel like it could use more stars in the product to fill the stars void. The value is there, but mentioned with the above issues it could be a little bit better and get 5 stars across many of the areas. But overall, it’s definitely worth looking into as your next box of cards.

I’d like to thank Panini America once again for providing this box for me to review. Check out their new Facebook page here.

The contest for the manufactured patch autograph, my base doubles, and some inserts/rookies will be to tell me what you think of this product and tell me your honest opinion on manufactured patch autographs that Panini makes. I will pick a winner from a randomizer. One per person please!