Preview: 2011-12 Panini Elite Hockey

For the 2011-12 hockey season, Panini is bringing over the Elite brand to it’s hockey line up. 2011-12 Panini Elite hockey will be in stores in late February, but that doesn’t stop the folks over at Panini from providing an inside look at the product. Nothing stops Tracy Hackler from providing that insight. So here’s mine as I can’t stop, won’t stop. (Puff Daddy voice)

This product is loaded up for the hit loving collector with 1 rookie variation autograph, 2 memorabilia cards, three Aspirations parallels, and two additional Elite rookies per box. You will find 20 packs per box with 5 cards per pack in this product.

First off, I am psyched that there isn’t a billion rookies in this product like what Panini has been doing with every product. Although the rookie checklist is kind of big at 80, at least there isn’t like 15 rookies in a box. I am also psyched about the Aspirations parallels and the possibilities of some of the top rookies with that parallel. Imagine what an Aspirations Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would do?

Panini also is breaking ground with some of the newer and legendary inserts in this product. How about the new Social Signatures parallel autograph which highlights the social media presence of some of the game’s top players? I can just imagine a Twitter username on the card and a bunch of new followers for those players. New and interesting to me as I am interested in social media. A little gimmicky but I’m a fan of athletes on social media so I’m all for it.

Returning is the Passing the Torch insert set with a young superstar paired with a legendary player in autograph form. Prime Numbers returns with 3 versions of cards from some of the top players in the league, and finally the Elite Series will honor six hobby legends with a 6 card insert set of their own – Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, Lemieux, Messier, and Yzerman. And there is a special 7th card that includes an on-card autograph.

Elite looks to be full of on-card autographs so make sure you check it out in late February. It already looks like a winner.

 

Preview: 2011 Topps Bowman Sterling Baseball

Set to release next week, 2011 Bowman Sterling baseball is ready to signify the end of the 2011 baseball season as we prepare for the “game changer” that will be 2012 for Topps baseball products.

Every pack of 2011 Bowman Sterling baseball will contain 2 autographed cards, 1 relic card, and 2 base cards. You will find 6 packs per box of this high end product. Also, if purchased by the box you will receive a dual relic box topper.

This is mostly a prospect and rookie filled product where you will find players like Mike Trout (newly added), Eric Hosmer, Dustin Ackley, and Dante Bichette Jr. as some of the highlights as well as everyone’s golden child, Bryce Harper. Also inserted are the USA National team autographs as well.

There will be the usual bunch of refractors as well as the Canary Diamond 1/1 cards as well. With rookie and prospect game used relics and patches with autographed versions, there will be a ton of prospects and rookies that you could ever want.

You can find your box for a little over $250 and start finding it next week on December 21, 2011.

Review: 2011 Topps Finest Football

Yes, I’m a little late with this one too but I really wanted to try the product. The one patch autograph and one patch jersey card per master box really caught my eyes. Plus with the addition of a ton of different refractors and the possibility for some veteran autographs was right up my alley along with the solid rookie checklist. I put down a little bit of cash on this and here is what I pulled.

Base:

Parallels:

Inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

There is really only one reason I dinged this down a little bit and that is the autographs. I’m not a huge fan of entrapped autographs that are embedded into the card. Sure it makes it look less stickery, but if you end up cutting off part of the persons signature, as seen with the Stevan Ridley…though only partially, it just takes away from the autograph. Maybe it’s just me. But also, why no on-card autographs here? You were able to get on-cards for Inception, why not here? I know it’s probably part of your process, but Panini was able to get a ton of rookies done on card. That Cam would of looked so much better on-card then it already does. But I love everything else, the die-cuts, the refractors, the dotted design in the background, thumbs up.

Checklist:

Again, a great showing here. With the rookies AND veterans, this product would please just about everyone on the map, besides those who want legend possibilities in their product too. I dinged it a half star because I would of liked to see a little more depth with the veteran autographs and a little more with the Finest Moments cards. The non-autoed Finest Moments are probably the only thing I don’t like alot about this product. I know it’s been around awhile, I don’t mind it, but compared to everything else it’s just there.

Value:

Value, value, value. I got great value. Others may not have done too hot. I also spent more because the prices with this product have gone up as well. But overall, this has more value then most of Topps football products this season. With the inclusion of the veteran hits and the patch autographs, this rivals Topps Chrome as Topps’ best full product of the year. (Inception is a different type of product with it’s few cards) Not only are you guaranteed a patch auto and jersey auto, you may get a bonus hit…like mine. I just wish the patch autographs weren’t all numbered so high, but when every box has one, I guess that should be expected.

Overall:

Overall, there really isn’t much bad to say about this product. It is as close to perfection as you can get, in my eyes. You have a great looking design all the way around. You have a checklist with rookies and veterans and possible hits for both. You also have a solid value because of the nice rookie class and the inclusion of those veteran hits and rookie patch autographs. I thoroughly enjoyed opening this product and if I had the cash, I would probably put down enough for a case of it. I had that much fun. This is my kind of product.

Funny how my first Cam Newton card of the season is an autograph numbered to 25!

Review: 2011 Topps Chrome Football

Well, I broke down and decided to try my luck with some 2011 Topps Chrome football. I saw all the great things that a ton of people had to say about the product and I decided that I wanted to try and review it myself. So I ordered a box with some money I put together and have a review for you guys. I picked this up for about $100 bucks so let’s see what we got.

Base:

Parallels:

Inserts:

Autograph:

Design:

I really can’t say enough about the design. Again, Topps has put out a product that looks really great. They have done that alot with this year’s products which is a good thing. The things Topps needs to work on, in general, is content. But that’s besides the point. This product looks fantastic. Very clean design, nice borders, nice photos, and the refractors look really good. I love the look of the sepia tone refractors myself. The inserts are solid and I enjoy the Bowman Chrome design as well. Oh yeah, everyone knows I love die-cuts so the atomic refractors are great too. Nice and sparkly as well! Pretty. Not that I’m taking points off this, but I opened this up last night and I swear I can still smell the Chrome finish on my hands…ew. Can’t we get strawberry scented Chrome finish?

Checklist:

The checklist is solid. There are a ton of nice autographs to be had in either regular or paralleled form. But the thing for me is that they are rookie autographs. I would like to see at least a better possibility of pulling a bonus autograph and having it be a nice veteran autograph. Why can’t we see a few other autographs thrown in there? I mean, it’s already up to over $100 a box…I know the rookie class is good but that changes the decision on whether buying this is a good idea or not.

Value:

That leads us here to value. The prices has rocketed up on this product, but for good reason. The rookie class is doing great this year and people want to find rare cards of these rookies. This is a great product to find it, but it suffers from the same problem we find in baseball. So many parallels. These parallels effect the value in a negative light, especially if you start pulling parallels of rookies no one cares about or ride the pine. A nice cut down on the number of parallels would be nice and I go back to wanting a chance at a veteran autograph as well. The rookie patch autographs are nice and rare, but again, I don’t want a product where the only hits are rookies when there are veteran base and parallels as well. Oh, don’t get rid of the superfractor though, they are beautiful and are worth a pretty penny.

Overall:

Overall though, I had a ton of fun opening this product. It just leaves a little tiny bit to be desired in the checklist and value portions. Otherwise, this is a great product which I can see being the rookie card everyone wants to get every season like Bowman Chrome is to baseball. The cards look sharp in all their parallel forms, but maybe try and get a few more on-card signatures. If Panini can do it, anyone can. I would like to see a little more work put in the value, but there already is some great value if you pull the right players and they seem to hold value pretty well. I’m going to harp on this again though, I would like to see some veteran hits. Good work Topps.

The video will be here when I get a chance to upload it.

Still looking for my first Cam Newton card of the year…

 

Preview: 2011 Panini Prime Signatures Football

Is it love at first sight? Or is this just lust? February 15, 2012, we will find out.

2011 Panini Prime Signatures football is a newly rehashed product based off of it’s old product by Donruss in 2002. As the name of the brand says, this product will contain purely signatures inside a 4 card box.

The contents of that box are as follows: an autographed card numbered to 299 or less, 2 base cards numbered to 499, and either an additional base card or an added insert.

For a small product, the checklist is quite big. At 261 cards, you will find a wide range of cards, making set building this product near impossible. There are 175 currents stars and retired players and 86 rookies. However, every rookie card is autographed and the players who attended the Rookie Premiere will feature on-card autographs.

There are 30 boxes in a case which leads me to believe that the price on this product may not be too bad either. Each case will yield 8 to 9 on-card rookie autographs, 10 to 11 other rookie autographs, and 10 to 11 current stars or retired player autographs.

Every veteran autograph will be paralleled to 75, 25, 5, and 1 of 1 cards along with printing plates with a checklist highlighted by players like Troy Polamalu, Matthew Stafford, John Elway, Barry Sanders, Dan Marino, and Joe Montana. While the rookie autographs will be paralleled to 199, 49, 25, and 1 of 1 cards along with printing plates.

You can also find some other subsets like Signing Bonus Signatures featuring dual autographs numbered to 49 or less of players like Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning. Or maybe you’ll pull a Call to the Hall signatures or dual signature card featuring members of the NFL Hall of Fame.

All this and more in a product that looks like a mix of Topps Inception and Panini’s Limited product.

Check out the Panini Peek of this product for more information and images.

How about some more cards from Prime Signatures?