Preview: 2011 Topps Triple Threads Football

Thanksgiving will have come and past, Black Friday will be a week ago memory, and Christmas will be on the horizon. Are you single and have some extra money from your Christmas bonus to blow? Maybe you hide your card collecting from your significant other and want to gamble on a high end box. Or maybe you know someone who would love a box of this product, like myself, and want to send them an early Christmas present. (If you need my address let me know!)

2011 Topps Triple Threads football is back and better than ever with an extra hit per pack giving you 4 hits per box now instead of just two at the same price we are accustomed to. First, I’m happy to see they are giving you an extra hit per box. I just hope it’s slightly better then the boring plain single jersey swatches you get in Triple Threads baseball.

Each pack will contain 2 base parallel cards numbered to 350 or less, 3 numbered base cards, 1 triple relic numbered to 36 or less, and 1 Triple Threads Unity autograph relics card numbered to 99 or less. Or you may get a pack with 1 autographed triple relic card numbered to 99 or less and 1 Triple Threads Unity relic card numbered to 36 or less. Which means there will be some boring plain single jersey cards in this $175 product as one of your 4 hits.

Some of the case hits include 1 of 1 autographed triple relic cards and triple autographed relic cards numbered to 36 or less. So at least the case hits look like they will be something nice to behold, but aren’t they always?

Another worry I have is that Topps has included way too many rookies compared to veterans in their products this year. I know it’s a pretty good rookie class, but a lot of the rookies are still not even worthy of being in a product like this. I just hope there are more veteran possibilities with less of the crappy rookies. I mean, in my review last year, I got lucky and pulled a book card of a Hall of Famer, but if I pulled another swatch of a rookie, it would have been terrible. We’ll see what happens this year.

November 30, 2011 is the release date. It’s definitely one of the bigger gambles, but it has some great possibilities for big hits as well.

2011-12 Basketball Rookie Cards

The NBA lockout has caused a number of issues with fans of the NBA, people who work for these professional teams, the players themselves, but also with trading card companies.

Panini America, the exclusive licensee of NBA trading cards, has not made any NBA licensed trading cards this season because of the lockout and will not create any products during the lockout. There does not appear to be any NBA trading cards as long as there is no NBA season. Definitely a bummer as there will be some great rookies to watch in their first season like Jimmer Fredette (exclusive Upper Deck signer), Derrick Williams (exclusive Panini signer), and Kemba Walker.

Since Panini will not be creating cards, what will happen to rookie cards of these future stars of the NBA?

2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic basketball released just last week and features some of the future stars in their product, which is fully licensed by the NCAA. You can find your autographed rookies of future stars like Jimmer Fredette, Nolan Smith, or the Morris twins.

But if there is no NBA season, how will the collectibility of these rookies be affected? With no season these rookies won’t get any exposure and won’t get to debut until next year with another class of rookies coming from the college ranks.

Will these Upper Deck cards be considered “true rookies” still or will they be marked as a “XRC” by a place like Beckett. Will the values of these rookie autographs drop or will they out gain next year’s products as they were produced first?

I guess time will tell, but I can see either occurrence having a legitimate chance of happening. My guess is that they are considered a “XRC” and really don’t have much of a rise in value nor a drop after the prices have been established. But they could possibly jump up in value as well, especially if one of the rookies in that product becomes a superstar.

We’ll find out if this NBA lockout ever ends.

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.

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

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

Design:

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).

Checklist:

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.

Value:

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:

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: 2011 Panini Crown Royale Football

Crown Royale is back in it’s second season in a return from the dead right before Halloween and it looks just as good, if not better than last year. With a hit per pack and averaging at least 2 autographs and 2 memorabilia cards per box, it has the possibility to yield some great hits including some legendary swatches and some awesome Rookie Silhouette prime material autographs.

Well let’s see what is in our box given to us for review from the wonderful people at Panini America, shall we?

Base:

Inserts:

Memorabilia:

Autographs:

Design:

I’m a sucker for die-cuts. I always have been a sucker for die-cuts. The only thing that I am more of a sucker of is very shiny die-cuts. But these look fantastic. I’ve always loved the design and the great colors that come along with the cards around the crown area which matches the team colors. The shiny borders look good too. Panini is getting better at designing their inserts to where you are starting to not be able to see boxes where memorabilia goes as those get kind of annoying after awhile. The only real complaint is that I’m getting tired of seeing white boxes where the autographed stickers go. I understand you need the autograph to be legible, but can’t you incorporate something into the design like just fading out the deep colors towards the bottom of the card where you put the sticker? Maybe a little round area faded design for the auto cards instead of box (ala Inception)? Surely the design team can do something other than a white box.

Checklist:

In my honest opinion, it’s too large for the amount of cards you get in a box and a pack at the price point it’s at. And by that I mean the base set and the base rookies. How on earth is anyone supposed to put together a set of these cards? The base set is huge. I love the insert sets and especially the great on-card checklist for the Rookie Silhouettes, but I think the base set needs to be cut down a bit. Maybe 100 total cards? 75 veterans and 25 rookies? Even 125 would be better than the current amount of 200.

 Value:

At $25 per pack, this is really hit or miss. But as a box, you might hit it big and get something worth the box itself. It’s tough as there are plain jerseys in here, which is obviously needed, but there are also some REALLY nice possibilities for hits. This sort of feels like Absolute Memorabilia Jr. So I’m kind of not sure how to rate this for value. Two autos and two memorabilia per box, which is better than most boxes at the price, but less total cards. I think there needs to be maybe one more single case hit kind of like the Net Fusion cards to make something for people to chase besides the Rookie Silhouettes. Finally, I’d also like to see the inserts numbered. I mean this is a product where you have to number the inserts. I really want to give this a 3.5 because of its hit or miss nature by pack (and my case by box, just look at sale values), but I always round up for the benefit of the doubt.

Overall:

Overall, I still absolutely love Crown Royale. I love the die-cut design, the colors, and the great Rookie Silhouettes cards. It’s an extremely fun product to open, but I find the huge checklist of base cards kind of disappointing as it takes a lot to try and put a base set together of those awesome looking cards. Back to the Silhouettes, I love that all the autographs are all on-card as it just makes them look that much better. We just need to work on those white boxes…please? Otherwise, it won’t kill your pocket, but you should definitely purchase this by the box and not by the pack. I like the addition of a case hit, but maybe one more type of limited case hit that would shine and be a welcome addition.

Oh, and for those who might want to complain about the Net Fusion manufactured net cards, they count as an insert, not as one of your hits. So you can either like them or not and you don’t have to worry because they aren’t taking the place of any of your mojo.

Again, I’d like to thank Panini for providing this box for review. Make sure you visit their website and blog for more information about products like this.

Video is coming up soon!

2011-12 Upper Deck Young Guns Checklist Released

Your 2011-12 Upper Deck Series I Young Guns checklist has been released by Upper Deck headlined by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, Cody Hodgson, and Sean Couturier. Young Guns rookies are some of the hottest NHL rookie cards of the season year after year with people trying to complete sets of them and getting rookies of the hottest new players on the ice.

Are you looking for the 2011-12 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns checklist?

Here is the 2011-12 Upper Deck Series I Young Guns checklist (courtesy of the Upper Deck blog):

201     Devante Smith-Pelly     Anaheim
202     Maxime Macenauer     Anaheim
203     Greg Nemisz     Calgary
204     Roman Horak     Calgary
205     Justin Faulk     Carolina
206     Marcus Kruger     Chicago
207     Brandon Saad     Chicago
208     Gabriel Landeskog     Colorado
209     Cameron Gaunce     Colorado
210     John Moore     Columbus
211     David Savard     Columbus
212     Cam Atkinson     Columbus
213     Tomas Vincour     Dallas
214     Ryan Nugent-Hopkins     Edmonton
215     Anton Lander     Edmonton
216     Teemu Hartikainen     Edmonton
217     Erik Gudbranson     Florida
218     Brett Bulmer     Minnesota
219     Aaron Palushaj     Montreal
220     Alexei Yemelin     Montreal
221     Raphael Diaz     Montreal
222     Brendon Nash     Montreal
223     Jonathon Blum     Nashville
224     Blake Geoffrion     Nashville
225     Craig Smith     Nashville
226     Adam Henrique     New Jersey
227     Adam Larsson     New Jersey
228     Tim Erixon     New York
229     Mika Zibanejad     Ottawa
230     Colin Greening     Ottawa
231     Patrick Wiercioch     Ottawa
232     Erik Condra     Ottawa
233     Stephane Da Costa     Ottawa
234     Sean Couturier     Philadelphia
235     Matt Read     Philadelphia
236     Erik Gustafsson     Philadelphia
237     Joe Vitale     Pittsburgh
238     Harri Sateri     San Jose
239     Alex Stalock     San Jose
240     Brett Connolly     Tampa Bay
241     Jake Gardiner     Toronto
242     Joe Colborne     Toronto
243     Matt Frattin     Toronto
244     Ben Scrivens     Toronto
245     Cody Hodgson     Vancouver
246     Yann Sauve     Vancouver
247     Carl Klingberg     Winnipeg
248     Mark Scheifele     Winnipeg
249     Paul Postma     Winnipeg
250     Checklist (Nugent-Hopkins, Landeskog, Larsson)     Edmonton, Colorado, New Jersey)

And here is what they look like:

I’m liking the design this year, it’s something different then the past few seasons.

What do you think of this year’s rookies and Young Guns?