Preview: 2011 Topps Update & Highlights Baseball

As always, Topps is here at the end of the season to bring you all the highlight of the past season with all the big games, big trades, and big rookies to make an impact on the 2011 baseball season.

The base design is the same as Topps Series I and II, just a forewarning. Each box will contain 1 autograph or 1 relic card and the full set is 330 cards.

But you can find 192 players with cards on their new teams, 55 rookies who were not in Series I or II, and some highlights from the season including the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, and some Record Breakers this season.

For the base cards, there are parallels numbered to 1, 50, 60, and 2011. Again, you will find diamond parallels as well with all their sparkly goodness. As has been seen over the past few seasons, you will be able to find inserts featuring relics from the All-Star game including regular jersey and patch cards, some of them autographed. You will also be able to find the Topps 60 continuity program once again with relics and autographed versions.

So really, there isn’t much difference between this product or Topps Series I and II besides the addition of several rookies, some different Topps 60 cards, and some highlights from throughout the season.

This product should be out today, October 5th, 2011, for just under $60.

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Limited Hockey

For some time now, I’ve thought Limited was in a downward spiral in terms of it’s life as a product. But this season, Panini has changed things up a bit and included some new things to the product that might it some life once again.

It will still contain 3 autograph or memorabilia cards, plus some base and inserts, but a new addition this year is the High Numbers cards. High Numbers will feature some of the leagues best goalies and be numbered to 99 each.

But some of the nicer updates and additions are the Phenom Rookies (still manufactured patches though), Net Presence memorabilia with pieces of game used goalie net from the 2011 All Star game in Carolina, and the Game Pucks inserts which will include pieces of the biscuit used in NHL games.

The Phenom Rookies are still manufactured patch autographs, however, the patches will be different according to the level of parallel. That is a neat idea to change the difference of look of the cards. I’m still not huge on manufactured patches, and that will probably never change, but I like the different logos for different levels.

I did mention to Panini America on their official Twitter that the Game Pucks should include a date and the game the puck was used. I also asked if in the future the pieces of puck could be autographed by someone who played in that game, maybe someone who scored a goal or a goalie. I think that would add some interesting value to those pieces and would make nicer collectibles.

As always, you will see the return of the big hits as well. Shields, nice patches, cut signatures, all the high end offerings you could want.

The base set is a big 175 cards for a high end product with rookies numbered to just 299. I’d like a smaller base set, but that’s just me.

The product will be ready to hit stores on December 14th, assuming no delays, and will probably be in the same price range as last year at around $85, I think.

Take a look at the official Panini Peek of this product for more information.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee Hockey

The biggest hockey set of the year is here with over 600 cards in just the regular set! This is a set collectors nightmare, or best friend. 500 regular cards, 50 rookies, and 50 legends highlight this huge regular set that makes even the most seasoned collectors shudder at the thought of a 600 card base set.

Every box contains 36 packs of cards with 6 cards per pack. Some quick internet math has that totaling 216 total cards in a box. But all of them aren’t going to be part of that base set. You will get one retro variation per pack, 4 playoff beard variations, 1 In-Action laminated card, 4 rookie updates from last season and 1 retro of that subset, and finally 9 regular set rainbow parallels. But you will still get a huge chunk of that base set done with a single box.

There will be a few case hits as well like O-Pee-Chee Souvenirs which are quad jerseys, O-Pee-Chee Signatures, Team Canada Signatures, and Rookie Update Retro parallels. And these autographs will be nothing to laugh about…they will include such names as Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Taylor Hall, Cody Hodgson, PK Subban, and more stars.

This is the perfect set for you hockey set collectors out there, or even any other set collectors as it will present a nice challenge for anyone who decides to try and finish it. Or even if you want to pick up some low end hockey with the chance to pull some decent cards, this set appeals to just about anybody out there.

This product releases October 5, 2011 and will be around $50 a box.

Review: 2011 Panini Threads Football

2011 Panini Threads football has been out for a bit now and once again has divided the football card collecting community. Some people love it, some people hate it, and there really isn’t anything in between. But don’t worry, I am here to bring you that voice of the collector who is the one person out there who doesn’t love it, but doesn’t hate it either.

After opening and going through the product, it looks to me to just be an average mid-range product. There are some highlights though that you won’t find in other Panini products like autographed manufactured letterman patches, a wider crop of rookie autographs with some that may not have made prior releases, and some really nice insert sets that I haven’t seen before. So let’s see what we got…

Base:

Inserts:

Autographs/Memorabilia:

Design:

Okay, I’ll start with the things I like. I love the use of team colors across this product. It seems like every card incorporates the team colors of the team that player plays on. From the regular base set to the inserts, the team colors proudly wave across the cards. I also really enjoy the action shots and the horizontal design of the cards. The inserts are also done very well, I especially enjoy the Gridiron Kings and Star Factor sets. Now, the bad. I still don’t like manufactured patches but in a product called “Threads” I can live with it. I also don’t like the random stripes going down the side of some cards that have the set names and the team logo. For example, I already love the Gridiron Kings set but would love it even more without the stripe. I know you use it for placement of game used material, but couldn’t there be a less intrusive way? Maybe it’s just me.

Checklist:

I really like a nice base set like this. A ton of different players from your favorite teams can be pulled. I’m still not a huge fan of the rookie per pack thing, I’d like to see Panini do something like Upper Deck does with hockey and Young Guns. Limit the rookies in the product to keep them at a higher value. It seems like product after product is one rookie per pack. Other than that, they feature quite a few players from today and years gone by, which is always nice in moderation. This is definitely my type of product with the small insertion of former players. As always, Panini does a great job of inserting case hits being stars of the NFL including the newly added Troy Polamalu autographs can be found in this product. I was lucky enough to pull a nice patch card of his.

Value:

At $85 a box, I think it may be a little high. I mean, I only received one autograph in the box and we all know autographs are really what collectors are looking for nowadays. Some boxes have 2 autographs in them, but I’d like to see 2 autographs and 2 memorabilia in each box. Even if it was another rookie of some sort, at least that has more potential to rise in value while game used memorabilia cards are going down in value what seems like every day. The Polamalu should hold decent value as he doesn’t have many out there, but the Tebow and the Packers rookies might not. Then again, fans of both are pretty rabid. I’d just like to see a little more ink.

Overall:

Part of me really thinks that with some tweaking, this product has the potential to be a really great product. The designs have improved and have some really great things to see. I love the use of team colors and the action shots showing everything is really nice. Even the inserts look nice, but I would still find a way to get rid of that line down the side. The checklist is pretty good, but I’d still like to limit the rookies. I say this through a lot of products, but it’s just something I see over and over again. It was nice to pull a Julius Thomas rookie finally for my PC though. Finally, I would find somewhere to add a little more value or lower the price $10 or so. Make it two autographs and two memorabilia or even add in an extra memorabilia card and I think it would hold up pretty well. But I think with a few minor tweaks, this product has the potential to be so much better.

Again, thanks to Panini for providing this box for me to review. I will be giving away some cards from it in the future because I have the Panini NFL POD contests going on until November so make sure to check those out.

I’ll have the video up shortly, it is kind of a long one.

Preview: 2011 Panini Plates & Patches Football

Panini is back with a reformatted 2011 Panini Plates & Patches football to improve on the solid product from last season. I enjoyed last seasons product and watching all the pretty nice group breaks and box breaks of the product.

The first improvement is the new on-card signed rookie patch cards that will be in the product this year. The top 36 rookies, probably who attended the NFL Rookie Premiere, will all have on-card autographs. This includes Cam Newton, Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Randall Cobb. All of these rookie autographs will be numbered to 499 or less.

Also new and improved this year is the insert set called Signal Callers which will feature some of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, with a nice list of autographs for that set.

Each box of 2011 Panini Plates & Patches football will have 10 cards in it. You will get one on-card rookie autographed patch card, two more autographs numbered to 499 or less, and two memorabilia cards numbered to 299 or less. It will be rounded out with some inserts and base cards as well. There will be some great 1 of 1 printing plates found in this set including autographed printing plates, some with prime memorabilia and some without.

This product is set to release on December 14, so look out for this improved product!

Make sure you check out the Panini Peek for 2011 Plates & Patches football!

Plates and Patches rookies part 1!

Plates and Patches rookies part 2!