Preview: 2011 Topps Finest Football

2011 Topps Finest football, a staple in the Topps family of products, has returned and is looking much improved over the past few seasons of product. With a completely different look, new die-cut rookies, and some sweet patches included this year, 2011 Topps Finest football looks like an early hit with all collectors.

Every master box will contain 1 numbered rookie autographed patch, 1 autographed jumbo relic, 2 atomic die-cut rookie cards, and 2 Finest Moments insert cards. The great thing is that all rookies will be featured in NFL uniforms, as like Topps Inception, they will be edited onto the players to create a nicer look.

Each rookie autographed patch is numbered and comes in 5 different parallels up to a superfractor 1 of 1. These include 35 top rookies from this year’s draft who also appear in the base set. 20 of these rookies are featured in jumbo patch autographed cards numbered to just 5. There will also be at least 1 variation of these rookie autographs per case. You can also find those 35 rookies plus a select list of 15 veterans in the jumbo relic autographs as well available in 4 different parallels. You can also find dual and triple autographed relics as well.

You can find even more rookie autographs in the Finest Moments subset as well as other veterans of the game. So this appears to also be a very rookie heavy product.

But what should be a hit amongst collectors is the rookie die-cut atomic refractors. These rookies are die-cut beautifully and can even be found in an autographed version if you are lucky enough to find a superfractor. These cards look absolutely beautiful and I love the die-cut design being brought back by alot of companies. Finally, you should find 2 Finest Moments inserts as well, common with Topps Finest over the years.

Oh yeah, there is also 5 base cards per pack as well. But no one REALLY cares about those anymore. But they look great with 8 different parallels. You will find 12 packs per master box so that breaks down a good number of these beautiful cards.

This product is set to arrive on August 30, 2011, for a price at about $90.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Victory Hockey

2011-12 Upper Deck Victory hockey is out now. I’m a little late on my preview, been busy with other projects, but it is here now. This is the low-end offering from Upper Deck as far as their hockey selection goes. You can find this product anywhere from hobby shops to your local dollar stores, which is where I bought my last packs of Upper Deck Victory a year or two ago.

With that being said, there isn’t much being offered in this product, but there is a little more then last year’s product. There are 36 packs per box and 6 cards per pack of this first hockey product of the season. The regular set consists of 200 base cards and 50 rookies. You can find parallels of all these cards in a black version only now it appears from the sell sheet. I don’t see anything about gold parallels like past years. I’m not a huge fan of the base design, but the inserts I mention below look slick.

There are a few inserts this year as well, including the new MVP rookies, found 2 a box. These cards feature a slick black background with the rookie in the center with the former Upper Deck MVP symbol on the front. I think the inserts look pretty good for a low end set. You can also find regular MVP cards, Stars of the Game, and Game Breakers insert cards at a little more better rate in a box.

And basically, that is it in this box. Not any chance for any autographs or any game used cards. So when I say low-end, this is really lower end.

Upper Deck, can’t you do something like Panini Score and maybe throw in a couple of autographs per case? Just a thought to get some of those top rookies autographs out a little bit earlier.

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!

Preview: 2011 Panini Certified Football

2011 Panini Certified football is back with all the rookie and veteran goodness that makes it one of the favorite products of the early to mid season year in and year out. This year’s improvements look to make 2010 look like child’s play in comparison as Panini has been stepping up their game across the board doing their best to bring collectors closer to their favorite rookies with on-card hard signed autographs.

All 36 Rookie Premiere invitees lend their John Hancock directly onto the Freshmen Fabric set this year making this a first in Panini Certified history. Nothing like the beauty of a fresh, clean, on card autograph.

Each box will feature 10 packs again this year with a total of 4 autographs or memorabilia cards with at least 1 of them being an autograph. You will also find one parallel numbered to 250 or less, two rookies numbered to 999 or less, and two additional inserts, rookies, or parallels.

Besides the rookies you will find the usual veterans of the game plus some retired legends autographs like Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, and Joe Namath. Now those are some huge names signing for Certified this year and should bring some premium elements to this mid ranged product.

There will also be Platinum hot boxes inserted which every base card is replaced with a limited parallel. I love me some hot boxes and just knowing there are going to be some makes me excited for the possibilities when opening my box. Could it be a hot box? What great cards could I pull?

There is no announced release date yet, but last year this was released in November so I’m going to guess it’s around the same time frame. I’ll let you know more when more information is available.

Until then, check out some of the cards from the latest Panini Peek of 2011 Panini Certified Football.

Preview: 2011 Panini Crown Royale Football

Panini revived Crown Royale with a bang last season. While I personally didn’t open up any of the football, I did get a chance to open their hockey product. While I scored no big hits, I knew it was something special when I saw a glimpse of the first cards and they were amazing. As a matter of fact, money willing, I may do a little time machine review of 2010 Crown Royale football. Anyway, Panini is bringing Crown Royale back for a second revival season and it looks just as good, if not better, than the last.

The highlight of the product, Rookie Silhouettes, has returned and looks just as good as ever. If you aren’t familiar, these are very short printed cards with a jumbo patch embedded into the card and the photo of the player going over the patch. Also on the card this year is hard signed autographs from all 36 NFL Premiere invitees. Check out this Julio Jones and tell me you don’t like it, because you can’t. You love it.

Now this product isn’t exactly for everyone. It’s 4 packs per box with a hit per pack and usually costs around $100 bills. But with great value in store this year, it will definitely be worthy of your money. You’ll get 4 hits, at least one autograph per box. The pieces of memorabilia are larger this year so that is a great addition along with more hard signed autographs.

You’ll find 4 rookies per box with 1 being numbered to 100 or less. You’ll also find 7 inserts per box as well, giving you some new designs and nice looking numbered cards to chase of your favorite team or players.

But included are also autographs from some of the game’s top players like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers and some living legends like Jack Lambert. I know there is more but the checklist has yet to debut.

I also know this product releases on October 5, 2011, and will most likely be around that $100 price point for a box of 4 packs. But from what we are seeing so far, it will definitely be worth it.

You want to see more images and get a little more information? Click here to visit the Crown Royal World Premiere post by Panini.

See the first box busted on Panini’s blog!