Review: 2010-11 Panini Zenith Hockey

2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey marks the return of one of the most favorite brands of all time amongst collectors. Donruss revived it in the mid 2000s after it was a staple of the industry in the 90s. It disappeared again for a short period only to be revived once again with 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey. It brings back all your favorite parts of the product from the past, red and white hot parallels, Dufex which is now called Nufex technology, and of course the Dare to Tear rip card!

So with that introduction I would like to bring to you the official review of 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey brought to you by Sports Card Blog. A big thanks and shout out goes out to Panini once again for providing this to review. I can’t ever do it without them, so I hope this helps you decide to want to buy a box!

Base:

Inserts:

Game Used:

Autographs:

Design:

The design leaves more to be desired. As I sit here in look at the base design of the product I feel like it is something that I have seen before, which I have. It looks almost exactly like 2005 Donruss Zenith baseball which I had the pleasure of opening at that time. The design is just too plain and abstract in my opinion. I see some differences from the older product but the basis is pretty much the same. I was hoping with the revival of the product maybe the design could be updated a little bit. I don’t hate the design but it’s nothing real new and nothing appealing about the base set. While most of the inserts are sharp, especially the ones using Nufex technology, a couple look kinda similar to other products.

Checklist:

The checklist is massive with inserts and has a nice combination of both young and old inside the packs. There are a ton of rookies you can collect from the checklist itself, plus even more rookies if you Dare to Tear your rip card. They put in some very nice stuff inside the rip card which would pretty much make you want to rip the rip card no matter what. It’s almost not even worth it to keep the jumbo card unless you collect the player. The game used and autographs you can pull from this product is laden with stars, I would even say you have a better chance at pulling a star hit in this product than Luxury Suite. Overall, a very solid checklist.

Value:

If I were to price this product over what I believe its worth to be, I would put it at around $70-$80 based off what you get from opening it. That is exactly where this product sits right now, so I believe it’s at a good price. The name on the checklist are pretty good and the rookies being numbered to 999 or below keep the value in the rookies. The only problem that may hurt the value is just the sheer number of products that have come out this year. Product after product has these rookies in them and it’s hurting the value a little bit. I believe Panini tried to fix this by putting in a billion rookies in every product. But still, there are a ton of rookies out there if you wanted a specific one. Otherwise, Panini does a great job on patches and a lot of on card autographs in this product. For what the box sells at, it’s worth a purchase.

Overall:

Overall, this is a pretty average product by Panini. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it has some value to it with the great checklist and the current great price you can find it for. The design leaves more to the imagination as a whole, but the Nufex technology is fantastic. The Dare to Tear rip card is awesome and Panini, I’m leaving it to you to bring back the box toppers. Box toppers add such great value to boxes because you could do anything with them. Put in short prints, Dare to Tear, jumbo autographs, game used, or parallels, anything you want. If every product had a box topper I would be a happy man. The value as it stands is solid so I would definitely consider picking up a box.

Now, it’s time for some hot pack ripping action.

Oh, by the way. The best part of the Dare to Tear rip cards is that it makes a great puzzle afterwards! Sorry Sidney Crosby, you are torn up.

Oh yeah, want a contest too? We’ll do another guess the serial number. This time you are guessing the serial number from the Jacob Josefson rookie that is numbered to 199. I hope I didn’t say it in the video, lol. Closest to the number without going over wins a prize pack from this product including the Gifted Grinders Jersey and insert, along with another insert or two from this product at my disposal. Any comments about the review will help your chances! (Not really, but it’s preferred!)

Review: 2011 Score Football

Happy Independence Day to every American out there!

Panini is bringing you the best value in football cards this season with 2011 Score football. Why is this product the best value? Well wouldn’t you consider anything nowadays that is 99 cents a very good value? That’s right, this product is 99 cents per pack. It is less than one dollar. Now that’s value.

Every box comes with 36 packs if you choose to buy a box. You get 7 cards per pack. Every pack has at least one rookie in it and one glossy card in it. You can find tons of inserts like Millennium Men, In the Zone, Hot Rookies, and Complete Players. Among those you could also pull parallel versions including a glossy version, End Zone, Scorecard, Red Zone, or Gold Zone. The rookies even have an SP version with a different picture. You can pull tons of great cards and parallels in this box. Also, you can find autographs in a box at a rate of 5 per case. Not bad at all for 99 cents.

Base:

Rookies:

Gold Zone paralleled rookie

Inserts:

Autographs:

Design:

I actually really enjoy this retro design from Score. I can’t quite put a year on when this design was used or something very similar was done, but it just reminds me of the good times in the 1990s when I first started collecting cards. I love the design of all the inserts as well as the parallels as well. The Complete Players insert is my least favorite as it just doesn’t seem as colorful as the others and kind of feels out of place. I’m not sure it would look better with colors either, but with the rest of the product having some life, it just feels off. But that’s not why I’m docking the star, only a very small part. The reason I am docking the star is that huge white empty space on the top left of the card. I don’t like empty spaces on cards, but especially just plain white empty spaces. I understand that it is used to show you if you have a parallel or not, but couldn’t there just be some sort of placeholder there instead of a plain white spot? And finally, the only other things I don’t like is not being able to tell the SP rookies from the non-SP rookies besides the photo. So there is a different photo…how do we know which one the SP is?And the other is the lack of numbering on the parallels. Last year there was numbering on these same parallels, what changed? Are they still the same as terms of rarity goes?

Checklist:

Well this one is a no brainer. All the rookies you could want? Check. All the veterans you could want? Check. And yeah, some people might want legends in their product. But I could care less sometimes. Sometimes you need to step back and just create a product featuring today’s great players. I love it. There is also a rookie and veteran checklist which is solid as well. I mean, what 99 cent per pack product can you find the possibility of pulling a Tom Brady autograph in it? If I could give it 6 stars for the checklist, I would.

Value:

For 99 cents a pack you get 7 cards. At least one rookie, one glossy, and some other cards. If you look at my videos of me opening the packs you will see I’ve even opened packs that had 3 rookies in them. One glossy rookie, one base rookie, and a rookie insert. Include the other veteran cards from just about anyone in the NFL and you have great value to set collectors, team collectors, kids, player collectors, just about everyone. Secondary values on this product won’t be great, but can you expect a 99 cent per pack product to have high secondary values with everything else on the market? But I’d imagine if you pulled a top rookie autograph or one of the top veteran autographs you would easily pay for your box, which is cheap in price itself. This is great value for your money, just not the greatest if you’re investing or prospecting. It’s a little too low end for that. Everyone else should be buying this up.

Overall:

Overall, this is another low end winner for Panini. I have to say that Panini has been doing a phenomenal job on their lower end products. The last few I have reviewed have been great. This is just another great lower end product to add to that list. The design is great despite the few very small things I had a problem with. Those small things could be fixed in a snap so I couldn’t take off a lot for them. The overall design was great. The checklist has just about anyone currently in the NFL that you could possibly want. I’m just waiting for a few of my favorite rookies, but that’s the lockout’s fault, not Panini. If you’re looking for value in a product this is it. With a ton of inserts and rookies for 99 cents a PACK this is right up your alley.

A huge thank you goes out to Panini for providing this box for me to review. Honestly, I probably had the most fun opening this product than I have opening other products from any manufacturer. You can probably see it in my video that I was having fun with it. I hope the people reading the review see that as well and have their own fun opening it because it is definitely worth it.

To see that video please look below! Sorry that it took two videos, but opening up 36 packs of cards and showing off cards takes awhile.

Let me know what you think of 2011 Score in the  comments below and I’ll draw a name for a prize from the break. Not sure what I’ll be giving away, but it’ll be something. Might save the auto for the Wheel O’ Prizes, not sure yet!

(SCB Note: Panini has posted all the SP rookie variations so you know if  you pulled one on their official blog)

Review: 2011 Donruss Elite Football

2011 Donruss Elite football produced by Panini is back this season with all the die-cuts, autographs, and memorabilia you have come to expect from the brand since it was created. Also returning is the foil board design that has made this product stand out from the beginning as well. This product will bring you all the rookies from the recent draft as well as the veterans that you have always love and delivers in that department. It definitely has it’s positives and negatives, but with the right adjustments next year I believe that this product will be capable of returning to it’s former glory.

2011 Donruss Elite football comes with 5 card per pack and 20 packs per hobby box. On average you will find four hits in your box. There are autographs, game used jerseys, and patches available including Panini’s new booklet cards. At a little less than $100, this is now about average for this type of product. Let’s see what we got.

Base:

Inserts:

Rookies:

Game Used/Autos:

Design:

First we are going to talk about the design and I have a few things to say about that. First, I understand the lack of images because of the lockout. I will not take points off for that, it’s not your fault. Also, Elite has always been a foil board brand so I won’t take points off for that. I’ll start with the rookies. The horizontal rookies just don’t look right. Why the change from a vertical layout I don’t understand. And putting the serial numbering on top of the words on the left? There is so much other room on the card not used you could of put those anywhere else. It’s terrible to try and read. Finally, the huge white box where the autograph stickers go on the rookie could of been made smaller. I know that’s where the die-cut goes but the sticker won’t be on the die-cut anyway as there is plenty of room. Speaking of the die-cuts, a little boring there, but it does allow less of a possibility for damage to be honest so I don’t mind it that much. The inserts are awesome and I actually like the NFL Shield and helmet rookies. The base is boring to me, which means the rookies are also boring to me on the whole. I think those should start again from scratch, but I enjoyed everything else.

Checklist:

If there is one problem I have with the checklist is the 100 rookies. 100 rookies means 100 rookies autographs. With them numbered to 899 you are going to have a ton of rookie autographs. I understand they are cheap, but how many people really collect offensive and defensive lineman? Personally, I would cut those autographs in half and use the left over money for some extra veteran autographs. The veteran autographs you do have though are solid. There is a solid group of veteran autographs you have the possibility of pulling and the Throwback Threads with NFL legends is a great subset as well as Passing the Torch and Down and Distance. Great insert subsets which include autographs and game used pieces. I’m all for cutting down those rookies though.

Value:

The number of rookies used and I think just the looks of the rookies alone cut down on value. To the vast majority of collectors, not many want offensive and defensive lineman autographs. They just don’t hold value and aren’t worth the price of the box. I do know that some do, so I think cutting down on these would be a great start. As I said above, use the money towards more veteran autographs. I can’t say anything about photography because of the lockout so I won’t. I’m just really hoping for this lockout to end so I can see players in their actual jerseys on cards this season, otherwise it might be kind of grim which does weigh on value just a little bit on the secondary market. Out of my 4 hits, I hit 3 rookies. Two stickers autographs and an event worn jersey. We all hate sticker autographs and event worn jerseys are just that, event worn. I know the use of the event worn jersey is important for rookies, but when I have 2 sticker autographs to go along with it, it hurts a little bit. This product needs a little more of a veteran presence in the common box break.

Overall:

Overall, 2011 Donruss Elite is a decent product. It’s definitely good for the period of time it is to get ready for the season but after that there are much better products coming out by all the companies making NFL trading cards. The design needs some work and I would actually either completely re-tool the set from scratch or create something new that Panini can say is originally theirs. The number of rookies and rookie autographs is too large and can use some work on filtering out who and how many players sign. It can allow for some more freedom on the veteran side which I feel this product lacks a little bit.

I’d like to thank Panini for providing this box for me to review. Please visit their various links I have posted around the blog. I don’t get anything for you clicking on them, but they have a GREAT blog and lots of information about their products on their website. I highly recommend it.

And, as always, here I am opening the box so you can see everything pulled as I pull them along with some random commentary and information how to win some of the cards!

And again, for those who don’t want to see my ugly mug for 10 minutes, post your comments about this year’s Donruss Elite in the comments for your chance to win. I’m giving every review I have a contest one week to post.

Preview: 2010-11 Panini Zenith Hockey

Dear hockey collectors,

Do you love rookie cards? Of course you do, especially with this season’s rookie crop. This is the best rookie crop since 2005-06 with the first draft after the lockout. Well 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey will bring you 200 different rookie cards for this season. Every rookie that took the NHL ice and every backup goalie that sat on the bench will most likely be in this product. That is a lot of rookies.

Your box of Zenith hockey will have 10 packs and 5 cards per pack. You are going to need a TON of boxes if you want to hand collate the entire set. The one really cool feature about this box is the Dare to Rip box topper. I’ve been saying for years that every box of cards should come with some sort of box topper. Box toppers are awesome and companies can really let their creativity flow with the types of cards in there. Well the Dare to Rip is just that. The Dare to Rip box topper can be a regular base card OR an exclusive signed rookie from any Panini product like the unreleased National Treasures or Elite hockey. Personally, I love rip cards as it brings a whole new dimension to opening boxes. You have a decision to make. You could keep it as a collectible if you like what’s on the card, which you will as it’s a rookie or a legend, or you can sell it. But you could also rip it and get something good or just another base card. All I hope for is Panini has taken the steps to avoid some way to determine if there is an autograph in the pack or not.

Panini has been making this the year of the inserts and it continues here with more inserts and parallels. I love inserts so I’m not complaining and I’ve always enjoyed the Zenith inserts. The Red Hot and White Hot parallels look great as always with a shiny, fiery background. In 2005 Zenith baseball I pulled a Ted Williams White Hot and it looks awesome. The same technology to make those is still in use for this set it appears. You will also find 4 short print legends, 1 Crease is the Word insert, 1 Gifted Grinders insert, and 1 Z-RC.

Finally, everyone loves the hits. You will find 3 autographs or memorabilia cards per box with at least 1 being an autograph. One of the coolest autograph hits is the Yours Truly subset with the player on the card and Yours Truly written in beautiful lettering above where the star player signs. It’s a neat idea to bring to the table for autographed cards. A case break seems to contain 4 Yours Truly and 5 autographed rookies which makes me think the 1 autograph will be for most boxes. A great thing about this product is there will be SP rookie autographs of the top rookies numbered to just 199 which should keep them very collectible.

Overall, this looks like a great product for hockey prospectors and rookie collectors as well as if you want to have some fun with the Dare to Rip cards or try pulling one of those nice looking Yours Truly autographs. 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey releases around July 6th, 2011, with a price tag around $85 for a box.

Yours Truly,

Alexander Ovechkin

PS: To hold you over here is some images from the Panini Peek of Zenith hockey.

(SCB Note: PSS: Need the 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey checklist? Or how about some good ol’ fashioned 2010-11 Panini Zenith hockey box ripping?)

Preview: 2011 Topps Inception Football

It may be the middle of the Major League Baseball season, but football products are coming out like hotcakes. Topps Inception football is just as the name implies. Topps is welcoming the top drafted rookies this year in their own focused product with Topps Inception. Chock full of rookies, if you’re a rookie collector or looking to try and prospect some football players before they take the field this year (hopefully) this product is for you.

This product is full of great things. I’ll start with the rookie autographs. Every rookie autographed card is hard signed. Topps has done a great job getting these done in this department. It shouldn’t be a selling point more than it should be a requirement for autographs, but Topps is making the necessary steps. There will be dual, triples, and quad autographs all on card. This is shaping up to be a monster rookie product. There is also a black version signed in silver ink which looks awesome.

The second great thing is the design. These cards look great. Sure, the jerseys on the players are photoshopped on, but the look of a very realistic painting looks really good. But the overall design of the cards makes that seem like a non-issue. The players look like they are coming out of the smoke from the tunnel for their first NFL game. Instead, they are coming out for their first high-end rookie trading cards.

The final great thing is the price. What would you pay for a rookie product with a ton of autographs, great looking design, and a ton of relics? You would need to know what you get per box. Each box comes with one pack. Inside each pack is 2 autographs, 1 relic card, 2 parallels, and 2 veteran base cards. Every card is numbered. Sounds like a lot of other products out there that cost $150+. Try $90 for this product. The lack of veteran and star autographs drives the price down to an affordable level to pick up some of the hottest rookies of this coming season. With all the low serial number possibilities, you can find some real value in this box.

The only thing I kind of don’t like about this product is the relics. Now you need to understand where I am coming from with this. Every relic is just event worn from the NFL Rookie Premiere. Worn for two seconds or worn in multiple layers, these are not game used. I don’t like event worn memorabilia. BUT! I understand the need for event worn memorabilia when there hasn’t been a game played yet. If you want to get products out before the season starts you need to use the event worn jerseys, I understand that. I just like my stuff game worn, it means more to me as a collector.

But I can’t complain about how they use these relics. Shields, jumbo relics, jumbo patches, letterman, laundry tags, autographed versions of all of those…great use of the memorabilia. They are really using every bit of the jersey for this product and for that we do thank you. So honestly, I can’t not like it that much. It’s more of a preference I guess.

Either way, this product is looking good. Right now the release date is set for August 10, 2011. It will definitely be a favorite of the rookie collectors out there and with more people getting into prospecting in football, it looks like it will do well. If you want star autographs or legend autographs, you will not find it in this product, however.

Here is one of those sweet silver signatures: