Preview: 2011 Topps Finest Baseball

When Topps announced information regarding Topps Finest baseball recently, a lot of the hobby community seemed very excited for the possibilities this year. Far gone are the manufactured patches of the past few years and included are autographed on card rookies. It seems like Topps has listened to the die hard collectors out there and have made positive changes. For that, we thank you.

As always this will be a two mini box to one master box product. Each mini box will have one rookie autograph in it. One of those rookie autographs will be a rookie autograph with dual relics. Since there are other veteran autographs from the Finest Moments subset and the 60th Anniversary subset I am guessing you may find as many as three or four autographs per master box. Don’t hold me to that, but I’ve seen it in years past. Also returning are the large number of parallels. There will be 14 different parallels for each base card, which will give player collector’s a fit trying to find each card of their player. Thankfully, the parallels don’t look to be just border color changes and will be seen across the whole card. The aesthetics of the card really look that much better then just a different border color as you might see in Bowman.

New this year are rookie jumbo patch cards featuring 26 rookies with nice jumbo patches. These will be hard to find with the easiest parallel to get will be numbered to 10. These will also feature SuperFractors which should be awesome to pull. Also new, is the new inserts which are seeded 1 per mini box. Finest Freshmen featuring rookies, Finest Foundations featuring veterans, and Finest Moments featuring the best moments of a player’s career. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the 60th Anniversary autographed cards will be running in this product also celebrating Topps 60th birthday.

Finally, your case hit this year will be a Finest Moments autographed relic card featuring some of the top players in the game. Roy Halladay, Carl Crawford, and Joe Mauer are featured on the sell sheet of this product.

This product will be 5 cards per pack with a 100 card base set. There will be 12 packs per master box. The parallels of the base set include refractors from the past as well as a Die-Cut Mosaic numbered to 10, and a Canary Diamond numbered 1/1 celebrating Topps 60 years, totaling 14 different versions. You want to know who’s on the checklist? I can give you 2011 Topps Finest Baseball Checklist.

I believe this is set to arrive in September 2011, so you have plenty of time to get your money saved. This looks to be the best Finest product in years.

Here’s a pretty patch card to keep you occupied.

Review: 2010 Topps Triple Threads Football

Hey there football fans, this time I’ve brought you a Topps football product. A kind of higher end product in the sports card collecting world. 2010 Topps Triple Threads football. With the lack of 2011 products out yet with decent hits, I decided to go back to last year and get a product that is either hit or miss.

2010 Topps Triple Threads is full of possibilities. You get two packs of cards in a box with a guarantee of at least one autographed triple relic card. The other is either another autograph or some sort of relic card with at least three relic pieces. There are a ton of rookies you can pull from your 2010 rookie class as well as a nice selection of veterans available. The great part is that everything is serial numbered! Let’s dig into what was pulled from my box.

Base (all numbered out of 1350):

Parallels:

Hits:

Design:

The design of the base and parallels is very nice. I like the simple design that doesn’t try and do too much. It has the type of photography you expect from Topps with the players in nice action shots during the game. I like what they did with their parallels as well. A lot of other Topps products only change the border in their parallels, which I don’t care for. But Triple Threads has a different color scheme for the whole card in their parallels which is the way to do parallels. The colors aren’t too extravagant either or overpowering. The hits are very nice and glossy, definitely makes it look more like a premium product. The only real gripe I have with the design of the hits is the small pictures of the players on the card. I understand if you pull a 24 piece booklet like I did the pictures are going to be smaller, but there has to be a better way to show off the player inside the booklet.

Checklist:

The checklist is large and varied. I have to say that this is a very rookie heavy product. The majority of hits you will receive are rookies. But of course, there is the possibility for some of the great rookies for the year as well as Hall of Fame players and current superstars, but those are few and far between all the rookies loaded in this product. I’ve seen a lot of box breaks of this product online, which is the reason I decided to review this. I think there is just too many rookies for a product like this, and that leads me to value…

Value:

I’m not very sure the value is there. First off, where are the patches? With this product being as expensive as it is per pack, why don’t I see any patches? If the price is going to be that high for this box, I would expect the rookies to be patches and the cards without autographs to be patches as well (except for huge piece booklets). Game used is going the way of junk wax, nobody wants just plain pieces anymore. I can see the want for huge booklets like the one I pulled, but if I had pulled just 3 single color jerseys of some low end rookie, I would not have been happy at all. I would of been satisfied if they were patches, regardless of the player. Speaking of patches, I would of liked to have seen my rookie autograph patched as well. Again, with such a high price point, there needs to be value or the smarter collectors will stay away. If you’re going to pay over $50 per pack, there had better be a patch in there.

Overall:

Overall, despite my rants on value, I actually really like the product and think it has the potential to be that much better. The simple design is great and the hits really make it look like a premium product. The checklist is there, but I would add more current players to even out the hits a bit as I feel there are too many rookies in this product and it seems too rookie heavy. Finally, there needs to be more value put in these boxes. If I am going to spend my money on a product that is $50+ a pack, I want to see some patches. I don’t want to see single colored game used pieces like I pulled. The booklet I am okay with the chosen relics, but the rookies need to be a little bit more. This product needs a tiny upgrade to really make it a great product. For now, it’s just average. Step up the game Topps, I know you can do better.

As always, I have done a little video break of this product and the video is located here, it seems the blue and orange theme really worked, just no Tebow:

Preview: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter

It’s back.

Probably a Topps fan favorite since it’s return in 2006, Allen & Ginter returns again for a 5th year. Allen & Ginter is a favorite amongst sports card collectors not only in baseball, but collectors of all sports appreciate the design and quality of Allen & Ginter. This year, Topps labels this as “The Autograph Checklist Allen & Ginter Collectors Have Been Waiting For!” And actually, with the quality products that Topps has put out this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if this were absolutely true.

Autographs from the sports and Americana realm are found throughout this product year after year. Not only can you pull autographs from today’s top baseball stars, there have been autographs of top athletes in other sports, Americana icons, and cut signatures of the famous who are deceased. Headlining the non-baseball autographs this year is Manny Pacquiao who will make an appearance in this year’s product. The autograph checklist looks pretty solid to me so I am definitely excited for the possibilities in this product.

Every year there is a different set of inserts to collect and this year is no different. It gives collectors something new every season. This year features endangered species, the famous counterparts or assistants that many people may not know of get their due, mysterious figures, famous flora, and geniuses amongst others. This set is chocked full of inserts that fall at a rate of one per pack. My favorite is probably the box loader. As I’ve mentioned in other previews, I think a box loader is needed in every product. One of Allen & Ginter’s box loader possibilities is a relic card in the shape of a state in the United States, but when put together will fit a giant map. These are numbered to 50, so it will be difficult to get that set together.

Also returning is the Ginter Code, a code formed in the creation of the set for you to try and figure out. The first to answer the code wins a prize, in the past it has been your own Allen & Ginter card for the next year. Also, returning is the famous Rip Card! Rip it or Keep It? Inside could be an autographed mini, uncirculated mini, wood mini 1/1, or a sketch 1/1.

The base set is a big 350 cards featuring baseball rookies, veterans, sports stars, and historic figures. As always, you can find mini of the base as well with several different variations. Game used framed relics are also found as is standard.

Each hobby box will contain any combination of 3 of the following: Autographed card, relic card, cut signature, rip card, printing plate, or book card. Also, each box will have one box topper.

Topps Allen & Ginter is looking as good as ever this year and will be a hit amongst collectors once again. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on a box. I just spent a bunch on these reviews recently, plus one more tomorrow, so we’ll see what we can do.

Don’t forget to check out the 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Checklist.

Site News: Incoming Boxes

For all you who enjoy box breaks of nice products, I have 3 boxes coming in. One from each of the 3 major league card companies.

- 1 Box 2010-11 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey

- 1 Box 2010-11 Panini Contenders Hockey

- 1 Box 2010 Topps Triple Threads Football

I wanted to do a “fight to the death” of Upper Deck and Panini hockey products. I think Contenders has a serious chance to take SP Authentic on as one of the hockey favorites of the year. So this will be a head to head product break and review.

I wanted to get Topps in on the madness so I also ordered a box of Triple Threads football. Probably the second best Topps football product of the year (after 5 Star) and just fit in my price range.

And finally, to add one more bit of madness to this, I ordered 2 of the boxes from Blowout and the other box from DA Card World. There will be blood! I will review both companies afterwards as well.

The Triple Threads should be here first, as Contenders isn’t released until Wednesday. At least, I think that’s how it works. I’m not sure if the product will be sent to arrive after release date or if they have to wait to send until street date.

So I hope you’re looking forward to the breaks and reviews. At least I have some time to think of more ways to make an idiot out of myself on camera.

Depending on when they come in and when I can get something totally awesome done for this site, I might be having some giveaways in celebration. Stay tuned.

I Come Bearing Gypsy Queens!

I needed eggs. We finished up our carton last night and it was such a beautiful day today, I offered to drive over to the store and pick up the much needed protein. It takes me 10 minutes to find the eggs, meaning I probably shouldn’t be in a grocery store. But there is a great part of this grocery store. This store contains blaster boxes of cards.

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me post that I finally found 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball. In actuality, I found 3 blaster boxes. I decided to take 2 and leave 1 for the next customer. Now I can finally see what all this hype is.

Box 1 featured 4 Red Sox cards:

Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Jimmie Foxx, and Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth is actually in a Red Sox uniform and is a short print! Of all my Red Sox cards, I don’t think I own one Ruth in a Red Sox uniform so that excites me. The other short prints pulled were Jay Bruce and a Brian McCann mini. I also pulled a mini red back of Matt Kemp.

My inserts in Box 1 were as follows:

Future Stars: Mike Stanton, Neftali Feliz

Sticky Fingers: Derek Jeter, David Wright

Home Run Heroes: Jose Bautista x2 (really Topps?)

Wall Climbers: Mike Stanton, Franklin Gutierrez

The Great Ones: Mickey Mantle, Robin Yount

Finally I hit a Gypsy Queen, Havalia. While at first I didn’t care about these cards, I must admit they can be quite entertaining. Have you actually read the biographies of these gypsies? Here is Havalia’s biography:

I also have had damaged goods. However, when she tried to turn me into a wild boar I left her.

Box 2 featured 3 Red Sox cards:

Kevin Youkilis, Lars Anderson (RC), and finally a Dustin Pedroia mini. Lars Anderson seems to be haunting my pulls in baseball recently. While not necessarily a bad prospect to have haunt you, his real rookie cards were a few years ago. Plus he’ll be traded eventually as he is sitting behind another guy I pulled, Adrian Gonzalez. My short prints from this box were Carlos Pena, Freddie Freeman (RC!), and a Brett Sinkseil Black Mini (RC). Why couldn’t it have been of Freddie? My red back in this box was BJ Upton.

My inserts in Box 1 were as follows:

Future Stars: Gordon Beckham, Ike Davis

Sticky Fingers: Jose Reyes, Brandon Phillips

Home Run Heroes: Johnny Bench, Carlos Pena

Wall Climbers: Franklin Gutierrez, Jason Heyward

The Great Ones: Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson

My Gypsy Queen is that hottie Oriana. With looks like those, I can imagine how many men she may have turned into wild boars. Let’s see:

Well that’s not very climactic. Although I wish she could rub some of her magic potion on some of these retail boxes I’ve received lately. I haven’t hit a GU or Auto in a blaster box in God knows how long.

I probably should of bought that last one too.

But in all, Gypsy Queen is Allen & Ginter without all the non-sports cards (except those Gypsies). The design is okay, but the photos of the players end up looking really good and like canvas. I’m just happy I didn’t pull an autograph of a Gypsy. I might buy some more boxes but odds are with hobby boxes around $150, it’s definitely not going to be hobby.

If anyone needs base to complete their sets, let me know.