Bring Back the Box Toppers!

It’s time to bring back the box topper. I understand there are a couple of products out there currently with box toppers…Topps Allen & Ginter and Panini Zenith come to mind, but I think the majority of products could use a box topper.

Why should a company take the time and put together a box topper set?

The answer is one word and simple, value. Not only does a solid box topper encourage people to buy full boxes of product, there are so many things that you could do with a box topper to add value to a box.

Let’s just go over some of the box toppers we have seen over the last 10 years or so. We have seen autographed baseballs, autographed mini helmets, 5×7 autographed cards, jumbo patch cards, autographs, memorabilia cards, rip cards, and even parts to complete a set of mini cards.

Why aren’t these more common in today’s products?

I’m guessing it has to do with money, but if a great box topper added more sales to the product line, what’s the problem with adding it in? Topps does a great job changing up the box toppers for Allen & Ginter every year. Panini also did a great job creating some unreleased product designs in it’s Dare to Tear rip cards in Zenith as well.

I know that I have always loved box toppers and I think it still holds well to the collecting community in general. I’ve had conversations with several veterans of the hobby and the majority would love to see more box toppers, especially something like the past Topps Archives with the autographed balls or mini-helmets.

Let’s bring this hobby favorite back to more products and see what the companies can do with it. It may definitely be worth it to at least try some more new ideas.

Contest #3 Winners

I’ll make this short and sweet for you guys.

The winner from the 2010-11 Totally Certified basketball review is the person who guessed closest without going over to the serial number 192. That would be….BA Benny with a guess of 177! We had a lot of people closer, they just went over the number :( Congrats BA Benny with another contest win! That’s two in a row.

The winner from the 2010-11 Zenith hockey review is the person who guessed closest without going over to the serial number 067. That would be….Ashley with a guess of 056! I believe that is RJ’s wife, a Twitter follower of mine. Glad to see a loyal follower with a win! Congrats!

I will be emailing each of you for your address and notice of winning. I think I still have yours BA Benny from the last time you lucky dog.

Thanks to everyone for entering and stay tuned for more awesome giveaways! I haven’t used the Wheel O Awesome in awhile…might have to break that out pretty soon.

And be sure to thank Panini America as well for sponsoring the site with great boxes to review. Every time I get a box to review from Panini, free hits from the product will be going out and others will be added to the vault for future prizes.

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.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CHO6zFn6pg]

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!)

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?)