Sunday, December 4, 2016

Retail Review #233 (12/13 Score)

This week I broke a tin of The Cup, so for Retail Review I thought I'd tone it down a bit with this very affordable blaster of 12/13 Score. These blasters can be obtained for very little money now... but are they worth buying? Hit collectors can look elsewhere, but for people just wanting to have some good old fashioned fun with some cards, this is a nice little break!

Price - 

Packs - 11
12/13 Score Packs

Score was a brand that really brought it back to a time when hits like jersey and autograph cards were not even a thought for collectors. The cards in Score are plain and simple with attention focused on a fun design. There was a time when the borders of a card really defined a year. With so few sets released, collecting years could be distinguished by the borders they chose to use on the cards. It was definitely a simpler time back then.

This blaster will definitely have some fun looking cards that I think I'll enjoy. For those who just crave the big cards, this break will probably be a bore, but I enjoy these breaks as they give me a nice sense of nostalgia. Hopefully it gives some others that same sense too!

Let's go ahead and see what comes out of this blaster:

Review -
Just as I thought I would, I enjoyed the break. Getting a gold card per packs is sweet and getting extra inserts on top of those is even better! I remember some of the inserts I got like The Franchise and Team Score from back in the 90's. They were great pulls back then. Not so much now, but I still get a kick out of them. Score had a great little place in the hobby. This break makes me wish they were still around!

Check out my top three favorites out of this blaster:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Miikka Kiprusoff Card No. NC20
This might not be the best photo out of the Net Cam set, but it is unique and interesting in its own right. I really like the fact that it comes from an outdoor game and that there seems to be some physicality going on around Miikka. 

#2 - Jordan Eberle Card No. F11
The most surprising thing about this card was the foil to me. It totally made the card stand out from every other card I pulled. Eberle was a favorite of mine back in 10/11. In fact, some of you may remember that I started a little mini Eberle PC for a while!

#1 - Steven Stamkos Card No. TS8
Stamkos is a great player and this is a very nice photo of him in black and white done in the traditional style of Team Score. Cards like this were what made the 90's very cool and I love that I was able to pull a card like this out of a modern blaster.

Overall Value -
It's hard to argue the price of this blaster of Score. For very little money you get 11 packs to open and enjoy. I think this blaster would be a really cool stocking stuffer for anyone who enjoys hockey. Give them this box and show them how much fun opening up some packs of hockey cards can be!

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

2015-2016 Upper Deck The Cup Review

The wait for this year's Cup was borderline ridiculous... but it has finally come out! The most anticipated and highest priced hockey product is now upon us. It should come packed with the absolute best cards that a hockey card collector could ever want. With a price tag of nearly $800 upon release, each tin better deliver something special.

Base Card Design -
I wonder if anyone really cares about Cup base cards. They were once pretty highly sought after and collectible, but in the collecting environment today, they are pretty much an afterthought. Each base card comes with The Cup's extremely thick card stock, and each card is numbered to 249. I guess 249 is a low number, but not that low. Anybody who wants to get their favorite player's Cup card won't be hurting to find it, or afford it. As always, the Cup base cards have a clean and modern design. It certainly looks classy, but at the cost of being interesting. I suppose Upper Deck is going for elegance, but why does it have to be so boring? I won't knock the cards for looking bad, but I wish the cards were more exciting. The tin I opened came with two base cards, so I guess you could say I was doubly un-excited with them.

The back of the base card is also very typical of how Cup cards have been designed in the past. Again, not a whole lot of frills on the back, but the back is clean and implemented well. The stats are easy to read and have a nice large font. It has all the relevant information that the back should have. Sadly, there is nothing to read in terms of player text on the back of the Cup. It's mostly just numbers.

A player's most expensive rookie card is usually found in The Cup. Most players are numbered to 249, like the Charles Hudon I pulled, but the top tier guys are limited to just 99. Each rookie card features an event-used patch as well as a hard-signed autograph. The rookie cards this year have a similar look to the base, but definitely take it several notches up. The foil used and the overall design elements come together and fill out the card. Rather than being stale, these cards have an elegant and exciting look to them. These rookie cards will no doubt be huge draws for collectors looking for their favorite rookies this year.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
This is where The Cup shines. When a collectors purchases a tin of the Cup, they expect to get some really nice hits. The Cup is full of game-used material and autographs. Though my tin had 2 base cards in it, I was still able to fish out four hits - two of which I thought were particularly nice. Though the Cup is very expensive, lucky collectors who find autographed Connor McDavid cards will have at least made back, if not exceeded, the money they put into a tin.

My most lackluster card from my tin had to be this Radek Faksa gold parallel rookie card numbered to 36. It's basically the rookie design done with gold touches minus the most important part... the patch! I supposed this is a way for Upper Deck to add additional rookie content to the product, but unless you're getting a top rookie from this year's class, this type of card isn't too exciting to get.

Now this is a lot better! Though it's another rookie card parallel, having a tag patch on the card is pretty awesome. This card is numbered to 8 - which is a little high in my opinion - but features a piece of the tag on the jersey that Duncan Siemens wore. The red foil on the card really makes the card stand out and really goes well with the Canada Flag patch. I've seen one other from the 8 copies of this card on eBay, and it didn't have the flag portion of the patch, so I'm guessing this may be the best one of the 8!

I thought the Siemens flag patch was my pack hit, but I was wrong (thankfully)! My best card from the break was the letter 'E' from a GAME-USED nameplate off his jersey. Since Kane only has four letters in his last name, getting one of his Notable Nameplates cards is pretty nice. Kane has also been instrumental in the success the Blackhawks have had over the years so getting this card out of my tin was great. This is the type of nicer pull that I think many collectors really expect out of the Cup. My other hits were rookies, which could potentially be good, but getting a solid hit of a an established star player is always satisfying.

This is the only tin of the Cup I'll be breaking this year, but oh how I wish I could open more and find all the amazing treasure trove of cards within it. Upper Deck has book cards, stick cards, and amazing patches to be found here. One tin? It doesn't even scratch the surface of what's available to be found!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
What can I say? The Cup is The Cup. If you are lucky enough to be able to get a tin, it is an incredible opening experience. The price of this year's Cup is absolutely ridiculous. 99% of collectors cannot afford to get a tin, but plenty of this product will be broken this year as it always is. Much of the cards will be available at decent prices on eBay and other sites. The only cards that may be really out of reach are the Connor McDavid rookies that come out this year. We're looking at thousands of dollars per copy for those particular cards (especially his rookie patch auto numbered to 99).

I have to save a lot all year in preparation for the release of the Cup. I guess if the Cup is something you really want to open, it is possible. Just know that many who want to get one will really have to sacrifice and plan on the purchase. Getting the Cup is a huge gamble, so think hard before going for a tin if you're not one of those folk who have the extra money to get a tin or twelve. For me, I like the thrill of busting a tin - it's unlike any other hockey product out there. I go in knowing I probably won't be getting the absolute best card so my expectations are tempered. I find this a good approach to the Cup.

So how do I rate this year's Cup? Well, to be honest it all hinges on the rookies (I'm looking at you, Connor!). If McDavid (or another rookie) becomes THE star for the NHL in the coming years, then this year's product will be absolute fire. Prices will not come down and high-end collectors will gobble all of it up. If not... well... then the opposite will happen. But it looks like McDavid will be holding this product up, and the excitement has definitely not died down. I'd say this year's Cup is a winner for now.

Overall Rating -

Watch me open up a tin of the Cup at D&P Sportscards in Sacramento, Ca:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Retail Review #232 (08/09 Upper Deck Series 2)

2008/09 was the year just before I started getting back into card collecting, so breaking products from this year is a little foreign to me. I do know, however, that 08/09 Upper Deck had a beautiful design that is one of my all-time favorites in terms of how the cards look. This blaster was a great price so I decided to give it a spin!

Price - 

Packs - 12
08/09 Upper Deck Series 2 Blaster Packs

The main draw in 08/09 card sets is Steven Stamkos. His Young Gun, however, is found in Series 1, not two. That's ok though, I think I'll still enjoy opening up this blaster box for a few years back. I actually am not sure what to expect out of this blaster. It's low price seems to indicate that there really isn't much to look forward to out of it, but Upper Deck is always a strong product and can always be fun. Perhaps there will be some cool inserts to find out of this box. There may even be a hit! I'll have to open it to find out though.

Let's break the seal on this guy and see what I get:

Review -
Overall I was pretty satisfied with this break. Sure, there wasn't anything ground breaking about it, but the cards that came out were pretty nice! I ended up with a pretty nice stack of base cards with two checklist cards. Nowadays the checklists feature two players on them. It's usually the two captains from the Stanley Cup Finals or the top rookies. In 08/09, they didn't have two players on the card - it was just one. I personally like the single player look better.

Many of the packs from my break had Victory update cards in them. Victory was the lowest end Upper Deck brand at the time. Getting these cards were ok, but they aren't too special. I did enjoy finding some bonus rookie content because of these cards though.

Here's my top three from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Mikkel Boedker Card No. 323
Boedker is a player I am familiar with so that's always a plus. Often times the rookies you find in older products may not have had a very long stay in the NHL so there's a good chance that they will be an unknown. This card is also a gold version, which was sweet.

#2 - Simeon Varlamov Card No. 460
Varlamov is a pretty well-known goalie and is still going strong in the NHL. I was a little surprised to find his YG in my blaster as I wasn't sure when he was a rookie. I think Varlamov was a bit more popular a few years ago, but his YG is still a nice find from an inexpensive blaster like this one.

#1 - Carey Price Card No. NE4
I don't know if I've ever seen this particular Upper Deck insert before, but it's of a fantastic goalie in Carey Price. The title is The New Guard, so obviously this card was from a time when Price was newer in the league.

Overall Value -
For under nine bucks this was a good little blaster to open up. I was able to hit a few nice rookie cards from both the main Upper Deck set and the Victory updates. I was pretty satisfied with this break and would happily purchase another one of these blasters at the same price. They are a good deal and a fun little break for the money!

Let me know what you thought of my 08/09 Upper Deck Series 2 blaster in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Retail Review #231 (10/11 Panini Zenith)

After a opening up Series One and an old Parkhurst box this past week, I decided to go for something a little quicker in terms of the length the of the break. I decided on Zenith because it is a pretty fast break with a guaranteed hit inside. Though I initially didn't like Zenith at all, I now enjoy busting blasters of it during my Retail Reviews.

Price - 

Packs - 3
10/11 Zenith Blaster Packs

This is going to be a very fast break. With only three packs to open, there really isn't much to sit around and look at. The original price for these three packs was once about $30. That's just crazy. It's absolutely absurd to think that each of the packs in this box were $10/ea. Wow. But that's the way it was intended to be for Panini.

I suppose Panini was thinking that the majority of the money could be justified because there was a guaranteed hit in the blaster. But still, the hit would most likely be a plain jersey card. Autographs can be found, but in my experience with Zenith they are not easy to come by.

What kind of hit will come out of this blaster? Let's find out now:

Review -
Though there were only three packs to open here, I enjoyed the break. These cards used to look hideous to me, but now I appreciate the subtle design elements that are within them. In scans, everything looks very flat, but in person, the player has a glossy shine that makes them stand out. Sure, the overall look and design could be better, but they are not as bad as my initial impression of them.

Most of the players I got were from the modern era, but I did get a couple of nice retired players in the mix. Out of the three packs, two had inserts - one a red foil parallel and the other a jersey. It's pretty typical of what to expect from one of these, but I liked the players I was able to pull.

Here were the top three cards from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Brent Burns Card No. 101
Burns started as a Minnesota Wild, but at this point in his career I can't picture him in any other jersey than that of the Sharks. It's actually pretty strange to see him in his old Wild uni. 

#2 - Brad Marchand Card No. 40
Marchand has definitely improved his play as he's gotten more experience as a player. Sorry for the terrible scan of this card. The foil shows up terribly when put through my scanner! 

#1 - Sidney Crosby Card No. 4
This card didn't come out looking very good either, but i can assure you in person it looks great. This Sid the Kid jersey is numbered to just 100 and has a very shiny surface. If you're gonna get a jersey card, it might as well be numbered and be one of the best players in the NHL.

Overall Value -
This blaster has taken a nose dive in price, and that's a really good thing. For just over ten bucks you can get Zenith blasters. I personally think they are a fun break. You probably can't find anything that would be very valuable in these. Even the autographs don't have huge values, but it is a nice break in which you are guaranteed to get at least something! And that's rare these days. I'd buy one of these if you can find it at a good price and have a little fun break with it.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Retail Review #230 (93/94 Parkhurst)

I decided to do something a little different this week for Retail Review. Instead of going for a modern era product, I got a box that a collector may have found on the shelves back in the early 90's. This box came at at a time when design of cards looked great and had a modern feel and when inserts were all the rage. It should be a lot of fun to get into an older box like this.

Price - 

Packs - 36
93/94 Parkhurst Packs

This is definitely dating myself, but I do remember buying these cards when they came out. It was a nice looking product and the Emerald Ice cards were awesome parallels to chase. At the time, buying a whole box was unheard of - well, at least by me. I really just went to the store to buy packs, and I could really only afford to get a few. The entire box contained a whopping 36 packs! There were a lot to choose from and I always hoped to get the pack with the best inserts and parallels in them.

This product has a couple of inserts to look forward to. There are the Emerald Ice cards as well as Parkie Reprints. The Emerald Ice card are similar to parallel cards of today... I guess not a lot has changed on that front. These parallels replace the standard foil with a green foil. Parkie Reprints are just that - reprints of old Parkhurst cards. Pulling the Parkie Reprint from just one pack out of the box would be a big challenge for a collector in the 90's. I don't think I ever got one back then, but today that might just change!

Let's open up this relic from the 90's and see what it give me:

Review -
Whew! What a long break! This type of break is probably not the best in terms of rushing as the cards are meant to be enjoyed and looked carefully at. But I didn't want my video to go long so I just broke the cards out so that I could examine them more closely later. I've got to say that you got a lot more cardboard in the 90's. I ended up with a tall stack of cards!

Each pack had an Emerald Ice card in it. I had initially thought they were hard pulls at perhaps one per box, but in 93/94 they were one to a pack. I could have been that another Parkhurst release in an even earlier year had the emerald parallels at one per box. I'm not sure. But it was cool that the emeralds were in each pack as it gave me something look look forward to every time I ripped open a pack.

My biggest complaints about this product are that the cards were every which way in the pack. That's a minor pet peeve of mine. I hate having to turn all the cards the right way. Modern card manufacturing is a lot better in that regards. Nowadays, you pretty much know where the insert or hit will be slotted in the pack. With the Emerald parallels, some came at the front of the stack while others were in the middle. I never knew!

I was also losing hope of getting a Parkie Reprint card as I was going through the box. It was really nice to be finally able to hit it as I was finishing the break. I would have been pretty sad if that card didn't come out!

Lots of cards to choose from, but here are my top three:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Joe Sakic Card No. 169
I definitely wanted to have an Emerald Ice parallel in my top three... but which one? I decided on Super Joe as he was one of hockey's best and on this card he is wearing a Nords jersey! I definitely have a thing for franchises that have moved or are no more.

#2 - Rob Niedermayer Card No. G5
Rather than being a green foil parallel, this card is from a special insert set featuring players that played for the USA. These inserts come one per box and have a bit more foil on them than the regular base cards. I like it!

#1 - Miles "Tim" Horton Card No. PR-34
This is the card that I was waiting almost the entire box for. This is the Parkie Reprint I pulled from the box. It's a very cool retro card that I'm glad to have. It is definitely the most unique and different looking of all the cards in the box.

Overall Value -
For under fifteen bucks I got an entire box of 36 retro packs. The early 90's is known as the junk wax era since there was so much of it produced. Much of the stuff can still be easily found - like this box of Parkhurst. It was worth it for me to break as I remember this time of collecting fondly, but for everyone else, it's something you can probably pass on unless you want a nice lesson in the past.

Let me know what you thought of this box in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!