Sunday, July 23, 2017

Retail Review #266 (14/15 Fleer Ultra)


This morning I'll be opening up a blaster of 14/15 Fleer Ultra. There are seven packs per blaster, and I'm hoping that I'll get a nice Ultra insert out of this box. My last blaster of Ultra didn't go so well, but I'm at it again with this one. It would be great if this blaster actually deliveres something that I like!



Price - 
$8.95

Packs - 8
8 x 14/15 Fleer Ultra Blaster Packs

Not too long ago I bought a set of the Ultra Rejectors from 1993 Fleer Ultra basketball. It was an ebay purchase that I really enjoyed because it brought me back to the days when Ultra had some really awesome inserts. The Rejector set was small, but it was fun and featured some of the biggest names in the NBA back then. The best card from that set was Shaq. His Rejector card was selling upwards of $30 back then! Of course, it is no where near that amount now.

14/15 Fleer Ultra hockey had some decent inserts to find. There were some that were die-cut and others that had full-on foil board. In earlier blasters that I bought I was able to get a few inserts, the last one however, didn't. To me Ultra is about the inserts so that's what I really want to see when I open up these packs.

Let's go ahead and see what happens when I open up this blaster box:


Review -
Dang it! Another bad blaster of Ultra! This blaster had no inserts, but two Gold Medallion parallel cards. It was pretty boring opening up pack after pack of regular base cards. It's really too bad that these cards have been designed so poorly. The Ultra base are plain with photos that don't inspire at all. The Gold Medallion parallels are kind of nice because of all the foil they use in the background, but it isn't enough to make this set good. I really wish I got an insert card out of this blaster, but sadly that was not meant to be!

Here are my three favorite cards out of this dreadful blaster:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Jaromir Jagr Card No. 108
I find myself picking Jagr for my favorite cards when I get home quite often. I just find it so amazing that he is still around in the NHL after all these years. He truly is a timeless wonder.


#2 - Joe Thornton Card No. 158
Jumbo Joe doesn't have the tenure in the NHL that Jagr has (really nobody does), but he is considered one of the older guys in the league. I'm glad that he will be back for another season in San Jose... but without Patty Marleau!


#1 - Johnny Gaudreau Card No. 20
My top card from this blaster is the opposite of Jagr and Thornton. Johnny Gaudreau is a young player in the league that is making a name for himself. Hopefully one day he will have as long a career as the other two.

Overall Value -
This blaster was pretty terrible. When the top three cards are just regular base cards, you know that the box wasn't very good. I think 14/15 Fleer Ultra really sank the brand name. Upper Deck will probably bring it back in its own product somewhere down the line, but it'll probably take some time to heal from this disaster of a release!

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:
2/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Retail Review #265 (99/00 ITG Millennium Signature Series)


Here's my second opening of 99/00 ITG Millennium Signature Series Hockey. Though technically not a retail product, these can be found on the cheap and may be worth a look if you're wanting autographs at rock bottom prices. You get one auto per pack guaranteed along with 4 other foil base cards.



Price - 
$6.95

Packs - 1
99/00 ITG Millennium Signature Series Pack

I really enjoyed the first time I opened this product a couple weeks ago and I'm looking forward to today's break of it. Autographs are always a collector favorite, so these are a no-brainer for the price they are at now. To top things all off, these autographs are all on-card. I don't even think sticker autos were a thing during those years. It definitely was a magical time for cards back then. I miss those days!

People have commented that these packs were unaffordable when they first came out - I believe that! But now they totally are. If you can find these packs now I'd jump at the chance to pick them up. The supply cannot last forever and I'm sure soon they will become scarce.

Let's take a look at this pack and what's inside of it:


Review -
This was a quick break as there was just one cellophane wrapped pack with 5 cards in it. Good thing there were a few players I actually knew in here! The cards look great with a very 90's/early 2000's vibe. Companies try to emulate the look and feel of this era of cards nowadays, but they can't seem to pull it off. These cards are the genuine article and I really love them.

These were my favorite cards out of this pack:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Steve Yzerman Card No. 88
Yzerman was one of the top superstars of his era, his Red Wing teams were beastly. Back in the day, his popularity was just under the likes of Wayne Gretzky. It was never a bad pull to get his card out of a pack.


#2 - Joe Thornton Card No. 24
Wow! It's Jumbo Joe when he was MUCH MUCH younger! Though he was drafted by the Bruins, it's so strange to see him in those colors. Check out the crazy 90's Bruin logo. Hideous and fascinating at the same time.


#1 - Mathieu Dandenault Card No. 95
Pulled a gold card! This card looks really nice in person. The gold foil really stands out, but the star of this card is the signature. It's a beautiful sig that is nice and bold. It's too bad I'm not familiar with the player!

Overall Value -
Another really fun break from these packs. I have a couple more of these to go and am excited to open them on future Retail Reviews. Getting these cards makes me appreciate the late 90's era and gets me curious about the players I pulled. I've definitely gotta do some research to quench this new found interest!

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:
7/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Retail Review #264 (13/14 O-Pee-Chee)


This week I'm going with a good 'ol blaster of O-Pee-Chee. I've always enjoyed busting open these blasters because the cards contained inside them are the basics of the hobby. You get real cardboard and retro themed designs. You also get a lot of packs, which makes opening up one of these even more fun and enjoyable.



Price - 
$7.95

Packs - 14
13/14 OPC Blaster Packs

I wish that O-Pee-Chee was a more sought after brand. Though its a household name in the hobby, it is often overlooked because of its lower-end status. I'm pretty sure there are some die-hard OPC collectors out there, but this brand is definitely a niche product. With a base set of 600 cards, this set is as old school as it gets. It's about the size of an 80's baseball card set. Back then it was difficult to find the top players while busting packs. Getting any star player was a great win. Nowadays getting the stars is very easy, but with OPC, sometimes they can still be elusive when buying packs. It's too bad their value isn't much in the secondary market. Things just aren't the way they used to be!

Let's rip this blaster and see what comes out of it:


Review -
This was about what you'd expect from a typical O-Pee-Chee break. There were a lot of packs to open up and lots of cards to check out. This blaster had a large amount of Marquee Rookie cards. I don't really remember this year's distribution too much - but I thought there were more rookies than usual.

In terms of the inserts, I got a smattering of stickers and foil cards but nothing too exciting. I was actually more pleased to pull out a few superstar cards out of the base set. Like I mentioned above, getting good players out of a 600 card set can be hard. I felt that I was able to get a few greats of the NHL in this blaster box.

Here are my top three cards out of this blaster:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Teemu Selanne Card No. 110
Selanne is pretty much legend status. He set the NHL on fire with this offensive output as a rookie and ended up having a very long playing career, retiring just a few seasons ago. 


#2 - Sidney Crosby Card No. 475
I mentioned that getting star base cards out of a huge 600-card set can be difficult. Well, Crosby is just about the biggest name in the game right now and getting his card is always a good thing, getting his card out of a huge set is awesome!


#1 - Patrick Roy Card No. 318
Pulling this Roy card surprised me a little bit as I wasn't expecting to find retired players in OPC. Usually these players have a special subset called Marquee Legends. This card looks just like the standard OPC base. It was definitely a nice surprise though as I think this card is pretty cool.

Overall Value -
For under ten dollars, the value is there. OPC gives you a nice breaking experience that will net you a nice stack of cards. I really do consider OPC a pure product as it stays with the older ways of the hobby. I'm really glad that this product continues on. It has solidified its place in the hobby and I'm sure will continue to do so for years and years to come.

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:
5/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Retail Review #263 (99/00 ITG Millennium Signature Series)


This is a first for Retail Review! It's a pack of 1999/00 ITG Millennium Signature Series. This may not be a retail product, per se... but it's old enough (and cheap enough) that I think it warrants a break on Retail Review. I've never opened up one of these before so I'm excited to see what I get!



Price - 
$6.95

Packs - 1
99/00 ITG Millennium Signature Series Pack

I was able to find these packs on clearance at under $7 each. That's a pretty great deal for a guaranteed autograph inside. I used to buy Be a Player blasters for over double that amount and get the same autographed content.

These little packs are a great deal, unfortunately, probably most or all of the players found in them will be retired already. So no current players should be found here. That may be a turn off to some as people seem to always want the latest and greatest, but I hope to uncover a gem or two in these packs. I'm not sure what the best card to get would be, but I'm willing to try them out!

Let's rip this blaster open and check out what's inside:


Review -
Just one pack in this interesting packaging format. It's a white cellophane pack that isn't your typical wrapping, but it does the job. Each pack contains five cards. It was cool to see that the cards were done on a nice foil board. Foil was a very popular medium in the late 90's and is still today. However, I feel that the quality of the card was better back then. The cards feel more robust and sturdy, and the designs were a lot more fun. These cards really make me miss the days of old when cards were like this. Out of the five cards I got a couple players that I recognized and a couple that I didn't.

Here are my top cards from this break:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Dan Cloutier Card No. 219
I recognize Cloutier of course as a popular goalie. I believe Coutier makes up half the name of Clouts n' Chara, the famous Canadian card dealer. He was the first player out of the pack and I was glad to get someone I recognized right out the gate.


#2 - Ed Belfour Card No. 79
Eddie the Eagle was my second card. I'm not a huge fan of Belfour's as his stint with San Jose wasn't very good, but he is a respected goalie from the era. Here he is in a Stars sweater, one of the teams he played for after his great run with the Hawks.


#1 - Matt Higgins Card No. 131
My autograph was of Habs player Matt Higgins. I don't know much about him, but I do like the fact that the autograph is on-card. Higgins used a pretty thin Sharpie for the autograph. It's a little different than the medium inks used today, but I like the look of it! Very classy!

Overall Value -
I really enjoyed opening this blast from the past. And I'm glad that I have three more to open in the next few weeks of Retail Review. These Millennium packs are a great deal and if you're into this era of hockey I wouldn't hesitate to pick one up as soon as possible!

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:
7/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

2017-2017 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Review

It's been over a month since Upper Deck released its last product, but the wait is now over! Ultimate Collection has reached hobby store shelves to the delight of high-end hockey card collectors. Ultimate Collection is a high risk, high reward product that is very pricey for the amount of product you actually get. Let's see if fortune favors me with the box that I bought for this review.


Base Card Design -
The base cards for Ultimate Collection are pretty interesting. The standard veteran players are limited to just 99, so getting a base card isn't as common as purchasing a pack as my pack didn't have a veteran base card. These cards are actually kind of rare in comparison to the rookie cards that Upper Deck has jammed into the product. Usually it's the rookies that get the limited treatment - Ultimate Collection flips that concept on its head.


The rookie cards in the main set come in a variety of variations. An acetate version of the rookies are Ultimate Introductions. These rookie cards are done in acetate and have that smooth glassy sheen across the surface. Just as in most Upper Deck products, the players are placed into tiers. Top rookies like Auston Matthews are more difficult to pull. My pull in the pack, Alan Quine, was one of the easiest to get.

The second type of rookie card is the Ultimate Rookies set. This is the more familiar rookie card out of Ultimate Collection. The rookie cards come with a hard-signed signature or various versions of jersey pieces. As always, the nice thing about Ultimate Collection and the other high-end Upper Deck products is that the cards are hard-signed rather than a sticker autograph. This year's Ultimate Rookie Auto looks great as the grey tones give the cards a more serious look. The Ultimate Rookie Autos are separated into two types. Most Ultimate Rookie cards are numbered to 299, but the best of in class have just 99 copies each.

Base Card Design Score:
9/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Know what you're getting into when buying Ultimate Collection. The sell sheets will have some pretty spectacular cards to see, but remember that each pack of cards will only yield about 4 or so cards. My pack had all cards from the main set save one.


The one card that wasn't from the main set was this Keystone Fabrics card of Henrik Sedin. It's a medium/small patch card numbered to 49. This was defintiely the 'hit' of the box/pack for me, and it was pretty disappointing. Sedin is not a hot hobby star and this card isn't even that limited in today's market. I'm sure if I wanted to find this card on eBay, it could have it for just a few bucks. But that's the game you play when you dip into products like Ultimate Collection.

Select few collectors will find the real goods in packs. Patch autos and NHL shield cards are the main draw of this set. The rookies numbered to 99 are also card that are highly sought after. But other than that you'll be hard pressed to find anything that really gets you your pack price back.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
6/10

Overall Rating -
In the end, Ultimate Collection is for the high rollers of the hockey card collecting world. My break of the product was pretty mediocre, but I knew what I was getting in to, so I'm not mad about it. I would say there are plenty of other products out there that would yield much better results. If you do have money burning a hole in your pockets though, rather than buy packs of Ultimate Collection... get it by the case. That way you at least are guaranteed the case hit. Usually those are pretty decent pulls.

Overall Rating:

6/10

Check out my break of 16/17 Ultimate Collection: