Sunday, November 29, 2015

Retail Review #180 (12/13 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee)

I think it's been a good long while since I've opened up a blaster of this particular year's OPC product. I don't really even remember what you can get inside it! If it's anything like what OPC usually delivers though, I can expect to find a few nice insert cards inside. Let's hope it's a fun break!

Price - 

Packs - 14
12/13 O-Pee-Chee Blaster Packs

I have sort of a love/hate relationship when it comes to OPC blasters. I love the fact that you get so many cards and that the cards have that awesome old school cardboard feel... but hate the fact that it is near impossible to pull anything of significant value in it. I think they should come out with a product that can somehow combine these two aspects - retro-ness and high-value-ness.

But since that's not the case here, I'll just have to enjoy it for what it is... a very low priced break that should yield some fun insert cards.

Let's see what comes out of this blaster:

Review -
This was a nice break overall. I really enjoyed the fact that each pack had something in it rather than just base cards. In fact, as you saw many of the packs had 2 non-base cards. I love that. It really sucks when you open up packs and all you get are base cards. We're spoiled enough now that every pack should have something in it, even if it's just a subset card or something along those lines. Having something in each pack made this break more exciting and each pack had something that I looked forward to seeing - even if it was just a retro card or something - still it was great!

I ended up with a nice little stack of rainbow foil cards, rookies, legends, stickers, and parallels. It was a sweet little haul that I think any hockey fan would enjoy.

Here were my top cards from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Logan Couture Card No. 206
With a 600 card base set, what are the chances that my PC player pops out of a blaster? I'm guessing it's pretty low. I'm always excited to get Couture in any sealed products that I buy, so that's why this card gets third in my top three list.

#2 - Mario Lemieux Card No. S-76
The sticker set in OPC is colorful and eye-catching. These are very enjoyable cards to pull out of packs. I don't think I'd ever really use them to stick anywhere, but I will gladly collect legends like Super Mario when I get them.

#1 - Chris Kreider Card No. 585
12/13 did not have a stellar crop of rookies, but of them, Chris Kreider was perhaps the top one to get. I really like this retro version of his Marquee Rookie card. It's probably not valued that much, but it's not an easy find out of a blaster.

Overall Value -
For a few bucks you get to have a lot of retro fun with OPC. Unless you're just looking for high value cards, I'd totally recommend opening up a blaster of OPC for some old school card collecting fun. OPC definitely brings it in terms of retro goodness, and it's done well. Give it a shot if you haven't gotten any OPC recently. It's sure to bring back some good memories.

Let me know what you thought of this 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 22, 2015

Retail Review #179 (2014 UD Goodwin Champions)

Goodwin Champions is a product that contains a wide array of different sports within it. As a fan of many sports, it's a fun product to open. A lot of collectors shy away from this product for that exact reason, though. Multi-sport products have traditionally had a hard time getting a wide range of collector interest. I guess it just isn't focused enough. But I buy it!

Price - 

Packs - 12
Goodwin Champions Blaster Packs

Every Goodwin Champions box offers a decent break in terms of the amount of packs you get to open. These blasters contain 12 packs so it'll last longer than some of the other products I've been opening recently - like Certified for instance.

Unlike Certified, these blasters are very difficult to get hits out of. Hits are possible, but they are hard. To make up for that fact Goodwin offers 10 mini cards per blaster. That's definitely a lot of minis as compared to previous years of Goodwin.

Mini cards have seemed to be popular for Upper Deck as they have included them in numerous products these past few years. I think mini card popularity has been mixed, but they keep on coming... so there must be demand for them from... somewhere.

Let's check out this blaster of Goodwin Champions:

Review -
As expected, there were a variety of personalities found in this blaster, as well as a number of mini cards. It was a lot of fun looking at all the fun pictures that were on the cards. Goodwin Champions always has an eclectic variety of pictures. This is certainly a unique looking set, and that's probably one of the reasons I'm so attracted to it as I appreciate sets that have a different look to them.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a hit in this blaster. I did get a bunch of mini cards though including a few green Lady Luck backs. I really think it would be awesome if some of the parallel cards were truly difficult finds... that would really help with the values of these cards and make for a fun challenge when collecting them. But that's not my decision.

Let's take a peek at my favorite cards from this blaster:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Cochise Card No. 49
I remember Coshise and hearing about him as a young kid, so pulling this card was kind of a trip down memory lane for me. Only in products like this would you find a card featuring Coshise. Upper Deck is always reaching!

#2 - Rajon Rondo Card No. 103
Rondo has quickly become one of my favorite players on the Sacramento Kings. He has very high basketball IQ and is a terrific point guard. I don't think he has any Kings cards so far, but this one is cool in that he's in a white uniform rather than Celtics green.

#1 - Mario Lemieux Card No. 114
Super Mario is always nice to pull out of packs. This was by far my favorite mini card from the break, and a unique Mario card compared to others I have in my card collection.

Overall Value -
This blaster gave me exactly what it guaranteed it would and nothing more. Though I enjoyed this break I definitely didn't net any real value from it. This break was purely just for fun. Sometimes breaks like this can be nice though. And that's why I get them.

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 15, 2015

Retail Review #178 (11/12 Panini Certified)

Today's Retail Review is a product that I've doubled checked for tampering! 11/12 Certified was the product that got me to be meticulous about making sure the correct wrapping seal is on the box. If you remember my break from a few weeks ago, you'll recall that I had a blaster of 11/12 Certified that had a hit taken from it. This one looks like it's good to go!

Price - 

Packs - 3
11/12 Panini Certified

With only three packs in this blaster, collectors don't get many cards when they bust open on of these boxes. Being a higher-end product, Panini gives collectors who buy retail a taste of what a hobby product is all about. It's really cool that each of these blasters does have a hit in it, when it's not tampered with, of course.

My last box had a pretty nice autographed card within it. Panini has done a great job with these blasters in terms of inserting a variety of different types of hits. Though the hits are mainly jersey cards, the chance of getting autographs and patches is not bad, especially when compared to other retail products.

Let's check out what's in this blaster of Certified:

Review -
Since that terrible tampered blaster I got, Certified has really been scoring for me! This blaster was definitely an enjoyable one to open as I received a very low numbered hit along with a serial numbered legends card. The rest of the base cards were nice as well. The first two years of Certified featured some very nice base cards that had a great feel to them. Though I don't think anything comes close to 10/11 Certified, 11/12 Certified base cards are still pretty decent.

Here were the top cards this week:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Joe Pavelski Card No. 94
The newest captain of the Sharks, Joe Pavelski! He's one of the most solid players in the NHL, and I believe that he's very underrated in terms of the NHL as a whole. I'm always in favor of pulling cards of my team!

#2 - Johnny Bucyk Card No. 163
This Immortals subset card is serial numbered to just 500. I am a huge fan of the black and white photo on the modern foil card, it's such a cool contrast.

#1 - Phil Kessel Card No. 138
This is one thick card! I knew it couldn't be just a jersey when I saw it from the side when I opened up my pack. This card is limited to only 5 and features a very nice piece of patch. With such low numbering, the only thing I could ask for is for this card to also have his autograph on it! That would have been amazing.

Overall Value -
The Kessel card limited to just 5 really made this blaster a great one. Each pack is under four bucks as the blaster is a meager ten! I definitely think these blasters are worth getting if you can find them. I hope to get more of these very soon.

Let me know what you thought of my 11/12 Panini Certified blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from a Certified blaster? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Every Sunday look out for another exciting installment of Retail Review!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Retail Review #177 (10/11 Panini Pinnacle Blaster)

Pinnacle is a pretty fitting product to open up after last week's Donruss break. The two products are very similar and both can be found for very little money nowadays. Pinnacle blasters come with a hit as well as some fun insert cards. It's a nice break for just about any occasion!

Price - 

Packs - 8
10/11 Pinnacle Packs

One of my favorite things about this product is its packaging. The yellow and black box really stands out on the shelf. In fact, the hobby version of Pinnacle came in a very odd shaped box. Panini definitely has a knack for packaging. If only the cards were as unique!

I really think Pinnacle was meant to compete with Upper Deck Series One and Two, but when you compare the products there was really no comparison. Upper Deck was superior in just about every way. That's really too bad because Pinnacle used to be one of the sharpest and best brands in the market back in the 90's.

Let's see what this box has within it:

Review -
This break went pretty much as expected. There were a hit and some inserts along with a big bunch of base cards. I was a little surprised when I pulled the Artist Proof parallel insert card though. For some reason I thought those were only inserted into hobby boxes. In early Pinnacle baseball sets the Artists Proofs came only one per box and had some pretty high values associated with them.

Like Upper Deck Series One, this set features some unique photography. If you haven't had the chance to open up some Pinnacle before I'd definitely suggest it for the photos alone. There's some really good stuff here!

Here were my top three cards from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Nick Holden Card No. 228
Holden is not a big name player to get in your packs, but I do like the fact that I got the Dufex version of an Ice Breaker rookie card. The Dufex process looks great on the card and gives the Ice Breaker rookies some much needed flashiness.

#2 - Jeff Skinner Card No. 223
Skinner was one of the most popular rookies back in 2010. I remember him competing with Logan Couture for the Calder. Getting his cards was definitely on the minds of collectors back in 2010.

#1 - Paul Stastny Card No. 12
The City Lights jersey set is one of the nicest you'll find when it comes to lower end products. It has always been a favorite of mine to show the horizon of the city the player plays in.

Overall Value -
For about ten bucks you really can't beat these little blasters. There is a decent amount of packs to open and enjoy, and you're guaranteed to get a hit. Pinnacle is definitely worth of purchase if you can find it at this price point. It's a lot of fun for not a lot of money.

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, November 7, 2015

2015-2016 Upper Deck Series One Review

Already on FIRE is the just released Upper Deck Series One. Collectors have been anticipating this set since the season started because of a young rookie by the name of Connor McDavid. Just about everyone is clamoring for his Young Gun rookie card. And even though he recently suffered a significant shoulder injury, that hasn't stopped collectors from paying well over a hundred dollars for his RC.

Base Card Design -
Upper Deck simply knows how to make cards. The main Upper Deck set of Series 1 and 2 always seem to have classic and clean designs paired with the best photos you could ask for - and that's the case again with this year's set. The base cards this year have a team colored border with some nice simple graphic elements. Nothing is overly flashy or busy, but the card isn't too simple either. I'd say it's just right. It amazes me how well Upper Deck has got this card making formula down for Series One. This year's base design is a little reminiscent of some of Upper Deck's best looking base sets in the 90's. And those were some of the best looking cards ever made.

The back of the base cards are also a classic Upper Deck design. It's easy to read and perfect for looking at a players career stats. Unlike higher-end base cards, these don't skimp on player information. If you're looking for cards that are comprehensive and downright historical, you don't have to look any further than this. Upper Deck Series One puts the puck in the net with amazing photographs that represent the hockey season on their card fronts, and gives complete statistics of the players in the NHL. If there was any set that could be called a yearbook for the NHL, this would be it. It's like, perfection.

Young Guns this year are given a very nice design scheme. Like the base cards, the Young Guns are very photo-centric. I almost feel as if the Young Gun logo has been made a bit understated. Personally, I enjoy Young Gun cards that are flashy and bold. So these are a bit tame for me, but I'm sure many collectors will like these a lot. I can see this set of Young Guns being a future classic, especially if Connor McDavid lives up to the enormous hype that surrounds him.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Upper Deck Series One is about the most middle of the mid-range products that you can find. Each box will yield a smattering of inserts, some parallels, and a memorabilia hit. Lucky collectors may find an autographed card too. But the main draw of UD1 are the Young Guns. Each box will pop out six of them. Though Young Guns don't feature an autograph, memorabilia, or serial numbering, they are one of the most sought after and collected card types in the hobby.

I'm a big fan of how Upper Deck still makes an effort to print out quality insert cards. Each year collectors can enjoy finding different types of inserts when the purchase Series One. This year's Portraits insert is a nice change of pace to the base cards. These cards feature a white frame with a close-up photograph of the player. They will most likely not be huge money type cards, but they are fun to get and do a great job of mixing things up when you open up packs. I got quite a few of these in my box break.

This year's Shining Stars Insert set looks awesome with its shiny foil front. These cards really stand out in the set with its high-quality design. Like with many of the Series One inserts, these come in different versions. The Bergeron card shown above is the blue parallel version. Check the back of the pack to see the exact odds of all the different variants.

It's always great to see the UD Canvas cards again. These cards are more than just parallel cards as Upper Deck provides completely different photographs for these cards. Often times the photos on these cards stand out even more than the standard set - and that's saying something! UD Canvas Young Guns will most certainly be as popular as ever this year. My only complaint about the cards is the UD Canvas logo itself. It just doesn't look 'right' to me. Perhaps it's the font... I just want something a little more ornate than what it has. But other than that these are again great looking cards.

UD Exclusives are the more direct parallel to the main set. These cards are the exact same as the base set except for serial numbering and a special UD Exclusives logo. Each Exclusives parallel card is numbered to 100. I can't believe the Exclusive parallel I received in my box was Logan Couture. What are the odds of that?!?!

Upper Deck boxes used to come with a couple game jersey cards, but now it's just one... and I'm totally fine with that. The jersey cards in UD1 were always just a little bonus to me. This year's jersey set comes with a fresh looking design and a jersey piece that looks to be a little bigger than that of years past. I'd definitely call this an upgrade and a good move by Upper Deck.

Unfortunately, I didn't get an autograph in my box, but those are very hard pulls. Upper Deck always loads up boxes with awesome cards for collectors to find. This is just a product that you have to purchase a lot of to get a full appreciation for it.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Score -
Is Upper Deck Series One a must buy? Ummm... YES. It doesn't matter if you are a collector that owns five mansions, or just a kid with a paper route, this set is worth the purchase. Hockey fans will enjoy these cards no matter what as they offer so much on so many different levels. In Upper Deck Series One you will find cards that teach you about the hockey season, you'll find amazing pictures, and you'll also find cards that have high values. It's all there. It's not hard... just go and buy some of this stuff! Everyone else already is.

Overall Score:

Check out my box of Upper Deck Series 1: