Sunday, January 15, 2017

Retail Review #239 (14/15 O-Pee-Chee)

This morning I'm going to break a blaster of 14/15 O-Pee-Chee. This longtime brand has been enjoyed by collectors for decades now. It has really held true to its roots and delivers a break that definitely has an old school/retro feel to it.

Price - 

Packs - 14
O-Pee-Chee Blaster Packs

I sometimes hesitate to purchase OPC because I feel that the potential for a nice hit is almost zero... but reflecting on that... I shouldn't have those hesitations. OPC delivers a box breaking experience that can be a lot of fun. Though the prospects of getting a huge card are slim, The sum of all the cards opened in a break of OPC can be just as good as other products at retail.

I'd purchase OPC with a mindset of set collecting. There are plenty of cards in the set, which make it a fun challenge. Stickers and inserts within the set add additional interesting things for collectors to find. 

Let's open up this blaster and check it out:

Review -
When I began to open the blaster, I found that the wrapping did not have the official Upper Deck wrapping plastic. Usually that's a bad sign as the box could have been tampered with. I could have stopped the break right then and there, but decided to just go for it because I just couldn't see why anyone would tamper with a blaster of OPC.

As it turned out, the blaster delivered some nice cards that I really liked. OPC blasters give you plenty of cards to look at and enjoy. I was able to get some big names as well as a couple of nice rookie cards in my box.

Here are my three favorite cards out of the blaster:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Wayne Gretzky Card No. ST-99
I always enjoy getting cards of The Great One. The retro look of this sticker card adds to its charm and looks like it could have been released when Gretzky was actually still playing. 

#2 - Carey Price Card No. 353
It's sweet getting rainbow parallel cards of big NHL stars in OPC as they can be tough pulls due to the largeness of the set. Carey Price is definitely one of the best goalies in the league and I was happy to pull this card!

#1 - Johnny Gaudreau Card No. 544
Usually OPC is pretty sparse when it comes to getting rookie cards. This blaster got me two good rookie cards from 14/15. Gaudreau has been a very popular player and I don't have many of his cards so this was a nice one for me in particular.

Overall Value -
The value was definitely there with this blaster of OPC. Just in the top three cards alone I was able exceed the value of what I paid for the blaster (using eBay pricing). Sure, you'll never get value in the stratosphere with OPC, but I would say that OPC is a rock solid product for what it is. The formula continues to work for this brand and hopefully will long into the future.

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!

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016-2017 Upper Deck Trilogy Review

Upper Deck's Trilogy has always been an interesting brand for me as it has always sat in a unique part of the hockey card spectrum. When it came out, it was one of the higher-end brands... but not quite at the level of Upper Deck's big guns in Ultimate Collection, Premier, and The Cup. It was a notch below, but still above brands like Artifacts. Now it looks as if Upper Deck has brought it closer to the mid-range territory with a price to match.

Base Card Design -
The Trilogy base cards are on a nice glossy stock. Gold foil is used as accents nicely around the card to help it stand out. Each base card has a predominantly white and gold color scheme with a large photo of the player in front. Looking closely at the card, you'll notice many lines and patterns in the background. It's a dynamic look for a card, and collectors for collector that enjoy a busier look, these might just be up your alley. Though the cards don't really have a flaw to them, I do not find the design to be particularly memorable. They're nice for what they are, but I'm not sure I'll remember them specifically in a few years. Trilogy isn't a set that collectors clamor over the base, they're just there to fill the packs around the hits mostly so for that job they're doing a great job.

The back of the Trilogy base cards share similar design elements as that of the front, but it comes off looking rather generic. Upper Deck's other releases this year have generally been better crafted than these. These cards just have the relevant stat information on a cookie-cutter like design. There is not paragraph to read about the player so there isn't much interest generated here.

The rookie cards in Trilogy are called Rookie Premieres. The set comes in three tiers, but I'd consider the most basic card the main rookie with the other tiers are more inline with an insert or parallel card. Rookie Premieres are completely foiled cards numbered to 999. The design has a few elements in it that are a call back to the standard base, but it'd be hard to tell with a quick glance. Overall these rookie cards are well done. I think collectors will enjoy the shimmer and shine of these cards, especially compared to the other cards in the main set.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each box of Trilogy comes with 8 packs and run a little over $100. To me, it's very similar to what you would get in Artifacts, but with hits configured in different designs. Collectors should expect to find around three hits in the box. The rest of the packs should have at least an insert/serial numbered card beside the base cards.

I got quite a few of these blue rainbow foil parallel cards in my box. These cards parallel the base set and are numbered to 849. The foil is a good look for these cards, and it improves upon the standard base card by a good amount. Black and green parallel variations are also available as are printing plates of the base set.

Numbered to 399 was a jersey parallel of a Rookie Premieres rookie card of Thomas Chabot. It's a simple card with an embedded event-used piece of jersey. These aren't too exciting to get, even if you pull a top rookie.

The higher level patch variation of the Rookie Premieres are much nicer than the jersey variation that I showed above. It helps that the patch I pulled was very nice with many colors and breaks. This patch card comes on very thick stock and is numbered to just 35.

My favorite looking card of the break was a Tryptichs autograph of Al MacInnis. These cards come on very thick stock. The autograph is done on black and embedded in the card. It almost looks like a little chalkboard in there. It's serial numbered to 60, but different cards from the set will have different numbering.

Though I didn't get one, Signature Puck cards are back. Trilogy also features much more autograph content and memorabilia content. Like they've done in past years, collectors can also find rookie cards that have inscriptions written on them.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
I'm glad Trilogy is a bit less expensive than it used to be. There was a time when Trilogy packs were over $20 each. They are more reasonable now with the box price being just over $100. Trilogy can be a fun product, but I'm not sure how bit a hit this set with be with collectors out there. Trilogy has never been one of the more popular brands, and it rarely makes a big splash. If yo're looking for something to tide you over during the season, this might be ok. But honestly, if you miss out on this product, you probably won't be missing too much.

Overall Score:

Check out my break of 16/17 Trilogy here:

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Retail Review #238 (12/13 Panini Certified)

It's been a very busy week and weekend for me so I decided to go with a very fast and simple break. Panini Certified is awesome because it packs a nice punch in a very small package. There are only three packs per blaster, but one of the packs should contain a hit.

Price - 

Packs - 3
12/13 Certified Hockey

The 2012/13 hockey season is not about finding rookies, in fact, it's probably the worst year if you're looking for first year cards. This was the lockout shortened season, and card companies did not release cards for the rookies that skated then. They NHL and the companies agreed to hold off on all rookie cards until the next year - making a double rookie class.

When buying cards from this season, the best to hope for is to get some great veteran content. Though rookie content is non-existent, veteran cards can be found easily, and for a pretty good price!

I hope I get something nice from this box:

Review -
As I expected, this blaster gave me a quick and easy break that netted me a hit. The cards from this year's Certified are very shiny and easily attract finger prints - even the jersey cards have this full foiled look. This wasn't my favorite Certified design, but I think they would look pretty impressive coming out of the box to a new collector. They have that bling!

Here were my favorite cards out of this blaster:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Card No. 93
The Nuge was all the rage when he was a rookie and set the collecting world on fire. I remember those times well, especially when I pull on of his cards. I also like that Panini gave him 93 for his card number to match his jersey.

#2 - Ondrej Pavelec Card No. 111
I didn't realize that the Masked Marvels were subset cards numbered after the regular base set and not a stand alone goalie themed insert set. I guess that makes sense though as Certified has always had limited subsets that came after the regular cards.

#1 - Daniel Sedin Card No. FOG-SED
My hit was just a Fabric of the Game plain jersey swatch, but Daniel Sedin isn't a bad one to get. He's a solid star in the NHL, even though he plays for a franchise that is a rival of the Sharks. This was not a bad pull at all.

Overall Value -
For the price, I'd definitely recommend Certified right now. It's a fun product to open and it's always fun and exciting to pull hits out. Hopefully, the products from the 12/13 season stay at a nice discounted rate. I think they make a tremendous value for collectors.

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:

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Retail Review #237 (14/15 O-Pee-Chee Platinum)

Last week was Christmas Day and today is the first day of the new year! Wow! Retail Review has fallen on two pretty significant holidays... but that doesn't stop the Retail Review train, it just keeps on coming! This morning I've chosen to open up a blaster of 14/15 OPC Platinum. Hopefully I'll get some cool stuff to start off the new year!

Price - 

Packs - 6
14/15 OPC Platinum Packs

There really aren't too many packs in these blasters, just six. I'd call OPC Platinum an upper mid-range product as the cards are quite high quality. Each card is fully foiled and has a thickness to them that stands out. They are by no means on heavy stock like Ultimate Collection, but they do have a heft. Sadly, the thickness of the card doesn't stop them from bowing quite a bit. I'm sure many of the cards out of the packs will have a bow to them.

In terms of my chances of getting a hit, they are pretty low. I should, however, be able to snag a couple of parallel cards from the box. OPC Platinum did offer up a nice suite of parallel sets for collectors to find. Hockey collectors don't seem to be as keen on parallel cards as collectors of other sports, but I still find them interesting and I'll be looking forward to seeing who I get today.

Let's get this blaster box open:

Review -
This blaster was a nice break. It was a nice surprise to find a few more parallel inserts than I had originally expected. On top of that I was able to get a nice retro card of former Shark Antti Niemi and a nice handful of rookie cards. I enjoyed the cards out of the blaster even though there was no hit to be found. The design of the cards are nice and the player selection was right up my ally!

There were my favorite cards of the break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Martin Brodeur Card No. 1
I like how Brodeur is a Blues player on this card. It's totally different and unique. I also like that Upper Deck made this the first card in the set. They definitely wanted this card to be a stand out from this set.

#2 - Matt Duchene Card No. 78
I feel like I've pulled this card a few times before, but it's still a good one! Duchene is a great player and this was the most unique parallel card I was able to get out of this blaster. 

#1 - Tomas Hertl Card No. 10
This parallel of Hertl was in the last pack I got, and I'm glad I was able to pull it. Hertl is a good Shark to get. He's a funny personality and has shown to have skill on the ice as well.

Overall Value -
OPC is a brand that's build is more suited for other sports, but it's nice that hockey has a brand of this nature as well. Maybe one day it will catch on, but for now it just widens the types of products available for hockey collectors to purchase - which is a good thing. The price is right for these blasters and it doesn't hurt the wallet to much to give one a try!

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, December 25, 2016

Retail Review #236 (14/15 Upper Deck Black Diamond)

First off, merry Christmas! Today's Retail Review comes out on Christmas day. I hope everybody got what they wanted! This morning I'm opening up a blaster of 14/15 Black Diamond. Earlier this week I opened up the brand new high-end 16/17 version of the product. I thought it'd be nice to keep the Black Diamond love going with this older blaster.

Price - 

Packs - 6
14/15 UD Black Diamond Blaster Packs

Black Diamond was due for a big change and it got it a couple of years ago with its move into high end territory. I think collectors are still a little shocked at its transition! Opening up one of these older blasters feels totally right at home for Black Diamond, but I'm pretty sure I'll be reminded of why the brand needed a change. I had always complained that the Black Diamond formula was getting old and stale. The new formula may not be completely right, but I am glad Upper Deck is doing something to shake things up!

Let's see what cards come out of this blaster box:

Review -
I was actually a little more pleased with this blaster than I thought I would be. It certainly wasn't mind blowing and I didn't get a jersey or autograph, but I was able to get a few multi-diamond cards that I enjoyed finding. As it had been, Black Diamond utilized a unique foil design that was the signature of the product. The cards feel nice and have a strong design. They are cool, but they had fallen out of favor with collectors for a while. Maybe one day collectors will want them back, who knows!

Here are my top three cards out of this box:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Jake McCabe Card No. 194
McCabe follows me around. One of my other breaks of Black Diamond on Retail Review had the same triple diamond Rookie Gem come out. 

#2 - Anze Kopitar Card No. 169
Kopitar is a very good NHLer and getting his cards is nice - even though he is on the rival LA Kings. This card is also a triple diamond, which makes it one of the better cards in the set.

#1 - John Tavares Card No. 204
You don't always get a quad diamond in a blaster, so it was pretty sweet to pull this Tavares out. I remember a time when quad diamonds commanded a good amount of money. Oh those days have long past!

Overall Value -
I paid under eight dollars for this blaster, so that was a good price. Though I didn't get a hit, I still was able to pull a few cards that I enjoyed getting. My favorite card was the John Tavares quad. There's just something about that card that I really enjoy. If you're nostalgic for what Black Diamond used to be, getting one of these blasters would be a nice blaster into the past!

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!