Sunday, September 30, 2012

Retail Review #16 (09/10 Upper Deck Series 1 Blaster)


I am always a huge fan of opening an 09/10 hockey product! Today I'll be busting into a blaster box of Upper Deck Series 1 from that year. As usual with Upper Deck blasters, there will be Young Guns and inserts to look forward to... and if I'm really lucky, maybe even a jersey card. This is the second to last blaster from my summer Dave & Adam's retail product shopping spree. Next week look forward to seeing 10/11 Upper Deck Series 1!



Price - 
$14.95 at Dave and Adam's Card World

Packs - 12
09/10 Upper Deck Series 1 Blaster Packs

The mission... John Tavares Young Gun. I've always wanted one of these cards because when I got back onto the hobby in 2009, that was the hottest thing to have. I did end up trading for one... but unfortunately it was damaged pretty badly. So I still would like to have a nice copy of one. Hopefully one day I'll snag one. Maybe today!

Other than JT, the other rookies to try to find in my opinion are Matt Duchene, Erik Karlsson, Evander Kane, and James Van Riemsdyk. Getting any one of these would be pretty cool... though definitely not as exciting as a Tavares would be.

Other than the Young Guns, I'm not sure what else to realistically look forward to... maybe some nice looking insert cards. I remember really liking the designs on the inserts in 09/10.

Let's see what I got in my 09/10 Upper Deck Series 1 Blaster:


Review -
Well, I did end up pulling one of the better rookies from 09/10 series 1. Though it wasn't Tavares, I was still pretty happy with the result. And as I have said many times now already, I really do love the 09/10 Young Gun design. I just can't get enough of these!

My second Young Gun was of TJ Galiardi. Though he is pictured as an Avs player, I'm fine with getting his rookie card because he has since been traded to the Sharks. So that makes getting him alright in my book. He won't be a huge star, but hopefully he can have a positive contribution for the team whenever the lockout ends.

As for all the other cards in the break, I was pretty indifferent towards them. The base card design is pretty pedestrian. Upper Deck had better concepts in their main sets both before and after the 09/10 release. But as bland as the regular cards are, the insert designs are quite the opposite. They are top notch and in my opinion, and have not been as good since.

Let's take a look at the top three cards from the blaster box!

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Martin Brodeur Card No. SH2
I can't think of a classier, more cleanly design for a season highlight card than this. These cards are sharp! Everything about the design of this card is great. The bottom portion of the card has very modern fonts and lines. With the top, Upper Deck has chosen to use the year spelled out in letters as a backdrop. I am in awe of these cards! Very well done... and this card is of one of the greatest!


#2 - Jarome Iginla Card No. AW9
Yup, another insert card with an awesome design - this one even better than the last. This card is perfect from the blue globe background to the Canadian flag. I remember really enjoying pulling these cards even though they may not be top dollar inserts with autos or memorabilia on them. They are just plain cool.


#1 - James Van Riemsdyk Card No. 207
I'm glad I got one of the better Young Guns out of this blaster. JVR still has a chance to still improve and become a super star. When he plays next it will be for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs have a huge following. If he can produce and live up to his potential, this card may be a pretty sweet card to have in the future.

Overall Value -
This particular blaster box was a little higher in price than some of the other ones I bought from Dave & Adams, but it was still worth it. I enjoyed opening up all the packs. There are enough good Young Guns in 09/10 to make it worth a shot at about $15. I would recommend this year's blaster if you see them lying around or if you want to round out your online order. You can never go too wrong with Series 1 or even Series 2 UD blasters. They are always solid.

Let me know what you thought of my 09/10 Upper Deck Series 1 blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from one of these? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:
8/10

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

Friday, September 28, 2012

2011-2012 Dominion Review

The very last of the 11/12 hockey products has finally arrived - Panini's Dominion is here. Last year Panini showed us that they could come up with a ultra-high-end product that could compete with the likes of The Cup. This year's version of Dominion comes at collectors with an updated look, new designs, and vast array of drool worthy cards. Let's see how what comes out of a tin (not box!) of this year's product.


Base Card Design -
Dominion has gone vertical with their base cards. The base this year have been completely revamped from the previous year's horizontal scheme. Though last year's design was pretty clean and classy, this year's base adds quite a bit of bling factor. Aside from turning the cards 90 degrees, the designers at Panini have added a generous amount of foil to the edges of the base cards - this really makes the cards shine. The silver foil on white background gives each card an immaculate look that is very attractive. Each card comes on very heavy stock and is numbered to just 199.


For you horizontal lovers out there, Panini satisfies with the card back. The backs of the base cards have a very 'National Treasures' look to them. The frilly edges and grey/white color scheme are a real nod to that particular Panini brand. Though there may not be a wealth of stats or information here, it is more than adequate as many of the highest-end products forgo stat-heavy backs anyways.


Rookie patch autograph cards return and can be found one-per-pack. Each RPA is hard signed and numbered to either 199 or 99 (for the big name rookies). I would have to say that though the RPAs look very nice, they come off to me as a touch on the bland side. I love the fact that there is a pretty large swatch window and ample autograph space, but I would have liked to see more design elements present on the card. Don't get me wrong, they are sweet... but they could have been sweeter. Looking at it a bit closer, does anyone else see a bit of Anthology Rookie Treasures design in the card? I do - just a little.

Base Card Design Score:
9/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
As with all products of this nature, it's all about the hits. According to Panini, though they thought Dominion was a great product last year, the designers wanted to put more variety in terms of card types into the product this year. It shows. Just in my one tin alone I was able to get a myriad of differing cards. Impressive.


The standard patch/auto cards are great looking. This Niklas Backstrom card is a great example of just how space should be used on a high-end hockey card. From left to right: foiled name, large picture, serial numbering, patch window with foiled edges, hard-signed signature, product/team logos. It all works in spectacular harmony. And again, Panini has chosen to go with their classy white and silver scheme to make this card extra classy.


Speaking of patch cards... how awesome is this Selanne? Cards with very low numbering such as this one (/10) should contain pieces of patch corresponding to the rarity of the card. Clearly this card as a chunk off of the Ducks logo. Though this card has no autograph, the patch piece more than makes up for it and grabs the center of attention. The card is further enhanced by the use of rainbow foil rather than the standard foil. Great touches here!


And talk about low numbering... how about to just six? The Strapping Lads are back with game-used fight strap cards. This particular card I find very interesting as there is NO FOIL on it at all save for the serial numbering. I'm not sure why they did that for this particular card type - maybe to highlight the tough-no frills theme of this set? Not sure. But the card still works and looks great - it's definitely different compared with everything else in the set.


As with all ultra-high-end sets, there is usually a big focus on rookies. Obviously there's one RPA per pack, but other rookie related cards such as this dual memorabilia and auto Rookie Showcase card can be found in Dominion as well. The sweet card above features Adam Henrique and Simon Despres in their Rookie Showcase uniforms. Though these pieces are event-worn, the event is still an actual NHL event that is meaningful and appropriate. Having both their autographs on the card hard-signed is a great addition.


My big hit of the tin was this Ryan Kessler autographed stick card. Check out the nasty stick piece on this one! Panini actually put out a video of how Kessler's stick was put into this card! Wow, sweet! Funny thing was my local card shop owner and I were joking before breaking my tin that he wanted one of the Kesslers. Dang. I should have called for a rare Couture. Sorry guys, I'll most likely be trading this card to Chris at D&P cards. So don't come asking for this one! It's spoken for!

Obviously there are many, many more cards to be found in Dominion this year. But as you can see, just one tin yielded a great variety of cards. I definitely can't complain about what I got here.

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

Overall Rating -
Dominion surprised me by how good it was last year... and this year it surprises me again by how much better it is this year. I can't tell you HOW FUN it is to open up a tin of  Dominion. Just like last year, Panini really loaded up the boxes with a good amount of cards... and when I say good... well, I mean just 8... but they are all solid.

The changes that Panini made to Dominion improved the product in every way possible. The variety of designs and cards is really impressive. It was awesome to see just so many different things come out of the box. Though I can't afford another one at the moment... I'm itching to open up another tin!

Dominion comes in at a price currently well under The Cup. Though The Cup is still in my opinion the winner in terms of secondary market sales and popularity, I think Dominion will give it a run for it's money. Value is certainly in Dominion... and hopefully collectors will catch on and help it inch closer to Upper Deck as it continues to establish a strong footing in the hockey card marketplace.

I recommend Dominion to anyone who can afford it. Awesome cards. Fun break. And thrills!

Overall Rating:
10/10

Check out my break of Dominion at D&P Cards:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Retail Review #15 (09/10 Champs Blaster)


Wow, I'm down to the final three retail blasters from my massive Dave and Adam's order during the middle of summer. And it's been fun! But fret not though! I will not be ending the series after I get through these last few boxes. There will be more. Today, I'll be ripping into a box of 09/10 Upper Deck Champs. It's a product that I fondly remember as I used to get a lot of it at my local Target store. I haven't opened this in quite a while so I'm excited to see what will come out of this blaster box.



Price - 
$9.95 at Dave and Adam's Card World

Packs - 12
09/10 Champs Blaster Packs

Upper Deck had one of the most unique products ever produced for hockey in their Champs brand. They could do this because at the time, they did not have to share a license to produce cards with anyone else. Now that there is competition in the market, odd releases such as this don't come around too often. Sad.

Champs was a product line geared towards the everyday collector. Packs were not too expensive and included a variety of interesting aspects. Not only did champs have hockey player cards... it also had animals, landmarks, and even presidents featured as well. You never knew exactly what you would find in a Champs pack.

What you did know, however, was that each pack had a mini sized card in it. These minis were popular in other sports - particularly baseball - but not so much with hockey. There just wasn't a huge history of collecting associated with them. That was ok though as there were collectors who did chase after them.

Speaking of the chase, there was much to find in Champs. Things to look for ranged from parallel cards galore to autos/jerseys to even real ancient artifacts. And finding these things within Champs made it oh so fun to rip into packs, blasters, and boxes.

Let's see what I got in my 09/10 Champs Blaster:


Review -
With so many things to potentially get in Champs, I was really hoping for something great and unique. Well, unfortunately, that didn't happen. No hits came out of the box. But I did get quite a few parallel cards and minis.

The box spit out a few light blue parallels as well as two red and one yellow. In my video, I was looking for the specific odds of those colors. They weren't there, but according to Beckett, reds come out at a rate of 1:10... and yellows at a rate of 1:20. Not too bad. I was glad to at least pull parallels of some bonafide NHL stars - Marian Gaborik and Henrik Limdqvist.

As for the minis, I wasn't too impressed with any of the NHLers I got save for one... but at least that one was very good one to get. I also was able to pull a former American president - Calvin Coolidge. As he was one of the older presidents, it wasn't as exciting to get as it could have been. I'll still take it though.

In terms of rookies, mine came in the form of Avs player Wes O'Neill. Who?

Exactly.

I'm limiting my top three this week to minis only! Here we go!

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Jody Shelley Card No. 373
I had a really hard time finding card number three... but I eventually wound up with enforcer Jody Shelley. He won out for two reasons. Number one was that he used to be a Shark and is featured in Sharks gear on the card. Number two was that earlier this past collecting year I pulled a patch of his numbered to only 5. So this card brought back memories of that cool card - which was traded away quite a while ago by the way.


#2 - Gordie Howe Card No. 236
This was probably the best card out of the box, but I will land it here in the two spot. I really like a lot of things about this card. For starters, it looks like a card that could have been produced when Mr. Hockey was tearing it up on the ice. And furthermore, it's just a classy looking rendition of Howe. Simple, clean, and classic. If I were a Red Wings fan, I'd want this card.


#1 - Leatherback Turtle Card No. 287
It's a card of a turtle for goodness sakes! He's so cute looking! NUMBER ONE.

Overall Value -
My box of Champs didn't turn out so good value-wies. It was still a very interesting break though. With things so hard to hit in Champs, I would most likely just recommend looking for hobby boxes of it. They're quite a bit pricier, but the odds of finding hits is greater - and there are some very cool hits that I have already mentioned. But at only ten bucks for this blaster, it was a good little break and a nice stroll down memory lane.

Let me know what you thought of my 09/10 Champs blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from one of these? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:
5/10

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


And help me figure out what to open up next Sunday! Here is the list of remaining products. You can tell me what you'd like to see in the comments section.

- 09/10 UD Series 1
- 10/11 UD Series 1

Thursday, September 20, 2012

D&P + CardboardReview Contest (Stamkos Auto'd Puck)

Hey guys! Chris over at D&P Sportscards in Sacramento has generously donated an autographed Steven Stamkos All-Star Game puck for me to give away in a contest! It was actually given to him by a Panini representative when they came to his store for a special Panini Night a while back. This puck is guaranteed authentic by Panini and comes with an authentic Panini sticker on the back... yup, it's awesome!


I've been thinking long and hard as to how to give this puck away. I didn't want it to be too easy - I know a lot of people are interested in this little gem. So here's what I came up with:

Contest Rules

There are two ways to get entries into the contest.

1. Take a picture of your top two or three cards. The picture must include a reference to both dandpcards.com and thecardboardreview.blogspot.com. Here's an example:


This is sort of a boring example, but you get the idea. Your picture can be worth up to 2 entries. A picture like mine above will get you just one entry. If you have a creative picture that is unique or especially well-done, it may receive up to two entries in the contest. Please email me your picture along with your YOUTUBE username to: blacksheep217@hotmail.com. Please title your email to me STAMKOS CONTEST PICTURE on the subject line.
***Please keep in mind that I will be posting the picture you send me, so please keep them appropriate... and make sure it is something you don't mind being posted in public.***

2. The second way to earn entries into the contest is to make a creative commercial for both D&P Cards as well as The Cardboard Review on YOUTUBE. Your commercial must provide links to both The Cardboard Review as well as D&P Sportscards. It can be funny, serious... however you want it. But I hope it's creative! Depending on the quality of your commercial, it will receive anywhere between 4 and 6 entries. Email me a link to your commercial along with your YOUTUBE username to: blacksheep217@hotmail.com. Please title your email to me STAMKOS CONTEST COMMERCIAL on the subject line.

So that's it, feel free to ask me any clarifying questions that you have. Take your time and come up with something great! I'm looking forward to seeing all the stuff you guys can come up with.

This contest ends on Friday, October 12th 2012. Each entry in the contest will be put in a random drawing via Random.org. I will post a Youtube video on it via my Youtube channel like I usually do. I wish there could be more winners... but there can only be one! Good luck to you all!

Also, if you don't mind, say thanks to Chris on his D&P Cards Facebook page! Click here. Give him a shout out and a like!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

11/12 Panini Prime Case Return Value Analysis


This is a special posting regarding a case break that I did of 11/12 Panini Prime Hockey. My intent from the get-go was to see how much I could re-coup from a case if I decided to bust it and sell all the cards I got from it. So going in I knew that there was a very big possibility of losing money on this... and I was prepared for it. But of course my hope was to pull that one huge card that would pretty much pay for the case... because that realistically could indeed happen. But if not, at least I would have fun seeing what cards would come out and keep any PC cards that may have come my way.

I bought my case of Prime from famous Youtube box breaker Chri5784. It was a toss up between him and my LCS D&P Sportscards, but I went with Chri5784 because D&P told me they could only get a few boxes of Prime in. Prime was supposedly a pretty hot ticket, and judging by the sneak previews on Panini's Knight's Lance posts, it seemed to be THE product to get this year. But what I found out was that Panini still has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to secondary market re-sale value.

I would have to say that my case of Prime was good - but definitely not great. There wasn't one card in it that totally blew it out of the water in terms of big money value, but there were several cards that I thought were pretty nice. I got some sweet patch pieces and low numbered cards. The names could have been better, but I would say that though I missed the high profile guys like Crosby, RNH, and Ovechkin, there were several players with a good hobby interest in the case.

A couple things to say before I detail my case break. First, Panini released Prime on a Friday of a long holiday weekend. Though my cards were busted on Youtube, I did not get them until the next Wednesday. So even though I was one of the first to see my cards, I was not, unfortunately, the fastest to eBay - huge bummer here. Secondly, I was trying to sell as fast as possible because I felt the time crunch in getting everything sold before The Cup hit. All auctions were 3 day auctions with some cards being 'Buy it Now/Best Offers'. I may have gotten less for the cards because of my impatience... or not. That's a little up in the air. But... what I got was what I got... and you'll see it all here. Let's go!


Cody Hodgson Prime Colors/15 (Sold for $65 with a Best Offer):
Hodgson was a very hot rookie this year, but his move to the Sabres really but a damper on his card values. I initially had this card for $125 BIN/OB knowing well that nobody would use the BIN. I did, however, get some offers on it. I ended up going with the highest offer of $65. I thought I did well considering a better patch of Hodgson's went for $56 just a few days before this one was put up.


Jonathan Quick Showcase Swatches/25 (Sold for $24.50 at auction):
This card was a complete mystery to me as to what it's final sale value would be. I couldn't even make guess when I first got it. I mean, Quick had just won the Cup, but I wasn't sure if he had already cooled down or not. A quick scan of eBay showed another one at $99 BIN/BO. I set a BIN at $65 with no takers. It went for less than $25 at auction.


Adam Henrique Prime Rookies Dual Jersey Dual Prime Auto/50 (Sold for $34.33 at auction):
This one definitely surprised me in its final sale price. A very nice low numbered card of a hot rookie who did well in the Stanley Cup finals. I guess people have a fast fading memory or don't care too much for the Devils. I know this isn't considered a true rookie card, but wow, not even that close to $40.


Bobby Ryan Prime Colors/13 (Sold for $33 at auction):
This card was another one of those cards I had no clue as the final value. I did hope for more than I actually got for it though. Even though the piece of patch on this card is pretty nice, I did see better ones on the Bay when mine was going. But still, just $33 for a card limited to only 13. Sheesh!


Justin Faulk Namesakes Manufactured Letter Patch Auto/85 (Sold for $20.50 at auction):
This one actually surprised me in a good way. Justin Faulk is by no means a big name, but these letter patches always end up selling for a decent amount. I guess people really want to put the whole thing together? Not sure. But this one as well as a Dustin Brown letter went for solid final values.


Patrick Kane/Evander Kane Quad Patch/25 (Sold for $12.29 at auction):
This is one that I probably could have gotten a lot more mileage out of by just keeping it and using it as trade bait. A few other quad patches I sold from Prime went for quite a bit more than this one did... and those did not have the quality of names as this card. This was a great card and I think whoever won this got a great deal.


Roberto Luongo Prime Signatures/99 (Sold for $4.90 at auction):
Wow, even though Luongo has such an uncertain future in Vancouver, I would have thought a hard signed autograph of his would get at least $5, but it didn't even reach that! Maybe people thought the 99 print-run was high. I didn't bother looking for how much other Luongo Prime Signatures went for, but I didn't expect this at all. 


Zack Kassian/Cody Hodgson Quad Prime/50 (Sold for $8.05 at auction):
Yet another card I should have kept as trade bait. The story behind this card was that with so many cards to list, somehow this one didn't end up getting listed. When all the other auctions ended I noticed that this one was left out... so I quickly put it up for sale. Three days later - sad face when looking at the end-price. Four prime pieces each with 2 colors and that's what I got. For me, the final price on this one hurts more than the Luongo.


Mats Zuccarello Premiere Game Patches 1/3 (Sold for $99 with a Best Offer):
This Zuccarello card was easily the best and most nasty patch I got in the entire case. It was also the most limited card as it was serial numbered to only 3. On one hand, the card is really cool and really limited. On the other hand... it's Mats Zuccarello. So again, I had no clue as to what this would go for. Because he wasn't a big name, I decided to put at at $150 BIN/BO hoping that maybe some big fan would just snatch it up with the BIN. Well, that didn't happen. After several very low ball offers, I was happy to let it go to someone who offered $99 for it.


Phil Kessel Genuine Marks Game-Used Letter Patch Auto 5/6 (Sold off eBay for $100):
When this card was pulled I was very happy. I think this card was actually showed off in one of Panini's previews of Prime. Not only is this card an actual game-used letter... it also has an autograph on it. Many of these types of game-used letter cards in Prime do not, so I had high hopes for this it. But as it turned out people were not as enthusiastic as I was about it. I put it on SCF and was glad to take an offer of $100.

So there you have most of the major cards that I got from my case. Are you surprised at the prices I got for them? Would you have paid more for some of these cards? If you... where were you?!?!?! Just kidding.

Let's add up everything from the case (I did not sell all the base cards I received, and I also held a few cards for a contest give-away. Those cards will not be included here):
*All prices are in USD

Kassian/Hodgson Quad Patch/50 - 8.50
Da Costa RC - 8.15
Da Costa Prime Time/25 - 6.05
Luongo Auto - 4.90
Crosby Base - 10.33
R. Ellis RC - 9.50
B. Smith RC - 13
G. Nyquist Prime Time/99 - 4.24
C. Sceviour RC - 1.89
Messier Base - 1.25
Alfy/Spezza Quad Jersey - 4.25
Greening/Da Costa Quad Jersey - 1.26
Bulmer/Palmieri/Heatley Jersey - 10.50
Brodeur/Larsson/Greene Jersey - 11.83
Halak/Elliot Quad Jersey - 2.75
Diaz/Emelin/Jorges jersey - 11.26
Rinaldo/Hartnell Jersey - 8.83
T. Erixon Namesakes - 14.50
C. De Haan RC - 8
A. Henrique Showcase/35 - 6.50
Scrivens Auto/25 - 13.92
Scheifele Auto/99 - 15.50
D. Brown Auto/99 1.26
Dylan Olsen Auto/25 - 9.38
C. Hagelin Auto/59 - 5.50
M. Scheifele RC - 21.50
C. Gaunce RC - 5
Faulk Namesakes Letter - 20.50
Kane/Miller/Parise Jersey - 5.01
Lidstrom/Zetterberg Quad Prime/50 - 26.55
J. Carter Showcase Swatches/25 - 11.67
D. Brown Namesakes Letter - 27.75
Bobby Ryan Prime Colors - 33
Read/Couturier/Bryzgalov Patch/15 - 22.50
Kanes Quad Patch/25 - 12.29
Quick Showcase Swatches/25 - 24.50
A. Henrique RC - 34.33
Zuccarello 1/3 - 99
Hodgson Prime Colors - 65
Kesses - 100

Total gross sale price: $701.65
Fees for selling on eBay: $75 (appx)

Total net amount: $626.65

So the total price I paid for the case was $1600. The percentage (rounded to the nearest tenth) of money I got back was:

39.2%

Which is a loss of nearly a thousand dollars. Ouch.

BIG ouch.

So... am I angry or mad? Well, a bit, of course... but that's really the nature of the game and the hobby. And I emphasize hobby, because a hobby is something that you spend your money on. And in other words, that you lose money on. It should bring you joys in other ways. And so taking that perspective I'm 'ok' with the loss - though it is quite large.

Looking back, I think I would have been happier and better off by keeping a lot of the nicer cards from this case and using them as trade bait. I could have traded them for some great Sharks cards or other PC stuff. But then, I wouldn't have been able to do this little analysis.

So here are my final thoughts... though Prime really underwhelmed in re-sale value on the secondary market, I still give prime a huge thumbs up for being a top quality product. I stand by my perfect rating of it in my review. The cards are still stunning... it's just that the prices you get for them are also stunning (in other, less nice, ways).

I feel that Panini still has a ways to go in order to catch up to Upper Deck in terms of card values. I can't be concrete about this, but I think the chance of paying for a tin of The Cup with what you pull in it is greater than something you would get from Prime or even Dominion (not out yet as this post is written). Again, that's just a theory of mine. I'm of this opinion this because I can't imagine pulling any one card out of Prime (other than a really GOOD one-of-one or super-low numbered card of a superstar) that could reach the $200 box price. The Cup, however, though it's per tin price is insanely high at the moment, has cards that could do this on a higher percentage basis. For example, pulling a /99 rookie of RNH or Cooter... or a Property of card... or a Gretzky auto... or a Crosby/Lemieux dual auto... the list goes on.

If I had to recommend a case of something, I would go for a 3 boxer of The Cup over that of Prime. The cost is about the same, but I think the Cup is a safer bet. Think about it this way. When you buy 3 tins of the Cup, your chance at a case hit are higher (one in six or one in three, not sure)... when you buy a case of Prime, your chance of the case hit is 1 in 8 boxes. There will be a lot more boxes of Prime that don't have much in it compared to tins of The Cup. But anyways, like I just said, it's all a gamble... all a bet. Just keep that in mind when you buy ANY of this stuff.

Thanks for reading. Hope this was helpful to you. Let me know what you think!

Retail Review #14 (08/09 Be a Player Blaster)


After a few weeks of blasters with a good amount of packs... I get to this one... 08/09 Be a Player. These Be a Player blasters only contain two packs within, but there is a guaranteed autograph in one of those packs. That fact alone makes opening up this blaster have a bit of excitement to it. Will I get a big name NHL superstar, or will the player I get be a scrub who's already out of the league? We'll see really soon. I gotta say that my last BAP blaster left me wanting. Hopefully I fare better this time!



Price - 
$9.95 at Dave and Adam's Card World

Packs - 2
08/09 Be a Player Blaster Packs

The entire point of getting a blaster of Be a Player is the chance at an autograph. That's it. Nothing else to it. Even looking at the front, it says, FIND 1 AUTOGRAPH CARD INSIDE. Upper Deck knows what's up. Everything else doesn't really matter... but there is always the possibility of getting some sort of insert or rookie card. And in fact, the Be a Player rookies are very limited - only 99 of each. But of course that means they are near impossible to get.

As blaster boxes are primarily sold to large chain stores, there were many people likely to have seen these on the shelves. For non-collectors, I'm sure there was a huge curiosity as to who's autograph they could get in one of these boxes - could Crosby, Ovechkin, or Malkin be inside? Everyone knows that an autograph of a famous athlete is a desirable item. I'm sure these sold well, and perhaps even got some new people into the hobby.

For the hard-core collector, I think it's nice to be able to get something of value at someplace like Target  or Wal-Mart. There just aren't too many 'higher' or even 'upper-mid' range products that come in blaster form. It's too bad that Be a Player is no longer produced. It was a great set of cards that could be enjoyed by both people in and out of the hobby.

Let's see what I get in my 08/09 Be a Player Blaster:


Review -
This break was over in two snaps of a finger, but it was still fun. The autographed card came in the first pack I opened. Though not a huge name, at least I got someone who I know and who plays for the Sharks! That was pretty cool. It's definitely a card I could add to my personal collection.

As for the rest of the cards, I was underwhelmed. The 08/09 BAP base design doesn't impress. Basically the cards feature two of the same image of the player - a standard action photo, and in the background, the same photo as it could appear on a jumbotron. I would have preferred to just have the natural background rather than this jumbled look. Too bad. These cards really could have been really sharp and clean.

Not too many cards to choose from this week, but here are my top three:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Ray Whitney Card No. 32
Well, I had to choose 'The Wizard' as my number three card as he was a former Shark! Whitney has played on many teams in his long career. Though this card shows him in Carolina gear, his most recent stop has been in Phoenix where he has continued to be a productive player. It's amazing to see him still in good shape after all these years!


#2 - Daniel Sedin Card No. 171
It's hard to pick a Canuck to be in the top three, but Daniel Sedin was the closest thing to a star amongst all the cards I opened up in the blaster.


#1 - Marc-Edouard Vlasic Card No. S-MV
What a nice surprise to see a Shark come out of the blaster! Marc-Edouard Vlasic is a very good defensemen - but underrated because he plays in San Jose. Because of those two factors (playing in SJ and playing D), he'll never attain any real value in his cardboard, but that's ok, I appreciate his play for the Sharks! This was a great pull for me.

Overall Value -
For about ten bucks you can get a guaranteed autograph card - that's good! And if you're lucky you may even pull a star player, double, triple, or quad auto. I'd say that would be worth it. Though the base card design isn't very good, the autograph design is great. And... who cares about the base cards here anyways!?! I wouldn't hesitate to get another one of these given the opportunity.

Let me know what you thought of my 08/09 Be a Player blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from one of these? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:
7/10

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


And help me figure out what to open up next Sunday! Here is the list of remaining products. You can tell me what you'd like to see in the comments section.

- 09/10 Champs
- 09/10 UD Series 1
- 10/11 UD Series 1

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2011-2012 The Cup Review

This is IT. No other hockey product ever compares to the anticipation of opening Upper Deck's The Cup. The potential of getting something absolutely monstrous is always a possibility. Year in and year out no other product has a higher-end feel than this. Other products have tried and come close, but somehow The Cup always takes the cake. This year's release continues the amazing tradition.


Base Card Design -
With all the mind-blowing hits found in The Cup, the base cards can often feel left out - but they shouldn't. These base cards are of the highest quality. This year's base design can best be described as 'clean' and 'formal' - which I think fits with the nature of the product. Since this is the last release of the season (for Upper Deck at least), The Cup is a set that brings things to a close. And to me, the base cards look almost yearbook-like in their design. The background the player sits atop of has that artsy photo studio backdrop sensibility to it. The entire card has a simple, yet classy look highlighted with silver foil. Everything from the grey tones to the minimalist graphics on the card works to make these cards a strong anchor for the entire 11/12 Upper Deck card line. Yes, that's a good word for these cards... strong. They aren't flashy... they aren't trying too hard... they are simply strong and solid cards.


The back of the base cards continue in the same vein as the front. The backs deliver all of the relavent stats and bio information that is necessary. There is nothing flashy about the back. All that needs to be there is there. It's done well with no distractions or gimmicks. Again, just a strong card back that is what it is. No flash. No faults.


Numbered to 199 are the non-autographed rookie cards. These cards actually carry on the yearbook theme more than the standard base do. Each of the cards feature a close-up view of the player. Because of this, it really does like like a photo taken right out of someone's high school yearbook. If there was one fault with these rookie cards, I would say they underwhelm. I'm not sure if it's the colors used on these cards or the close-up photo... the card just has a softer (weaker) feel to it. It looses its strength of design. It's funny how just a slight tweak of a couple elements could make a card stumble.


Standing tall, though, are the Rookie Patch Autograph cards. These cards really bring everything together cohesively. Though Upper Deck has chosen to use the same 'rookie-hues' as with the 199ers, the design of the card is completely changed. These cards look great. They are less formal than the base cards. They have a sleeker, more modern design that is both solid and flashy. It's as if they took the best of the base cards, threw out all the boring elements of the rookie cards, and fused them together. These RPAs are yet again another stunning rookie design that will become instant classics for collectors to chase. As always, these cards come in two forms... the standard /249 rookies and super-collectible and valuable /99ers.

Base Card Design Score:
9/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each tin of The Cup is hand packed. The folks at Upper Deck try to ensure that each tin has at least one 'hit' in it that a collector will enjoy. Packs with case hits usually will have cards of lesser values in them. It's just the way it's done. So don't expect to get a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rookie card/99 and a Sidney Crosby/Mario Lemieux dual auto in the same pack. But some packs can yield multiple cards of solid value. I think my pack was one of those.


The Stanley Cup Signature cards have been a long running tradition in The Cup. They've all had very elegant designs, and this year is no different... what is different though, is the lack of foil on these cards. Upper Deck has gone with a more flat finished card rather than the shiny foil that they've used in other iterations. It's nice. I actually wasn't a huge fan of last years Stanley Cup Signature design and am glad they chose to change it up a little this year. The autograph is very visible in the white autograph area at the bottom. These are great cards, and relatively affordable ones too, to get of your favorite players. Each single-autographed card is numbered to 50.


Honorable Numbers have also been a staple of The Cup. These cards are more similar to past designs than the Stanley Cup Signatures. The main attraction of these cards are the inclusion of an autograph, patch, and low numbering. Depending on the player, the card can be extremely short printed. The Matt Duchene I pulled in my tin is definitely on the shorter print side of things. It's also hand numbered rather than machine stamped. That's a really cool personal touch. Honorable Numbers are always a great card to add for any player collector. Of course, if your player is someone like Taylor Hall (number four), it can make things pretty difficult.

Autographs, crazy patches, tags, and low numbered cards abound in The Cup. Each tin you open is creates such an incredible moment. It's definitely worth it to crack a tin and see what you can find if you can afford it. The hits are simply INCREDIBLE.

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

Overall Rating -
The Cup is a product that I wish everyone could at least try a tin of. Like I just mentioned, there is nothing like opening up a tin. Obviously the tin price is beyond the reach of most collectors. But the good news is that very nice singles can be obtained through eBay and trade forums for reasonable prices. And actually, I was pretty surprised at the prices of The Cup this year. I am pretty sure the cost of a tin is significantly higher this year than last. And that's totally nuts in my opinion!

But anyways, The Cup is The Cup. It's awesome. I feel really privileged to be able to crack a tin of the stuff. I definitely recommend the experience if you can do it. It's the best stuff of the entire year. From the base cards to the nastiest patch auto, these cards have no equal.

The best of the best. Good job... again... Upper Deck!

Overall Rating:
10/10

Check out my tin of The Cup!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Retail Review #13 (10/11 O-Pee-Chee Blaster)


I'll be opening one of the lowest end products today in this edition of Retail Review. Though OPC breaks most likely won't bring in the big hits, they can be very fun to open. And I'm looking forward to seeing all the stuff that will come on out this blaster. This particular box of OPC did not come with the official Upper Deck shrink wrap. Someone on Youtube noticed that in one of my videos and pointed that out to me. It'll be interesting to see if there is something faulty with this box... but then again... why would anyone mess with an OPC blaster?



Price - 
$6.95 at Dave and Adam's Card World

Packs - 14
10/11 O-Pee-Chee Blaster Packs

The most important thing when opening OPC is just to have fun with the cards. There is absolutely no reason to have high expectations of getting anything resembling a hit - jersey or auto. Even getting superstar players is really hard, the set is huge! It will be fun to see a lot of players that usually don't make it into card sets though. OPC (and Score) are the only brands that will ever hard cards of these players. I'm glad that some lesser known players get some cardboard. Aside from that, there will be parallels and inserts to look forward to. I'm hoping for some good shiny rainbow cards! Those are always fun to get.

Let's see what I get in my 10/11 O-Pee-Chee blaster:


Review -
The blaster was great fun to open. Though I wasn't a fan of the design, I loved the old school feel of the cards. They definitely brought me back to my younger collecting years. And those years didn't have any gloss... well, except for the rare tiffany sets Topps used to put out. But anyways, I was a big fan of just flipping through the cardboard as I opened pack after pack. And actually, having most of the cards non-glossy made the glossy inserts really stand out. They actually felt special and different - something that gets lost in modern day collecting.

This blaster actually turned out to have some cards I thought were pretty good. My second pack yielded a very nice rainbow foil of a hockey legend - that was pretty surprising. And it was very nice to get a hold of a retro card of a Shark! This blaster even had a Sidney Crosby base card in it. I definitely beat the odds on that. I don't even think I got a Sid-the-Kid in my two hobby boxes of 12/13 OPC I just opened a few weeks ago. So yeah, I would say this blaster was definitely solid for the seven bucks I paid for it even though I didn't get a jersey or autograph.

Here are the top 3 cards from my 10/11 OPC blaster:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Nazem Kadri Card No. 510
Kadri was one of the bigger name rookies during the 10/11 season, so pulling this then would have been pretty cool. Interest in his cards have cooled off quite a bit since then, but he is still young and still a Maple Leaf. Maybe there will be potential in him in the future. If so, that'd be great because anytime a player is successful for the Leafs, they get a substantial boost in hobby interest.


#2 - Doug Murray Retro Card No. 58
Doug Murray is one of my favorite Sharks. He's a big dude that scares a lot of people on the ice. He sort of reminds me a little of the character Jaws from the older Roger Moore James Bond films. He's actually a really nice guy in person and has a love of cooking (of all things!). Getting this retro card of him was very sweet!


#1 - Bobby Orr Retro Rainbow Card No. 597
Here's the legendary Bobby Orr himself... in shiny foil! This was hands down the best card of the blaster. Though this card may not be worth a ton of money, it's a great (and hard) card to pull given the size of the set. When I pulled this card I was instantly happy with the blaster no matter what else came out.

Overall Value -
For under $7, this is a no-brainer break if you want to enjoy a great mix of cards. Though I didn't pull anything of high dollar value, I think the $7 was well spent. I actually wouldn't mind getting another one of the OPC blasters - either this same year or any other for that matter. They are fun! I think Upper Deck has handled the OPC brand extremely well. It's a fun break in both hobby and retail variations. Kudos!

Let me know what you thought of my 10/11 O-Pee-Chee blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from one of these? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:
7.5/10

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


And help me figure out what to open up next Sunday! Here is the list of remaining products. You can tell me what you'd like to see in the comments section.

- 08/09 Be A Player
- 09/10 Champs
- 09/10 UD Series 1
- 10/11 UD Series 1

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Retail Review #12 (08/09 Upper Deck Series 1 Blaster)


This week I get to bust into an 08/09 Upper Deck Series 1 blaster. This box will be exciting for me as I have not opened hardly any 08/09 products. I got back into collecting cards in 2009 so I just missed these boxes - and that's too bad because it would have been really cool to pull some Stamkos rookies from that year. Well, at least I get a chance today with this blaster! Let's hope for some nice stuff!


Price - 
$11.95 at Dave and Adam's Card World

Packs - 12
08/09 Upper Deck Series 1 Blaster Packs

The main draw of buying 08/09 UD1 packs is NHL superstar Steven Stamkos, but there are other rookies to find here as well. Drew Doughty and Claude Giroux are the first two that come to mind, but there are lesser names like James Neal, Steve Mason, TJ Oshie, Luke Schenn, as well as some others available to keep an eye out for too. As usual with Upper Deck Series 1, there will be inserts to find and a bunch of base cards. This box comes with 12 packs, so it'll be a fun, lengthier rip than some of my previous blasters - I'm pretty sure this one won't be over in less than 2 minutes!

Let's see what I got in my 08/09 Upper Deck Series 1 blaster:


Review -
Opening this box made me wish that I had gotten back into the hobby a year earlier than I did. The 08/09 Upper Deck base cards really stand out to me as 'super-classy' cards. I love how there is no border so that the photograph basically takes up the entire card. The player's name and team are elegantly stamped onto the fronts and do not distract from the spectacular photos. The designers at Upper Deck show here that less is indeed more.

But in the box there was more and not less in terms of finding inserts - sweet! Of the twelve packs I was able to pull an insert or rookie from eight of them - nine if you include a checklist card. In total I received two Hockey Heroes, two All-World team, one Winter Classic Highlight card, a Captains Calling, and two Young Gun rookie cards - a good haul if you ask me! It was a great to pull a total of three Sidney Crosby cards as well as some other superstar names within this one blaster box. This was a completely solid break that I felt totally satisfied with. No complaints here!

Here are the top 3 cards from my 08/09 UD Series 1 blaster break:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Jason Pominville Card No. WC10
Though Jason Pominville is not a huge name, and this card I pulled of his was not even the third most valuable card of the break, I still put this card at number three because of its unique design and theme. The gold foil font on the front highlighting Pominville's Winter Classic moment is a cool idea. And the bottom border with the Winter Classic graphics and logo finishes the card nicely. Just an all around enjoyable card that I'm definitely a fan of.


#2 - Sidney Crosby Card No. AWT1
My favorite of the three Sidney Crosby cards I pulled in my blaster was this All-World Team insert of his. Though I prefer the 09/10 AWT design, this year's cards are still pleasing to look at. They are very clean and sleek cards. Crosby's in particular looks good, and Crosby 'anything' is always good to get because of his popularity among collectors.


#1 - Drew Doughty Card No. 220
Though I didn't hit the Stammer, hitting the Drew Doughty Young Gun was nothing to complain about - especially after last weeks dreadful Young Gun pulls. And I have to mention that besides the great looking base cards, the Young Gun design is also top notch this year. I'm very pleased with it, and pleased to add this Stanley Cup winning defensemen to my collection.

Overall Value -
At $12, this box really delivered in terms of rookies and inserts. I felt that I got a very nice taste of what 08/09 Upper Deck Hockey was all about. I definitely would recommend purchasing these blasters if you find them somewhere at a price-point around what I paid. You really can't go too wrong! And who knows, maybe you'll be the lucky one to find player no. 91's Young Gun!

Let me know what you thought of my 08/09 Upper Deck Series 1 blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from one of these? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:
9/10

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


And help me figure out what to open up next Sunday! Here is the list of remaining products. You can tell me what you'd like to see in the comments section.

- 08/09 Be A Player
- 10/11 O-Pee-Chee
- 09/10 Champs
- 09/10 UD Series 1
- 10/11 UD Series 1