Sunday, October 28, 2012

Retail Review #20 (09/10 O-Pee-Chee Blaster)

From the high-end retail last week to the lower-end of the spectrum this week... here comes a break of 09/10 O-Pee-Chee! There was a suggestion to start at the lower end and make my way up. I thought that was a pretty good idea so how I chose to go with the OPC blaster today. I'm actually not at all sure as to what to hope to get inside this box. Most of the best rookies from 09/10 came in the stand-alone OPC Update boxed set. Is there anything good worth pulling? I'll just have to open it and find out!

Price - 

Packs - 14
09/10 O-Pee-Chee Packs

I have to be honest and say that the ONLY reason I picked up this box was for the price... under $7. It's pretty hard to beat 14 packs for that little coin. I think it's hilarious how the top of the blaster says '13 packs + 1 bonus pack!' I mean, c'mon... who're you kidding? It was always meant to have 14 packs in it. Gotta tip my hat to whoever thought of that idea. If that get's people to think they are getting a special deal and buy it, then more power to them!

Since I have no idea if anything of value can be found here, I'm just going to enjoy breaking the box and checking out all the cards. Being on the lower-end side of things, I'm expecting a variety of inserts to keep me interested in seeing what's in the next pack. Knowing OPC products, there are probably some interesting cards to read and learn from.

If by some miracle I get a hit, I'll be very, very excited and happy. The odds of hitting anything like that are outrageous. Stated odds for jersey cards are 1:1080 packs while autos come in a bit easier at 1:432 packs. I have to admit that OPC mem and auto cards are pretty cool looking... and a bit hard to find on the secondary market since not a whole lot of people break the product heavily.

Let's see what I get in my 09/10 O-Pee-Chee blaster box:

Review -
This doesn't have much to do with anything... but... the OPC packs are darned slippery. Same thing happened when I bought my hobby box of 12/13 OPC... lots of slippery packs. Just sayin'.

Anyways, I enjoyed this break of O-Pee-Chee. I definitely was not expecting much... and I didn't hit anything of crazy value, but overall the break was very fun. OPC is a great product to bust open and sort though. The cards of of nice, retro, quality, and the insert sets are well thought out. And in hobby versions of the product, there is at least a slim chance of getting a hit.

This year's retro base cards have a clean and simple design. The foil versions of the cards definitely stand out when you open the packs. The shiny cards make busting a bit more special. I got to say that if this set was released in the 90's, collectors would have been all over it. Now, it's just a lower end product to crack just for fun.

Though I'm not a set collector, OPC offers a great opportunity to build a challenging set. The front of the blaster boasts that it is the largest set of the 09/10 season. Set collectors now are few and far between, but I can see them taking up this challenge and having a blast doing it.

Check out what I thought were the three top cards of the break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Shea Weber Card No. CB-SW
Though these Canadian Heroes cards are so simple, they look great. These cards are different than the standard OPC cards in that they have a glossy finish rather than cardboard stock. The color scheme goes perfectly with the Canadian theme of the card. This would be a sweet set to put together for anyone who is a fan of Canadian hockey players.

#2 - Jonathan Quick Retro Card No. 28
This is a retro design that I am a big fan of. It gives me the feeling of a late 80's or early 90's card. The card is very clean with simple lines bordering it. In my opinion, it's better than the most current OPC retro design (12/13). Though I'm not a Kings fan by any stretch of the imagination, I definitely respect Jonathan Quick for his amazing goaltending skills. And this is a pretty sweet retro card of him.

#1 - Alexander Ovechkin Card No. TW1
Shiny! That's what all collectors were pretty much hunting for in the insert card era. These award winner theme insert cards would have fit right in back then. It's cool to get foil cards within packs filled with retro feeling cardboard cards - it's a nice contrast... and it sort of makes these cards seem unique in the product. Better yet is that one of my shiny cards was of Capital's superstar Alex Ovechkin.

Overall Value -
It's very hard to complain about value with the entire blaster was only about seven dollars. Though this blaster didn't bring in the big hits or big money, it was a bit of a time warp back to when inserts and foil were all the rage.

I liked breaking this blaster quite a bit. It definitely brought back memories of when sets were huge and inserts were valuable. Makes me want to go and sort a big pile of cards...

Or not!

Let me know what you thought of my 09/10 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:

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

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Retail Review #19 (10/11 Certified Blaster)

I got a nice medium sized box from UPS last week... and it contained more retail blasters for Retail Review! Yay! If you check out my Youtube channel, you can see what I got. It's definitely not as large as my first order during the summer, but there are some exciting things to bust in the upcoming weeks. I'm going to start with a blaster of 10/11 Panini Certified as that's what most people told me they wanted to see. So here we go!

Price - 

Packs - 3
10/11 Certified Packs

My last blaster box of Certified was, simply put, amazing. I pulled a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins autographed jersey rookie. Though I'm not expecting anything of that magnitude from this blaster, I still have high hopes for something good. Certified blasters seem to give out a fair amount of quality cards.

I wish that I could find more Certified blasters in the area in which I live, but they are on the higher-end of retail products. Since hockey is not very popular in Woodland, California, I rarely see it. I'm glad that Dave and Adam's Card World offers it on their website though. And it's at a great price as they are sold for half the amount it would have been at Target or other chain stores.

With only three packs per blaster, the break will be short. But I guess quality makes up for quantity in this case - and I'm really all for quality. Knowing that there is a hit to be found in the blaster makes it very exciting.

Well, time to stop typing and see what I get in my 10/11 Certified blaster box:

Review -
The first thing that hit me as I opened the packs was how nice the cards were. The quality on these 10/11 Certified base is top notch. I totally forgot just how well-done the cards were that year. They probably aren't, but they feel heftier and thicker than their 11/12 counterparts. These cards have a serious tone to them, and they mean business!

Right away I was able to pull out a serial numbered card of a legendary Sabres player. It wasn't Pat Lafontaine (who I have a minor PC of), but I enjoyed getting the card all the same. Getting serial numbered cards in blasters can sometimes be a rarity.

I was also pretty surprised to pull out a ton of San Jose sharks base cards from the three packs. It was a very concentrated amount for sure. I'm always happy to pull Sharks base, and these three packs were a gold mine for them.

As for my hit, though it wasn't a huge one, it was still PC as it was yet another Sharks card! Wow, this blaster was totally Shark crazy. Good for me... not sure if other collectors would have been as happy.

Here are my top three cards of this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Gilbert Perreault Card No. 158
Something struck me as a little odd when I got this card... and now I realize what it is... it's in color! So often now Panini goes for the black and white look when it comes to legends. I love how this card has an older color photo of Perreault on a modern fancy-shmancy background. The card looks great and is serial numbered to 500. I have to admit that the Sabres are one of my favorite teams in the NHL after the Sharks. Love the buffalo on their jerseys!

#2 - Sharks Cards Nos. 121, 122, 123, 124
Wow, talk about a bunch of Shark base in three packs that contain only five cards per! Like I said before, these cards look great and I think these Shark base cards are awesome. If I'm going to get a bunch of base cards in my breaks, they better be Sharks. Too bad there was no Logan Couture base that year... wait... never mind. Certified has too many parallel cards... Logan not being there saved me a ton of money.

#1 - Joe Pavelski Card No. JOP
My hit of the box was Pavelski, one of the top Sharks! Though it's just a simple jersey card, it's a card that I don't already have and that I can add to my personal Sharks collection. PC hits are always great in any product you open - be it a pack, a blaster, or hobby boxes/cases.

Overall Value -
I was pretty happy with this blaster of Certified. This one was tailor made for a Sharks collector so I'm glad it found its way to me. Certified is a great Panini brand, definitely one of their best, so I wouldn't hesitate in recommending a blaster of it to bust open.

If you're getting it at the retail store, they will set you back quite a bit ($30), but you can find them for more reasonable prices online like I did. I am definitely thinking about going back to the well and getting my hands on some more of these.

Let me know what you thought of my 10/11 Certified 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:

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012-2013 ITG Forever Rivals Review

In the Game (ITG) has come up with another very specifically themed set of hockey cards for collectors to chase, this time focusing on two very storied franchises: the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Knowing how crazy collectors of these two teams can get, this product is already assured to be popular. Let's take a look at what ITG serves up in a box of their just released Forever Rivals set!

Base Card Design -
I can say that this base set has by far my favorite ITG design. These cards look sharp! The card is done on foil board and has a shimmer reminiscent of Panini Certified cards. To me this is a giant leap forward in design for ITG - these cards have taken quite a step up. There are many elements to the card that I think make this card especially well done. First of all, I love the shine of the card. The foil gives the card a higher-end feel. And these cards feature a flat foil rather than a speckled looking foil a la Captain-C. These cards are definitely superior to Captain-C as they have a more mature feel. The 'Forever Rivals' logo is another element that I think is spot on. The classy cursive font done in foil at the bottom of each card really caught my attention when I first saw them, and it's my favorite part of the card. Lastly, a more subtle call out to the teams occur in the form of a logo 'cut-out' frame around the player's image. What a great way to bring about the team logo without having it there... genius!

As for the card back, ITG has gone with the paragraph of information approach yet again. The backs of the card are absolutely unspectacular in design, but they make up for it in the interesting-to-read department. It's always great to read the backs of ITG cards to learn a little bit more about the players. With this set featuring many players from the past, newer collectors can easily get caught up on players they may not have seen play. It's a nice little lesson in history for sure.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each box of Forever Rivals will come with 3 inserts, 3 game-used memorabilia cards, and 3 autograph cards - definitely a good amount of hits for a small compact box!

As much as I liked the base cards... I can't say I'm a fan of the standard insert cards found in Forever Rivals. This Double Agents insert card is certainly a good idea - having a card featuring a player who played for both Toronto and Montreal - but the design execution is a bit lacking for me. It's obvious that the design is supposed to be a futuristic government computer screen... but rather than looking modern and slick, the design looks like it came from a 90's science fiction television show. Not good.

And this Immortals card doesn't enhance the product either. In fact, it's a card that looks like it could have come from any of ITG's past offerings. I think ITG could have completely left out these insert cards from their set and collectors would have been completely ok with that. I don't see collectors clamoring for these insert cards. For me, they'll go out as extras in trades that I make with fans of Toronto or Montreal. As I've said in the past, if there are going to be insert cards in a release, they should be of special or unique design - not just different looking standard cards.

Check out this Forever Rivals jersey card... look familiar? To me it does. It's pretty reminiscent of other ITG jersey cards. While I certainly appreciate the size of the swatch and the guarantee that the material is from an actual Leafs gamer, the design of the card needs an update. We've seen this similar look to ITG jersey cards too many times.

Patch card versions feature the same exact design but with a smaller piece of material. With other companies going larger and larger with their patch materials, I would have thought ITG would do the same. I know that ITG has done gigantic pieces of patch in other products so it surprises me to see these smaller pieces continue to be used. Another surprise (this time a good one) with this card is that it is extremely short printed. According to the ITG website, there are only 6 of each of these patch cards produced. It's very cool to find out how few there are of this card out there... but it's hard to tell without something more obvious on it such as serial numbering.

The autographed cards in Forever Rivals definitely have a design unlike other ITG cards... but I can't say I'm a huge fan of them. There is ample room for the autograph, but the overall aesthetic of the card looks a bit muted and faded. And for whatever reason the Forever Rivals logo font is different here (it's also different on some of the other insert cards as well)... kind of strange - definitely a mystery to me as to why they would not keep the logo consistent on all cards within the set. As for positives, ITG has chosen to have Toronto players sign in blue ink and Habs players in red. That is cool. It really goes with the theme of the product and highlights the difference in the teams very well. This kind of detail is much appreciated. As collectors find these autographs in their boxes, it would be a good idea to refer to the ITG checklist to see if you pulled a short print - there are definitely a few short prints to be found.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
ITG definitely has an interesting product for the collecting masses in Forever Rivals. Having cards of only Leafs and Habs can be limiting... but given the desire and collectibility of the two franchises... they should be safe. I am sure that fans of those two teams will be buying this product up in spades. That being said, I wish the hits in the product had a better design. I found them to be on par with older ITG products. On the bright side, though, the base cards in Forever Rivals are awesome. If I were a Leaf or Habs fan I'd be all over trying to collect the set of my team.

Purchasing a box of Forever Rivals is a pretty safe bet as I'm sure you could find others to trade with. For fans of the two featured teams, I would get as many boxes as I could. As a fan of neither team, busting a box is still fun. And I'm pretty confident that I could sell or trade out the cards I don't want from the break.

I'm looking forward to more creative products from ITG. Who knows... one day they may have a set dedicated to the San Jose Sharks! (A fan can dream, right?)

Overall Rating:

Check out my break of ITG Forever Rivals:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Retail Review #18 (12/13 Score Blaster)

Wow! Here comes a really fresh from the factory Retail Review! I've been opening up a lot of older products (and will continue to do so in the following weeks),  but this week I have a 2012-2013 Score blaster to bust open! I have to be honest and say that Score did not impress me this year. I gave it a lower rating than I have in the past and couldn't say that I would really recommend it. But hey, here's a chance for it to change my mind. Let's see if it does!

Price - 

Packs - 11
12/13 Score Packs

The great thing about Score is its price. With 11 packs in the blaster, it comes down to less than a dollar each - and that's a great deal. Also, as opposed to other products, you get a healthy amount of cards per pack so there is plenty to look through and check out once all the cards are out. For collectors who love looking at their cards and learning a lot about stats and facts, this is an awesome product to buy. I know that when I was a kid, these were the types of cards that helped me gain a lot of knowledge about the game and its players.

All that being said, this year's product seems to lack a 'wow' factor. It might be the underwhelming design or the lack of strong rookies... but I just am not as excited about it this year. For the past two years Score would always be a brand that I could pick up a few packs or a blaster and rip open. I am hoping that a sweet blaster will encourage me to do that once again.

Well, let's see what I got in my 12/13 Score blaster box:

Review -
The first thing I would like to mention is the size of the blaster. I love it. I have never liked the fact that blaster boxes waste so much space on the inside. This new type of blaster is small and compact. It's the prefect size. I'm glad that Panini has gone to this format. This fact alone made me excited about the break!

Unfortunately, the rest of the break did not even reach the level of excitement that I had for the size of the box - and that's just sad! Though each pack came with a gold card and/or some sort of insert or rookie, never did I feel an anticipation for the next pack. And no, it's not that it's a low end product. It just might be that Panini needs to refresh the Score brand a bit. For the past two years Panini has gone with the same insert sets and format - and they're getting a little tired. I would like to see then mix it up a bit more. Score used to have a bunch of crazy insert themed cards. It just needs to be spiced up! Hah, I'm already looking forward to next year... sorry 12/13 Score!

Here are my top three cards of this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Henrik Lundqvist Card No. NC2
Like I just mentioned, it may be time for Score to change up their insert lines. Net Cam cards were a huge rage with collectors when they debuted... and last year they were still 'alright'... but this year I have actually heard collectors on hockey forums say this insert set has run its course. And I agree. Though the set may be in need of some new-ness, this King Henry card is still pretty cool. That ceiling just screams MSG!

#2 - Phil Kessel Card No. F27
Probably my favorite insert set this year are The Franchise cards. These cards have a fresh look to them and feature silver foiling! I'm not sure why Panini chose to implement foil here, but it really works! It certainly makes these cards stand out from all the others.

#1 - Evgeni Malkin Card No. 372 (Gold Version)
With such a gigantic set, it can be hard to pull star player parallels like this Malkin. I always get a little thrill when I'm able to get a parallel card of a good player. Back in the day, some parallels only came one per box, so getting someone good was very difficult. I still remember that feeling when pulling star parallels... it's awesome. So that's why this gold Malkin gets the top spot!

Overall Value -
In terms of value, Score is king when it comes to the amount of cards you get for what you pay. That's not all I'm looking for though when buying cards. It doesn't matter if cards are high-end or low-end, they have to deliver interest and value. At the beginning of the break I was wondering if this blaster box of Score could change my mind on the product. Well... it hasn't. Though there is a ton of Score left at my local Target store, I don't think you'll see me loading up into my grocery cart.

Let me know what you thought of my 12/13 Score 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:

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

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Retail Review #17 (10/11 UD Series 1 Blaster)

2010-11 was a very big year for great rookie cards. Players like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, PK Subban, and more were eagerly sought out by collectors. I remember how exciting it was to purchase any product that year just because the rookie crop was so great. For today's Retail Review, I have high hopes of getting someone of value in this blaster. This is the last blaster from my large retail order at Dave and Adam's Card World. Let's hope it's a good one!

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

Packs - 12
10/11 Upper Deck Series 1 Blaster Packs

The price of the blaster was great - at Dave and Adam's price, it worked out to just $1 per pack - a pretty sweet deal! And as I've said before, opening up UD Series 1 blasters is great fun just because of the sheer number of packs within. Opening up 12 packs makes for a slightly longer and more satisfying experience.

Though I'm mostly interested to see which Young Guns I pull out of this blaster, there are other inserts of value to be found as well - including jersey cards. I feel like I've gotten quite a few blasters now but I haven't gotten one of the standard jersey cards yet. I really wonder if this one will finally yield one. I mean, I've pulled some great things from these retail products already... but a standard jersey card from Upper Deck hasn't been something I've been able to get. Maybe in this one? Who am I kidding? Most likely not!

Well, let's see what I got in my 10/11 Upper Deck Series 1 blaster box:

Review -
Just as I predicted, I didn't get a jersey card... but I did find things in this box that I had totally forgotten about. One of the packs in the middle felt a little bigger than the others. I actually thought I had a memorabilia card on my hands. Well, I was wrong. Turns out that it was a sleeved buy-back card. The sleeve made the pack bulge a little. For those of you who don't know what a buy-back card is, it's a card from an older release that Upper Deck has re-obtained and re-inserted into packs. Usually there are stamps on them that signify they are special cards. The ones in 10/11 blasters only come with a certificate that say it was a buy-back card. These cards are nothing but the standard cards collectors could have found in previous products - the certificate really didn't mean much except to signal the fact it was a buy-back. That's too bad.

Overall the entire box was a bit of a letdown I have to say. My Young Guns were not of any of the big names of 10/11... and my inserts were not of any huge stars or even PC players. There was a lot of potential in the product, but this box left me wanting in a big way!

I had a hard time choosing three cards this week... but here they are:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Jussi Jokinen Card No. 163
Upper Deck always has some of the best photography in cards - and here's a great example. This Jussi Jokinen card showcases an extreme close-up action shot. I'm really not sure how much closer you can get to the player than this! The card captures an intense moment really up-close and personal. It's one of those cards that though the player may not mean much to me, the awesome-ness of the photograph actually can give me pause. Quite a feat!

#2 - Marcus Johansson Card No. 249
This Marcus Johansson cards creeps into the number two spot of the break. Johansson was a moderately popular rookie a couple years ago, but definitely not one of the big boys to find. Still, this was probably the best card in the break in terms of value.

#1 - Brandon Bochenski No. 238 (05/06 Buyback Card)
This Bochenski Young Gun steals the top spot in this week's top three because of its surprising nature. In no way would I have ever thought of finding a card from 2005 to be in my 2010 blaster box... but here it is. This has probably been the best buy-back i have found. But I find it a little disappointing that the 2005 rookie I got was Bochenski. I mean, there were a few sweet rookies (ahem... Crosby) that year. But it hat to be Bohcenski for me. Well, I guess it fits the mundane nature of this particular blaster box.

Overall Value -
This blaster was definitely on the weaker side. Though there were some surprises found in the box, they just weren't the right names to make me feel good about this break. Still, at about $12 this blaster was a good deal. I don't think I would mind giving this product another shot. There are just too many good cards to find and chase. I shouldn't let one dud box hinder me taking advantage of a good deal like this. So though this particular box's score may be low, there isn't too much reason to shy away from these boxes. I'd be in for another the next time I need to fill up an order!

Let me know what you thought of my 10/11 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:

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

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

2012-2013 Artifacts Review

Hockey season locked out and on-hold? That's not going to stop Artifacts from coming out! Upper Deck's popular hit-filled brand released this week. Collector's for the past few years have really taken to Artifacts. In fact, last year's Artifacts was so popular that the box price jumped up quite a bit from it's starting point of around $100 - eventually settling in at about $140 per box. Will this year's Artifacts line bring it strong again? Let's take a look a what a box yields.

Base Card Design -
I must admit that when I saw the base cards on the sell sheet, I was unimpressed. The cards looked plain, boring, and flat. In person, however, the cards shine... literally! The first thing that caught my eye about the Artifacts base card was the amount of foil used this year. Upper Deck did not hold back on the foil budget with artifacts. The entire bottom border that includes the player name, position, number, and team logo are all in spectacular silver foil. Opposite that towards the upper portion of the card is the Artifacts brand name, also in the same silver foil. It looks really good, and I have to say that this Artifacts design is the best I've seen. The icy white background only makes the use of silver foil that much more attractive. The cards have a cold and cool look. And players really pop off the card. The only complaint may be that the player's name can be a bit difficult to read as it is etched into the foil. But all-in-all, I have to give the UD designers high marks for these base cards.

The back of the Artifacts base card is top notch. The horizontal design is perfected here by using different sections to hold different elements. The introduction of the blue tones on the back add both brightness and reinforce the cold color scheme. Each card has a limited amount of statistics as well as a short write-up of the featured player.

It's looking like the goalies this year get special short printed treatment. My box contained Corey Crawford and Tim Thomas, both numbered to 999. Gone this year are the Artifacts Star cards. Good choice on eliminating those Upper Deck! I never saw a point to those cards. The designs were lackluster, they didn't go for much on the secondary market, and most importantly, collectors didn't seem to care about them whatsoever. Simply making a segment of the base set short printed is a much better idea. I'm not exactly sure why goalies were chosen as a specific group to short print... but it fine. Not a huge deal.

The rookie cards this year can also boast that they have a large amount of bling to them - just check out that huge silver foil rookie logo! Though by no means ugly or terrible, the rookie card design doesn't stand out in a way that makes you want them. And that might be appropriate as many feel this year's initial cardboard rookie crop will be lacking in big names. For some reason the design at the top of the card reminds me of the sun. Is it because these cards mark the dawn of a new hockey era for these players? Maybe I'm going a bit overboard there... I'll stop it at that.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each box of Artifacts should come with three game-used memorabilia cards, an autograph, a rookie redemption card, as well as a few serial numbered inserts. It's definitely a solid combination of hits at a very nice price.

The most common type of hit in Artifacts is the dual jersey card. Collectors can find base card parallels with dual jerseys as well as themed inserts such as the venerable Treasured Swatches line. Upper Deck has done an artful job of combining the jersey pieces with solid insert design. This Lemieux card in particular is great because it fits the theme of the 12/13 Artifacts set with it's iced background and curved arch design element. I particularly like this card because it shows Super Mario in one of his old All-Star uniforms - certainly a unique picture choice.

Typical boxes of Artifacts will come with an Autofacts sticker-auto card. If not... well, that means you probably got something nicer... but the good thing this year about Autofacts is twofold. One, the cards look sweet. It's a classy design with stickers that you can hardly notice that they're there. Two, I have been informed by Upper Deck that major stars like Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux, RNH, Jaromir Jagr, Patrick Roy, and Steven Stamkos are new additions to the Autofacts set this year. Pretty cool... but I wonder how hard it will be to get one of those top names.

As usual with Artifacts, parallel cards are back in full force. They can come simply like this emerald parallel to 99, or can come in a form with jersey, patches, tags, and autographs. For player collectors, Artifacts is always one of the most challenging rainbows to put together. There are just so many cards to chase! I for one know that I'll be on the hunt for many Logan Couture parallels this year.

Oh, here's a nice jersey and patch parallel of Sid-the-Kid. I'm loving the patch piece they used for this card!

Coming in at one-per-box again are the rookie redemption cards. Anyone familiar with Artifacts knows that since Artifacts usually is released before the season starts, it cannot contain rookie cards of players who have not skated yet. To solve this problem, Upper Deck has decided to insert these redemption rookie cards into the product. I have found that these cards have a marginal following - but ultimately are not the most sought after cards. It will be very interesting this year with the lock out in effect though. If the season, gasp, is cancelled, I wonder what Upper Deck will do with these cards. We'll just have to wait and see.

Some cards are tough finds in Artifacts. This dual fight strap card is one that is much more limited, and much harder to pull. Fight strap cards have been a pretty recent addition to Artifacts, only appearing in the last couple years. Though they may not have unique patch designs on them, they are a very unique part of the jersey, so collectors have generally liked finding them. They make a great addition to the memorabilia centric Artifacts set of cards.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
This year's Artifacts looks as though it'll continue the trend of a quality, mid-level, hockey card line. Though it's definitely not a high-end product, the cards do not feel cheap what-so-ever. I have found that the designs are top notch. These are cards that look great and have high collectibility.

Opening up a box of Artifacts is really fun because of the great variety of things to find. Guaranteed are three memorabilia hits and one autograph. I always find myself wondering if I'll get a patch or an autograph of a great player. Though every box may not have a patch card, they are prevalent enough that the chances of pulling one is pretty high.

I can't predict if Artifacts will take off in price again this year as it did last year... but I would not hesitate to go out and purchase this product over and over and over again. Now that Artifacts has been released, the real hockey card collecting season has begun!

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of Artifacts from D&P Sports Cards: