Sunday, June 29, 2014

Retail Review #107 (10/11 Panini Zenith Blaster)

Zenith was one of the brands that Panini tried to re-introduce when they came onto the hockey card scene back in 2010. I remember being pretty excited for the product to release. As it turned out, Zenith was considered to be grossly overpriced. And that turned off many collectors. I never saw a blaster of it at a retail store near me, but I would have a very difficult time justifying the purchase of a blaster at nearly thirty dollars.

Price - 

Packs - 3
10/11 Zenith Blaster Packs

With Zenith being a 'higher-end' product, Panini gave it the higher-end price and treatment. There are only three packs per box, but should be a hit guaranteed inside. When looking at Zenith, I don't really get the sense of it being higher-end. The base cards are pretty plain - if you compare them to other higher end cards like Panini Certified or even Panini Prizm, these cards are lackluster.

2010/11 was the only year that Zenith saw a release. I think collectors disliked it so much that Panini decided it would not be worth it to try and salvage the brand. Even now at it's extremely discounted price, I think collectors are a bit weary to purchasing it. Besides the rookie content, there just isn't much to latch onto. You're not going to find a huge hit (save for a few select rookie cards) when busting this product.

Let's see what these three packs bring me in the Zenith blaster:

Review -
This blaster was a decently fun rip - but short. Though this may be a generally disliked product, I enjoyed it. At first I didn't like the base cards at all. I thought the design was terrible. But they've grown on me a little. Yes, they are plain, but there is a quality about them that does show that there was effort gone into making them. It's hard to see in the video, but the player part of the card has been specially glossed so that it stands out over the background. It's a subtle but nice effect.

You don't get a lot of cards in three packs, but I actually prefer getting less base cards to more. Sometimes I just don't know where to put all the excess base that are in these blasters.

I like the fact that the box had a hit in it. Companies should definitely think about putting more hits in retail and less base. That would be a great trade-off. I know it would dilute the hit market even more, but perhaps creating retail only hits would be a good idea... just a thought!

Let's see the top cards from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Kelly Hrudey Card No. 135
The veteran cards in Zenith don't have any special designation other than a higher number in the set. I remember the veterans being a bit more limited than that standard base, so that's why Kelly Hrudey gets a spot in the top 3 this week. I also have good memories of pulling Hrudey cards back in the old days!

#2 - Alex Stalock Card No. 171
Stalock really came on last year for the Sharks after battling back through a very difficult injury. I know that Sharks were struggling on who to use in goal - Stalock or Niemi. The Sharks recently signed Stalock to a new contract. It looks like he may be with the team for a while.

#1 - Jonathan Bernier Card No. 17
This was the hit in my blaster. It's a terrible looking scan, but in person the card looks really nice, especially for it being 'just a jersey' card. I especially like the old school purple sweater and sweater chunk. The back states that the piece is game-worn!

Overall Value -
Zenith is now at a price that is worth it. Spending about $10 for a hit isn't too bad, and I think Zenith is a quirky enough product to really enjoy opening up more of. It's funny how price can really determine how much you like or dislike a product. It just goes to show the importance of getting the price correctly adjusted for the value a product can give. I'd happily open up more Zenith give the chance to.

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!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2013-2014 Panini Contenders Review

Contenders is pretty much Panini's answer to Upper Deck's SP Authentic line which came out last week. Contenders has made some good headway in closing the gap between the two brands these past couple of years. It's sad that this will be the last Contenders set we'll see for a while, but it looks like Panini has really made this one the best yet! IT IS LOADED.

Base Card Design -
Contender base cards have their own specific design that they utilize - a ticket. The cards make great use of color and space. Framing the main player photo with the team color works well, and the addition of the monotone close up photo adds a nice dimension to the card. Silver foil is used on these base cards sparingly. You'll see foil used only at the bottom of the card for the set logo and player position. I appreciate the judicious use of foil here, though I think the player name could have used a touch of foil too. One completely unique addition to the card is the bar code at the bottom right corner. This definitely adds to the ticket look of the card. And the numbers beneath the bar code depict the player's birthdate. Pretty cool!

The back of the Contenders card has a full-color design. It's good to see that from Panini as many of their card backs primarily use white backgrounds. The card back gives collectors information about the player in a short write-up. There are no stats to speak of on these cards. Sorry stats guys!

The non-autographed rookie cards share a similar design to the standard base cards with just a few aspects differing. These cards have an added RC logo, a foil rookie designation instead of the position they play, and silver foil numbering to 600.

The autographed Rookie Ticket subset has a design that is a bit more different than the standard base cards, but they obviously share many of the same characteristics. The main differences are that the Rookie Ticket cards have a large whited-out area for the autograph. The autograph is on-card and in blue ink. Like in years past, Panini has chosen not to number these cards. By doing this, Panini creates a bit of a mystery in terms of each card's print run. Collectors are always curious to know which cards have been short printed.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
The boxes of Contenders states that they will have at least 3 autographed cards within. From what I have seen so far though, collectors can almost expect to find more than that. With Panini leaving the hockey card market soon, it looks like they have put as much as they could into Contenders.

Contenders has always included specially themed insert cards in the set. Cup Contenders cards highlight players that are contending for the Stanley Cup. These cards are limited to 499 copies of each. Collectors who enjoy seeing the Stanley Cup on the front of the card (I know plenty who do!) will like this set quite a bit. A signature patch version of some of these cards are also available to be found in boxes. They are limited to just 25 copies with a 1/1 version also produced.

Vezina Contenders cards are for the goalie lovers out there. Like the Stanley Cup Contenders cards, these cards have the desired trophy in the card's background. Vezina Contenders are also limited to 499 and have patch auto variations. Collectors will also find other trophy themed inserts in their boxes of Contenders this year. If you're into the NHL awards, this set is definitely for you.

The Contenders Legacies cards are beautiful black and white depictions of NHL legends. The black and white photos give these cards a very classic look. The standard Legacies card is numbered to 499, but the patch auto variations are limited to only 5 with a gold 1/1 version available as well. This is a simple and elegant set that I really love the look of.

Many of you will remember the Classics set that Panini released during the 12/13 season. It featured a retro design with on-card autographs of retired NHL players. Well, it looks like Panini had some left over or that came in late... so here they are! Like what Upper Deck did with SP Authentic last week, Contenders is a place to find cards from previous releases.

The best card of my box was this six-way autograph of some legendary goalies - Tony Esposito, Ron Hextall, Patrick Roy, Curtis Joseph, Henrik Lundquivst, and Carey Price. It is an amazing card to have and to hold in hands.

Rather than being in book form, the card is simply double sided. I actually much prefer it this way than in a book. It fits great in a 35pt. magnetic top-loader. I love this card and it will be in my personal collection.

Panini has really put everything they have into this product. I know I got a great box, but I also know that many people have been pulling great things out of this product. There is so much crammed into Contenders this year. Watch break after break of it and you'll see!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
I usually compare Contenders with SP Authentic. I just makes sense to do so! And normally SP Authentic comes out on top... but this year, I have to give it to Contenders if you're looking for a break that will deliver you some awesome hits. Contenders boxes are just spilling out all kinds of amazing things, and it'd be a great idea to break as much of this as you can!

I would still hold SP Authentic in a higher regard in terms of its overall look and design, but Panini Contenders this year just brings it hard with value... and it's not like the cards are ugly... they look good!

Contenders is a product you just have to break if you can afford to. It's really good this year as seen by my break as well as numerous others. Go find some and crack a box or two (or more!)!

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of Contenders from D&P Sports Cards in Sacramento, Ca:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Retail Review #106 (07/08 Be A Player Blaster + Americana Packs)

I finally got really fed up with the stuff at Target... there just isn't anything to buy there! Many of my watchers ask for this and for that, but so many products available in Canada or hockey towns in the US are simply not available in mine. So I had to go out beyond the local brick and mortar store and dip back into the well that is cyber-space for my next round of Retail Review boxes.

Price - 

Packs - 2
07/08 Be a Player Retail Blaster Packs

I went ahead and made an order from I haven't done this in a while because I really wanted to stick with getting retail products at the actual retail store, but it was just getting too darn hard... not to mention expensive too! You'll be happy to know there are at least a couple month's worth of retail products that have just come in so strap yourself in every Sunday morning for new Retail Reviews!

Today I'll be opening up a product I opened up a lot of previously. Be a Player blasters are great because they all feature one guaranteed autograph per box. The only 'bad thing' is that there are only two packs per box. It makes for a very quick rip.

To get this break a little longer I opted to open up the free bonus packs I got with my order in this video. The packs are from Panini Americana. I have not idea what's in these packs. Do they contain hits or inserts? We'll just have to see as they get opened up on camera.

Let's go ahead and see what comes out the blaster and loose packs:

Review -
The American packs turned out to be interesting. I didn't get any hits, but I believe I received a few inserts for my troubles. The cards actually look very nice. I really enjoy how Panini made the photo black and white while the bottom graphic is in color. It lends a very unique look to this set of cards. I got plenty of presidents, athletes, and astronauts in my packs. I didn't get a hit, but I wonder if there are even any available to pull from this set. I might have to go and do some research on it when I get some time. For people who really enjoy American history, I think this set gives a nice retrospective.

The Be a Player blaster definitely wasn't the best. BAP can spit out a good player or card once in a while, but most blasters will be like the one I got today. The autographed card did get top spot in my top three this week, but only because it was the only hit that came out.

Here are the top three cards this week:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Barack Obama Card No. 44
Our current president gets the three spot this week. I don't think I've pulled a card of Obama's yet. These historic sets by card companies usually feature the presidents of the past, so I was surprised to see Obama here. As it turns out, the entire first part of the set are the presidents in historical order.

#2 - Jaromir Jagr Card No. 126
Jagr was probably the best player to come out of the Be a Player blaster. This card depicts him as the captain of the New York Rangers. Jagr is a already a legendary player so he definitely gets this spot in the top three.

#1 - Mark Parrish Card No. S-PA
Mark Parrish gets top spot this week due to the fact that there is ink on this card. I would have loved to get a bigger name out of my blaster, but this is very typical of BAP blasters.

Overall Value -
The blaster price went up from about $10 to $13, so I think the overall value of these blasters dropped a bit in my eyes. I guess they are getting more rare. I still enjoy getting these blasters because the concept of one autograph per blaster is very appealing to me though. Would I still recommend getting these? Of course! As for the Americana... you just have to really like getting historical cards to buy into that set of cards. If relics or autographs were available to be found I think that set would be worth chasing. If not, I'd probably look to a set that did have hits in it. But I got them for free so I'm not complaining!

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!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2013-2014 Upper Deck SP Authentic Review

It's time for another round of Upper Deck SP Authentic. Upper Deck SPA has been a long time favorite of many hockey card collectors. Year after year it offers up on-card rookie autographs in the famed Future Watch rookie set. This year Upper Deck gives collectors what they want and expect from this legacy brand. Why fix what isn't broke, right? SP Authentic just keeps coming out solid through the years.

Base Card Design -
In keeping with SPA tradition, the base cards come on a primarily white background. While in the past, the SPA backgrounds have been a bit more spartan, this year's has more graphical elements. These elements give the card a sense of movement - it's very dynamic and quite modern looking. It's awesome to see these how the designers at Upper Deck tweak a product year after year to make it just a bit different than the years past yet still keep a product's feel the same. The base cards are highlighted with just enough foil so that the card is elegantly done, and not over the top. The refinement shown in SPA's design is quite amazing, and Upper Deck has once again created a base card design worthy of the SPA brand.

In somewhat of a surprising move, Upper Deck has gone horizontal with the card backs this year. The card back has a color photo along with the player's stats and a paragraph about the player. The card back is a bit stark and serious, but nonetheless is solidly designed. It's definitely not a 'cookie-cutter' back as some other card brands are fond of doing. It's a good look that compliments the front well, just as a card back should.

The Authentic Moments cards are back again this year to give the set a splash of color once again. These big moments in the hockey season definitely stand out with these cards. I was wondering of these cards would make it into this year set... and they did! I'm glad they are here as they represent one of those slight tweaks in the brand to keep it fresh. These have sort of replaced the serial numbered 'Essentials' set that ended a couple seasons ago. It's definitely a nice change and improvement.

The Future Watch set is really what SP Authentic is all about. Collectors will once again on-card autographs numbered to 999. This year's version of the set looks very sharp with a design that is a departure from what they've done in the past. These cards remind me a bit of the 2009/10 Young Gun cards with the large 'Future Watch' foil graphic on the side. The font is almost futuristic in a way. The design concept is bold, and the autograph placement has been done perfectly. I like how the space for the autograph sits in a white area above the serial numbering and player name. I am a big fan of the Future Watch design this year. Non-autographed Future Watch cards are also included within the main set. Those card are serial numbered to 1299.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Boxes of SP Authentic state that collectors will find three autographs within the 20 packs that it contains with at least one being a Future Watch rookie card. Besides the hits available, collectors will find retro looking 1993 SP cards here as well. The 1993 SP set was one of my personal favorites as a kid. I'm personally very excited to see this design come back.

The '93 SP cards were bright and had great photography. That's what really attracted me to them when I was a kid collecting them back then. Baseball and football had their own main sets back in 1993, but if you wanted the hockey version, you had to buy standard Upper Deck packs to get them. Each Upper Deck pack came with just one SP card. It was definitely a difficult chase back then. I never was able to complete the set as a kid, but I was later able to obtain one via eBay. It's in my personal collection now.

What hockey collectors didn't get back in the day with SP were the foil rookie cards. Upper Deck kind of makes up for that now by having the double rookie class in this format. The cards looks exactly like they would have back when they were released back in the early nineties. These foils cards were worth a good amount of money when they came out. That's probably not the case with these, but they are still fun!

Silver Skates were very popular insert cards that featured die-cutting at the top. Upper Deck decided not to have these cards be die-cut... and they look very awkward to me. I say, if you're going to do a card that looks like what it did in the past... you need to go all the way. These cards to me are unfinished; they need a trip to the die-cutting machine! Other than that, the Silver Skates look nice. The deep colors used on the cards give the cards a strong look. Rookie Silver Skates have blue backgrounds while veterans have red.

Sign of the Times is a familiar name back again with an updated and fresh design. These cards have on-card autographs. It's a good set, but often times collectors will find players that are lesser names here. The big stars in the set have very long odds of pulling them.

I was able to pull a Future Watch Patch Auto from my box, but unfortunately it was a redemption card. There are many things to find in SPA this year including cards that were left out of past SPA sets. Upper Deck has put a lot into this years offering. It'll be fun to see what collectors pull out of their boxes.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
It's hard not to recommend Upper Deck SPA. Every year it's a solid product for about $100/box. Collectors know that the Future Watch Autos and Patches are what to look for when buying this product. Future Watch cards along with Young Guns (lower-end) and Cup Rookies (higher-end) are the most popular rookie cards to get.

That being said, it can be difficult at times to pull out great cards from a random box or two of SPA. Many times I've seen boxes with a couple low-end Future Watch cards and a Sign of the Times card. But that stuff's going to happen. I think it's worth the risk to try a box or two of SPA. It's one of the most solid choices you can make as a hockey card collector season after season.

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of SPA from D&P Sports Cards in Sacramento, Ca:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Retail Review #105 (13/14 Upper Deck Series 2 Blaster)

I really didn't want to get this blaster, but when the pickin's are slim... sometimes you just have to get what is available. I keep telling myself that one day something really big is going to come out of a UD2 blaster and then I'll be really happy. Hmm, I wonder if that 'one day' is today!

Price - 

Packs - 12
Upper Deck Series 2 Blaster Packs

Will there be a hit in this blaster? I really hope so! The odds of getting a hit in a blaster are pretty slim, but I feel like I've gotten enough of these blasters to at least hit one. This is probably the most I've gotten of an Upper Deck product at my local Target. Whoever puts in the orders for blasters at the store must be wondering who's actually buying all these hockey blasters from the store. It's got to be out of the norm.

That being said, they've got to see that the supply of hockey blaster is dwindling. I really hope they order more product... otherwise I'm going to have to either break more non-hockey products, or try to find hockey products at other retail stores, which isn't easy to do around here. I'll have to put some thought into this.

Let's just see what this particular blaster has in store for me:

Review -
Welp... no hit... still. I've just got to come and accept the fact that I'm just not going to get much out of these! This box broke the same as every other Upper Deck Series 2 so far from this year. A lot of base packs were here along with few parallel cards and a couple Young Guns.

There just wasn't much to this break at all, unfortunately. My Young Guns weren't big names, and the other cards were inconsequential. I thought about showcasing the top three photographs from the break, but as I looked through the cards, the cards I got today didn't have the most unique photographs in the set. And that's one of the the things you just come to expect from UD1 and 2 - good photographs.

I cobbled together a top three from this break, but to be honest with you, it was pretty difficult. There just wasn't much to this box.

Here are the top three cards this week:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Taylor Beck Card No. 472
Of the two Young Gun cards in the blaster I chose Beck to be in the top three because he is an offensive player rather than a defensemen - yup, that's it.

#2 - Carl Hagelin Card No. C132
Hagelin was a popular rookie a couple years back, and he's still having success in the NHL. That's really good. I'm always interested to see how a popular rookie pans out as they go through their playing career.

#1 - Patrick Roy Card No. HH59
You know it's a touch break when the number one card is a Hockey Heroes card. Patrick Roy is a legendary goalie, and he deserves the top spot this week.

Overall Value -
So, my top card was a Hockey Hereos insert card... that kind of tells you how good this break was. So the great box of UD2 still eludes me. This will probably not be my last box of UD2 in Retail Review. One day I will hopefully get something of note in one!

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, June 9, 2014

Cardboard Commentary #59 (Rookie Anthology eBay Sales)

Hey everyone! It's been a few weeks since my last Cardboard Commentary. I've been wanting to make it a weekly feature, but it can be challenging at times to come up with content. Today, though, I'd like to share with you the return I got on some cards I sold from my Rookie Anthology break.

I bought my review box of Rookie Anthology from D&P Sports Cards in Sacramento, Ca. The box was $100. I was pretty happy with the contents of the box, and if you want to see what I got, check out my review of it a few posts before this one.

Recently, I've been more in favor of selling cards I get from boxes rather than trading them. There isn't much out there that I am really looking for in terms of trade, and I'm always curious to see what the cards will sell for. Selling cards also helps me recoup the cost of buying the box for review... and then I can put that money into another box down the line (and so forth).

The four cards I put up on eBay were:

Antti Raanta Prizm RC Auto
Nate Schmidt Titanium True RC/88
Ryan Strome Dominion Fight Strap/5
Seth Jones Domion Patch Auto/99

I'll talk about each card and give you the rounded sales figure for each one. The price you see is about what I got for the card adjusted for eBay and Paypal fees. They aren't exact, but it's a good ballpark figure.

Antti Raanta Prizm RC Auto - $11
I had no idea who Raana was when I pulled the card - I just knew his name was similar to a certain San Jose goalie. Looking up early sales of Raanta was surprising in a good way. Some of his first sales on eBay were going upwards of $20. I knew I missed the initial rush for his cards. The final sale value was 'ok', but it could have been better if I had put the card on eBay sooner. Overall though, I was happy with the final dollar amount as I had no idea who Raanta was when I got him in my box.

Nate Schmidt Titanium RC/88 - $28
Yup, another rookie I didn't know anything about! The only thing I knew regarding this pull was that Titanium true rookies tend to be favorites among collectors. Schmidt wasn't a household name, and his card was actually numbered quite high (/88). I put a buy it now price of $40, and was happy to take $30 for it.

Ryan Strome Dominion Fight Strap/5 - $37
Seeing green foil with Panini is always good because it often times means you have a card numbered to 5. I know Strome has somewhat of a following so I'm glad I was able to pull this card. Fight straps are a unique part of the NHL jersey, but they are awfully plain looking. This was a decently rare card, and actually pulled in a nice amount of money.

Seth Jones Domion Patch Auto/99  - $47
This was by far the nicest card of the box, and of course, sold for the most as well. The patch on the card was incredible. I first thought that the card was a rookie card, but it wasn't. Having a top rookie rookie numbered to 99 would have been awesome. This card was still very sweet though.

Total: $123

So the total for just these for cards came out higher than the amount I paid for the box. Awesome. But you know, this rarely happens. If I were missing the Schmidt, Strome, or Jones card, it would have been a totally different story.

I'm pretty happy with what I got for the cards. I know for some the values seem low. But that's just the way it is nowadays. Hockey cards just don't hold a ton of value, and collectors often think their cards are worth more than they really are.

I hope this little analysis of my sales was interesting to you! Let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comments section of this post. Thanks!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Retail Review #104 (Target Baseball Re-Pack + More)

This week's Retail Review is really a smattering of stuff that interested me today. There's a little baseball, a little hockey, and even a pack of Game of Thrones! Non-sports cards are getting more and more popular as autograph and memorabilia cards become more prevalent in these products. It's cool to see the card market expand out like this so that more people can enjoy collecting cards.

Price - 

Packs - 4
1 x 2012 Topps Pack
1 x 2013 Allen & Ginter Pack
1 x 2013 Topps Heritage Pack
1 x 2013 Topps Archives Jumbo Pack
2 x 13/14 UD Series 2 Retail Packs
1 x Game of Thrones Retail Pack

With hockey being just about bone dry at my local Target, I decided to try a baseball re-pack. It is baseball season right now, and I thought it'd be appropriate to open some of it up. This particular re-pack was of interest to me because I saw the Archives pack on the top. You guys know I'm a sucker for this product, so I decided to just go for it. The Topps brand actually has some pretty sweet stuff you can get even in their cheapest products, so I don't feel I got too bad of a deal with this re-pack box.

The two hockey packs were really just to keep hockey alive and well on the blog. I'll always try and get hockey into the mix if I can.

My final pack choice was the Game of Thrones pack. I am a big fan of both the books and the HBO series. Getting an autograph in a retail pack is extremely difficult, and I knew I probably wouldn't get one, but I did just want to try out a pack and see how they were.

Let's rip into these products and see what comes out:

Review -
The size of the packs and unfamiliarity with the products made it feel like a bit longer of a break than usual. I'm really not sure what I pulled out of these packs! I know that Topps does put short-prints into their products, so I'll have to see if I got any in this break.

Being a bit unfamiliar with the products made opening them more fun. It was a mystery to see what I would get. Sometimes with hockey cards I already have a set expectation about what will come out... and usually that's exactly what does come out. I definitely felt my inexperience with Topps products today.

The pack I think I was most excited for was the Game of Thrones pack. I didn't expect to pull anything great, and nothing really good came out, but seeing the characters on the cards was very sweet. Game of Thrones has definitely taken all who watch it by storm. I wish I could try and collect the set, but I know some of the autographs that come out of it are very hard to find... and yes... expensive too!

Here are the top three from this week's break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Lord Tywin Lannister Card No. 64
I really like characters like Tywin Lannister. He rules with absolute power, even when his title isn't the highest of all. 

#2 - Nikita Zadorov Card No. 471
Getting a Young Gun in two packs is beating the odds! Yes, it's not the best Young Gun, but you never know who'll be the next big break out... maybe it's Zadorov!

#1 - Tim Lincecum Collectible Chip
I'm not really sure what this is, but it was made by Topps and looks like a poker chip. I think this is a unique collectible, and I was glad to find it in my Target re-pack.

Overall Value -
The monetary value of this break probably wasn't too great, but I did enjoy it. Like I said earlier, opening unfamiliar product brings a bit of excitement into busting product. I was glad to put together this little break for this Retail Review. I'm definitely tempted to go for more packs of stuff to add variety!

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, June 1, 2014

2013-2014 Panini Rookie Anthology Review

Panini once again releases Rookie Anthology - a product that brings together and updates many of Panini's brands. This yearly release has been very popular amongst collectors as it has provided great looking cards at a collector-friendly price. I personally have been quite middling when it comes to Rookie Anthology, but I definitely see the value and appeal that the product has had.

Base Card Design -
Although I usually think of Rookie Anthology as a product mash-up, it does have its own product specific design that has stayed pretty consistent since its beginnings. The Rookie Anthology base cards have always had a a white background with the player's team colors used as highlights. Silver foil has also been used to add a bit of shimmer. The cards look good - they are bright with a large, bold photo of the player on the front. The cards are a bit on the thinner side, so they don't have that premium feel when you hold them in your hand, but that's ok given the price of the product.

The card back is the standard Panini affair. There is, sadly, no picture on the back, just graphics and a team logo. At least the bold colors of the front are present here though, and there is a nice write-up of the player for collectors to read and take a look at.

Dual Rookie Jersey autographed cards have been the norm for the Rookie Anthology rookie cards. These cards have always looked great, and that continues this year as well. The design of these cards have a super-premium quality about them. I feel like these rookie cards could have been in a product that costs more than Rookie Anthology. Panini has always done a fabulous job with these cards. The cards have been serial numbered to 249, but rarer prime, patch, and tag versions exist as well.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Collectors will find Rookie Anthology boxes filled with a variety of fun and surprising hits. You can expect to get 4-5 hits per box. Brands like Luxury Suite, Prizm, Score, Select, Titanium, Crown Royale, and Dominion have not-so-subtly snuck there way in.

Besides the dual memorabilia rookie cards, there are no other Rookie Anthology specific insert sets or hits. Instead, you'll find updated base cards from sets like Score filling up packs. This Nathan Mackinnon Hot Rookie card was a nice one to pull out. Though I was pretty happy to get this card, if I were a Score collector, I'm not sure how happy I would be having to acquire Score cards out of Anthology to complete the set. On one had it's great that the initial set can get some more life, but on the other hand, Anthology is a much more expensive product. It could be out of reach for some collectors on a budget out there.

Prizm base and parallels can also be found within Rookie Anthology. Like with Score, it can be neat to get a hold of some of these updated cards, but it can be a hassle too. Collectors what re-visit 13/14 hockey products may be confused where they can find these parts of the set.

Insert sets containing hits are also found in Rookie Anthology. This Cal Clutterbuck autograph card would have initially been found in Score, but it shows up here instead.

This Antti Raanta autographed card comes from Prizm. I don't remember if the rookie cards had such a dark colored foil on it - at first I thought it may have been a one-of-one. It's a nice looking card and a nice find in my box of Anthology.

Popular jersey numbered rookie cards from Titanium are also in the mix when it comes to Rookie Anthology. The Titanium rookie cards have been some of the most valuable of all rookie card types to get. It's pretty sweet to have a chance at getting some with Rookie Anthology.

To really take things up a notch Panini has inserted Dominion cards into Anthology as well. Dominion was released pretty early this year, and now we get a chance to revisit it. I was pretty happy to pull this Emerald fight strap memorabilia card. It was certainly a surprise!

Even more impressive than the fight strap card was this Seth Jones autographed patch card - also from Dominion. The patch on the card is pretty amazing - and the on-card autograph is equally great. Seth Jones is a very promising young defensemen, and I hope he is able to live up to his hype and potential.

I was extremely pleased with the box I got. The two Dominion cards really were something else! These were great cards, but there is much more to find in Rookie Anthology. Lucky collectors can even pull the Silhouette cards from Crown Royale out. It looks to me that Panini has really loaded up Rookie Anthology for us.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
Panini has really outdone themselves with this year's Rookie Anthology. It might be because they know that there will be no new hockey products out from them next year. I really don't know... but whatever the case may be, Rookie Anthology looks to be a very loaded product this year.

The designs are great, and the chance to pull amazing cards from many different Panini brands is an opportunity you shouldn't pass up if you can afford it.

Boxes of Anthology run for around $100. It's a great deal for a product that can deliver such an amazing variety of hits.

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of Rookie Anthology that I opened at D&P Sports Cards:

Retail Review #103 (Target Hockey Re-Pack + '14 Topps Archive Jumbo Pack)

I knew this was going to happen this week... the only thing really left on the shelves at my local Target were Upper Deck Series 2 blasters and re-packs. I didn't really want to get either of them, but since it was all that was there I decided to grab the cheaper option along with a jumbo pack of the new Topps Archives Baseball.

Price - 

Packs - 4
06/07 Flair Showcase Retail
08/09 UD MVP
2 x 12/13 Score Hockey

You guys have seen me open up numerous boxes of these Target re-packs. Very rarely are they good. I did have that run of re-packs that had Trilogy in them, but that was only for a few boxes, and I have not seen anything remotely close that that type of a product in these since those ran dry. This particular re-pack caught my interest because it had a pack of Flair Showcase on the front. Showcase was a brand that featured very premium and thick cards. They were definitely a step above what you normally got back in the day.

The reverse side of the box showed a pack of Upper Deck MVP. That alone almost made me put the box back down, but since my options were limited I just went for it.

As for the Topps Archives pack, I was super excited to see it on the rack. Topps Archives is great because it brings back so many memories for me. The old Topps designs were so good and memorable. I know that no matter what comes out of this pack, I will enjoy opening it.

I'll go ahead and open both of these products:

Review -
This was a really fun re-pack! I definitely enjoyed opening it. As you could probably tell from the contents of this box, it was one that was put together more recently. The 50-card bonus box had cards in it that were released just a couple of years ago. That alone would have been very interesting, but there was more! The cards in the random assortment actually had things that piqued my interest. Of course, there was the traditional cards of absolutely no value, but this particular box had a much higher percentage of cards that caused me to stop and take a closer look.

The two Score packs in the re-pack were definite surprises. I don't think I've seen Score in these boxes before. The only bad thing about Score is that their suggested retail price is usually much lower than the Upper Deck products included... so that kind of lowers the value of the box for me. But this box did have a Flair Showcase pack, and that was nice. No, nothing of any consequence was pulled out of that pack, but it was fun to open and the cards did look nice.

The Topps Archives pack was something that I really wanted to open. It definitely did not disappoint. Seeing all the designs from years past was a trip down memory lane. It would have been great to get a hit from the jumbo pack, but the odds were definitely against me. I would definitely consider giving this product another try!

Check out the top three cards from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Ted Williams Card No. 101
So this is what a Ted Williams card would have looked like in 1986... pretty awesome. This design is such a classic for me! This is exactly what I want from Topps Archives.

#2 - Trevor Linden Card No. 225
I pulled a couple of these older OPC cards from the random 50-card box. Linden is practically a legend in Vancouver. Gotta love the old uniforms!

#1 - Drew Doughty Card No. 367
It's an opportune time to pull a rookie card of Drew Doughty as the Kings are once again in the Stanley Cup finals. Doughty is a great D-man, he definitely gives the Sharks fits!

Overall Value -
Both the re-pack and the jumbo pack were a joy to open. Though I didn't pull anything that would really break the bank, I did pick up some very interesting cards to add to my collection. I think the price I paid for what I got was pretty spot on - no more, no less. But that's a good thing, as often times what comes out of these re-packs ends up being significantly less than even the low price of these things.

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!