Sunday, November 27, 2016

Retail Review #232 (08/09 Upper Deck Series 2)

2008/09 was the year just before I started getting back into card collecting, so breaking products from this year is a little foreign to me. I do know, however, that 08/09 Upper Deck had a beautiful design that is one of my all-time favorites in terms of how the cards look. This blaster was a great price so I decided to give it a spin!

Price - 

Packs - 12
08/09 Upper Deck Series 2 Blaster Packs

The main draw in 08/09 card sets is Steven Stamkos. His Young Gun, however, is found in Series 1, not two. That's ok though, I think I'll still enjoy opening up this blaster box for a few years back. I actually am not sure what to expect out of this blaster. It's low price seems to indicate that there really isn't much to look forward to out of it, but Upper Deck is always a strong product and can always be fun. Perhaps there will be some cool inserts to find out of this box. There may even be a hit! I'll have to open it to find out though.

Let's break the seal on this guy and see what I get:

Review -
Overall I was pretty satisfied with this break. Sure, there wasn't anything ground breaking about it, but the cards that came out were pretty nice! I ended up with a pretty nice stack of base cards with two checklist cards. Nowadays the checklists feature two players on them. It's usually the two captains from the Stanley Cup Finals or the top rookies. In 08/09, they didn't have two players on the card - it was just one. I personally like the single player look better.

Many of the packs from my break had Victory update cards in them. Victory was the lowest end Upper Deck brand at the time. Getting these cards were ok, but they aren't too special. I did enjoy finding some bonus rookie content because of these cards though.

Here's my top three from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Mikkel Boedker Card No. 323
Boedker is a player I am familiar with so that's always a plus. Often times the rookies you find in older products may not have had a very long stay in the NHL so there's a good chance that they will be an unknown. This card is also a gold version, which was sweet.

#2 - Simeon Varlamov Card No. 460
Varlamov is a pretty well-known goalie and is still going strong in the NHL. I was a little surprised to find his YG in my blaster as I wasn't sure when he was a rookie. I think Varlamov was a bit more popular a few years ago, but his YG is still a nice find from an inexpensive blaster like this one.

#1 - Carey Price Card No. NE4
I don't know if I've ever seen this particular Upper Deck insert before, but it's of a fantastic goalie in Carey Price. The title is The New Guard, so obviously this card was from a time when Price was newer in the league.

Overall Value -
For under nine bucks this was a good little blaster to open up. I was able to hit a few nice rookie cards from both the main Upper Deck set and the Victory updates. I was pretty satisfied with this break and would happily purchase another one of these blasters at the same price. They are a good deal and a fun little break for the money!

Let me know what you thought of my 08/09 Upper Deck Series 2 blaster in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Retail Review #231 (10/11 Panini Zenith)

After a opening up Series One and an old Parkhurst box this past week, I decided to go for something a little quicker in terms of the length the of the break. I decided on Zenith because it is a pretty fast break with a guaranteed hit inside. Though I initially didn't like Zenith at all, I now enjoy busting blasters of it during my Retail Reviews.

Price - 

Packs - 3
10/11 Zenith Blaster Packs

This is going to be a very fast break. With only three packs to open, there really isn't much to sit around and look at. The original price for these three packs was once about $30. That's just crazy. It's absolutely absurd to think that each of the packs in this box were $10/ea. Wow. But that's the way it was intended to be for Panini.

I suppose Panini was thinking that the majority of the money could be justified because there was a guaranteed hit in the blaster. But still, the hit would most likely be a plain jersey card. Autographs can be found, but in my experience with Zenith they are not easy to come by.

What kind of hit will come out of this blaster? Let's find out now:

Review -
Though there were only three packs to open here, I enjoyed the break. These cards used to look hideous to me, but now I appreciate the subtle design elements that are within them. In scans, everything looks very flat, but in person, the player has a glossy shine that makes them stand out. Sure, the overall look and design could be better, but they are not as bad as my initial impression of them.

Most of the players I got were from the modern era, but I did get a couple of nice retired players in the mix. Out of the three packs, two had inserts - one a red foil parallel and the other a jersey. It's pretty typical of what to expect from one of these, but I liked the players I was able to pull.

Here were the top three cards from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Brent Burns Card No. 101
Burns started as a Minnesota Wild, but at this point in his career I can't picture him in any other jersey than that of the Sharks. It's actually pretty strange to see him in his old Wild uni. 

#2 - Brad Marchand Card No. 40
Marchand has definitely improved his play as he's gotten more experience as a player. Sorry for the terrible scan of this card. The foil shows up terribly when put through my scanner! 

#1 - Sidney Crosby Card No. 4
This card didn't come out looking very good either, but i can assure you in person it looks great. This Sid the Kid jersey is numbered to just 100 and has a very shiny surface. If you're gonna get a jersey card, it might as well be numbered and be one of the best players in the NHL.

Overall Value -
This blaster has taken a nose dive in price, and that's a really good thing. For just over ten bucks you can get Zenith blasters. I personally think they are a fun break. You probably can't find anything that would be very valuable in these. Even the autographs don't have huge values, but it is a nice break in which you are guaranteed to get at least something! And that's rare these days. I'd buy one of these if you can find it at a good price and have a little fun break with it.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Retail Review #230 (93/94 Parkhurst)

I decided to do something a little different this week for Retail Review. Instead of going for a modern era product, I got a box that a collector may have found on the shelves back in the early 90's. This box came at at a time when design of cards looked great and had a modern feel and when inserts were all the rage. It should be a lot of fun to get into an older box like this.

Price - 

Packs - 36
93/94 Parkhurst Packs

This is definitely dating myself, but I do remember buying these cards when they came out. It was a nice looking product and the Emerald Ice cards were awesome parallels to chase. At the time, buying a whole box was unheard of - well, at least by me. I really just went to the store to buy packs, and I could really only afford to get a few. The entire box contained a whopping 36 packs! There were a lot to choose from and I always hoped to get the pack with the best inserts and parallels in them.

This product has a couple of inserts to look forward to. There are the Emerald Ice cards as well as Parkie Reprints. The Emerald Ice card are similar to parallel cards of today... I guess not a lot has changed on that front. These parallels replace the standard foil with a green foil. Parkie Reprints are just that - reprints of old Parkhurst cards. Pulling the Parkie Reprint from just one pack out of the box would be a big challenge for a collector in the 90's. I don't think I ever got one back then, but today that might just change!

Let's open up this relic from the 90's and see what it give me:

Review -
Whew! What a long break! This type of break is probably not the best in terms of rushing as the cards are meant to be enjoyed and looked carefully at. But I didn't want my video to go long so I just broke the cards out so that I could examine them more closely later. I've got to say that you got a lot more cardboard in the 90's. I ended up with a tall stack of cards!

Each pack had an Emerald Ice card in it. I had initially thought they were hard pulls at perhaps one per box, but in 93/94 they were one to a pack. I could have been that another Parkhurst release in an even earlier year had the emerald parallels at one per box. I'm not sure. But it was cool that the emeralds were in each pack as it gave me something look look forward to every time I ripped open a pack.

My biggest complaints about this product are that the cards were every which way in the pack. That's a minor pet peeve of mine. I hate having to turn all the cards the right way. Modern card manufacturing is a lot better in that regards. Nowadays, you pretty much know where the insert or hit will be slotted in the pack. With the Emerald parallels, some came at the front of the stack while others were in the middle. I never knew!

I was also losing hope of getting a Parkie Reprint card as I was going through the box. It was really nice to be finally able to hit it as I was finishing the break. I would have been pretty sad if that card didn't come out!

Lots of cards to choose from, but here are my top three:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Joe Sakic Card No. 169
I definitely wanted to have an Emerald Ice parallel in my top three... but which one? I decided on Super Joe as he was one of hockey's best and on this card he is wearing a Nords jersey! I definitely have a thing for franchises that have moved or are no more.

#2 - Rob Niedermayer Card No. G5
Rather than being a green foil parallel, this card is from a special insert set featuring players that played for the USA. These inserts come one per box and have a bit more foil on them than the regular base cards. I like it!

#1 - Miles "Tim" Horton Card No. PR-34
This is the card that I was waiting almost the entire box for. This is the Parkie Reprint I pulled from the box. It's a very cool retro card that I'm glad to have. It is definitely the most unique and different looking of all the cards in the box.

Overall Value -
For under fifteen bucks I got an entire box of 36 retro packs. The early 90's is known as the junk wax era since there was so much of it produced. Much of the stuff can still be easily found - like this box of Parkhurst. It was worth it for me to break as I remember this time of collecting fondly, but for everyone else, it's something you can probably pass on unless you want a nice lesson in the past.

Let me know what you thought of this box 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!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

2016-2017 Upper Deck Series One Review

Upper Deck's main line of cards marks the real beginning of the hockey card collecting season. When Upper Deck Series One comes out, hockey collectors come in droves to purchase it. Series One is a great looking, affordable product with the potential to get some cards that have strong values attached to them. I'm excited to take a look another iteration of this beloved product.

Base Card Design -
I love how Upper Deck has always emphasized great photography with a minimalistic design that just gets out of the way for the image. The same holds true with this year's set. Each card features an excellent photograph of the player with a simple, but well-designed portion for the player name, position, and team logo. Upper Deck never goes crazy with the foil on Series One. It's there to just class up the card and give it a premium feel. All the elements are just right and compliment each other nicely. In terms of card feel, each card has a nice glossy finish. Though these aren't particularly thick cards, the cards do not feel cheap in any way. Upper Deck has got the formula down pat for Series One and this year they continue to march onward with an outstanding set of base cards.

The back of the base card always has an excellent design. The backs of the card are not plain in anyway. The icy look that fills up most of the card comes from the front portion of the card behind the player name. It's a sweet little tie-in that is a subtly connects the front and the back. Each card has a short written section so that collectors can learn a little more about the player as well as full line of stats.

As collectors know, the rookie cards in Upper Deck Series One are called Young Guns. These iconic cards are the ones that usually define a players most popular and recognized rookie card. I always find the designs of the Young Gun cards fascinating. Some years are outstanding while other years are a bit more bland. The 16/17 YGs kind of straddle the middle of the spectrum to me. The design looks good, but it doesn't stand up to some of the more bold looks that Upper Deck has done. The font on the cards might be what's lacking for me. It looks a bit cartoonish for the rest of the design. That being said, I'm sure that won't stop collectors from chasing down the entire set!

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each 24 pack box of Upper Deck is filled with the possibility of finding inserts and hits. There once was a time when boxes of Upper Deck Series One had two guaranteed jersey cards, but that's not the case here. Collectors can expect to find one jersey, but it's not guaranteed. As with all years of Upper Deck, autographed cards are also in the product, it's just that they are very difficult to pull.

One card I was surprised to see in my box of Upper Deck was this acetate card of Nino Niederreiter. I know Upper Deck had done acetate Young Guns in the past, but this was the first of the standard set that I have seen in this form. It's a nice looking card and not an easy find. According to the box, these fall one in 72 packs. I'm sure the popular players will be highly sought after and valuable if the Young Gun acetates from the past couple years is any indication.

The Canvas cards are back once again. As with all other years of the Canvas set, these cards have alternate photos that rival those of the main set. Some are even better than what you can find in the base set - and that's saying a lot! Though I love the photography, I find the design of the bottom portion of the card to be a bit lacking. Past versions of Canvas cards had an elegant look. The blue icy look is a little pedestrian.

Shining Star inserts have returned. These foil-board cards have a shiny look that I think collectors will enjoy. The blue parallels are especially good looking as the foil shimmers with a rainbow brilliance. This is the type of high quality insert card that I like to find in Upper Deck Series One.

Super Colossal inserts are not of the quality I'm used to seeing with Upper Deck. These insert cards look very flat as they have no texture or foiling to them. In fact, the design is a bit cheesy. I can't say that I dislike the card... I actually find it kind of a funny looking card... but I don't think that was what Upper Deck was really going for with these.

Goalie Nightmares inserts are like the Super Colossal ones. There's just a flatness to these cards that is unlike Upper Deck. And for some reason this particular insert set reminds me of something that could have come from Panini when they did hockey cards. I'm not saying Panini cards are bad, it's just these inserts remind me of some of the old Panini sets.

The game jersey cards this year have a nice looking, complete design, with little dead space on the card. They are vibrant and colorful and make a nice little hit to get when buying a box of Upper Deck. The jersey pieces have been getting smaller on these cards, but I feel like this year's could be a little larger? I haven't measured it, but it looks just a tad bigger this year.

Each box of Upper Deck has a great number of things to pull out of it. I didn't find anything super rare from my box, but the box I opened was a good representation of what you can expect from one box of Series One.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
This year's Upper Deck Series One set is certainly worth buying. I'd recommend it for all hockey collectors. The box I opened up was very enjoyable as there were many great looking cards that came out as well as nice inserts to collect. The main draw from Series One is again the Young Gun rookie cards. With six per box, you end up getting a nice handful of rookies whenever you pick one up.

Of course, you don't have to buy this at the box level to get enjoyment from it. Upper Deck Series One is great to buy by the pack. There really aren't that many products like that anymore. But if you see some at your local store, it can be fun just to purchase a few packs and be on your way.

Collectors know what to expect from Upper Deck Series One year in and year out. It's a great product that everyone can afford in the hobby. It's out now so go and pick some up!

Overall Score:

Check out my box of Upper Deck Series One:

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Retail Review #229 (10/11 Score)

This one goes out to all you watchers who watched my videos from the very beginning! It's Score! I bought so many of these blasters back in the day. I'm pretty sure I never really pulled anything good out of one of these, but they were always a fun break and something that was pretty affordable too. Today I'll once again be ripping into one of these old Score blasters!

Price - 

Packs - 11
10/11 Score Packs

These blasters were cheap back in the day, but now they are REALLY, REALLY cheap! I was able to pick up this blaster for under four bucks. It's a very long shot, but these blaster do have the chance of finding autographs inside. I don't think I recall ever getting a Score autograph from one of these, but according to the side of the box, they are available to be found!

I probably won't get a hit from this blaster, but there are plenty of insert cards to be found when opening up a blaster of Score. This product was really a nod to the early 90's when inserts were getting to be all the rage. 10/11 Score does a great job of replicating the feel of that era of card collecting.

I'll go ahead and open up this blaster and check out what's inside:

Review -
This blaster provided me with a number of packs to open and a nice stack of cards in the end. My inserts this time around weren't as impressive as my last Score break, but I think I did ok. I was most pleased with some of the glossy cards and base cards that I was able to find. This is a relatively large set, so getting the players you want from it can be a challenge. Sadly, none of the rookies I got were very good. I believe this set came out before the hockey season began that year so it wouldn't have the big name guys except for PK Subban. It would have been great to get one of his rookie cards though!

Here were my top cards from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Mike Modano Card No. 3
Modano was a celebrated player during his time. He actually didn't retire that long ago, so I remember him pretty well. This Sudden Death insert card is pretty sweet as it makes note of Modano's game-deciding goal in a shootout. 

#2 - Boston Bruins Card No. 24
Is this a Bobby Orr card? Sort of! For the sake of this post I'm considering it a pretty cool looking Orr card. This card stood out to me because it is of a statue rather than the actual player, and it was shot at an interesting angle.

#1 - Douglas Murray Card No. 405
Ahh, former Sharks are aways a favorite of mine to get. Douglas Murray was a brute of a man and I always rooted for him when he was with the team in teal. This is an especially cool card because it is a glossy parallel. You wouldn't be able to tell though through this scan.

Overall Value -
At such a cheap price, I think the value is solid. You know you're probably not going to get anything really great in terms of value from this blaster, but it does provide a fun break and one of the cheapest prices possible. For those collectors looking to just break a few packs or for people who are on a really tight budget, this blaster of Score may be just the thing. And who know? Maybe an autographed card will come out on one!

Let me know what you thought of my blaster 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!