Sunday, December 24, 2017

Retail Review #273 (Target Authentic Memorabilia Box)

It's been a while since I did an episode of Retail Review. It was never my intention to completely end this series, so you'll be seeing them from time to time - just not on the weekly basis it used to be. I'm also changing the format of the blog postings. Rather than pay an absurd fee for photo hosting on Photobucket, I'm going to stop using pictures and just have video up. I'll stick with this look for the time being and see how it goes!

Price - 

Packs - 3
16/17 MVP, Artifacts, and Upper Deck Series 2 (Retail packs)

This break is a throwback to the early days of Retail Review. Back then these re-pack boxes were pretty commonplace for me. I'd go to Target, check out some of the repacks and pick one up to open. They were cheap and fun, but didn't yield much. This particular repack guarantees a memorabilia card along with three packs.

I was surprised to find that the memorabilia card I pulled was pretty decent. It was, however, upsetting that it didn't come with any card sleeve or protective plastic to hold it in. The card has a minor corner issue, and it probably came from the lack of a holder. The packs were from last seasons releases, which was a nice little surprise. Usually you get backs from a few years back. I appreciated the fact that these cards were pretty up-to-date!

For about ten bucks you could do a lot worse. I think this particular repack box was pretty decent. It was a fun little break and I'm glad I picked it up!

Top three cards: 08/09 Forsberg Ice dual jersey, 16/17 Stamkos/Tavares Canvas Checklist, 16/17 Ovechkin MVP puzzle checklist

Overall Rating:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2016-2017 Upper Deck Black Review

I thought The Cup was the final product last season... guess I was wrong! Upper Deck Black gets the final product honors.

Black is a one pack/box product and is considered to be high-end. For around $200, you only get 5 cards. Thankfully, the cards feature on-card autographs and do away with the manufactured patch ridiculousness that was Black Diamond. I would happily purchase this Black product over that one.

I love the look of the cards. The base cards feature some great looking rainbow foil, as do the hits. The foil looks really amazing on the black backgrounds of the cards. Black has always looked amazing and this year's edition of it carries on in the same vein.

The pack/box that I opened had three on-card autographs, a base card, and a standard jersey hit. I'd have to say that overall I was satisfied with what I got out of it - of course, pulling an Ovi patch numbered to 10 will always leave you with a nice feeling.

Would I recommend this year's Black? I think I would.

The cards look top notch and Black has traditionally been a strong product to collect for well-to-do collectors. It certainly is high-risk and high-reward, but if I had to take a chance, I'd do it with Black.

Overall Score: 9.25/10

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

2017-2018 Upper Deck Black Diamond Review

Now that the 17/18 season has been in full swing for a while now, Upper Deck has been ramping up its production of cards. Black Diamond has just hit the market with its premium format and hefty price tag. The change into a premium product has definitely come with mixed results. Let's hope Upper Deck has tweaked it to be more appealing to collectors this time around.

Base Card Design -
The Black Diamond base cards have a lot going for them. The white background with the old Black Diamond like foil in the background is really sweet. I do believe that these base cards are a worthy upgrade from what Black Diamond used to be with its thin foil stock. The side edge of the base card might be my favorite part with its white/black/white layered wafer aesthetic. My only gripe about the standard base cards is the team logo at the bottom. This portion of the card is obviously a placeholder for a relic on a higher-level format. I just wish it wasn't so apparently so. Base cards are limited to just 249 each, same as The Cup!

The back of the base card is in full color with some good looking designs. It's elegant, but not too flashy. I actually expected a little more from the back of the card as the product is Black Diamond. To me there should be just a bit more 'bling' to these backs.

The rookie cards in Black Diamond have been the Rookie Gems. Because Black Diamond doesn't have real numbering (the entire set is designated by letters), it can be hard to distinguish which cards are part of the main set and which ones aren't. To me, this Nolan Patrick Rookie Gem card isn't the true RC I want out of Black Diamond. Those would be the actual cards embedded with diamonds. Unfortunately, those cards are very difficult pulls. You only get a couple per case and they are numbered to only 99.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Black Diamond comes with one fat Black Diamond pack and one Exquisite pack. This product is completely high-end now, so collectors should expect to find nicer hits when buying it.

What an awesome patch piece!!! Too bad it's just a manufactured one. Sadly, these fake patches are back in high dollar Upper Deck products. When I'm paying a couple hundred dollars for a box, I want everything to be authentic. It's already bad enough there are photoshoot pieces on cards rather than game-worn. But these completely made-up patches are just too much... I personally don't like them and wish they were out of the product.

The Rookie Booklet Relic at least had some player-worn jersey pieces in it. Seeing that the booklet was numbered to 199 I knew it would just be a couple of jersey pieces. Booklets have been around for a while now so pulling one isn't that exciting unless you hit some great patches or autographs. I for one thing a book card is too much card for some regular jersey swatches. The tier above these standard jersey books feature and autograph and a patch with numbering to 99.

The lone autographed card in my box was this Signature Placard (Group C) of Derek Sanderson - certainly not the most excited player to pull. The signature is in silver ink on a black placard embedded in the card. I guess even these aren't technically considered 'on-card' autos, but at least they look nice. I just wish I had a better player to pull. Sadly these cards have no serial numbering.

My Exquisite pack yielded a nice looking player-worn patch of Haydn Fleury. The Exquisite brand is on par with The Cup and the cards look great. I love the foil used on it as it gives the card a very elegant feel to them. These patches do have a rather high numbering to them. This particular card was numbered to 299.

My box/pack of Black Diamond didn't feature anything that really stood out - especially not for the price. There are, however, some really sweet pulls available to be found. I'm sure they are few and far between though - which shouldn't be that case when it comes to a premium product such as this.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
I really like the fact that Black Diamond switched to a premium format. It was a brand that needed to be different as the original product was getting stale. The one-pack per box format is a good idea, but it isn't implemented well. I think it would have been much better to provide less cards and have the price of the product be in the $100 dollar range - similar to some of the very popular Topps baseball products on the market today.

I definitely felt that I had bad value for the amount I paid for this box of Black Diamond. Upper Deck has some serious tweaks it needs to consider when thinking about this product next year.

As it stands now, I cannot recommend Black Diamond to many collectors. This is a high-risk, high-reward product that leans much to the high-risk side of things. Some of the cards in the product are outstanding looking, but there are too many cards (like the manufactured patch cards) that get in the way. The only way I can see getting more of this would be if it took a very serious nose dive in terms of price. Only then I'd begin thinking about it.

Overall Score -

Check out my break of 17/18 Black Diamond:

Friday, November 10, 2017

2017-2018 Upper Deck Series One Review

Everyone's favorite Upper Deck release has now... well... released. Series One is out and collectors will be eagerly buying it up to collect the new Young Guns, inserts, and even the base cards. Series One is a product that every hockey collector can purchase and enjoy. The price is right and there are plenty of desirable cards to find. This well-rounded set is always a hit!

Base Card Design -
Upper Deck base cards have always been clean and neat. This year's set is in that same vein. The focus of the card is on the photo. The team logo and player name nicely frame compliment the photo by not getting in the way. The foil accents and borders don't distract at all - they actually do a nice job of adding some nice flare to the elegant design. As always, the photos on the cards really stand out. They capture unique angles and great action shots - noticeably more so than last year. I feel the photos are a cut above and each card is really enjoyable to look at.

The card back is extremely clean, maybe too much? The font and stats are on there pretty small and there seems to be too much extra space that could have been utilized better. I still, however, appreciate that Upper Deck employs a full color back with the player photo. I also love the fact that there is a little write of for collectors to read. It's a great way to learn about the player featured on the front.

The star of the main Upper Deck set is the Young Gun set. Young Gun rookie cards are highly sought after by all collectors. One of the appeals of the set is the way they look. I'm always intrigued by what the next design of the Young Guns will be. This year's design is good, but I wouldn't say great. It follows the main set as the cards are clean, but there isn't anything about them that make them particularly special. I'd rank the look of these cards somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to Young Gun design.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Upper Deck boxes come with 24 packs. Collectors can expect to find plenty of insert cards, textured Canvas cards, as well as a memorabilia card. Upper Deck Series one does have autographs available, but they are pretty difficult pulls.

Like in previous years, the UD Portrait insert cards are back. These cards are all in monochrome and give collectors an up-close look at the player's face. This year's cards have a wider angle shot of the player whereas last year the headshot was much tighter. I like the wider perspective as it gives just a touch more context to the image.

Shining Stars add a colorful pop to the set. The standard Shining Stars are in a silvery reflective foil. Rarer versions like the red foil Ovechkin I pulled have a beautiful colored shiny background. The parallels are tougher pulls but I don't see these cards having a huge secondary market value as probably tons and tons of them were printed. In Series One you'll only find centers, left wingers, and goalies. Does Upper Deck have something against right wingers? Well, my guess is that they will appear in Series Two.

Centennial Standouts are inserts that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the NHL. The cards spans all eras of hockey and showcase some of the greatest players to ever play the game. This is a large set that has a design that could be used if it were its own base set is own release. Collectors who really love NHL history will love these and enjoy pulling all these cards together.

The Second Six insert set is an odd one to me. The cards look like base cards, but there is a foil logo at the top. The Second Six cards have a different back and are pretty tough pulls. Each card can be found one in a thousand packs! Yikes! There are other similar cards to these with some pretty hard pull rates. It really shocked me when I saw how difficult a pull it was!

The UD Canvas cards this year have a lighter look due to the yellow/orange motif in the border design. I like it quite a bit as it gives the Canvas cards a refreshingly different look than in years past. They sort of remind me of fall... which is great as that is the season we are currently in. These cards feature the signature texturing that they have always had. Base cards and Young Guns both get the Canvas treatment.

For collectors who just really want hits, Upper Deck throws in a jersey card at a rate about one per box. The official rate is 1:36, so there's no guarantee, but most boxes should have one. The UD Game Jerseys have been a staple in Upper Deck for a long time and they are nice hit to find when buying packs. These jersey cards don't usually hold too much value, but it's always fun to get a mem card.

As I mentioned before, autographed cards are in this product, but good luck pulling one. Clear Cut inserts are also here as well as other acetate cards. For being a mid/low level release, Upper Deck Series One really does have a ton of great things to find in it. The cards are tried and true and are great fun to collect.

Inserts/Game-Used/Auto Score:

Overall Value -
Upper Deck boxes come in at well under $100 each. It's a legacy product that doesn't rely on hits to have value. I love the fact that good Young Gun cards can be really worth quite a lot. Upper Deck Series One gives collectors the opportunity to really pull some great cards at a price that anyone can afford.

This years release continues the tradition of having a beautiful looking set with exciting cards to pull. Whether you buy by the pack, box, or case... there are good things to look forward to that aren't out of reach in terms of rarity.

Every hockey collector has to get their hands on some Upper Deck Series One. It really is a 'must buy' each and every year.

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of 17/18 Upper Deck Series One:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

2016-2017 The Cup Review

Well, here it is, Upper Deck's biggest, best, and most expensive hockey card product. Each pack/tin/box costs hundreds of dollars, and you only get a handful of cards per break. This stuff is really only for the high-end collector to bust. Each tin is extremely exciting to break... but you are not guaranteed to hit anything amazing (as you'll sadly see with my box)!

Base Card Design -
For most sets, the base cards are the most plentiful type of card you get. Not so in The Cup. Each tin comes with just one (or two) base cards. Each base card comes on very thick card stock and are serial numbered to just 249 each. The Cup only features players on note and includes legends such as Bobby Orr. In terms of the design, it's a pretty simple one with nice highlights of foil. The cards themselves don't pop or stand out too much, it's a very typical Cup design. They are just simple, elegant cards that are worthy of being Upper Deck's most serious set.

The back of the base card is also pretty typical. I do, however, really like that the cards have a little write-up for the featured player. Many high-end cards leave out many of the stats and information that lesser brands include. It's nice that The Cup at least has a good amount of information that collectors can scan over when looking at these cards.

The most popular part of the main Cup set are the rookie patch auto cards. These are usually a player's best and most desired rookie card. Each card has a generous amount of foil and a decent sized piece of patch material. The autographs are on-card in blue ink at the bottom of the card. Standard rookies are numbered to 249 while the upper tiered ones are limited to just 99. The '99 rookies' are extremely popular and can sell for thousands of dollars.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
The Cup comes in a collectible tin. Inside is another smaller box that contains the 5 or 6 cards you get. The Cup is a hit based product, so just about everything you get in The Cup should be a memorabilia or autographed card. With a price tag of over $600, be ready to put a second mortgage on that house!

Expect all the cards in The Cup to be relatively low numbered with the autographs hard signed. This gold version of Ryan Pulock's autographed rookie is serial numbered to his jersey - a popular thing that The Cup has always done. I'm surprised that this card does not feature a gold border though. I think they used to do that with the gold rookie variants.

Sweet looking materials are a standard in The Cup. In fact, I really think you should be disappointed if you don't get a sweet looking patch in a Cup break. My best card out of the tin was probably this Jesse Puljujarvi. It's numbered to 99 and has a great looking patch piece in it. He's not the biggest rookie this season and is not a big star, so I'm a little disappointed that this was my top pull.

Getting jersey pieces out of a Cup tin is rarely exciting. I mean, they have jersey pieces in just about everything - so I don't consider them to be too special. This Ekblad quad is the lowest tiered version of this card. There are patch and autographed versions that are more rare and better looking. I'm not a fan of getting this type of card in my Cup break.

Sadly, there really wasn't anything amazing in my tin of the Cup. I've seen a lot of amazing stuff come out of this Cup already from online breakers. I can only afford one box of this product, so striking out is really a bummer!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
I really do love the Cup... so while I didn't get anything great in my personal break of the product, I still think very highly of it. The good cards I've seen others pull show that the product has amazing things to get. This year's rookie crop has also been a pretty outstanding group - which means that pulling the amazing '99 rookies' and other associated cards can be very lucrative and special.

The Cup is not for everyone, but if it's something you can save up for or afford I would try and get it. This is a serious collectors product and is a ton of fun to open up. I say this every year, but it's true... opening up the Cup is an experience that I hope hockey collector gets a chance to do.

For those of you who can't afford a tin, you can 'build your own' by getting just the cards that you really want on the secondary market. Unless it's the huge rookie names, many of the great cards out of The Cup are quite a bit less than a tin would cost. If you're not the gambling type, I think that's the best way to go.

Overall Score:

Check out my tin of The Cup:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

2017-2018 Upper Deck Artifacts Review

Upper Deck steps up its 17/18 product line-up with the release of Artifacts. Long a hobby favorite, Artifacts has a little bit of something for everyone. Collectors can find jerseys, tags, patches, autographs, and parallel cards galore in this product. It's always a fun and enjoyable break, but has been watered down in recent years as Upper Deck has guaranteed less hits per box.

Base Card Design -
Artifacts really knows its own image. The base cards this year fit in perfectly with the long line of Artifacts base that have come before it. The base cards are elegant looking with the perfect amount of foil to make the card pop. Everything about the base card is clean and cool. Artifacts has always been able to provide collectors with a premium looking base set, and I'm glad the tradition continues with this release.

Like the fronts, the back of the Artifacts base has had attention paid to it. The back design matches perfectly with the front of the card. It's always great to see some art in the background as it makes the card have a textured look. All the needed information is presented in an easy to read way and a nice paragraph of information is also included.

I thought this card was a parallel at first, but as it turns out NHL stars have their own subset within the main Artifacts line. The stars have a dark green background and are numbered to 599 each.

Legends, like current stars, also have their own unique subset within the Artifacts set. These cards are also serial numbered to 599 but have a grey (rather than green) background. Rookie cards serial to 999 are included after these Legends cards. All this serial numbering and short printing of the set makes it quite a challenge to put together!

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each box of Artifacts comes with 8 packs. The box states that buyers can expect 3 autograph, memorabilia, or Aurum cards. There was a time when Artifacts boxes guaranteed and autograph. These past few years, however, aren't like that. Nothing is guaranteed at all. In fact, according to the box pulling 3 Aurum cards out with no other hits could be something that happens! Now, I'm sure that doesn't happen, but it stinks that there are no for-sure autographs to be obtained with a purchase of Artifacts box.

Parallels, parallels, parallels. Artifacts has a lot of these! It is a huge challenge to find all the parallels of a single player in this product. Trust me, I actually did it one year! You'll have to study the checklist really hard to know all the parallel cards in the set. Not only is the base set full of multiple parallels, the memorabilia/autographed cards are as well.

Speaking of parallel memorabilia cards, here's a rookie base set parallel card featuring two jersey swatches. It's a nice looking card - especially since the jerseys are two different colors - but it probably won't have too high of a value. Better values come with nice memorabilia pieces such as tags and patches.

The Tundra series of memorabilia inserts has always put multiple players on the same card. Usually it's by team, but in some cases Upper Deck decides to put together players that have unique connections to each other. I like these cards and I think they are great for team collectors. I would happily trade this Flyers one for one from the Sharks!

Since Artifacts releases before any skaters have hit the ice, redemption cards have been inserted to redeem for rookies. These have been in Artifacts for years now. Collectors can expect to find a team's rookie (in my case someone from the Preds) or a wild card rookie which will remain a mystery until Upper Deck releases the list of names that corresponds to the cards.

My best hit from the box was a purple redemption card for the number II rookie. I have no idea who it will be, but it'll be a nice card as it will have both a patch and tag embedded in it. I'm pretty excited to see who this player I got will be. The only annoying thing is waiting until Upper Deck releases the names of the rookies!

Inserts/Game-Used//Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
Artifacts was once the best bang for your buck product. It had a ton of great things to find and pull. Nowadays it's still 'ok', but I think the brand has lost some of the magic it once held. There was a time when I wanted to just buy box after box of it because I knew I was going to get autographs and patches. Those days are probably sadly long gone.

Artifacts is now a decent break. It's pricing is not as high as some other products, which still makes it a decent buy. I still enjoy purchasing it and I know many collectors will as well.

Upper Deck has given us a quality product in terms of look and design. There will certainly be cards that are drool worthy pulls. I would recommend Artifacts to any collector that is in its price range. It's the first 'serious' product for hits that Upper Deck has released for the 17/18 season. It's finally time to pull some sweet autos and mem!

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of 17/18 Upper Deck Artifacts:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

2017-2018 O-Pee-Chee Review

And just like that there are now two Upper Deck releases for the 2017/18 season! As typical, O-Pee-Chee comes second out of the gate and brings its retro charms along with it. Boxes of OPC tend to have a huge variety of inserts and parallels to find when breaking them. I'm sure this box break will contain a huge stack of cards to go through and enjoy.

Base Card Design -
The O-Pee-Chee base cards this year have a more modern, clean look than in previous years. I like the use of white for the border colors. The lines used in the design scheme are clean and no nonsense. Upper Deck has come out with a very nice look for a modern OPC card this year. The photos also look a bit better this year as well. Flipping through my stack of cards, I enjoyed the action photography choices. This is a very solid outing for this classic card brand.

Though the front of the card has a more modern spin, the backs continue the tradition of having the brown cardboard backs. I, for one, never want to see OPC change the brown backs of the cards. These backs are a callback to the old days of card collecting. I do have to say that the font on the backs are very small. There is ample space left for stats - especially for younger NHLers. I would have liked to see a write-up or fun graphic used to fill in the big gap. This would be especially good since OPC features many players who don't show up in other cards set that have a smaller card count.

Popular in these larger sets are subset cards. Old sets like Score would have Season Highlights and team cards. OPC is no different. The Season Highlight cards this year showcase special moments from the 16/17 NHL season. It's a nice way to remember the previous year. The write up on the back is both in English and in French - a nod to the way OPC has always done things.

Team Checklist subset cards have a similar look to the Season Highlight cards. Another callback to years gone by, Team Checklist cards are mini checklists of all the players found on a certain team. These used to be useful to team collectors looking to complete just the team that they want. Team collecting is definitely still a thing, but these Team Checklist cards have really gone the way of the dinosaur.

Rounding out the non-rookie subsets are the League Leader cards. These cards celebrate the best of statistical achievements from the previous year. These cards are a great way to include more cards of the best NHL players. Getting another card of Connor McDavid in the set can't be a bad thing in Upper Deck's eyes.

Marquee Rookies are back again as the OPC rookie cards. In design, they are very similar to the other subsets save for the golden yellow hue on the border. All the rookies found here are holdovers from the previous season. Upper Deck claims that this holdover class is very strong. Only time will tell if that is the case! Usually we have to wait until Upper Deck Series Two before we can find the hottest OPC rookie cards inserts in that release.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Boxes of O-Pee-Chee come relatively cheap. It's funny how the products that give you the most amount of cards are the least expensive. But that's the way it is! That being said, though you get a lot of cards and packs per box, the chance of getting of big value is pretty small. This set focuses more on the challenge of putting a large amount of cards together. Hit collectors should probably look elsewhere.

Mini cards have been inserted into O-Pee-Chee this year. These smaller versions of cards have been popular in other products, and they makes sense in a retro brand like OPC. The mini cards are not simply smaller version of the base cards as their design is unique. In the past, OPC had stickers, pop-up cards, and other mini card variations. Cards like these are what make OPC a fun buy.

Of course the mini cards have to have their own parallel variations. There are quite a few different mini variants of the mini cards. The most common have to be the black rainbow foil cards. I pulled a gold bordered card, but other types have individual serial numbering and are very rare to find.

Speaking of variations, the OPC Retros make their return again. As I mentioned in my video review, I am a bit disappointed with the design this year. I would say that the design is clearly retro-inspired, but the cards look generic to me. There isn't anything that is special or outstanding about them that would make me excited to pull one. I think OPC needs to really think about making the retro cards something that excite collectors again.

The Retro Rookie cards are at least a little better than their standard Retro counterparts. The Retro Rookie design is horizontal and has a look all its own. The team checklist cards also look nice. It's just too bad the designers dropped the ball with the base Retro cards.

Want more parallel cards? Didn't get enough yet? Well, OPC has more for you! The rainbow and black rainbow foil cards have returned. These cards are good looking with a smoother surface finish than in previous years. I think these cards have stepped up in quality - they just look better! In my opinion, the OPC foil cards were some of the lowest quality foil cards you could find.

One of the fun inserts from previous years has been the playing cards insert set. You can literally make a deck of playing cards from these. It's a unique idea that I find really awesome. I'd love a set of these! It would, however, be a very challenging set to put together. The Patrik Laine card I pulled is a foil variant. The standard cards do not come on foil.

OPC is not without its bells and whistles. Getting a rare logo patch in OPC is rare and difficult. This year patch cards have returned and will be a huge challenge for fans to find. It would have been really awesome to pull one, but alas, it was not to be in this box!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Value:
In terms of price, O-Pee-Chee is one of the most affordable card brands to buy. Unfortunately, this brand will not net you hits if that is what you are looking for. The challenge of OPC is to build sets and collect it the way you want to. There are plenty of collecting challenges to be had with this release.

As a collector, I know that I am in it mostly for the hits, autographs in particular. If you're like me, you may want to steer clear of OPC and wait for a release later on in the season. But if you enjoy the purity of collecting sets and the challenge of putting a large amount of cards together, this is definitely for you.

OPC this year offers up collectors a fun set of cards. For a certain collector, this set is great. I'm glad sets like OPC are still around. Its retro nature is definitely something different among the huge amount of modern era cards. If you're into it, I suggest diving right in as OPC will give you exactly what you want!

Overall Score:

Check out my box of 17/18 O-Pee-Chee:

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Retail Review #272 (16/17 Upper Deck Series Two)

I've been doing these Retail Reviews week after week for 272 weeks! It's time to take a little break. I'm not ending the series, just putting it on pause for a bit. The last blaster before the break is this 16/17 Upper Deck Series 2 blaster. I think it's nice that this product is a bit newer than the stuff I usually open.

Price - 

Packs - 12
16/17 Upper Deck Series 2 Blaster Packs

Though this product is pretty new and has a retail price of about twenty dollars, you can find these on discount at for just thirteen bucks! I jumped at the chance to get a current year product at such a nice reduction in price. So often for Retail Review I have to go back years and years to get retail boxes at a discount.

Speaking of buying older boxes, one of the reasons I'm pausing my Retail Review series is because a lot of the older retail card boxes/blasters are harder to find now. I was afraid this day would come, but there just isn't that much out there to get my hands on affordably.

Let's open up this blaster and see what comes out of it:

Review -
What a great blaster to end on! This blaster had some amazing pulls. It started out pretty good as I hit a rainbow foil OPC rookie card right away. And then it just got better from there. The two Young Guns out of the blaster were awesome, and I even got a canvas version. To top it all off I pulled a nice rookie portrait insert as well. There was just too much to like in this break. Like I said in my video... I should stop Retail Review more often if this is the kind of stuff I get in the end!

Here's the top three of the week:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Timo Meier Card No. 479
This Young Gun rookie card might not be the most valuable of the lot, but he is the lone San Jose Shark out of my break. I always love pulling Sharks out of my boxes so Timo is a welcome sight for me.

#2 - Ivan Provorov Card No. C239
It is so rare for me to get canvas Young Guns! I thought this would be the best card out of my blaster... good thing I was wrong! But this is still an excellent card to pull in any case!

#1 - Patrik Laine Card No. 451
Wow, just wow. I can't believe I pulled a Laine Young Gun. It was totally and completely unexpected. As it stand now, this card is scorching hot and is worth some serious cheese! This is a great card to pull before my Retail Review hiatus.

Overall Value -
A current year product at a discounted price with some amazing hits inside? YES PLEASE! This blaster was really awesome and I'm so glad I was able to get it and save it for today's break. Upper Deck Series One and Two are always a good buy, and sometimes you get lucky like I did today and pull some really nice value out of 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:

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Retail Review #271 (14/15 Artifacts Retail Box)

Artifacts is one of those retail products that I would steer anyone far away from, however, these 14/15 retail boxes were actually quite good. In past Retail Reviews I've been able to pull both memorabilia and autograph hits from them. I'm back at it once again with this box. I hope I get something good out of it!

Price - 

Packs - 10
14/15 Upper Deck Artifacts Retail Packs

I'm not sure why Upper Deck decided to produce this type of retail product for Artifacts. It was definitely a different configuration than the standard blaster. Perhaps it was to specially promote their upcoming Ice product line. Each of these boxes have an Ice preview card inside. In any case, these boxes seemed to have much better odds of getting a hit or serial numbered card inside.

Unlike standard Artifacts blasters, these blasters did have a retail price of $5 more than the $19.99 price of a regular Artifacts blaster. You did get 10 total packs to open though. When breaking a box of this, you get a nice stack of Artifacts base and a few nice inserts sprinkled within.

Let's open up this box and check out what it has to offer:

Review -
I was able to pull some serial numbered cards out of this box, but sadly it did not have a memorabilia or autograph hit. This box also disappointed in that it was missing the Ice preview card! I'm not too heartbroken over the missing Ice preview... but it was supposed to be there. It is not a good look for a company when something that is supposed to be there, isn't. The box states in large font that an Ice preview card is inside, so if I were a collector looking forward to that I probably would be pretty upset that it wasn't there. On a positive note, I did get some great base cards in the box. Artifacts is a smaller set so pulling the big NHL names isn't too difficult.

Here are my top cards from the box:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Joe Thornton Card No. 16
I pulled three serial numbered cards out of the box, but I chose to omit Kyle Turris' card for Thornton's because I'm a big Sharks homer. Jumbo Joe was the only Shark I pulled out of the entire box!

#2 - Brandon Gormley Card No. 131
I suppose that this rookie card was the 'hit of the box' as Artifact rookie cards are pretty hard to come by out of retail. I was actually pretty surprised to see a rookie card out of this box, but I would have preferred some memorabilia or ink.

#1 - Steve Yzerman Card No. 74
My favorite card out of the box was this Yzerman numbered to 599. Stevie Y was a legend and getting his cards are always good. The red foil on the card goes well with his Red Wing colors making this card look especially appropriate.

Overall Value -
I've had better when it comes to these 14/15 Artifacts retail boxes. This particular box was missing the Ice preview card and didn't have a hit in it. You definitely can't win them all, and this one wasn't that great, but I wouldn't dissuade anyone from trying these out though. Overall I think these may be the best Artifacts retail boxes you can buy.

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:

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