Thursday, March 30, 2017

2016-2017 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Review

Upper Deck continues to fire up the card making machine with their release of 16/17 OPC Platinum. This brand has been around for a couple years now, but the concept of a premium version of a basic set has been around for much longer. These type of sets usually focus a lot of parallel versions of cards in a chrome format. Let's see what this one delivers.

Base Card Design -
The OPC Platinum base cards come on nice chrome cardstock. The design of the cards mimic the 16/17 O-Pee-Chee standard release from the beginning of the hockey card collecting season. The cards look very nice in chrome and have a clean look that is quite attractive. Each card has a nice feel and weight to them that give them a premium quality. The only concern I have about these cards is that they tend to bow. This problem is not something unique to this set, but really to all chrome sets like it.

The back of the OPC Platinum have a nice glossy finish rather than a cardboard one. The bright backs are nice in that all the text is easily read. Like the front, these backs are very clean looking. The fact that there is a nice color photo on the back elevates the card back as well.

The Marquee Rookies share a similar design to the standard base save for the bright 'Marquee Rookie' logo on the right border of the card. This is great as it gives you no doubt that you are getting a rookie card of the player on the front. The back of the card also states that the card is a rookie card.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Though boxes of OPC Platinum have 20 packs, there is only one hit to be found. That being said, the hit is a hard-signed autograph - so that's pretty good. The rest of the packs will have a variety of parallel and insert cards.

Here's an Ice Blue Traxx parallel card of Nathan MacKinnon. These parallels look good, but have been done before. I would have liked to have seen something different, but for people who enjoy this look, I guess they can be happy with it! In my video I couldn't find the name of the parallel on the back of the card, but that was my mistake, the parallel name is located towards the bottom of the card.

The OPC Retro cards can also be found in this set... and in many flavors! There is the standard chrome look, but also a good number of parallel versions. The Ekblad shown above is the gold rainbow foil variation numbered to 149. These cards have a lot of visual appeal as the rainbow foil stand out on its generous borders.

I was surprised to find so many die-cut inserts in OPC Platinum. I guess since there is no memorabilia to be found, Upper Deck had to fill in with something else. Die cut cards can be fun, but I really like them best when the die-cut makes sense. This card of Henrik Lundqvist has some nice detailed cuts, but there really isn't a reason why it should be die-cut.

Here's yet another die-cut card from my box. The one is of Penguins legend Mario Lemieux. These cards are named NHL Logo Crest so the die-cut here makes a little more sense as the cut is like the crest on a players jersey... kind of. Though it may be a little iffy, I think this particular card looks fine.

My favorite of the die-cuts was this Puck Personas card. The cut on this card is rather extreme and leaves only a small portion of an actual card left! That being said, it is shaped like a puck and looks cool to me. Getting an autographed version of one of these would be fun in that it would be very similar to an autographed puck.

I've covered most of the things you can find in OPC Platinum in this review. In terms of hits, they are just parallel cards of the existing base, rookies, and inserts. Like I mentioned before, these cards are hard-signed, which is a good selling point for them.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
OPC Platinum won't break the bank, but can provide collectors with some very solid value. Finding a rare parallel card with a very low serial number will probably be worth more than 'just a jersey card'. I like that Upper Deck has put in hard-signed autographs to give OPC Platinum a little more excitement. Just having rare inserts in a product just doesn't cut it anymore.

Though a very good product, OPC Platinum isn't going to be a huge wow factor for the general collector community. If hockey collectors began embracing parallel cards more this set would be all the more intriguing.

If you are like me and just like giving new things a try, OPC Platinum is a serviceable product to hold you over until the next card release.

Overall Score:

Check out my box of OPC Platinum here:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Retail Review #249 (14/15 Upper Deck Series One)

This morning I'm going with a blaster of Upper Deck from 14/15. I'll be looking for some fun inserts and a couple of Young Gun rookie cards in this box. There is no guarantee of a hit in these, but the quality you find in Upper Deck Series One is always rock solid. It's a product that just about anyone can enjoy.

Price - 

Packs - 12
12 x 14/15 UD Series One Blaster Packs

Upper Deck Series One is one of the most anticipated products to come out during the hockey season. Upper Deck must make an absolute ton of this stuff, but the cards hold their values well - especially the rookie cards. A player's Young Gun rookie card can be the most desired card of that player.

14/15 was a good year for Upper Deck Series One. It had a very nice design overall with the YGs having a clean and crisp look. The cards are nice to look at and collect. 

Let's see what I get out of this blaster:

Review -
This particular box was very nice. I was able to pull a couple of good Young Gun cards as well as 2 other insert cards. Opening this blaster I have to say that the photography from this year definitely stands out. There are so many great images that made me stop and just look at the cards. I think it's very impressive when a card set can do that. I really enjoyed this break and am glad I was able to find value in it eve though there was no jersey or autographed card in the box.

Here's the top three from today's break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Martin Brodeur Card No. HH70
Hockey Heroes are not my favorite card, but I do applaud Upper Deck for creating a set that has spanned many Upper Deck sets throughout the years. It was astonishing to see that this card was number 70... I wonder who has been collecting all of them! 

#2 - Ryan Strome Card No. C55
This year's Canvas cards set has a classy look with strong alternate images to the standard base set. Recently I have been disappointed in some of UDs card designs. I hope that they can get some of their mojo in next seasons release.

#1 - Aaron Ekblad Card No. 225
Ekblad was a stand out rookie in 14/15 and had a good standing in the collector community. I was definitely happy to find his Young Gun in the packs that I got within the blaster today. This card sells for a decent amount on the secondary market.

Overall Value -
14/15 was a very good year for Upper Deck. I would definitely recommend this year's set if you're looking for great looking cards. There is always a lot to like when it comes to Upper Deck Series One, so if you can find some at a good price don't hesitate to pick it up!

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, March 19, 2017

Retail Review #248 (12/13 Upper Deck Artifacts)

Have I even opened up a blaster of 12/13 Artifacts on Retail Review before? I've done a lot of Retail Review episodes, but this might be a first! Well, if not a first, then a rare opening at least. This morning I'm going to open up a blaster of 12/13 Artifacts and see if anything at all will come out of this box. Wish me luck!

Price - 

Packs - 8
12/13 Upper Deck Artifacts Blaster Packs

Artifacts blasters have never been kind to me. And I don't think I'm alone in that sentiment. It is very difficult to pull anything out of one save for a colored serial numbered card. I will say, however, that the base cards are of a nice quality. And there was a time when having base cards being nice might have been enough. But in an age with hits and inserts being so common, base cards have become less than common. They have really been relegated to 'throw-away' status - which I find sad. If they weren't in such a state, the Artifacts base might actually be kind of good considering how well done they usually are.

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

Review -
OMG! This blaster was even worse than I could have imagined... well... I guess except for maybe getting damaged cards out of a box. There were absolutely nothing but base cards in here! That was a HUGE disappointment. Like I mentioned before, these base cards are great looking cards... but to only get base cards in a modern era box is really just not acceptable anymore. There has to be something to find when buying a blaster nowadays. Especially with a name like Artifacts, you've gotta give out something. Panini had at least a relic card in their blasters of Pinnacle, and they were the same price! Wow, just wow.

Top three? Well, there has to be three every week so here goes:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Doug Wilson Card No. 21
I always like getting cards of retro players because I think the older look of the player images looks cool with the new designs. I chose Doug Wilson in this case because its fun to get cards of your team's GM! I just wish he had more cards with him in a Sharks jersey.

#2 - John Tavares Card No. 42
JT will also be a good pull for me because he was the hottest rookie when I got back into collecting hockey cards in 2009. He has had a great career thus far though the Islanders still haven't really done much. Hopefully he will continue to be a great player for years to come.

#1 - Larry Robinson Card No. 49
Larry Robinson is an NHL legend, and he looks really cool with his old school orange NHL all-star jersey on. Again, I like this card because of the contrast between the old school look with the new school design.

Overall Value -
For the ten bucks I paid for this box, it wasn't worth it. At all. It is really a terrible feeling to open pack after pack and only get base cards. I would be even more upset had I gotten this at its full suggested retail price. Avoid getting Artifacts if at all possible! It's nothing like the hobby version. Sure, base cards look nice... but they are base cards!

Let me know what you thought of my 12/13 Artifacts blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from a Certified blaster? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Every Sunday look out for another exciting installment of Retail Review

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2016-2017 Upper Deck Fleer Showcase Review

Upper Deck releases Fleer Showcase today, and its a set full of nostalgia. They have crammed in memorable inserts and card types from Fleer, Skybox, Ultra, and more. For fans of these cards, it's a pretty cool walk down memory lane. Collectors unfamiliar with cards from that era can still enjoy the sweet and colorful designs that made them so popular with collectors back in the day.

Base Card Design -
The base cards in Fleer Showcase are not my cup of tea. They remind me of a slightly duller version of older Ultra Gold Medallion parallel cards - which I didn't like. The copper/gold background just doesn't look good with hockey. I really wished Upper Deck chose a different brand like Skybox or Fleer to create base cards from. The Showcase base design is just unpleasing. From the scan above, you may think it is covered in gold foil, but in looking at it in-hand, the card is really flat without much texturing to enhance it. There really isn't much to like with this design. This is not a base set I would consider trying to complete.

The back of the base card is quite nice compared to the front. There are multiple design elements incorporated here. I especially like the graphical frame used for the player photo. The entire back, in fact, is very thoughtfully put together. Rarely do I like the back of the card more than the front, but this is a case in which that is true.

The rookies in Fleer Showcase are called Hot Prospects. There are a variety of different rookie card types to be found in the main set. Some feature multiple players, some feature autographs, and some don't. The bigger name rookies will likely be found in the autograph crop. Lower level rookies like the Nikita Tryamkin I pulled are numbered to 499. Rookies like Patrik Laine and Mitch Marner are numbered to less than that. They are numbered 299 and 99 respectively. The Tryamkin I pulled was a sticker auto, but the sticker has been applied very nicely as the sticker blends well with the card making it look like a hand-signed card.

Base Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Boxes of Fleer Showcase come with 18 packs with 5 cards per. In the box you are guaranteed one autographed card and a whole bunch of insert from Fleer brands of old. Boxes of Showcase are well under a hundred dollars. So if you're looking to get more cards for your buck, this would be a nice choice.

I received a few of these Red Glow parallel cards in my box. Like its name suggests, there is a red theme to the card. Replacing the hideous gold color is this matte red color. It doesn't glow... but these cards are a lot better looking than the base cards. These parallels make me wish that Upper Deck had gone with just about any other color than the gold they chose. Red Glow cards aren't too hard to find, there is a rarer parallel called White Hot that also exists. White Hot cards are numbered to just 25.

The card that stood out to me the most was this EX2017 insert card. It is meant to be like the EX2000 cards from the past. Upper Deck did a very nice job on replicating the card, though this feels thinner and flimsier than the originals. The foil really makes the card pop, and the see through background behind the player is pretty cool to see in person. Though its a repeat of an older product, I'm glad to see cards like this back in packs.

Another insert from yesteryear is this Scoring King card I pulled. It's tough to tell in the scan, but there is lightning in the background of this all foil card. In person, this card looks very nice - again, not quite the quality of the original versions, but a good attempt still. I got a couple of these cards in my box so they are not rare, but I chose to show off this Messier because I like seeing the Lady Liberty Rangers jersey back on cardboard. Those era of jerseys were not well liked... but everything old can be new (and popular) again!

Continuing on with the retro goodness are Flair Showcase inserts. Flair Showcase was a super premium card set on very thick card stock. Each card was fully foiled and looked stunning. I remember buying each pack that looked like a cigarette box. They were a thrill to open. The card above is Blue Ice parallel numbered to 199. It's a very good looking card with the foil having a sparkle to it.

From Fleer Ultra we have Fleer Ultra Rookies. I guess this is just a way to add more rookie content to the set already full of rookie content. Because this card isn't foiled, it does seem a bit lackluster in comparison to the other cards. It does, however, feature serial numbering to 599. Medallion variations of this set are also available either numbered to 99 or just 25.

A hugely popular set (especially in basketball) was Fleer Metal. These cards were a little like Black Diamond in that they were thin cards that featured radical foil designs. The design of these cards is definitely busy and has a good look to it. I'm not jumping out of my chair, but I'd have to say these cards are well-done. The Fleer Metal cards I got in my box all featured the same design. I think it would have been better if they really went for it and gave individual Metal cards different designs. But that would have probably been too much work for a set like this.

I did end up getting a Precious Metal Gen, or PMG, in my box. It's just a red numbered to 150. This card looks very nice though as the foil has a special shimmer to it. I'm sure all the PMGs do this. I definitely wouldn't mind having more of these, but they may be hard to find and afford as PMGs can sometimes take off in value. If you're interested in why these PMGs are so popular, go onto eBay and see the prices for some of the original PMGs. They can be insane!

I thought my box gave me a nice variety of cards, but there is so much more to find in Showcase. One card I wish I pulled was a Hot Glove insert. I'm sure they are not like the thick originals, but I think getting one of those die-cut cards would have been fun. Upper Deck has also put in buyback original Fleer Ultra cards. I really want the Pat Lafontaine buyback! I saw one on eBay but the asking price is way too high! Maybe I'll wait till it drops.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Score -
I wasn't sure what to expect when Fleer Showcase came out today. The past few years have had it spit out patch autos at a one-per-box rate. This year Upper Deck has held back on those and featured non-hit insert cards much more prominently. I actually like the change quite a bit. I really love the older insert designs and brands. Hopefully the PMGs will be popular enough that people will want to buy more and more of this product. I think PMGs should be valued at higher prices than they are currently.

For hit collectors, this may be a tough buy because you only find one autograph per box. It may not be enough to satisfy those folks. For me, I thought that was ok because at least UD guaranteed me something along with all those insert cards.

I really enjoyed Fleer Showcase. There are really great looking cards in this set (besides the ugly base cards) that I hope can raise in value. The days of the high dollar insert card may be over... but that could just be for now.

I'm happy with how Fleer Showcase came out. I certainly recommend a box just for the pure joy of it. There's a lot of fun to be had with Showcase and I'm glad UD did it the way they did.

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of Fleer Showcase:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Retail Review #247 (2011 Goodwin Champions)

Goodwin Champions is a product that contains a huge mix of different sports, celebrities, and famous personalities. The big mix of different subject matter may be a turn off to some, but I really enjoy the variety that comes with this particular set.

Price - 

Packs - 12
Goodwin Champions Blaster Packs

It's been a while since I've hit a hit in Goodwin. Maybe today will be my lucky day! The front of the blaster shows off some pretty awesome autographed cards. Potential buyers will see LeBron James and Michael Jordan. I would LOVE to get my hands on either one of those cards. It's nearly impossible to get those, but I do believe there is a chance at them at least - which is more than many other products can boast! Most likely I'll just get the six mini cards and an insert - which is the standard break of Goodwin Champions.

I'll open up this blaster and see what comes of it:

Review -
Very impressive and enjoyable break! Not only did I get the mini cards and insert, I was actually able to get a hit! The drought is over! Yay! That was very exciting, but besides the hit, I got some really nice cards of some great players - especially in hockey. Both Sidney Crosby and teammate Evgeni Malkin were in this box. There were also a nice amount of stars from other sports as well. One of the best players in the blaster was former San Francisco legend Jerry Rice. I love all the sports, so it was great to get stars from across the professional leagues.

It's time for the top three, here they are:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Cam Newton Card No. FS-8
These die-cut inserts cards are pretty cool. I really like the can theme of these. It's a pretty sweet idea that has been executed well. Cam just needs to regain his form from a couple years back and this card will be really nice to have!

#2 - DeMarcus Cousins Card No. 149
Oh the feels when I pulled this card! As many of you know I am from Sacramento and shoot for the Kings. Big Cuz was recently traded to the Pelicans and I still have mixed feelings over it. This card with him in a suit is certainly a different look for him on cardboard!

#1 - Igor Larionov Card No. M-IL
This jersey card of The Professor is a great pull for me. I loved watching Igor Larionov play back in the 90's. Getting his jersey card out of a retail product was improbable - which made it just that much sweeter!

Overall Value -
This blaster was a very good value for the cards I got. I didn't even mention that I got more than one Lady Luck variation from the minis I pulled. If you are a fan of many sports like I am, I think Goodwin Champions is worth a look and a try. This box definitely delivered for me and I will for sure be opening up some more in the near future.

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, March 5, 2017

Retail Review #246 (10/11 Score)

I was inspired to open up a blaster of 10/11 Score this week because of PK Subban's return to Montreal this past week. It was a pretty emotional time for him. I had a small PC of his back in 2010 and was always hoping to get his rookie whenever I bought a blaster of Score that year.

Price - 

Packs - 11
10/11 Score Packs

This blaster was very inexpensive. They can be found for less than half of their original, already pretty cheap, price. While cheap, there really isn't anything you can really find in the blasters that will be too valuable. The best you can hope for are some fun inserts and cards to enjoy. And Score is definitely a product that you can find enjoyment out of. The cards are very sweet looking retro designs. If you were a collector in the 90's like me, a lot of these looks will bring back some good memories.

If you are extremely lucky, I believe that you can find autographs in these packs. I've never gotten one, but boy would it be awesome to pull a hit. Sadly, Score didn't have jersey or patch cards in the product. But hey, autographs are better anyways!

Let's break open this blaster of Score and see what we... uh...score:

Review -
Wow, this was a great break for me. Not only did I get a bunch of sweet insert cards that I enjoyed finding, I also got the one rookie card that I was seeking. It was really a perfect break for the moment. Each pack had a glossy card in it, and I felt I did well with the names coming out. With a set as big as this, it can be difficult to pull out decent players. One card I really didn't expect to get was the 20th Anniversary parallel insert. It was certainly a good little surprise. Sure, it's not worth much, but it was a little thrill to get one out of a blaster.

Take a look at my top favorites of the week:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Jonas Gustavsson Card No. 6
Gustavsson was a pretty decent rookie to pull back in 2010. He was highly touted, but sadly never really panned out. I almost totally forgot about him, but this card helped me remember. I love the action going on here in this Net Cam insert.

#2 - Carey Price Card No. 16
A goalie that did pan out was Carey Price. He's definitely been the franchise player for the Habs for a while now. If you've followed my Retail Review series, you'll know that I really like the Franchise insert set. These were big in the 90's and I enjoy pulling them.

#1 - PK Subban Card No. 519
Last card of the break was this amazing glossy parallel of PK Subban's rookie card. This is my favorite and most wanted card out of the set and I can't believe I got it today! The card looks really good and holds a special place for me!

Overall Value -
At under four bucks Score really brings some inexpensive fun. I'd highly recommend it to any young or new collectors. I'd also tell collectors who used to collect in the 90's to check it out. I'm sure they'd get a kick out of the product. Even if I didn't get the Subban card, I would have still really liked this break and getting the cards out of the blaster. Score does great in its simplicity and purity. Good stuff right here!

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!