Saturday, December 15, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Panini Rookie & Stars Longevity Hobby Box

One of the puzzling pieces in the Football card industry is the Longevity line from Panini.  These show up in the Regular Rookie & Stars Product as numbered inserts earlier in the year, only to come back as it's own full set and Hobby Box. Now these are not numbered or have the Longevity type across the card fronts, but they are the same cards. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the Longevity Hobby Box that came out this week, I'm just puzzled in the way the line is introduced.

The Hobby boxes that were out in the market this week provided you with 10 packs per box with 5 cards per pack. Oh and you will receive a guaranteed four hits! Yes four autographs and/or memorabilia cards per box. And the price you will expect to pay, just around $50. A low end product, that will provide you with four hits per box and that will also provide you with rookies, inserts and Ruby Red parallels.

Now I was excited for this product to come out being that it yielded four hits, but I knew that for the price of $50 you can't expect to receive top notch patches or autographs in every box. I was assuming the basic single color relics we have seen with other low end products. Anything above this would be a bonus in my mind.

Here is the product break down per box; 1 Greatest Hits, 1 Statistical Standouts, 2 Ruby Red Parallel Rookies, 2 Ruby Red Parallel Commons, 10 Rookies and 4 Autograph and/or Memorabilia cards. This leaves you with 30 common cards from the box to try and build the 150 base set without the rookies (215 with the rookie base included). Not a bad line for a $50 hobby box, plus with this years rookie group doing well on the field you could run away with some decent hits.

Again Panini has surrounded another product with this years rookies for the Autographs and Memorabilia which is never a bad thing to receive as a collector. Some of the hits could be numbered as low as /15 and up to /99, but you are mainly looking at non-numbered hits within the box. Again if you pull any of the numbered hits or Autograph from this box you have done very well.

So when my hobby shop called me on Wednesday about this product he was only able to bring in four boxes for the store. I had him hold onto three of them for me and went in on Thursday to pick them up.Again I wasn't expecting much but looking forward to breaking the product.

Here are my results:

Box #1:
Base: 30 (no doubles)
Rookies: 10 (no doubles)
Ruby Red Commons: Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates
Ruby Red Rookies: Ronnell Lewis, George Iloka
Statistical Standout: Calvin Johnson
Greatest Hits: NaVorro Bowman
Freshman Orientation Memorabilia: , Stephan Hill, LaMichael James, Michael Floyd
Dress for Success Memorabilia: Ashlon Jeffery

Box #2:
Base: 30 (no doubles)
Rookies: 10 (no doubles)
Ruby Red Commons: Peyton Manning, Eric Decker
Ruby Red Rookies: Nick Perry, B.J. Cunningham
Statistical Standout: Tom Brady
Greatest Hits: Noamukong Suh
Freshman Orientation Memorabilia: Robert Turbin, Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson
Dress for Success Memorabilia: Stephan Hill

Box #3:
Base: 30 (no doubles)
Rookies: 10 (no doubles)
Ruby Red Commons: Troy Polamalu, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ruby Red Rookies: Bryce Brown, Luke Kuechly
Statistical Standout: Calvin Johnson
Greatest Hits: Mario Williams
Freshman Orientation Memorabilia: Coby Fleener,
Dress for Success Memorabilia: Brian Quick, Nick Foles
Autograph Jersey Rookie card: #238 Michael Egnew /25

So a couple of things to notice about this product. First and for most; the hits are all noticeable and were the first two packs on both the left and right side of the box. if you plan on buying this by pack see about doing this only from a freshly opened box you have seen. If not you will be receiving a very thin pack with five cards in it. Those thin packs will be the ones with either a Ruby Red parallel or an insert. Granted these aren't the ones that we are looking for but they will provide something along with base cards. Secondly these cards can easily end up being bent due to the light card stock, so be careful when ripping these packs. They aren't the best to open and rip in different spots instead of a clean rip. And the last thing to notice about these cards is that it is an all or nothing assortment you could find. My first box was maybe the worst box I opened this year for player hits, but the second box yielded two top pick hits and two decent hits to follow.
All of the hits I received were not numbered except for the third box when I pulled the Egnew Auto/Jersey card numbered to 25. That was a nice hit for this product, again unexpected to receive a numbered one even with a mid-low level player.
All the hit cards (as expected) were single color swatches, but I ended up with a total of twelve hits for around $150 for three boxes. Mind you I didn't have a return of that $150 I put into buying the product so again you need to be cautious as this product will not bring you profits. Unless you pull the Andrew Luck or RGIII Auto/Jersey RC's numbered to /15 this is an expected result for this product.
Overall it was a fun pull to see who the hits were and the Ruby Red's were a nice added touch, so if your looking for a low end product that will give you some hits this is the one to buy for 2012.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 2/5
Memorabilia: 4/5
Parallels: 4/5
Rookies: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Leaf Cut Signature Edition

I don't really like to dabble into a non-sport product but I recently was able to obtain a box of 2012
Leaf Cut Signature Edition for a decent price and decided to buy it. This box is the same as the other Cut Signature products Leaf produces. You receive 1 Cut Autograph slabbed in a BGS holder, most I've seen are numbered and you could also pull dual autographs.

The subjects in this product are mainly from the entertainment industry but also include some interesting historic people as well. You may even find a President or music icon in the product, so much to be sought after.

Now again this is far and away from sports products but I decided to take a chance on it. I really enjoy Cut Signatures and was mainly hoping to just pull someone I would know.

Well I guess I got someone I knew at least. I pulled this Ozzie Osbourne Cut Autograph #'d /35. It was worth the gamble I suppose. I could have received someone else better or could have gone the opposite and pulled a dud. Either way I think for a Slabbed BGS Cut Signature it is worth the gamble on at least 1 of these. As a collector of Cut Autographs this is your product, some risk in the buy but also could bring in some rewards if the right Cut is pulled.

Gambler Overall Rating: 3.9 out of 5
Cost: 3.5/5
Autographs: 5/5 
Checklist: 4/5
Design: 4/5
Concept: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 3/5

Sunday, December 02, 2012

**Update - 2012 Topps Heritage High Numbers Set**

As I reported back in October, Topps came out with a Heritage High Numbers Baseball set that was only available through their site.

Adding to the only being available through Topps, the sets were limited to only 1000 produced, and they each came along with an autographed card.

The sets sold out a few days after they went live for Pre-sale and speculation went wild over who the autographs would be. Topps released the 20 player checklist for autographs and they included the top three rookies of Bryce Harper, Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes. Not to mention that Red Ink autographs numbered out of 10 were also included for some players.

So not only were the sets limited to 1000 for base cards, but the autographs were very low numbered as well. At the early start of these hitting eBay, Bryce Harper was selling between $50-$60. Now you can manage to win one at around the $34 range or so. Still a decent price for a rookie of Harper that is limited.
Autographs were also reaching very high numbers for the top players along with some of the Red-Ink autographs that reached the site.

I just received my set this past Friday which to me took a little long to receive since I paid $24.84 USPS priority mail. I was anxious to see what the set looked like and also who my autograph would be. Here are my observations:
The set is packaged in a nice and neat 100 card box with Harper on it. Has the Topps holographic seal on the package top so you know it is factory sealed. I opened the box very carefully as I noticed one card was in between the box lid opening and the box. The box is very tight and trying not to rip the box to open it took a lot of patience and skill.
Once I opened the box the card that was between the lid opening and box was Adam Wainwright. I took him out first, no damage on him so I was happy about that. I then took the first 20 or cards out of the box carefully and started looking at the players. I turned over to the back of the cards and noticed that the set isn't in order. Not 2 cards were in the proper order of the set.
This was a little frustrating as I then had to pull the rest of the set and put them in order. Luckily I wasn't missing any cards and the big rookies were in there without any damage.

The Autograph card was the last card in the box. I pulled it out carefully as well and I received Trevor Bauer from the Arizona Diamondbacks with a Blue Ink Autograph. A nice pull from the autograph checklist for this set.
Overall I was a little disappointed in the way the set was set in the box, but was happy with the autograph I received. All the cards needed to be carefully pulled from the box in order not to damage any of them. I think I'll be putting them into another 100 card holder so they stay fresh and crisp. For the $100 cost that some people was complaining about for the set I still think it was worth it, even without the Autograph included. This set should hold a long term value as some of the players in here are already stars and some might be in the coming years. If your able to find a factory sealed set for a decent price I would jump on it. If your not interested in the autograph, base sets should be found in the plenty and are worth the price as well to pick up for the long term value.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Topps Chrome Football Hobby Box

Late last week Topps Released their 2012 edition of Chrome Football. As soon as it hit the shelves boxes were bought up. Collectors wanted to rip these open and in volumes. The demand for the product still a week later is still as high when the product came out. I really enjoyed the Chrome Baseball this year and decided to be one of the many interested in buying this product.
So the run down for 2012 Chrome Football is as follows; 24 Packs per Hobby Box, 4 cards per pack which include at least 1 Rookie per Pack. The configuration of the Hobby boxes are that you will receive 1 Rookie Autograph, 1 Prism Refractor, 2 Tall Boys, 1 Quarterback Rookie Reprint, 1 Red Zone Rookie, 4 1984 Retro Rookie Reprints, and 2 1957 Retro Rookie Reprints. Parallel's are plenty as well with all the colors of the Chrome Rainbow along with new Camo, Pink and Prism Refractors. These are subjected to odds of 1:3 for the basic Refractors to1:5165 for the Non-Autographed Refractors.

With the Rookie crop this year and the way autographs of Griffin and Luck have been hitting this is a very big product to try and obtain any of them or the top picks playing well currently. The cost of the average Hobby box is anywhere between $69.99 - $99.99 depending on where you buy it from. Still looking at under $100 for the box, but this could go up due to the demand for the rookie autographs in this product.
Most of the Rookie Autographs I've seen have been on-card which is great, however I have seen a couple with sticker autographs for the duals and some of the relic/auto cards. And yes Topps has added in some relics to the rookie autographed subsets to chase down, so lots of rookie product in this 2012 edition.
The Base cards follow the previously released 2012 Topps set and provide 220 cards including the rookies to collect. This design along with the chrome technology really provides a quality product to the collecting community and should rank up with one of the best of the year. As for how I did with my 1 Hobby box as are the results:

Base cards: 34 (no duplicates)
Rookie Cards: 37
Refractors: 9 (4 RC's)
1965 Tall Boys: 2 - Jeffery, Pead
1957 Retro: 2 - Randle, Hill
1984 Retro: 4 - Andrew Luck, Doug Martin, Osweiler, L. Miller
Red Zone Rookies:  Michael Egnew
Quarterback Retro Rookie: Frank Tarkenton
Prism Refractor: Chandler Jones /216
Camo Refractor: Ryan Fitzpatrick /499
                                         BCA Pink Refractor: Vernon Davis 399
Black Refractor: Ryan Broyles /299
1957 Retro Rookie Refractor: David Wilson /99
Rookie Autograph: TJ Graham (on-card)
I have to say I am very pleased with this 2012 Chrome product. The design, Refractors, the cards coming out of the packs in a normal shape and not bent anymore, things are looking really great for Chrome products going forward. I did pretty well for my box overall. The T.J. Graham Autograph is not the best pull for this year and was hard to even know it was an autograph on the card with his signature. I love the Refractors from this box, Black, Pink, Camo and Prism are all extremely nice on this design and make me want to try to obtain more to build a set. The Retro Rookies look even better in the Chrome product than they did in the Regular Topps series. The Red Zone Rookie Die-cuts are great as well, very sharply cut and set off the product in a great way.

I think it goes without saying that I'm a very big fan of this product. It really is a great mid-value product that compares to the big boys as a top contender for Football line of the year. Topps has again stepped up with their Chrome products and made this 2012 Football edition one of the best in recent years that will be hard to beat going into 2013. If you haven't had a chance to pick up a box yet you better do it soon. The stock will run short in no time on this product and make sure to pick one up and enjoy ripping open the packs like I did.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 4/5 
Parallels: 5/5
Design: 5/5
Rookies: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Topps Five Star Baseball

So you want to go big? Than go 2012 Topps Five Star! This is the products first year in Baseball coming from a successful 2011 stint with their Football product. This Baseball product is different from the Football and carries a heavy price for it. First off, if your purchasing this product you are buying one pack containing Six cards. Yes only Six cards are in this packaged product. And the price tag has been around the $475-$525 tag at pre-sale, so your ending up with paying $100 per card (give or take). This is a big gamble to take on for Six cards and might be the reason we haven't seen this for this sport in some time.
2012 has been a big year for Topps in Major League Baseball. They introduced some new products, loaded up on relics and autographs, and brought back in grand style the Bat knobs. This all while leaving the biggest product till last with Five Star. Of course this had a lot to do with having every autograph signed on-card, but it might also have to do with the amount of content going into this product. It will include Relics, Jumbo Relics, Patches, Batter Logo Patches, Bat Knob, Bat Plates and Jersey Letters. All this coming along with Autographs all on-card and could have anywhere from Singles, Cuts, Dual, Triple, Quads, Five, Six and Eight autographs all on one card or booklet! This product really packs it in there, and why shouldn't it for a price around $500 it should.
 Not to scare anyone off of this product but unless your willing to let go of $500 for a chance of a few really great cards I don't see you buying into this product. This is mainly due to the cost aspect and not the product itself. The product looks great and has everything you would want from a high end brand, however the price is the sticking point for a lot of us. Even myself thought about holding onto the $500 and waiting for the cards to be sold online and spend it there on 1 or 2 cards I really would want. However the gambler in me decided to order 1 box/pack of this high end product to bust open and take a chance on maybe something cool coming out of it.

So here are my results from the bust:
Base Card: Robinson Cano Rainbow Parallel #/10
Autographed Active Player: Ryan Zimmerman #/150
Autographed Retired Legend: Al Kaline #/208
Autographed Relic: Giancarlo Stanton Silver #/97
Jumbo Jersey Relic: Carlos Gonzalez Gold #/25
Autographed Jersey Book: Don Mattingly Gold #/10

So first thoughts? Wow that is a lot of money for these pulls. Now of course I knew this going in and had very low expectations on this break. Even my LCS owner Glen was a little sorry I didn't pull a big card out of this box. However I must say I did not too badly compared to other breaks I've seen. The Cano Rainbow #/10 is very nice and was a surprise to pull out since we fully don't know the entire parallel ranges yet. The Gonzalez Jumbo is nothing special and reminds me of the Museum Collection, but was nice to be a lower number than what I've seen online. The Stanton and Zimmerman are a little disappointing but again not the worst players I could have pulled. Kaline has a nice autograph and is a popular player within the community. And finally the Mattingly, when I saw the booklet saying signature triple booklet with the Yankees logo on it a million things came to mind. Jeter, Cano, Arod, and on it went. I was happy to pull the Mattingly booklet and for it to be numbered low at #/10. The jersey pieces are the away grey but still a nice card overall.

As for the quality of the cards I was a little sad to say they are a little dinged up. Knowing that Topps has sent these out to players to hard sign them gives me reason to believe that all players aren't collectors nor would take care of them the same way you or I would. I do believe it is hard for Topps to police this from happening but could have maybe took a little extra time in reviewing them before sending them out in a $500 hobby box. For myself I noticed the Cano with a ding that I wish wasn't there, but at least the other cards aren't too bad with some chipping and the back of the cards having some wear. Looks like this product was handled a lot between Players, maybe their friends/teammates, and Topps employees.
 I do hope this product continues on for the next few years. As you know I love hard card signed autographs and this product packs it in there. I'm sure Topps had a heck of a time getting this all resourced out in order to provide us this product and I thank them for it. With all new things in life everyone has their flaws, and this product would be in the Mint side of the product. The designs and concepts of a product this type really is great and I can look away from the small dinged card that I received and appreciate the other aspects on what Topps took to provide this to the collectors. Baseball being my main sport of collection I truly love the cards I've seen live of this product and will continue to buy this product in the future. The Fun Aspect of this product is lower compared to other products because of the amount of money your paying for a gamble of cards in this product. Seemed more nerve racking than fun for me at least.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Cost: 3.5/5
Autographs: 4/5 
Memorabilia: 4/5
Design: 4.5/5
Concept: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 3.5/5

Sunday, November 11, 2012

43rd Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo Review

Twice a year us Canadians have our big card show to attend in Toronto. This being the 43rd show it goes without saying it is always a great turnout and great place to find anything sports related.

This November's show again proved the collecting industry is still hot. People from around the world come into Toronto to be apart or experience the show that happens once in the Spring and once in the Fall. This includes companies within the industry like regulars Upper Deck, In The Game and Panini.

For the 43rd Show Upper Deck had a promotion involving expired Redemption cards in a "Trade-in and receive" program and their Priority Signings. Panini had a few promotions with a 4 card exclusive pack and a wrapper redemption exclusive for the Fall Expo.

With the Dealers, you can find anything you can think of at the show. From display cases, autographs, jersey's, goalie masks and of course cards. To top off the shows there are always autograph guests scheduled during the 3-day event. This Fall was the 1972 Team Canada Reunion along with other retired hockey stars and sports related guests.

This was my 12th show and I was excited to be apart of another promising event. I made it out on Sunday (final day of the show) and after hearing and seeing the highlights from Friday and Saturday it sure couldn't come any sooner.

I arrived when the doors opened and started my first of many rounds through the dealer rows. I noticed a lot of newer dealers throughout the show and some familiar dealers no longer there. The consistent on everyone's table was Panini Certified Hockey, Panini Score, and Upper Deck Series 1 for the wrapper redemption. I noticed a lot of unique items at a majority of the tables which included game used pucks, jerseys, sticks and even baseball bats which are rare at the expo since it being mainly hockey.
I did notice that a lot of the Football products were missing from a lot of tables. With the products being so strong this year I was hoping to grab a few but nothing really there to be found.

By the time I hit the middle rows, the autograph lines were packed. A lot of the focus seemed to be on the players coming today rather than searching for deals at tables. I for one was mainly there for the wrapper redemption from Panini and also to have a couple of cards authenticated by JSA, and to hand in a shipment into COMC (Check out my cards).

JSA was great, they handled authentication so quickly and efficiently. Both my Patrick Roy cards were completed within an hour and were both certified as authentic.

COMC was hard to find in the corporate area. They were on the end beside the Beckett tables. I met Geoff Holland from COMC. Great guy to talk with and was nice to discuss COMC and them working now within Canada. It was a super plus to be able to hand in my shipment and not worry about shipping it down to the US and adding that extra cost. I really hope they do well with the Canadian expansion and continue to provide a great service for collectors.

I had a great time with the Panini team. Really great guys and they have just as much fun about the product as the buyers ripping into the packs. I bought a box of 2012-13 Panini Certified Hockey in order to receive the 6 Expo Redemption Packs. I ripped through the box pretty quickly and did ok on the box bust pulling 3 relics (2 of which were numbered to /75 from the Kings) and an autograph of Peter Holland.

I started into my 6 Redemption Packs and came out pretty good. I managed to pull a Brett Lawrie Hot Rookie /399, Ryan Broyles Relic and a Cracked Ice of Sven Baertschi with an announced print run of  /25 or less. The Base cards are nice as well and with only 2 cards per redemption pack these cards will be hot.    

The best deal of the show that I saw for boxes was 2011-2012 Panini Rookie Anthology for $70!! Crazy price so I had to buy at least one of these boxes. On top of that Universal (distributor for Panini) had a Wrapper Redemption for these boxes where as you would receive 3 packs from the 2011-2012 NHL All-Star Game Wrapper Redemption packs from Panini. So I sat down with a Universal representative and ripped open the box. As you know I hold Rookie Anthology in high regard as one of the best products of the year, so I was thrilled to rip into another box of it. After the ripping was done I pulled an Autographed Jimmy Hayes, Dual Jersey Autographs of Erik Condra and Jake Gardiner, a Starting 6 of the Red Wings and the bonus hit was a two color patch of Erik Gudbranson. A very nice box to say the least.

I wasn't expecting much from the Redemption packs but I did manage to pull a Jason Spezza Certified numbered 4/5!
Now what would be said if I went to a Expo and not come away with at least something Baseball related. I didn't really see much in the way of card products for Baseball that were decent deals. I did however notice that a few dealers had some Bats for sale. Some were official bats, autographed bats and some game used. Being a lover of baseball, the history and the Blue Jays, I was able to find a very nice piece to add to my collection. I went to the "Everything Blue Jays Dealer", he had some nice autographed balls and some other oddities from the Blue Jays. This though was the first time I noticed he had Game Used Baseball Bats from previous years players. A lot of the bats he had were role players from teams past, but he did have a 1985 Game Used bat of Willie Upshaw. As soon as I saw it I had to have it. It has a little crack in the handle and is a great and very hard memorabilia piece to find of the Blue Jays former 1st basemen. It came from a Blue Jays executive who had a personal collection that he recently sold off after he had moved into a smaller residence.

Overall I found my experience at the show pretty good. The attendance might have been a bit slower on Sunday but talking with the dealers it seemed to be really good on Saturday with selling products. I think the Hockey Strike has effected the overall excitement of the Expo and it seemed to also take a hit on some of the dealers as well with Rookies not making names for themselves and nothing to cheer or really search out for. However I think the Panini Wrapper Redemption was HOT, HOT, HOT!!! It brought me to the show and I'm sure others as well. If you've never been to the Expo it is a definite must for anyone living in the area or close enough to take a trip to visit. The organizers always do a great job with the customers and dealers alike and should be for the years to come.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

1st Edition; The Pack Gambler Followers: "What are you collecting?"

As you know, The Pack Gambler is all about providing insight and opinion on sports cards within our community. What we also strive for is to have The Pack Gambler Followers on Twitter and Facebook involved into our blogs, reviews and news. So the idea of writing a blog/article on our Followers was an easy idea and would also provide other collectors some thoughts about what others within the community are collecting or investing in. Hopefully this will be our 1st of many more to come along.

We recently asked our followers within the Facebook community to tell us what they are currently collecting. The question was at a time where the World Series was in full swing, NFL just finished Week 7, NBA Pre-season was under way and the NHL continued to stay in a lockout. Lots of things happening within the sporting world which was the perfect time to ask about what you were collecting.

With the MLB season almost ending I knew a lot of collectors would be still focusing on their projects they started this year within some of the baseball products.

Like Tracy L."Trying to complete my 2012 Triple Play set but most people don't have any cards to trade from it. Difficult set to complete." 

Other collectors like Jonathan H. and Justin W. whom try to narrow their collecting to baseball have on-going projects that carry over each year:

"I'm currently running down the Boston Red Sox Unity Jersey cards from 2012 Topps Triple Thread. Finding them on eBay is easy, winning them on the cheap is not. Outside of that it's Red Sox cards in general. Trying to collect all of them is a chore but it's a fun chore, I guess you'd call it a hobby." said Justin W.
"I collect mostly baseball, all Pirates, especially HOF and prospects. This year was good to me with prospect and RC autos. Got 2 Starling Marte RC Auto Relics, 2 Geritt Cole autos, and a Jameson Taillon auto. Also hit a nice Andrew McCutchen redemption." says Jonathan H.
As for myself in the Baseball collecting, I too am continuing with my on-going search for 2011 Topps Jose Bautista Parallel Rainbow of Chrome and Regular Topps. In addition to the Bautista 2011's I'm always in search for BlueJay Rookies along with Lawrie, Arencibia, Romero and Drabek cards.  

With the NHL still in full lockout mode with no light at the end of the very dark tunnel, fans are still seeing new Releases out on the market. Upper Deck and Panini both have continued with their plan for 2012-2013 products and haven't disappointed. This is one of the reasons for Hockey collectors to try and find new avenues to collect within the sport. Rookie cards being pulled in packs right now still hold some value, but nothing like they would if the season was in full swing.

Collectors like Matthew S. are just an example of how some NHL collectors are trying new things. "I've always leaned towards collecting rookies but with the lock-out I've become more interested in the classic players. Right now it seems that there are quite a few Brett Hull auto and memorabilia cards out there, unlike previous years. Hull has always been one of my favorite players so I've been trying to track down a few of his cards in the secondary market."

I'm not a collector of Hockey any longer but if I still was this is a very good way of tailoring your collection during a sad time of a lock-out. Most of the products coming out this year are including a lot of retired players in the product and like Matthew stated above, your going to be seeing a lot of older players cards showing up in new and previous years products like you never seen before. 

On the flip side though is the unfortunate part of any lockout could be the loss of collectors in the industry. Even for a year or a bit during a lock-out can effect the hobby in many ways. For instance Andrew M. has turned his collecting habits into Baseball; "I mainly collect hockey but this year because the NHL season is looking more and more like it is going to be lost I have returned to collecting baseball. There are some very cool products and cards out there that have been released so have been chasing the Blue Jays cards from several of the sets as they are released." he states. 
This could also continue to be a trend in the industry and could turn collectors even away for good depending on what happens with the lock-out and the future products coming out. 
As most of us we do dabble into other sports and mix and match with cities or certain players. Jamie B. has been focused on Football and Basketball; "Collecting football and basketball. I have great luck with Panini football grabbing a jersey RGIII and his auto/jersey but no luck getting any hit with Andrew Luck. Basketball I collect Bulls!" 
While Matthew G. is into Baseball and Football; "Been trying to chase down a Bryce Harper and Trout rookies. I also collect Yankees and have been putting a binder of cards together. And for football, anything especially NY Giants I collect. Been trying to put together a Giants collection and sorting them by player in binders.

Then you have some collectors that take on everything like Brad J. who is not only working on his collection, but a future project for his little one to continue; "I am doing a lot of any kind of card collecting. NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL I'm doing all of them but mostly football and baseball I wouldn't mind start more on the NHL ones so when I get older my son can have all my cards and collect mine."

With collecting cards it never gets old, and if you happen to stray away for a bit and come back into the hobby (like I have) you can get right back into the fold without missing a heart beat. Laurie G. is currently starting this up again "Football then baseball, basketball I don' t have much of but would like to add to. Getting back into collecting so I'm like a little kid all over again happy with whatever I get my hands on!" she states.

Hearing back from our Followers you can see that there are always going to be various ways of collecting during certain times of the year. The NHL Lockout has proved to somewhat hinder the hockey collecting for some but has given others another outlook to run with. Baseball and Football seem to continue to be the strength of the hobby, with collectors looking for certain players, teams and products. 
Current day the MLB season completed with the Giants sweeping the series, the NHL lockout still continuing, the NFL moving into Weeks 8-9 and the NBA about to start the Regular Season. There are collections starting, ending or continuing in some fashion with the change in the sports world all the time.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball Hobby Box

The annual Bowman Chrome Hobby box came out last week and like all years past provides a lot of players you have not heard of before. For a lot of the baseball collectors this box passes them by and they look for the single cards on auctions sites or trading forums. For the in-depth Baseball collector this is the box that most people wait for. it is packed with minor league players that were not apart of the 2012 Bowman release and also include autographs from these players.
The box specs are 18 packs per box with 4 cards per pack. You will receive 8 Refractors, 1 Futures Game Insert, 1 Franchise All-Stars Insert and 1 Autograph. New for this year Topps included a second autograph every third box. So if you land one of these your receiving an extra hit in your box.
Refractors are the same as they have been with Blue, Purple, Gold, Orange, Red and Super Refractor. All numbered from 250 to 1/1.
The inserts this year are also new with Future Game All-star, Franchise All-Star and Legends in the Making. These are included into the boxes with ratios of 1:18 to 1:24 for the base inserts. The Legends in the Making have Autographs which are numbered from 15 or less each. They are using the same crisp Die-cut design they have used with Finest and Platinum. And to think this might be enough, Topps has added in Game Used items from the Futures Game as redemption cards. This can be redeemed for Hats, Bats and Jersey's Topps obtained at the game.
I wasn't going to pick up this box for 2012 as in previous years I wait a bit for the prices to go down and then pick up a couple and sit on them for a year or two. I was in my hobby shop picking up some supplies and saw he had two boxes left on the counter and I decided to purchase one. I brought it home and was going to store it away for a couple of years and see if anyone could be in there. After looking as some box breaks and the checklist i decided to rip it open and maybe pull one of those redemption cards or a sweet autograph. Here are my results:

Base: 26 (no doubles)
Base Rookie Prospects: 35 (no doubles)
Refractors: (5) Mike Trout, Brian Pointer, James Shields, Corey Hart, Daniel Bard
Blue Refractor: Yadier Molina /250
Legends in the Making: Clayton Kershaw
Franchise All-Stars: Beltran/Taveras (Cardinals)
Future Game All-Stars: (2) Alfredo Marte, Rymer Liriano
Autograph: Chase Davidson
I think I should have stuffed this one away in storage for a bit. I wasn't overly happy with this box. The card designs are great and really standout with the chrome but overall I wasn't too impressed. I did go in not knowing what i was going to get and knowing that some or almost all of the cards in here would have no value for a few years to come. I think the main reason for being a little disappointed was the refractors. I would have liked to seen another color in there rather than just the one blue refractor.
I did manage to pull a Legends in the Making Die-cut of Kershaw, these cards are very sweet looking. I really do love the die-cuts from Topps this year, very impressive.the autograph of Chase Davidson is not too bad, he is a decent prospect in the Houston organization. The On-card autographs also help of course for secondary market value once these players make it up to the big league. I think with the addition of the Futures and Franchise All-Star inserts they have taken away from the Refractors or other Rookies to pull from this product. They are nice cards but will hold no value in the community.
For this product it is really a hit or miss on who you pull. If you pull a Top Prospect, Refractor, Black or Veteran Autograph you have really have made good on this buy. Again you might just have to wait a while for those prospects to make it up and they could take an average or below average box to the upper levels.

Gambler Overall Rating: 3.6 out of 5
Cost: 3.5/5
Autographs: 3.5/5 
Parallels: 3.5/5
Design: 3.5/5
Rookies: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 3/5

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

**Update: 2012-2013 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee Hockey Canadian Redemption**

So back in late August I purchased two boxes of 2012-2013 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee Hockey. The product was really well received and I also really enjoyed this years edition.

The one special thing about this years product is that Upper Deck offered a special Wrapper Redemption for Canadian residents only. The program details were that you needed to provide 50 Hobby Wrappers to a Certified Diamond Dealer (hobby shop) and they would send in for the redemption packs.

The packs would consist of 5 Red Boarded 2012-13 O-Pee-Chee parallel cards along with 1 All-Star card.

Depending on when your dealer sent in your wrappers depended on how long it took Upper Deck to send out the redemption packs.

I received mine just yesterday after waiting almost two months. The packs are in cello wrappers and you can see the top and bottom cards. The bottom cards are the All-Star cards which are very hard to find and collect since you would need 50 redemption packs to just maybe have a shot at the subset.

Here is who I received in my pack:
Red Boarder Base: Manny Malhotra, Wayne Simmons, Andrew Macdonald, Kris Versteeg
Red Boarder Marquee Legend: Jari Kurri
All-Star: Sidney Crosby

When I first saw the cello pack I thought that dealers would just pull out the top players and hand out the lower tiered to us collectors. If your not close with your hobby shop this might be a problem. My hobby dealer told me they had Bobby Orr, Crosby, Ovechkin and Joe Sakic come into the shop among others. Not too bad of pulls from the redemption.
As for the designs of the cards, they are the same as the regular base cards but just with a red boarder. Nothing too fancy here, but set collectors will want them. I was hoping they would be like the rainbow parallel set but free cards for wrappers is nothing to complain about.

Friday, October 19, 2012

2012 Topps Heritage Baseball Update set

Yesterday Topps started accepting pre-orders for their 2012 Topps Heritage Baseball Update Set. A few special things about this certain set is that it is only available on, will be limited to 1000 sets and will include one on-card autograph in each set.

Heritage is a very popular set within the Baseball collectors world so this should sell very well. Plus it will include the rookies that missed the 2012 Heritage regular set that came out earlier this year.
Topps hasn't provided any checklists yet on the product and this includes the autographs as well, so your going into this for $100 some what blind. Knowing what Topps has done thus far with the Baseball rookies, I'm betting the 100 card set will be full of the big ones.

Another note about the autographs is that you could find a Red Ink Autograph card /10. This is an additional reason why I would look into buying this product. On-card autographs are a sought after item for collectors and do very well in the secondary market. Again we don't know the checklist of those autographs but This might be a good gamble on a pre-order product.

The tentative shipping date is November 6th but might change. For those in Canada interested in this product note that the shipping charge is $24.84 USPS priority mail service, so we are looking at $125 in change for this set. As collector I'm in as well as a Pack Gambler on those autographs, you never know if you'll pull someone big or one of those Red Ink Autographs to make this all worth while.

Once I receive my set I'll send out an update blog on my results (fingers crossed).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Panini Certified Football Hobby Box

Panini has continued to impress me this year and again has done it with another great Football product. 2012 Panini Certified came out this week and it provided more punch into the depth Panini has provided to collectors this year. 2012 Certified comes in a ten pack box providing four hits per box. The four hits can be a combination of Autographs and Memorabilia, along with parallels of base cards and the same autographs and memorabilia. Each pack with contain one of these along with four base cards. The base cards this year sport the very common backing that Panini is known for with team colors. The front of the cards are again a Panini trait with the shinny silver reflective design. Parallels for the base cards range from Mirror Red /250 to Mirror Black 1/1. Two sets within the set are Immortals /999 and the New Generation Rookies /999. Both also include the same amount of parallels to chase down.

Autographs are plenty in this product. You are guaranteed to pull at least one autograph per box, which could come from Rookies, veterans, or retired stars. Of course these are all Sticker autographs, but at least you shouldn't have too many show up as a redemption.
Memorabilia,  Memorabilia and more Memorabilia! Again Panini has packed a product loaded with lots of memorabilia used cards. These range from Veterans, Retired Stars and of course a very heavy Rookie insertion. Now some might say there are way too many memorabilia cards to pull from this product, but I say bring it on. Of course with the amount of memorabilia in this product your chances of pulling a top player could be harder, but Panini is usually pretty good with their box assortments.

As with most collectors, I was waiting for this product to arrive. It has always given good results in the past and I really like the designs of the base, autographed and memorabilia cards. Aside from the hits and the parallels, the cost of this product (which is around $100) is great for any collector. Here are my results:

Base: 42 (no doubles)
Base Mirror Red Parallel: Aaron Rodgers /250
Base Mirror Blue Parallel: Alex Smith /100
Immortals: Irving Fryar /999
New Generation: Devon Hill /999, Vick Ballard /999
New Generation Red Parallel: Ryan Lindley /250
Autograph: (2) Lavonte David Red Mirror /250, Matt Kalil Red Mirror /250 (Redemption)
Memorabilia: Ryan Tannehill Certified Skills /299,
Prime Memorabilia: David Wilson Fabric of the Game Prime Patch / 49
This was a very good box overall. I really like the base card design, even though you might end up with finger prints on your cards. Also I didn't end up with any damaged cards in this box, the last few Panini boxes I had some damaged corners but this box was clean all the way through. The Parallels are nice looking for the base and rookies, very new reflections off of them and the cards really standout. As for the Rookies in this box they were not as abundant as in previous releases where they are over flowing. It does turn out to be a good small size and this will provide a higher secondary market value due to this point.
I was able to pull two autographs and two memorabilia cards of decent draft picks. A split in this assortment was nice, even with sticker autographs and one being a redemption. Not to mention the David Wilson Prime Patch is a very sweet looking card, the patch has a lot going on too and it seems like it's over flowing off the card.
I really like this product for the value, amount of cards, design and the number of hits per box. For a product with only ten packs per box, this really pulls all the stops. I do have to say this box was one of the better ones I have seen busted so there is a chance to pull some basic memorabilia with just one autograph, but I think the chance is worth it on this great looking product.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Cost: 4.5/5
Autographs: 3.5/5 
Memorabilia: 5/5
Design: 5/5
Rookies: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 4.5/5

Monday, October 15, 2012

Collector Tips: Buying at the right time

Like most of us in the hobby we collect certain players, teams or cities. The problem with this is we aren't allow, there are multiple people collecting the same across the community. You can't have everything of one player or team but if you really wanted you could pay the high prices and take everything in stock. Most of us don't have the money to spend a ton of cash on certain players cards, especially those 1/1 Refractors, Printing Plates or Autographs. We just hope that sometimes we get lucky with an auction or spot a card at a decent price at a show and scoop them up.
But what is the best way to build your collection without spending a lot of money on cards? Well there are a few tips that you could use and have proven to help me in my collecting as well as others in their collection needs.

#1. Try not to buy when your player/team is hot - This is the time old story of everyone on the planet jacking up their prices because the player is on a hitting streak, breaks a record, or wins a championship. Without a doubt this will happen all the time. The amount of cards that come out of the woodwork after an MVP season or a team championship is amazing. Those 1/1's you've been looking for, well someone was just waiting for that player to win an MVP to put them on the block and sell at a premium.Now this is a hard thing to hold back on as well, since so many cards are surfacing you might find ones that you really need and haven't seen in years. The best thing to try and do is maybe speak with the seller and see if they are able to work out a deal with you. Chances are they will since they want to sell, just watch out for the price. Having patience and waiting can be challenging but a must need in order to stay within your limits and not giving in.

#2. Slumps or Injuries are your collections best friend - Of course since you root for you favorite player or team you never want them to loose 100 games a season or get hurt. Your collection on the other hand loves this. It is the best time to buy anything of your player or team when this happens. Everyone is dumping what they have and you can get some really good deals on items. Anything from Autographs, Patch cards and low serial numbered cards will be out there to buy at cheap prices. And in addition this is when you can put in some low offers and will get that price or close to it. This might be the worst time for your player or team but it is a really good time for you and your collection. Great examples are Arod and Robinson Cano, both are going through the worst slumps of their careers. Both of their cards aren't going to drop down to rock bottom prices because they are Yankees, but you can bet they will be cheaper in the next little while.

#3. Always be on the lookout - The one day or week you don't check listings of your player is the day those big cards might have been gobbled up. It's a challenging hobby to keep on top of your game in collecting your player. You need to continue to search and look for cards all the time. You never know when that listing of a players wrong name is listed on a hard to find card, or they are in a huge lot and not mentioned in the listing. This is mainly searching online within forums and auction sites, but again you can never really stop or take a break from searching out your player for cards.

#4. Off-Seasons and Strikes -  During the off-season people still list their cards and try to make some money on some new releases that came out either at the end of a season or in the off-season. When this happens there isn't a lot of people on looking for cards so it is a good time to check out some cards in supply and get some deals or buy in bulk. Another time is during a strike or work stoppage in a sport. This is currently happening with the NHL but that hasn't stopped card companies from making cards or people from selling them. This is a really bad time for the sport but an excellent time to get cards at rock bottom prices. Since no one is playing nobody if splaying nobody is hot or leading a scoring title. This makes everyone on the same playing field no matter superstar or not. Also a lot of sellers are trying to get whatever they can for cards and will sell cheaper than if the season was in full swing.

Utilizing these four tips can improve your buying of your collection and keep money in your pocket for more cards down the road. The cost it took to put your collection together and the value increase that you have gained can be a satisfying feeling, and when you can look back and see the amount of deals you made for some of those tough cards by following a smart and patience system can be well worth it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Superstitions, Myth's and Truth's about buying buying boxes and cases

For a long time now we have heard from buyers and sellers of sports cards that there is a trick or multiple tricks to buying the right box or case. Unless proven to you in person or documented, you really can't just take the word of the hobby sometimes. All collectors would love to have the odds in their favour and be able to pull those massive hits in a box or case, it really mess's around with our buying if we here of certain "whispers" within the hobby of tricks.

With most products now having a serial number attached to each box and case, it is very easy for the card companies to know what cards are in each of those cases down to the box. The main reason for this is to ensure quality control with the end consumers (you and me) on damaged or missing cards within a box or case. This is also to prevent boxes/cases from being sold outside of hobby shops, control of who sells the products is becoming more important to the card companies than in years past.

So have you heard of a Myth or Superstition in buying products? I think I ran out of counting how many I've heard a few years back. I have to say though that I have tried a couple of them and even came up with a few of my own over the years. Some were bang on and others were so far off that I forgot what I was looking for.

Recently I heard of one collector that buys based on numbers on the boxes. Panini specifically has a different serial number on each box they produce. So he simply looks for his number and buys only if the numbering is in the serial number. In his case he looks for the number 44, if it shows up anywhere on the box or case he is buying he rips it. He's been very lucky in the past with serial numbers having 44 in it so that is his own theory. I thought I would give it a try recently and found my number and ripped a box, read my review on 2012 Panini Prominence and see how I did.

Just like collecting everyone has their way of picking product. One guy I know has to have the 4th box pulled out from a case. Another collector buys his products on an even numbered day and has to have an even numbered serial number on the product. This other collector picks the highest serial number between the boxes and buys it. Another one I heard of was a collector who lived on the East Coast but was a West Coast fan of teams. He would only buy products that were shipped from the West Coast because he thought they would have more of the local teams in the product then any other spot selling products.

A lot of this boils down to superstitions in buying, but others seem to have cracked some sort of code and not stop using their method. I have to agree on the serial number ideas out there, if you do pull really decent cards every time out of the same set of numbers you have to stick with it. You can't back down on history because it's proven, until of course you start running down a very long bad streak and need to change it up.

The only one who truly knows where everything is? The companies themselves. They have to know and if you hear any different someone is trying to fool you. Now of course there have been theories out there that only the big distributors receive the best cases or boxes of certain products, but I don't think that is the case (at least not anymore). Being up in Canada it sometimes gets hard to find Baseball products in plentiful quantities, so you buy what you can and open it up. And believe me I've seen some great cards pulled, especially the last two years. heck even the other day at the hobby shop someone pulled a Bryce Harper Finest Autograph.

Going forward there will always be more superstitions than hard core facts about buying boxes. You really don't know for sure what you will pull out of a box these days. Unless you buy products by the case it's a crap shoot on what you pull. I love hearing stories from other collectors on their own tricks/superstitions on buying product. I hope that never changes as it has been one of those never ending stories within the community for years. 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Product Review: 2012-2013 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey Hobby Box

I'm not sure if it's the playing of EA Sports NHL13 daily but the lockout hasn't stopped me from buying Hockey products. This week Upper Deck came in with a Star Studded one this week in 2012-2013 Artifacts. This has been a very decent product in the past but this year Upper Deck injected some super added relics and autographs that it will be hot from the get go.

The configuration is the same as last year with ten packs per box and 4 cards within each pack. Now for the goodies; each box will contain 1 Autograph, 1 Multi-Player Game Used card, 2 Single Player Game Used Cards, 1 Rookie Redemption, 2 Rookie Cards /999, 2 Goalie Insert cards /999 and 2 Team Canada Insert cards /999. Also on average every box with have a card featuring either a Patch, Strap, Stick or Tag!
In addition every other box will be packed with either a Autographed Rookie Redemption /99, Patch-Stick /10, Dual Patch /15, Patch-Tag /2, Dual Jersey Auto /12, Patch-Jersey Autograph /8, Dual Patch Autograph /3, Patch-tag Autograph /1, Black Foil Autograph /5, or a Tandem or Trio Patch, Strap or Tag from /35 down to /1.

Needless to say this product is loaded. With Panini providing very solid hockey products this year, it was really Upper Deck's time to shine and step-up. The price point on this product is very good as well, coming in at around the $100 range. Not one of the high end products within the sport but looking at the very affordable mid-range area with multiple hits. With the added Patch, Strap or Tag in each box this is sure to be a very popular product on the secondary market.

For myself I have been a fan of the Artifact product since it was introduced into baseball a few years back. It wasn't very flashy or had a reputation of a stellar product in years past, but it was a decent product. This years hockey seems to have morphed into a super-high attention flash into the market with the added value.
I was planning on purchasing this product and was happy it was on schedule and not delayed on hitting the market. I picked up a box and here is how I did:

Base: 28 (no doubles)
Base Parallels: 0
Rookie Redemption: Chicago Blackhawks
Rookie Cards /999: Jussi Rynnas & Tyler Cuma
Goalie Insert /999: Steve Mason
Team Canada Insert /999: Shea Weber
Multi-Player Game Used: 1 Tundra Tandems Zetterberg/Franzen
Single Player Game Used Card: Taylor Hall Dual Jersey /125
Dual Jersey Autograph: Brayden Schenn /12 (Team Canada)
Patch Jersey Emerald: Chris Pronger /75 (Team Canada)
I can't say it enough, this product is very strong for this year. The Base cards are very nice and have a nice foil on the bottom, but I did find some that were chipped or in some cases a little bent on the bottom corners. I only received a couple but still with only 2-3 per pack it's not a great feeling to find them there. The Dual Jerseys of Multi-Players are cool, nothing too special about the swatches but could only imagine if I pulled a patch or other special relic how they would look. The Chris Pronger Patch-Jersey and the Brayden Schenn Dual Jersey Autograph were both really nice pulls. Especially living in Canada that these were Team Canada relics and not other team relics. The very low numbered pulls I received were great, you really can't argue with hits at numbers of /75 or less. The Rookie Redemption cards will have to wait and see, you don't really know who these will end up to be so you either take your chance and redeem them or flip them. As for the Autograph, it is a sticker and wish for an on-card but I'll take it. The odds of pulling 2 Team Canada and Goalies SP's was off by 1 each but I suppose maybe the high-end hits took over for those? Either way I'm happy.

Overall I really like this product. I think it is very good value coming out of the boxes I had as well as others I've seen opened. This product certainly has taken a strong charge on the mid-range market and has put Upper Deck into the conversation as one of the stronger products of the year. I would recommend this product to any range of collector. The Lower-end collector will have a great time opening up this product, and that goes the same for the Mid-High end collectors. With the value of the Patch, Strap, Stick or Tag card in the box your bound to pull something very good from this product.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 3.5/5 
Memorabilia: 5/5
Design: 4.5/5
Rookies: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Do we really need to continue with the Photo Variations?

This might turn into a rant but has anyone had enough of these yet? Maybe it's just me but I really don't look forward to these the last few years. All three main companies; Topps, Upper Deck and Panini have had these in at least one or more products this year. Topps being the most across all lines that have included these into their products. Of course it is mainly the lower end products that have these but we have seen a couple of mid-range products with these variations included.

One of the hardest things with these is knowing which is which. You need to do a little research in order to figure out if you have one or not. Sometimes there might be 3 or 4 different variations of the same player too, Andrew Luck in 2012 Topps is a perfect example.

I personally am not a fan of them, I wish they would put more into harder to pull inserts or subsets to draw interest. I understand that this has been done in the past and the photo variations have done very well for the companies. I just would hope from a collectors point of view they would stop the photo variations. I just have no interest in trying to find or paying big money for a different photo of a player on a base card.

I think one of the worst two sets that were out this year that included the Photo variations were Topps Baseball Series 1 & 2 and Panini Score Football. These sets had a large number of base cards to start and to include photo variations of anywhere from 20-50 different cards with variations. Doesn't make it too fun to sort through each of these cards to ensure you don't have a variations or if you do in order to not trade or sell away the wrong one. I have also heard of 2012 Topps Update running with Photo variations as well, but hopefully not too many.

Hopefully the run of photo variations will end at some point (sooner rather than later). Of course the next new variation or gimmick that is put into the future products could be worse, but hopefully they will be a better idea or concept to run with to please all collectors.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Leaf Cut Signature History of Baseball Edition

So Leaf has temped me once again with a new Cut Signature product. History of Baseball; how could I resist a Cut Signature of someone within Baseball history?

This was a very similar instance that happened to me just like the Peter Rose Leaf product a few weeks back. I didn't hear much about it, didn't know when it was coming out, and had no idea about a checklist or what was inside.

The local hobby shop brought in 8 boxes, the Pete Rose Leaf product did very well so they took a chance on this product hoping for the same result. Again a lower priced product but with a guaranteed Cut Signature inside. Plus each of the Cut Signatures are encased in a Beckett Grading Services holder!

I had to stop and think again, how can they do this for such a low cost? The value of the BGS holder alone could cost you $15-20. The packaging is vague in the sense they show the hard to find hits like Babe Ruth and Willie Mays, no mention of odds or a checklist on the box either.

I did some investing online at the store and there isn't really any information on these cards anywhere. The only info I could find was that it is the largest Cut Signature product to be released. Now once I heard that I was a little suspicious, and I knew the odds of pulling a fantastic card out of these boxes would be very rare.  I've seen pricing as low as $30 up to $45 at the top end. For a chance at a decent Cut Signature it is so worth it the gamble.

I opted to buy 3 boxes, while another person at the store purchased two for them self. We both were talking about what we could get in the box and what most likely we would see. We both thought of a ton of "nobody's" in the baseball world that could end up in this product. But we didn't care. the fun was seeing who they would turn out to be and maybe pull a decent hit.

So here is what I pulled out of the 3 boxes:

Box #1: Gene Clines (1971 World Series Champion)

Box #2: Fred Stanley (1977 & 1978 World Series Champion)

Box #3: Billy Gardner (1954 & 1961 World Series Champion)
I had to do some research on these three players in order to figure out who they were. I had no idea when I pulled them and I consider myself to know baseball very well but I had a little trouble on this one.
Needless to say they weren't all-stars on their teams and the only thing about them was they were on World Series Championship teams. The Clines and the Gardner are on solid white pieces of paper, almost like they were given the paper to sign for the product. The Stanley is on a lined cue card it would seem, so a little different there and is a nice touch to a cut signature.
The BGS holders were in perfect shape and the overall concept of the product is very cool. You have to think for the $105 I paid for the 3 boxes I took a chance on maybe pulling a really cool cut signature. I didn't get one, but you can't beat that price for a product like this one.
The design of the cards aren't anything to write home about and they are not numbered either. The back of the cards is a very generic message about the authenticity of the cut signature, but again nothing about the player. The BGS description does state the players name and their place in baseball history, but wasn't expecting much there so this was a nice add.
This is a product I would recommend to any collector that enjoys cut signatures and baseball history. Sure the checklist probably has a ton of players or people in baseball you have never heard of before, but this is all part of the gamble. It made me go out and research these three players to find out more of who they are and what they did in their careers. I think it's a great idea and I'm considering going back and purchasing more.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 5/5 
Players Represented: 3.5/5
Design: 3.5/5
Concept: 4.5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Product Review: 2012 Panini Prominence Football

Panini Prominence came out this week, another addition to the mid-high end football products they have produced this year. In this product they have made it one pack with eight cards. Out of those eight only three are going to be hits, two autographs and one memorabilia card. After buying Momentum last week I thought this was not going to do it for me.

I looked over the checklist and the Autographs and Relics and it didn't seem too bad of a product. The cost is half of what Momentum is but I was a little off about only receiving three hits.

Each box will contain three Base cards numbered /897 and have either Silver or Gold foil, both of which are the same numbering. Not too sure why, I didn't think this was needed but they are in there. In addition to the Base cards you will receive two Legends cards /897. As for the the Hits, they will come from the eighteen or so Autographed or Relic inserts.
Again a strong Rookie presence in this product with Prime jerseys and autographs of the top of the draft class. Every single card in this product is numbered, this always has a very good secondary market value for collectors.

I figured I would take a chance on this product even though I wasn't totally sold on it. So here is what I pulled:

Base Silver cards: Darren McFadden, Dez Bryant /897
Base Gold card: BenJarvus Green-Ellis /897
Legends Silver card: Randall Cunningham /897
Legends Gold card: Ron Mix /897
Autographed RC Card: #215 T.Y. Hilton /499
Black and Blue Relic: Anthony Fasano /170
Autographed RC Material Prime: Robert Turbin /150

When I opened the pack I didn't think the Base cards would be as thick as they are. Very strong and sturdy cards, the pictures and design of the cards really standout. However I did notice that on the Gold base and legend cards that the bottom corners on the front of both were turned up. Not a great thing in this product, the Silver cards all were fine and didn't seem to have the same issue.
The Anthony Fasano relic was a bit of a let down, a very small single swatch. Even though numbered low out of /170 it still was a bust for me on this pack. The Hilton Die-Cut Auto was very nice. I really like the technology in these cards. The corners were sharp and the design is impressive, even for a sticker autograph.
As for the Turbin Patch auto, well this might have saved my box. It is a nice solid 3 color patch of a decent player numbered out of /150. It's not going to pay for the box but it was a nice card to pull.

I haven't decided if i will send in the two damaged cards or not, both aren't high value players so I might just cut my loss on them. My overall view of this product is decent. I like the designs of the cards, very strong rookie insertion rate and aside form the two gold cards the quality of the cards are nicely done. I think Panini could have added a little more into the product and maybe left out the hits like the Fasano I received to give the customer a little more. For a mid-range product it did well, and for those collectors not yet ready to jump into the higher end products, this might just be the product to get you started onto the next level of busting.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Cost: 4/5
Autographs: 4/5 
Memorabilia: 4/5
Design: 5/5
Rookies: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5