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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What influences your buying?

I remember going to a card show back when I was 15 and seeing the amount of people around this one table. This guy was selling everything from singles, packs and boxes of Baseball and Football. There had to be about 20 people surrounding his table. The closer I got to the table I could see that people were buying this one specific pack and box of cards. Till this day I can't remember what year, set or brand it was but I do remember the amount of demand for it. The more time that went on the more people joined into the pile of paying customers of this product. After a little time passed, I noticed he didn't have anyone crowding around his table so I went over and asked him about what was going on.
I remember him telling me that he was the only person at the show with this product and that a couple of people noticed this and told a few others about it and it caused a craze to buy it up. Even other dealers were in on buying some of it too. The good old supply and demand was in full effect on this day for this dealer. He cleaned up really well at that show.
This brings me to my topic, What influences you into buying? I know that I can say that a scene like that would not have enticed me into buying a product. Even to this day I wouldn't want to be in on that, unless of course it was a promoted special or something known prior to being at the store or show.
But what really does influence you? Nowadays we have an unlimited amount of resources to investigate through on new products just released as well as future pre-order products. We even have the next year releases being shown off as a promotional kick to stir the collecting world on what's to come.
More recently Topps has been at the front of the line teasing customers with pictures of those White Whales, and Jumbo Patches of newly Released cards. They even now recently started showing next years product designs to get the buzz out. Their marketing of their products have gone into overload, and it certainly works.
For myself I like looking through the Sell Sheets prior to a release of a product. I have even waited till the day of the release sometimes to figure out if I'll invest in a product. All it might take it that second look through a product sheet to notice something I didn't see before that catches my eye and gives me the urge to buy a product. At other times it could be just meeting up with a couple of other collectors at the hobby shop talking about the products to influence me into buying them.
Up until about 3 years ago I didn't touch anything but Baseball. I didn't care for Football or Hockey products at all. One day I went into the hobby shop and was talking with the owner. He is a big football fan and was always telling me about the football products but wasn't pushy on me buying any. Every now and again he would show me products either through sell sheets or opened packs the store displayed for customers. On this certain day he showed me 2010 Panini Threads and I started to become interested in the product. Not sure really how it happened but I ended up buying my first box of football cards right then.
Needless to say I've been buying Football as well as Hockey ever since. It didn't really take a strong force to wrestle me down into buying a product I didn't buy previously or some big advertising campaign. It was something very small and over time I caved into buying.
Recently the Fleer Retro Basketball hit the streets and took off to crazy highs. I'm still puzzled on how this product shot up so fast and for so much, but to others they can't get enough of it and some are even paying the higher prices to get it. This might have been that Michael Jordan has an autographed card in the product or maybe it was just advertised very well. Not really sure, but again the influence on this product going forward is the selling price. Simply by charging $50-100 less of the current price will create an influence in buying this product, regardless if you buy basketball or not. You would be influenced simply by the lower cost of a very hot product.
Are you the same? Are you influenced by hot products in the market place? Maybe it takes a long time for you to be influenced into buying a certain brand or sport that you might not have considered previously? Or is it as simple as you look through the sell sheets or checklists and pick out what you want to buy at that time? Many of us have different ways about buying our products and might even have a variety of different ways that come together.
It really just comes down to our own preferred way to buying a product, even if it is influenced by seeing a hoard of people surrounding a dealers table. The beauty about it is that it's your own. You can modify it which ever way you want it. Every collector has their own methodology on buying products. Just ask other collectors on how they buy products and what influences them. You might even be surprised on their ways of buying and try it out on your own.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Panini Momentum Football Hobby Box

Another week and yet another NFL product from Panini is out. This time it is the High-end product Momentum. This product was scheduled to be out in July but was pushed back to this week for release. I wasn't too sure if I would jump into this one or not but after reading the box configurations and the amount of hits you receive it is another easy decision to buy a Panini product.

Each Hobby box brings in 10 packs of cards with only 3 cards per pack, and one of those cards will be either an autograph, relic or autographed relic. 10 hits per box! Really? how can you go wrong with that many hits in a high-end product? You just can't. The value in this product is unreal and nothing else compares to it currently in the market. Now for the average collector keep in mind the cost of the boxes is $200+ so your looking at a range of $20 to $25 per pack/hit, but if you pull one of those patch cards your in for a treat.

The Base cards are 100 cards deep and they will have three different parallels to collect. Gold, Platinum and Black will be numbered from /99 down to /5. These seem to be inserted 1 per box so will be rare to find and should have a decent secondary market value. The design of the base cards are on nice and put onto a thick stock. Only thing with these is with the black backs and bottom fronts you can see some "chipping" happening on the cards over time. I only had a couple of the base cards shown minor signs of this already.

As for the hits, well Panini again has packed another NFL product with a lot to look for. All of the Relic cards have Prime patches to go along with them, as well as dual, triple and quad pieces. The core of the relics and autographs lye within the rookies for 2012. Each one of them have autograph, autograph relics and prime jumbo patch cards. Additionally can find veteran player autographs or relic cards which include retired players. And with ten hits per box your bound to hit at least one or more of these. As for the numbering of the relics, there isn't a listing yet of these but I have seen numbering of /799 down to 1/1's on autographs and relics.

Each box will yield the following hits: 1 Momentum Rookie Signature RPS, 3-4 Rookie Autographs and 5-6 Memorabilia cards. Again loaded with Rookie content in this one which Panini has done a great job with thus far in 2012 products. Knowing this going into breaking the box I was not expecting to land a top draft pick like RGIII or Luck, but more so was excited to see the Relics I would pull.

So here is what I pulled:

Base cards: 19 (Nicks, Roethlisberger, Urlacher, Forte)
Base Parallels: 1 (Gold Bernie Wells /99)
Rookie Autographs: 4 (Cyrus Gray /299, V. Burfict /799, Kendall Reyes /799, B.J. Cunningham /799)
Veteran Relic: 1 (Jay Novacek /199)
Rookie Salute Relic: 1 Rueben Randle /375
Rookie Team Threads Dual: 1 Coby Fleener /199
Rookie Team Threads Triple Patch: Mohamed Sanu /25
Rookie Momentum Signature RPS: 1 Brain Quick /599
Rookie Momentum Signature Platinum Prime RPS: 1 Jarius Wright /25

This was a really great product to open. Knowing your going to get a hit in each pack is truly an awesome feeling. Even though your paying a high price tag on this it is well worth it. As for my box, overall I'm pleased with it. The Triple Patch Sanu /25 I pulled has 2 colors or more for each patch and looks great. The Novacek relic is ok as a solid blue color but wasn't expecting much for the veterans in this one. The Jarius Wright Prime is a decent hit at the low /25 print run but a little disappointed that the prime relics are all solid white. A little color in there on any of the three would have added more value to the card for me. Again it was an unexpected hit from the box as I was only expecting to receive one of the rookie RPS cards. All of the Autographs I received were stickers which is the norm and some would agree that receives stickers over a redemption is better overall. The quality on the relics have really come out in this product with very nice and sharp designs around them.

As for the overall secondary market value, this might be one to sit on. Unless you receive one of the top draft picks, it might be worth more down the road when some of the rookies make a name for themselves. Of course if you pull a crazy patch of anyone it would be great to flip now. Because of this I do have mixed feelings in regards to if this is a flipping box or keeper, you can go either way but will depend on who and what you pull out of the box.
Panini has proven once again that they put together another great product and good value to the customer. So far this is the top Football product of the year and will be hard top this in regards to cost and value add in the product. If you haven't bought one yet, I suggest you do before they become scarce int he next few months.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 4/5 
Memorabilia: 4.5/5
Design: 4/5
Rookies: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Product Review: 2012 Topps Triple Threads Baseball Hobby Box

Topps very anticipated release of 2012 Triple Threads came in today and it is fully loaded. For this year Topps has added more relics to the product in every box giving you more for your money. I have always enjoyed the Triple Threads line. The designs are fresh and the Relic cards are geared towards the player(s) profiled on the card.

Every box you will recieve a Autographed Triple Relic /99 or less, Triple Relic card /36 or less, Unity Autographed Relic card /99 or less and a Unity Relic card /36 or less. Now these Relics and Autographed Relics will also have parallels to them ranging from /99 down to 1/1's. New this year are the Wood parallels which can be found within a few of the Autographed Relics and Relics. With the 1/1's as always they seem to have patches or multicolored swatches attached from what I have seen thus far. Printing Plates are included for the Relic and Autographed Relics, so what for the White Whales. They been a hot piece to own on the secondary market since they were introduced.

Newly added this year are Bat knobs, Jumbo Triple Relics with Hat logo's, All-Star game Jumbo Logo Patches, Laundry Tags, and Double-Fronted Relic cards. The Bat Knobs have really taken off since Tier One had them included into the product, and the Laundry Tags have always been a popular item to search for as they are very hard to come by. The Double-Fronted Relic cards might cause some collectors some grief when displaying their cards. Which side do you show? Do alternate every month? Regardless of these minor details, pulling one of them would be sweet for anyone.

So as everyone knows the Hobby box is split into 2 mini-boxes inside. Topps has provided these two different combinations you could pull from each mini-box:

Autographed Triple Relic and a Unity Relic card
Triple Relic card and a Unity Autographed Relic card

So with the mini-boxes you will be guaranteed to hit an Autographed Relic and a Relic of some sort, it just depends on which of the 2 mini-box combination you receive. So those that like buying the mini-boxes will still come out with 2 decent hits. I personally have never just bought a mini-box of these products since most times you end up paying more and you wind up buying the other mini box anyways.

As for the Base cards, the newly designed cards are much more sturdier than in past releases. It might be that the borders aren't the black that we are used to, but I each of the cards seem better made and would be harder to see the flaking we have seen in the past on the corners or sides. This year the base cards will have seven parallels to chase down. Sepia, Emerald, Gold, Onyx, Sapphire, and Ruby round out the colors schemes for this year. All are numbered from the highest /625 for the Sepia down to 1/1 Ruby. Of course Printing Plates are added for the base cards as well. Each mini-box will include 3 base cards and 2 parallel base cards. Like the past, the parallel cards are at the back of the pack with the 3 base cards on top surrounding the hits in the middle.

I enjoy parallels like others in the community but I think there is just a little too much in this product this year that aren't really needed. It just adds to more of the quantity of the cards and can reduce the secondary market on most of the players featured. Of course the parallels for the relics and autographed cards don't loose their value too much over time but there is some movement down after the product has been out for a while. 

This year the price has gone up from previous years but you will be receiving more than you have in the past, so cost on this turns out to be irrelevant in the end. The one question I had though was with the added hits to the product would I pull a below average player relic/autograph in the box? Chances are you will only because the checklist of the product provides a lot of player names that fit this bill. However nine times out of ten you will not have an entire box with below average hits. The gamble is there though, as with every high-end product on the market. You have to take a chance and see what you get on them and hope to hit one of those lower numbered hits or white whales.

So here is what I pulled:

Base cards: 6 (Pujols, Jeter, Braun, Dawson, Ichiro, Weaver)
Base Parallels Sepia: 2 (A. Gordon, Hamels /625)
Base Parallels Emerald: 2 (Teixeira, Ty Cobb /250)
Unity Single Relics: 2 (Sepia Schmidt Bat /27, Emerald Bautista Jersey /18)
Autographed On-Card Triple Relic: 1 (Sepia Jemile Weeks /75)
Autographed Relic: 1 (Nelson Cruz multi-swatch /18)

Reflecting back on my pulls I was happy with the Mike Schmidt and Jose Bautista Relics. They were low numbered and of a current star and Hall of Fame player. As for the Autographed cards, I was happy with Jemile Weeks. He's one of the below average players in my mind within the secondary market. The swatch was not multi-colored but it was an on-card autograph. A nice looking card but just not the player to hope for in one of these boxes. The Nelson Cruz was a nice hit in this box. Very low numbered card /18 but all the same color swatch and a sticker autograph. The card stands out because of the multiple words within the relic but not a strong player on the secondary market. I didn't hit any of the lower parallels on the base cards but was very happy with the players I received. The one other thing I noticed about this box was the mini-box combinations I received. Instead of a triple relic card and a unity autograph, I received the Nelson Cruz Relic/Autograph which is similar to the first mini-box. I'm happy with this but it looks like other combinations of mini-boxes will be sorted out there within hobby boxes.
The value I received out of the box was not matching that of the price I paid but again you have to forget about that after it's all said and done. I had fun opening this box as each mini-box I opened I had some excitement to see if any of the hits were big pulls. I could see it the other way though where some collectors will not enjoy opening the packs unless they pull a decent hit.
This is a gamble box to buy, set-collectors and the average collector will stay away from these ones. It's even a hard sell on buying into box breaks unless they are full cases due to the limited amount of cards in each box. If you are willing to gamble on a high-end product I think overall you would be ok with this one due to the amount of additional hits Topps has put into the product to make it even more desirable than before.

Gambler Overall Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Cost: 3.5/5
Autographs: 4/5 
Memorabilia: 4/5
Design: 4.5/5
Parallels: 3.5/5
Fun Aspect: 3.5/5

Friday, September 14, 2012

**Update on missing hit from 2012 Panini Football Donruss Elite Football Hobby Box**

Another update to report, this time on a missing hit. So back in July I bought a box of 2012 Elite Football and was very pleased with the product. However I was missing 1 hit from the box, which was a missing relic that was missing.
I sent in the info Panini requires on any type of customer service request and waited to hear back from them. I saw an update last week that I was going to receive a Devery Henderson relic as the replacement. This is what I received in the mail today as the replacement:
Not only it's a decent relic replacement but it's a Prime 2 color Patch numbered out of /49! I had to look at it twice when I opened the package. This request took only 35 business days to be returned in my hand and also above what I was expecting to receive back. Panini does ask for a lot of info and things to be sent in when you place these requests but they have the best customer service and returns on redemption's and in this case replacements.

**Update on 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball Redemption**

As you know I received a Autographed Relic Redemption for Tyler Thornburg in this box. Not a coveted prospect but you might not really find out for a few years even if he makes it up with some of these prospects.
Anyways I did redeem it and it arrived yesterday in the mail. Figuring it was a redemption I thought there might be a chance for an on-card autograph but no such luck. It is a sticker auto and single color jersey swatch.
The turn around on the redemption was 30 business days which is extremely quick from Topps who has known to take longer to send out redemption's for various reasons.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Product Review: 2012 LEAF Pete Rose The Living Legend

I never thought I would say this but I was very intrigued with this product. Now I'm not a fan per-say of Pete Rose but he is within the history of baseball. And being a fan of the history of the game I was going to pick up one of these boxes to try it out.
The one thing that was still in my mind before I picked these up was the fact the cards didn't have any MLB logos showing. This is something I have stayed away from on every product coming out the doors. but I had to remember I was getting an autographed card of Pete Rose in the box. 
There was nothing fancy about this product other than the Autographs and/or Autographed memorabilia you could pull. In each of these Blaster type boxes you will receive 1 Autographed card or Autographed Memorabilia Redemption card, along with 10 packs (6 cards per pack) of the base set. To top it off the Base set is only 50 cards deep, so you could come out with a complete base set. Again no logos showing but a decent little write up on each card of Mr. Rose during that time depicted on the front of the card.
If anyone has ever been to card show or Las Vegas and seen Mr. Rose signing autographs, you know he is not the most pleasant everyday. He (and the stores/shows) charge a lot of money for his autograph on items as well, so for a product to come out that gives you a guaranteed autograph of him for a lower price is a not even a question. You buy it!
So I bought a couple of boxes just to see what I would come out with in each box. Plus not knowing the odds of the Autographed Memorabilia Redemption card I figured I was due to receive two autographed cards.

Box #1:
Base Card set: 50
Doubles: 10
Autograph: 1 AU-5

Box #2:
Base Card set: 50
Doubles: 10
Autograph: 1 AU-47

For the price I paid for these 2 boxes I still wouldn't have been able to have Mr. Rose sign anything for me at a store in Las Vegas or a card show. I added two decent sticker autographs of a baseball legend and 2 base sets. I did like that the Autographed cards are already in a penny sleeve inside a hardcover within the box. No searching each pack or wondering where it is. Just right there waiting for you when you open the box. Again, there is nothing fancy on these base cards as they don't have the team logos showing but an ok set if your into these type of single player sets at a low cost. 

Gambler Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs/Memorabilia: 4/5
Design: 3/5
Set Builders: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 3/5

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Panini Rookies & Stars Football Hobby Box

Well this again was a product I was going to stay away from this year. I wasn't too happy in the past with it and thought the same on the Sell Sheets when they came out. But again I was willing to take a chance on this product and see if it could turn me around this year. I waited a bit after the release in order to make sure I wanted to make this gamble again.
Product facts are 24 packs per box with 4 hits being any selection of Autographed card, Memorabilia cards and Auto/Memorabilia cards. You also receive 1 Longevity parallel, 7 True Blue parallel, 4 Greats Hits subset, 3 Standouts subset, 1 Player Pennant, 2 Team Pennants, and 2 other inserts. The case break with this product is 2 Rookie Autographs of the the Top Ten Draft Picks along with 1 higher Draft Pick autograph. Of course there are Jumbo swatches and Patches to pull but I have found these to be much more rare within the is product in the past as well as this year.
The one other thing to note is the Player Pennants are 1 per box and Team Pennants 2 per box. The are also die-cut cards so finding the set will be one thing, and finding a crisp set could be another.
So after opening the plastic wrap on this box I was starting to have the same feelings I had last year with the same product. I tried to remain calm and think that this box could help me like this product again. Let's find out how I did:

Base Cards: 147
Rookies: 23
Longevity Parallel: 1 Darren McFadden /249 (damaged bottom front of card)
True Blue Parallels: 8 (Rookies: Iloka, Criner, Lewis)
Greats Hits: 4 (Jon Beason Gold /500)
Statistical Standouts: 3
Player Pennant: DeMarcus Ware
Team Pennants: Texans, Chiefs
2 Other Inserts: 1 Statistical Standout, 1 Greatest Hits
Autographed cards: Rookie Vinny Curry /99
Memorabilia cards: Rookie Materials Rayn Broyles /399, Department of Defense Darrelle Revis /199
Autographed/Memorabilia card: Doug Martin Rookie Materials /499

I have to say that even with the Martin pull I'm not that happy with this product. Compared to other products within the same price range I think I would rather bust them than have another run at this product again. The Base card design is a little weak and reminds me of busting this years Score in the sense of no flash. Now I liked this years Score product because everything fit together (Price, Design, inserts, etc), this product I was expecting more out of it due to the fact it is three times more than Score. Now I do realize I pulled 4 hits, but it just lacked the luster of other products within the same area. Not to mention the damaged Longevity card I pulled which I had a feeling that I would find at least one in this box. It's not even worth sending back to Panini for a replacement.
The last thing I was disappointed in was the lack of Rookies in the box. Only received 1 per pack on average but didn't pull anyone within the Top Ten Picks. Could have helped in the overall rating of the product if I had a couple of them.
I tried to give this product another chance this year but unfortunately it again didn't satisfy my own fulfillment. But hey, you can't win them all, and I'm sure this product might be a winner to someone else if they pulled a high valued card or even just because they like other aspects of it. For me I'm looking forward to sticking to not buying it next year, hopefully.

Gambler Overall Rating: 3.2 out of 5
Cost: 3.5/5
Autographs: 3.5/5
Memorabilia: 3.5/5
Parallels: 3/5
Design: 3/5
Rookies: 3/5
Fun Aspect: 3/5  

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Part 1: Things That Bugs The Common Collector

Every collector has one to many "complaints" within the area they collect. Now I use quotations around the word "complaints" due to the fact many in the community find these as such rather than annoyances they could do without.

In no particular order, here is a list of the Top Five "Things That Bug The Common Collector";

#1: Products Being sold prior to the Official Release Date - This seems to be happening more and more frequently this year that years past. Now most of the ones we are seeing are pertaining to Retail being busted than Hobby, but this still is a pain. They seem to be busting cases of the new product and loading everything on eBay or other sites for very high prices. I've seen base cards for no less than $2.00 sometimes three days prior to the Hobby Release date, and for some reason people are buying them up. There is probably nothing to stop this from happening with the large amount of retailers out there and the time needed for the card companies to ship the product out to the main distributors. As a collector, we will need to look the other way when this happens or you can get caught up in the buying aspect of it prior to Release day. 

#2: Sticker Autographs - Yes I know, this is the never ending topic of discussion among collectors and card companies. I understand from the card company side of things where they need to have product out on time in order to satisfy the customers (us), and it is hard to have players sign on-card autographs when they are busy with playing/training everyday in order to keep up with their profession. Topps has been getting much better with on-card autographs in the past couple of years with baseball and football. It use to be just higher-end products that would be the draw to the on-card auto, but now even the regular Topps base products are now showing up with on-card autographs. I think this is going in the right direction with more on-card than sticker autos, but the one thing I would love to see is that when a players card is a memorabilia with autograph that these start becoming more on-card than sticker. I know this would still become a challenge to obtain, but I think that these would draw more value in the community than the current lower than expected value that we see today. I might be one of the few collectors that wouldn't mind waiting for a redemption if it meant an on-card signature.

#3: Sellers with outrageous prices on parallel cards - Yes there are hard-core Parallel collectors out there that collect any and every parallel you can think of, but do you have to jack-up prices so much that the player or team collector can't/won't pay for cards they need for their collection? Parallel collectors are the ones that seem to pay more for these cards over the average collector because of the scarcity of the cards. Also they seem to hold a higher value for them over most in the community. Doesn't seem to be the player but more so the Parallel and the numbering for that card. So of course most flippers or sellers will raise the prices on these and will most times land one of the Parallel Collectors to pay that price. This of course leaves the average collector out of the market and struggling to find that card to finish their player or team set. For myself I wish sellers wouldn't have such crazy prices when it comes to those parallel's of 50 or less. They can be really out there on the value of the cards pricing them in the hundreds for the most common player. Again for myself I will refuse to pay such high prices even though my collection could suffer, but this is what I do to not give into paying more.

#4: Limited Stores carrying cards locally - I have heard of this issue a lot recently with card collecting increasing within the community. Seems harder to find a card shop around most people with the decline in shops opening or even staying open nowadays. The other problem is that the local Wal-Mart's of the world seem to have a selected number and variety of cards to select from depending on where you live. I know of us in Canada it is hard to find any Baseball or Football products in stores, but Hockey has a decent selection. Those Magic cards (or whatever they are called) seem to be everywhere. i wish those would be wiped out with some blasters I've had to cross the border to get a hold of. This is not the card companies fault though and more so the store managers. They decide on what sells best in their store and area and bring it in. Your best bet would to try and talk to them about bring some other selections in and you might get a good response. Just be prepared to hear the "It doesn't really sell well here" speech as sometimes managers aren't as receiving to customers of sports cards.   

#5: Perception of a 1/1 card - Are one of one cards truly a thing of the past? It seems everyone has their own idea of what a one of one is. You see a different variation of them every place you look. You have the players number, 01 of the serial number, the last serial number of the parallel, I've even seen the year of the card in the serial number as a one of one. The problem with this is it gives the wrong perception to the value of these cards. Sure getting the players number within the serial number is cool to have but it's really not a one of one. This was a clever way to make more money on these cards and unfortunately it has stuck. I wish we could go back to the true one of one cards as the serial number dictates on it and forget about these other gimmicks. 

This is Part 1 of a series I'll write about with further input from our Followers and the collecting community that we poll.

If you have an additional "Thing(s) that bug you" send me an e-mail at: you just might be featured in our next segment