Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Product Review: 2012 Panini Prizm Baseball Hobby Box

 When Panini first came out with the Prizm brand in mid 2012 with Basketball a lot of people within the community asked if this would extend into other sports. Soon Football followed and the news of Baseball came shortly after. Now the flip side to this product was that it is a 2012 Product released in 2013. A lot of this had to do with the MLBPA license being finalized for Panini to produce baseball cards. Once the approvals were complete and rules and regulations were confirmed Panini was able to introduce Prizm to the baseball collectors.
Once we heard that Prizm was coming to baseball we knew this would be a hot product. It was expected to have the same flash of the Basketball and football releases along with some differences for the baseball audience.
The basics of the product are as follows, 20 packs per hobby box with 6 cards per pack. base set is 200 cards deep which includes 2012 Rookies including Harper, Darvish, Cespedes, Lawrie and many more rookies. The debate across the community has been asked if these are real RC's of the players or because they don't have the MLB logo's on the uniforms and it's being released a year late should they be considered nothing but a base card in a Panini set?
Our own opinion is that these are Rookie cards. They have an RC logo on them, and they were made and called the year of their rookie season. So We say Yes, while we can see the argument on the other side.

Back to the set; each base card will have three Prizm parallels to chase down called Prizms, Gold Prizms and Black Prizms. They are very similar to Chrome Refractors issued by Topps in various products. These nice parallel cards are also found within the inserts Elite Extra Edition (1:20), Dominance (1:10), Top Prospects (1:20), Brilliance (1:20), Rookie Relevance (1:20), Team MVP (1:10) and Team USA (1:20). Now the stated odds of these Parallels and inserts can vary as these odds are the set allotment for a box, however Panini has stated that you will receive 3 Prizm Parallels along with 12 additional inserts/parallels per Hobby box.
Rounding out the specifics on the box, you will find 2 autographs per hobby box. From everything we have seen these will all be sticker autographs. Now with sticker only autographs you would think that there would not be any redemption's, but we have heard of some showing up for some players.

Well lets see how we did on our break;
Base cards: 102 (0 doubles)
Prizm: 4 - Cano, Strasburg, Howard, Brilliance Hernandez
Elite Extra Edition 1 - Albert Almora
Top Prospect 1 - Dylan Bundy
Brilliance 1 - Felix Hernandez
Dominance 2 - Seaver, Verlander
Rookie Relivance 2 - Montero, Darvish
Team MVP 2 - bruce, Kemp
Team USA 4 - Upton, Jackson, Kershaw, Posey
Autographs 2 - Dellin Betances, Lucas Duda

Overall we were pleased with the quality and design of the cards. While opening the box it felt just like a Topps Chrome product with very similar aspects. The base card design is very nice and crisp. The photography of some of the players are really well done to hide the MLB logos on the uniforms where as you wouldn't think of this as a non-licensed MLB product. On the other hand there are some cards that don't look the best and standout among the set. Our assortment of base was split up with 61 current players, 14 retired, and 27 Rookies. A very nice mixed of base cards. You won't make a complete base set with one box but you will walk away with zero doubles and a good assortment.
The inserts are done nicely in Prizm. Unique in each design and player selection which make them cool to collect the insert sets of each one. They should do well in the secondary market as they have different odds and not really go with the released odds provided from Panini. The Extra Edition and the Team USA seem to be the best of the bunch and will carry a following for both.
Trying to stay away from saying "not a fan of sticker autographs" but really can't. If these were on-card signatures the product might have a stronger following. This could be something in the future that Panini could look at if they want to dive deeper into the Baseball world. The Betances and Duda are two of the lower end autographs in the checklist but there are some big names in there to find.
For a box just under $100 this is a great start for Panini into the baseball collecting world. We didn't pull any of the big autos or tough Gold or Black Prizm's but could see that those would be great pulls out of this product. We recommend this product for anyone looking for a baseball box under $100 and those that enjoy Chrome technology. This product will rival Topps Chrome in the next couple of years if Panini continues moving forward into the baseball market.

As always if there are any cards you are looking for or interested in please let us know via e-mail at We plan on putting some of the cards on COMC and the hits of might end up in a Gambler Giveaway.

Remember to stop by our website for Singles, Boxes and Box breaks.
You can find our breaks here:

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

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Hobby Box

Even with the strong following of Allen & Ginter, Gypsy Queen continues to hold it's own and continue to grow with it's own following. The 2013 product provides you a strong 350 card base set with 50 Short Printed cards to hunt down. The design is a silver/grey base background that provides a unique framing around the players picture. Back are the Mini base cards mimicking the 350 base card set with 5 different parallels of Black, Green, Sepia-Tone, Wood and Leather. Of course the photo variations are also in with the mini's and found within the Mini Boxes within the Hobby boxes. Base cards will also have parallels with the Blue Paper Frame returning and newly added Silver framed numbered 1/1.
Inserts are again plenty in this product with 2 returning and 4 new lines to collect. Sliding Stars and Glove Stories are back with the additions of No-Hitters, Dealing Aces, Collisions at the Plate and Gypsy Kings. Now Gypsy Kings were in last years product featuring people within Topps, but this year Topps has put this out to the public and asked why they should be a Gypsy King and Gypsy Queen and could have their picture on a card. Two people will be selected and put into this insert line.
Topps has continued with their value of this product by providing 2 Autographs and 2 Relics per Hobby box. What they have also done is included some hard to find relics and autographs that will keep the collectors hunting for more until they find them. Bat barrels, Mini Button cards and Mini Autographed Relic books join the Gypsy Queen group that will be exciting to see pulled out of the product.
Like all Topps products the Hobby Box is the way to go on this, as you receive the 2 Autographs and 2 Relics plus the Mini 10 card box. The value of the Hobby box out weights the other avenues you can go on this product, and at $100 for a box your in for a treat. Lets see how we did:

Base Cards: 180 (0 doubles)
Base Card Blue Parallel: 1 - Bert Blyleven /499
Base Card Short Print: 6 - Lee, Andrus, Ted Williams, Nolan Ryan, Wilhelm, Gossage
Mini cards Base: 20
Mini cards Base Variation: 1 - Bill Mazeroski
Mini card Green Parallel: 1 - Bob Feller /99
Mini card Black Parallel: 2 - Billy Butler /199, Michael Young /199
No-Hitters: 6 - Feller, Ryan, Abbott, Hernandez, Verlander, Santana
Dueling Aces:6 - Kersahw, Sabathia, Bundy, Bauer, Cain, Wainwright
Sliding Stars: 4 - Braun, Harper, Heyward, Henderson
Collisions at the Plate: 3 - Bench, McCain, Perez
Glove Stories: 4 - Werth, Jeter, Blanco, Harper
Relics: 2 - Dan Uggla Bat, Mark Reynolds Mini Jersey Black Border
Autographs: Jose Bautista (on card), Willie Mays Redemption
Bonus Auto/Relic: Prince Fielder Mini Auto Relic Booklet #'d 4/5
We opened this box live during one of our broadcasts while waiting to see if our box break to fill slots. We didn't write a review on Gypsy Queen this year and was really wanting to open up this product. Well, it sure panned out for us in a big way. Lets start with the card design. Again another great looking product for Gypsy Queen. We absolutely love this product and will try and make this years set again. The pictures in the set are fantastic and provide some really great shots of veteran retired players which we love. The mini's compliment the base set very well and provide that extra incentive to bust open this product. Always a chase to collect the entire Mini set each year and with only 24 found in packs they will hold great value on the secondary market.
The inserts are nice again this year. the Sliding Stars have a very nice Silver design which make them look more than just a insert when you rip open the packs. Glove Stories always have great shots for the story behind the catch. The two Relics of Uggla and Reynolds are not the best of the bunch but the Reynolds Mini Black border relic is very nice looking and out weights the Uggla design. .
Now we move into our Autograph review. Starting off with our Jose Bautista on-card auto which came out of our first pack in the box. Can't say enough about on-card autos. They are so much better than sticker autographs and with the blue sharpie on the Gypsy Queen design it looks great.
To our surprise the Redemption for the Willie Mays Autograph is our best autograph pull of the year thus far. We're sure it will be an on-card autograph and with Willie's signature on-card it should make for a great looking card. Being a HOF collector this is surely a prize you don't get everyday on breaking a box.

We saved our Mini box for last as it was holding the 10 mini card SP's or variations. The only difference noticed was you couldn't hear the ten cards inside with the little movement you normally hear. After opening the top flap of the package standing out was the booklet binding with the words "Mini Auto Relic Book Card". Couldn't believe we had this waiting for us on this box that already provided a top HOF Autograph. The box was tight and noway to pull out the booklet unless opening the other end of the package. So be extra careful if you have this luck happen to you on a mini box. Open the bottom like we did and push up the book. Once out of the package we saw the back of the book card and it was Prince Fielder. Upon opening up the mini booklet we were provided with a White Jersey relic and Sticker autograph of Prince. The serial number is stamped on the top right with 4/5 in gold printing. Unbelievable pull from a mini box and a first for us at The Pack Gambler. Now the tricky thing about booklet cards is how to store them, even more so are the Mini Booklets. For now we have it in a plastic 100 card case with fillers to not damage the booklet until we can find a case for it. Not something you expect to pull so not much else on hand to protect it for now.
Overall we hit an amazing box of Gypsy Queen. Could not have asked for anything more out of this box. From the Base cards to the inserts to the hits we are very pleased with this product. Great designs can go very far in this hobby and Gypsy Queen again doesn't disappoint with 2013.

As always if there are any cards you are looking for or interested in please let us know via e-mail at We plan on putting most of the cards on COMC and the two big hits of Mays and Fielder will be on out site to purchase.

We also have a 2 Box Divisional Break of 2013 Gypsy Queen in our online store for $58.00 per slot. A great deal and you will come out with a guaranteed hit. You can find our breaks here:

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Pack Gambler Retro Break: 1997-98 Donruss Priority Hockey Hobby Box

This months Retro Break is another Hockey product we found at a local Walmart. 1997-98 Donruss Priority Hockey Hobby box. I remember when this first came out and had a little interest in it back then but never bought a box of the product.
The premise of this product is the mail. Postcards and Stamps of players are the focus of the product providing us with 36 Postcards with matching player stamps to collect. There are other inserts in this product like Direct Deposit, Postmaster Generals and Stamp of Approval. All themed with the mail service in mind. The cool thing about this product is that all inserts are numbered from /3000 down to /100. Compared to the serial numbered cards of current day these are not very good, but in 1998 these were the average and pretty good.

Here is the basics of the 15 pack box; 5 packs with 5 cards and 1 stamp card, while the 10 other  packs contain 5 cards and 1 Postcard per pack. Lets see how we did on this Retro break:

Base Cards Even: 46 (0 doubles)
Base Cards Odd: 24 (0 doubles)
1st Class Package: 7
Stamps: 3 - Patrick Roy, Paul Kariya, Brett Hull
Stamps Bronze: 1 - Chris Osgood
Stamps Silver: 1 - Jarome Iginla
Postcards: 10 - Yzerman, Kariya, Potvin, Thornton, Fedorov, Thibault, Tkachuk,Shanahan, Berard, Modano
Direct Deposit: 3 - Ryan Smyth, John LeClair, Steve Yzerman (all #'d /3000)
Post Master General: 1 - Bryon Dafoe /1500
Stamp of Approval Die-Cut: 1 - Darren McCarty 25/100 (Jersey number)

From a 15 pack retro box like this we did pretty well overall. The Base cards are pretty basic. Did you notice the Even and Odd listing above? Well for this product the Odd numbered cards are listed as Short Prints. The Postcard with matching Stamp concept is alright, again this is 1998 not 2013 so for back then it was a cool product. The key point about this product are the numbered inserts. Each card is numbered from /3000 down to /100. Very nice product in that regard and the insert cards are of nice design and chrome feel.
When the McCarty was first pulled it was pretty cool due to the die-cut design. Only after we flipped the card over did we notice it was numbered 25/100, which is McCarty's jersey number. Back in 1998 this wasn't mentioned too often in the community, but nowadays matching jersey and serial numbers are very hot and do well on the secondary market.
We paid $19.99 for this box at Walmart, knowing that you could find this for cheaper at a local card show or expo it might be worth your while. Totaling up the BV on the listed cards we came up to $70 which is very decent considering its a 15 year old product. The big item was the Yzerman Direct Deposit BV at $20, and we didn't even price out the McCarty as they are listed at 50x the base card value.

As always anything we have in our Retro breaks we send in to our COMC account. If you are interested in any of the cards we have listed or not shown please let us know at

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Social Media within the collecting community

For the last few years Social Media has taken off in the world. It use to be only about celebrities or athletes, but now anything and everything has turned to using some sort of Social Media.
For our community of collectors it's no different. Social Media has grown to such an extent over the last year that card companies and hobby producers alike are hitting the social media scene in rapid proportion.
The reasoning is simple, you can reach out to millions of people with a single Facebook Post or Twitter Tweet (and those are only the two most used tools within the Social Media universe).

As you know we as The Pack Gambler use Facebook and Twitter as a means to reach out to our followers and our hobby community to provide reviews, news and Gambler Giveaways. This has been one of the most influential ways for us to interact with our community. This is also one of the most important ways for the big card companies to do so as well. Anywhere from advertising new products, contests, sales and future developing products are showing up daily. It is very smart business to invest resources into this market and makes a lot of sense for the companies to promote through.

Card Manufacturing customer service has also been involved into Social Media to handle some public relation details and again has done wonders for quick responses. Of course with putting yourself out there in the public eye sometimes things can be scrutinized and given backlash by non-supporters or even people demanding more as a customer. It's challenging for companies to do this, but as times change more into the Social Media world everyone will have to adapt.

For any collector not in tune with Social Media they could be potentially missing out on the way the community direction is heading. With the decline of card shows throughout North America, collectors have needed to find other ways to fill their collection needs and Social Media does that. A single Tweet or Post on Facebook by a collector looking for or selling/trading certain cards can again reach out to the masses. This in turn provides a number of possibilities of finding what you want.

Going forward Social Media is only going to get bigger and more mainstream as a way to run business and the hobby community. The possibilities are endless and we're looking forward on things to come.