Saturday, July 20, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Panini Elite Football Hobby Box

Panini released the 2013 Elite Football product on Friday July 12th this year and it came in with a load of great inserts, autographs and great value as always. Elite has been a fan favorite to collectors and whether it's the silver foil base card design or the inserts and autographs, it's always proven to be a solid product. This year's edition is no different with 20 packs per box, 5 cards per pack and 4 Autograph and/or relic cards to pull.
Elite brings together a 100 card base set to collect and 100 Base Rookies which are numbered from /699 to /999. Both come with parallel versions to collect being Turn of the Century /199, Gold Status /49, Red Status /25, 1/1 Black Status and printing plates which are 1/1 as well. Other Parallels like Aspirations and Status Die-Cuts also reflect the players within the product but are a little different from the base card parallels.
There are a few inserts that you will pull from the box including Zoning Commission, Starstruck, Primary Colors, Passing the Torch, and Panini Portraits. Most of which have parallels for them selves and even some autographs to find. Another cool insert are the Hard Hats. These use Acetate technology and are serial numbered. Have been a fan of these the last couple of years.
Relics play a part of the Elite product for 2013 with 12 different sets to hunt down your stars in. New to the brand are the First & Goal cards with the relic piece on a plastic turning piece in the card. Pretty cool idea, haven't seen one in person yet but look nice.
You can't mention Elite without the Autograph aspect of the product. As you would expect these are focused on the Rookies within the product and provide a variety of inserts and base card rookie autographs within the product. Veterans have been included in the hard to find Dual Autographed Passing the Torch insert and are short printed.
being a Mid-end football product you would expect all of this to be included in the Elite product. Lots of goodies for your buck. Lets see how we did in our break:

Base Cards: 85 (0 doubles)
Base Card Rookie: 3 - Phillip Thomas /999, Eddie Lacy /699, Zac Dysert /899
Base Card Rookie Parallel: 1 - Turn of the Century Jamar Taylor /199
Zoning Commission: 2 - Julio Jones, Mikel Leshoure
Passing The Torch: 1 - John Randle/Jared Allen
Primary Colors: 1 - Jay Cutler
Primary Colors Red Parallel: 1 - Sam Bradford /25
Panini Portraits: 1 - Robert Griffin III
Hard Hats: 1 - Alex Okafor /299
New Breed Relics: 2 - Mike Gillislee /399, Joseph Randle /399
Autograph: Rookie Status Parallel #168 Matt Elam /49
Autograph: Rookie Inscriptions Acetate Johnathan Franklin

Elite is one of those products that we've enjoyed over the years. The base cards are the simple foil design as we've seen in the past, but have a little different trim around the borders. They still are hard to keep clean and crisp on the edges, but looks nice among the mid-end products. The Rookies are nicely serial numbered and are in different ranges from /699 to /999 on the ones we pulled.
The Inserts are a nice touch in the product but seem to go aside with the amount of Parallels in the box. The Parallels are that shinny goodness we've grown a custom to seeing from the Elite products. Turn of the Century Parallels are really nice and provide a serial numbered hit from your box. We pulled the Taylor and looks really good overall. Hard hats are a very cool acetate die-cut design which make you want to collect this insert set. 
Primary Colors and Portraits are 2 new inserts for the product. We happened to pull a Same Bradford Red Parallel for the Primary Colors which is numbered to only 25. On the flip side for the Portraits we pulled a RGIII. Another cool designed insert that you will want to collect.
We were a little disappointing in the relics this box had because they were single solid swatches and the design was nothing too desirable. This is most likely due to the fact they came in this nice fancy product of Elite. They fit more of a Score brand type of relic design in our mind. Both are serial numbered which is a nice add.
Last but not least are the autographs. We were surprised on the ones we pulled due to the very low serial number on the Elam Die-cut and the Rookie Inscriptions seem to be a case hit autograph. The Elam is a good looking card with the Die-Cut and gold reflective foil on it. Even though it is a sticker autograph, it's numbered out of 49 and will add some value to it on the secondary market. The Franklin Inscriptions autograph is also very nice. It is set on the acetate technology with an on-card blue autograph. This one is not numbered but will never complain about an on-card auto. 
Overall we did well on this box. 85 of the 100 Base cards is a really good start to completing the set. Really liked the inserts of the Hard Hats, Portraits and Primary Colors that we pulled. The Autographs made this box a really good value overall as the Elam is only /49 and the Franklin Acetate on-card is a great pull. Both will do well on the secondary market. It was a fun box to bust open and look through the cards but you have to be a little careful with the silver foil base. Finger prints run wild all over them and they can ding up a little during the breaking of the box. Again your only pulling 100 cards in total from the box so a very manageable sort to run during your break. This product really has it all wrapped up with Parallels, Inserts and Autographs keeping this a solid product in the mid-range value.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, our COMC account ThePackGambler, or our eBay account thepackgambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.16 out of 5
Cost: 4.5/5
Autographs: 4.5/5
Relics: 3.5/5
Parallels: 4/5
Concept: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 4.5/5

Monday, July 15, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Tristar SignaCuts Baseball Platinum Edition

It's Cut Signature time again collectors, Tristar recently released it's 2013 Signa Cuts Baseball Platinum Edition. We purchased this last March and pulled a couple of decent auto's of Hunter Pence and Tony Perez. Both were low numbers and we enjoyed the product, so the 2013 edition was in our sites.
Same premise as last year's product with different categories to pull autographs from including Fantastic Find, Diamond Find, Hall of Famers and Historic Combos.
This product is loaded with Hall of Fame players and providing 9 within each case gives you a great chance of pulling one of these players. You will also pull 1 Diamond or Fantastic Find and 2 Historic Combos within each case. Each card within the product is numbered to only 10, 5, or 1. With only 90 cases produced your looking at only 1080 boxes available to find some of these gems. Each card is encased within a hard card case and Tamper proof seal from Tristar.
The checklist has a plentiful amount of Hall of Famers from Cobb, Mantle, Aaron, Yount and Bench rounding out the 155 names to find.  The Historic Combo cards also have a nice sized checklist of 28 cards all with different serial numbers and players.
Being a favorite of ours we decided to pick up a box and see what the 2013 edition had in for us. Well we were pleasantly surprised to say the least on who we pulled:

Historic Combos #'d 1/1 Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton Triple Autograph!

When we opened the box and saw the sides were a Holographic design we knew it was something special. It has the 1/1 on the top right of the card with the Albert Pujols and Mike Trout autographs on the front with the Hamilton Autograph on the back of the double sided card.
A couple of things about the card, one being that this is an amazing piece to hold and own of the three top players in the game. The Pujols and Trout autographs are sticker autographs on the front, Trout having the Tristar authentic holographic name on the sticker with the Pujols on just a plain sticker. The Hamilton on the back is from one of the previously release Tristar Minor League sets, an on-card autograph cut to fit into the space of the new 2013 Signa Cuts design.
Named the "Los Angeles Angels Dynamic Trio" this card packed a huge punch for us in the product. To say we came up with one of the big ones in the product is an understatement. This is one of only two active players Signa Cuts in the product with the rest being retired or deceased players. Of course pulling the Jackie Robinson or Ty Cobb would be the ultimate but this is a great pull overall from this product. It would be hard to put a Gambler Rating on this product with this type of pull so we are deciding not to in this case. We think the card speaks for it's self and only if we had a couple of other boxes to open could we provide a overall rating for the product.
A great job by Tristar though on continuing to bring these types of products year in and year out. One of our favorites to continue to open and look forward to what 2014 brings us.

Most cards we pull in our breaks end up within our sites storefront ( but not sure this one will. We'll keep you posted if it ever does.

Thanks for supporting us at The Pack Gambler.

Product Review: 2013 Cryptozoic DC Comics Batman The Legend

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a review on the 2013 Cryptozoic DC Comics Superman The Legend product and loved it. It was only after opening up that box that I came to know about the previously released (January 2013) Batman The Legend from Cryptozoic. We decided to search out to find a box and bust it open hopeful for the same results the Superman product gave us.
Batman The Legend is the same premise and assortment that the Superman product is under. It travels through the past of Batman and provides some history and information on growing up and villains he faces.
The box is a 24 packs, 5 cards per pack standard and the Base set consists 62 cards. So again you will pull 1 complete set from the box which is always nice. Inserts are Foil Parallel Base cards, Batmobile Foil, Batcave Foil Puzzle, and Carnival of Criminals Foil all ranging from 1:12 to 1:24 packs.
The same as the Superman product this one has Sketch cards to collect and will find 1 per box, another reason this is a great product to pickup even before we busted it open.

So how did we do? We were very happy with this product as we were with the Superman box:

Base Cards: 104 (1 complete set with 42 doubles)
Foil Base Cards: 6
Batmobile Foil: 2
Batcave Foil Puzzle: 2
Carnival of Criminals Foil: 2
Sketch Cards: 2 - Travis Walton, Anthony Wheeler

So again this is a pretty good box to purchase. Base cards are nice and span across origin of Batman. The art on each card is really nice and standout among the cards. With a complete set found within the box again you come away with 22 from making 2 sets. The Foil Parallels are a nice touch and some are either full foil or partially foil. You can't tell too well but the card on the right with the 5 characters is one of these partially foiled cards. The masks and money on the card are only foiled which makes for a great looking card.
Carnival of Criminals is a great foil insert. These are showcasing some of the most prominent Villains in the Batman story. Cryptozoic did very well with their foil technology and very happy with this insert. The Batmobile and Batcave Foil inserts are ok but not as stunning as the Criminals inserts.
This box provided us with two Sketch cards as we found in the Superman product. very happy with these pulls and both sketch cards are nicely drawn and articulated. Both are 1/1 sketch cards and by artists Travis Walton and Anthony Wheeler. Love Jokers face on the Wheeler sketch.
Just like the Superman product if you want an entertaining Non-Sport product this would be another one to look for. Art within the product is great and you can't beat the Sketch card per box. Cryptozoic is a great brand in the non-sports group and should be looked at for other similar comic products down the line.

Most cards we pull in our breaks end up in our COMC account (ThePackGambler), eBay account (thepackgambler) or within our sites storefront ( If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.67 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Sketch Cards: 5/5
Inserts: 4/5
Parallels: 4/5
Concept: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

*Panini Redemption Update 2012 Football

In the latter part of 2012, we sent in (online) our redemption's for two cards from 2012 Panini Football products. They were:

August 2012 - 2012 Donruss Elite - Down and Distance Materials Prime Signatures Miles Austin #'d out of /10
October 2012 - 2012 Panini Certified - Mirror Red Signatures Matt Kalil #'d out of /250

Called up Panini on May 13th and asked about the Miles Austin. This would be a sweet looking card so we were hesitant on having it replaced, but didn't want to wait a year for it either. They didn't have anything on file about it so decided to ask for a replacement. Again this is a prime patch autograph numbered to only 10 cards! A comparable card can be viewed different ways, we we only hopeful that what was coming was a really nice card. 
The Kalil could have waited a little longer but decided to ask for a replacement since we were on the phone and didn't mind replacing him for someone else.

Well today a package was waiting for us and couldn't wait to see what was inside. Here is what Panini sent us as replacements:

For the Matt Kalil Replacement we received this 2012 Panini Certified Cyrus Grey Mirror Red Signatures /350
The Miles Austin Replacement we received this 2011 Donruss Gridiron Maurice Jones-Drew Dual Relic Autograph #'d 1/5
The Cyrus Grey replacing the Kalil is alright even though it is 100 cards more in the print run. Both players are around the same BV and trade value. The Jones-Drew replacing the Austin was okay as well. The Austin was going to be a Prime Patch with probably a sticker autograph. Numbered out of 10 it was in good secondary market value already and being a Cowboy this puts the value a little higher since they are a very collectible team. The Jones-Drew card is a sticker autograph which matches the Austin, but the relics are single swatches, too bad it wasn't a prime relic. Serial number 1 of 5 is a good benefit, and pretty sure customer service had a hard time tracking down a very low serial number replacement for it so they did a good job there. These are a very scarce card and insert set from 2011 so the value of these is pretty high.

Should we have waited longer for the redemption's to come in? Tough call, we pretty much matched what we were going to receive just that it took a little longer waiting for them to come. Redemption's are a tricky thing, if you have a great superstar player it might be hard to ask for a replacement for them. It's also just as tough to hold on and wait for sometimes over a year to get the card you pulled. Either way it looks like redemption's are going to be with us for a long time still so if your not one for them, sell your redemption cards or ask for a replacement which will come sooner than waiting. 

Most cards we show in our reviews end up on our sites storefront (, our COMC account (ThePackGambler), or our eBay account (thepackgambler). If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Thanks for supporting us at The Pack Gambler

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Topps Series 1 & 2 Complete Set Target Edition

So I was walking through my local Target yesterday and stopped by the card section to see if anything new was brought in. I noticed that they had a complete set of 2013 Topps in and it was a Target Edition. Topps has been doing these special Editions for a while now and since Target is new in Canada I never had a chance to purchase any of these without paying a premium on shipping costs or exchange rates.
So picking it up I was already excited to add this to my collection without reading the bonus inside. Seeing that it had Hank Aaron on the top of the box it was sure to have a card of his inside. 
This years 2013 Edition includes 1 of 3 Hank Aaron Chrome Refractor cards inside. Not only are they Refractors but could also be a Gold, SuperFractor or Autographed Refractor! Not too bad to include with this full 660 card set.
Not only is the Aaron inside but it comes with a 5 card pack of Rookie Variations. Loving the rookie crop for this year it's a no brainer to pick this up. Looking at the cost of $59.99 which is a little steep you need to factor in the Aaron and the chance of pulling some decent rookie variations in the set. Over all you are getting both Series 1 and 2 complete which already has value in there. 
So bringing it home the next tricky question is what to do with it. Do you leave it sealed and just add it to your other sets? Or do you open it up and see the added goodies inside? I choose to open it up and see inside, plus wanted to provide this review for other collectors who might be interested in purchasing this set.

So opening it up the bonus cards are on the left inside sleeve. The Hank Aaron was the first card followed by the cello sealed 5 card variation pack. I also noticed the set was not in numeric order, didn't have a chance to check and see if all the cards are in there before the review but will later this week.

The Hank Aaron we pulled was the 1954 Topps Rookie card. Out of the three cards you could pull this is the best one in our books. It's the base Refractor and not serial numbered. It's a great looking card and one of my favorite Aaron card fronts. the card is unprotected within the set which you would think Topps would put at least a penny sleeve on it. I'm sure this won't change but would be great if they added it in a hard cover already to avoid damage. Maybe the Autograph cards are but haven't seen of one being out there yet. 

Our Rookie 5 card Variation pack is a see-through cello pack and right away showed lots of promise. Manny Machado was on the front of the pack with Hyun-Jin Ryu on the back. Since these packs are hard to keep in good condition I decided to open it up and see the other rookie variations inside. 
Wow! I couldn't believe that Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller, and Jurickson Profar were the other three cards. You can't get any better than that with the 2013 rookie class. These cards have a really good secondary value since not everyone will buy a set to get them. Having these 5 in the collection is sweet!

Aaron and the 5 rookies pulled were really great and not sure if that combination will be common among the sets. If your willing to spend the $59.99 to try it out it might be a decent gambler for you. Keep in mind your also getting the 660 card Series 1 and 2 cards that have all the rookies and superstars which have value to them. I'll be looking forward to the other sets Target is able to bring into the stores and adding them into my collection for years to come.
Most cards we show in our reviews end up on our sites storefront (, our COMC account (ThePackGambler), or our eBay account (thepackgambler). If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Thanks for supporting us at The Pack Gambler

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Bowman Inception Hobby Box

The Inception brand has come over to Baseball for 2013. Having success with it's NFL products Topps decided to move into Baseball with this brand and provide the same mid/high-end product that it's known for.
Inception will pack a punch with collectors as it will provide you with on-card autographs along with relics and patches. Each box/pack will contain 5 cards, 4 Autographs and 1 Autographed Relic. The product is considered a prospect brand that will be a hit with those Bowman Prospect Collectors.
47 of the top prospects in the game are featured within the "base" set. Hard to call it a base set when each card is autographed, but to some they might be collecting all 47 to complete it. Along with every Topps set are Parallels which are plenty in here. The first 47 cards have 8 different ones to chase including a framed printing plate. Gold, Blue, Orange, Green, Red, Purple and Inception all are serial numbered from /99 down to 1/1.

There are six different relic inserts to collect from the basic single relic/jersey swatch to Jumbo Relics, Triple Relics, Patches and Logo Patches. Most of the relics are serial numbered except for the base Single relics are not. However they do have Red, Blue and Inception parallels which are numbered from /25 to 1/1.

A couple of intriguing cards have been placed into the product. Bryce Harper, Yu Darvish, Mike Trout and Manny Machado all have Autographed Relic and Patch cards to find. So even some of last years rookies are in the product adding to the chase. Topps also recently including the hot rookie for the Dodgers Yasiel Puig as well. These will all be redemption's though since he was a very late add into the product.

So with all this being said and a price of $125 a box your hopeful that your $25 per card investment will pan out, or at least give you some thrill while opening the pack. Lets see how we did on this one:

Prospect Autograph#1: Brad Miller
Prospect Autograph #2: Jorge Bonifacio Blue /75
Prospect Autograph #3: Jonathan Singleton Redemption
Rookie Autograph #4: Jake Odorizzi Orange /50
Autographed Relic: Slade Heathcott
The design of the cards are great. Love the way Topps put these together and always love the thicker stock. Being that 4 of the 5 cards are on-card autographs is a real value add for us. Now you might not be looking at value in the sense of return on the cards, but more along the value of what you are receiving in the time it takes to put this together from a manufacturers point. Again they are trying to provide the most to us as collectors and having on-card autographs are never easy, so we applaud on this when we can.
So we didn't hit the big finds of the product but we managed to pull two parallels which was a nice add. The Redemption for the Singleton is a little puzzling due to the fact there are some base autographs in the secondary market already, so the reason for the redemption is weird. Also we tried to redeem it and it looks to not be in the system just yet. We'll wait a few more days and check again, if we'll call Topps and see what the story is.
The Heathcott Relic auto is alright due to the fact it has a very nice solid pinstripe on the relic, the autograph is a sticker though and you most likely will find these on the relics for the rest of the players.
Our best overall card was probably the Odorizzi only because he has been a top prospect for a while and now in the majors. Also because of the low serial number on-card autograph it's value will increase with his performance.
If your not into prospects this might not be the product for you. A lot of the players in here you won't know nor will you for a little time. Unless you are buying it for the big hits it might be one to stay away from. We didn't come away with $25 value for each card nor can we see that for any of these in the future. So in the value side it is a miss but it was fun to break it open and see the cards.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, our COMC account ThePackGambler, or our eBay account thepackgambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.16 out of 5
Cost: 4.5/5
Autographs: 5/5
Relics: 3.5/5
Parallels: 4/5
Concept: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5