Product Review: 2009 Donruss Classics

First and foremost, I must begin this review with a disclaimer. The cards I purchased to review this product were from a retail box. Insert rates, value of cards pulled, and overall impressions may be different for you if you purchase a hobby box. 2009 Donruss Classics is available in retail boxes of 8 packs of 5 cards each. I paid $19.99 (plus 6% tax) and somehow got 41 cards, which turns out to about $0.52 per card. I actually really liked this set last year, so I was excited to see what 2009 had in store.

2009 Donruss Classics
2009 Donruss Classics – Retail Box

For some product details, you can see my early product preview post. Granted, this is a retail box so the card count and collation is much different, but at least I had an idea of what I was getting into. Now for the product breakdown:

Base Cards: 37
Rookie Cards: — (none)
Doubles: 1 (#70 JaMarcus Russell)
Inserts: 3 (Team Colors Hakeem Nicks, Classic Singles Merlin Olsen, Monday Night Heroes Randy Moss)
Hits: 1 (Monday Night Heroes Jonathan Stewart)

2009 Donruss Classics
Click image for full sized scan

FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: When I was returning to the hobby last year, 2008 Donruss Classics was the first box I bought because it was one of the first releases of the year. I instantly fell in love with it. This year, Donruss gave us a lackluster base card design. The overall design is not bad, I even like the graphic elements near the bottom of the card where it says “Donruss Classics 2009”. What I do not like is the brown/copper background. The design is gaudy and it is just not a good color. Maybe the same pattern in a ghosted gray would have been better, but I would much rather see a completely different element, like the faded football field of 2008’s base cards.

2nd Down, Inserts: I do not have much to go on here, so take this with a grain of salt. I actually like the Team Colors insert I pulled. The card is colorful and vibrant and looks nice. Simple, but nice. I like the concept of the Classic Singles insert set (along with Classic Doubles, Classic Triples, and Classic Quads). As a fan of a lot of retired players, I love a product that offers a chance to pull some older football greats. That said, I am undecided on the design. Something seems missing as it just looks a bit empty. The Monday Night Heroes insert isn’t bad, but it also has that empty feel. I hate when you can tell exactly where the swatch window is supposed to be for the jersey parallel of a card. That means the window is well placed and doesn’t cut out a good part of the card (and the jersey card I pulled is good), but the non-hit like I pulled just winds up looking odd.

3rd Down, Collation: In such a small retail package, the biggest indication of collation is duplicates. In just 41 cards, I pulled a double. Not cool. I was happy to pull a “hit” in a retail box, and somehow I got an extra card, but I’m still not pleased with the double. It at least could have been of a better player than JaMarcus Russel.

4th Down, Overall Value: For a retail box, this is hard to gauge. I only paid $20 for the box, but that just means you get what you pay for. If you are looking for a cheap way to build a base set (without including the RCs) or would like an affordable gift for a loved one who enjoys football and/or collecting, this is a pretty good box to buy. If you’re looking for resale value or VERY cheap per card prices (perhaps those are polar opposites), you should stay away.

RED ZONE RESULTS: MISSED FIELD GOAL I sorta knew what I was getting when I bought this box from reading other online reviews and seeing card scans. I also knew not to expect much from a retail box. The jersey card was certainly a perk, but not pulling any rookie cards, having a duplicate, and the overall poor design of the base product were just too much to overcome. For a product that had a good outing last year, perhaps this was just an off performance. Hopefully if Donruss keeps this line going in 2010, it won’t push the ball left and will be able to get some points on the board when they are needed most.

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