The latest release from SAGE Collectibles has hit hobby store shelves. Going with a consistent theme, SAGE2 is a product that features two linked young stars on each card, including a dual autograph card in each pack. One interesting note on this set is that both 2010 and select 2009 rookies are included in the checklist. SAGE2 was the company’s most limited print run of the year and contains no redemptions.
Hobby boxes come with 8 3-card packs for a total of 24 cards. I received this box directly from SAGE Collectibles, but current market prices are in the $150 ballpark, which translates into a $6.25/card ratio. You can certainly pay more for fewer cards with other products, but this is definitely the top shelf product from SAGE this year.
At least 1 dual auto in each of these
Base Cards (#1-45): 16 – 35.6%
Dual Autograph Cards (#A1-A96): 8
FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: With most products like this, I generally do not see the point of having base cards, other than to give collectors a few more tradeables amongst the stack of autographed cards. I will say, however, that this base design works. It is not over-powered by sloppy design elements or random boxes, lines, and colors and the player subjects are the clear focus. One nice thing about having a small selection of big-name rookies is that each player in the set is recognizable, which helps to sell the simple design. I thought the press conference-esque backgrounds were an interesting choice. It adds a team color element (which is nice given the lack of official licensing) and adds cohesion to the entire set, especially since there is a mix of in-game, training, and press release photographs used.
2nd Down, Inserts: The only “insert” in this product is the main focus of the entire set: the dual autographs. While the design of these cards is very similar to the base set, it is distinct enough to not come across as lazy. The autograph labels are prominent while the player photos are not lost into the fringes of the design, which is nice. Including a few standout rookies from 2009 was also a nice touch as it certainly adds value to the product. Bradford, McCoy, Spiller, and Clausen could all wind up being busts, but collectors already know of what Sanchez and Stafford are capable. A quick search of completed listings on eBay shows these cards are certainly carrying their weight in the secondary market, which may be assisted by the very low print run of the entire product, even though there are no serial numbers on the cards thsemselves. For a complete breakdown of the autograph pairings, you can see the checklist here.
3rd Down, Collation: My biggest pet peave in any box is duplicates, especially for a product that has such a limited print run and low card-per-box count as SAGE2. Obviously I can’t speak for the entire production pack-out, but my box was in the clear in this category as I didn’t pull any doubles. I also felt like I had a good mix of solid rookies and dark horse prospects (this definitely was not a “hot box” but any Mark Sanchez auto is a good auto).
4th Down, Overall Value: It all depends on who you ask. Some collectors will be all up in arms because this product does not feature any NFL or NCAA logos and will therefore not think the pricetag is anywhere near low enough. Others will go nuts for it because a $150 box contains 16 autographs and offers unique college teammate/rival and NFL draft/teammate pairings (that can be huge for pro and college team collectors). As for me, I would roll it down the middle. I am, by definition, a budget collector, so the price per card would tend to scare me away (I still buy 15-year-old singles), but the autograph content is tough to argue with and there is definitely value in that. Dave the budget collector would probably stay away, but Dave the hobby-shop-owner-in-waiting thinks this is a solid product that delivers a lot of punch for the dollar.
RED ZONE RESULTS: FIELD GOAL For an unlicensed product, the design of the base and autographed cards is great (and I don’t necessarily think that would change if you dropped the “unlicensed” qualifier). The player selection and the autograph content is what got this product on the board. Even if you don’t like both players, dual autographed cards are still pretty cool. Personally, I like pulling 100+ cards from my hobby boxes, which is why this product didn’t find paydirt, although I will say it had the ball on the 1-yard line for three downs as I realize this simply isn’t a high-quantity product (nor do I think it should be). I’ll also say my product reviews are a defensive struggle as very few products actually do reach the endzone. that said, a made field goal is still going to be a great product and in a tight game, those 3 points can be a huge factor.
NEXT UP (tentatively): 2010 Donruss Elite