Product Review: 2011 SAGE Hit High

Riding this sudden wave of reviews for all its worth, and just because I like to bring things full circle, here is a review of 2011 SAGE Hit High Series. How does that bring things full circle? you may ask. I’ll tell you. This week started off with a review of 2011 SAGE Hit Low Series. While released about three weeks apart, Hit Low and High series are essentially two halves of the same set. Even the insert sets were cut in half. Not following along? Ask one of your baseball card buddies. Topps has been doing this for years in that sport. Now, without further ado, here is the review of 2011 SAGE Hit High:

2011 SAGE Hit High box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 30 5-card packs for a total of 150 cards. I got this box directly from SAGE Collectibles, but current online prices are around $98, which translates into a moderate $0.65/card ratio. Yes, for all of you keeping track at home, that is higher than a box of Low Series. Why? You get an average of 10 autographs per hobby box with High versus just 6 with Low. I’m going to go ahead and guess the extra 4 autos are worth the additional $6.

2011 SAGE Hit High pack
1 insert in each of these bad boys

The Breakdown:
Base Cards: 116 (66 duplicates)
   Pre-Rookies: 4
   Silver: 5
   Gold: 3
   Write Stuff: 3
   Big Time: 7
   Make Ready (#/50): 2
   Red Autos: 5
   Silver Autos: 2
   Gold Autos (#/250): 3

2011 SAGE Hit High2011 SAGE Hit High
Click image for full-sized scan

1st Down, Design: Seeing as how this is just part 2 of the Hit brand, there is not much left to say after my review of the Low Series. You will note that due to this dual review for essentially the same product, I took a slightly different approach to scanning the cards by showing almost all backs. I’ve got the base front in case you forgot what it looks like (I also got a sample back scanned with the Low review), but now you can see the Artistry and Pre-Rookie card backs. The Artistry (and Big Time inserts) are the only cards to have the same photograph on the front and back. That’s almost unheard of these days, which is a shame. Even the Pre-Rookies have a different back photo from each player’s high school days. It’s the little details like these that matter to me, which is why I really do like this product. I know that’s not the popular response to SAGE’s offerings, but if I were just going to spout out the popular responses to everything, you’d have no reason to read this blog as someone somewhere would surely post faster than I do for every product. These reviews, other than giving raw information on pricing and box break results/collation, are purely opinion pieces. But you already knew that…

2nd Down, Inserts: Similar to the base cards, HIT High Series has the same inserts has Low Series. In fact, the numbering just picks right up from where Low Series left off. I did think to scan a base silver parallel and an Artistry gold parallel so you can see what they look like. Certainly a lot more foilization than the Pre-Rookie parallels I featured in the Low scans. I thought foil-ization-izing the position letters was a nice attention-to-details touch. I’ve also got a scan of the back of one of those Write Stuff cards so you can see what I meant about the signature characteristics analysis. You also get a back of an autograph card (which, I’ll add, has a different photo than the front), which is a rare sight on these products reviews. But don’t be too alarmed, there’s also a whopping 9 autograph fronts for your viewing pleasure. Oh, and for the record, I still like the Big Time inserts. Call me old school. Call me pathetic. Call me what you will. I like them. Deal with it.

3rd Down, Collation: Interestingly enough, this is one area that actually got worse from Low to High series. By adding 4 more autograph cards (on average, of course), I figured there would just be 4 fewer base duplicates. That was not the case. In fact, I actually got 3 ADDITIONAL duplicates in this box. Which area was impacted the most? Silver parallels apparently. I doubt that is indicative of the entire print run, but I got significantly fewer silver parallels in this box (5 vs. 10 – a 50% drop off) while almost all other base/subset/insert card seedings remained the same. I do suppose however, that I have misclassified one of those base duplicates. It wasn’t until I was sorting the cards after the bust that I discovered this little nugget:

An unannounced Cam Newton SP variation?

Apparently ol’ Tom Geideman is up to some trickery because I haven’t seen any short print variations announced anywhere, but those sure look like different card fronts of the Cam Newton base card, while both are #100 on the back.

4th Down, Overall Value: This area would probably be the most repetitive if I were to write out my evaluation. If you want to know my thoughts, just read the review of the Low Series. I will say that the High Series does pack a bit more punch for the buck by adding 4 additional autographs while the hobby box price is only about $6 higher. That takes the cost per autograph (discounting all other cards to $0.00) from $15.33 to $9.80. Not a bad progression. Yes, the secondary market value will diminish once the “big companies” start releasing sets, particularly once the first sets that feature the rookies in their new NFL unis are released. But what doesn’t change after time is the look and feel of the cards. If you like what you see from these products, don’t let market trends and popular opinion force your hand. It’s your collection. You collect what you like. If you pick up cards that you’ll treasure for years to come at a decent dollar, then you’ve found some excellent “overall value.” On the other hand, if you’re looking at these early pre-draft sets with purely prospecting motives, you’ll probably get burned. That’s just the nature of the card hobby. Enjoy it in whatever fashion you like.

RED ZONE RESULTS: TOUCHDOWN, FAILED PAT It seems ridiculous to give this box a different result than the Low Series box. The only way I could see that happening is if I had pulled absolute garbage from one box and nothing but class-A prospect autographs in the other. Or if the inserts and/or seedings were wildly different. But they’re not. So again, SAGE Hit finds paydirt but fails to capitalize on the PAT attempt. What can I say, I try to be consistent. What I’m curious to know is now that SAGE already has 12 points on the board after just two boxes, whether or not Panini will manage to score that many points all season.

NEXT UP: 2011 Upper Deck (or 2010 Topps Supreme if I decide to wrap up my old product reviews before moving further along the new release calendar)


One Response to Product Review: 2011 SAGE Hit High

  1. It was a nice touch to hand number the gold autos. Hand numbering is always a bonus in my book.

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