As the football season rolls on, the card machine really ramps up and starts cranking out sets. It makes keeping up with things a bit difficult at times, but it also is a huge help when I’m looking to post a review of a different product every day over the course of an entire week (especially given time and budget restraints). Today we take a look at 2011 Topps Platinum, a product that fared pretty well in last year’s 1&G Review.
Hobby boxes come with 20 5-card packs for a total of 100 cards. I got this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $107, which translates into a $1.07/card ratio. It’s interesting to note that this year’s version of Platinum has fewer cards AND a considerably higher price tag (2010 featured 120-card boxes in the $70-75 arena). Do the cards warrant such a jump in price? Let’s take a look.
This year’s packaging more closely resembles the actual cards than last year’s did
Base Cards: 65 (0 duplicates)
Rookie Cards: 11
Gold Rookies (#/50): 1
Platinum Die Cuts: 1
Rookie Auto (#/2175): 1
Rookie Auto Blue (#/99): 1
Rookie Auto Patch (#/475): 1
FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: In a word: shiny. Rather than go with a basic silver sheen like last year, this year’s Platinum design features a rainbow foil look, which is all sorts of shiny. The base cards are generally well designed. The elements at the bottom may be a bit heavy, but they certainly do not distract from the player image. Plus, they also add some team colors and a logo to the card front, something which was glaringly absent last year. These base cards could be sweet inserts in most other products, so that is certainly a plus. One interesting note is that the rookies are distinguished again this year, more than the RC shield. They seem a tad “slicker” on front and have that dimpled texture that all of the Finest refractors had this year. The rookie card backs are also a bit darker than the veterans again this year. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a flaw, it’s just an observation.
2nd Down, Inserts: In a word: SHINY! Hopefully that gives you an idea of my view on this box. If the base cards were shiny, the inserts are super shiny. There are a few parallel levels of the base set, including an Xfractor that is essentially identical to the Finest Xfractors. There is also some die-cut goodness going on, so I’m really starting to feel a trip down the late 90s memory lane. To avoid any confusion, that is a good thing around these parts. Feel free to form your own opinion though. I do have a note on the serial numbering. I was surprised more of the parallels weren’t numbered as that seems to be all the rage these days. You’re just left to seeing how many of each parallel you pull from your box to figure out which ones are more rare. On the flip side, the autographs were obviously numbered. But when you have a basic rookie autograph that’s numbered to a whoping 2,175, why bother? Of course maybe Topps is just really driving home the late 90s theme…you know, when a card numbered out of 3,199 was super rare. I do LOVE that Topps got some of these cards hard signed. It is a shame though that the best auto in the box, the auto patch card, did have a sticker auto. At least it’s progress over last year where all of the autos were stickers.
3rd Down, Collation: In a word: shiny. Okay, maybe that is pushing it too far. I apologize. The collation of this box was pretty solid. I did not pull any duplicates, had a fair number of parallels and inserts, and got all of my “guaranteed” hits. I would say it’s a big improvement from last year when I complained about pulling 1 duplicate out of 112 base cards. But when you nearly slash the base card count per box in half, getting rid of that lone duplicate isn’t such a big accomplishment.
4th Down, Overall Value: In a word: shiny. That’s right. I just hit for the shiny cycle. Woo! Actually, I would probably say the overall value is a bit shakey. The cards in and of themselves are great. I obviously would have liked to have had better luck with the autograph cards (I don’t think I’m ever going to pull an autograph from whomever is the top rookie in any given year), but these are decent. This was definitely a fun box to open and its linking, whether intential or not, to some of my favorite sets from the mid-to-late 90s was a bonus. The problem is I just don’t see an exceptional increase in value from last year, even though I paid considerably more this year (higher price AND fewer cards). I also see a bit of overlap between Platinum and Finest, especially when you’re featuring nearly identical technology and parallels in both. I can’t say which I would drop because I honestly do like both sets, but I also don’t see the need to be redundant. If I had to choose, I’d probably drop Platinum in favor of Finest, if only because Finest has been around much longer.
RED ZONE RESULTS: FIELD GOAL I like this set. The cards are attractive and the inserts are solid. I’m just not sure we need two Finest products to be released within a week or so of each other. I’m also not terribly wild about the price tag. It’s not necessarily excessive, but the sudden increase over last year does sting a bit. And honestly, that is the ultimate reason 2011 Topps Platinum did not find paydirt. The card design was enough to light up the scoreboard, but just couldn’t overcome the cost difference. Again, it’s a solid product. I just wouldn’t go nuts buying tons of this AND Finest.
NEXT UP: 2011 Topps Prime