Topps Adds Value to HTA Jumbo Boxes


Just a quick update for today. This just came through the news release ticker:


Topps announces it has made a significant addition to the HTA Jumbo boxes for 2011 Topps Football (releasing late July). Instead of the solicited 2 Autographs and 1 Relic per HTA box, each box will now guarantee 2 Autographs and 1 ROOKIE PATCH RELIC!

Cam Newton Rookie Patch Relic

It doesn’t seem like such a huge improvement, but people do like them some multi-color patches, especially from Rookies. Now if we could just get Topps to drop the RC shield…


Product Preview: 2011 SAGE Autographed


Here are some details about the new 2011 SAGE Autographed product, which is due to hit hobby shelves today. Keep in mind, this information was released directly by SAGE Collectibles and as such, First and Goal Sportscards does not guarantee any card seedings or box break results.

SAGE Autographed Football 2011 is breaking new ground. In the history of trading cards there has never been an autographed-card-per-pack product issued BEFORE the draft of the players featured inside. SAGE Autographed Football 2011, arriving at distributors on Tuesday, April 26 will be the first, launching days before the April 28-30 draft. The product will feature one authentic autographed card inserted into every pack – without any redemptions. Collectors will be able to pull the limited Platinum Level (#’d 50), Gold Level (#’d to 200) and Silver and Red levels (both not #’d). In addition they’ll find randomly inserted much rarer autographed cards including Master Edition 1/1 Autographed Cards, Triple Autographed Cards (#’d to 5) featuring three authentic autographs per card (such as the National Champions card featuring Cam Newton, Nick Fairley and Mario Fannin), and Aspire Autographed Cards (#’d to 5) of the top 8 skill position players in the draft (Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder, AJ Green, Julio Jones and Mark Ingram).

Click each thumbnail for a full-sized scans

But that’s not all, if all goes as expected it won’t be long on April 28th before the name Cam Newton is called. It’s with that in mind that SA-GE Collectibles, Inc. has included the innovative “Draft Cam” insert (#’d to only 11 each) and autographed cards (#’d to only 2 each!).

Click each thumbnail for a full-sized scan

EXCLUSIVE: First Look at 2011 SAGE Hit


Here is an EXCLUSIVE first look gallery of the “Big Time” inserts from the upcoming 2011 SAGE Hit set. These images are courtesy of SAGE Collectibles and are not available anywhere else. Take a look and let us know your thoughts. By the way, SAGE president Tom Geideman will be reading your comments, so this is the place to let your voice be heard!

Click each thumbnail for a full-sized image

NOTE: An easier-to-navigate image gallery can be found on our Facebook Page.

2011 SAGE Hit Low Series goes live the week of March 14 and is packed out in 16-box cases that contain 30 5-card packs. Low Series boxes have 6 autograph cards on average and NO REDEMPTIONS. This will be your first chance to collect cards of the 2011 rookie class. SAGE’s website has the complete checklist for Low Series and High Series posted.

Product Review: 2010 Panini Certified


Let’s keep this gravy train rolling with another product review. Today’s featured entrée: 2010 Panini Certified. These intros get harder to write all the time, especially when doing several in a row, so let’s just jump into this one…

2010 Panini Certified box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 10 5-card packs for a total of 50 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $85, which translates into a moderate $1.70/card ratio. This is branching into the territory where I start to get nervous, but not out of the question. It’s not Topps flagship and it’s not Exquisite. It’s more middle of the road than anything. Mediocre product in general? Let’s find out.

2010 Panini Certified Pack
Mr. Manning sure is getting a lot of face time this year

The Breakdown:
Base Cards: 46 (2 duplicates)
   Rookie Cards (#/999): 2 (included in base card total above)
   Gold Team (#/999): 1
   Certified Potential (#/999): 1
   Mirror Red Parallel (#/250): 1
   Fabrics of the Game (#/250): 1
   Mirror Jersey Prime (#/50): 1
   Mirror Green Autograph (#/5): 1
   Freshman Fabric Dual Relic Autograph (#/699): 1

2010 Panini Certified2010 Panini Certified
Click images for full-sized scans

1st Down, Design: I must say, Panini seems to be moving in the right direction, although their speed in getting there could be improved considerably. This is a decent design. It has enough design elements to lend itself to being a mid-shelf product but it certainly doesn’t look busy. I like that the side border-esque element still incorporates the photo’s background and I really like that the player is cropped by the bottom box, but allowed to free flow over the side borders. It adds an element of depth to the card that is nice. I do wish, however that Panini would stray from making all of their base designs so neutral with the various shades of grey boxes. I’d also like to see team logos on the card front, but I guess that is a minor point. One last suggestion would be something, anything, to vary the card back. After a while, all of Panini’s card backs start to look the same.

2nd Down, Inserts: For once, these are alright, but they could still use a fair amount of improvement. The whole backwards design thing isn’t AS painfully obvious for these inserts, but you can definitely still see it. I still don’t understand the jersey swatch window placement. The Polamalu looks a tad awkward with the obvious crotch shot and I really question the use of an all white jersey swatch on top of an all white, materialistic looking area on the Newsome card. At first, I thought I pulled a huge swatch…then realized most of that swatch was just cardboard. And once again I’m left feeling like on-card autos would have been a better option. Or at least better design work around the labels. Panini, we keep barking at you for backwards designing your cards because you plan where the jersey swatch windows and sticker labels will look good and then simply replace them with terribly desolate design elements to get to the more basic inserts. When we say we want you to do it differently, we don’t mean take the more basic card and just cut out a swatch window or slap on a sticker auto. Design each card as its own. It can’t be THAT hard.

3rd Down, Collation: I definitely was not pleased in this department, as you may be able to tell from my slightly smart ass scans above. No, the box wasn’t completely riddled with duplicates, but when I’m only getting 50 cards in an entire box, I sure as hell don’t want to see duplicates. And what is the deal with making rookie cards so scarce? I understand wanting to preserve the collectibility of them, but what’s the point when they’re so difficult to get in the first place? At the very least you could have given me two more rookie cards instead of veteran duplicates. Not cool.

4th Down, Overall Value: I struggle with this point. If I go by my box alone, the overall value, despite all of the product shortfalls, is fantastic. But that is almost entirely based on the fact that I was lucky enough to pull a Michael Vick auto #/5. There has only been one listed on eBay since the product released, and it sold for the full $400 asking price just 13 hours after being listed. Not too shabby. And yes, my copy is definitely hitting the bay as soon as I get a chance to list another batch of cards. I’m not trying to be greedy, but I’ve got to pay for these boxes somehow. If you got rid of that one card however, I would not feel nearly so optimistic about the overall value of the box. The base design is decent but not great. The inserts are tolerable but not stellar. The hits are adequate but not ground breaking. For $85 a box, I would normally expect a bit more. But then again, why would I expect more from Panini?

RED ZONE RESULTS: MISSED FIELD GOAL The product is by no means a complete throw away. It does, however, have its share of faults. The base design is decent, but it has that typical Panini-neutral flavor. The inserts have a solid theme, but still suffer from backwards design flaws. The collation was pitiful with a 4% duplicate ratio (I do however realize that this is still leaps and bounds above what some junk wax era boxes could boast). Overall, it really isn’t that bad of a product, but nearly all of my excitement was contained in 1 card, and that just not enough to cut it, or to get onto the 1&G scoreboard. I will say, as I said above, Panini products do seem to be improving, at least during this release calendar, they just aren’t improving fast enough for my liking. Hopefully by the end of the 2010 release year, or especially by 2011’s products, they will really start to click and produce some nice sets.

NEXT UP: 2010 Topps Unrivaled

Brief Thoughts


Deep Thoughts would be far more entertaining, I realize, but for now, you just get brief thoughts. While I was between tasks, I quick checked my facebook home page and saw this update image:

Click image for a slightly larger view

This is a new image released for the highly anticipated 2009 SP Authentic. I have two “brief thoughts” on this image:

1) A new Emmitt card. Autographed. Cool.

2) Emmitt himself is almost completely hidden by some fake patch. Interesting.

That is all.

What? I said it would be brief.

Topps Not Dead Yet


On the heels of the Players, Inc. announcement that it would not be renewing Topps’ football card licensing contract after its February 2010 expiration, Topps has made an announcement of it own: product information for 2009 Topps Platinum.

Topps Platinum

Either Topps saw the downfall of their football releases coming and planned ahead, or they are quickly throwing together a last ditch effort to show everyone what a tragic mistake Players, Inc. has made. In a nut shell, 2009 Topps Platinum looks sweet. Each 24-pack box essentially guarantees 2 autographed refractor rookie cards and 1 autographed refractor patch card. Proving they dominated card inserts with refractor technology, every autograph card will be a refractor and will include the usual list of parallels we have come to expect from Topps. I have uploaded the official (and preliminary) sell sheet and checklist for you to review. I apologize for the last few items of each page of the checklist being weird, my pdf converter is acting up tonight. Topps has also released some preliminary card images, which you can see below (hover over image to see details):

2009 Topps Platinum Base2009 Topps Platinum Rookie Base2009 Topps Platinum Red Refractor RC
2009 Topps Platinum Autograph Refractor RC2009 Topps Platinum Autograph Superfractor RC2009 Topps Platinum Autograph Patch Red Refractor RC
Each tiny thumbnail leads to a full sized image

On obvious rookie-focused set, 2009 Topps Platinum is scheduled for release the first week in February, just weeks before its NFL license expires, and could be the final Topps football product for quite a while. The price per 24-pack box (each packs contains 5 cards) will run in the $80 range, obviously depending where you buy it.

What do you guys think? Is this a sorry attempt to dump the entire NFL sticker auto and jersey patch inventory Topps currently has, or is this a valiant effort to go out with a bang?

h/t to Mario for passing this information on to someone who is not important enough to receive these sort of emails directly.

Live Today: 2009 UD Black


UPDATE: Apparently UD once again delayed a product release. So just take this post as another preview post. The new release date is scheduled for 11/11. Although I am sure that is extremely tentative right now anyway.

After experiencing huge success in the basketball market, Upper Deck is bringing its famed Black line to football. Delivering all on-card autographs and very high end inserts, 2009 UD Black may be the most highly anticipated product of the year. This ultra high end set is being released in cases of 10 boxes of 2 packs of 2 cards each.

The “base” set consists of 90 veterans and 42 lustrous autographed rookie cards. Along with the base set, Black also has a host of on-card autograph inserts including base card auto parallel, Veteran/Legends Lustrous PETG Patch Auto, Biography Signatures, Film Slides PETG Signatures, Single Player Quad Jersey Auto, Dual Player Jersey Auto, Quad Player Jersey Auto, Dual Autographs, Triple Autographs, Quad Autographs, Dual Manufactured College Pennants Auto, Cut Signatures, and Dual Cut Signatures. Additionally, all of the autographed cards, except for the Biography Signatures, Cut Signatures, and Dual Cut Signatures have a blue variation parallel that is numbered 1/1.



Each tiny thumbnail leads to a full sized image

Note: These images were released by Upper Deck several months ago as part of their press release. Actual card images may differ from those shown above.

Per Box Breakdown: 2 packs of 2 cards each (4 total). Each pack will contain 1 base card featuring a manufactured American flag patch and 1 hard-signed autographed card. Each case will contain 1 Cut Signature or Dual Cut Signature card. Boxes are currently selling in the $210 range.

This set is actually pretty exciting. I don’t know that I’ll ever be a true fan of super high-end products like this, but the cards do look really nice, well designed, and it never hurts to feature on-card autographs. It is also great to see a completely new product come to the football world this year. I realize this product has been around in basketball for a little while, but a lot of collectors do not cross between sports, so it’s still a new concept for most football collectors. Upper Deck is showing that after a few years of boring designs and products, they still know how to be innovative and imaginative. This product features the lustrous autographed cards and film slideshow PETG cards, both very cool concepts, and let’s not forget SPx’s shadowbox cards that have created a huge buzz in the Hobby. I really doubt I will buy any boxes/cases of this product, but I do tip my hat to Upper Deck and applaud this release.

What do you guys think? Is this a great new product for the football market, or is it just hugely overpriced crap?