Group Case Break Results

09.06.2011

Unless youv’e been in a remote cave without electricity, you probably know that we’ve been barking up the group break tree again. This time it was for a case of 2011 Topps Finest football. After a mishap with pre-ordering and having to pay nearly $100 more than expected (my fault, not the vendor’s), the case arrived safe and sound on Friday.


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But it didn’t stay sealed for long…


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And just to make sure…


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Yep, there’s Cam Newton. We’ve got the right case and are good to go.

I didn’t want to take the time to scan or list every base card that was pulled. If you’re really interested in seeing some base cards, I am planning to use the first box from this case for a 1&G Product Review. There will be some base scans there. To review the base card policy for this break, the entire base stack was broken into team stacks. I then pulled off all duplicates so that no one was getting four or five copies of the same card. I then shuffled up the pile of duplicates and dispersed them evenly over all 32 team stacks so that every team lot had the same number of base cards (so teams that had 7 players in the base set got fewer “extra” cards from the duplicates stack than say a team that only had 3 players represented). All other duplicates were set aside until the end.

Next up were the “Finest Moments” insert cards. I did the same thing with the duplicates as I did with the base cards, but I believe there were only 2-3 duplicates here, so not everyone got one. Here is the scan:


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There were also 3 refractor Finest Moments cards. All of these (and all cards shown from here on) were dispersed to the proper teams:


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Next we have the base refractor cards. These aren’t the most sought after cards from the product, but they sure are sweet. There was a very large stack of basic refractor cards, so those didn’t get scanned either. There were not any duplicate refractors though, so all refractors went to the proper teams.

There were 17 X-Fractors pulled. These are numbered #/399:


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We also pulled four Black Refractors (#/99), three Gold Refractors (#/50), and two Mosiac Refractors (#/10). Interestingly enough, despite the two Mosiacs, we didn’t pull any red refractors (#/25) and we didn’t get any of the Printing Plates or Superfractors (both 1/1s). Here is the lump sum of our high refractors:


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Next up are the Finest Atomic Rookies. These fall one per mini box (16 per case). While technically not a “hit” by normal standards (there is no autograph, jersey swatch, or even a serial number), I figured these were rare enough, so even the duplicates went to the respective teams. We did manage to pull a Gold Superior (#/50) and a Mosiac Superior (#/10), so that was a nice touch.


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And now the moment everyone has been waiting for: the hits. According to the packaging, each mini box should contain a sequentially numbered autographed jumbo relic or an autographed rookie patch card. So that means we should be looking for 16 hits from this case.

First, here are six autographed jumbo relics. All of them are numbered #/589 except for the Von Miller (#/339) and the Ryan Williams (Red Refractor #/75).


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Next up are six autographed rookie patch cards. It is hard to tell from the scan and I forgot to write it down, but I believe these were also #/589. We did pull a Refractor (Marcell Dareus #/99), a Black Refractor (Andy Dalton #/75), and a Red Refractor (Colin Kaepernick #/50).


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Now, if you’re good at math, you may be saying to yourself, “Hey! That’s only 12 hits. I thought we were supposed to get 16. What the hell, man?!?” And you would be correct. And I would be correct. We were supposed to get 16 hits and I clearly only pulled 12. Well, unless you include these four redemption cards:


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Tom, the good news is that you got two Kyle Rudolph autographed rookie patch cards. The bad new is that you have to redeem both of them from Topps. Sorry about that.

So now we have 16 hits and all is settled and complete. Except, wait, what are these?


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Here are two ADDITIONAL rookie autographs! And they are autographed on-card to boot! Mr. Alex Green is a “basic” Rookie Autograph Refractor Variation card (#/150) and Mr. Jamie Harper is a Mosiac Rookie Autograph Refractor Variation card (a parallel of a parallel! #/10). So we didn’t pull the Superfractor auto of Cam Newton or Mark Ingram, but I doubt Mike or Joevison are complaining.

Once all of the inserts and hits were dispersed, I then went back through and again evened up the stacks so that everyone had an equal number of cards by spreading out the rest of the duplicate base cards. I think some of the base cards and even a few refractors from the “bank’s” teams (team slots that were not purchased and shall remain with me) got mixed in, but I’m not too worried about that. I just didn’t want someone to buy in and then walk away with three base cards of their chosen team.

On a side note, there were no multi-player cards, so there is no need to open up public polls to decide who gets what. All cards were able to go to the proper team slots and all duplicates were dispersed as evenly as possible, as promised in the group break details and as described above.

So there you have it. The group case break of 2011 Topps Finest is complete. A very special thank you to everyone who participated. Packages are already partially assembled and will hopefully go in the mail tomorrow.

These are always fun for me, although I’d like to get more participation so that I’m not keeping any of the cards. Be on the lookout for another group break in the somewhat near future (Topps Chrome, anyone?). As always, if you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know.

Thanks!

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Product Review: 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars

08.18.2011

Here at 1st and Goal Sportscards, I reserve the right to make any last minute changes that I feel are necessary. One such change is being exhibited here. The past two product reviews have advertised that 2011 Score would be the next product to be reviewed. I have, in fact, purchased and busted a box of 2011 Score. But due, in part, to my laziness, I have not yet completely organized and scanned the cards, so that product review is on hold. To take its place is 2011 Panini Rookies and Stars. Enjoy.

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 24 8-card packs for a total of 192 cards. I got this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $82, which translates into a $0.43/card ratio. Panini Rookies & Stars is pretty solidly a mid-shelf product and this average card cost backs that up. So you know what you should get: a lot of decent base cards a small sampling of nice jersey or autograph cards. Last year, Panini failed to deliver on the promise of the once great Rookies & Stars line. Were they able to improve on their efforts? Let’s find out…

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars pack
A very teal Blaine Gabbert joins AD for the packaging

The Breakdown:
Base Cards
   Veterans: 158 (10 duplicates)
   Rookies: 24 (0 duplicates)
Parallels
   Longevity (#/249): 2
   Longevity Holofoil (#/99): 1
   Longevity Gold (#/49): 1
Inserts
   Rookie Revolution: 1
   Rookie Revolution Gold (#/500): 1
   Studio Rookies: 1
   Studio Rookies Gold (#/500): 1
Hits
   SP Rookies Signatures (#/299): 1
   Rookie Autographs (#/300): 1
   Statistical Standout Jersey (#/299): 1
   Dress for Success Jersey (#/50): 1

2011 Panini Rookies & Stars2011 Panini Rookies & Stars
Click each image for a full-sized scan

FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: In a word: improved. In two words: VASTLY improved. Last year’s design was terrible. Panini had once again churned out an ultra-neutral and paint splattered set that was forgettable. This year, they redesigned almost the entire product and produced a set that has a certain simple elegance we don’t often see in the hobby anymore. The background of the player photo isn’t completely cut out but isn’t distracting. The surrounding design elements are subtle and have a minimalist quality to them. The card fronts still aren’t overly team oriented, but the quiet look makes the team logo “pop” much more than last’s year busy design. It’s not quite a perfect comparision, but this set really reminds me of older SP Authentic sets. And that’s a good thing. The card back is fairly standard Panini fare, but is also much better than last year. It’s just an overall much cleaner and more attractive product. One interesting note was the rookie card photographs. There was a fairly even distribution between three concepts: 1) ultra close-up to avoid showing college logos, 2) combine/training photos, 3) “look at my new jersey!” poses. I realize the lockout meant no NFL training camps prior to this product’s release, so I guess Panini did the best they could. I would have liked to see more Draft or Rookie Premiere shots though. Oh, and good call [sic] with including Terrell Pryor. Though maybe that’s just my Penn State bias shining through…

2nd Down, Inserts: In a word: tired. Panini products really show cohesion in this department because every line of inserts feels the same. I’ll never understand having multiple parallels of inserts. Never. And can we ever have jersey or autograph cards that are specifically designed to be auto/jersey cards and basic inserts that are designed to be basic inserts? I hate when the auto sticker or jersey window are either hanging out in no man’s land or blatantly missing. I do like that Panini stuck with the Studio Rookies concept. They are pretty cool. I didn’t think to scan the back of one, but I really like that has a different photo, and the back of the player at that. Nice idea. I’m still not sure how to feel about the big name rookies only having a short print manu-patch auto for a base card, but the cards themselves are nice.

3rd Down, Collation: In a word: conflicting. This has more to do with the comparision to last year. Last year I pulled 186 base cards with 27 duplicates. Abysmal. This year I pulled 182 base cards with 10 duplicates. Much better, but still pretty bad. As I said last year, I don’t know why half of the base set has to be short printed. The product is ROOKIES and STARS, not STARS & A FEW ROOKIES, which is what you actually pull. You want to short print the big names to drive market value. Fine. I won’t agree with it, but it’s not the worst marketing tool. But why are all rookies short printed? Give me fewer veterans and more base rookies and I’ll be happier.

4th Down, Overall Value: In a word: decent. I definitely could have done worse with my hit pulls, but I also could have done much worse. I do feel like I got a Patriots hot box, though. I opened this box with a buddy who is a huge Ravens fan, so he was definitely disappointed with that fact. The base cards may not have huge value from a resale standpoint. However, from a purely collecting view, they are fantastic because they are well designed and overall attractive. If you’re sorting through a stack of sleeved cards in your player collection or paging through a binder of your team collection, these cards are going to stand out for good reasons. And really, let’s keep in mind that this is a HOBBY. You may not make a fiscal gain buying a box of 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars, but your enjoyment and pleasure with your beloved hobby should profit.

RED ZONE RESULTS: FIELD GOAL This product doesn’t quite have what it takes to find paydirt, but I really think it was the collation issues on third down that was the shortfall. I cannot say enough how pleasantly surprised I was with the base cards. The inserts could still use some work, but are by no means the worst I have seen. With a bit of a tweak to the veteran to rookie base card ratio, this could be a very solid product. So we’ll say 2011 Panini Rookies & Stars only managed a field goal, but did so in a very tight defensive battle where every point counts. It certainly doesn’t guarantee a victory, but could still be the difference maker at the end of the game.

NEXT UP: 2011 Score (if I feel like it…)


Product Review: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter

08.12.2011

Wait a minute. Something doesn’t look right. Isn’t Allen & Ginter a baseball set? Aren’t I reading a football card blog? Did banks get tired of buying each other and opt to start buying and merging sports card blogs? I’m confused.

The answer to those burning questions would be: Yes. Yes. Not yet. So to clarify, I will remind you all that I already posted a disclaimer about this one. I got caught up in the moment and bought a box of baseball cards. I wasn’t able to enter Gint-a-Cuffs III, so I figured I might as well do a box break review. This is that review.

2011 Topps Allen and Ginter box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 24 8-card packs for a total of 192 cards. I got this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $82, which translates into a reasonable $0.43/card ratio. Allen & Ginter is a rare breed. It appeals to set collectors with its large base set, short prints, and variants, but it also appeals to hit collectors (though certainly not as much as a super high end set) with its red ink autos and DNA relics. So $0.43 is just about right: low enough for set collectors to buy in bulk but not so low that it thwarts all mojo collectors.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter pack
If you get around Blogland, you’ve seen this olde tyme guy a lot by now…

The Breakdown:
Base Cards
   Total: 127 (3 duplicates)
   Rookie Cards: 13
   Short Prints: 12
Minis
   Base Minis: 6
   A&G Ad Back: 6
   Black Border Parallels: 3
   Portraits of Penultimacy: 2
   World’s Most Mysterious Figures: 1
   Animals in Peril: 2
   Step Right Up: 2
   Uninvited Guests: 2
Inserts
   Hometown Heroes: 18
   Floating Fortresses: 3
   Baseball Highlight Sketches: 4
   Minds That Made the Future: 3
   The Ascent of Man: 4
   Base Code Card Parallels: 3
   N43 Box Loader: 1
Hits
   A&G Captured Mini Relics: 3

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter2011 Topps Allen & Ginter
2011 Topps Allen & Ginter
Click each image for a full-sized scan

FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: I love it. Other folks have mentioned they don’t particularly care for the A&G design this year and that it’s slowly been going downhill over the past few years. This is my first real look at A&G, so I guess I haven’t been jaded by even better sets, because I really like this design. The painted feel of the photos is great and the overall design is very clean. I also really like the logo placement and what Topps did for the non-MLB base cards. I do admit the player name placement could be better. The last names just sorta hang out there. One thing I’m not a fan of is the horizontal cards. They just seem awkward and don’t fit the feel of the set as well, especially the ones that have an action shot. The card backs are interesting. Maybe A&G has always done this, but I was amused by the lack of any graphics and having all statistics in word form.

2nd Down, Inserts: Where to start? I guess the minis. These are cool, espcially since they have the old cigarette feel to them, especially once you add the Ad Backs. The various inserts were all very interesting subjects, I’m just still not sure how I feel about non-sports cards in my sports card box. One thing I need help from an avid A&G fan is about the mini vs standard sized inserts. Other than base cards, all of my minis were from different sets than my standard sized inserts. Is that common? Do they separate inserts so that this group is only available as minis and that group is only available in standard sized? I also really like the A&G relics. I find it really cool that the actual relic swatch is embedded on a mini card which is then encased inside a standard sized card. Cool stuff. I’m also digging the plaid Upton relic. For more information on that, go read Night Owl’s post. Overall, these are pretty cool inserts. Even if I do have my doubts about sponges being a part of the “ascent of man”. It probably doesn’t help that I believe in intelligent Creation…

3rd Down, Collation: Solid. Out of 127 base cards, a mere 3 were duplicates. I tend to hate duplicates, but that really isn’t a bad ratio at all. And one of those was from my favorite team (Pedro Alvarez), so I really can’t complain (although I’d rather have a duplicate of Neil Walker or Andrew McCutchen). I feel like I got all of the short prints, minis, relics, and various other inserts I was supposed to get, so that is another plus. Really, this was one of the best collated boxes I’ve seen in a long time. Hopefully this box is indicative of the entire product run.

4th Down, Overall Value: Well, it certainly helps that this is one of the most popular products of the year across any sport. As I said, there are a lot of pieces to lure in a lot of different types of collectors. You’re getting a very nicely designed product with some rather nice “chase” cards for a decent enough price. One factor that probably goes unnoticed in these product reviews more than it should is the fun factor. This product was just fun to open. I never knew if the next card was going to be a base card of Chase Utley, a mini parallel of Wee Man, or a very colorful card of a fish. Not every card appealed to my tastes in collecting (where are the Emmitt Smith A&G minis?!?), but each one has a cool factor. Considering this is a HOBBY (which a lot of people seem to forget on a daily basis), what more could you ask?

RED ZONE RESULTS: TOUCHDOWN, PAT GOOD As I mentioned above, maybe it’s just because I haven’t had prior experience with the Allen & Ginter line, but I loved this product. There were very few items that made me question the folks behind the scenes and it was just a blast to open. I got thrashed for saying the Big Time inserts in 2011 SAGE were nice because they were colorful and reminded me of my childhood for some reason, but I’m going to play a similar card here. Even if these cards were worthless (and I’m not sure how many people are storming eBay looking for cards of old wooden ships), this product would still have a fair amount of value in every pack. It’s well designed. It’s spontaneous. It’s fun. It deserves the TD and PAT.

NEXT UP: 2011 Score


Not Like the Others

04.29.2011

How many of you readers at home used to watch Sesame Street when you were growing up? I usually don’t like discussing childhood things with a mixed crowd because I either wind up sounding like a young whipper-snapper or horribly dating myself. But given Sesame Street’s unprecedented 41+ year run (and counting), I’m going to assume you all can follow along with me on this one.

A popular segment of the show was One of These Things (Is Not Like the Others). We’re going to play that game now with some cards from my Emmitt Smith collection. I know this might seem a tad too educational and developmental for this blog, but just go with it.

Are you ready? Here goes:

#1                 #2                  #3

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Well, how do you think you did? If you picked #3, you’re correct! Perhaps the bigger question though, is WHY is #3 the odd one out?

Any guesses?

Because I don’t think it exists. If your logic is adequate, I’m sure you’ve figured out that card #3 is the 1999 Donruss Elite Primary Colors Red insert. Parallels and serial numbers were all the rage in the late 90s, and I’ve fallen victim to the hype. Not only do I really want card #3 to complete the mini primary rainbow, it is serial numbered to just 25 copies and I have never seen one anywhere. Perhaps all 25 copies are already in prized Emmitt Smith collections. Maybe there are a few still stuck inside sealed packs in someone’s dusty storage facility. All I know is that not a one has found its way to my home. I do have the die-cut red insert, but that is #/75 for I can’t fathom what reason. In my current box breaks, it’s nothing to pull a #/25, #/10, or even a 1/1. But do you think I could find a #/25 from 1999? No.

*SIGH*

Maybe some day…

EDIT: A buddy of mine just found a copy for sale! Now I just need to do some deep soul searching to decide if it’s worth $120…


Cam Newton Variation Explained

04.20.2011

Last week when I was reviewing 2011 SAGE Hit High Series, I noticed what appeared to be a Cam Newton short print variation of the #100 base card. I speculated it was added to provide another chase element to the product, although nothing had been reported.


Cam Newton Base Variations

Tom Geideman, president of SAGE Collectibles, read that review and had this to say:

So that you’re aware this is what happened with the Cam Newton dual base card situation:

We were missing a photo of one of the Pre-Rookie cards (Ryan Mallett PR6) so we either had to delay the sheets being turned over to the printer or risk missing our date. We opted to fill that missing spot with a ‘new’ card to add value to the product without having to spend a lot of time getting a new design, etc. The solution we came up with was inserting a second version of the Cam Newton base card to replace the Mallett Pre-Rookie, and then print the Mallett PR6 card on a digital sheet (much quicker to do than the conventional printing). To make sure collectors were able to determine what we had done, we made the photo of one on the left and the photo of the other Newton base card on the right. The Newton base card variation is done at the same printing quantity as the other 4 Pre-Rookie cards in High Series. The Mallett Pre-Rookie card – because it was digitally printed – is much more short-printed.

We weren’t trying to pull a fast one at all, just trying to hit our packaging dates while still trying to add some value to the product.

So there you have it. Not truly a short printed variation per se, but definitely a distinct card in and of itself. And as it turns out, there is a short print card, but it is actually the Ryan Mallet Pre-Rookie insert.

Thanks, Tom, for the clarification and the collector information!


Product Review: 2010 Panini Rookies & Stars

09.03.2010

In continuing the trend of bastardizing old products into mid-shelf, re-hashed sets, Panini has released its most recent rendition of the Rookies & Stars line. In what use to be a solid set produced under the Leaf name has now become yet another vehicle for Panini to cash in on tired designs and meaningless inserts and parallels.

2010 Panini Rookies & Stars box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 24 8-card packs for a total of 192 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $90 (Yep, free shipping and packs!), which translates into a $0.47/card ratio. At that price range, Rookies & Stars is being positioned beside Panini Prestige as a low-to-mid shelf product as the price per card isn’t as high as say Donruss Elite or Panini Classics, but it certainly isn’t as low as Score.

2010 Panini Rookies & Stars pack
Turns out I was right about Peyton’s spokesman role

The Breakdown:
Base Cards
   Veterans (#1-150): 178 (27 duplicates)
   Elements (#151-165): 2
   Rookies (#166-250): 6
   SP Rookies Signatures (#251-300): 1
Parallels
   Longevity (#/249): 1
   Longevity Holofoil (#/99): 2
   Longevity Gold (#/49): 1
Inserts
   Crosstraining Black (#/100): 1
   Gold Stars Gold (#/500): 1
   Studio Combo Rookies Gold (#/500): 1
   Studio Rookies Gold (#/500): 1
   Studio Rookies Materials (#/299): 1
   Studio Rookies Prime Materials (#/50): 1
   Dress for Success Jersey Signatures (#/100): 1

2010 Panini Rookies & Stars2010 Panini Rookies & Stars
Click images for full-sized scans

FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: Does the word “lackluster” mean anything to you? I feel like I have seen this time and time again from Panini in the past year. Here we have a cutout player on top of an ultra-neutral background that consists of random shapes and lines. Sound familiar? It seems the design team at Panini came up with this template last year, thought it was brilliant, and has been on autopilot ever since. The design in and of itself actually isn’t awful in my opinion, but it has quickly become played out and does nothing for me at this point. Another odd thing is how fake a lot of the player photographs look. Panini has obviously been doing some PhotoShop filtering here. I can’t exactly describe why they look doctored, other than they seem too contrasted. Take Darren McFadden’s arms or Brett Favre’s jersey in the scan above for instance. Should I really see every vein or wrinkle that clearly? Also, there are only a handful of products out so, and I’m already noticing a lot of repeated images. Almost all of the Donovan McNabb cards are looking an awful lot alike thus far (and I know he’s not the only one). Last, by this point in the release calendar, there have not been any official NFL games yet, but training camp has given plenty of opportunity to snap shots of rookies and traded players in their new unis. None of us expect these to be great shots, but is that really the best shot of Sean Canfield they could get? Yikes.

2nd Down, Inserts: I will never understand why Panini feels the need to produce parallel after parallel of each base and insert set in all of its products. The Longevity parallel of the base cards isn’t bad, but do we need several levels? And why does every insert need multiple levels, besides just base/jersey/auto-jersey? For most of these cards, I had no clue what I had pulled until I compared the serial numbering to Panini’s sell sheet. If you are just as confused with your pulls as I was, you can see the list of every parallel set here. The inserts also tend to have the same old issue of Panini backwards designing. Producing the high end chase card and then simply deleting elements to arrive at the base insert is a poor idea. I will say, though, that I actually really like the Studio Rookie concept. The cards look clean and simple and are great, except for the backwards design problem. But overall, these are much better than the very busy designs of all of the other inserts.

3rd Down, Collation: Blech. I understand that of the 300 base cards, #151-300 are supposed to be short printed. That is still no excuse for the number of duplicates I pulled from one box. I didn’t even get all of the veterans (no #101 for me). And why on earth would you make half of your base set short printed? The whole point of this set is ROOKIES and STARS. They got the stars part right, but rookies are way under represented in the average box. And what’s up with the 15 Elements cards? It seems like a poor excuse to not include 15 additional players but still have 15 more short printed cards. I was very annoyed by the number of duplicates. Very. Give me more rookie base cards. I don’t give a damn about your short prints.

4th Down, Overall Value: I suppose it depends what you pull. Overall, these cards are probably not going to be worth your time. However, there are single cards (a.k.a. anything featuring Tim Tebow) that will demand a premium on the secondary market. If you really enjoy mid-shelf products, I would at least suggest you pick poison before buying. With all of the similar products hitting hobby shop shelves recently (and more to come in the near future), pick one or two you like and will enjoy busting rather than trying to get lucky with one or two boxes of each. This is the point in the year where I’m starting to regret this quest to open and review one box of every 2010 product.

RED ZONE RESULTS: MISSED FIELD GOAL There isn’t a lot more upon which I feel the need to expand. This product left me underwhelmed to say the least and I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve seen this same product before, even though this was my first (and last) box. It is always nice pulling jersey and autograph cards, and I’ve never pulled one of those manu-patch rookie cards before, but somehow that didn’t overcome the poor qualities of this product. I would much rather pull base rookies of top names than have a sliver of a chance to pull a grand card of a no-name rookie. Not everyone will agree with that statement, and that’s fine. To each his own. For me, this product simply wasn’t worth it and does not do well by the Rookies and Stars products of the past.

NEXT UP: 2010 Topps


Product Review: 2010 Press Pass Football

04.09.2010

Offering some direct competition to SAGE Collectibles, Press Pass has also released its first product for the 2010 calendar. While generally the same concept, Press Pass is able to offer jersey cards and all things Tim Tebow, as he signed an exclusive contract with them for draft-themed products (while SAGE landed a Colt McCoy autograph exclusive).

2010 Press Pass Football box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 28 4-card packs for a total of 112 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $92.95 shipped, which translates into a $0.83/card ratio. I would prefer to see a lower price-per-card average for an undrafted rookies product, but given a recent development in the football market, these cards may be more valuable than I originally thought. The box promises (on average) 5 autograph cards per box and a random sampling of various parallels and inserts (including “rare” jersey cards).

2010 Press Pass Football Packs
Featuring a two-design pack format

The Breakdown:
Base Cards (#1-105*): 94 – 69.5%
   1x: 52
   2x: 17
   3x: 2
   Short Prints: 2
Parallels: 5 (4 Reflectors #/500; 1 Proof Edition #/100)
Inserts: 8 (7 Banner Season; 1 Gridiron Gamers (Jersey) #/99)
Autographs: 4 (2 Press Pass Signings; 1 Press Pass Signings Gold #/85; 1 Power Pick Auto #250)
* Base cards #101-105 are short printed Power Pick cards

2010 Press Pass Football2010 Press Pass Football
Click images for full-sized scans

FIRST AND GOAL’S FOUR DOWNS:
1st Down, Design: This is an interesting set. When I look at the scans of multiple cards together above, the design looks loud with lots of random lines and shapes. But on an individual card basis, the same basis I was on when opening the packs and then flipping through the stack afterwards, the cards are nice. I remember when I hated getting Press Pass cards in the mid-90s because they felt and looked excessively cheap. This is actually a really nice looking set. One thing I would change? Grab different photos for the card backs. I will also reiterate something I said about SAGE Hit. I don’t care for the subsets in a 100-card base set. Give me more individuals than recycling the big names. Maybe a few more Nittany Lions?

2nd Down, Inserts: I will admit, when looking at preview images, I hated the autograph cards. I thought they just looked “off” for a lack of more descriptive adjectives. But when I saw them first-hand, I did a 180 in opinion. The autos are actually really nice and I LOVE that they are on-card. The Banner Season was a good idea, but using a team color scheme didn’t work in all cases, especially teams with navy blue or black. Those just look very dark and drab. The Tebow above and the CJ Spiller I pulled are quite stunning though with that bright orange over the faded photo. I liked the parallels as well. I’m not a fan of serial numbering for serial numbering’s sake, but the cards look great. They almost have a refractor aurora about them. I am undecided on the jersey card insert. I know that is Press Pass’s thing, but it is overdone at this point, especially to go to the extent to say they are more rare and valuable than the autographed cards. Plus, due to its thicker size, I only pulled 111 cards…and only 4 of the “guaranteed” 5 autographs. Let’s just say I would much rather have had another non-double base card and auto than this jersey card.

3rd Down, Collation: Meh. With 112 cards per box and a 100-card base set (sans short prints), I didn’t expect to pull the entire base set, but having 21 duplicates was a bit much for me to swallow. I also noticed that I pulled some of those duplicates in consecutive packs, would be really irritating if I had only bought a few packs and still had doubles. I also mentioned the fact that I was shorted one card (an autograph at that) for the sake of including a jersey card. If you are going to take a card out of a pack to include the jersey card, don’t take away an auto. I know every product says that stated odds are indicative of the entire print run and not individual packs, boxes, or cases, but I will say this is the only box I’ve ever busted that did not have the stated inserts, especially for autographs.

4th Down, Overall Value: It depends. Press Pass has been around for a while, so its a brand people recognize and appreciate, especially in the college market. However, there’s always the risk that most of the checklist will wind up being NFL busts. Also, the secondary market value of any draft-themed set will plummet once sets featuring the rookies in their new unis are released. If you are a collector, it’s a great set. If you are a prospector, you may want to pass.

RED ZONE RESULTS: DEFENSIVE PENALTY, FIRST AND GOAL FROM THE 2 I probably hand out this result more than I should, but it seems to work in this case. I see a lot of potential in the product and the base cards, autographs, and parallels look fantastic. On the other hand, the collation (duplicates without obtaining the entire base set) and the over-use of subsets kept 2010 Press Pass from getting on the board. Given another four downs (another box break or two) it is possible it could punch it across the goal line or at least convert a field goal attempt. A First and Goal from the 2 is a good place to be…unless time has already expired.

NEXT UP (tentatively): 2010 SAGE Autograph