Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

If you are out and about this evening have fun and stay safe.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Panini Prizm Football Is On The Way

Panini is working on the 2012 Prizm Football release and posted up preview images of some of the base and base auto cards. The set is scheduled to be released around Super Bowl time in early February. I recently opened a couple of packs of Prizm Basketball and I think it is a decent product, I do dig it. This is another Panini product where not everyone will like it but there definitely is a place in the collecting world for Prizm.
More information will be released in the upcoming weeks along with additional preview images from the set.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wilbur The Wildcat Makes His Apperance

When Upper Deck released 2012 Upper Deck Football one of the big hits was the College Mascot Patches, a manu-patch depicting various college mascots. They continue with the patches in 2013 Upper Deck Football, scheduled for an April release.
I will cover the upcoming release in depth later on but the biggest news, for me anyway, was the inclusion of the University of Arizona’s Wilbur the Wildcat. I was disappointed last year to see AS(Who?) was included but not Arizona but Upper Deck has seen the error of their ways and made things right.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all

and to all a goodnight...

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Hunt For "A Merry Xmas"

Weber Baking Company, out of New Jersey, followed a common practice in the early 20th Century by inserting cards in their products as an extra incentive to bring in sales. A practice that was made popular by tobacco companies was quickly adapted by candy makers, bakeries and even retailers as a way to get their name out among the population.
In 1923 Weber inserted informational cards in to their bread packaging, a set that is now listed as 1923 D50 Weber Baking Magic Card of Knowledge. These cards included a black and white illustration on the front along with a short write up on the back giving some info about the subject. What was cool about these cards is that you could paint them yourself. Similar to the “Paint With Water” books we had as kids, using a wet brush you could paint across the card surface and colors would appear. Let the card dry and you now have your own masterpiece.
The card I have in my sights in the “A Merry Xmas” card featuring Santa Claus but these cards are extremely difficult to find. I have only seen one Santa card sell this year and it was well beyond what I felt was reasonable. Even if I could find a painted version I would be happy but the cards have been few and far between. A new Santa Claus card to add to my search for Claus.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Calvin Johnson Jr. Vs. The Madden Curse

On April 25th Calvin Johnson Jr. was announced as the cover player for EA Sports Madden 13, an honor as well as a curse. Since Barry Sanders appeared in the background of Madden 2000 there has been a “curse” of sorts that affected many of the players who appeared on the box.
Going down the line there have been retirements, sub par seasons, injuries and broken bones, losing streaks and Vince Young (he deserves his own category when it comes to the Madden curse). Larry Fitzgerald and Drew Brees had decent seasons following their covers but nothing like Johnson’s season.
In the Lion’s loss to Atlanta Saturday night Johnson set the single season receiving yards record, previously held by Jerry Rice (1995: 1,848 yards). Megatron had a monster night with 11 receptions for 225 yards putting his season total to 1,892 yards with one game left in the season. He is now shooting for the previously unheard of 2,000 receiving yards in a season, only 108 yards away.
He is averaging 126 yards/game in 2012 so to hit the needed 108 yards to top the 2,000 yard plateau is quite reasonable and you can be sure that Stafford will do everything he can to get the ball to Calvin Johnson in their season finally against Chicago next week, a game at home.
Has the Madden curse finally been broken?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1977 Topps Steve Largent

This month’s Vintage Card of the Month is from the 1977 Topps Football set, Steve Largent. The 1977 Topps football release was the first set to include both of the 1976 expansion teams, the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This card is Largent’s rookie card, remember the days when a player had only one rookie card?
Last month I selected a Largent relic card for my vintage card so this selection should be no surprise. Steve Largent is my favorite Seahawk and is among the Seahawks pantheon of gods along with Dave Krieg, Walter Jones, Curt Warner, Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck, Cortez Kennedy and Mack Strong.
Topps was the only major football card company at the time and they had a pretty standard design in the mid-late 70s; a white border, close-up shot of the player, a banner of some sort with the team name and the player’s name. If you look at the base cards from 1975 through the 1983 sets you will see there were only minor changes from year to year.
The card is in good shape and besides a smudge on the front (above the “E” in Largent) and cut slightly off center on the front it looks great. I picked up the card about 10 years ago on eBay for less than $8 shipped so a pretty good bargain.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Preview: 2013 Press Pass Total Memorabilia

It is interesting how some companies release certain products like clockwork; In December 2010 Press Pass introduced 2011 Five Star Racing, a seriously high-end product ($500/5 cards). In December 2011 they introduced 2012 Total Memorabilia Racing, a mid to high-end product ($125/5 packs/9 cards per pack/5 hits) that replaced Five Star Racing. Now in December 2012 they have released previews of 2013 Total Memorabilia (@$125/5 packs/9 cards per pack/5 hits).
It seems as though Press Pass is satisfied with how last year’s product went because this year’s release is almost identical in description. The price has not been announced but figure it will be around the same $125/box price. The pack out is the same with 5 packs per box, 9 cards per pack and 1 hit per pack.
Going down the line with the hits, the Rising Stars autographs return, though a very different design, the auto-relic booklets return, with a slightly different design, and Hot Rod Relics is replacing the Total Memorabilia relics. Added to the mix is the Burning Rubber Chase Edition relic, which contains a race used tire relic from a Chase For the Cup race.
Overall I prefer last year’s designs over this year’s designs, the layout on some of the cards just do not grab me like they did last year.

Danica Patrick Booklet

Patrick Booklet Close-up Autograph

Patrick Booklet Close-up Relic

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Booklet
Jr. Booklet Close-up Autograph

Jr. Booklet Close-up Relic

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 Upper Deck Marvel Beginnings III Is Now Live

Upper Deck has a tendency to hold fast on certain upcoming sets, they release very little information and even less preview images. The Marvel products are usually among those releases that they keep quiet and close to the chest. I sent an email to Chris Carlin two weeks ago asking if they had planned on releasing any info or images and he sent me the checklist only. The checklist was released to members of Upper Deck’s Insiders Newsletter the next day. Not really the scoop I was hoping for.
Today Marvel Beginnings III was released, the final piece to the Marvel Beginnings trilogy product. Starting with Beginnings I, which was released late last year, and continued with Beginnings II, released earlier this year, the set has used a continuing checklist number system. Each release contained 180 base cards so when all has been said and done the Beginnings line has a total of 540 base cards. Each release also included Ultimate Panel cards, a panel out of various comic books was inserted in a card to create an original type of relic card, as well as sketch cards. Inserts varied from set to set otherwise.
As expected the sketch cards are the highlight of the insert checklist, inserted at 1:2 boxes, each sketch card is a 1/1 sketch from one of the 76 artists included in this release. The product was released today but there are some amazing sketch cards already out there for auction.

The Breakthrough Issues Autographs, inserted at 1:2 boxes, are also lighting it up, it seems like collectors can never get enough of Stan Lee’s autograph. There are 49 cards included in the checklist plus another 33 cards on the Breakthrough Issues Dual Autographs checklist. I like that Upper Deck used gold and silver paint pens for the on-card autographs.

Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 Panini Black Football Is On The Horizon

Sorry about the lack of content lately, I am fighting some sort of cold/bug that has me out of sorts and I can not shake it. Hopefully some rest will help clear out the virus and get me back on my feet.

Wednesday Panini is unleashing 2012 Black Football, a high-end football product that will run $200 for a 12 card pack/box.
Box Break:
5 Autograph/Memorabilia cards (At least 3 will be autographs)
2 Base cards
2 Rookie cards
2 inserts
1 Parallel
I don’t know what it is about black and cards but when you use a black background the cards just seem “better”, it makes the player stand out, when signed with a proper pen (gold) it makes the autographs pop and relics seem more visible.
Upper Deck set the standard with the original Black product, which they released in 2009, but after they lost their NFL license they were not able to capture the collectors attention with their 2011 release using the NCAA license even though they had a solid checklist and a pleasant design. Panini is now taking their shot using the Black name (note that Upper Deck’s Black and Panini’s Black are two different products and are not connected besides having the same name).  
Panini did a nice job with the design, the base cards have an interesting design (it actually reminds me of car seats, not sure why) but they have a uniform flow throughout the set and using gold pens for on-card autographs and blue pens for stickers (gold and silver stickers) make the autograph cards stand out nicely. About the only thing bothers me is that a number of the cards that were previewed on their blog show single colored swatches, something that you would not expect from a limited high-end product. If you drop $200 for 12 cards you deserve multi-colored relics or patches, not a dime-sized white swatch. I am also wondering if the Captains patch cards are game-used patches or if they are manufactured patches like Topps Manu-patches that they inserted in blaster boxes this year.

 There are a couple of cards that caught my eye. Ray Lewis with a double red swatch (I am guessing a Pro Bowl jersey) and a Raven’s Triple Materials card where Ed Reed’s swatch appears odd, almost looking like padding from a shoe. It does not have the texture of a jersey swatch or a piece from pants.

Friday, December 14, 2012

2012-13 Limited Basketball Is Live

Today 2012-13 Limited Basketball was released, each $100 box contains one pack with a total of 7 cards; 1 Rookie Autograph, 1 Additional Autograph, 1 Memorabilia card and 4 base cards/parallels.
As far as a set goes, it is loaded with foil and acetate. Which might not be so bad was it not for the fact that you are paying $100 for 7 total cards and only 3 hits. Sure you have the chance to pull top rookie autographs from both the 2011 and 2012 NBA Drafts but with 100 base rookie autographs you are bound to find the dogs of the draft before pulling Anthony Davis or Kyrie Irving.
Most of the relic inserts could have as easily been inserted in to any other Panini basketball release, besides some of the cards being extremely limited nothing screams “High End” inserts.
Cards like the Glass Cleaners insert is a complete disappointment, the card itself is fine but the forced addition of the relic and the vertical autograph sticker just ruin it. Some designers just do not understand that more does not always equate better. I am actually hard pressed to think of another autograph set that uses a vertical autograph besides the Topps Letterman cards.
On the positive side I do like the base Rookie Autographs; they bring back memories of Pacific’s Cramer Choice Award cards. They are die-cut, acetate cards with an on-card autograph and they are limited to #/399 or less. I think had they included a little fold-out base so the card could stand up it would have been a pretty cool way to display the card.
The Home/Away Jersey cards are another card I like, for some reason the basic design appeals to me. To add to the value, taking another page out of Pacific’s playbook, there are relics on each side of the card. One side has a home jersey relic and the other side has an away jersey relic, the relic square even rotates in the card so you can display either side.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Golden Age Baseball Pop-Ups Rock!

Panini will be releasing Golden Age Baseball in a little over a week. I am not a big fan of the base set design, the colors just do not appeal to me at all. There are some redeeming qualities though. There is an interesting selection of athletes and popular culture personalities included in the on-card autograph checklist, reprints of some very rare vintage card sets from the early-20th Century as well as unique relics.
One insert that has drawn my eye is the Pop-Ups; a sepia-tone card that when the subject is popped out from the card and the card is bent over the person “pops up” like a tent card. There is such a variety too, baseball players, football players, actors and actresses, golfers, horses, boxers and the list goes on. They are inserted at a 1:12 packs so you will get 2 per box.
I was excited to see both Curly Howard (Three Stooges) and Buck Weaver (1919 Black Sox) were included on the checklist, I will actively be hunting for both cards. I have seen the 26 that Tracy Hackler posted on Panini’s blog but I do not know if this is the complete checklist or who all is included.