Box Break: 2013 Topps Heritage

Have you ever had a hot box, or better yet, been hot boxed.  Well, I was hot boxed over the weekend and it was wonderful.  I saw blue refractors everywhere while listening to the Stones.  There were giant heads and men shooting imaginary arrows after pulling ripe plantains out of their pants.  Others were smiling, giggling and simply staring in to space…and I swear I saw a Marlin with photos taken before and after a clean shave.  It was all magical, and now the trip is over…the flashback is now Monday night and I have a hangover.

Topps Heritage is a set that I LOVE putting together each year.  I know a lot of folks out there are indifferent or hate it, but I really enjoy the set.  I love that it’s set at a decent price.  I also love that you can complete a base set with minimal headaches while managing to still eat lunch each day.  I admit the SP’s and SSP’s are a little bit of a pain, but isn’t that what collectors really want?  They can definitely come off as gimmicks, but they also represent the desire to chase and build sets.  Part of my enjoyment with collecting cardboard is that I know I can’t have everything I want…even though I really want everything.  To me, that is the joy in collecting.  The chase.  I have binders of the flagship Topps set with all the cards in their proper position.  I have binder of Topps Heritage with huge chunks of cardboard missing.  It’s infuriating at times but I can’t quit it.  It’s like that girl in high school that talked to you enough to be a friend, but you just couldn’t get closer to her…it was the chase.  You didn’t hate her for it, you knew deep down that nothing would ever happen, but it never stopped you from trying did it?  That’s what I love about Heritage.  I will never complete all the Heritage sets I’ve started, but I will try and will buy boxes to open packs to put in sleeves…that’s what I do.  That’s why I collect.

To chase the un-obtainable.

Ok, I’ve been rambling a bit here tonight.  Each year I buy a few boxes of Heritage throughout the year to build a full set with all the SP’s.  This year I ordered my boxes in advance from Dave and Adam’s cardworld and have slowly started to open them.  Just out of curiosity, I did something I’m a little embarrassed about.  I weighed each box on a small digital scale my wife uses around the kitchen.  I found three different sizes of the boxes 1lb 4 3/4oz, 1lb 5oz and 1lb 5 7/8oz.  Hmmm.  Think I’m going to open the heavy box first.  Glad I did as it was what must have been a HOTBOX!

Holy Hot Rocks I’m Hot, so give up the props – just a little something from Redman to lead into the magical Blue Refractor imagery.

12 TH Jeter Rivera Blue Refractor

I also managed to pull an awkward looking Adam Jones Clubhouse Collection White Jersey Card.

12 TH Adam Jones Clubhouse Collection White Jersey

Here is the archer/plantain man.  Just watched him lock it down against the Netherlands.  Any fans of the WBC out there?  I’ve really been enjoying it this year, plus the Dominican Republic team is stacked like an all star team.

12 TH Fernando Rodney Chrome 88:999

A young stoned Stones.  This photo was taken before Keith Richards made his deal with whatever devil that allowed him to live to 150.  Maybe he’s a vampire?

12 TH Rolling Stones News Flashback

Lots of gigantic heads in the ’64 remake here.  Wonder if that was the trend in the mid 60’s, to get right up in a man’s face and release the shutter?  I’m not up on my camera lens history, but I imagine a lot of fixed lenses back then creating the up close shots.  One of the many reasons I like Heritage is their attentiveness to focusing on the mimicked set.  My one complaint about it would be the photos though.  I think Topps could take easily use the same angles and focal lengths, but get sharper photos rather than attempting to copy the grainy old school photos.  I know, I know…that’s the whole point of this set.  I just think the technology of today shouldn’t be limited in order to duplicate what couldn’t be done 50 years ago.

12 TH Cano Strasburg

I got a Heritage Suite card too, SSSP?

12 TH Pedro Ciriaco

The thing I love about this card is these two guys look like a before and aftershave photo.  Maybe Mr. Mattison can find a razor and trim that beast up a bit?

12 TH Kevin Mattison Tom Koehler Marlins Rookie Stars

Nothing to hide.

12 TH Chris Tillman

This guy is WAY TOO INTENSE.

12 TH Zack Greinke

Card Design 3.5 of 5

This isn’t one of my favorite designs, it’s a little too simple for my liking.  The backs are great and I think Topps has done a great job matching the original design and feel of the cards again.

Photography 3.5 of 5

The photography is what it is.  They are matching what was done previously.  Just think more can be done, especially with all the technology we have now.

Hits 3.5 of 5

Although this box was pretty dope, I can’t say that Heritage has great hits.  They just don’t and that’s what has a lot of folks upset.  That’s not my concern though.  I like the Clubhouse Collection cards as simple and non-descript as they are, I think they work for this price point and set.  The box toppers are only nice if you don’t get a panel.  The panels are terrible because you can’t really do anything with them and nobody wants them…at least that I know.

Review

I have a long way to go to completing this set, but I am going to enjoy every minute of it regardless of what people think.  I like the simple non glossy cardboard that is Heritage.  It reminds me of the cards I collected as a kid, only better stock.

Box Break: 2012 Panini Prime Signatures

Ok, i had a little time this evening with the baby and lovely wife off in the other room having some reading time.  So I thought I would open one of the Panini boxes I received last night…and I decide to open…the single pack Prime Signatures Box.

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I have purchased two of these boxes this year in the faint hopes of pulling an RGIII to no avail, BUT I am not a quitter and purchased one more box from the Panini online store.  The box was purchased last weekend when they had the 25% sale, so i managed to get a really good deal on the box…and i couldn’t pass up a good deal and an opportunity to pull a guaranteed autograph.

The box is simply one pack with 4 cards in each pack…so it’s always a gamble as to what you will be pulling from the box.  My other breaks have been fairly uneventful and something i was definitely bracing for with this box.  Although there were thoughts of better pulls since it was from the company that manufactures the cards.

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So much for the long winded intro, here are the cards I pulled!

Leaf Sig LeSean McCoy 452-499

LeSean McCoy 452/499

Leaf Sig Joe Greene 497:499

‘Mean’ Joe Greene 497/499

Leaf Sig Steven Jackson 17-99 PP

Steven Jackson Prime Proof 17/99

Leaf Sig Steelers Rookies 6-25

Pittsburgh Steelers Rookies Chris Rainey, David DeCastro, Marquis Maze

Card Design – 4 of 5

The main reason i keep going back to these cards is their design.  It’s simple, clean and always clear who the card is for and what it’s about…which I love.  The super thick card stock and clingy sound when the cards stack on top of each other is a fantastic feature for me.  Each card appears to have 3 intermediate layers with a face and backing for the card making 5 layers overall.  The text is also very clear and easy to read, due in part to the white background…although i would like to see cards of this design with a cleaner font, maybe something without serifs?  That’s my only real complaint though…very nice Panini

Photography – 4 of 5

Each photograph on the cards are very sharp, with the exception of the Mean Joe Greene card, but that’s due in part to older technology and repurposing an older photo.  That’s not a big issue.  I’m sure there are Steeler and Mean Joe collectors out there that are excited he is in this set.  One thing i like about the photographs is the vignetting around the player to focus on one player, one player in action.  The cropping on the Mean Joe Green card appears a little off though..bye bye arms!

Hits – 3 of 5

With 4 cards and 1 hit…it’s literally hit or miss.  Pulling a three autograph card is pretty cool, in fact I have never pulled such an auto card before, so this is a first for me…so embarrassing…As a Redskins fan, I tend to only pay attention to Redskin players and have no idea who these guys are.  I have heard about Chris Rainey and apparently so have the Pittsburgh Police Department.  I am also aware of David DeCastro…but a Guard isn’t always an exciting hit…not something you want to pull.  The other guy Marquis Maze is someone I know nothing about.  Maybe a Steelers fan out there has a clue for me?

Review

Overall, i am pretty happy with the box.  Although i didn’t pull any Redskins, i can’t complain about my 3 auto hit and the other 3 cards are/were solid football players.  This is definitely a product i would buy next season…and if I can find another good deal on a box, i just may have to see what’s inside.

Hope you guys enjoyed my first box review.  I have a few more to go right now and have some cards on their way very soon…could get really busy in the next few weeks with all the new baseball releases and the tail end of the football releases coming out.  If there are any Pittsburgh Steeler fans out there, send me an email and let me know if you have any interest in the autographed card or the Mean Joe Green…I’m looking at you Steven Jackson and LeSean McCoy fans too! -HTTR!