Breaking Box

Some of you kids, if not most of you have heard of Collector Revolution.  It’s supposed to be a revolution for collector’s in that it’s not ebay…or feebay as some like to call it.  For those that don’t know, it’s a place where collector’s can sell their goods to other collectors online.  Not a new concept, but a pretty cool place to find some good cards at a good rate from people you can sorta trust.  I still prefer COMC as my #1 online shopping for singles, but collectors revolution is something i may be looking into in the coming year.

One thing they have that really intrigued me was their online box breaks.  The intriguing part for me was that they are fairly inexpensive for good product…the drawback is that the breaks are all random, at least the ones i’ve seen.  If you are into big hits, which i tend to not be, than this is something you may be interested in.  For me, I like a little more focused collection process.  I don’t have a ton of money to spend on the hobby so any dollar I have to spend on product is stuff for completing sets or chasing players i like from teams i like.  That said, i wanted to give the breaks a few chances.

I was a little weary about the breaks at first, so went with a lower end football break of 2013 Leaf Certified and Platinum Football as well as a break of 2013 Topps Triple Threads.  I picked up two spots on the football break and one for the baseball break for a total of $30.  As i expected, I got teams I wasn’t excited about – San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts.  I was hoping for a Luck auto…but the best card i received was this Dan Fouts serial numbered card.

13 LC Dan Fouts Immortals 68:999

The baseball break was a little better.  I got the Tigers and received these two very nice cards.  An Al Kaline serial numbered card…

13 TT Al Kaline 55:125

…and a Prince Fielder Largest Card memorabilia card.  Nothing too exciting, but nice cards no less.

13 TT Prince Fielder Largest Card 16:36

Me being a glutton for punishment, i went in on a 4-box break for 2013 Topps Chrome…and pulled the Jacksonville Jaguars…i know…

13 TC Denard Robinson 86 Refractor

Not wanting to go out on a bad note, i thought i would buy a spot for the Topps Five Star for $14.50.  I figured, i would never buy this product ever and may end up getting lucky.  I was essentially buying 7 mega millions lottery tickets…and I lost.  I pulled the Astros and ended up not getting anything in the box.  When you go hitless in the box break, you name is added to a special bonus box break…which has yet to happen…i’m hoping it happens soon though!

All in all, I like the idea of the box and case breaks but not the random teams.  I’d rather pay a little premium to get the Redskins or Yankees or Nationals.  I guess at the end of the day it’s no different than buying a pack or box of cards in that you have no idea what you will get.  You could end up with a short print auto relic or you could end up with a 7th round offensive linemen…it’s always a gamble.  One that I will probably avoid in the future as it doesn’t fit my collecting tendencies.

PS – If you are interested in any of the cards above, let me know as they are up for trade!

PPS – as a side note and something completely unrelated…my favorite album of the year Run the Jewels from El-P and Killer Mike was noted as Okayplayer.com top album of 2013.  There are a few other albums on their I need to dig deeper into before I can agree with the ranking (Earl, Tyler and Chip).

Box Break: 2012 Panini Prizm

Prizm has had a huge impact on the hobby this year starting with the basketball version, to football and now to baseball.  I picked up the football box a while ago and am just now getting around to reviewing it.  Spoiler alert, i really liked what i saw.

My favorite part of the box is that the cover image of RG3 was removable and created a nice box topper, top box-er of sorts.

12 PP Robert Griffin III Box Cover

Card Design – 5 of 5

The cards for this set are awesome.  Panini did a great job of bringing in the shininess that we like and adding in some texture as well.  The cards have a feel of something from the future and the future is really cool…and shiny.  Everything pops in the card and has a great thickness with the card stock used.

12 PP Andrew Luck Rookie

Photography – 5 of 5

Each image appears to jump out of the card.  The players blend in and out of the border of the card and each picture has a bit of a 3D affect to them.  Again, there is minimal processing and a very high image quality.  The best part for me is the slight recess that traces the border of the player putting the focus on their intensity and emotion.

12 PP Jarius Wright Rookie

Hits – 3 of 5

The hits for me were terrible, but hey, the base cards are great and I don’t think you buy this brand for the hits.  You buy them for the quality of card along with the strong visual and textural quality of each card.  There were a couple of nice inserts in the box that offered a wide variety of players from Page to Peyton.

12 PP Peyton Manning Brilliance Alan Page Dec Dom

The Luke Kuechly auto is really cool and he seems to be one of the next great linebackers in the NFL.

12 PP Luke Kuechly Rookie Auto 201:299

There was a redemption

12 PP Isaiah Pead Auto Redemption

and there was a parallel die cut

12 PP Stephen Hill Rookie Red

Review

This is a great product and something i will be picking up next year.  I’m not a fan of the baseball version since i can’t get over the lack of logos or photoshopped hats and jerseys.  The quantity and quality of cards was great and i was able to get some of the base Redskins cards in my box.

12 PP Fred Davis Pierre Garcon 12 PP Brian Orakpo London Fletcher

Box Break: 2012 Panini Absolute Football

I am way behind on reviewing some of the boxes I have opened in the past few months, mostly focusing on cards that i’ve picked up at card shows.  I have a few lined up, so here is the first one.  Panini Absolute Football.

Like most of Panini’s cards now, you can buy a retail version and a hobby version but the quality is quite different.  As a set collector this would drive me insane, but since i don’t plan on putting this set together, it’s no worries to me.  I do think this is a great way to differentiate between a hobby card and something you can pick up at Target, good for the hobby and collectors in my opinion, but allows the fringe collectors to afford different brands of cards.

12 PA Santana Moss

Card Design – 4 of 5

The base card for Absolute is pretty clean.  Photo of the player on the front along with his name and position as well as the team name along the bottom.  The greatness of these cards for me is the vertical gradation in the colors from left to right, or right to left depending on your culture.  The gradation gives them a nice light show or a cardboard Pink Floyd laser show look to the card.  Groovy.

12 PA Aaron Hernandez

The one thing i’m not liking about these cards is the card stock.  Seems really thin for the amount of money these guys cost.  I also wasn’t crazy about the overall packaging by Panini.  You get the display box, and a pack box…with a cello wrapped cards inside.  That’s quite a bit of packaging for a box of cards, wouldn’t you agree?

12 PA Ray Lewis

Living in the Pacific NW, all the extra wrapping is heavily frowned upon.  Yes, we are those people that bring their bags to the grocery store and ride our bikes to work in the rain.  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Photography – 4 of 5

Panini has the waist up photos locked down.  They do a great job of focusing on the player, allowing them to take up most of the photo space available on the card.  All the cards i’ve seen appear to be game action photos and give you a good view of their eyes.  No over processing or out of control editing for these cards either.  Another good job by Panini.

12 PA Frank Gore

Hits – 4 of 5

No Redskin hits here, but when you get any card autographed and numbered to 10 it’s a good thing, and it’s an even greater thing when that player is AJ Green.  This may be one of the best hits i’ve had in a long while.  It is a sticker auto, but i will let that slide for a perennial pro bowler card numbered to 10!  Not really a Bengals fan or an AJ collector, but the guy has proven to be a beast in his first couple of seasons.

12 PA AJ Green Spectrum Auto 3:10

The other hits were fairly nice as well.  Brandon Weeden came through with a nice looking jersey card but he looks completely unimpressed in this photo…or thoroughly confused, you be the judge?

12 PA Brandon Weeden War Room Jersey 4:49

I Like the Terrance Ganaway autograph, it has a nice flair to it.  The card itself has a ton of great color in person and is very attractive (much better than the scan!)

12 PA Terrance Ganaway Spectrum Auto 46:299

Review

I was pretty happy with the box i received.  Nice hits and i really love the design of these cards.  If i have a few extra bucks to spend on cards laying around next year, i can see myself picking up a box for 2013.  Although, with my desire to spend less on boxes and packs I doubt i can justify the cost for the value.

12 PA Vick Ballard 215:399

Opening each pack was cool, although i think it was a bit excessive packaging.  It was nice that i could open one or two as i wanted, can’t have everything i guess.  I think Panini can do a better job of their future packaging.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Box Break: 2012 Topps Magic Football

A busted box of Topps Magic Football has been sitting on my stack of cards for some time now just waiting to get judged, and now is the time.

Magic was something that i got into (cards, not tricks) a couple of years ago on a whim at Target during a deodorant shopping event.  I saw a blaster box just sitting there and thought it would be a cool purchase and was hooked from that point on.  I loved the retro look and the college unis on simple borders.  Loved it so much so that i ended up buy a few more boxes from Target but never completing the set or buying any hobby packs.  The following year, 2010 i wanted to pick up a hobby box to see if i still had a crush on these pieces of cardboard and sure enough, the love was there.  I loved the photography and simple borders as well as the card stock.  Although i do love shiny cards, i am a sucker for matte finish stuff that is done well.  Again, i bought a bunch of cards, but couldn’t be bothered with completing the set…just wanted the few Redskins and any hits i could pull.  Now, in 2011, it got a little tricky…and extremely annoying.  Magic had become a set that i was tuned in to on when it would be dropping and where i could pick up some good packs.  BUT, as Topps likes to do sometimes, they changed the rules, moved the goal posts and upset this collector.  The only way to get a box of Magic was to purchase them from their online store and pay their exorbitant shipping fees, which was about the same price as the box itself if i remember correctly.  SCREW THAT, no thanks.  I was able to pick up a few singles from COMC and ebay but no packs, since they weren’t really issuing those this year.  I never really found out why Topps decided this was a good idea, but would love to hear the reasoning if someone can help?

After the previous years experience, i had pretty much forgotten about the Magic cards and moved on with my life as we do with Topps at times.  Until, i saw they were going to be releasing a new set and boxes that you can purchase at a store…holy crap!  You mean i can buy cards from a store and not online only?  Normally i wouldn’t be so snotty about this, as i am totally cool with purchasing online, i just don’t want my only options to be online purchases.  Takes away from the fun of busting packs on a Wednesday afternoon after work.

IMG_7695

So here is my take on the 2012 version of Topps Magic.

Card Design: 4 of 5

In keeping with the simple style, Topps has again followed through with the same KISS theme.  Minimal information is on the front, but you get the basics; name, position, conference, team helmet, and a whole bunch of stars that make no sense to me.  The banners blends in nicely with the border and unfolds to reveal the critical information like a scroll with an oversized shield.

12 TM Luck and Richardson

The backs are nice and include some fun little facts with the Magical Memoranda.  You don’t get your typical stats, but they tend to highlight some important information and single game stats for your FYI.  As usual, nice card stock and the lovely matte finish.  The matte finish is nice in a world of glossy cards.  They have become the rarity in the hobby for the most part, save for the vintage inspired sets.

Photography: 5 of 5

The thing that i am most drawn to this set about is the photography.  They have HDR’d the crap out of the photos and really over processed them, but i think it works well for these and tends to give the players a greater level of detail and grit.  My wife is a photographer and she tends to stay away from over processing as it always looks…you guessed it, over processed.  When you are doing family portraits or architectural photography it can become a distraction, but for professional athletes it works well.

12 TM Morris and Cousins

Look at the intensity in those eyes!

12 TM Bush and Vick

Hits: 4 of 5

The hits with this brand are minimal, which is fine with me.  I believe collectors get too hot and heavy about the hits.  If that is your thing, this set isn’t for you.  If you are OK with getting a nice auto or two than you may be happy with Magic.  I ended up pulling 2 autographs and a redemption card.  So, it’s not just Panini that is slapping me with redemption cards, Topps does it too.  I’ve stated my thoughts on the redemption card here before and thought about it a little more.  Still don’t like it, but maybe it’s not that bad…assuming you actually get the card.  There have been times when i forgot about my redemption cards and come home to a manilla envelope.  It’s like a little slice of cardboard heaven when you get one you weren’t really expecting.

12 TM Ronnie Hillman Magic Auto Redemption

There are a couple of subsets in the cards as well.  Nothing to exciting.  As a matter of fact, i must say that the Charismatic Combos is not only a weak insert, but a terrible name.  Charismatic Combos, christ that’s terrible.

12 TM Manning Cruz Charismatic Combos

The ultra mini cards are cool, but a little too mini for my man hands.  If i don’t get these in some penny sleeves quick they will have rounded corners.

12 TM Tannehill and Vick super Mini

There are also the Supernatural Stars, which are not that existential or starry either galactically or professionally.

12 TM Sanchez and Turner Supernatural Stars

Magic also has the Magical Moments inserts which makes sense, because it’s Magic.  Drew Brees is on a 3 Mile Island.  Cute.

12 TM Brees and Murray Magical Moments

I do like the Enchantment cards, especially the one that i pulled…big smiley face for the RG3.

12 TM Robert Griffin III Rookie Enchantment

There were also these other good looking young running backs that have some nice upside to their careers.

12 TM Martin and James

One of the autos i pulled was a Kaepernick.  The HDR affect does his tats some serious justice although his auto is crazy sloppy.  An odd thing about this card is the photoshop flub with his hands.  It looks like the photo editor cloned his left hand over the football…kind of a crappy job for a big time player.  Let’s try harder next time Mr. Topps Photoshop editor.

12 TM Colin Kaepernick Auto12 TM Marvin McNutt Auto

Review

Overall, i do like these cards a lot.  They are simple and clean and the photos are nice.  It’s a basic card and the price point isn’t too excessive for what you get.  I haven’t decided if i am going to build the set, i did manage to get quite a bit of unique cards and minimal doubles, so i will see how i feel about it.  I do hope that Topps issues these cards again next year and does not do the online only thing.

Here are a couple of the Redskins cards i pulled from the box.  Funny that they decided to include Jabar Gaffney since he wasn’t on the team this year and he is wearing RG3’s number.  Technically, there are two Redskin cards with a player wearing number 10.

12 TM Robert Griffin III 12 TM Jabar Gaffney

Topps Magic, I like you.