A Magic Redemption and Reserve

I came home today to a nice little manilla envelope, no bubble mailer here, just some nice sturdy manilla action.  In it was this guy.  Ronnie Hillman of your Denver Broncos.

12 TM Ronnie Hillman Auto

This is the third Ronnie Hillman auto i’ve received this year and the second redemption (the panini is still outstanding…).  I’m thinking maybe i should have become a super collector for this kid.  I really hope he pans out for the Broncos this year as he should have a nice role with them in 2013.

Today was also my 4th wedding anniversary with my lovely and amazing wife.  She is a wonderful woman and mother.  She is also an extremely patient women, and you really have to be to put up with me…most of the time.  I am a big child and act like it most of the time.  Between collecting cardboard and riding a bike to work, not much has changed since I was 10 years old.  I’m very lucky to have a beautiful woman that is OK with me collecting artifacts that add clutter and debris all over our home.  Not to mention the time spent at shows, shops and organizing.  Most men aren’t as lucky as I am and I understand this 100 percent.

In fact, my wife is so amazing that I also came home to this sweet ass gift.

2013-06-27 18.31.57

We’ve decided to not open it until the Redskins win a Super Bowl…so it should age nicely.


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.


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


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.

Box Break: 2012 Panini Crown Royale

Time goes so fast sometimes.  Work deadlines and doing my best job to be a good husband and father, sometimes my hobbies get pushed aside.  It’s all worth it, but sometimes i do like a little me time to open some overpriced packs and look at all the shiny new cards money can buy.

As part of my recent shopping binge of football cards, i ordered a few boxes from Panini and am finally getting around to the last three on the four* box order.  The asterisk will be explained in the next posting…betcha can’t wait, huh?!

Crown Royale unopened

I know i’m probably a little late on some of these, but my thing of late has not been timeliness but rather tardiness.  So i’m going to review a box that has been out for a few weeks now…and they call it Crown Royale, pardon me while i pour some Royal Crowne in my glass…The 4 pack box contains 5 cards each and should apparently only be opened by anybody that is over the age 9.  The base set consists of 285 cards that contain 150 commons, 100 rookies and 35 rookie silhouettes.  I guess that’s great news if you are in to that sort of thing…collecting this set isn’t for me though.  I’m only looking for a good set of hits (wordplay!)  As i type, i’m looking at the underside of the box and seeing some crazy amounts of insert series.  Blue. Silver. Red. Rookies. Legends…and for some reason, Purple.  I’m not one to judge, only observe.  With that off my chest, here is my review of the 2012 Crown Royale cards from Panini.

Card Design – 3.5 of 5

I’ve always been enamored with die cut cards and the Crown Royale brand has been out for quite a few years now, but this is my first ever box of these guys.  The first thing i notice is how freakin awkward it is sorting through them out of the pack!  They were slipping through my fingers and sliding down my hand…crazy.  As most collectors do, i attempt to be extremely cautious with the cards from the get go, but when they are sliding all over the place, makes it a little difficult…especially when you toss in a random ‘normal’ card.  No cards were dropped though, so no harm no foul.  Although the cards are initially attractive to me, upon further review i find them a little odd.  I think the crown is just too much of a visual distraction that player gets lost in the card.  Not to mention, die cuts always present their own issues with dinged corners and such.  Nice cards, but not my cup of bourbon.

P4 Ray Lewis

Photography – 3.5 of 5

Panini always seems to have great photos for their cards and do a fantastic job of focusing on the player that the card is for.  My biggest complaint though is that all of these phenomenal athletes have been disembowled from their waist down, even Ray Lewis could get Jesus to bail him out on this one…but seriously…i understand that most of the cards are landscape oriented and it demands these types of photos to make the concept work, but even the portrait cards have chopped waists.  All i’m saying is that i really love legs and feet, but that’s something i need to deal with at another time…on my own.  Is anyone else disturbed by the veins in Andre Johnson’s arms?

P1 Andre Johnson Majestic Motion

Hits – 4.5 of 5

This is tough for me, and I realize that this is the case with all sets but if you don’t like the hits you get you probably won’t like the hits.  I didn’t pull anyone I really care about, so i need to be objective about this one.  The hits with the product are really nice.  They are nice and clean.  All of the guys i pulled were rookies, so not much to complain about there.  The Ronnie Hillman card is pretty spectacular with the multi color patch and autograph.  As with the majority of product out there, the autos are not on card, at least the ones i pulled.  Normally i don’t have an issue with this as i understand these guys are busy and it’s significantly easier to have the players sign sheets of stickers rather than single cards.  BUT when you get guys signing off the sticker like the Janoris Jenkins card it’s a little disheartening and a sad sight for such a beautiful card.  I also take issue with the placement of the auto sticker on the Ronnie Hillman card…it’s a little sloppy for an mid tier product.  All together though, the hits are nice…just would have been nice if one was a Redskin…just saying.  Alfred Morris or Kirk Cousins would have been nice…or an RGIII!

David Wilson Rookie Royalty 93 of 149

P4 David Wilson Jersey Rookie Royalty1

Janoris Jenkins 6 of 25

P3 Janoris Jenkins Auto 6:25

Quinton Coples 14 of 25

P1 Quintin Couples Auto 14:25

Ronnie Hillman 345 of 349

P2 Ronnie Hillman Auto Patch 345:349


As a complete product i don’t have too much to complain about.  Most of my input is based on personal preference rather than flaws in the product.  I do like the cards and getting 4 packs to open with nice hits was a lot of fun to open.  I enjoy the single pack boxes, but it’s always nice to have a couple chances for a real BIG hit…always hold out hope as we do with this hobby.  The next pack could be the big one!  I can’t see buying another box of Crown Royale this year unless i get a great deal on a box, but I wold definitely look to pick one up next year assuming the budget can handle this product.  Another nice job by Panini. -HTTR!