Sunday, December 30, 2012

Panini America Ushers in a new Era of USA Baseball Cards

One of the biggest surprises at the Industry Summit in 2012 was the announcement that Panini America had become the new partner for USA Baseball.

They promised big things, exciting new ideas and now the time to see the efforts put forth by all has arrived.

The 2012 USA Baseball box set is here, priced at $100, the 63-card set features players from the 15U, 18U and Collegiate National Teams. There are 9 hits in the box, a combination of autographs and memorabilia cards from the next generation of baseball stars.

My friend the Voice of the Collector posted a video shortly before mine, so for you USA Baseball fans, collecting prospectors and anyone else that's interested in seeing what creative team in Texas has dished out for this new partnership, look no further.

Have a look at what you might find inside two USA Baseball box sets:

I am Absolutely ready for some Football.

Today marks the final week of regular season play for the NFL. I cannot believe how quickly it has passed. We've seen a lot of stellar play from rookies and one of the greatest returns to form in NFL history. The Andrew Luck/Peyton Manning saga has been one of the greatest stories in all of sports and it could come to a head to decide the AFC before it is all said and done.

Cam Newton got a case of the Sophomore Jinx, the Jets unraveled and Tim Tebow's Wildcat got cornered and skewered by the media, and its unfortunate because the guy didn't do anything wrong. The Jets are the plague of the NFL and need a massive change internally to move forward.

Who will come out on top? If you asked me now, I'd pick the Falcons and the Broncos.

As for NFL products, we're about to look at one of the top contenders for football product of the year...

2012 Panini Absolute Football:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Baseball's Biggest Prospect Gamble is Back - 2012 Bowman Sterling Box Break

It's an expensive endeavor, nearly $300 to take a shot on the future stars of Major League Baseball.

Many will do it, many will success while many will fail. Are you up for the game, this one isn't for the kids, but then not to many products are these days.

With 18 or more autos in a box, surely something has to stick... or does it?

 Check out a box of Topps Bowman Sterling Baseball:

2012 Panini Black Football Box Break

Awhile back I was pretty vocal about my feelings on stagnation in the trading card industry. There are insert sets, products and themes that are very similar, if not direct copies from all companies. It's a beg, borrow or steal world, I just live in it.

Today I had the pleasure of opening Panini Black Football. It is an amazingly good looking product. Sleek designs, dark, ominous, but it is also so close to the Upper Deck version with the same name, its appeal is lost on me.

However, I can appreciate a card product if it is a good one.

Try as I like, it is difficult not to interject some opinion into my work. I don't want to sound like a fool, nor do I want you to be uninformed.

If this product had any other name, I'd love it. I didn't get the greatest box in the world either. I am basing my level of like for Black to the artistic characteristics of the product, and the possibilities it has. Even the packaging is slick, and I wouldn't usually care if it was in a spiffy package, wrapped in a piece of salami, or was simply in a brown box with no info on it.

Black is not without flaws, it is sensitive to chipping, the quality control on the autographs should have been better. Some players used pens that were far to light on ink, or not shaken enough before being used, and the cards in the product suffer for it.

While it has issues, it also delivers some of the best looking cards bar none of 2012.

Have a look for yourself...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Redemption Report - And the Winner Is...

About 2 weeks ago I once again expressed my displeasure at the inclusion of redemption cards in trading card products. On the same day, I took four different redemption cards, entered them into the Topps and Panini online redemption service, and decided to track them to see how long they would take to get returned. Of course, I also wanted to see what would come back; the actual card, a replacement or a long, long wait.

You can read that article here:

Well, the first card has been returned in less than 2 weeks time, and it's a pretty sweet card. Admittedly, Coby Fleener is one of many 2012 NFL rookies that have signed a significant amount of autographs this season. I've added another one to my collection (of many, too many), this one comes from Topps Prime. It's the Level 5, four swatch, gold parallel #'d to 25.

It's a stunning card and is exactly what you'd want on a card at this level. There are four completely different swatches of memorabilia, a piece of football, a patch, a white jersey piece and a blue jersey piece. The only thing holding it back from being perfect is the sticker auto, but still, it's a beauty.

Congratulations to Topps for being the first to cross the finish line. I'll continue to track the other 3 and provide updates as they come arrive, or if they don't.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Brilliant Design, Familiar Tech, Big Set, 2 Autos Per Box -- Prizm Basketball Has Arrived

After a battle for the name Chromium, Panini selected the moniker Prizm for its new product line. It brings basketball collectors a 300-card set, limited parallels in both retail and hobby versions, USA Basketball cards and 2 autos per box $100 box.

After a 4-day litmus test I can also tell you that the cards do not curl. Repeat, the cards do NOT curl.

So far Panini has to excited about the buzz of Prizm, collectors in the social media circles have been singing its praises and the parallels are on fire on the auction circuit.

Have a look at our box. It wasn't the best box, but it has potential and definitely left me wanting more.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Redemption Report - The Race Is On

Run, Run, Run as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I am the redemption card man.

I have several redemption cards floating around with various companies. As I wait for the them to return, or not return, I find myself sitting on some of them for a tad before sending them in. I have no idea if it even matters anymore. The last few have been replacements, and I could wait until the final day to redeem if I chose to get some random card back instead of the one that was supposed to be in the product.

I was looking around my desk yesterday to put together the Cardboard Connection Radio Secret Santa prize package and I found 3 redemption cards in addition to the one I found in the box of Prime Cuts I opened live on the show.

I thought this could be a fun game, I'll call it, "Race for the Redemption".

I am going to input all four of these redemption cards on the same day, and I'll see and report on which ones return to me in the shortest span of time.

Here are the cards in question:

First up is a 2012 Topps Prime Football Prime V Autographed Gold Relic of my least favorite 2012 NFL Draft Pick Coby Fleener. All kidding aside, Fleener is a good player, it's just that with the exception of like two products, he's been the hit in nearly every NFL product I've opened this season. This one could wind up being a prize on the radio show or at one of my presentations.

Next on the list is a 2012 Topps Triple Threads Auto Relic Parallel of the Seattle Seahawks Robert Turbin. This is a card I actually want as Turbin is solid, and I collect rookie autos. Because of my Fleener mojo, he had eluded me to this point of pulling this redemption card.

The third card on the agenda is an auto of the A's Derek Norris from 2012 Panini Prime Cuts. Norris has cards as far back as 2007 Bowman Chrome, so this to me is a weird card to find as a redemption. I am actually curious to find out how this didn't make it back to Panini in time for the pack out. I am not an A's fan or a Norris fan, so this will probably make its way into a Cardboard Connection Radio listener's hands.

Finally we have a 2012 Panini Certified Freshman Fabric Ronnie Hilman card. I can't wait to see this card. Hilman is another 2012 rookie I look forward to adding to my 2012 auto collection.

So, who will win? It's up in the air, just like when we find one of these putrid excuses for an athlete not returning his cards on time.

Watch for updates on all four cards right here at the Manifesto...

Trading Card Companies...

on your marks, get set...


Update (2/4/2014): I thought that this would have been updated rather quickly, but it was not to be. So far of the redemptions shown above, I have received the Fleener and the Turbin from Topps and neither of the Panini cards have shipped. Time for a phone call to customer service for an update...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Caption This Card - You, Yes You, Did You Fart?

How long do you spend just looking at your cards? When is the last time you just picked up a handful of commons and really looked at some of the images on them?

I ask, only because I keep hearing that commons are garbage and it is all about the hits. Well, I don't buy that. I enjoy looking at ALL of my cards.

Often, I find cards that make my jaw drop because of spectacular photography.

Sometimes I see a card that has a horrible Photoshop or editing job that makes me cringe.

More often though, I find cards that just make me laugh. I wonder what the person putting the set together, that gave final approval for images was thinking (or not thinking) when he/she signed off on a certain card.

One of those cards is this 2003-04 Fleer Skybox Autographs card of Ron Artest. Oh, I'm sorry...

Metta World Peace.

In this photo, Ron... er, Mr. Peace looks very unhappy. He has a bit of a temper too, it appears that it was about to expose itself.

Was he angry at the photographer for sticking a camera in his face? Did Ben Wallace call him a bad name? Was it because he knew that no matter how hard they played, the Pacers were never going to win an NBA title?

In my twisted mind, it looks like someone farted on the court and Ron wasn't happy about it. He is simultaneously calling out the mystery flatulator and catching a whiff at the same time.

Remember though Ron, whoever smelt it, dealt it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nearing Perfection, Redemption Cards Take Away From 2012 Triple Threads Greatness

Redemption cards are absurd in any product, when they appear in one with a $200 price tag, it's not only absurd, it's insulting. That said, 2012 Topps Triple Threads is as near perfect a football set full of artistic masterpieces from players of many gridiron generations. A jaw-dropping design and impressive rookie class only add to the appeal.