Thursday, March 31, 2011

Follow Up On Chad's MLS Dreams

Last week I wrote about Chad Ochocinco trying out for Sporting Kansas City of the MLS. After a 5 day try out he was awarded a spot on the Sporting KC reserve team. The reserve team is like the Minor Leagues in baseball, players are assigned to the minor league to work on their skills and each team plays a 10-game schedule. With MLS though, players on the reserve team are not signed to a contract and they are not paid.

After watching videos of his try out I have to say that this has to be a publicity stunt by KC. While he is fast and has the strength, stamina and quick feet he lacks the basic skills of soccer let alone the skills of a professional. He cannot trap while moving, cut or cross the ball. In one video he even had trouble dribbling and shooting. If I was a young player trying to make it in to professional soccer and I lost out on a spot because of this stunt I would be pissed. I can understand Ochocinco’s side, he loves soccer and wanted to really try and make the team plus this will keep him in great shape during the lockout but his skills do not warrant a position.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Is Back!

Upper Deck has just announced that SP Legendary Cuts will be back and they are changing the way the set is built. Gone are the base cards, gone are the Mystery Cuts and gone are the redemption cards. This release will consist of a 200 person checklist featuring 91 Hall of Famers all numbered to 35 or less.

I have always been a huge fan of the Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts releases, actually my best box ever was a box of 2001 SP Legendary Cuts where I pulled a Babe Ruth bat card and a Joe DiMaggio cut signature and to follow that up I pulled a Mickey Mantle jersey relic from the 2002 SP Legendary Cuts.

Upper Deck is adding some extra value to the release with multi cuts booklets that will be themed including a 1919 Black Sox quad cut (pictured below), a 1927 Murder’s Row eight-cut and an All-Time Home Run Kings cut. There will also be political cut signatures including the first 43 Presidents. Hopefully the Upper Deck 1927 Murder’s Row cut signature booklet looks better then Topps attempt with the Topps Tribute Legendary Lineup.

George Washington
I have to admit, George Washington had a beautiful signature.

The Camelot booklet includes Ted Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

1919 Black Sox
The 1919 Black Sox booklet is of interest to me, I have always been enamored with the team and this is a nice collection of people associated with the scandal. My favorite player, Buck Weaver, is not included along with Joe Jackson. This set includes some very important cogs in the scandal: (Left to Right)
Chick Gandil- Gandil was the first player approached by gamblers in their attempt to throw the World Series. He was sort of the "ring master" of the fix.
Eddie Cicotte- Eddie was the Go-To pitcher for the White Sox winning 29 games in 1919 but after being screwed over by owner Charles Comisky he eventually gave in and fixed the 3 games he pitched. Eddie was also the first player to turn himself in following the World Series.
Charles Comisky- The White Sox owner, a notorious tight wad and all around asshole, and probably them main reason why players like Cicotte gave in to the gamblers.

Kenesaw Mountain Landis- Landis became the first Baseball Commissioner in 1920 and one of his first acts was to ban the 8 players involved with fixing the World Series games. He included players like Weaver and Jackson, who both played well in the Series, in the ban because they supposedly knew about the fix.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Ramblings Of A Pseudofan

I took my son to a Mariners-Cubs Cactus League game Friday afternoon and the “ultimate” Cubs fan was sitting behind me talking crap the whole game. She talked about how she is all about the Cubs and is a true die-hard fan her whole life even saying she “Lives and breaths Cubs”.

Here are a couple of excerpts that made it out of her mouth… yes, I said her mouth.

Cubbie Fan: The Cubbies look great this year, it could be their year!

Cubbie Fan: Look to see the Cubs win the division and maybe even the NL Championship!

Cubbie Fan Friend: Hey… who are some of the young players we should be watching on the field this year?
Cubbie Fan: I don’t know, I don’t pay any attention to the players
Cubbie Fan: Oh wait, Kerry Wood has been winning some big games for us lately watch for him to lead the Cubs in wins this year.

Cubbie Fan Friend: Who was that? (After Starlin Castro knocked in a 3-run double in the 7th to rally the Cubs)
Cubbie Fan: I don’t know, must be some new guy but he is cute.

Gotta love true sports fans, she may not know that Kerry Wood is 9-11 over the last two years… oh and hasn’t played for the Cubs since 2008, and she may not know who one of the most promising 2010 rookies is but she knows he is cute. At least it was entertaining, more entertaining than watching the Mariners blow a 3-2 lead in the 7th inning.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Wildcats Continue To Roll

Lute Olson may be gone but Sean Miller is continuing the tradition in Tucson showing that you can never really count out the Univeristy of Arizona when it comes to March Madness. In a totally unexpected win the Wildcats laid out the defending champs Duke Blue Devils with a dominent 93--77 win. After beating Memphis and Texas by a total of 3 points in the first two rounds I was concerned that the game tonight was going to end badly but I stand corrected with a smile on my face.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vintage Card Of The Month: W.E. Crist

I recently picked up this 1888 Allen & Ginter W.E.Crist from the N29 set, which was the standard tobacco era style card of the day (roughly 1 ½ x 2 ¾), there were also the N43 Cabinet Card versions in 1888 depicting the same athletes but the cards were larger ( 4 ¼ x 6 ½). The N29 cards were packed in to the 10 count cigarette packs and the N43 cards were packed in to the 20 count cigarette packs. I know very little about Crist, the only information I find about him was from a book, Outing Vol. 14, which was published in 1889. Crist was one of the top “tricyclist” of the time and had won a couple of big races in New York in the late 1880s.

Part of the reason that I collect vintage cards is the history connected with these cards. This specific card had something more to it though that drew my attention plus at $15.51 shipped it was a decent price. These cards contained the series checklist on the back of each card and someone had gone through this checklist and scratched off a number of names in pencil. I can just see a boy my son’s age being handed this card by his dad in 1888 and as his dad lights up an Allen & Ginter cigarette the boy lays on the floor, with pencil in hand, and goes through marking off all of the cards that he currently has in his collection.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chad Johnson In MLS?

Can soccer accept Chad Ochocinco? It is like he is re-inventing himself at 33 years old. In January he announced that he will be changing his name back to Johnson, he said he will have a try-out with Real Madrid and Barcelona (those turned out to be only a publicity stunt) but now he has a real try-out with Sporting Kansas City (MLS). Due to the lock out NFL players are not under contract and can go hog wild if they choose to, or in this case try out for another sport. According the KC’s web site Chad Johnson will begin a four day try-out with Sporting Kansas City of the MLS on Tuesday (March 22nd) and based on his ability things will be determined after that. Interesting how they scheduled it after their opening game and it ends before their second game, why now…why not a week or two ago before the season started?

The Kansas City team is known for being aggressive with publicity, they recently changed their name from the Kansas City Wizards to Sporting KC and they gave away the naming rights to their stadium for free so this may be nothing more than a publicity stunt but going back to an interview with ESPN  from 2007 Chad Johnson has been playing soccer since he was a kid and still loves the sport. He has traveled the globe as a fan of European clubs and counts a number of players amongst his friends. In a 2009 interview with Sports Illustrated he claimed that if there was a lockout in 2011 he planned on trying out for AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A.

He is an athlete and is still in good condition, he probably would not do too badly for a MLS team even as a substitute as long as the talent is there. I don’t think he could keep up with players like Landon Donovan or Alvaro Saborio let alone Beckham or Thierry Henry but I think he would bring in fans based on his name alone. I personally do not agree with players making a team only because of who they are/where, it has not really worked in the past (Think Babe Ruth with the Boston Braves or Michael Jordan with the Chicago White Sox and Washington Wizards) but if he turns out to be a decent player I have no problem with a player earning their way in to a second sport.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Topps And The Parallel Rodeo

When I picked up the 2011 Topps Baseball blasters the other day I also grabbed a Heritage rack pack. All I have to say is that Heritage is not for me, I am not caught up in the appeal of the set.

I find it funny that there are a number of hypocritical bloggers out there, I will not point any fingers, who will rip one company for doing something and then gush about another company doing the same exact thing. Case in point, some people complain about Panini’s use of parallels. They will write entire posts about how wrong it is to include parallels and how it dilutes the set, creates delusional value and makes it more difficult for set builders but then the next posting will be about how amazing the 2011 Topps baseball set is and how Topps is doing things right. They do neglect to point out that Topps has added more parallels to the base set than Panini ever has, 13 to be exact and this does not include the inserts, insert parallels, retro related inserts, ToppsTown, Diamond Giveaway, relics, autographs and manufactured relics.

2011 Topps base set parallels:

Black Bordered (Retail Exclusive)

Black (#/60)

Diamond Anniversary

Black Diamond (Wrapper Exchange)

Black Diamond Auto (Wrapper Exchange #/60)

Canary Diamond (1/1)

Diamond Sparkle (Gimmick)

Diamond Embedded (Gimmick)

Gold (#/2011)

Platinum (1/1)

Printing Plates (1/1)

Silks (#/50)

Base Variations (Gimmick) - Multiple players sharing the same card number

Come on… is this really necessary?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2010-11 Upper Deck Hockey Series 2 Hands-on

I picked up a couple of packs of Upper Deck Hockey Series 2 the other day. The series has picked up where Series 1 left off with the same full-bleed design, Young Guns and the 20th Anniversary parallels. I am still just getting back in to hockey card collecting but being a life-long fan of the Islanders has made it easy to just catch up with the team.

It was nice to see that these packs were full of Islanders including one of my favorite DiPietro. On top of that I pulled a Travis Hamonic Young Gun, kind of interesting that a Defenseman would make it in to an insert titled “Young Guns”. I also pulled a couple of Victory rookie cards, a Jordan Eberle and a Nino Niederreiter. Eberle is having an awesome rookie year in Edmonton and Niederreiter started out the season in New York after being drafted with the #5 pick overall in 2010. He only played 9 games before being sent back down to the WHL but I am pretty sure we will see him back in the NHL next season.

I also pulled a Nikolai Khabibulin card. I find this card interesting even though it is just his back. The Oilers jerseys have some interesting colors that catch the eyes and the mask adds to the overall appeal. Khabib is an old-school goalie playing in his 14th season this year. He actually played for the Jets/Coyotes so he is a player I like having come through the desert.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Drank The 2011 Topps Baseball Kool-Aid

In the last few weeks I have read about the 2011 Topps Baseball set and a lot of people feel that the set is definitely something to get excited about I decided to drink the Kool-Aid and picked up a couple of Topps Blasters along with a Heritage rack pack to see firsthand.

I have to admit that the base set is actually quite nice. It is a clean design that highlights the player and in typical Topps form the backs are excellent. I like that Topps was able to get all of the player’s information/bio on the card even in a case like Jeter who has been playing for 15 year. I like to see all of the player’s stats on the back; this is one of the most important aspects of base card design. Sadly Topps carried over the same design in to their football base set, which seems lazy. I feel that there are way too many parallels and inserts not to mention it seemed like every other pack yielded a Mickey Mantle card of some sort, so glad that Topps “retired” him in 1997.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings and now on to the cards. I pulled 3 Mariners (plus an Ichiro Kimball Champion) and 4 D-Backs (plus an Upton Kimball Champion). I like that Topps mixed it up a bit for the checklist. Instead of just picking a top player or two from each team they selected a decent selection from each team giving fans a chance to pick up players from their favorite teams.

One of my favorite inserts was from the reprint inserts. I pulled two 1921 National Caramel reprints, George Sisler (one of the most pure hitters in his time) and Ty Cobb. I like the manufactured commemorative patches too. I have seen some very cool historical patches. I was lucky enough to get an Ichiro 1992 Mariners patch, which could not make me happier. I have seen a Seattle Pilots patch variation floating around eBay too that I may need to pick up.

I pulled 6 Diamond Giveaway cards which turned in to:

1973 John Strohmayer
1976 Willie Davis
1977 Rob Belloir
1978 Jerry Martin
1986 Roger Craig
1993 Dave Stieb
2007 Clay Hensley

And 7 rings including a Seattle Mariners ring

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dexter Relic Cards

I am a fan of relics, but not just normal jersey swatches, I like the obscure relic. I like those cards that contain a piece of material that not everyone is pulling from a pack. Sure I have a variety of jersey and bat cards but I pride my collection on cards like shoe cards, Diamondback Authentic cards and hat cards. What really gets my attention are cards that the average collector do not hunt for like actor’s costume relics, historical pieces and movie prop cards. I have been trying to get my hands on some of the 2009 Goodwin Landmark cards and always on the watch for the Upper Deck Champs Museum pieces.

My most recent addition is from one of my favorite television shows, Dexter. The card is from the 2010 San Diego Comic Con and was created by Breygent. This glossy metal card contains a decent sized swatch from Dexter’s tool bag. The card is pretty heavy and made entirely from metal. The front and back are a thin glossy metal and the edging is a heavy duty solid metal piece. The card is pretty thick too, about 1/8th of an inch (about the depth of two quarters).

From what I can find Breygent produced these cards for the 2010 San Diego Comic Con and they were only available in the Breygent mystery packs. You could pull cards (there were relic cards, autograph, promo and sketch cards in the mystery packs) from sets like Dexter, the Ghost Whisperer, Paranormal Activity or any number of comic book related sketch cards. You can find most of the relics running between $10-20, the autographs under $10 and the sketch cards really vary in price. A couple of sealed mystery packs are up for auction around $25-30 range.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2011 Topps NFL Review

Schedule Release Date: July 2011
Box Configuration: 36 packs per box, 10 cards per pack
SRP: Unknown

Box Break:
1 Autograph or Relic card

My Thoughts:
This set is just a continuation of the baseball set and I am not sure if this was Topps attempt at just calling it in because football is currently in lockout or if the designers truly felt it was easier to just follow suit and move on to working on those awesome Triple Threads designs (said sarcastically). As far as the base set goes, the design is exactly like baseball. It is clean with a decent layout and this works well for the base product. The only problem is the overloading of parallels and inserts which is just an attempt to give the collector value for their money. Card companies need to learn that this is not what collectors want; they want a well-designed base set and if you must add “value” then limit it to one or two inserts, no parallels and a great checklist.

This release really just seems to be a situation of a hot mess. Topps seemed to want to include lots of ideas and did not know where to stop and just call it a release. We see a set built on a Super Bowl theme, a retro portion (based on the 1950 Bowman release), sketch cards, parallels and a varying array of autos and relics and honestly nothing besides the Super Bowl theme really carries over to the rest of the set. Topps claims the autographs are on-card but the Face of the Franchise dual autograph card is clearly a sticker autograph.

We are going to see the first cards Da’Quan Bowers, Cam Newton, AJ Green and Blaine Gabbert. There may not be an NFL season but at least there will be an NFL Draft and we get to see their cards, but they will not be seen in Pro uniforms.

The first autographs of upcoming rookies

Super Bowl autos and relics

Decent base card design

On-card autographs

Way too much, just really way too much being shoved in to really be a cohesive collection

The Super Bowl theme insert is just an ugly design

Sticker autographs


I give this a 2 out of 5, I don’t think it really deserves much more because of how little Topps did to differentiate this from the baseball set. The Super Bowl theme is strong armed in to the set and the rest of the checklist is just a Hodge-podge of a collection.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2011 Upper Deck MLS Review

Tonight was MLS’ First Kick starting off the 2011 MLS season in a typical Seattle, read this as rainy, night on a cold and wet pitch with the LA Galaxy continuing their stranglehold on the Seattle Sounders winning 1-0 in a tough fought game that really could have went either way.

Last week Upper Deck started posting information about the upcoming 2011 MLS release, which should be out in just over a month. Upper Deck has been known to hold information about the MLS release quiet and often not releasing any information until release day. I am unable to find any pricing or even a pre-sell for the product.

Schedule Release Date: April 19, 2011
Box Configuration: 20 packs per box, 12 cards per pack
SRP: Unknown

Box Break:
4 Memorabilia cards
1 Autograph cards

My Thoughts:
Really hard to say what we should expect from this release based on the three cards that I have seen posted. So far only a Henry base card, a Wambach/Marta WPS dual auto and a Donovan relic have been shown. This looks like it was phoned in, the base cards look more Panini in style instead of the expected Upper Deck clean design and the ML Materials relic reminds me of the generic Gameday Gear that show up in blaster boxes. I seriously hope that I am wrong about the set.

They are advertising that this set contains the first card of Thierry Henry but UD released a special edition Henry card last year with him in his Red Bulls kit after his first game, which you could pick up the card if you bought 2 blasters through Upper Deck directly plus he was also in the recent Upper Deck World of Sports release. I guess they mean this is his first card available in MLS packs.

2010 Upper Deck World of Sports

2010 Upper Deck MLS Special Edition

Filling In The Time With Packs Of Topps UFC

With the NFL lockout underway and the possibility of an NBA lockout looming my interests have been turned in new directions, mainly UFC and NHL releases. While waiting patiently for the upcoming 2011 Topps UFC Title Shot release I pick up packs of 2010 Topps UFC and 2010 Leaf MMA to help pass the time. My most recent pull is a Junior dos Santos 2010 Topps UFC Fight Mat Relic gold card #/188, not bad for 1:320 odds. The mat relic is from UFC 108 when he beat Gilbert Yvel. This definitely beats my last UFC relic that I pulled.

Junior is kick boxer/MMA fighter who is on top of the game. He has an 18-0 kickboxing record and a 12-1 MMA record. He has gone 7-0 in the UFC since 2008 including a surprise victory over Cro Cop in 2009 and he will be one of the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 which begins at the end of the month. He will be going up against Brock Lesnar with the coaches meeting up at UFC 131 in June.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Review

Upper Deck Goodwin Champions is back but because they no longer has a MLB or NBA license the product has become an “all things interesting” type collection along the lines of the World of Sports release. We see athletes from all walks of life along with politicians, animals and museum collections.

Schedule Release Date: Summer 2011
Box Configuration: 20 packs per box, 5 cards per pack
SRP: $90/box- UD announced that the SRP should be around the 2009 price point

Box Break:
3 Autographs, Relic, Manufactured Patch or 1/1 Printing Plate
10 Minis
1 Figures of Sports Die-cut
1 World Traveler 5x7 Box Topper
1 Goodwin Citizen

My Thoughts:
Upper Deck is bringing back the retro themed product that did so well in 2009. They are keeping the artistic approach and they are really touching on every corner of the athletic world plus adding in politicians, animal patch cards and some interesting museum pieces along with the popular entomology “relic” cards.

I wish Upper Deck still had the licenses for baseball and basketball, seeing the athletes in their pro uniforms would have been a nice addition, but I think they have done well with what they have. They really make up for it with hard signed autographs, including Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky, interesting inserts and some oddities that will make collectors wonder.

I have seen a couple of people comment about the cards like the Walton and Ryan cards where we see the athlete in their personal life. I like the Nolan Ryan card, he just seems to be in his natural environment but Bill Walton seems odd. Maybe have him posed as an announcer would have been a better fit instead of at a piano.

On-card autographs

Museum pieces including relics from Lincoln, Napoleon and Annie Oakley

Entomology and Thoroughbred Hair relics make a return

No MLB or NBA license

Your “hits” can include an Animal Kingdom manufactured patch card

Unsure of the checklist at this time (not really a negative)

Since there is not enough information about the product yet besides some preview shots and box break info I will hold my rating. I love the original 1888 Goodwin Champions (N162) set and I like what Upper Deck did with the 2009 release so I have high hopes for this upcoming set.

On a side note, I don’t need to pull an Entomology card to have a scorpion. One of the pluses (or negatives depending on how you look at it) of living in Arizona is the easy access to live scorpions. This here is my very own bark scorpion caught the other night on my kitchen floor, now if only I could encase it in a card I would be golden.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Is A David Beckham Error Card Worth The Cost?

Last week Beckett reported the sale of a David Beckham autograph error card from the Upper Deck World of Sports series. Apparently Luciano Emilio’s autograph sticker made it on to a David Beckham base card. This card eventually sold for $325 on eBay. Another Beckham card with Luciano’s autograph showed up yesterday with a BIN of $399.99.

Upper Deck reported that the problem occurred due to a difference on the checklist, somewhere between creating the checklist for the base set and the autograph set somebody did not note the difference and the Beckham base cards got the Luciano stickers. Upper Deck has now announced that it was a production error (i.e. - the person applying the sticker either paid no attention or did not care) and they are willing to replace the cards for anyone pulling the error card.

This is just a mistake and Upper Deck is making it right by offering a replacement (not sure if they mean a Beckham card with a Beckham autograph or a Luciano Emilio card with an Emilio autograph on it) but this is the problem with sticker autographs.

I have to ask though, why would anyone pay this much for a card like this? In 5 years will anyone even want this card? How long will it be before people start peeling the autograph stickers of other athletes in the set and switching around cards selling them as error cards?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What Is The Story With The Phoenix Coyotes?

Being in the Phoenix area I get a court side (or rink side in this case) seat as to the soap opera that has become the Phoenix Coyotes. Since coming to the Valley of the Sun the Coyotes started out on a good note making it to the playoffs 5 times in the first 6 years but then a dry patch hit missing the playoffs for 7 straight seasons (counting the lockout season) before the return of the White Out last season when the team actually hit 50 wins and 107 points.

But I digress to the soap opera storyline that has been prominent in local newspapers as of recent years. First there were the misadventures of owner Jerry Moyer when he intentionally filed bankruptcy merely hours before the NHL made an offer to purchase the team from him in 2009. His reasoning, which backfired, was to file bankruptcy and allow billionaire Jim Balsille to purchase the team out of bankruptcy and move the team to Hamilton, Ontario. You see, Balsille is disliked by the NHL which has thwarted his attempts to purchase teams and move them to Hamilton in the past. So the NHL has owned the team since September 2009 and has attempted to find buyers with little luck until recently when Matthew Hulsizer made an offer. Part of the offer required the City of Glendale (where the Coyotes play) to make a $100 million payment to Hulsizer which he would in turn use as part of the payment to the NHL. The city planned on using bonds to accrue the cash to make the payment but a public watchdog group (the Goldwater Institute) has publicly denounced the bonds and urged citizens to not purchase them because the original reports detailing how the city would recoup the money to pay off the bonds was skewed and there was no way the City of Glendale could cover the repayment of the bonds.

Confused yet?

OK, so now we stand in a situation where the NHL was expecting to sell the team to Hulsizer, who was expecting the City of Glendale to foot a portion of the purchase price, but has now stalled because the bonds are not being sold. The NHL is now working with the watchdog group (Goldwater Institute) to try and work out a deal to where the bonds can be sold thus allowing the sale of the team to go through. To muddy up the situation, the City of Glendale will be filing a lawsuit against the Goldwater Institute Monday morning stating that if the team leaves the city then Glendale will lose more than half a billion dollars.

The kicker of the whole dealio is that if the sale does not go through with Hulsizer then the NHL plans on relocating the team. Where you ask? Why none other than Winnipeg, Manitoba. That is right, the NHL in all its wisdom plans on moving the Phoenix Coyotes to Winnipeg, where the team was located as the Winnipeg Jets before moving to Phoenix in 1996. The Jets moved to Phoenix initially because of financial trouble, the inability to find qualified buyers who wanted to keep the team in Winnipeg and because the city was the smallest market in the NHL. The NHL had publicly questioned whether Winnipeg could even support an NHL team in 1996. Has something changed in 15 years or is the NHL gone bonkers?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Leaf Muhammad Ali Update

In January I did a write up about the Leaf Muhammad Ali release but there was not much information about the product at the time. I wanted to do a follow up with some current release information.

Click for a full sized image

Schedule Release Date: March 30, 2011
Box Configuration: 1 pack per box, 8 cards per pack
SRP: $90/box

Box Break:
5 Base cards
1 Muhammad Ali themed insert- this includes relics, auto relics, cut signature or a printing plate
2 Autograph cards- Opponents, associates or famous fans

My Thoughts:
I think that every boxing fan realizes the impact that Ali had on the fighting world; even people who have no knowledge of boxing still recognize the name Muhammad Ali. So this set is ground breaking, the only set around that is built around the former champ and fans will be eating it up. With only 399 cases being released Leaf has already sold out the entire run.

The only problem that I see is that people want Ali relics and autographs and with each box you only get 1 Ali related insert which could be a relic or even an autographed relic but it could also be a printing plate. The other 2 autograph cards are from “other people” related to Muhammad Ali. This includes opponents like Joe Frazier or Larry Holmes, associates like Angelo Dundee or fans like Donald Trump or Mickey Rourke.

Oddly the Ali autographed relics appear to be on-card autos but all other autographs (expect the cut signatures) that are included on the sales sheet are sticker autographs. The original pre-release sales information showed on-card autographs for the entire set so I am wondering why that has changed for the final release.

Muhammad Ali

The potential to pull an Ali relic or autograph

Relatively inexpensive

Ali autographs are on-card (at least they appear to be hard signed)

Only 1 Ali “hit” per box

Filler autographs added to create value to the product

Most autographs are sticker autos

I am not a big fan of the design

I am holding the rating because I am torn, there are things I like and things that bother me about the set and I really don’t know where to put this set on the rating scale.

The Ali relic card images that I have posted are courtesy of Blowout Cards forums.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite Hockey

Schedule Release Date: June, 2011
Box Configuration: 4 packs per box, 3 cards per pack
SRP: $200/box

Box Break:
8 Autographs or Memorabilia cards (at least 2 will be autographs)
4 Rookie Cards

My Thoughts:
First up, way to go Panini on an awesome set.

Panini did right with this release and it shows. This looks amazing and even at $200/box I am sure it will sell well. Hockey fans are devoted collectors and stick by their favorite players.

I honestly am amazed at how well Panini did with this release. The entire design is created to highlight the players, relics and autographs. One thing that you will notice about the design is that there are no floating jerseys or extreme negative spacing. Take a look at the Stamkos Prime Patch card and compare it to the Mats Zuccarello autograph/jersey card. The relic die-cut window on Stamkos’ card is centered while the relic die-cut window on Zuccarello’s card was shifted up to make room for his autograph.

I do have a question about the base set. The press release clearly says that every card in the set is either an autograph, memorabilia, autographed-memorabilia or rookie card yet the press release includes a preview shot of an Alexander Ovechkin card which appears to be a base card. So I am not sure if there is a base set or not.

I would have loved to see Jeremy Roenicks Retired Autograph with him in a Coyotes sweater but I understand his longest tenure was with the Blackhawks.

Oh yeah, every autograph is on-card.

Nice design

Variety of relics including prime patches, jersey pieces, logos and sticks

On-card autographs

Costly (but cheaper than many high end products)

Not sure of the checklist yet (Not really a con)


I have to give this product 5 out of 5 because it is so complete. Panini has come a long way with this set and they put together something wonderful that hockey fans will appreciate. I hope this is something that will continue in to basketball and football. I would love to see a NFL Luxury Suite release.