Tonight I opened a box of Series 1 that I had bought along with my case of A&G (the A&G case is arriving later), I pull this Topps Town Ichiro from the pack and noticed it looked familiar. Well it’s because Topps gave the artist the same reference image used to draw the Gypsy Queen Ichiro Relic 1/1.
I don’t really know why Topps gave him this picture of Ichiro to use for the card when there are literally tons and tons of photos they could have chosen from that are much better action shots or poses of Ichiro. What is that he’s holding in his right hand anyway? I know the image is kinda dark but even I can’t tell on the actual card. It looks like someone maybe photoshopped most of a bat away from his right hand but then the running pose doesn’t seem like its of one of Ichiro coming out of the batters box. A better close up or _any_ images of his sweet unorthodox swing or batting stance would have been way nicer than using this image twice.
I’m guessing most people don’t care about this, especially since the ToppsTown card is not worth that much but in price and in collectability. But the art card is quite the “mojo” card selling for just under $800 on eBay. You think they’d at least put in the effort and give the artist another image to use.
Just needed to post something before the huge rush of A&G that I bought engulfs me. Crossing my fingers for some nice autos.
Something seems very familiar about that picture of Pacquiao in Topps Tier One…
If you’re unfamliar, I superimposed the Topps Tier One auto card of Pacquiao and layered it over his 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter auto card.
That card is probably the most sought autograph (non-baseball anyways) in Topps Allen & Ginter, and now Topps is going to not even bother using another image of Pacquiao for its “Tier One” high-end product. Come on, if you’re going to do something like stick Pacquiao into a high-end baseball product like “Tier One” and charge $$ for the product at least photoshop in a baseball cap or put a baseball glove on his hand. At the very least give your customers a new picture for their money.
Edit: I’ve been told by Chris Olds that indeed the mini card in the frame for the A&G Pacquiao has changed to this: http://twitpic.com/5mdnwa.
I guess you can’t trust the images Topps post until the cards actually come out.
Also in the Blaster Spree that included the Panini Prestige blaster from the previous post, I bought a box of Topps Rising Rookies. Rising Rookies as a whole looks much better than Prestige but it’s still not that exciting of a set. There isn’t any additional photos of the player on the back of the base set and they have they have these ugly 2011 insert cards of draft picks with a _huge_ NFL Draft Shield taking up most of the right hand side of the card. It’s obvious that this design was made for the auto parallel version, which is essentially like the non-auto one but instead they reduce the size of the player photo to add the autograph.
Also the set is called Rising Rookies but the base set has tons of veterans/stars that aren’t close to being in their rookie season.At least the back of the card talks about their rookie season so it’s somewhat related.
Hopefully this is the last post for a while where the entirety of it is to point out the disappointment I have in opening a box. Maybe if the NFL season actually comes to fruition, I’ll be more happy about having bought Rising Rookies and Prestige but I’m not buying another pack again until they actually confirm the 2011 season. If they don’t then collecting cards from this year will just be a waste of time.
I had heard bad things about the design of Panini football from the Sports Cards Uncensored blog. Since I don’t know him it’s hard to tell where his hatred of Panini comes from. I definitely agree with a lot of his points about the design of the cards and how they are just bland looking. However I wanted to open a blaster myself to see how it went.
In a word, not very good.
First off, the only products I had opened up recently were Topps products, mainly because they’re the only ones doing baseball. There’s a small detail that I find is taken for granted when opening a Topps product: And that is the ease of opening up the wax. I don’t know how other people open wax, but when I open wax I like to just take the top rip it down against the crease. With Topps, the wax easily gives way along the crease. However with Prestige I couldn’t do that, the more pressure I applied the more it was trying to resist being opened. I ended up having to open the pack like it was a bag of potato chips and I don’t really like to do that. There’s a bigger risk in damaging the cards with your hands from the extra pressure to squeeze the wax, so to prevent that I have to spend a lot of time making sure that doesn’t happen by slowing trying to pry the wax apart. I have rarely opened a product that didn’t rip right open. All the Topps products were fine (although to be fair, Series 2 Blasters sometimes wouldn’t give way and I’d have to use the bottom of the crease) and all the old UD junk wax I recently opened easily as well.
So there it is, I’ve had to write a paragraph about the quality of how easily the wax gives way in a collectors fumbling hands. It’s stupid that I have to spend time writing about that, but this is just one of the small problems I encountered opening Prestige that it turns into a product I don’t “enjoy” opening.
Now to the cards. Again the only thing I can really compare this to is Topps. And with Topps at least there is some color in their cards. Besides the base there is a ton of color from the inserts, which in Series 2 was 2 per pack, GQ always had a mini and at least one other insert. What does Panini Prestige 2011 have? Lots and lots of the same design and of all the colors to use to decorate your cards they chose to use gray. Also why doesn’t the front have color to match with the team colors of the players like it does on the back? It seems like something that’s very trivial to do and instantly adds variation to the base set. The pictures of the players are okay, but they are marred by the white fade Panini applies to the top of all the base cards.
Then there’s the back of the cards. One line of stats with the _same_ exact picture from the front being reused, except this time there’s no white fade in the picture. The card has the same exact design on the front and back, which makes it look like they’re just using it because they can’t think of anything else. Get rid of the ridiculous hump border design and use another picture that takes up more than 30% of the back of the card.
Then there’s the inserts. I bought a retail blaster so I wasn’t really expecting to get a relic or an autograph. But here are the 3 insert cards I got in a blaster of 8 packs. That means for 5 packs all I saw were base cards. 5 packs. I’m not expecting something spectacular in each pack, I’d just like to have something to look at other than the bland base design.
Here’s the 3 inserts I received
Julio Jones “Draft Picks Rookie” /999
I didn’t get the base Julio Jones card but I’m assuming its the same exact card sans the “Draft Picks” lettering on the sides. But look at this card! Would you be able to tell that this is an insert numbered to /999? I certainly didn’t until I went back through my cards to look at the backs (that was a really boring process) and saw that it was an insert. According to Panini, an insert is essentially putting in color decorative instead of the gray decorative in the base set.
Stephen Paea, Passport unnumbered insert
3 things wrong with this card.
- The picture of the player is maybe 1/6th of the entire front.
- There is a design in the card on the upper right corner that makes it look like the card has a severely worn and bent edge. What the hell is that?
- I seriously could not tell which side is the front and which one is the back. When I pulled this one I thought it was facing the wrong way and I turn it around and it seems to be the same exact side, so I flipped it again until I realized the two sides were actually different. I mena did you even tell that I put the back of the card first up there in the image?
Lastly, League Leaders, w/ E Manning, Palmer, Rodgers and Brady. Take a minute to look at whats wrong with this card.
Besides repeating the same 4 pictures on the back of the card, only this time in black and white, there’s a major problem with the included players: The top 4 leaders in terms of passing yards was: Rivers, Peyton Manning, Brees, Schaub. What exactly is Eli Manning, Palmer, Rodgers and Brady doing on a league leaders card where the passing yard stat is on the front of the card? These four on the card were 5th-8th in terms of passing yards.
Look at these 2 cards I pulled from COMC
One has the 2 LEAGUE LEADERS in receiving TDs along with the 2 LEAGUE LEADERS in rushing TDs. The other is the top 4 LEAGUE LEADERS in passing TDs.
I’ve tried to sort every passing category over at NFL.com and I cannot find a stat where these 4 would be considered the best 4 in that category. There is always another QB grouped with it that breaks it up.
So here is the final word. A card manufacturer’s job is to make people want to open more packs of their product. If they don’t do that then that product is a failure. No one wants to buy cards that are bland or have inserts that are exactly the same as the base set (colored/foil parallels are different in that they’re at least some variation). People want to be able to find cool inserts in the pack. Maybe I got a bad blaster but I wouldn’t buy another pack because I don’t feel anything for this product.
I picked up a whole bunch of blasters to satisfy my wax opening addiction, including in the mix were 2 blasters for 2011 Bowman. I have complained about there being too much Bowman but I figured I should at least try out the regular Bowman release.
Picked it up on the very first pack of the very first Blaster. I guess this is what they call, “Mojo”
Bryce Harper Bowman’s Best Refractor /99!
Someone also pointed out to me that it is number 34, Bryce Harper’s jersey number. Now I’m trying to decide if I should get it graded then eBay it or sell it raw. Anyone have any thoughts on that?
Growing up my parents were against spending money on baseball cards. For the most part I had a collection consisting of random packs I was able to convince my parents to buy for me. I remember one time at a Target, I was able to get 3 packs of 1992 Score. Due to collation issues I picked up 3 copies of Jose Gonzalez. Even back then getting 3 cards of him was a huge letdown. They couldn’t even bother to edit his back foot properly.
I did get a box of Topps ’94 and Triple Play ’94 for Christmas and my birthday but besides that my collection was relatively lacking and my collection progressively slowed.
I am pretty sure I was gifted, “The Box” sometime in 1996. Because I’m sure I stopped collecting in 1996/97 and I didn’t collect much after the ’94 strike started. However for some reason I have a ton of basketball cards from after 1996. I know I did not buy these packs so it remains a mystery to me why I have them unless they came from this box.
All I know for sure is that the box was bought at a garage sale by my mom and my grandma for about $20. Perusing all the different types of cards the previous owner had I saw tons of 1991 Pro-Set Football, lots of hockey, tons of 1992 Upper Deck Baseball, 1992 Topps. He had tons of those Desert Storm cards, a whole bunch of comic cards (Marvel only, no DC), some really weird promo cards and what appeared to be small PC collections of Sandberg, Canseco, Boggs, Clark, Dykstra and a plethora of Matt Williams cards which as a Dodgers fan I should just light on fire. I am sure he kept most of his Ripken and Ryan cards since I was only able to find maybe 2 cards with Ripken in it and not much Nolan Ryan other than a few Topps cards and a partial set of those 1991 Pacific Ryan Express cards.
This box brought me a lot of joy as a kid as I’d spend the first few weeks, sorting and collating the cards into its respective sport and set. I was lucky before to even pull a “star” player from a pack, but now I had a ton of them from sets I had never even collected. It definitely beefed up my collection to a point that I wouldn’t have been gotten to had I just picked up packs here and there. In future posts, I’d like to share some of the stuff I picked up from this box.
I initially wrote this post in the guise of being an expert on Bowman. But really how can I be since I haven’t collected cards in some time. Instead I decided to write as someone who has no real clue about why there are so many sets of Bowman. In doing some research for this article I found out at one point there were 6 versions of baseball cards released under the brand name “Bowman,” in 2006. The sets produced were Bowman, Chrome, Heritage, Sterling, Originals, and Draft Picks and Prospects (DPP). It would have been 7 sets had they decided to produce Bowman’s Best that year.
It’s been “thinned” down to just 5 sets produced/planned in the current cycle. With DPP, Platinum and Sterling being released late last year/early this year and Bowman (regular) just recently released. While Chrome will see a release in October, another release of Platinum is already being prepped for July (delayed from June).
What is Topps trying to accomplish here? Sure the licenses need to be paid for and used, but how is producing useless cards going to help out both collectors and themselves in the long run? Let’s be honest here, a large majority of these prospects will bust, the remaining few will have some degree with of a career in the Bigs and even fewer will turn out to be of superstar caliber. Most of these cards will be near worthless in 5 years, maybe even before this season ends.
Now if we are going to say that they cater to different types of collectors, if we consider that Sterling is for the top-level high-end collectors, what about the rest? Based off approximate Hobby pack value. The cheapest cards to buy per pack were regular Bowman at ~$0.30/card, DPP was next at $0.43/card, Chrome was $0.75/card, Platinum was $1/card and Sterling was $10/card. Looking at it from the “pack” perspective: Bowman is $3/pack, Chrome is $3/pack, DPP is $3/pack, Platinum is $5/pack, Sterling would sell for about $50/pack. If the point is to produce cards for collectors at different price points I don’t really see it when breaking it down in that fashion.
There’s really not much price differentiation for each set until you get to Bowman Sterling. The rest of the Bowman sets are pack priced to sell for around $3 and there’s no real attempt by Topps to create any kind of market segmentation other than to split it between “regular” priced cards (anything non-Sterling) and, “top-level high-end” priced cards. So if they’re not trying to differentiate the sets for collectors with different “price” points then what are the sets good for other than to screw the collectors themselves by leaving them with mostly worthless cards in slightly different variations?
And as a re-entering collector, how do I even differentiate between the various sets? What is the difference between Bowman, Chrome, DPP other than insert ratios and the amount of chroming, refracting and prospecting? Why are there even chrome variations in the sets not named Chrome? I mean I know why (because most collectors are masochists), but I just shake my head when I try to apply some logic to it.
Enough of my rambling. I’m not really sure what the solution is to fix this problem, or if Topps really wants to fix it since it seems like people will buy these cards anyways to speculate and then just throw out everything else. This seems like a complete waste on both sides of The Hobby. I guess since DPP, Platinum and Sterling come out after the season is over people will buy it just because its something to buy.