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Saturday, August 30, 2014

2013-14 Panini National Treasures Hockey Box Break

So after a bit of a wait, Panini's swan song in the hockey market has arrived with the release of 2013-14 National Treasures.

The high-end release hit the market Friday, and each box is loaded with lots of great cards. Collectors are promised "8 NHL Trading Cards" on the front of the box, which should at the very least include the following: 1 rookie autographed patch card, 1 autographed memorabilia card, 1 booklet card, 1 printing plate, plus whatever else comes with it.

Due to Upper Deck's upcoming exclusive on the hockey market, Panini will no longer be producing NHL-licensed hockey cards, but boy, did they go out in a blaze of glory!

Here is the video of my box, with scans to follow:

Staring off from the least to the best, here's a card-by-card look at what I pulled from my box:

Patrick Marleau Base Card 50/199

Look, there really isn't a "bad" card out of this box, but we had to start off somewhere. Panini does with National Treasures what I really like about a high-end set. Keep it basic, and clean, and the card just looks better. It doesn't need a bunch of bells and whistles, the design really stands on it's own.

Reilly Smith Colossal Jersey 1/50
It is your basic run-of-the-mill jersey card, but there is a little extra size to it, plus the low serial number. Of course, this, like many other jersey cards like it, contains a few parallels, which will give collectors more than just a plain white swatch, like the one found on this card.

Austin Watson Dual Mem Autographed Dual Jersey
Based on the various box breaks I've seen on-line, the Dual Mem insert often serves as the guaranteed "autographed memorabilia card." It serves its purpose well, with a sticker autograph and two small swatches. It is also un-numbered, allowing Panini to use as many as they need to fill the boxes.

Chet Pickard/Calvin Pickard Duals Autograph 81/100
While I'm not a particular fan of either player, I really do like this card. Multi-autogaphed cards are always great, but what makes a card extra special is when they are able to link the players in a way beyond just the typical team or position connection. In this case, Chet and Calvin play the same position, but beyond that, they are also brothers. Maybe it's just me, but I always like the "family connection" type of cards even when the family's last name isn't "Howe" or "Hull."

Cameron Gaunce 2011-12 Prime Yellow Printing Plate 1/1
The printing plate touch is something a little extra, but really cool, as each box of National Treasures is guaranteed to contain at least one 1/1 card. Panini is able to do it at this rate, because they are going back through their past releases for the plates, not just using National Treasures plates.

Erik Gudbranson 2011-12 Prime Cyan Printing Plate 1/1
While boxes are guaranteed to contain one printing plate, mine came with two. This one is of Erik Gudbranson, who followed me all over the place during the 2011-12 collecting season. Each year, individual collectors seem to have one player that they seem to pull out of boxes at an astounding rate. This year that seems to be Seth Jones, but two years ago, it was Erik Gudbranson. Well, two years later, the 2010 third overall draft pick still is finding a way into my boxes.

Stan Mikita Timeline Jersey 69/99
This set features a jersey swatch from the player behind a die-cut lettering of the player's last name. Not only does it look really cool, but the card also focuses on one significant game in a player's career. For Mikita, that game was on February 27, 1977 against the Vancouver Canucks. On this night, Mikita scored his 500th career NHL goal on a backhander with just 6:04 left in the third period.

Brendan Gallagher Rookie Riches Autograph 18/99
Unlike a few other autographs from NT, this one is hard-signed. For some, an autograph is an autograph, while others need the hard-signed card, just for the idea that they player himself actually touched the card to sign it. For me personally, I'll take a sticker if I have to, but man, it makes a huge difference. I'm not as concerned with a player having touched the card, but it just looks so much cleaner. Besides, this way if a player "colors outside the lines," it goes onto a different part of the card surface, instead of being "cut off" when a sticker is removed from its original surface to be affixed to the card. (Note: I already traded this card, just hours after posting the box results to Facebook)

Jonas Brodin Rookie Treasures Rainbow Parallel Autographed Patch 24/25
Here is my guaranteed Autographed Rookie Patch card, and it sure was a good one. While the Penguins are my team, I live in Minnesota, so I am somewhat of a Wild collector. Not only that, but with all the rookies out there, this one is still a pretty good pull. This card is done, on the front and back, with an acetate surface, that is printed throughout, which is something I've never seen before. It gives the surface more of a sheen to it, without having to add some kind of chrome effect, which makes the card look a lot cleaner.  The signature is done on the card's surface, which it needs to be for a product like this, and there is a significant amount of space devoted to the patch. My beef with it though is with the fact that it is a single-colored patch. For a product that is this high-end, and for the amount of money that collectors have to pay for a box, there should be extra care given to make sure you have the best memorabilia pieces possible. Especially if that card is from a jersey-number parallel (base versions are numbered /99). I know they can't all be logo patches with 10 different colors, but even a two colored patch with one seams down the middle would be something. I like the card, though, and my plan is to sell this one and buy another /25 Brodin with a better patch. I already found one on Ebay, so I just have to hope there isn't too much of a gap in the final selling prices.

Evgeni Malkin Jumbo Booklet Prime Jersey 8/25
Now this is a pretty sick-looking card. Sure, they could have done a little bit more with the blank space next to the player photo (parallels have this space autographed), but it is still a great pull for me, being a Penguins fan. There was a minimal use of foil, which I like, and I love how they use as much space as possible for the jersey piece. If it were just the regular jersey version of this card, it might look like too much space for just a solid piece of fabric, but with the prime swatch, it's a totally different story. I also have a close-up scan of the jersey part of the booklet, but it really doesn't do justice to juts how great that piece looks in person. With the larders size, the detail of the seam can better be seen, and it makes for one fantastic pull for me.

Henrik Lunqvist Frozen Treasures Prime Jersey Autograph 1/15
I was a little conflicted on whether to consider the Malkin the best pull from the box, or this one. What it came down to is that putting my allegiance to my favorite team, this is simply just a better card. Of course there's the ridiculously low serial-number to begin with. What makes this card cool, is how they are able to do so much with it, which still keeping the clean, un-cluttered look of the high-end set. There is the prime jersey swatch, which still has a significant size to it. Then what they do, is put a clear window on the top of it and have the player sign that in a white marker, which allows the signature to be placed over the memorabilia piece. I have seen some cards in other releases where the player signs the patch or jersey piece, and the issue there is that sometimes the texture can distort the signature, and over time, the ink can bleed throughout the fabric. By placing the signature over the jersey piece, you are able to give the same effect, while retaining the signature for a longer period of time. Simply put, this is just a beautiful card.

This, admittedly, is a tough box to break, simply because of the astronomical price point. I know that the price is close to that of Upper Deck's The Cup, but unless there are a bunch of throw-ins this year, Panini gets the award for giving MUCH more bang for your buck. I was promised 8 cards, but actually pulled 11, and I always appreciate the extras. Also, I pulled three cards which could easily be considered the best card out of any box they were pulled from. Yes, I spent a lot on this product, but I think Panini definitely gave me my money's worth.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2013-14 Prime Sidney Crosby Prime Trios Triple Jersey /100

 Let's keep this week's theme going with yet another Sidney Crosby card I picked up from Ebay.
"250" 69/100

From 2013-14 Prime, this card comes from the Prime Trios insert set and features three jersey pieces, numbered 69/100. The die-cut swatches spell out "250," which is in reference to his 250th NHL goal, which was scored on Nov. 22, 2013, in a 4-3 win over the new York Islanders. For all three years of Prime's release, Crosby has been featured by himself on a Prime Trios memorabilia card. I believe he is the only one to receive this treatment as most Prime Trios will have three players, instead of one player three times.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

12-13 Crosby Prime Signatures Gold 2/5

To go along with the 2013-14 Prime Redemption from yesterday, I also recently added this beauty from last year's product:

From 2012-13 Prime, this is the Gold Parallel of the Prime Signatures insert, numbered 2/5. I won it in an Ebay auction, and while I ended up spending just a bit more than I had originally intended, I just couldn't let this one pass me by. I pulled the /5 Prime Signatures Parallel from 2011-12 in a case break, and I needed this one as a companion. It's a bit silly, especially considering there is no /5 in 2013-14. Besides that, though, I just love the look of this card. More than the year before and the year after this particular one was released, the signature is spotlighted more strongly, as the horizontal design gives it more space overall, and allows for it to be signed in the center, instead of towards the bottom of a vertical design.

Monday, August 25, 2014

2013-14 Prime Sidney Crosby Autograph /50 (Redemption)

While it will take a little bit of patience on my part, I am now at step one in adding a great new Sidney Crosby card to my collection. From 2013-14 Prime, I have a redemption for his autographed Prime Signatures card, which is numbered /50. I made this purchase soon after the set was released, hoping that by being a redemption, it might go a little bit cheaper than a live card would.

While everyone in the collecting world hates redemptions, and rightfully so, if you know what you're doing, they aren't all necessarily bad. Being a Crosby collector, it seems like I have to go through this every year, with redemptions being issues for almost all of his on-card autographs in the higher-end sets. It is annoying, but my experience has shown me that he will get every card signed and returned at some point. Waiting may not be ideal, but as long as I know that I will definitely have this card in the future, I can be patient.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2013-14 Select Martin St. Louis Select Stars Autographed Jersey card 13/20

I picked up another great Martin St. Louis card, with this beauty from 2013-14 Select. The card is the Prizm parallel from the Select Stars insert, featuring an autograph and a jersey swatch, as well as a serial number of 13/20.

Now, I like St. Louis, but he's by no means my favorite player, nor does he play for my favorite team, but his cards are just so CHEAP! I got this beauty for just $7.61 + shipping. Come on, how could I pass up that deal!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2013-14 Prime Pascal Dupuis Prime Skates Extreme 1/1

Here is, by far, one of the coolest cards I own.  Each year that Panini has released Prime, they pushed the boundaries further ahead in regard to what they are able to do with memorabilia cards. This started off with Prime Ties and Prime Gloves Insignia the first couple of years, but this year they gave the players' hockey skates the 1/1 treatment with Prime Skates Extreme.

I was lucky enough to win an Ebay auction for one of two Penguins given the Prime Skates treatment, Pascal Dupuis. Regular versions of the card are numbered /25-/50, depending on the player, and feature a solid square swatch of the skate. The Extreme parallels take the concept to the next level, featuring a jumbo-sized swatch of the stake's logo, and each are numbered 1/1. As you can see, it is a stunning card, and it also has a feature I always enjoy with premium memorabilia cards, in that the logo has an effect of busting out of the card, as the "Bauer" comes up just a little bit higher than the surface of the card.

Upon doing a little research, I was able to identify the skate as a Bauer Vapor X7.0. There is currently a pair of game-used skates on Ebay, which are tempting, but after what I spent on this card, combined with my need to buy a box of Prime (as soon as my LCS gets restocked), and the upcoming release of National Treasures, I think I'll just have to look at these from a distance.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gint-A-Cuffs VI, Part 4

The final six packs from my Gint-A-Cuffs VI:

Pack 19:

AC-47 Spooky Air Supremacy AS-06 (+2)
Greg Maddux Mini A&G Back 127 (+2)

Pack total: 4
Box Total: 117

Pack 20:

Cal Ripken Jr. Pastime's Pastimes PP-CR (+2)
Yasiel Puig Mini 345 (+3)

Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 122

Pack 21:

Hyun-Jin Ryu 306 (+2)Jered Weaver Pastime's Pastimes PP-JW (+2)
Jacques Marquette Into the Unknown ITU-15 (+3)

Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 129

Pack 22:

Derek Jeter 145 (-1)
EA-18G Growler Air Supremacy AS-14 (+2)
Edouard Manet Where Nature Ends WNE-19 (+3)
Andre Dawson Fill-Sized Relic FSR-AD (+9.6)

Pack Total: 13.6
Box Total: 142.6

Pack 23:

Hisashi Iwakuma Mini Relic RA-HI (+20)
Jose Reyes Mini Black 181 (+3)
Sportsman's Park Fields of Yore FOY-08 (+2)

Pack Total: 25
Box Total: 167.6

Pack 24:

Paul Goldschmidt 317 (+2)
Hanley Ramirez Pastime's Pastimes PP-HRA (+2)

Pack Total: 4
Box Total: 171.6

And the back of the A&G Parallel of Maddux.

That would be the end of the break, but my score is not yet final. I still have to wait on a final ruling from the Commissioner on how to tabulate the points for my five-card box-topper. I will conclude with Part 5 once I get a ruling on those points, but until then, here's a selfie with my favorite card from the break for my five bonus points:

Favorite Card Selfie (+5)
Total (For Now): 176.6

That's it for now, until I can get a ruling on my box-topper points.

Gint-A-Cuffs VI, Part 3

Continuing on with my Gint-A-Cuffs Box:

Pack 13:

Mike Olt 326 (+3)
Alex Rodriguez 48 (-1)
Joe DiMaggio 25 (-1)
Don Mattingly Pastime's Pastime PP-DH (+1)
Rod Carew Mini A&G Back 75 (+2)

Pack Total: 4
Box Total: 75

Pack 14:

Felicia Day 119 (+2)
Manny Machado 350 (+2)
Alfonso Soriano 263 (-1)
Domonic Brown Pastime's Pastimes PP-DB (+2)

Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 80

Pack 15:

Bill Rancic 128 (-1)
Ernie Banks 92 (+1)
Whitey Ford 280 (-1)
Ottawa, Canada World's Capitals WC-15 (+2)
Wade Boggs Mini Black 71 (+3)

Pack Total: 4
Box Total: 84

Pack 16:

London, UK World's Capitals WC-04 (+2)
Starling Marte Full-Sized Relic FRB-SM (+8)

Pack Total: 10
Box Total: 94

Pack 17:

Jose Bautista 185 (+2)
Socotra Archipelago Natural Wonders NW-18(+2)
Edward "Blackbeard" Teach Outlaws, Bandits & All-Around Ne'er Do Wells OBA-08 (+3)

Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 101

Pack 18:

Ryne Sandberg 18 (+1)
Joey Votto 296 (+2)
Chase Utley 175 (+2)
Robin Yount 205 (+2)
La Tomatina Festivals and Fairs FAF-01 (+2)
Joe Kelly Mini 330 (+3)

Pack Total: 12
Box Total: 113

Back of the Rod Carew Mini Parallel:

Stay tuned for the final 6 Packs...

Gint-A-Cuffs VI, Part 2

Part two of my Gint-A-Cuffs Box:

Pack 7:

Starlin Castro 141 (+1)
Elvis Andrus 335 (+2)
Justin Upton Pastime's Pastimes PP-JU (+2)
Bob Feller Mini A&G Back 8 (+2)

Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 41

Pack 8:

Carlos Beltran 57 (-1)
Matt Kemp 301 (+4)
Babe Ruth Pastime's Pastimes PP-BR (+1)
Savannah Little Lions LL-10 (+3)

Pack Total: 7
Box Total: 48

Pack 9:

Phil Niekro 343 (+2)
Ernie Banks Pastime's Pastimes PP-EB (+3)
Felicia Day Mini 119 (+3)

Pack Total: 8
Box Total: 56

Pack 10:

Billy Williams 247 (+1)
Al Kaline Pastime's Pastimes PP-AK (+2)
Dennis Eckersley 340 (+2)

Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 61

Pack 11:

Omar Vizquel 67 (+2)
Travertine Pools Natural Wonders NW-11 (+2)
Andrelton Simmons Mini A&G Back 172 (+2)

Pack Total: 6
Box Total: 67

Pack 12:

David Wright 98 (+2)
Berlin, Germany World's Capitals WC-10 (+2)

Pack Total: 4
Box Total: 71

The backs of the mini parallels:

Stay tuned for Part 3...

Gint-A-Cuffs VI, Part 1

The blog-world's biggest (and only, I think) box-busting game is finally here, as Gint-A-Cuffs VI is finally on.

This is good for a couple reasons. For one, it gives bloggers a great game of interactivity and interaction, with some really great prizes on the line. Two, it actually gets me to buy some baseball cards! I haven't really gotten into much baseball this year, and after the Tier One box I purchased last month, this marks just the second baseball product of 2014 for me.

So, what I'll do is post these packs in groups of six, to prevent me from having just one long-winded post, and will point out all my point-earning (or subtracting) cards, with a running total after each pack.

So, here it goes.

Box Topper:
5-card mini pack of red-bordered cards, numbered /33

Miguel Cabrera Red Mini 7/33
Ralph Kiner Red Mini 33/33
Rod Carew Red Mini 27/33
Shelby Miller Red Mini 8/33
Allen Craig Red Mini 23/33

These box-toppers are great, and MUCH better than a jumbo card of the Grand Canyon. The points for these, however, will have to wait, as the commissioner is deciding what to do with these. I'll have to post an update later with the final score.

Pack 1:

Erik Johnson 334 (+2)
Dwight Gooden Pastime's Pastimes PP-DG (+2)
Tim Lincecum 32 (+2)
Pedro Teixeira Into the Unknown ITU-09 (+3)

Pack Total: 9
Box Total: 9

Pack 2:

Christian Yelich 320 (+2)
John Smoltz Pastime's Pastimes PP-JSM (+2)
Diana Nyad Mini A&G Back 62 (+2)

Pack Total: 6
Box Total: 15

Pack 3:

Chris Sale 39 (+2)
Moscow, Russia World's Capitals WC-03 (+2)

Pack Total: 4
Box Total: 19

Pack 4:

Annibal Sanchez 311 (+2)
Roger Maris 1 (-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury Pastime's Pastimes PP-JE (+1)
Michael Wacha Mini A&G Back NNO (+6)

Pack Total: 8
Box Total: 27

Pack 5:

Ben Zobrist Mini Black 174 (+3)
F-15 Eagle Air Supremacy AS-20 (+2)

Pack Total: 5
Box Total: 32

Pack 6:

Cave of Crystals Natural Wonders NW-03 (+2)

Pack Total: 2
Box Total: 34

Here are the backs of the two mini parallels. I am posting them here, simply because I forgot to flip them around in the original scans. This should serve to verify that they are the cards that I claim they are.

Stay tuned for more...