Sunday, July 21, 2013

Who likes die cuts?

I like die cuts. Alot. Especially when they're shiny. Who doesn't love shiny things?

Because of my passion for die cuts, things that sparkle, and Topps baseball cards, I've decided to attempt to complete a set of the Topps Cut to the Chase inserts. These cards were inserted into both Topps 2013 Series 1 and Series 2. 48 total cards. Here's what they look like if you need a quick refresher:

This is a PSA to those of you who have any of these lying around! I'll list the ones I already have at the end of this post. If you have any of these that I don't already have, I'd love to trade with you! To see what I have available for trade, please refer to my "List of additional cards" page, here. I also have tons of base cards, parallels, and inserts from Topps 2013 and Topps 2012. Or, if you have a favorite player or team, don't be afraid to ask me about that too! You can reach me at

As always thanks for reading!!

CTC's I have so far:

CTC-2 Ken Griffey Jr.
CTC-6 Carlos Gonzalez
CTC-7 Stan Musial
CTC-11 Yu Darvish
CTC-13 Brett Lawrie
CTC-14 David Price
CTC-19 Mike Schmidt
CTC-21 Andrew McCutchen
CTC-27 Ralph Kiner
CTC-35 Chris Sale
CTC-38 Prince Fielder
CTC-39 Yeonis Cespides
CTC-40 Cal Ripken Jr.
CTC-41 Stephen Strasberg
CTC-42 R.A. Dickey

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

2012-13 Panini Crusade Hobby Box Break and Review

With my latest box purchase, I decided to keep my streak of buying 2012-13 Panini Basketball products. I promise, I'll review something else soon. This is one those "high(er) end" products, so you're basically just buying a box of hits. 

6 packs, 5 cards per pack. 3 Autos, 3 Memorabilia Cards, at hit per pack.

The box:

The shininess can seen by the reflection of my hands/phone. I'm a card collector, not a photographer.

The base cards. Very nice cards. Panini makes it very clear that this is a CRUSADE card. Not sure how I feel about that huge banner. I do like the gold font.

Knight Court Insert. These come one per box. Very similar to the base. They seem to have little value on the secondary market.

Here are the first three Prizms that I pulled. These are the regular Prizms, and are really gorgeous cards. That Andrew Bynum on the left, whom I managed to decapitate with my lamp. He's accompanied by Nick Young and Marcin Gortat.

These are my other three Prizms, rounding out the total of six per box. These come in variety of Parallels: Red & Gold /99, Purple & Gold /49, Green & Gold /25, Gold /10 and Black 1/1.

 At the far right is Jared Sullinger, he fits in with his buddies above. In the middle is Draymond Green, Red & Gold /99. To the far left is Rasheed Wallace, Gold /10.

I'm not high on Green. I loved him in college but he lacks NBA size. The 'Sheed Gold card is a great pull. Very rare and very attractive card.

Here are the jersey cards, all appearing on inserts. The Paul Pierce card is awesome, I love the green swatch. Thomas Robinson has the skills to be a beast, but his character issues seem to outweigh his abilities. I'm not too familiar with Rick Mahorn but another nice jersey.

The three autos. At left, Festus Ezeli. Center, Buck Williams, Right, Quincy Acy. Nothing too impressive here. I love Ezeli's story, but not his NBA potential. Quincy Acy is in the D-League, I'm assuming he'll be overseas soon. Buck Williams was a fun player to watch, I'd say he's the highlight here.


Overall Design: The base cards are nice. The picture is sharp as ever with exceptional contrast. As I've said with previous 2012-13 Panini Products, I'm not a fan of how they throw a huge "PANINI" on the front of the card. It's over-branding. Beyond the base set, the other cards are excellent, especially the Prizms. Some of the nicest cards I've ever seen.

Box contents: There's only 30 cards per pack, so it would take some hunting to complete the base set. It's only 100 cards though, so do-able. The fact that each pack contains a hit is exciting. The Prizms are definitely the highlight of this set. The Prizm checklist is massive 300 cards, with all sorts of names mixed in- past, current, and future.

The Hits: It's definitely possible to hit the jackpot with this product. The Prizm cards are a hot ticket right now. The variety of parallel colors generates excitement, especially the Gold cards and Black cards. If you search the Gold Parallels on eBay, many sellers are asking over $100 for guys that aren't even big names. The black cards are obviously the big prize. The J.J. Redick Black 1/1 is listed for over $400 dollars on eBay, to put it in perspective. Yes, J.J. Redick.

Positives: Design, prominence of short prints, Prizm technology, players from various generations, number of hits guaranteed hits (6), chance for 1/1

Negatives: Autos are stickers, small number of total cards

Rating: 8 out of 10. This is a fun product. It has the high-end feel, but for right around 100 bucks, it's affordable high-end. Also a great way to get your hands on Prizm cards without actually buying a box of Panini Prizm.

As always, thanks for reading and please feel free to comment!

My Favorite All-Star

In honor of tonight's All-Star game, I will share with you a card I received last week of my favorite All-Star:

Actually, that's a lie. To determine my favorite All-Star, you'd have to flip a 4-sided coin with Cutch, Pedro Alavarez, Jason Grilli, and Mark Melancon on each side. Sorry, Jeff Locke.

Isn't this card a beauty?! I grabbed it as single last week off of eBay. For the sake of my dignity, I will not tell you the price because I'm sure I overpaid. I imagine the seller was able to jack up the price on that whole 50/50 = 1/1 scam, which is total bogus. Nonetheless, this is a card that I needed to have, and it's serial numbered, which is a must for me.

I'm hoping my boy Cutch as well as the other Buccos can represent our team and city well tonight.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the game everyone!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2013 Topps Basball Series 2 Jumbo Pack Break

Yesterday's routine stop at Target meant I had to grab a retail pack. I went wit a jumbo pack of 2013 Topps Series Two:

Since the pack was bought from Target, it guarantees 3 Red-Border parallel cards. A nice throw in. The highlights:

I pulled a total of five inserts. Above is three Chasing History inserts, which are sexy cards. As a Buccos fan, the Clemente card nearly made me faint. That's dramatic. But it's no every day I see him in a modern pack. The Strasburg Making Their Mark Insert is solid..

 Top left is another nice insert, Anthony Rizzo WBC. I had no idea he was from Italy, and it turns out he was born in Florida. His parents are from Sicily so I guess that qualified him. 

Those are the the three red parallels. No big names, but still, nice cards!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2012-13 Panini Basketball 3 Hobby Box Break and Review

I splurged.

I bought three hobby boxes at once. I typically try to stick to one, but because of the low price, I just had to. My wallet is furious, but after the breaks it may have all been worth it. Without further ado, the boxes:

What a gorgeous sight. Three boxes ready to be torn into. On to the cards:

Pictured on the left is an example of the base cards. Pretty cool look, in my opinion. Border colors vary to match team colors. To the right is one of the gold parallels. There are 7 per box. Out of my 21, the big names were Irving, Monroe, Noah, B. Lopez, Granger, Durant (obivously), and Dwight Howard... in a Lakers jersey... remember when he played for them? LOL. Moving on:

The top picture is the Heros of the Hall insert. 3 per box. I love seeing Bob Lanier getting some love. Very underrated. Bottom picture is an example of the Matching Numbers 
inserts, also three per box. Cool idea.

Top, Spirit of the Game insert. You guessed it! Three per box. Bottom is the All Panini Inserts, which I absolutely love, mostly because of the sick silver border. Unfortunately you can't really see it, because my camera did an outstanding job of catching the reflection of my pale shirtless body in the border. I suppose it's a testament to how shiny the border is, though.

 These cards are only TWO per box. I got Magic, O.J. Mayo, Brandon Knight, D12, Klay Thompson, and Greg Monroe. The whole set of these inserts has a total of 100 cards. These also come in gold parallels that are numbered to 25. Would love to get my hands on some of those. 

On to the hits! (2 Auto's per box)

We'll start here, with the base autos that I pulled. In my opinion... nooottttthinnnngggg special. Barton was rumored to be in Portland's eight man rotation... before the draft. Malcolm Lee is... Malcolm Lee. And Kyle Singler is from Duke, which means I hate his guts. He's also incredibly unproductive in the pros. BUT, who knows, these guys are all very young.

Here's two redemptions. I like both of these, specifically Kawhi Leonard. Lavoy really came into his own in Philly last year, and I'm hoping he can continue to get solid minutes this year. I've been dying for a Kawhi Leonard auto ever since I saw him in the NBA finals. A 21 year old guard/forward who defends like Bruce Bowen, rebounds like Charles Oakley, and plays on a great team. Love this guy.

The boxes don't guarantee any memorabilia cards, but I was lucky enough to pull one:

I must say, this was a treat. It's one of the first times l've seen Ray Allen in a Miami Jersey on a card.  
What's really cool is that the back of the card specifically says the jersey swatch is from a Celtics jersey.

And time for the GRAND FINALE! Drumroll....

 This made it all worth it. This card, fittingly, was in the final box that I broke. This is what you pray for when you're buying boxes. It's a base card, so it will look exactly like the Lee, Singler, and Barton cards. Base card unfortunately, sticker unfortunately, but it's frickin' Kyrie Irving!!

I scratched and redeemed all of the redemption cards, so hopefully Panini won't take a decade and a half to get them to me as I've heard they're infamous for.


Overall design: These are pretty good looking cards. I don't like how large the word PANINI is on the front of the card, it's really not necessary. I'm assuming it's for branding purposes, to really try and engrain the brand name in the minds of consumers. I do like how the borders vary per card to match the team's colors.

Box contents: The base set is huge, which may appeal to some collectors. There are a variety of inserts, none of which are anything special save for the All-Panini inserts which I think are gorgeous. If you're lucky enough to pull a memorabilia card they're an awesome bonus.

The Hits: This one is tough. I feel like my hits were incredibly fortunate, with the Leonard and Irving autos and picking up the jersey card. If I bought just one box and it had the Malcolm Lee auto and the Will Barton auto, I'd be pissed. The possibility of pulling a big name is always intriguing, and pulling one of the those All-Panini gold parallels would be sick. I'd say this product is best bought in multiple boxes.

Positives: Large base set, rookie autos, potential for low serial numbers, PRICE

Negatives: Lack of overall serial numbers, autos are stickers

Rating: 7 out of 10. Pretty decent product, and affordable. I'd advise spending the extra cash to upgrade to a box of Threads, Prestige, or Marquee however.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Change of Pace: 2011 Panini Americana Retail

In my recent order from dacardworld, I grabbed a lot of 24 2011 Panini Americana Retail packs- for 11.65. I've always been intrigued by this product, and this deal was something I couldn't pass up on.

 For those who may be interested, they also have a 24 pack lot from 2009 Donruss set for half that price.

...I swear I'm not not endorsed by dacardworld, I just love their deals. 

Here's the pack, with James Dean looking a lot like Channing Tatum. Anyone?

I think this is a really cool set. The checklist is pretty awesome, brings about some nostalgia for the older generation, I'm sure.

I was lucky enough to pull a couple short prints:

Speaking of the older generation, I am not part of it, so I had no idea who those two people are. Anson Williams, according the back of the card, starred as Potsie Weber of Happy Days for years and later became a successful director. Charlene Tilton is famous for playing Lucy Ewing on Dallas for a decade in the 80's. The Williams card is a Gold edition, numbered 14/50. The Tilton is Platinum, numbered 3/10. Not bad!