Friday, September 21, 2018

REVIEW:2017-2018 Panini Crown Royale Basketball

Returning to the hard court in 2018, is the return of Crown Royale basketball as a standalone product.

It's the first of this product since the 2009-2010 release. Rest of the time it has been hidden in the Preferred product.

Being a 90's fan like I am, I am happy to see the product lines return and hoping it will meet it's return in football as well.

Let's take a gander at what the return looks like.

In every box of 2017-2018 Panini Crown Royale basketball is one pack. That one pack has twelve cards and each box comes with one autograph and one relic per. Boxes run roughly $110. So an expensive return of the product.

The base card design for Crown Royale takes a dip in time. The iconic die cut layout is back and is very reminiscent of the late 90's designs.

There are 200 cards in the base set with veterans, legends and rookies included. To be honest, I would have loved to seen more of the rookie cards look like this as well.

But, I am also old fashioned in my collecting ways. Most collectors will like the layout as the autograph silhouette rookies make up rest of the base set and card numbers 201-240. Most of those include the top guys.

Parallels make a mark in Crown Royale as well. We didn't have the cracked iced looking ones as most of the parallels in the 90's were based on foil color, but they look impressive in this product. Of course they are called Crystal Parallels in here. This is a base one,

Other parallels include,
  • Purple /25
  • Gold /10
  • Black 1/1
Inserts are only one-per-box finds with only twelve cards in each box. But, I will say I have seen some impressive ones including the cool die cut one I got of Paul Pierce.

Some inserts are numbered, while others have parallels to of, Red /75, Blue /25, Green /5, and Black 1/1.

Roundball Royalty. This is a great looking card and something I could have seen pulling from the original product.

There are other inserts to chase as well including the iconic Cramers Choice awards which is now Panini Choice. But, those won't be anything like the ones in the 90's where they are extremely rare finds.

Other inserts to find are,
  • Mamba's Choice Die-Cut
  • Pacific Marquee (interesting....)
  • Panini's Choice Die-Cut
  • Power In the Paint
  • Regents of Roundball
Now onto the hits!

Back in the 90's, we didn't worry about needing hits in the product to make it exciting. We all spent time chasing the inserts.

My first hit was this Rookie Jerseys of well, if I can't say it, I won't spell it.

My second hit was this /199 autograph of DeAaron Fox. Not a bad pull.

Other big time hits to find not in my box include,
  • Silhouettes Rookies Autograph Relics
  • Silhouettes Autograph Relics
  • Rookie Jersey Auto
  • Crown Autographs
  • Jerseys
OVERALL, Love the design of the product. However, 12 cards for what over $100 is a big risk and looking at my break today I wouldn't have been left feeling that great. I feel like a lot of companies are doing the less cards and higher price thing recently. It worries me some. I prefer to get as many cards as I can per box to insure a possible feel-good return.

There are lots of fun finds in this product especially headlined by the autograph silhouettes and some decent signers on the autograph checklist if you are fortunate enough to land one.

The biggest thing for me about Crown Royale is the nostalgia. That sometimes alone is a big seller for me.

Please thank Tracy Hackler and Panini America for this box to review. Some of the cards today will be used in an upcoming NFL Promo that I will be running. Check out Panini America and follow them on all social media sites and check out their website, HERE. Oh, and don't forget to follow the man, the legend Tracy Hackler on Twitter too.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Origins Of A Cardboard Addict:A Chip Off The Old Block

Some people may say "I am a chip off the 'ole block" when it comes to what I am into compared to my father.

First off, we both are MASSIVE NY Giants fans. We stay in contact every Sunday during the games texting each other about the defeats, the big plays and the stupid ones.

Secondly, we both like the NY Yankees. We show our #PinstripePride ever since the 90's.

Third, we both collect sport cards and collect them pretty comparably. We both like our rookie cards, we both sort and organize the same (something I taught him back in my youth), and we both can't turn down Topps Chrome. It's like a super collecting hero weakness.

One other thing we know, is putting in a good hard days work.

I grew up on a dairy farm pretty much my entire youth life. Back when I was really young, my father worked on his friends farm who were an older couple. I treated them like they were my grandparents.

Ray, was very old fashioned and believed kids needed to work so I remember staying overnight and him waking me up at 4:30 in the morning to gather the cows to the barn. I wasn't sure how I felt about that then, other than being tired, but it's something I can appreciate now. He would also displine you by grabbing onto your ear and making you sit. Let's just say, I didn't get into too much trouble on his farm after the first few times.

Erma, Ray's wife, was the typical nice old lady. The one you would hear about baking cookies and a delicous meal. The housewife. Sometimes when I wasn't busy on the farm helping out, I would take a grocery and errand run with her and was able to pick myself out a treat while we were out. Despite the glares that Ray would sometimes give when we returned. He valued every dollar.

If only he valued his health as much. The dude would literally take a stick of butter, dip it in ketchup, and would eat it with his supper. This is not a joke either, it was disgusting. On top of that, he would butter everything else. He would also have us save the pickle juice from pickle jars and chug it. As you would expect after hearing this, yes, Ray did pass away years ago from a heart attack behind the wheel. I felt a piece of my childhood rip away hearing that news. Erma lived a few more years after that but in a nursing home where I never got to see her again. I may not have been able to say goodbye, but I do have the memories.

After a ten years of working on Ray's farm, my father decided it was too much on him and changed careers to work at a cheese factory. He was the supervisor of his line and broke some company records for getting his employees to box up the cheese the fastest. It was pretty cool but you could tell he wanted to be back outside again. Back to his life roots of farming.

So we ended up moving after 5 years in the factory to another farm. He got to do what he loved best. On this farm, the owner was a bit younger, probably in his 40's, so the expectations for me weren't as high. In the summertime, I actually helped with haying which means 90 degree days out in the field picking up bales and putting them away. But, that's okay. He actually paid me $10 an hour for doing so.

During my downtime however, I would walk past these guys-and say hi of course-

and play basketball in the empty silo, his was a rocked in area, where the farmer set up a hoop for me. So I always chipped in to help him when I could.

In 1997, Playoff chipped in the hobby with their innovate Chip Shots sets. They put these one-per-pack finds in both their 1997 Absolute Football and the 1997 Playoff First and Ten football. The only difference between the two sets is the color schemes. First and Ten has green, red, and yellow base chip featuring a striped pattern of one white stripe within two stripes of either red, green, or blue. While the Absolute has green, red, and yellow base and the edges of the coins feature a striped pattern of two silver stripes around a single stripe of either red or blue. None of the colors were tougher than the other in terms of finding them.Sounds more complicated than it is.

The First and Ten set also had 250 chips in the set with the first 200 chips in hobby and the last 50 found in retail. The Absolute version had 200 total.

Here are a few samplings I got from my mail day from The Collector, I have many long before these I held onto since youth. I think I bought almost a box worth of retail at one point and was given chip shots over the years. And if you are reading this and have some, please check for Rodney Hamptons. I am missing a few still.

Let's take a look at these miniature collectibles. I think innovations like this are so cool and it's what we lack today.

Zach Thomas a beast linebacker for the Phins'

I always felt Tim Brown didn't get enough respect for what he did on the field, playing for the Raiders didn't help.

Yancey was just a fun name to say and he also had some talent too.

Detmer was apart of the pre-99 draft QB where they were terrible.

Vinny played for a million teams, but none of their uniforms looked as good as the classic Ravens one. I think their original logo and jerseys look better than today's.

And Michael Irvin, household name in the 90's and a winner. Sadly he also made a lot of plays against my Giants.
Chip Shots only lasted one year so I am glad to have held onto what I do have. It's hard to think this was over 20 years ago that these were released. Feeling old now? I am.

Just like Chip Shots, my father's farming career is all done as well. Age has played a factor in that especially after doing it for a combined 20+ years. He now does a bunch of oddball jobs but keeps himself busy. I moved out from the farm in 2000 and haven't lived on one since but I always remember the moments I had on them especially when I drive by them. It's sort of like when I pull out these Chip Shots, I remember the creativity this great hobby once had.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

REVIEW:2018 Topps Luminaries Baseball

Topps Luminaries returns for another year as a single card high end autograph product.

Last year I pulled a Bernie Williams autograph. Not bad if you are a Yankees fan, but not good for the price.

Let's see if 2018 treated me any better. Take a look!
In every box of 2018 Topps Luminaries baseball. There is one encased autograph or autograph relic per box. Boxes run $200. SO IT'S A BIG GAMBLE!

Here was what I found in my box,

Nolan Ryan is 14/15

 Here are the other hits you can find,
  • Hit Kings Autograph
  • Home Run Kings Autograph
  • Hit Kings Autograph Relics
  • Hit Kings Autograph Patches
  • Home Run Kings Autograph Relics
  • Home Run Kings Autograph Patches
  • Master of the Mound Autograph Relics
  • Master of the Mound Autograph Patches
  • Cut Signature Bat Knob Book Card
  • Home Run Kings Ultimate Book Autograph
  • Master of the Mound Autograph Patch Dual Book
  • Masters of the Mound Ultra Book Autograph
  • Letters Book Autograph
  • The Greatest Book Card Autograph
  • Cut Signatures
  • Cut Signature Relics
  • Home Run Kings Autograph Patch Triple Book
  • Hit Kings Ultra Book Autograph
  • Hit Kings Ultimate Book Autograph
  • Home Run Kings Autograph Patch Dual Book
  • Home Run Kings Autograph Patch Triple Book
  • Hit Kings Autograph Patch Dual Book
OVERALL: My box was much better than last year obviously. The autograph checklist is full of stars but does have a few medium level players sprinkled in. Here is the checklist for Luminaries on link so you can give it a look,

Luminaries has nice looking cards and a product that could definitely pay off if you just want to take the gamble.

Please make sure to take a minute out to thank Topps for providing this box for me to review and to be able to add cards to a future promo.  Follow Topps on all social media sites and visit their SITE, as well. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

CONTEST:Pick Thursday Night Football And Win!

Alright folks! I have been talking about this for the last couple of weeks on Twitter and it's officially here, NFL Giveaways!

Just like years past, I am once again hosting the Panini Player Of The Day contest with many prizes to be given away. 

Please take a moment out to click on the Saquon image, I could have chosen other images instead but why would I, and check out what Panini Player Of The Day is all about. It's a pretty fun and simple promotion that could help you meet one of your favorite NFL Stars in person.

I just received the prizes today, a couple more are still to come, and marked them all out accordingly to how I want to give them away. As always, my main goal and the biggest prizes will be saved to help you guys get to your LCS and participate in the Player Of The Day promotion. I am all about saving the LCS' and promoting them when I can. Stay tuned for details on that one.

For now, I wanted to go simple and have a very short entry time on this one to kick things off. Here is what you have to do to win these...

A Wincraft peel-able Player Of The Day sticky featuring the top rookies of this years and last years class. Pretty cool!

And a 2018 Panini NFL Sticker Album

There will be FOUR WINNERS. Each winner will receive one of each item.

Here is how to enter....
  1. MUST BE A U.S. RESIDENT OR HAVE AN ADDRESS IN THE U.S. TO ENTER. Sorry, I can't afford to ship everywhere.
  2. Pick the winner of Thursday Night's football game between the NY Jets and the Cleveland Browns
  3. Have your entry in before 9/20/2018 by 8:00 pm e.t and that's it!
  4. 4 RANDOM PEOPLE WILL BE CHOSEN FROM THOSE WHO PICK THE RIGHT WINNER OF THE GAME to receive the prize. I am not sure how I will run a random yet depending on how busy my schedule is this week. That's why I am cramming this contest in late tonight. It may be a simple name in the hat draw like old times as that's the quickest route.
  5. Winners will be announced by the end of the weekend. Hopefully Friday, but as I said, I have a busy week ahead.
  6. Winners will also be announced right here in comments. So make sure to come back and look to see if it was you.
  7. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize or it goes back into the prize pool.
  8. Sport Card Collectors, Panini, Panini Player Of The Day will not be held responsible for  lost, stolen or damaged packages. I will ship it safely, but once it leaves my hands it's completely up to the USPS system to take care of it.
  9. Please post somewhere whether it's on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog post a thank you for your prize and show it off. Make sure to tag Sport Card Collectors and Panini Player Of The Day in all spots.
  10. Entrants must agree to all the rules above to enter. If any entrant fails to do so, they will be disqualified.
Good luck to those of you who enter and stay tuned for many, many, many more awesome giveaways ahead!!!

Does Twitter Help Expand Collecting?

Has Twitter helped the hobby expand and grow?

I feel like for myself it has.

Ever since I discovered the social media giant five years ago, I would say 90% of my trading has come from there. Not from Facebook. Not from forums. Not even from the blogoshere. It's all from Twitter.

Here is just a SMALL sampling of what I have added thanks to Twitter trades,








 Remember, this is just a few of the cards I have added in trades. I strongly believe I never would have been able to add these if it wasn't for Twitter.

I have also won a few contests that have added to my collection too. I will say though, I ONLY ENTER CONTESTS IF THE CARDS FIT MY COLLECTION. All other contests or the concept of winning a contest just to win, I won't enter.

One of the coolest mailings/winnings I ever got was from THE Deltha O'Neal. The actual player sent me this for guessing a correct score in his NFL Contest. How awesome is that?

I think hobby friendships grow on there daily. I have met a great group of people I never would have met elsewhere and especially where I live without collectors around. These are people I talk to on a daily basis as well. They support you, you support them. They are like family.

Interaction on Twitter is also amazing. Once you get established on there, how fast that happens depends on how much you post and what topics, discussing the hobby with other collectors is fun. Not just the hobby either, sports, life, etc. Just have fun and discuss what you want to. I am however a tad more quiet to myself and don't give up a lot of personal information. A lot of people do including selfies at the hospital, pictures of kids, etc. I just feel that collecting and personal lives are two different things in my eyes but I don't judge those who share more. I just don't.

I definitely share my blog (which is where 3/4ths of my views come from) and hobby thoughts on there. Also the occasional asking of Fantasy Football advice and my ranting of NY Giants and it's great to hear the reaction and the conversations that occur just from this little bit.

For some, Twitter is a place to sell cards and some are really successful and it comes without the fees. How much better does it get? I don't sell any on there because I don't sell any in general so I can't tell you how that experience is. But, others can let you know. I also don't buy from Twitter either, but, that's mainly because I don't have the funds to. There are definitely some trusted sellers on there.

I can't say all of Twitter is good though. I have seen many, many friends of mine lose out on trades or buying items because there is always that sour apple that has to spoil the bunch. For the most part, I would say things are positive. I would strongly suggest before buying off from anyone or trading with anyone especially if you are new to Twitter, go to someone you know and trust and get their thoughts on the person you are trying to trade or buy from. That's what I do and I have yet to have a bad experience.

If I hadn't come across or started using Twitter, I am pretty certain I wouldn't have some of the cards I have, been given the opportunities in the hobby I have or most importantly, made the great friends I have. You would be amazed how much friendships, even long distance ones can mean.

How about you? Do you have a Twitter account? Do you use it for the hobby? Ever had a good experience in trading or buying on there? Sell cards on there? Let's here it in comments!

Monday, September 17, 2018

REVIEW:2018 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Basketball

Kicking off the new year of basketball cards is Contenders Draft which gives us the first autograph and first look at some of the new incoming rookies. To me, the Contenders line is a great way to dive into that because of it's popularity.

So why don't we break on in and check it out shall we?

In every box of 2018 Contenders Draft Picks basketball, you will find 6 packs of 18 cards. Much different set up than usual. You will also find 6 autographs which means one-per-pack finding. Boxes run about $135.

The base card set is as you would expect from Contenders, the typical ticket layout. I am just glad to see the NBA players are in uniform and not college. I get kind of tired of seeing the overflow of college stuff.

There are 50 players in the base set to collect that include players of today and yesterday.

Including Charles Barkley's return to cardboard.

These 50 cards also have variations. I think it's a tad ridiculous to even include these as they fall at the same rate as base. There were packs I had that were mostly all variations. That's too many. I don't mind have short printed ones, like really short print, but intentionally loading it with them, no. 

Let's just take a look at this Carmelo variation.

Now the base. Simply just a jersey color change.

Here they are side by side.

And here is how you tell the difference. Just look at the variation card of Carmelo on the back and you will notice a V above his name. That's it.
Once again, I feel those are completely unneeded here.
Parallels though, are always needed and found in today's collecting.
I found one parallel in my box which I assume is a common theme. It was a Cracked Ice /23 of Caleb Swanigan. 

Other parallels to chase include,
  • Blue Foil,
  • Red Foil
  • Draft /99
  • Diamond /15
  • Building Blocks /10
  • Fame /5
  • Championship 1/1
  • Printing Plates 1/1
Inserts are supposed to fall five per pack, but I found that they actually fall 6 per pack with the following variety and two of each per pack. These inserts also have the following parallels, Cracked Ice /23 and Championship 1/1.

Legacy.NBA Players in their college uni's in the back, NBA unis in the front. There are 30 cards in the set to collect.

Game Day Ticket features incoming rookies and has 35 cards to chase.

School Colors is basically the same thing as Game Day Ticket in my opinion. Not sure why you would bother doing another set like this but there are 35 cards in the set to collect.

Now onto the draft ticket autographs. The key part to the whole product. These tickets also have the following parallels, 
  • Blue Foil
  • Red Foil
  • Draft /99
  • Cracked Ice /23
  • Diamond /15
  • Building Blocks /10
  • Fame /5
  • Championship 1/1
  • Printing Plates 1/1
Devon Hall

Sorry, not spelling out his name haha!

Moritz Wagner. Let's point out his signature. Sad, sad. This may rank up at the tops as one of the worst autographs out there.

Jacob Evans. This one is /99

Gary Clark numbered to 15!

And the big find of the box, top 10 pick in Wendell Carter Jr who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls at 7. This one is a parallel /25 and an Sp photo variation as well. yes, even the tickets have photo variations. I like this card because I am a Duke fan. I don't speak of that much on here as I don't watch basketball anymore, but I grew up a fan and even though I don't watch them, I still root them on.

Other hits not found in my box but can be in your in yours,
  • Season Ticket Signatures
  • Collegiate Connections Signatures
  • Game Day Ticket Signatures
  • Legacy Signatures
  • School Colors Signatures Set Checklist
  • Turning Pro Signatures Set Checklist
OVERALL: Contenders is one of those popular products every year. Whether its an early season release or a late one, the name Contenders holds its ground as it has the most popular autograph rookie cards loved by collectors.

My box was pretty decent with some 1st round picks found in it. That may not always be the case especially if you go the retail route. Don't go that route ever. Always stick to hobby for a product like this. Blasters are full of the lesser name guys at least from my experience with any sport for the product.

Please take a minute out to thank Tracy Hackler and Panini America for providing this box to review. By providing this box to review, this insures some of the cards above will end up in your hands when I run my NFL promo coming up soon! Please follow Panini on all social media sites and Tracy Hackler on Twitter. You can check out Panini's official website, HERE