Thursday, June 21, 2012

2011 - 12 Panini Past & Present Basketball Cards Box Break Recap And Review

Nostalgia is trending in sports cards.  Anything that causes seasoned collectors to flash back to the glory days when it seemed like everyone was involved in the hobby tends to cause a flurry of excitement.  For the most part, these retro releases have been gobbled up by the collectors of today.  Perhaps it is the manufacturers reconnecting with the spirit of a simpler time when it was just plan fun to collect that is driving these modern day homage cards towards superior heights. 2011 - 12 Panini Past & Present Basketball brings a new twist to this trend.  As Panini describes it, Past & Present is designed to show the extreme difference between vintage cards and cutting-edge print technology and they pull this off quite nicely..

Past & Present Basketball falls under our classification of Premium cards. Hobby Boxes contain 20 – 8 card packs with 3 Autographs and 1 memorabilia card per Hobby.

Here are some of the cards we pulled from our hobby box.

Base Set
 LeBron James, front and back

 Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Dwyane Wade

 Jerry West, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson

 Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce

 Bob Cousy, Rick Barry, Walt Frazier

Base Set Variations
Amar'e Stoudemire


Chris Paul, Dwight Howard

Changing Times
Al Attles, Artis Gilmore

 Bobby Jones, Billy Cunningham

Raining Threes
 LeBron James, Robert Horry, Steve Nash

 Brook Lopez, Danilo Gallinari

 Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday

"Bread For" Diecuts - Bread For Energy
 Anderson Varejao, Carmelo Anthony

 Corey Maggette, Deron Williams

Bread For Health
Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Monta Ellis

Bread For Life
 Pistol Pete Maravich

The Hits
 Hassan Whiteside Gamers Memorabilia

 Thurl Bailey Elusive Ink Autograph, Bob Love Elusive Ink Autograph

 2011 Draft Pick Autograph - XRCR

 Overall Look

No question, the base cards evoke a retro feel.  There are four different varieties of designs for the fronts of the base set, but the same back for all of them.  I’m kind of on the fence between liking that choice because it lends a cohesion to the set and wishing there was a different type of back for each style, especially since each design appears sequentially together in 4 separate groups.   The retro inserts are great but the modern cutting-edge print technology really shine, most notably with the Fireworks cards.

Quality and Variety of Players.
This is a nice mix of the old and the new.  Panini offers a nice work around for a strange basketball card season by offering future rookie cards.  All of the heavy hitters are here, but the really fun part of the list is the elusive players who are rarely seen elsewhere.

Do the hits satisfy?
Yes they do.  There is every chance to pull a huge hit from this product. With the addition of the Elusive Ink Autographs, there is the chance to pull some rare names from the past, which will most likely appeal more to the seasoned collectors.  The Gamers memorabilia cards are generous but seem unnecessary in this product unless you are lucky enough to hit one of the low numbered prime swatches.

Will you keep coming back for more?
If this strikes you in the right way, you could easily go for a few boxes, maybe even a case.

4 1/2 out of 5

2011 - 12 Panini Past & Present Basketball is true to its name, striking the right balance between nostalgia and modern innovation.

Review box provided by Panini

2012 Topps Archives Baseball Cards Box Break Recap And Review

2012 Topps Archives Baseball Cards can be best described as “something for everyone.”  While this set seems made for collectors who started in the seventies through the mid eighties, it will also appeal to set builders looking for a reasonable challenge, hit seekers looking for pulls that can’t be found anywhere else and could intrigue those that have left the hobby to come back based on the nostalgia.   In the end, everyone one of these types of collectors should be satisfied.

For collectors who were around during the original releases of these cards, this redux will feel familiar while, at the same time, seem current and should bring back feelings of when you first opened these packs. Unlike the popular Heritage line, collectors won’t have to wait 50 years to see their favorite releases get the updated treatment. 

Archives Baseball falls under our classification of trading cards. Hobby Boxes contain 24 – 8 card packs with 2 Fan Favorites Autographs Per Hobby Box and the potential for some amazing and rare finds.

Here are some of the cards we pulled from our hobby box.

Base Set - 1954 Topps
 Matt Kemp, front and back

 Jackie Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Matt Moore

 1971 Topps
 Johan Santana, front and back

 Ty Cobb, Mike Schmidt, Brett Lawrie

 1980 Topps
 Yu Darvish, front and back

 Joe DiMaggio, Ozzie Smith, R.A. Dickey

 1984 Topps
 Derek Jeter, front and back

 Roberto Clemente, Josh Hamilton, Eric Hosmer

High Numbered SPs
 Sandy Koufax - 1966 Topps, Ed Kranepool - 1970 Topps, Andy Van Slyke - 1988 Topps

 Cecil Fielder - 1991 Topps, Brett Butler - 1992 Topps, Robin Ventura - 2000 Topps

Gold Parallels
 David Ortiz - 1980 Topps, Josh Hamilton - 1984 Topps

Gold Stamped Reprints
Monte Irvin - 1953 Topps, Roberto Clemente - 1955 Topps

 Duke Snider - 1956 Topps, Yogi Berra - 1956 Topps

 Roberto Clemente - 1964 Topps, Eddie Murray - 1979 Topps

1977 Topps Cloth
Roy Halladay, front and back

 Andrew McCutchen, George Brett, Reggie Jackson

1969 Topps Deckle Edge
 Bob Gibson, Roberto Clemente

1967 Topps Stickers
 Derek Jeter, Josh Hamilton, Pablo Sandoval

1968 Topps 3D
 CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano

The Hits - Fan Favorite Autographs
 Mickey Lolich Auto - 1973 Topps, Wally Backman Auto - 1986 Topps

Overall Look
Topps has selected some of the best and most loved designs from their past.  Add to that a great looking line of inserts like the Deckle Edge cards.   The Autograph cards are done really well with some smart choices for the years selected for each fan favorite.  The framed minis and the 1956 Topps Relics look great too.   

Quality and Variety of Players and Subsets.
200 base and 50 SPs make for a tight checklist.   There are excellent choices of players from the past, present and future

Do the Hits hold up?
The fan favorite autographs include some big names, like Aaron, Koufax and Mays.  The rest of the fan favorites will resonate will the more mature collecting crowd with names like Righetti, Luzinski and Matlock.  The box loader autographs from Billy Zabak and Martin Kove of Karate Kid fame seem slightly out of place as do the Celebrity Cut Signatures but hit right at the heart of the 70’s to 80’s demographic.  Luck into a beautiful Cal Ripken Jr. Touched By Greatness or any of the Topps Vault items like Autograph Contracts from players like Mays, Williams and Mantle or any of the uncut sheets and you could wind up with one the best pulls of your entire collection.

Will you want to collect them all?
Absolutely.  Topps has put their best foot forward with Archives and you will want to get your hands on as many packs as you can manage.

5 out of 5

2012 Topps Archives Baseball Cards is a wonderfully mastered set of cards with lasting appeal.  It reminds you of why you started collecting cards in the first place.

Review box provided by Topps