Friday, August 24, 2012

2012 Topps Baseball Mini Cards Box Break Recap And Review

Sometimes simplifying things can lead to perfection. This is the case with 2012 Topps Baseball Mini Cards. 

Based on 2012 Topps Baseball Series 1 and Series 2 cards, this set consists of 661 base cards, border parallels in Gold #/61 and Black #/5, Printing Plates, 50 Golden Moments inserts, 50 different relic cards, 31 different autograph cards and nothing else.  It will be refreshing for set builders to collect a series of cards this focused. 

These cards are not like most of the parallel minis you have been collecting as inserts found in other releases.  Often times the minis do not retain the same aspect ratio, reducing the width, which causes the image to be altered.  At about 90% of the size of a regular base card, these are true mini versions of the base cards they parallel. 

For the purposes of review, we classify Topps Baseball Minis as trading cards.  These are hobby exclusive cards only available online at at the fixed price of $50 a box, shipping is free. Each box contains 24 – 10 card packs with a promise of 1 autograph or 1 relic mini card per box.

Here is a size comparison using Evan Longoria from Series 2 on the left and his mini on the right.
 Here are some of the other cards we pulled.

Base Set
 Mike Trout, front and back

 Bryce Harper, Yu Darvish, Ichiro

 Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Mariano Rivera

 Justin Verlander, David Freese

Gold Border Parallels #/61
 Chase Utley, Nolan Reimold

 Adam Wainwright, Brayan Pena, Alex White

Printing Plate 1/1
 Rafael Furcal, Cyan Plate, front and back

The Hit
 Carl Yastrzemski Game-Used Memorabilia Mini, front and back

Overall Look
These are true mini versions of the base cards they parallel so you should already be familiar with the design.  In its smaller format, the look of these minis are even better than their full sized counterparts.  The border cards work really well. The relic and autograph cards look great too.

Quality and Variety of Players and Subsets.
Just about every modern day, active player you would want to see on a card is here.  Retired stars are reserved for the Golden Moment inserts. 

Do the hits hold up?
They sure do thanks to the limited list of available hits.  There is a high likelihood of hitting something really nice.  While the card is a mini, the swatch is regular sized.

Will you want to collect them all?
Because of the limited amount of total cards, a master set is definitely something to consider.  Short of that, a complete base set is a must.

5 out of 5

2012 Topps Baseball Mini cards offer a fantastic set to collect at an extremely reasonable price point.  I wouldn’t wait too long to pick up some boxes of this limited release.

Review box provided by Topps

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012 Rittenhouse Archives Game Of Thrones Season One Box Break Recap and Review

Fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones have come to expect a nice balance of story telling along with all of the other explicit elements that make it clearly intended for mature audiences.  The violence and provocative nature of the show avoid being gratuitous.  It is difficult to imagine the show being the same without these elements.  For that reason, 2012 Rittenhouse Archives Game Of Thrones Season One Trading Cards falls somewhat short of the mark in delivering the feel of the show as any trace of these elements are absent. 

But even in this PG form of presentation, Rittenhouse Archives has done a thorough job of chronicling the characters and episodes of this series' first season.  Add to that on of the most complete collection of leading character autograph cards out there for any entertainment product and you have a set of trading cards that fans of the show should not overlook.

Game Of Thrones Season One falls under our classification of trading cards.  Hobby Boxes contain 24 – 5 card packs and feature two autograph cards per box.  The 72 card base set can also be purchased as a stand alone at Rittenhouse Archives online site,

Here is a look at some of the cards we pulled.

  Base Set - Episode Cards
 Fire and Blood - Front and Back

Winter is Coming, Lord Snow

 You Win or You Die, Fire and Blood

Base Set - Character Cards
 Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark

 Lady Catelyn Stark, Prince Joffrey Baratheon, Viserys Targaryen

 Ser Jaime Lannister, Robb Stark, Queen Cersei Lannister

 Sansa Stark, Khal Drogo, Jon Snow

 Arya Stark, King Robert Baratheon, Bran Stark

Base Set Parallels

The Houses Die-Cuts
 House Frey, House Targaryen

Quotable Game of Thrones
 Lord Stark, Front and Back

 Tyrion Lannister, front and back

Your Win or You Die" Cards
 Cersei Lannister "Everybody But Us Is The Enemy", front and back

 The Hits
 Jack Gleeson Full Bleed Autograph, John Bradley Bordered Autograph

Overall Look
The episode cards have some nice write-ups with three cards to cover each episode.  The photograph choices are mostly production stills of a cleaner nature.  The base parallels, while impossible to scan, are done well.  The die-cut Houses cards are smartly done going with the shield motif.  The quotable cards, while not all that intriguing from a design level, are a lot of fun to read.  No shadowbox cards were pulled from our box, but from pictures found online, these look great.  As usual with Rittenhouse Archives products, the autograph cards are well designed. 

Quality and Variety of checklist.
From a checklist standpoint it is not that hard to cover 10 episodes, but dedicating three cards to each show is a nice touch.  There were so many doubles from our box, upping that for future releases might even be something to consider though I’m sure it was done this way with the thought of 9 card binder pages in mind.  What is impressive is the handling of the character cards.  This was so complete iit makes me wonder what will be done for season two.

Do the Hits hold up?
Rittehouse Archives has done a great job here with the autographs, providing an amazing amount of the lead actors, times two.  Most autographs are offered in a Bordered and Full- Bleed version.  Signers include Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Sean Bean, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Alfie Allen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Mark Addy, Michelle Fairley, Richard Madden, Charles Dance, Jason Momoa, Jack Gleeson, Esme Bianco and more.

Will you want to collect them all? 
Each box with yield a complete base set plus an extra 30 or more cards, so that is covered.  For diehard fans, going for the master set is within reason.  

 4 out of 5

2012 Rittenhouse Archives Game Of Thrones Season One could have benefited and would have been higher rated if it had pushed the envelope just a little with images that closer matched the graphic nature of this show, but it still delivers a complete set of trading cards that Thrones fans will want in their collection.