Sunday, December 14, 2014

Retail Review #131 (13/14 O-Pee-Chee Blaster)


Here's a break for people who enjoy a more old school or retro feel to their cards - it's O-Pee-Chee! OPC is typically released at the beginning of the collecting season. It is a very large set of cards with a lot of inserts and parallels to chase.



Price - 
$7.95

Packs - 14
13/14 OPC Blaster Packs

Sometimes I wish collectors would value OPC more. Obviously it's never going to be able to compete with the high-end brands, but it would be nice if there were more collector interest in it. As it stands, OPC is a brand targeted for a very specific set of people. OPC is for collectors on a budget, set builders, or fans of the O-Pee-Chee brand of old.

If therese cards were released 20 years ago, they would have probably flied off the shelves. It has the perfect combination of parallel cards and inserts. It's mastered what a 90's card set should be! Unfortunately, we're way past that point in collecting. So OPC is a fun product, but it doesn't hit the bit time card collector's interest.

Let's rip this blaster and see what comes out:


Review -
This blaster of OPC had surprisingly little in terms of a ton of fun. Usually there are things like pop-out cards to add some spice to the break. This blaster just had parallels and stickers. I was able to pull a couple of retro cards of big name goalies and two foil parallels. I also found a handful of star player base cards... which are harder to pull in this set due to its large size.

If I were a new collector and opened this box I probably would be decently happy pulling some of the names I got. As a long time modern card collector this box would probably be pretty disappointing at the lack of a hit or rare insert card.

Let's see the best three from this blaster box:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Douglas Murray Card No. 7
I used to PC Dougie Murray when he was with the Sharks. He was a gigantic player that was fun to see on the ice. I was sad to see him traded. Murray doesn't have very many cards so when I actually pull one it give me pause.


#2 - Sidney Crosby Card No. 475
Sid-the-Kid is always a nice pull. He's in all the other sets that are produced, but his base card in OPC might be one of the harder ones to find just for the fact that the base set is 600 cards.


#1 - Patrick Roy Card No. 318
Getting a specific retro card is difficult. Pulling Roy was a nice bit of luck as he's a legendary player and well-liked in the hobby. I personally like him in a Habs jersey over an Avs one.

Overall Value -
For under ten dollars this blaster wasn't a huge loss of money, but there really wasn't anything I would want to hold on to from it. It was a fun break with some good names, but it didn't give me enough of what I wanted.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:
5/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2014-2015 Upper Deck Black Diamond Review

Black Diamond, an early season favorite, was released recently. This long running brand continues to chug along year after year with its foilboard cardstock and gem themes. I wonder if Black Diamond will be a rehash of past sets... or if Upper Deck was able to refresh the brand a bit this year. Let's take a look at what a box has to offer.


Base Card Design -
Black Diamond comes at collectors with another version of their all-foil base cards. These cards have silver foil in the background with a glossy embossed photo of the player on the front. Having the player remain 'un-foiled' helps them to really stand out on the card. It's an effect that makes it look as if the player is jumping out. The biggest design element on this year's base card is the large foil area to the player's right. This foil design acts as a very large border on the card, and makes these cards distinct from previous years. I can't say that I really love the Black Diamond design, but it's definitely not hideous. It's just another new Black Diamond base design that joins the ranks of many before it.


The back design is pretty simple and straight forward. There are quite a few geometric lines and shapes that adorn the back. It's a design that works, but doesn't stand out to me. It's functional... but that's pretty much it. I would have liked to see much more from the card back.


Triple and Quad Diamond Rookie Gems have once again returned in Black Diamond to denote the cards of the rookies. The Rookie Gem design this year is a bit more flashy than in past years, and I would say is much better looking than the standard base card. These cards lose the standard background and replaces it with a patterned design full of glittery looking foil. These cards are certainly flashy and notable - a nice thing to see in Black Diamond!

Base Card Design Score:
7.75/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each box of Black Diamond will come with an assortment of single, double, triple, and quad diamond cards. Though they are all base cards, the higher the diamond level, the more difficult to get. This year's Black Diamond box should yield two jersey cards with other possible inserts and hits.


The standard hit in boxes of Black Diamond are the dual jersey puzzle cards. Each card features two swatches of jersey and a piece of a logo or picture. If you collect all the players in a picture, you can put them together and see the design it creates. This concept isn't new. It has been around for the last few years in Black Diamond. When the idea was first released, it was pretty novel... but these jersey cards have definitely gotten a bit long in the tooth.


Autographs will occasionally come out of a box, but it's not guaranteed. Black Diamond autographs have always been a bit of a challenge to pull. This Gemography autograph continues from a long line of Gemography cards. It is a sticker autograph on a glossy card. Black Diamond also offers base parallel autographs that look much better than these.


Speaking of parallels, the red parallels have made their return to Black Diamond. These cards have been in Black Diamond sets for years, and collectors will have to find them to complete their rainbows.This particular red foil parallel of Chris Tierney is nice as the foil has a shimmery look to it.


New this year in Black Diamond are bonus packs containing orange parallel cards. Out of all the cards available, I think these are some of the best looking you can find in this product. The orange really stands out in a big way. It would look awesome as an entire set.

Other inserts and parallels can also be found in boxes of Black Diamond. The most amazing thing you can find from a box would be a true diamond card one-of-one. Those cards have real diamonds embedded in them. I bet they're amazing to look at!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
8/10

Overall Rating -
I wish I could say that Black Diamond has a ton of new things to offer with this years release... but I can't. Sure, there's the new bonus pack of awesome orange parallels, but I can see the excitement for these fading pretty quickly. All I can really say is that Black Diamond is Black Diamond. Collectors know exactly what to expect from it.

If you've traditionally liked Black Diamond, then by all means dig into this product, but if you've been a bit hesitant about in the past... this year's iteration probably won't change your mind.

Overall Rating:
7.5/10

Check out my box of Black Diamond from D&P Cards in Sacramento, Ca:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Retail Review #130 (13/14 Panini Prizm Blaster)


Prizm is a product that I haven't opened much of at all. In fact, it's a product that I really don't see at my local retail stores. I would consider Prizm to be one of the 'higher-end' brands when it comes to retail. The cards are of premium quality with not that many coming per box.


Price - 
$14.95

Packs - 7
13/14 Prizm Packs

I'm always excited to open blasters that I usually don't have access to. Prizm was a brand known mostly for its parallel card potential in the hobby, so hopefully that translates well to retail. Hobby boxes usually came with a couple autographs, but they usually weren't too spectacular - especially in terms of design. The autographed cards looked just like base cards with an area for an autograph to be placed.

The parallel cards, however, looked amazing. The chrome look of the cards would really sizzle with the different colors. Some of the colors, like gold, were numbered very low and were collector favorites.

I'm hoping to find a lot of color and shine in this blaster:


Review -
This box was a bit underwhelming to me. I did get some red parallels, but most of them came in the little bonus cellophane pack rather than from the packs in the box. I'm glad that the blaster had the bonus cards though... otherwise the break would have been even more mundane.

The Prizm cards are impressively done and have a very thick stock to them. Anyone buying Prizm at retail should appreciate the quality of these cards. I only was able to pull one insert and a few parallels from this box. Of course, there were rookie cards too, but none of them were of any note.

Here were my top picks from this break:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Steven Stamkos Card No. 93
You know I'm reaching when a simple base card makes the top three! Even with that, it's always nice to get Stamkos base cards. He's one of the great players that seem to elude me in packs.


#2 - Tyler Toffoli Card No. II-8
This insert card of rookie Tyler Toffoli has some nice textural design elements that make it stand out from the rest. It was my only insert card in the entire blaster.


#1 - Joe Thornton Card No. 174
Now this is a card I do like! The red parallel color and the rainbow shimmer on this card makes it look really stunning. It's a great looking card of a star player on my favorite team.

Overall Value -
This particular box wasn't a great value to me, but it wouldn't stop me from wanting to purchase more Prizm blasters in the future. The quality of these cards are nice, and it's fun trying to find parallel cards of the best players in these packages. Prizm has definitely come down in price at the hobby level... it might be a good choice to find those boxes if you're really into the set.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:
6/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Retail Review #129 (12/13 Upper Deck Series One Tin)


I'm definitely excited to open this tin of 12/13 Upper Deck Series 1. People are always recommending tins to me, but they are just so hard to get a hold of where I live. I've finally gotten one of these to check out here on Retail Review - I hope that delivers in terms of my expectations for it!


Price - 
$9.95

Packs - 12
12/13 UD Series 1 Packs

2012/13 was not a great year for hockey, so that's probably why these tins can be had a such a low price now. Comparing just the packaging, I'd definitely go for a tin over a blaster any day. It just feels a lot more special to be opening up a tin rather than a standard blaster box. There's something about a tin that just ups the ante.

I'm sure that comparing tins to blasters shouldn't be too different. I'm expecting to get a couple of Young Guns and some insert cards. In terms of rookie cards, there's not much I'll be looking for as this year was not a good year for rookies. I'm hoping for some nice cards of established stars in the NHL.

Let's pop the lid off this tin and see what's inside:


Review -
The break started off pretty slowly as I opened up what seemed to be base pack after base pack. But once those were through, the tin definitely picked up and got better. The actual packs inside the tin feel thicker than those you get in a retail blaster. Everything about this opening experience was enhanced compared to those.

I ended up getting a pretty large stack of base cards as well as some nice canvas and insert cards. I pulled three canvas cards out as well as a Silver Skates foil card of Daniel Sedin. I have to say that I felt satisfied after getting all these cards out of the tin. Did it meet expectations? Yup!

My favorite three cards of the break are as follows:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Ryan Callahan Card No. WC-11
This jumbo sized card came in its own holder inside the tin. These types of cards may be difficult to store, but they make nice bonuses inside tins.


#2 - Joe Pavelski Card No. C70
I've got to put Pavelski here at two because I'm a huge Sharks fan. This photo of Pavs is pretty nice as well as it looks like he is trying to channel Bobby Orr.


#1 - Anders Lindback Card No. GJ-AL
Nice! A hit! It's great to get a hit in retail. Now that I've gotten a UD jersey from this tin, it makes me wonder if there are hits in every tin. I don't have enough experience with them to know for sure.

Overall Value -
For ten dollars this was a very nice little break. I was very pleased with the break, and would happily get more of these to open up. The tin delivered more content than a regular blaster would have. It's no wonder that people recommend these Upper Deck tins to me! They are a very nice retail product.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:
8/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Retail Review #128 (2013 Goodwin Champions Blaster)


It's been a while since I've opened up a blaster of Goodwin. I find myself continually drawn to this product because of all the variety it offers. It's always fun to see all the different stars from the different sports represented here in a creative and artistic way. It's pretty difficult to find hits in these blasters, but there's always that slight chance to find one!


Price - 
$7.95

Packs - 12
2013 Goodwin Champions Blaster Packs

If I were to associate Goodwin Champions with a certain sport, it would be baseball as it has many characteristics that some baseball sets have. One of the most notable characteristics are the mini cards found in this product. The blaster states that collectors will find 5 minis per box. That's not a huge incentive for me to buy the product, but for some it may be as they enjoy those little collectibles. Mini cards come in a variety of parallels. It's important to always check the back of the mini cards as that is generally where the variations show up. They may have different colored ink or different designs.

I'll go ahead and open up this blaster and see what comes out:


Review -
I thought that I have opened one of these blasters before, but I didn't recognize the base design. I guess this was a first for me! That always makes things a little better actually as I like being surprised.

The blaster came with a huge mix of different people from a variety of subjects. I got Abraham Lincoln! It was fun seeing the artistic drawings once again. Goodwin Champions is definitely a bit of an oddball product, but I think that's what gives it its charm.

In terms of minis, I got five as stated in the box. Checking the odds, I found that to get an autographed card it would be 1:480. Wow, those are hard odds! Memorabilia hits are a bit easier and clock in at 1:96.

Here were my three favorites from this break:

Top 3 Cards


#3 - Don Maynard Card No. 89
This particular mini card is a Lady Luck parallel card. It's denoted by the green borders and different graphics on the back. 


#2 - Venus Card No. WT-3
I'm sort of a space geek and I just saw Interstellar so this card was pretty cool to find in the blaster. The Eagle Nebula card also come in the blaster, but this one I like because it's closer to home.


#1 - Mats Sundin Card No. 42
My only hockey mini card was of HOFer Mats Sundin. It's always cool find these hockey cards in Goowin Champions. They give a pretty fresh take on the players.

Overall Value -
At under eight dollars, I thought this break was decent. I got everything I thought I would get, but nothing more. I would have loved to find a unique memorabilia card, but that wasn't to be. I would have to say that I enjoyed this box purely for looking at the different cards. Nothing here would have any significance to my collection as a whole though.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:
6/10

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!