Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NEW SCAM: 2001 Pujols Chrome Fakes Spotted At Philly Show



I just got an email forewarning me of a scam that is on the verge of hitting eBay with full force. Kevin Burge, aka shoelessjoejackson, had quite the situation on his hands at the Philly show last weekend when he tried to get JSA, PSA, SGC and BGS to slab his COUNTERFEIT 2001 Albert Pujols Bowman Chrome autos.


Here is the thread containing a confirmation from SGC.

(STOCK PHOTO)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the douchebag that this guy is, he is the mastermind behind the Topps Rookie Premiere fakes that are all over eBay, and have made it practically impossible to figure out which of the cards are real or fake. Per some preliminary reports, some of the fakes even made it past BGS, thus making things even more difficult. Burge has been a known patch faker for years, but creating actual fake cards is something new for him. Obviously he has found a way to get his grubby fucking fingers on some way to produce the Pujols chromes, and it wont be long before they get out of control.

The fact that the Pujols fakes are a new breed of fake is quite frightening. At least his usual stupidity got the best of him when trying to pass them through the graders. Apparently, Burge didnt do his research, as always, and tried to forge a later style Pujols auto on the 2001 card, therefore setting off all sorts of red flags for the people who examined the cards. To add to it, a few of the numbers were off, so it was pretty easy to see why the cards failed inspection.

People, things are getting pretty fucking bad, and I encourage you to do MASSIVE amounts of research before making any sort of big purchases now. As long as asshats like Kevin Burge are out there, we are all at risk to get our money ripped off. More importantly, with this info, watch out for the Pujols fakes that are sure to start popping up on eBay soon, and email me if you see one at sportscardsuncensored@gmail.com. How he has not gone to jail for the amount of money he has stolen from people is beyond me.

Here are a few of his names we know of:

shoeless-joejackson
peopleschoice7373
cardsrahabit
jmvariety09
blameitonthealcohol (buying account)
cauckcards

First Image Posted From National Treasures

Panini posted the first image from 2009 National Treasures on their facebook page today, and the card looks completely different from any other rookie auto patch that they have done. I think its better than I expected, but its far from the level it should be at. The card looks heavily unbalanced and the lines in the back look weird with the swatch window cut the way it is.

Im hopeful for the rest of the set, but in reality, this looks like it would be out of a set on the level of Limited rather than a super high end set like national treasures. Also, if this is representative of the rest of what the set is going to look like, count me out.

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

After seeing how good the blue refractors look this year out of Topps Chrome football, I went to target and bought a blaster. I didnt really get much out of it, that is, until the last pack:



Its numbered 21/649, and is selling well after his start this year. For a 20 dollar blaster, its a pretty nice thirty to fourty dollar card, perfectly centered and with great corners and edges. The scan is cropped, so dont use that as reference.

Oddly enough, this is the second year in a row that I have pulled a good copper out of a retail blaster, though this one is much timelier than the McFadden I pulled late from 2008 chrome.Im debating whether or not to sell, mainly because of the fact that it wont cost me much if he flops and does nothing for the rest of the year. If he does well, I could be sitting on a few more bucks later on. Either way, ill just keep it with the rest of the Chrome I have from this year until I decide. I am starting to realize how much I have done, it sure looks like a lot in my box, more than last year definitely.

Speaking of Chrome addiction, anyone got any support groups they know of? I could use one.

First Look: 2009 Topps National Chicle Football

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The sad fact is that Topps opted to make this set after the Chicle cards in Topps Flagship, Topps Chrome, and UD Philadelphia were already out on the market. The even sadder thing is that these cards dont even compare to the ones from their base set, and they sure as hell dont compare to the ones in Philadelphia, so why even try?

The bordered sticker spaces on the autograph cards cut into the picture, and just draw attention to the fact that there is a sticker on the card. Why not just slap the sticker on the card without the border? It would look a little better than it does, right? With UD Philadelphia offering hard signed cards with better designs, this just isnt going to compete.

The dual looks borderline racist for the Moss painting as he kind of looks like those 20's era depictions of black people on theater posters. Of course, it wasnt meant that way, but im not sure why they would use that particular painting for the card. Then when you factor in that BOTH the Brady and Moss paintings look weird, and feature bordered sticker spots, the card just looks even more awful.

National Chicle is going to suck from what this is showing, and I think I should use an example of what the autograph cards should look like versus what they do look like. Its a stark comparison.


EDIT: I just saw this one, and I almost spit my coffee all over my computer. Obviously Topps' wonderful design team wasnt thinking too clearly (The Perez Hilton crap is my addition, though I think it adds to the overall presentation).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Week 3 Rookie Honors Up At Upper Deck Blog

Matt Stafford has been named rookie of the week over at Upper Deck, so if you have his cards in your profile, there will be prizes you can win. Check out the write up over at the UD Blog, and also check out the previous ones by clicking on my name at the top, or the link below.



Its Funny Because Its True...


The fact of the matter is that Kobe is only one brick in the wall that needs to be built for Panini to actually have the success they need to counteract the license money they spent already. Per many industry people, they grossly overpaid for the ability to produce NBA cards, then spent absurd money to sign Blake Griffin and company, followed by throwing more money at Kobe, when they still have no Jordan, LeBron or others.

Design is also going to be a huge factor, there is no question in my mind. With UD being the overwhelming fan favorite, to go from the best looking sets of the card year, to the ones that look like the unholy abominations they create in a lab somewhere for football, is not going to go over very well. Basically, Panini is not going to compete, especially with UD most likely continuing their basketball production. Even if they get Jordan or LeBron some how some way, I would still see collectors going away than continuing to buy the Panini junk. Think of it this way, if Mercedes left the market and all that was left is Kia, people would still go buy old Mercedes for their luxury cars rather than switching to a inferior brand.

Dont get me wrong, there will be some who will embrace the change, but not the collectors that UD hinged their continued success on. Basketball is a different animal, with the majority of the collectors focusing on super high end rather than the base stuff and mid end like the other sports. This is only further evidenced by the fact that even at 800+ dollars a box, 09-10 Exquisite sold out in 3 hours, even though 08-09 Exquisite was less than two months old. Without Jordan, LeBron, Garnett, and the other UD exclusives, Panini has lost the ability to duplicate that cash flow to subsidize the brand. They can pump out shit like Prestige and Limited all they want, but its not going to make up for their inability to cater to the existing install base.

Personally, I feel bad that Basketball collectors will now have to settle for this:


Instead of this:


Thanks to Mario for the UD poster.

Monday, September 28, 2009

This Is Why I Stay Away From Bowman Sterling

I dont care what people say about the value of the card, this is one of the most poorly conceived cards of the year. Total and utter shit.



I think it would be 100% better just by removing the awfully placed swatch. I have no idea why they even thought this would be acceptable. Kind of like Sanchez is being sacked by the swatch and trying to get the ball off before he goes down.

For 250 dollars a box, ill pass. Wow.

NFL Rookie Battle Royale: Week 3

All of you know how awesome of a week this has been, especially with the Bungals beating the Steelers, Manning destroying the Cardinals on Sunday night, and the crazy ending to the Vikings game. The rookies decided to show up too, with a few of them having some great games.

Matt Stafford

How could I not lead with the Lions winning? Im still in shock that they were able to put it together for a full 60 minutes. Stafford played pretty well too, as he showed he is starting to gain that confidence he needs to grow in such a horrible offense. Stafford threw a TD that started everything off for the Lions, thus bringing his total to two in three games, but he didn’t throw an interception, so that is like icing on the cake for a rookie QB. I still say its not a good idea to hold his cards, but at least it’s a LITTLE more promising now that the streak is over.

Mark Sanchez

Sanchez played another great game and came away with another win. It was another great defense, the best arguably, but he was calm and collected even during a bad second half. He had a great TD pass to Cotchery in double coverage and ran one in from 14 out. He ended with with 3 total TDs and is making a few people wonder why they may have passed on him at picks 2-4 in the draft. Sanchez cards are at the peak of their value right now, so if you have them, it may be good to sell and rebuy later, if there is a later. Looks like he will be the Matt Ryan value of his class this year.

Percy Harvin

Harvin was great in the Vikings win, scoring his third TD in as many games. He played great during the second half especially, running back a kick 101 yards and catching some key passed on the final drive that led to the score. He ended up with his best game in terms of yardage, but the return was the spike the Vikings needed to stay in the game after being shut down time after time by the Niners' Defense. Like Sanchez, Harvin's cards are at the peak of their value, so it’s a great time to sell if you arent a fan.

LeSean McCoy

Im thinking that Brian Westbrook doesn’t feel so bad he missed that game anymore as McCoy sure picked up the slack with ease. The Eagles routed the Chiefs and McCoy got his first TD of the year. He also racked up 80+ yards and a YPC avg over four yards in the effort. McCoy should be pretty good in the long run, though he will always be overshadowed by Westbrook. Keep his cards for right now, as his value has a lot of potential to go up from here.

Knowshon Moreno

Welcome to the NFL Mr. Moreno. Nice to see you. Glad you put up 90 yards and a TD, bout time a running back in Denver does well, right? Knowshon looked pretty good in his first game with a focus over Buckhalter, and I would expect by week 8 he will have 70-80% of the carries. He is a great back, and should continue to put up numbers week after week. As with all the first round running backs, his value is high due to the Peterson effect, but as it starts to come down, it should be a good idea to pick some of his stuff up.

Donald Brown

That 72 yard scamper was pretty impressive wasn’t it? Well, it helped him put up the first 100 total yard game for a non-QB rookie this year, and jumped his value pretty high as a result. Brown doesn’t have the luxury of a huge college following like Wells, but he showed why he needs a pro following. Wells managed -2 yards on 2 carries, while Brown did great. This guy is a keeper.

Johnny Knox

Another game, another TD for Knox, despite the fact that it was his only catch of the game. He sure has been a pleasant surprise for the Bears, as the rest of their receiving corps is almost as inexperienced as he is. Because of the fact that he has done as well as he has, sell as fast as you can. Its not going to go much higher than it is unless he goes for 150 and three TDs somewhere later in the season. That’s a risk I would be willing to take.
The Rookie Graveyard


Here is where I want to talk about some rookies that Im sure are making a few of you guys pretty angry with their lack of contributions to their teams.

Jeremy Maclin - Where the hell have you been? Having 6 receptions for 46 yards on the season is a crap start for a guy I thought would be the star receiver of his class. Wow.

Darrius Heyward-Bey - Im sure having a QB like Jamarcus Russell is a contributing factor, but 1 reception for 18 yards on the whole year is poop. We all know he shouldn’t have been drafted so high, but hot damn, get moving!

Beanie Wells - I think a lot of people are pretty happy that Beanie isnt doing great so far. They say he was a beneficiary of playing at OSU, and it may be starting to show.

Hakeem Nicks - 2 receptions for 19? Doing worse than Hey Bey, but his team doesn’t need him as much. EDIT: Looks like he was injured week 1, my page on NFL.com didnt show that, my fault on this one...

Next week is looking pretty good, especially with Harvin going up against the Packers on Monday night. Now that the rookies are pretty secure in their roles, it could be interesting to see how values respond. Glen Coffee will have his first game against a defense that he can take advantage of, and may have a great game in Gore's absence, Sanchez looks like he may be in for his first test as he faces the Saints, and with the Bears going up against Detroit, who knows.

Also, be sure to check out my rookie of the week write up on the Upper Deck Blog as soon as the player is announced. You can also enter your cards to track the performances of a few of the guys I talk about here and possibly win some prizes if you have the ROW in your portfolio. Pretty cool.

Even if the rookies didn’t come to play, this season has still been a great ride so far. I hope it will continue to be as exciting as it has been, as there have already been some great stories. Next week is when things start to get interesting, so don’t miss it under any circumstances. Trust me, it only gets better from here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Its a Great Day To Be A Vikings Fan

Holy fuck, what a ridiculous end to a ridiculous game. The Vikings didnt play that well, but came out ahead thanks to Jared Allen's "Silver Fox." I yelled so loud my neighbors slapped on the wall, and my wife thought I was dead. It got that crazy around the Gellman house today around 1 PM.


A few minutes after the game ended, I couldnt help but think about what happened a few years ago in a typical slugfest between the Pack and Vikes. The Vikings had just marched down the field and scored a touchdown to go up by a point or two on Favre, but there was a problem I saw right away. There was still time on the clock, and with Favre at the helm, any time is too much. He, of course, drove down to field goal range without much effort and they kicked a field goal to win. Today, I cant tell you how great it was to have that feeling going FOR you instead of against.

It wasnt all Favre either, as Greg Lewis just made a ridiculous catch, best I have seen under pressure in a LONG time.I gotta give him credit, what a fucking unbelievable heads up play. Either way, Favre put in a place where he could be the only one to catch it, and the Vikes walked away 3-0.

Leading up to the end of the game, Harvin also showed why Minnesota picked him. He had some clutch catches, including one on 3rd and ten with less than 30 seconds on the clock. I couldnt believe that kick return TD either as he literally made the defense look like they were running in slow motion. He is going to be a monster, thats all I have to say.


Peterson didnt have a great game, but it wasnt 14 carries for 3 yards either. It would have been nice to see him more involved in the scoring, but the Niners' D looked great when the Vikings handed him the ball.

All in all, just a great game to watch. I cant wait for next week, that has potential to be even better.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Product Review: 2009 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia Football

Ok, I have waited to post this review to see if there was anything that could really redeem this set in my eyes, and so far there has been very little to do so. I saw a few boxes broken with pretty horrible results (unlike Beckett who had some great results, as usual) and I just cant find a reason why this set was done the way it was.

Design/Creativity

Aside from the rehashed RPM design and stale concept of the entire set, the actual design of the rest of the product's ridiculous number of subsets is horrible. Starting with the Tools of the Trade all the way through the War Room stuff, it all just screams typical Panini crap design. In addition to an awful look, each card features weirdly cut swatch windows and the ugliest of gaudy raibow fucking foilboard.

Since the RPMs are the focus of this set, Ill start there. The design is pretty much the same it has been since 2003 or whenever. It hasn’t really changed other than the fact that they now have as many parallels as Beckett has conflicts of interest in their magazine. Yeah, that many. You have the regular "NFL", a diecut of the NFC or AFC, their number, a jumbo jersey, a jumbo patch, a brand logo, a nfl shield, a jumbo jersey auto, a jumbo patch auto, a brand logo auto, and a shield auto, among others. The stupid thing is that so many of these parallels feature swatches that intrude into the player's photo, thus making the card pretty pointless and fugly. In addition, they used stickers for everything, so the black autos (some of which still feature college number inscriptions) don’t really work well on reflective board and dark colors. Also, the fact that almost EVERY parallel features those stupid and needless football swatches, makes me want to scream. I don’t care about some football that a player played catch with for two throws. It has less connection than including a napkin they wiped their hands on during lunch. DITCH IT.

Moving into the subsets, Panini has pretty much outlawed square swatches in their design, as if that would solve the problem of them placing them in horrible places on the cards. Unlike the other companies, however, instead of making symmetrical borders to the windows, they pretty much just cut them out like a five year old with their first pair of scissors. Then, when you think about the crazy lines on the card that Panini has been known for, and you can see where asymmetrical swatch windows would look ridiculous. Those swatch windows are often placed where they break the line borders on the cards, making it seem like they were not factored in when the card was designed. This is pretty common with Panini products, because they parallel every one of their cards to fucking hell. First they create the base card, parallel that 10 times, then add in a swatch, then add in an auto. Its all very backwards, and leads to an awkwardly balanced card.

The only redeeming part of the entire thing may have been the Absolute patches. These cards look good because they arent paralleled (big shock). They feature jumbo patches, placed correctly, and usually with multiple breaks in a huge window. It fits well, and makes me wonder why the set wasn’t done more like these cards. These cards will be prime for the patch fakers to exploit, but they look like they may be the only part of this set that actually had some thought put into it.

Rating =

Autograph Cards


The autograph cards in this set pretty much fit in with the rest of the crap that is featured ad nauseum in Absolute. They are rarely well done, and not one of them is on card. The stickers arent focused on like Topps' bordered boxes, but they are hard to miss on the rainbow foil board.

I would say that the Canton absolutes (a horrible conceived concept of a subset) is the best looking of all of them, but im not sure why they didn’t focus more on getting design filled with cards that could actually go well with the stickers.

The RPM autos are numbered to 299 and have five billion parallels, so the effect of pulling one is getting to be a lot less than it used to be. Then when you see some of the players STILL having stickers with their college number on it and you start to get even more frustrated. When you look at the jumbo swatch autos, its clear that there is just too much on the card to begin with, especially with the inclusion of the stupid football swatch in the corner.

Rating =

Relic Cards

Holy fuck, I don’t even know where to start.

The thing that most pissed me off were these pro-bowl tools of the trade cards, and it bothers me what people are saying in response to their addition to the product. First, none, yes none, of the pro bowl swatches are game used. They are all from an event that was held at the event. The same will be true for triple threads and everything else. These swatches will be a focus of a few more sets this year, which makes me throw up in my mouth when I think about it. Panini has singlehandedly taken a nice pull out of the set and turned it into a joke. The cards look stupid, and I cant even think as to why people are so excited over them. At least with the rookies, there is no choice, but with the vets, there is a choice. Event used crap should only be used when there isnt anything else, and to try to slip one through the five hole and make people believe these are real is junk.

Then, I saw the rest of the cards. I tried to find a relic card that wasn’t bad, and aside from the absolute patch set mentioned above, there is absolutely nothing. Most of the time, 3 out of 4 hits in your box will be a relic card, and you should see what some of them look like. None of them look like they were designed with a swatch in mind.

Lastly, enough with die cutting weird crap into the cards. Jersey numbers are one thing, but when you start diecutting the name of the fucking conference they play in, you are walking a thin line between shit like Sterling and Triple Threads and normal junk. Maybe this is just a signal to stop with the plain swatch cards.

Rating =

Value To The Collector

People freaking love this set because they are blinded by the swatches and autos they can pull. In reality, there arent many strong points in terms of memorable parts of the set, so everything kind of blends together. That means that there are no cards that really are worth buying these boxes for, and the value of the whole comes down considerably. The Auto'ed RPMs will hold value until Limited and the like, but once those come out, it will be tough to get much for any of them.

The boxes will cost more than average products, and its rare that you will make your money back. Because the set is so over dilluted with poorly designed jerseys and stuff, it will be tough to find boxes that will make you feel good about the purchase you just made. As with any product like this, its always better to buy the singles than to spend 120 dollars and buy this.

Rating =

Overall Impressions

To me, its pretty sad what Absolute has become. It used to be something that was a fresh start to the products with rookie material in it, now its just ugly, boring, and poorly conceived. Even the Tools of the Trade cards have sunk to a below bottom standard, and that makes me angry. Im hoping that eventually Panini gets the point and realizes what they are doing has put them at the bottom of the barrel for design in football.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. Topps Chrome (4/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Upper Deck Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Philadelphia (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Topps Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Icons (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Heroes (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Playoff Absolute Memorabilia (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Bowman Sterling Football (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
15. Score Inscriptions (1/5 GELLMANS)
16. Leaf Rookies and Stars (0/5 GELLMANS - NR)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Topps Has Gotten Worse Than Panini

My god, this breaks every rule in the fucking book:


Maybe Topps and Panini should get together and take a class on how to design cards. Lesson 1, not every single card needs to have five hundred things put into it. I mean, look at this piece of poop, why are those bat swatches even necessary? Secondly, and more importantly, why is the ticket stub idea making a comeback? Topps TX football must not have been enough of piece of crap to ditch the idea all together. Seriously people, who takes a look at this card and says, "YES! Run that shit!"?

One other thing, does that ticket stub even have any fucking importance what-so-ever? It just seems like its just another fucking game that someone played in. How funny would it be if Markakis sat that one out? I would laugh.

If this is what card design has come to. Holy fuck.

Michael Crabtree and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Really Bad Season

A deadline has been set for Crabtree to sign with the 49ers, and im sure there are a lot of you who are cursing the heavens every time you pull one of his cards. I think Crabtree's stupidity is one of the saddest displays in terms of team relations in a long time, as his agent's greed or his greed are probably going to prevent him from having a productive career wherever he ends up. Really, the most important thing for collectors in this situation is what to expect from his cards if he does go back and re-enters the draft.

Im not quite sure if you can consider this year's cards to be rookies if he is re-drafted by a different team. Obviously, for players who are injured and never make it onto the field in their first season a la Chad Greenway, their cards are still considered rookies, so Crabtree may fall under that umbrella. He will be with a different team, and was not forced off the field in his first year, so he may actually have a few pre-rookie cards and then go to the premiere again next year for his real rookie cards. A player sitting out during the season does have a huge implication on his marketing and card production, so its not yet clear how the companies will react to his decision in the coming months.

Oddly enough, im curious to see if he is even put into the later sets if he decides to be drafted again, as producing cards of him in the wrong uni on purpose could be pretty frustrating to people who pull them. Though, on the other hand, they paid for his jerseys and experience at the premiere, and the cards are in production already in some cases, which brings up more quetions. This could lead to major problems if the situaiton remains at a stalemate.

Regardless of what happens with his contract, Crabtree does have a bunch of talent that could present a favorable opportunity for someone looking to take a chance on him in next year's draft. His primadonna nature has already labeled him as a problem player, which could negatively effect his status even more so than it already has been by sitting out for a year. He has already cost himself millions, if not more that could stem from him not developing at all during his time off the field. Players like Benn, Williams and Bryant will be coming straight from a full year of playing, thus making their untainted ability to be more attractive than Crabtree's ability and lack of humility.

Personally, Id get rid of your stuff while you still can.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

SCU Needs Your Help For Diabetes Research

This November, ill be participating in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Walk to Cure Diabetes at Dodger Stadium. Last year, with the help of the awesome and generous readers of SCU, I was able to raise over $250 dollars for the cause. This year, I am hoping that it will be possible for us to double that contribution, as the site has grown considerably since the last time I walked.

I have had diabetes since 1993, and have worked with the JDRF to raise as much money as possible with my fundraising and volunteering. I have had a lot of success, mainly because there are so many people out there who have diabetes or are touched by the disease. Sadly, there are millions of people out there who have struggled with maintaining a healthy life with Diabetes, and this is your chance to give to a great cause with the mission of helping them.

Below, there is a link to my walker page at the JDRF website where you can donate money via credit card directly to the people at the walk. Before you ask, please be advised that you are not sending any money directly to me, it all goes straight to the event. Every single dollar counts, and I encourage you to take whatever you can and donate. I know its a tough time for everyone, though hopefully you can take the cost you would normally spend on a single pack and put it toward the walk. That is all it takes. Your help is greatly appreciated and I personally thank you for spending your hard earned money.

DONATE TO THE JDRF WALK HERE



Feel free to email me at sportscardsuncensored@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Product Review: 2009 Bowman Sterling Football

Over the last few years, there hasn’t been a high end set created quite like Bowman Sterling. Trying to equal the success of the prospector's baseball favorite, Topps tried to create a similar set for football. The problem is that prospecting is very tough to market in football because all of the players are usually on the field from the beginning. This year, the previews were promising for a design that looked much better than it had in previous years. After seeing the finished product, I am less than enthusiastic about what was produced.

Design/Creativity

I have never been a fan of Bowman Sterling because I don’t think it offers much to the people who buy it. My feelings on the design are very similar as well, as this year's just looks as distracting as ever. You know those ruler designs you did in elementary school where you drew two axis and connected dots to form a cool looking star like thing? Yeah, Topps used those as part of the background. Normally, it wouldn’t be any more distracting than a normal element, but they have added a different grain of refractor to them so that they reflect differently than the normal rainbow foil. It makes the card so hard to look at that someone at the shop last night said he had a headache just from opening the packs.

Secondly, the photography they used in this set is completely awful. For some of the cards, they didn’t even use actual shots, they just blew up their player pics from NFL.com. Rather than accomplishing their goal of providing a good look, it looks like they are putting mugshots on the cards. Most of the players didn’t quite know what to do for those pics, and therefore most look bored or angry. Not a good look for a close up trading card.

The entire set is printed on ridiculous rainbow foil or mirror foil board that somehow makes the cheaper chrome set look like it is a more focused execution of the technology. They even added colors to the parallels, which further detract from everything on the card.

There is one good thing, and that is the fact that they incorporated cards for the rookie material auto cards where the players have their helmet on. Although there are some of them that are still helmet off and goofy, a few are done the correct way.

The golden dual autographs arent that bad despite the incredible gaudiness of the cards. Although the bordered stickers are weird looking, the overall presentation of the cards are the best of the set. Of course, that isnt saying much for this.

Rating =

Autograph Cards

The single autograph wouldn’t be that bad if they were printed without all the busy lines and added crap on the sides. Of course, since this is a Topps product that costs more than 100 dollars, they look pretty bad from most of the ones that I saw pulled. This product offers much less in their normal autos that Chrome does at less than a quarter of the price, which truly says something about the concept of this set.

More importantly, the focus of this set, the rookie material autographs look worse than they have in a long time. Ditching the horizontal orientation that gave them room for a huge foil sticker and a swatch, they instead packed every element into a vertical card. The result is a player that is almost being attacked by the swatch, as it looks to be creeping up their chests to eat their faces. The swatches obscure most of the player picture in some cases, thus making me question why it was even necessary, a la the Chrome auto patches with the same problem.

Another bad part of this is that Topps sometimes uses this type of situation as a sticker dump, meaning that non-star rookies from last year could be making an appearance. We already saw on youtube that players like Devin Thomas are put in this set, and those non-rookie jersey materials cards are rarer than case hits. How would you feel if you pulled that?

Lastly, there is no reason to release a product that costs THIS much with the stickers. Unlike Panini, Topps has the resources to get on card signatures, but doesn’t pursue it. I cannot understand why that would be the case, nor why the stickers are highlighted with a border in the design. I thought the point of a sticker was to hide the fact that it wasn’t on card, not make it a focus.

Rating =

Relic Cards

Although there are rookie jersey cards, the veteran jerseys are pretty much throwaways in this set. There are multiples per pack, and they become as boring while breaking as the overall concept of Bowman Sterling altogether. All it does is add unnecessary cost to the product, as its pretty obvious that Topps has had a tough time figuring out what a box would contain.

The rookie jerseys are expected and are basically just another card that you flip through to get to your scrub auto numbered to 15 billion. The pics are similar or identical to the auto parallels, and that is not a complement to any of them. Big disappointment.

Rating =

Value To The Collector

Of any of the sets that hit the market during the year, this is the worst possible one to buy a box of, hands fucking down. Boxes cost over 200 dollars, and you get 10 autos that are worth less than the rainbow board they are printed on, a bunch of plain swatch jersey cards, and one or two premiere rookie autos that never hold their value. I am completely serious that you need to have electro shock therapy if you are going to buy any of this. I cannot think of a bigger waste of money. Its that bad.

Even though the cards come out of a high end product, they very rarely equal the value of a card that comes out of a comparable priced set. Personally I think its because the cards are stickers and always look like crap, but Im also starting to believe its because people are getting sick of high end Topps product that offer nothing for the people that buy them.

Rating =

Overall Impressions

This set is complete crap. Poorly conceived, poorly designed, poorly executed. Go buy 5 boxes of chrome instead of buying this. Im serious. Remember the golden rule of Topps and you'll be fine.

Average Rating =

2009 Product Leaderboard (SO FAR)

1. Topps Chrome (4/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Upper Deck Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Philadelphia (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). Topps Football (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Icons (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Heroes (3/5 GELLMANS)
2(t). UD Draft Edition (3/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Bowman Sterling Football (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Threads (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Classics (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Donruss Elite (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Playoff Prestige (2/5 GELLMANS)
8(t). Bowman Draft Picks (2/5 GELLMANS)
14. Score Inscriptions (1/5 GELLMANS)
15. Leaf Rookies and Stars (0/5 GELLMANS - NR)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Have A Few Questions About Bowman Sterling After Seeing This

Fast forward through the A & G to see Topps' latest high end fail.


First, who thought it was a good idea to produce cards that look like mugshots? What. The. Fuck.

Second, I am wondering why the board they printed on looks like a rave in cardboard form. So distracting.

Third, was it really THAT important to stuff that swatch in there on the rookie autos? What does it add?

Seriously, anyone who is going to pay 250+ for this crap needs their head checked. There wasnt one single reason to go after any of the cards the way they looked here.

My Collecting Commandments And Absolute Damnation

The first Absolute Football case break has been posted on blowout, and I think this may be the first year where I wont even buy a single or pack even. To borrow from Mario, the set pretty much breaks all of my commandments of card design, especially in the content of the set. Ill go over a few of them here in the context of the pictures posted by the user.

Thou Shalt Not Use Rainbow Foil Board

I talked earlier on how awful the use of rainbow foil and mirror board has become. Absolute is ENTIRELY printed on it. Every card. Every single fucking card. The cards look ridiculous in a bad way, almost making the practice of "collecting a rainbow" a new thing entirely. The condition of the cards out of the packs are obviously going to be the same as last year, something that everyone thought was a huge drawback to this set.




Thou Shalt Not Obscure The Player On The Card

There is no worse practice in cards than when a player is hidden by needless additions to a card. In this set, there are MANY examples of players being more than 50% disrupted by a swatch window. I really couldn’t care less about having a ginormous swatch on a card, as design will always be more important. When that mammoth swatch covers up the player, I would rather run my hand through a wood chipper than pay my money to get one of them. In 2005, DLP managed to put together a great set in the tools of the trade giant swatch set, and NONE of the swatches were intrusive on the actual subject's picture.



Thou Shalt Not Use Event Used Football Swatches

Its one thing to use a swatch of a football from the rookie premiere that was tossed around for two throws before going in a bucket (10 per player!), but to force it into the design of the card when its not needed, deserves even more lightning from the heavens in smitten anger. Donini is weirdly obsessed with including these swatches of football into as many products as it can, despite the fact that they have less connection to the player than a jersey worn around for 30 seconds. Its really unfortunate.

Thou Shalt Not Break Line Borders With Swatch Windows

If you are going to put die cuts and oddly shaped swatch windows into a product, you have to fit it seemlessly into the design. That means creating the borders to fit the placement, not just plopping them willy nilly whereever you want. Take a look at the line borders of the cards featuring swatches, and not just the edges of the cards. Each line could be considered a border, and when you have swatches that break those lines, it looks amateurish and poorly conceived. A line should never be broken by a swatch window, unless it makes sense in the context of the design. This set is ripe with cards that break every last word of this commandment.

Thou Shalt Not Overuse Parallels In ANY Product

Although Tracy Hack-ler thinks that Donruss never uses many parallels in their products, they are known industry wide for the practice of paralleling their cards to hell. Absolute is a testament to that fact, with the set featuring humongous numbers of needless parallels of each card. Like many Donruss products, each card has a series of parallels of the non-hit base card, a jersey parallel, a patch parallel, an auto parallel, and an auto jersey parallel, and an auto patch parallel. That means there could be in upwards of ten parallels for every subset in the product (this is the DLP standard). Tools of the trade takes it to a whole new level, with a good percentage of the cards featuring more than 20 parallels, including a parallel series without a swatch. That is just absurd in every way.

Thou Shalt Not Lie About All Star Game Jerseys

If you remember, Topps has used their flagship product and Triple Threads in baseball to showcase all star game swatches, when really they are just jerseys used in a topps event with the players. All star game jerseys are extremely hard to come by, as many players want to keep them as a memento of the game, therefore making them sought after items by jersey collectors. This year, Absolute has an entire fucking subset of tools of the trade dedicated to the "jerseys," when really they seem to be not even close to being game worn. The cards also say "event worn" leading us to believe these were just slipped on and off at the pro bowl just like the rookies at the premiere.

(This one breaks more than one commandment!)

Thou Shalt Use Bright Backgrounds With Sticker Autos

Since Panini RARELY uses on card autos, Absolute is 100% sticker autos. The problem is that many of the stickers are slapped onto cards that feature blocks of dark colors. The rookie premiere materials cards are a focus of this set, and many of the team colors are featured in some way in weirdly designed line blasts. These awful looking blocks of color created by the line blasts cross the places where the stickers go. Because teams like the Vikings and others use darker colors, those rookies autos are interrupted. At least it still looks better than Topps using bordered boxes for theirs.



Its really too bad that Absolute has made it to a point of parody, as it used to be a favorite set of mine. I bought one solitary single last year, was disappointed and gave up on the set altogether. This year im not even going to waste my time. What a waste.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Exquisite Basketball Takes a Final Bow

UD released pics of 09-10 Exquisite Basketball today, right on the heels of 08-09 Exquisite Basketball taking the net by storm. This will be coming out next week on 9/30 (?!?) and looks like this is a wonderful end to a set that redefined the hobby. Back in 2004 when Exquisite was first released, it was quickly elevated to legendary status with the stratospheric prices of the shortprinted Melo, Lebron and Dwade rookie auto patches.


Although the design is EXACTLY the same as the 03-04 set, it will feature cards that Basketball has never had before. This includes throwback Rookie Auto Patches of people like Jordan, Tiger and John Elway, as well as people like Sidney Crosby, all in the old design. It also features some ridiculous duals, including a Tiger/Bron dual auto, and a Tiger/Jordan dual auto patch. Can you imagine how much these will be worth? Its absurd to even fathom.

It will also feature the non-exclusive 09-10 rookies, as well as the usual suspects, so you can assume that Limited Logos and all the faves will be back. Its also going to have a logoman set as well as a few cards that are new(er) looking, so it wont all be 03-04.

Im still not sold on the use of an old design with no changes to it, but 03-04 is such an iconic set, its almost like the first High End retro product. Its probably going to have a normal MSRP, so its going to be tough to afford for those of you who dont normally buy it, but I think the possibilities are endless. The only issue I see is that the promotional materials are advertising that there are at least 2 autos per box, which means that for 600+ you may only end up with two autos. That sucks. That sucks major fucking balls. Im sure most of the boxes will contain much more than that, but the prospects of a two auto box with one being a rookie is awful. We will have to wait on the first breaks to see.

Well, Exquisite Basketball, it was nice knowing you. Thanks for the memories.

NFL Rookie Battle Royale: Week 2

The week is pretty much in the books, and there was actually a lot of rookie action during the games, so ill try to keep it short to cover all the recaps. There were definitely some surprises as well, and a few possible contenders for rookie of the week, in addition to those who were also coming off good games in Week 1.

Mark Sanchez

Who wouldve thought that a rookie QB could actually beat the almighty Patriots. I didn’t. Sanchez played well, and even threw a nice TD en route to another win. I would think that after this week, in addition to last, his cards should continue to soar in price. I wouldn’t go out and buy any until he comes down from this high, though he may not actually do so if the Jets continue to have a good season. Regardless, 163 and a touchdown is always a good performance against a stingy defense.

Matt Stafford

After the first half, I was sweating the Lions play against my Vikings, as Stafford was actually hanging in there. He wasn’t counted on much, mostly handing off to a rushing game that was having success. Then, when the second half started, and the Vikings were gaining momentum, he crumbled as most rookies would. He ended up adding to his interception total rather than his small TD total, which led to the kitties losing again. His cards were a bad hold to start, and though he will probably end up with a good career, this year will not be a good one for his card value. He will throw more INTs than TDs, and should end up with one win, four at the most. I will say this, the Lions do look BETTER than the Browns this year.

Percy Harvin

Harvin had another good week, though he was playing against a defense that could be one of the softest he plays all year. He had a few key third down catches, as well as a touchdown, which should raise card and fantasy value even more than it already is. One thing I noticed watching him was that like Peterson, Harvin refuses to go down. There was one play where he had four Lions trying to push him back and still ended up falling forward for a few more key yards. He is going to be great.

Johnny Knox

Mr Knox had another good game, catching 6 passes and touchdown for 70 yards. With Forte sputtering (YES!), Knox has been there to pick up some of the slack, something I would guess Cutler is quite happy about. His values started climbing last week, and will continue this week, as he proves himself to be a vital part of the Bears' young receiver corps. Knox looks good, and could potentially be a star one day, so those fans looking for a Bear to collect should go to him.

Julian Edelman

Who the fuck is Julian Edelman, right? He had a great week for the Patriots in the absence of Wes Welker, thus proving that Brady needs a goofy white guy to throw to each game, haha. Edelman was one of the last picks of the draft, and wasn’t even invited to the combine, though had a great pro day. He obviously made the team, and could end up as a good four guy for the Pats. I wouldn’t expect long term success, but he did look amazing in his role. Considering the Pats have two great receivers already, he may not be a good one to invest in quite yet.

Knowshon Moreno

The Broncos made Moreno more a part of their offense this week, and he responded with the best performance out of a rookie back so far this year. He put together close to 100 total yards, and though he didn’t get a TD, im sure he will continue to be a good option for a team that lost their best player. Moreno should end up being great, but right now its obvious that he is still feeling things out. Im guessing he will be the first one to break a big one of all the rookies this year. Not Chris Johnson or Matt Forte style from last year, but still good. Donald Brown still has yet to play, so we will see what is going to happen with that.

Beanie Wells

The Cardinals played MUCH better this week, and therefore Beanie wasn’t as much of a focus. Hightower got their rushing score, and Wells managed 7 for 44 yards. Not awful, but not great either. He is going to need to prove his worth, especially with Fitz and Boldin being the lynchpins of the offense. I would say he should be a good back eventually, but its going to take a big game for him to gain the trust to handle more stuff. Hightower will get the goalline carries, so that's also going to be a problem for the people who collect him. He has an OSU following, so his cards wont be cheap, but they wont be worth much more until next year probably.

Maclin and McCoy

These two guys could end up being the best rookie tandem of the year, but so far Maclin has done nothing. He had 2 catches for 22, which doesn’t bode well coming off a shutout last week for him. McCoy had a decent game with 55 total yards, which was great with Westbrook in front of him. It shows that the Eagles want him there, and should solify some of his card values. McCoy should develop nicely this year, and with the starter being kind of injury prone, he could move up quite quickly.

Next week is also looking like it could be a good week for the rookies, and you can bet that this is the time where the teams are also cementing depth chart roles, as well. We should see a big rookie week next week, and I am looking forward to seeing how Stafford and Sanchez come off their games respectively. If Sanchez wins again, look for astronomical prices, the opposite happening for Stafford if he continues to throw picks. Marky Mark got lucky playing for a good team, so it will be great for his values once the end of the season comes. Oustide of that, we shall see how Harvin and Knox continue, as well as seeing if Britt and Hey Bey grow in their roles.

Friday, September 18, 2009

These Are Ridiculous Cards

Right now, two cards are up on eBay that will never be produced ever again. In fact, they are custom 1-of-1s produced by Upper Deck for a collector, both of which have sold for over $14K together.


After some detective work by the users over on freedom card board, they have figured out that these cards were likely used as part of a settlement due to the counterfeit Ruth quad cut auto that was featured on HBO, and possibly one other situation. For the Ruth quad, More than one of the card's cut autos were found to be fake, and Upper Deck had to make good for the collector who spent thousands to obtain the card.

The users speculated that Upper Deck either offered or was forced to provide these cards, which are not part of any set, and are not ever going to be available ever again in any product. The Tiger features two player worn swatches and an auto, and the LeBron/Jordan features two of the best autos I have ever seen on one of their cards, as well as a GU swatch from each. They are foil numbered 1/1, and could actually be two of a few others. Im guessing there is at least a Jeter/Griffey card that he may have kept.

Either way, I have an email in to Chris Carlin, maybe more light will be shed on this subject.



Pack Searchers Are One Thing...

Ever since the advent of jersey cards in products, people have been there to beat the system when opening packs to make money. These morally deceptive people have camped out at retailers across the country with their system, all with the goal of finding jersey and auto cards without ever opening the pack. These “pack searchers” have become some of the most hated people in the hobby, and have made buying loose retail packs for hits an unwinnable venture.

After obtaining these searched packs, they often sell them on eBay as “hot packs,” or packs of product for sale with guaranteed hits inside. Collectors often buy the packs expecting a chance at a nice card, but usually end up with nothing more than a plain jersey card. It’s unethical, damaging, and underhanded, despite the fact that manufacturers have used decoy cards to try and fend them off. As the companies have started to clearly label their retail packs, coupled with the decreasing value of plain jersey cards, pack searchers have diminished in numbers. It doesn’t stop people from trying their hand at it, but really, it’s not as much of a problem as it used to be.

There is one thing I saw recently that made me cringe, and that is the number of sellers out there who flat out cheat buyers who don’t know the logistics of the practice. Recently, an auction was posted, featuring the claim that the hot pack for sale contained a 1 of 1 superfractor out of 2009 Topps Chrome Football. Superfractors are extremely valuable for top tier rookies and players, and are some of the most sought after cards in the hobby. Every red flag I had in place started to go off in my head, rightfully so.

For those of you who have opened the packs of this product, its no surprise that this is a completely impossible claim to make. A superfractor is physically impossible to search out in an unopened pack, as the card features no discernable difference from the regular cards. They are not thicker, they don’t weigh more, and they are not a guaranteed hit in any box. Therefore, any claim that any unopened pack contains one, is 100% false.

Of course, because not everyone is familiar with these facts, there are bidders on the pack, which should end upwards of 100 dollars. I feel horrible for the winning bidder, because whoever buys the pack will end up with a superfractor that isn’t worth anything, out of a pack that has been opened and resealed. The seller has opened the pack, saw that the superfractor was probably a cheerleader card or lower tier player, glued the pack shut, and is selling it under the suspicion that the sale will get him more money.

DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCAM.

The easiest way to punish any scam artist is to not buy into the scam, especially when there are very few avenues to take corrective action on this person. The seller’s pack will deliver what it says, but only because the person has advanced knowledge of what is going to come out of the pack. It’s completely unethical and unfair to the buyer, and I recommend never trusting anything you can’t verify with 100% certainty.

Personally, I would avoid hot packs all together, even if the sale seems legit. It encourages cheating, and provides funds for people who do not deserve them. You will NEVER make back your money, and the risk will never be worth the reward.

Sometimes You Need More Than Rarity For Value

Earlier last week I posted that Demitrius Byrd's chrome auto may end up being the most valuable scrub auto of the year. For those of you who are curious, Byrd was injured pre-draft in an accident, thus making his auto pretty hard to obtain for the companies. Byrd had obviously signed some of his stickers, but not enough to put him in the number usually reserved for a scrub auto. Topps put him on the checklist, though his auto is listed currently at 1:7000 packs. At that rate, his autograph exceeds the odds of pulling a superfractor, but it isnt enough to drive value for a player that may not have a career.


There have been a few that have surfaced on eBay, with a recent one selling at $41.00. All things considered, thats still a huge amount for a player in his position, though not the numbers one would typically expect for a ridiculously rare pull in high print run product.

Interesting, none-the-less.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Comment On Beckett's Most Recent 1/1 Pull

Mario just alerted me that Beckett has pulled ANOTHER 1/1 out of an early box of Topps Ticket to Stardom. I still cannot believe that there isnt someone who has pulled the plug on this video crap yet. This time it was a ticket stub to a Presidential Inaguration, but the principle of the matter remains. Sadly this brings the pull list from Beckett box breaks to a fucking retarded number of cards, with now over six 1/1s alone from a very small number of boxes.

I CONTINUE to have no idea why companies continue sending boxes out in this respect. It creates more problems than it solves, and its even more stupid for Beckett to post them due to the encited hatred. Of course, due to the extreme douchey arrogance the magazine has over its place atop the hobby media, they would never believe they are anything but invincible. Therefore why not post it, right? Fuck the haters, they cant do shit.

Either way, im not going to say much more because its all been said before. When they close their doors sometime in the near future, I hope they finally will realize how awful they really are. Considering that they have pretty much turned the entire internet against them, I think its slightly apparent already. Hell, two years ago, it was against the grain to hate Beckett, now, its an exception to the rule to side with them. I think its hilarious. Even more so when I get emails from shops saying they have stopped carrying Beckett. Those types of emails are becoming more frequent due to the moral ambiguity the magazine displays on a regular basis. Glad to see things are working out for them. Number one source indeed.

Nice job there guys.

Why Parallels Work In Chrome

I just bought the Harvin Red Refractor yesterday evening, and it got me thinking. Why do I do this every freaking year? Why do I value these parallels when every other type makes me cringe?

Chrome may be the only product left that you buy not because there are hits in a box. With only one autograph in each box, and still carrying a price tag over 50 bucks per box, the product is banking on the value of more than just the value of the auto. With more than 50% of the boxes containing an auto of a non-premiere rookie, its almost a surprise that collectors still love this product as much as they do. In fact, there are a few explanations including price, value of the base cards, but also importantly, the parallels.

In every other product during the course of the year, non-auto parallels of veterans of rookies rarely take more value than the parallels in chrome. A base parallel of a guy like Tom Brady numbered to 24 in Donruss Elite versus a red refractor numbered to 25 of him in Chrome are not comaprable in any way. Elite costs more per box, has more hits per box, but the base parallels are pretty much worthless. What makes Topps Chrome parallels work?

First is design. Always design. The base chrome parallels in Topps always are some of the best looking cards of the year. Simplicity rules the game, and there are never any lightning storms on the cards. Second, they have been around for fucking ever, and collectors value the history as much as the brand itself. However, Elite has been around a long time as well. Third, I believe the name has something to do with it, as Refractor has become synonymous with rarity and cool technology. Lastly, I think the Topps brand has a lot to do with it too. Topps collectors are never going to hesitate to go to extreme lengths to complete a set. When you have people like that, who have been collecting the set since my father was a kid, you are going to have demand. Where there is demand, there is value.

I think nostalgia has a good factor in this as well, as most of the older collectors out there can remember back to 1993 Finest baseball. When you have a pedestal like that in your head, its easy to justify value of a card that has very little basic differences than other base parallels.

Also, when you have EASY to follow color schemes, the parallels become idiot proof. For instance, which sounds better? Elite Status or Red? More people can identify with a color than a word. Color is the most basic common denominator out there. If you ask anyone out there which they perceived to be a more valuable parallel, copper (/649), or gold (/10), they would always say gold. It crosses boundaries.

Im not saying you should go out there and chase rainbows, but I will say it will be fun if you do. I have collected chrome since I was a child, and I can say that I have never had many complaints about the basic concepts of the product. For every player I have collected, I have a chrome rookie, usually multiples. The fact that there are thousands of people out there like me will mean that the brand will never lose its bang. Chrome is king, even in football.

One More Hilarious FJM Article Before I Get Back To Cards

http://deadspin.com/5360509/expository-writing


So funny.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jesus is the Derek Jeter of Christianity

Fire Joe Morgan was so good at what they did that Im actually positive that there were a few tears shed about their departure from writing about baseball. Actual tears, not fake virtual "OMG Dont Leavez!" tears. They have had one last go of it over on deadspin.com, and I think I may have hurt myself laughing at their destruction of some articles written by morons who call themselves sports writers. Obviously after this post I wrote last week, their discussion of an article calling for Derek Jeter to be AL MVP was my favorite. Just fucking amazingly funny and well written, all of which are obviously absent here on this blog. Do yourself a favor and read.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

OooOOOooO! Shiny!

What the fuck? Seriously. Im so fucking sick of companies using mirror board, foil board and especially the rainbow foil board as a coating for their cards. It chips, it looks awful, and the cards are never in acceptable condition out of the pack. This is because every single ding is highlighted by the poor printing process and the crappy coating doesnt highlight the subject of the card. I dont get why it is used, especially when most of us cant fucking stand it.


For those of you who dont understand what I am talking about, pull out one of your cards from Absolute, Leaf Certified, Triple Threads, Elite, Prestige, Threads and a few others that are printed on what seems to be mirror or foil. The cards are pretty tough to miss. They arent printed on cards like the Chrome, where the card is produced on special stock, but more like cheaper stock that looks like the player pictures were printed on wrapping paper and rolled onto the boards. For this, you can see why so many of think this type of shitty printing should disappear.


Because the cards are printed on cheap stock, they become extremely condition sensitive, as well as looking like poop. When the coating is chipped or damaged, especially in production, its almost unavoidable in drawing your attention. Unlike other normal cards, where the coating cannot peel off, a ding is more in the actual stock than the card. For these types, damage usually keeps the printing in tact, rather than looking like it is peeling off. Foil board isnt so lucky, because of the process in which it is printed. You will see that in addition to the stock being damaged, the foil overlay will also pull apart. Because its reflective, a ding is much easier for anyone to recognize due to the breaking of the flat mirrored surface.

The looks are the other part of the equation, as a good card on mirror board looks twice as bad as a bad card on regular flat stock. I cant think of a worse idea to print cards as one printed on a surface that reflects rainbows. Not only that, but the scans are basically impossible to get something that an online collector can appreciate, leading to more problems. If I ever have the choice between a card printed on rainbow board or a card on a flat board like base Topps, ill take the flat every time. That MO is something I know many collectors have adopted in recent years, only because buying boxes of products like Limited, Triple Threads and Absolute lead to getting damaged cards practically 100% of the time.

Panini is obviously the worst offender, as almost every set they produce uses some sort of foil board, with the exception of National Treasures. Im sure for those of you who have ever bought a box of Absolute, you have also pulled a rookie premiere card that is missing part of a letter die cut, or has edges that look like a tiny ding fairy came and hammered in the sides like crazy. You can also go and check out Beckett's crapfully displayed preview for the 2009 set, and really get a good idea what to expect. Remember, those preview cards are supposed to be the BEST ones they can find. Go check it out, im going to guarantee you have the same idea I had. The first thing I thought was, "If these are the best, holy fuck."

Lets be honest here, 15 years ago collectors liked shiny things and were impressed by a card that took it to a level that hadnt been done. Now, we are more impressed by cool design elements rather than some crappy board you have stockpiledd in the back room from 1998. I think most people agree that cards like the Rookie Premiere Material cards from Absolute, the Freshman Fabrics from Certified, or the Phenoms in Limited would be that much cooler if they didnt look like you were looking into a mirror with rainbow accents. Imagine those cards on a flat stock with brighter colors and clearer elements. Its ridiculous how much better that would be.


Of course the morons who produce each of Donruss' releases are running around with blinders on as usual, thinking that their horrid design team has great ideas, rather than accepting the fact that the tech is old and rotting. "You mean we could go back to the drawing board and do the work to make a good set, or we could do it like last year and hit the links? Huh, thats an easy one."

Foil is the work of hacks, and its starting to reek of laziness across the board. Instead of putting out cards that actually look good, its seeming like the companies are using the foil to hide a bad design. Because the colors are dulled and the design becomes obscured, its not as obvious how crappy the card really looks. Lets get rid of the mirrors, rainbows, bright neon orange, and all the other tricks. Start doing better. Make cards look good. Its that simple.