Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stay Away From NSA: Part Two

A few weeks ago I posted on NSA, the douchebag scammers that have infested the net. These are the guys who do the shitty fake jersey "1/1s" that get fed into eBay on a daily basis. Personally, I cant understand why someone would even consider buying the cards when they look like this, but there is a sucker born every minute. Remember, a Brett Favre gamer recently sold for $12,000 on NFL auctions, and the company who has the deal to buy the jerseys resells them at 20K. Do you think they could make these cards for that kind of dough? Not with the players that they have made into cards. Jordan gamers just cost WAY too much money.

Regardless, NSA does make money on their transactions, and there are a lot of people who are sick of them being able to operate. Despite the fact that the "cards" look like they were made in MS Paint, collectors buy them thinking that they are real. I just got back from a show where there were guys selling these at absurd prices. Yeah, its that bad.

My advice is to watch these videos, one of which was posted over on FCB. People are starting to realize they were had, and im fucking elated that they are FINALLY getting it. My favorite part is when they see that the website is "under construction." My ass it is. NSA needs to be shut down.

Yeah, thats some pretty damning shit. I hope the guys who started these get what is coming to them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Its Always Important To Wait

When I first saw the preview for Ultimate a few months ago, I was extremely underwhelmed outside of the Ultimate Patch cards. It just looked boring and not very exciting after a baseball product that blew everyone away. Although the box busting side of Ultimate turned out to be tough for people who pulled jersey cards, the singles market is amazing on this product due to all sorts of new types of cards. This is why I am scared to spend money before Exquisite is released.

Exquisite comes out in a few weeks and is looking to be great outside of the needless addition of booklet cards to the mix. There will be lots of inscriptions all over the product, and I have a feeling that there is a lot we havent seen in the previews.

For most of us, there is a limited source of income that will provide funding for our purchases. For that reason, I dont know how much more money I can spend on my Ultimate Collection targets without seeing what Exquisite brings to the table. For all I know, the cards in this year's Exquisite could be that much better than anything else in any other set.

I think there is a threshold of excitement that we all try to maintain throughout the final part of the card year, and Im not sure how much higher it can get for me. SPA was awesome, better than the previews made it out to be, same with Ultimate. Will Exquisite live up to those standards at almost 5 times the price per box? Possibly, and thats why its always important to wait and survey your options rather than blowing your load too early.

Upper Deck Redemption Experiment

I broke down and did it. Im sorry. I bought a redemption for a Percy Harvin Ultimate Rookie Signatures cheap on eBay, despite my better judgement that the card may never be produced. Although April 19th is far off, and I have received confirmation that all rumors of players not signing out of protest are false, I still had some issues spending a lot of money on a redemption.

Regardless of my fears, I decided to take a calculated risk and try it out. I will keep you all posted on my results as the card should be awesome, if I get it.

If you remember back a few months, I did a post on all of my redemption experiences with the big three and Upper Deck had the best results, much to the surprise of many. I have never waited very long on a card that I ended up with, and the one replacement I have had was taken care of wonderfully.

Hopefully this one will turn out great.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2009 Card Year Favorites - My One and Only List

Now that Ultimate is live, we only have one set left in the 2009 card season. Its been a long year, but there have been some very nice additions to the lineup, while others have been lacking in originality and look. I want to go over a few of my favorite cards of the year, mainly because my formal review process has stopped.

Topps/Topps Chrome Base Cards

When it comes to base, I rarely buy or collect any of them. I just don’t see the point. With Topps and Topps Chrome this year, the cards were awesome looking, even more so with the colored refractors we all love. The photography this year was good, the border was top notch, and the set delivered on almost all fronts. Chrome products are the reason I am sad to see Topps exit the market, but this was a good last hurrah.

SPX Shadowbox and Shadowbox Autos

SPX as a whole was pretty substandard for the year, but it did have one element that was truly amazing. The shadow box cards were the first football cards in a long time to feature acetate and card in the same space, and the autographs were even better. Although it was almost impossible to scan them because of the layers of the card, they looked great in person.

Leaf Limited Rookie Phenoms Patch Auto

I was unimpressed by most of limited because of the foil and the boring cards. However, the rookie Patch autos were awesome. I credit their use of team word logo diecuts that made the cards awesome, but good player placement and photography added to the overall effect. I think the cards brought life to a stale set, and it was the ONLY time during the year that I bought a card printed on foilboard. Although many were redemptions for stickers that should have been signed at the premiere, the final product was great.

SP Authentic Rookie Authentics Patch Auto

The numbering may have been higher, and the product may have redemption problems, but the cards are amazingly done. The white background is rarely ever a bad thing, and it makes the players and autos pop on these cards like no other. People often wonder how SPA can hold the value of these cards despite a lower box price and non-rare numbers, and the reason is look. They always look great, bottom line.

Phildelphia National Chicle Autos

Im not a retro guy by any means, but I loved the look of Upper Deck's national chicle cards. They blew topps out of the water in every single way, and stayed true to the original concept of the set. When you add in low numbered on card autos of rookies and veterans, including some inscriptions, you find a special place in my heart. I jumped on the Peterson the first time it came up on eBay and it is truly one of my favorites in the collection.

Upper Deck Black Lustrous Dual Patch Autos

Cards with acetate elements look cool because they add depth to a two dimensional object. The lustrous cards were awesome because of that element, as well as a great design and AWESOME action shots. Although these cards were ridiculously rare in a set that didn’t have a lot of bright spots for a lot of people, they were still some of the coolest of the year.

Bowman Chrome Red Refractors and Red Refractor Autos

Its tough for me to add these to the list because of their extreme rarity, but the reds from this year's bowman chrome were some of the coolest I have ever seen. Despite the fact that the set as a whole left some to be desired with the addition of jersey autos, these cards were great. I managed to pull one earlier out of some loose packs, and though I didn’t collect the player, I almost kept it. It looked that cool.

Upper Deck Premier Rookie Jersey Autos

Premier was downgraded to a one per case insert this year, but that may have been one of the worst decisions of the season with how good most of the cards looked. The rookie autos out of this set were some of my favorites, and I have even tried on a few occasions to get the Harvin. The problem was that they were numbered to only 40, so there are very few to go around. The design was better than any other year of premier, which made me sad that it wasn’t going to make a comeback.

Topps Rookie Premiere Autos

If there was a way to tell a fake from a real one without going through hell, I would buy a few. Now that people have had months to fake the cards, I wouldn’t touch any of them with a ten foot pole unless you saw it pack pulled. Either way, the cards looked awesome as the first hard signed pro-uni cards this year, to which I am sad that it is the last year for them.

Upper Deck Ultimate Patch Autos

Last but certainly not least, the Ultimate Patch autos from this recent release have been my favorite of the year. Its not because they are fresh in my mind either. If I had the money I would collect this set, and trust me, you would need a lot of money to do it. The on card signatures are in exactly the right place on the card, which leaves room for a big player pic, as well as three ornate patch windows. The overall look of the card is Exquisite worthy, and it may actually be better than most of the cards in the upcoming set. Im dying for both the Harvin and the Peterson, but I will most likely have to wait for both due to the prices they will command.

That’s all I can think of for right now, but im sure there are more that are in your minds this year as well. There sure were a lot of sets this year, and its sad that I can only think of this many as my favorites. Hopefully next year will spell some better offerings when its only Panini and UD squaring off.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Top Ten Rookies Who Will Kill Your Box - My Take

Not all rookies are created equal, especially those at the rookie premiere. Year in and year out, there are a good portion of guys who go to the premiere that never even have a shot at panning out unless there is some miracle involved. This year was no exception, especially with the fact that the ENTIRE Giants' draft class was invited, and a total of NONE of them did anything this year. Meanwhile, there are a few rookies that always rise above, and though they are hard to predict, sometimes you can see it coming a mile away.

Over on cardboard connection, they posted a list of ten rookies with the potential to ruin a box. The problem is that only a few of them have the potential to be a box hit in something like Exquisite or SP Authentic. On top of that, I don’t agree with most of their rankings. My list takes a different perspective, especially with all the different products centering around the guys from the rookie premiere as the main hit in the box.

10. Derrick Williams - Lions

Derrick Williams is a bad player on a bad team. He has been relegated to KR status, and rarely catches anything but a whiff of Calvin Johnson's ass when he runs by the sidelines. The reason he is on here is more because of his terrible signature, which looks like a cross between a Kanji character and the mark of an illiterate immigrant.

9. Darrius Heyward-Bey - Raiders

Hey bey has problems, more so with the supporting cast than with his actual talent. He was drafted WAAAAAAAAY too high, and he doesn’t have a QB, but that doesn’t mean he is without talent. On the other hand, his production didn’t even show a hint of greatness, and he was outshined by Louis Murphy all year. The main issue is that Hey Bey is sometimes a level 1 rookie, meaning he could replace a case hit of someone like Sanchez or Stafford. That alone adds a whole new level of crap to this entry.

8. Mike Thomas - Jaguars

I bet you have no clue who he is, and I don’t really know either. He is on a team that doesn’t go to their receivers much, and Sims-Walker is the big dog there when they do. The main reason I put him on this list is because his box hits are almost always redemptions, so you are fucked in two ways when you pull him.

7. Brian Robiskie - Browns

The Browns suck. They suck bad. Robiskie is one guy who has little to no shot of being a focus with Massaquoi and Cribbs around, and that doesn’t help much with his value. He barely played this year, and the QB situation doesn’t help much either.

6. Andre Brown - Giants

Another Giant, another horrible addition to the rookie premiere cast. Brown played a little this year, but it was only because Jacobs and Bradshaw were hurt. Once both are back at full strength, he will go back to being towel boy.

5. Juaqin Iglesias - Bears

Yes, the Bears did well with Johnny Knox, but this guy wasn’t as lucky. In fact, he is such a downer that I don’t even know enough about him to write something. He would be higher, but the Bears' starting receivers are Earl Bennett and Devin Hester. When you have a team like that, anything is possible.

4. Rhett Bomar - Giants

Bomar is the third Giant on this list, but not the last. As a QB, he always has a shot at being good, but when you play behind Eli Manning, you arent going to get much of a look. Add in that his talent is around the level of a Jared Lorenzen, and you have an equation that will lose you 500 bucks in an instant.

3. Javon Ringer - Titans

I cant tell you how frustrated I was when I pulled Javon Ringer in my SPX box. He couldn’t even do well as a kick returner. That’s how bad he is. Plus, he plays

2. Jason Smith - Rams

Offensive line is the least valuable position on the field, and sadly 2009 was the second year we had a tackle in the mix at the top of the draft. Then when you see his signature it gets worse and worse. Smith is everywhere this year, and though he seems to be a nice guy, he shouldn’t have been at the premiere.

1. Ramses Barden - Giants

I have no idea why this guy was even put on the list for the premiere. Players have to be voted on by each company and for some reason he was the fourth Giant added to the list. He went to a weird college (Cal Poly) and has little to no prospects of doing anything in the league, and yet, he is on every single card for every single set. You want to know how to kill an Exquisite buzz? Pull his crap like we did in the SPA break.

Honorable Mentions

Brandon Pettigrew - Lions
Tyson Jackson - Chiefs
Deon Butler - Seahawks

Of course, these are my opinions on the matter, feel free to add your own. Really, any time you pull any of these guys you are in trouble, so it wont matter where they are on the list.

Looking at Ultimate From Different Perspectives

First off, Im sure you are all expecting me to rant and rave about how awesome Ultimate is, but I am not going to do it in the way you expect. Ultimate has some ridiculously great elements to it, but there are parts that need to be examined from a perspective outside of my usual way. Its rare that a product like this comes out, where some of the cards can be as awesome as they are, and other can be as problematic. Although they all look good, some spell disaster for some while being great for others.

The first perspective is from me, the singles buyer, rather than someone who buys wax. Right now, there are no less than 10 cards I would purchase in a heartbeat if I didn’t have a baby on the way. These cards are easily the coolest ones of the year in some cases, and in others they go far above my expectations. I think Ultimate's good cards are borderline what some were getting in baseball, which says a lot about the effort that was put into this product.

Much like last year, the Ultimate Patch autos are the best of the set. These cards just look cooler than anything that has been released this year. I like these ones better than a lot of the ones from the Exquisite previews, so that says something. I also like all the inscriptions that have made their way into the product, as they add a lot to a normal auto card that cant be duplicated by stickers. Im not going to go buy any of the Personal Touch ones, but I would definitely buy some of the others that relate to the player's accomplishments.

I am also a huge fan of the duals, triples and quads, as it looks like they really got their shit right on these. The dual jersey autos are just amazing, and I could understand if someone wants to do a victory lap if they pulled some of the ones that have been posted.

Lastly, the UD Legends cards are always a treat. They definitely added some great players to the growing set, and though they may not always recoup a box price, the cards look as great as they did back in 1997. Its too bad we cant do a similar product with a new design and similar focus.

Moving on to the second perspective of me, the wax breaker, Ultimate takes on a very different feel than someone who buys singles. Most importantly, if you are busting a case of this, expect a lot of non-auto jersey cards. Too many for most people to justify busting this product. Although the jerseys are six piece, eight piece, or jumbo patches, its not going to be enough to make anyone crazy like they did in baseball. At 80+ per box, to pull one of these cards is pretty much a death sentence to the box with very few exceptions, which is why I can understand the feelings of some of the people who were buying and complaining.

Its pretty much impossible to put out a product where every pack is a winner, that’s obvious. But, to include half a case worth of junk in a product that costs as much as Ultimate does, people are going to be pissed. Limited faced some of this criticism as well because of its dud boxes, but Limited does offer more hits. Those extra hits are usually poop, but for the general public who likes both quantity and quality at the same time, its not going to be as much of a problem.

Basically, when busting Ultimate you are either going to win big, come out of it with cool cards that arent worth a lot, or get some jerseys that you can sell for 10 bucks. I think this structure of returns is what makes Ultimate such a love it/hate it product. I think its cool that some of the duds can be as cool as they are,but I also get that people want to get their money's worth. Im saying its probably a good idea to buy singles on this one, but if you must bust, buy more than one box to protect yourself from the dud.

Overall, I really like the look of this set, as I really didn’t think I would. When the preview came out, I was pretty disappointed, yet now my tune has changed thanks to the un-previewed part of the set. Despite the fact that it wont live up to baseball, I think its definitely a great product to have fun with if you have the money.

Missing Hit Revealed - Nice Card!

Due to many of the people wanting the card opened and given to the correct team, I did so this morning on video and it will be sent out. The card was an Aaron Curry 2009 SPA Rookie Patch Auto 3 color patch 87/999 (IIRC). This means it will go to Erik, who had the Seahawks and did not get another hit, which is awesome. I will send it out with his cards today.

Check back later and I will post the video and a scan of the card. I will also provide the case number from UD so you can verify that the card is the correct one they sent.

Thank you again to the wonderful work of Upper Deck customer service who swiftly corrected our mistake.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Missing Hit From Upper Deck

First off, I want to thank the people over at Upper Deck customer service. They swung into action when I reported our box had a missing hit, and today I received a package with a card in it. Obviously the popularity of the blog had something to do with it, but either way we got what we were due.

Now, I have two ways in mind of doing this, and we can do it either way. The first way is we can open up the card (which should be an SPA box hit) and send it to the person who has the team. Obviously this is the previously posted way of doing it, but considering that one person already received 2 of the 4 box hits, I have another proposal. I can keep it sealed and random it off to the people who didnt receive a box hit, the Edelman, or the Jarrius Byrd. That leaves us with a few other people who didnt get a hit, to which I will random off the sealed package. They can have said sealed package and open it up for everyone to see what they got.

Please post in the comments with your ideas.

2009 Ultimate Football Is Live, Looks Good And Bad (UPDATED)

2009 Ultimate Collection is up on eBay, or at least a few cards are. Im not sure what to think yet, as we havent seen what a normal case holds or what the general feel of the set is. As I said yesterday, it has some very big shoes to fill, and that is where things could get ugly. People have been wondering if this will be a more rookie focused product or veteran focused product, to which I remind you that the NFLPA license requires companies to have a good part of the set be rookies. This will not have the same feel as Ultimate Baseball, but it should be pretty cool.

Now that we have a little more ammo to go off of, I think its pretty easy to see what the motto for ultimate is going to be. If you get an auto card, things are looking good, if you get a jersey card, you are pretty much out 100 bucks. Too bad, as the jersey cards look to be at least 4 per case, if not more.

Here is what we have so far (UPDATED):

Sanchez 2 Sided Patch/JerseyAaron Curry 2 Sided Patch/Jersey
Shonn Greene Rookie Auto - I really like these, even though the lines are odd.
A Good Auction With Pics Of Lots of Cards - Check out that inscription!
Stafford Ult RC Auto SP /99 - Good players to 99? Wow.
Lance Briggs Inscription - these look great
Tomlinson Auto - this is just too good for recent news

Many more will be posted today, and these may be taken down if UD continues with their terrible policy about posting cards early. Either way, ill add to this as the day goes on.

EDIT - Legends are back (from Blowout):

NOTE: Something got messed up with the original post, so I had to repost it. If you had comments, please repost them too. Thanks!

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Will 2009 Ultimate Measure Up?

Ultimate Baseball was probably one of the most successful sets of the year, for many reasons. The combination of look, content and price were all way above average, and it led to one of the biggest product frenzies in the last five years. Tomorrow (per Upper Deck's twitter), we get the football version, and I am wondering how it will turn out.

The content of the product looks to be similar, but football doesn’t have the historical backing of the sport like baseball does. The inclusion of a Ted Williams jumbo patch just doesn’t have an equivalent in football. Walter Payton and Johnny Unitas are in the same zip code, but the value of their relics cant compare. Does this mean that Ultimate will be unsuccessful? I doubt it, but it’s a factor.

One of the other reasons that Ultimate Baseball was so effective relates to a need for a product of its goal. It’s the same reason Prime Cuts was so awesome - no one had released a similar product in years. There is no Exquisite Baseball or National Treasures baseball the same way that Football has it, so when a product is released with ridiculous cards like this Ryne Sandberg (pulled on a forum), baseball collectors don’t know what to do with themselves. Triple Threads has tried for ages to cater to this demographic, but the lack of design skills makes it impossible to love the cards the way people are loving the Ultimate patches. Also, boxes of Ultimate started at almost 100 dollars cheaper than the Topps product, and delivered with better looking cards and on card content.

Basically, the main plus of Ultimate Football will continue to be the inclusion of higher quality signature and memorabilia cards over something like Limited or a similarly priced product. Cards like the Peterson Ultimate Patch will drive the product, unless they were able to duplicate the awesome patch designs out of baseball. Even with the Patch cards like baseball, the popularity will be much different, thanks to products like Exquisite, which have had these cards for years. The difference would be that people wouldn’t have to pay 500+ for a box.

Although I believe Ultimate will far succeed previous products from other companies with the amount of cool cards that are included, I don’t think it can live up to baseball. Even with inscriptions, jumbo patches, and all sorts of awesome stuff, Ultimate Baseball was the perfect storm that Ultimate fooball cannot be. That doesn’t mean that it isnt worth your attention, just adjust your expectations a little.

Tins vs Boxes: My SPA Manifesto

After busting 5 boxes of SP Authentic last week, all I can say is that there is no reason for all those stupid ass base cards. Numbered rookies, autos and patches aside, there is little among the rest of the five billion cards that makes me like the product more than I already do. This forces me to ask the question of why these cards are even included in a product like SPA?

I think I finally realized the greatness of a tin based product a few years ago when Sweet Spot switched to tin format. Instead of 24 packs of useless cardboard, the easily searched product switched over to a one pack box. The previous box had 2 helmet autos, and now the tin had 2 helmet autos. You get the point. What it eliminated was the need for superfluous cards, along with the need for shop owners to keep the boxes under lock and key. It also prevented what I am going through right now, or the need to find a spot for over 400 cards before I take them over to donate them.

Most of you are probably having one of two reactions to this whole situation, either extreme agreement or extreme diagreement. You either are hits collector or a base collector - sometimes a smattering of both. The reality is that football is so drastically different than baseball in terms of make up of these two groups, that its almost a different hobby all together. Where most of the baseball collectors try to build sets, or put together team or player collections of the BASE cards, Football is almost a supermajority of people who just want the hits. It stems from the history of the hobby, as well as the way baseball rookies are protrayed in products versus the way football rookies are. With baseball rookies coming up slowly, and dominated by chrome, its tougher to market them. With football rookies playing right away, people want signatures and they want them every single year. Each year a new crop comes in, and there are many more each year than any year on the diamond. It changes the game completely.

Despite this fact, we still have awesome products like SP Authentic done the way they are. Now, don’t come on here and bitch in the comments, "But sir, I collect the base!" Yes, I get that, but you are a very small group of people who do. To market to the correct demographic, its better to get an ornate tin or box, drop the price a bit, and give us the EXACT content from the normal pack out. There is little value and little need for a base set, and I will cite the constant trials and tribulations of trying to revamp the content as a reason. While the SP Authentic box hit has been the same for a decade, the base set has gone through many variations. Its because no one cares about it. They may whine a little if its gone, but eventually the people will proclaim their happiness on camera when not having to open 24 packs.

In addition to this, Topps is gone, so there is no need to compete with products like Chrome, which require a base set. Therefore, they can easily change the format, put products like SPA on the shelf in mass quantities, and not worry about the hit focused football hobby running away to stale and unoriginal products like Platinum and Unique. Panini already does Limited, which is immensely popular, and BACK to a one pack box after a year back doing the old way. Look how popular that product is. I guarantee more of the 2009 product was sold than the 2008, as it is easier to stock, easier to break, and easier to VIDEOTAPE.

Without getting into the argument of collecting hits against collecting sets, the thing is that more people are like me. Im not saying that they should ditch sets like Philadelphia, but I am definitely saying that upper mid range products like SP Authentic do not need 100+ base cards per box. It just doesn’t make sense when the product is marketed to the high end hit collector. Its why the hits are worth as much as they are, so why keep up the stupid fa├žade? Therefore, ditch the fucking base.

SCU Breaks: SPA Update

Just wanted to fill you all in on what has been going on. I have contacted Upper Deck and they are going to see what they can do for us. As soon as I have more info, ill let you all know. We should be getting something in replacement of the card. Not sure what it will be.

Secondly, Im going to have the cards out soon. I know its taken a few extra days, but with my wife being almost 8 months pregnant, sometimes things get a little behind. I have the cards sorted and just need to get them into the packages. That should happen today. My apologies for the late send out, and I can assure you that SPA will never be broken again on this site due to the amount of cards. Holy shit.

Thats about it for now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We Have Our First SP Authentic Fakes

If there is one thing I have always preached, its that completed auctions are damning evidence when trying to figure out if a seller is a douche. There has been some big discussion lately on blowout and among the readers of this site about whether or not sports_royalty's cards are fake. After looking through his items for sale and his completed auctions, I would definitely file him under that category.

The most unusual thing about this is that the guy has a ton of hot packs for sale. This is almost always a sign that something isnt right. Although Im sure the hot packs contain what they say, its obvious that they will all contain the rookie scrub autos and not the patches. Its not the nail in the coffin, but his resume is getting worse. This could also mean that his crazy patches are all coming from the cases that he busted, but with the hobby, we have been forced to assume everyone is guilty until proven innocent. That is pretty sad.

When you factor in that the guy is already engaging in one thing like hot packs, and then you see his patches, the bad stuff floods your mind and becomes very tough to ignore.

Here are some examples of questionable SPA's:

Josh FreemanKnowshon Moreno Again

Pretty questionable cards, but that is only the beginning. Check out these AWFUL fakes that he has sold. When I say AWFUL, I mean Paris Hilton acting bad:

Mark Sanchez Tag Patch
Eli Manning/Mark Sanchez fooball
Manning/Favre Worst Dual Football Ever?
Manning Family Football

Anyone who sells autographs as fucking terrible as those should be automatically added to your bad list. This guy is nothing but problems. STAY AWAY.

EDIT: Kurt just sent me this from the same fucking asshat, look what else he just HAPPENS to be selling! He even has 10 of them for sale, wow.

Thanks to Justin, Brandon, Leonard, and Tim for the heads up.