On the Radar: 2016 Prizm Collegiate Draft Picks

Ill start off by saying that I liked the design of 2015 Prizm Football. I think the cards were simple and worked well. I actually didnt think that Prizm draft looked HORRIBLE either. That being said, Prizm draft picks from last year cannot be categorized as anything other than a giant fucking train wreck. Aside from the odd way the product was released, it is now selling at about 1/3 of MSRP, and falling. Boxes are literally being given away at less than 30 bucks a pop.

Here are some examples of sticker heaven:

2015 Prizm Draft Jameis Winston Auto

2015 Prizm Draft Marcus Mariota Auto BGS 9.5

2015 Prizm Draft Todd Gurley Gold Refractor Auto

2015 Prizm Draft Tom Brady Alumnus Auto 1/1

In all of Panini’s infinite wisdom, they have inexplicably decided to bring it back in the same format, only this time with 100x uglier looking cards. Its worth mentioning that Panini will have to release stuff like this all year, alongside new products they will have to build rapidly just to hit minimum guarantees. They are expected to put out 31 plus NFL products per year, and that doesnt even begin to talk about the NCAA ones that are also necessary. When I see what this product looks like, god help us all.

I see ABSOLUTELY no reason to believe that this will end up anywhere but the bottom of the bargain bin, or used as supports for the buckets of tears cried by people who know what Football is in for over the next few years. I would even expect that the print run of this product is going to be built to support the eventual closeout of the remaining unsold wax, something that enrages local shops and buyers.

Most importantly, here we are again with another sticker based pre-draft product. While companies like Leaf and Upper Deck have and will be releasing hard signed sets, Panini seems to be allergic to on card autographs. In fact, I believe Leaf has their first on card product hitting shelves later this month. They may have smaller print runs, but they also seem to be on top of things better than anyone. Oh, and they have Tom Brady.

Lastly, I dont even need to really comment on the designs, because the pictures speak for themselves. Its garbage at best, and at worst, it will turn out to be a bigger fucking disaster than 2015. Panini is going to be the only licensed game in town for football this year, and look at the eye sore they decide to trot out. Visual diarrhea. I am already nauseous over this year, and this doesnt help me chew back the vomit at all.

Wrapping Up Super Bowl 50 and Its Impact On Hobby Values

Im sad. Football season is over, and now I have to endure almost 6 months of football-less despair as I wait for the 2016 season. Regardless of the pending wasteland of the summertime, Super Bowl 50 did have some major hobby players involved, and I was excited to see how everything played out. This may have been the last hurrah for a few guys, and its time to talk through some of the legacies that were made or diminished by last night’s game.

Peyton Manning

There may not be a more iconic football card than the 1998 Contenders Manning Auto Ticket. It is the a card that single handedly established a brand that has lasted through to today, without much else to show for the other years. Manning has been a great signer through his entire career, and his autographs are still worth a lot of money. When supply is high, and value remains in the top tier, you know a guy is among the greats. Winning last night did not help him. That is true. Losing last night may have hit his values temporarily, but I doubt the long term impact would have been major. A guy who owns all the records in the book doesnt take a hit over a loss against the best team in the NFL.

2013 Topps Five Star Peyton Manning Inscription Auto

2013 Topps Supreme Peyton Manning Quad Patch Auto /10

2015 Topps Chrome Peyton Manning Base Auto SSP /10

Cam Newton

Unfortunately for the hobby, 2011 had some BAAAAAAAAAAD looking cards. When I say bad, I mean really really bad. Panthers' offensive line last night bad. Regardless of this terrible situation, Newton’s cards were obviously on fire these last few months. It was even more of a sustained burn, because unlike Kaepernick a few years back, he has always been a good player, a heisman winner, and a #1 overall pick. A down year wont relegate him to the bargain bin, and this stinger of a loss wont have a lasting impact on his base value. All that afterburner that was turned on over the last few months will fade, but its not like his cards are going to be worthless, ever. Even though his personality was not at its best yesterday, he is still going to be one of the most popular players in the league for years to come.

2011 Topps Chrome Cam Newton Atomic Auto /50 BGS 9.5

2011 Prime Signatures Cam Newton Auto /25

2011 Topps Five Star Cam Newton Rookie Auto /199

Von Miller

I dont think I have seen two performances in a row like we saw Miller have on the biggest stages that exist. First, he made Brady look like a rookie in the Championship game, and followed it up by basically winning this game for Denver. If Von Miller doesnt play, the Broncos dont win. The sad part is, defense doesnt sell in the hobby, unless your name is JJ Watt. There are a few guys who have residual value because they are future HOFers who dont sign much, but defense generally isnt the face of the franchise like Watt, Polamalu and Ray Lewis were. Miller will get a nice little bump for winning the MVP, and thankfully he is a GREAT player to sustain some of that bump later on. This wont be a Malcom Smith situation, and Miller could end up being on Watt’s level, if he isnt already, in terms of talent. Like Newton, he was a rookie during a terrible card year, and probably wont see far above 100 bucks for any of his normal rookie cards.

2011 Topps Chrome Von Miller Red Refractor Auto RC /5

2011 Crown Royale Von Miller Silhouette Auto Patch

John Elway

Believe it or not, Elway has been a hot topic over the last few weeks, and this Super Bowl was a testament to his legacy in the front office as much as it was his legacy overall. Elway being on stage to accept the trophy will have an impact on his value, especially as younger collectors are exposed to his persona. Like many HOFers who are still around the game, he signs a ton, but like Manning his value is still nice. I say he will get a slight bump for his “third” ring, although it isnt anything like it was when he won back to back as a player. Elway has one of the best stories, going out after winning a ring, and hopefully Manning does the same.

2014 National Treasures Peyton Manning / John Elway Dual Auto

2012 Elite John Elway /' Peyton Manning Dual Auto Passing the Torch

Again, I am sad the season is over, but feel this was a fitting culmination. Although it wasnt a shootout, it was still an interesting game, and was within one score for most of the second half. I kept waiting for the fireworks on the offensive side of the ball, but they came from the defense instead.

With a weak class likely on the cusp in 2016, I guess it isnt a bad thing to bask in 2015 for a while longer.

SCU Go-Live Report: 2015 Museum Collection Football

Since 2013, I have been a huge fan of this set. Not only does it offer premium content with on card autographs, but the design has been very well done over the years. It also features a card that has become so popular that many of the other companies are scrambling to rip it off. Hell, Panini made whole products out of ripoffs from Museum Collecction. Alas, this is the final year of the football set, and I am sad to see it go.

Bigger hits that have been posted so far:

2015 Museum Collection Emmitt Smith Gold Ink Framed Auto Inscription 1/1

2015 Museum Collection Amari Cooper Silver Ink Framed Auto /15

2015 Museum Collection Marcus Mariota Auto RC

2015 Museum Collection Jameis Winston Dual Patch Auto

The showstoppers in this are always the Metal Framed Autographs, which are some of the best cards Topps makes in football all year. Although there is no Brady this year, they have all the big names, including inscriptions on the 1/1s. These are cards I will always chase, and I really like the way they look with the added white at the bottom of the card. The checklist is pretty strong as always, and I guess I will relegate my chasing to baseball now that its sister product is done.

As for the other cards, I think they range from good to not so good in the way they look. Topps kind of went mega overboard with the black borders, and though it looks okay on some of the cards, others make it look like the player is getting attacked. They definitely tried some interesting parallels and some are worth the risk. Despite the pay off, I really liked the simple marble type background of previous years, and wish they had stayed in that vein instead of going all crazy.

The price tag on a product like this is always an issue for most, as the boxes can be very hit and miss. Its around the same price as triple threads, and you get on card autos in every box. You also have the chance at some really nice content with hard signed autos as well, so I dont see why this is so much less popular than garbage like Threads. The framed autos alone more than make up for the difference, but at one per case, they are severely tough to pull.

In the end, I doubt many people will remember Museum for more than the big case hits, but I dont think that is a bad thing. You know something is good when everyone wants it, and other companies try to rip it off. Hopefully this isnt the end of content like this in football, and I dont think Luxe or whatever shit Panini is trying to use is going to fill that gap.

SCU Go-Live Report: 2016 Topps Series 1 Baseball

Ahhhh yes. The first day of the 2016 Baseball Card Season is here. Today, Series 1 hits stores, and for many collectors out there, this is a day that they look forward to every year. Although I am not a set collector or technically a baseball collector, I definitely appreciate a fine Series 1. I still collect the high end cards of my favorite players, and this year will be no different.

Here are some of the top hits:

2016 Topps Series 1 Mike Trout Berger's Best Auto Relic

2016 Topps Series 1 Kris Bryant Team Logo Auto On Card

2016 Topps Series 1 Sandy Koufax No Hitter Pin Auto

2016 Topps Series 1 Mike Trout Laser Booklet /99

2016 Topps Series 1 MIguel Sano Black Parallel RC /65

Ill start with the base design, which we have had top of mind since before thanksgiving. It is FAR different than anything we have seen before, and that isnt a bad thing. Not only did I like it originally, but it has grown on me with each passing viewing. The fluid borderless presentation works extremely well, and the cards continue to look stunning.

Although the parallels arent as “evident” in their design as they were with the borders, the cards still look really cool. The framed and acetate parallels are back again, and I will definitely be on the lookout for my guys. They dropped the run to 16 on the framed cards, making them even more rare than they were in previous years at 20, something that should be interesting to chase.

As for the hit content, this is where things fall apart. I hate the Scouting Report autographs, and I definitely hate the post season and world series auto relics. Although the post season relic autos are really low count, man are they ugly with the big fucking white box. The scouting report autos are horrendous looking, and unfortunately those come almost 1 per box.

For the second year running, the Topps physical set has a Bunt program built in, with both pack redemptions and code card redemptions. The Titans series looks really cool, and will be some of the most valuable non-autographed cards in the set. If you hit one, consider yourself lucky, pat yourself on the back, and then shoot me an email. These can be redeemed for RARE and POWERFUL cards in the Bunt app, and should not be discarded.

Here is a Kris Bryant for example.

There are also new booklet cards that are called “Topps Laser” that look pretty cool. They are intricately die cut booklet cards with rare auto and relic parallels. Im curious to see how they look in person, because they definitely look pretty awesome in the scans.

The other inserts are nice, but not great, and the whole thing just has a feel like the inserts are kind of blah. First Pitch is back with some interesting subjects, and the photo variations with camo uniforms are cool, but I just cant get past the autographs, the dumb stamp/coin cards, or some of the other non-base. I wish more time were spent making these cards attractive.

Is 2016 worth you chasing down a box or two to rip? Of course, its a tradition! Is it going to knock your socks off? Not so much. The base design floats the set as a whole, being as nice as it is, but the rest hits a note that isnt as sharp.

Just How Bad is Donruss Signature Series?

In terms of bad products, there are two ways something can be bad. The first is design, which was definitely something that made 2015 Spectra one of the worst products of the last 10 years. The second is box content, which can take a nice product and make it horrible, similar to 2014 Chrome Football. Signature Series isnt good looking to the point where it can overcome being one of the worst box breaks I have ever seen. It has some nice cards, but the dud hits are like a virus that has infected every box. Being that this was always supposed to be a sticker dump, we knew it would be bad. We did not know it was going to be THIS bad.

Here are the “top” hits so far:

2015 Donruss Signature Series Jameis Winston Auto NFL Shield 1/1

2015 Donruss Signature Series Tom Brady Pro Bowl Auto SSP

2015 Donruss Signature Series Emmitt Smith / Barry Sanders Dual Auto Booklet

2015 Donruss Signature Series Todd Gurley Auto Relic

In terms of design, Panini couldnt even figure out a way to differentiate the product. They basically took the 2013 and 2014 Supreme design and stripped off a lot of the elements that made it attractive. Textured backgrounds, foil stamping, high end type color scheme? All gone. Instead we get a very bland card with a single color background and a player photo. Im not even sure you can call it a “design.” Thus, the product is boring, but not ugly. Boring is really the best way to look at this. Dont even get me started on those horrid lava flow foil cards. Shudder.

Then we get to the content, which features rookie relic autos in a box with 3 other autographs, including some booklets. Actually, I really like the design of the booklets, especially the dual player ones that open vertically to showcase both players. That isnt the issue. The issue is that the checklist is 400 players deep on the veteran side. I cant even name 400 football players, and that is the main issue here. What we are left with is a box that you open to find some of the worst autographs from Panini old inventory, including many players who washed out of the NFL over a year ago. Some of those dud rookie and vet autographs are in booklet format to boot.

What all of this leads to is opening a box and potentially pulling a dud rookie relic, followed by 3 autographs of players who should never have been on a trading card after their rookie year. The reason Panini is doing this type of sticker dump is because of the cheap signature content that these stickers represent, and because they are collecting dust. This isnt actually the first time this has been done in a product format, as every company has done this type of thing at least once. In fact, it looks like Topps is going ot be doing a similar type product as their football license ends in the form of Field Access.

Our expensive thirst for autograph content in the hobby leads to this type of situation, but its the stickers themselves that perpetuate it. Because its easier to get sticker autos done and use them through the year, companies opt for this type of practice with scrub signers who arent worth organizing on card signing sessions. Not only can they be used as filler, but in any product as well. When the NFL burns through players at a rate that most wouldnt believe, many companies have tons of stickers left that were never used. Thus, a product like this has to be done to clear out the inventory that is unusable in a normal product.

When you think about it, this is pretty interesting of a setup. Not only do they get cheap autos to stuff a product like a thanksgiving bird, but collectors will buy it! Insane that we allow ourselves to be taken advantage like this. The bigger issue at play is that Panini put a price tag on these boxes above 100 dollars. Not just 100 bucks, but 125 dollars in some shops from what I have seen. That is ludicrous.

Bottom line, dont waste your money on this hot garbage, as you will surely regret it. Even though the 8 player booklet is enticing as a hit, this product will eat you alive before you get to it. If this isnt on a list to receive 1000 National Convention packs per box before the start of the giveaway, we have failed as a collector base. Just think, this is just one of the many new products Panini will have to build to hit contractual obligations next year. You think this is bad, you aint seen nothing yet. Soon, Im convinced they arent even going to bother designing a set at all, just put sheets of stickers in a box and have collectors build their own cards! Even then, im still not sure how they will have the resources to create as many products for NFL, NBA, and NCAA.