SCU Go Live Report: 2015 Topps Football and a Fond Farewell

I cant believe we have reached this point. This is really the last time we will have a Topps Football set in this format for the foreseeable future. Although its still possible that a set can be built with non-current players in the future, this is really the end of the set that has existed in some format for the last 60 years. Starting in 2016, Panini will own an NFLPA exclusive, which prevents a big base set of current players. Although giving Panini the rights to the NFLPA makes about as much sense to collectors as Tim Tebow on an NFL roster, it is what it is.

This situation leaves us to enjoy the final year in bittersweet happiness:

2015 Topps Jameis Winston Mini Auto /25

2015 Topps Ameer Abdullah RC Auto SP

2015 Topps Lawrence Taylor 60th Anniversary Auto

2015 Topps Phillip Dorsett Rookie Premiere Auto

2015 Topps Dorial Green-Beckham 1987 Retro Auto

2015 Topps Bryce Petty Rookie Auto SP

This year’s set is definitely a different approach than we have seen in previous years. It has a much more industrial/mechanical feel with the borders, devoid of any real foil embellishments. The base set is definitely something to be excited about, as the photos of the players continue to be some of the best in the game. Cards with full game shots and no real backdrop rarely exist anymore, and I love that Topps continues to make that a part of their flagship sets.

As for the autograph content, I have mixed feelings. Ill start with the stuff that looks REALLY good. Over the last decade plus, Topps has used the Rookie Premiere as an opportunity to get cards hard signed for their base product. As if they didnt already blow Panini out of the fucking water with Inception, they have added even more content to this set with signed retro cards that look awesome. They also have their basic contingent of hard signed other cards that look similar to Inception. The only draw back seems to be a relative SP list that is in play for the first time ever – something that could be a big issue for wax breakers.

In terms of the sticker content, this is where I have my issue. I hate that the base autos and other cards have frames around the stickers, one of my biggest pet peeves. I dont think the autographs need the box at all, and it actually takes away from a design I really like. The retro sticker autos are amazing with a great checklist in contrast, and should end up being VERY sought after.

Topps has a winner on their hands in terms of the look and feel of this set, and I believe that any discrepancies created in SSP rookie autograph content will be offset. It blows that the product has no concrete future, as the heritage of this product is a treasure of the hobby. It remains enormously popular, and the fact that Panini is now the only company that can produce cards is beyond enraging. Bottom line, this set needs to be made each year. End of story. I could give a fuck about league licensing. Obviously, my feelings mean as much as Tajh Boyd’s NFL career, so take it as you will.

 

Chew it Back – 2015 Spectra Pics Are Here!

Let me start by saying that 2014 Spectra was easily one of the ugliest sets I have ever seen. The cards were fucking disgusting, and made for some vomit inducing moments for the product. My opinion must have been the common feeling, as Panini literally couldnt give the shit away. Distributors had so much trouble moving their stock that they made people order cases of Spectra FB if anyone wanted to order Immaculate basketball. Want the good stuff? Buy this trash first. Leave it to Panini to bring it back again.

Here is how bad Spectra was in 2014:

2014 Spectra Russell Wilson Leading Men Auto Relic

2014 Spectra Sammy Watkins Rookie Auto Relic Blue

2014 Spectra Teddy Bridgewater Auto Relic

2014 Spectra Bruce Smith Auto

Here is how they made Spectra “fresh” for 2015: They took out all the rookie on card autos and replaced them with stickers. Not just any stickers though! Stickers signed in neon colors that correspond to the “seizure friendly” stock patterns. When you see these cards, its tough to believe that there was a person who thought this looked good. Not only did that person believe it looked good, but that it was worth trying in a set with terrible performance. Then its also tough to believe that there was another person who felt the same way, maybe more. Yes, there were multiple sign offs that green lighted this shit show. Sorry, NEON green lighted this shit show!

CNLy-rBUYAAT-oB

Either way, the main designs with the GIANT boxes behind the stickers was bad to begin with. Then to add in everything on top of that makes this a legendary fuck up. Panini even had the balls to rip off Topps’ Superfractors, and then cheapen them by putting them in a set with no backbone. After reading the message board threads, its clear that using the pattern has blinded people from how shitty the cards look, but I have lost faith in the collector base long before this happened. I mean, people bought Clear Vision with a straight face, right?

I have honestly given up on Panini’s potential to ever turn their ship around. They do nothing but churn out visual diarrhea like its not a big deal, and that scares the diarrhea out of me. Football cards are doomed if they think this is a good way to go. I hope everyone loves Spectra 2015, because you will need to buy it to get next year’s top basketball product. Have fun with that.

2015 MLB Pennant Chase: Hottest Rookies Playing Major Roles

This season has been literally epic for rookies in the major leagues. It seems that its a weekly occurrence for a top rookie to be called up to the team, and I am sure that baseball prospectors are licking their chops over the pending September call ups that will be happening shortly. There are a few rookies that are poised to make a big impact as the season comes to a close, some of which are relatively under appreciated. To think how many of these guys are on playoff teams is just crazy, which only makes this year that much better.

Kyle Schwarber – Cubs

I dont think there has been a bigger surprise in baseball than Schwarber’s success so early on in his MLB career. He has undoubtedly outshined the other big name on his team in Kris Bryant, putting up some really nice power numbers. As the Cubs make a final push, both Bryant and Schwarber will need to play extremely well, and that will mean some big bumps for their cards if they do. Right now, he is much cheaper than Bryant, but that could change if he continues to play like he is.

As with many of the guys on this list, his prices are climbing:

2014 Bowman Chrome Kyle Schwarber Auto RC BGS 9.5

2015 Bowman Inception Kyle Schwarber Auto Gold Parallel

2015 Bowman Kyle Schwarber Auto Gold Refractor /50

Carlos Correa – Astros

As a former #1 pick, his ceiling should be high. That being said, the hobby seems to think he is the second coming of Mike Trout, pushing his value into the stratosphere. He has been a big part of the Astros continued push for the playoffs, which is shocking considering where they were last year. I think if you are looking to pick up a prospect, Correa is reaching his ceiling very quickly. However, if the Astros go deep in the post season, he could see even higher prices.

Insane prices for him since he hit the bigs:

2013 Bowman Chrome Carlos Correa Auto RC BGS Raw Review 9.5

2013 Bowman Victory Carlos Correa Gold Auto

2013 Bowman Platinum Carlos Correa Green Refractor Auto PSA 10

Miguel Sano – Twins

In less than 40 games, he has hit 11 HRs, which is nuts. The guy is pretty much a hulk when standing at the plate, even more impressive when you see he is only 22 years old. He may have seen time at the big leagues last year if it werent for Tommy John surgery, but that obviously hasnt phased him. For someone mashing the ball like he is, his autographs go for basically nothing. This is a perfect time to pick up his stuff.

Underrated value all around:

2015 Bowman Inception Miguel Sano "Inceptioned" RC Auto

2010 Bowman Chrome Miguel Sano Auto RC

Jung Ho Kang – Pirates

To be completely honest, I had no idea who he was prior to the start of the season. Now he is one of the front runners for NL ROY. As an international player, his prices are going to be inflated above the normal situation for a player of his caliber, but he is worth a look if the Pirates can stay atop the wild card race for the NL. He doesnt have the power numbers that some of the other guys on this list have, but he is a solid player.

2015 Topps Chrome Jung Ho Kang Purple Auto /250

2015 Bowman Inception Jung Ho Kang Auto Blue

Noah Syndergaard – Mets

Thor has had himself quite the 2015 campaign, and the Mets are on pace to win the division for the first time in a while. He is definitely in the mix for ROY, and that should help his cards out a lot. He has some electric stuff when he is on point, and playing in NY doesnt hurt at all. With pitchers, injuries are always a huge concern, which is maybe why his values arent as high as some of the big hitters.

2015 Topps Chrome Noah Syndergaard Orange Auto RC /25

2010 Bowman Chrome Noah Syndergaard RC Auto Refractor

Joc Pederson – Dodgers

One of the only rookies that made the All Star team, he has cooled off at the plate considerably since his hot start. He still put up 23 HR so far, and the Dodgers in the playoffs makes for great TV. They are only a tiny bit ahead of SF for the West lead, and that could prove pretty interesting. Pederson has been one of the top guys of the class all year, and I would love to see him turn it back on.

2012 Bowman Chrome Joc Pederson Auto PSA 10

2015 Gypsy Queen Joc Pederson Auto Patch Booklet

Kris Bryant – Cubs

He is the face of the 2015 class. He is the top valued guy in the group, and his potential seems to be pretty high. The issue is that, like Pederson, he hasnt been that productive as of late, seeing his average and power numbers drop considerably since making the All Star roster. His early call up in the season helps for him to be a top contender for ROY, and it will be quite the sweet experience for Cubs fans who have been dying for a playoff run for years.

Prices are still high:

2015 Allen & Ginter Kris Bryant Framed Auto

2014 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant Black Refractor Auto BGS 9.5

This is going to be a fun chase over the next few weeks, best to get stocked up now. If one of these guys goes off in the playoffs, the values will be white hot.

2014-15 National Treasures Basketball: Feast or Famine?

Yesterday I was sitting down at my local shop and a brand new collector came in. He was looking for an expensive box or two to bust, and he settled on the recently released National Treasures. In his first box, he literally had one of the worst boxes I have seen in a while. Almost a complete loss. Second box though, was a bit different. Inside was the Andrew Wiggins Rookie Patch Auto /25, easily one of the top cards in the product. This is the power that Treasures has.

Look at the prices on some of the major cards:

2015 National Treasures Andrew Wiggins Rookie Patch Auto – Will end for more than Luck and Wilson combined!

2015 National Treasures Nikola Mirotic Rookie Patch Auto /10

2015 National Treasures Jabari Parker Rookie Patch Auto – Blew his knee out, will still sell for more than Trout Chrome Auto

2015 National Treasures Chris Paul Notable Nicknames Auto

2015 National Treasures Jabari Parker Logoman /5

On the other hand, the rest of the boxes are filled with a combination of nicer hits and relics that wont earn back the box price, with stickers galore and Panini points. In fact, we watched a few other cases get opened, and very few really nice cards came out. There was another Wiggins, but the sticker and small patch probably wouldnt break even on the box price. Overall, everyone in the shop agreed the break was a bloodbath. In fact, these types of situations tend to happen more often than not with Treasures, especially for people who arent lucky enough to pull on card autos of the top rookies in the product.

Treasures has paled in comparison to Immaculate and Flawless over the last few years, and that might be putting it lightly. The addition of Panini points as a replacement for a hit is a fucking disaster, and that doesnt even begin to describe the condition of some of the cards. Dont get me wrong, hit one of the big guys and you paid for your case and then some.

I honestly dont know what to say here, because the boxes are about as schizophrenic as they have ever been. There are a lot of cool looking cards, but there are also a ton of cards that are better reserved for Prestige. Immaculate, at least to me, remains the top product in the game, and yet, here we are. even more shocking to me is how much people put value in the design, as I think the vertical orientation is no less than 100 times worse than the extremely rare horizontal ones. The ugly design game is strong with NT, and that doesnt seem to matter.

These types of situations DO NOT exist in Football and they DO NOT exist in Baseball. However, with Hockey and Basketball, they seem to be frequent in the way cards are valued. An international sport brings international collectors, and therefore a much larger market for the cards. How much of this product’s problems are hidden by the number of people that collect the cards? I would say a lot.

Exquisite NBA remains the best product in basketball to this day. It was 100% on card, it had Jordan and Lebron, and it delivered some crazy fucking hits. Treasures seems like a cheap knock off, and yet that doesnt seem to bother anyone. Well, maybe not until you see this video.

SCU Go-Live Report: 2015 Panini Certified Football

I have never been too big a fan of Certified in any one of its many iterations, especially over the last few years. The cards have always been really ugly, save a few years here and there, including one of the ugliest modern sets of all time in 2006. Bottom line, Certified should have been axed years ago, but like many of Panini’s products, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

Witness the Carnage Yourself:

2015 Certified Rob Gronkowski Auto Jumbo Relic

2015 Certified Phillip Dorsett Mirror Red Jumbo Patch Auto

2015 Certified Eli Manning Gold Team Auto /10

2015 Certified Todd Gurley Auto RC

Just taking one look at this design, all I can think is that someone dropped an iPad and they used it for inspiration. That, or Spider-man prematurely blew his wad, and it landed all over the printing plates. Not exactly the best feelings to instill in your customers. OH BUT IT HAS COLORZ AND BIG PATCHEZ! AWWWWWW YISS.

Certified is a product for those people who have no other desire than to get big patches. Regardless of how the cards look, they just want the CAR-AY-ZAY MOJOZ! and they dont care about anything else. These cards are some of the most hideous fucking train wrecks I have ever seen, and that’s being light. The jumbo patch autos are just horrible in every single way, and the base autos are worse. The cracked glass/Spidey Spooge approach takes this product to a new level of shittiness.

There is one part of this set that deserves some attention, and it might be the only reason to even consider joining a group break, let alone a box. The on card Super Bowl autos are a cool addition to this dumpster fire, and the cards are some I would pick up if there was someone in the set I collected.

As mentioned before, Panini did not get any cards signed at the rookie premiere, and Certified continues to suffer from sticker shock on every card in the product. The relic autos are not possible to be on card at this point in the year, but to see every card a sticker without a single on card offering is a slap in the face. As recent as 2011, Certified had on card content. Now? Might as well put it in the bargain bin before it even goes on the regular shelf.

After the last few years, this is pretty much how it is.

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