SCU Go Live Report: 2015 Topps Platinum Football

Back in 2009, Topps platinum was released and boy did I hate every last little bit of that set. When things were redone in 2011, the set took on more of the form it currently showcases in 2015. Over the last few years, Platinum is one of the sets I look forward to every season, as it showcases more of the on card content and cool looking cards on Chrome stock that I love.

Here are some of the cards up so far:

2015 Topps Platinum Amari Cooper Auto NFL Shield Superfractor 1/1

2015 Topps Platinum Jameis Wiston On Card Auto Pulsar

2015 Topps Platinum Todd Gurley Gold Refractor On Card Auto

2015 Topps Platinum Marcus Mariota Auto Patch /25

As we have seen in 2014 and a little in 2013, Platinum is a bit more “out there” in the way it looks and is designed. This year takes it even further in its final year, going with a space age smoky cloud look that works in some ways and doesnt in others. The worst examples of the set are the colored refractors of the patch autos, where the sticker is highlighted in a white area separated from the color of the background.

Additionally, the veteran patch autos are pretty boring in their own right, with very little of the cool features of the rookie patch auto design. A small circle patch on a solid background just doesnt do it for me.

The best part of the set is the on card rookie autos, as they have been for a number of years. This years design is quite nice, although there are more stickers than previous years. I would guess this is the type of concession that is made to avoid redemptions in light of the pending Panini exclusive, and that is really unfortunate.

Either way, Platinum is still a fun set, and worth buying a box or two just to see what it looks like. There are some huge hits to be had, and if not, you will get some nice looking Chrome style rookies.

On the Radar: 2015 National Treasures

Outside of the absolute debacle last year with the Teddy Bridgewater and Odell Beckham cards, National Treasures was a pretty solid set. The design was nice, the cards were pretty high end, and for the most part, I liked the look of the product. Leave it to Panini to throw consistency to the wind and barf out a set like we are getting for 2015. Funny thing is, I think the design from 2015 College National Treausres would have been more than fine. Nope, we get the poopy looking crap.

Starting with the most important cards, the rookie patch autos, I absolutely HATE that they went with a vertical approach. Vertical approaches are fine when you have silhouetted players or small swatches. When you are looking to do cards with jumbo swatches, horizontal is almost ALWAYS the better approach.

I mean, this set has had good looking cards maybe once or twice since 2007. For some reason collectors really think that this is the premiere rookie patch auto available in Football, and it makes literally no sense. Exquisite was far more valuable when it was NFL licensed, and Treasures just took over by default it seemed like. Crazy unfortunate, considering how much better Five Star has looked on a consistent basis.

Regardless, Panini is going to be the only game in town starting next year, and the way this set was designed should showcase what that continues to be a disaster for people like you and me.

Moving on, the rest of the set really sucks as well, ESPECIALLY this horrific booklet with more acetate scrap signatures being forced down our throats. I swear I expect to see boxes of this shit opened up with acetate scraps, black paper scraps, and manupatches just to fuck with all of us. Not only does the booklet look like hot garbage, but it makes you wonder why they use booklets for this and not more appropriate stuff.

The inscription Mariota I like. I like it a lot, only because of the potential that the Five Star quotables set might be resurrected in some minor fashion with something like this. Inscriptions are awesome, and as long as the card design looks reasonably okay im on board.

As for the Colossal set, I think its pretty blah. Very white, not much there, and just the player, the auto and the swatch. Its definitely not bad looking in any way, its just not that much involved. I love simple and white designs, but this is just too simple and too white.

Lastly, the Staubach sticker is disgraceful. Treasures is a late release set. It also costs a shit ton of money per box. For whatever reason, Panini just cant get their crap together when it comes to getting Treasures to be 100% hard signed. They need to figure it out. Now.

I didnt buy Treasures last year because of the Teddy situation, and I am DEFINITELY not buying it this year. Ill stick to buying Immaculate singles and will reserve judgement on Flawless singles until I see what they are looking like. Really too bad they couldnt continue last year’s success.

SCU Go-Live Report: 2015 Topps Dynasty Baseball

Last year, Topps Dynasty took the hobby by storm in a way that hadnt happened in high end baseball in a very long time. Many people were saying that Dynasty was more attune to what Five Star should have delivered, and as a result, the boxes flew off the shelf. With a new year of Dynasty coming today, a lot of people are hoping for another great result.

Check out some of the cards up so far:

2015 Topps Dynasty Mike Trout MLB Logo Auto 1/1

2015 Topps Dynasty Will Ferrell Auto Patch /10

2015 Topps Dynasty Russell Wilson Auto Patch /5

2015 Topps Dynasty Kris Bryant Auto Patch /10

2015 Topps Dynasty Yu Darvish Auto Patch /5

2015 Topps Dynasty Roger Clemens Tag Patch Auto /5

Dynasty is back for another year, naturally. This year’s product took a much different approach, going from the dark background with unreliable paint pens to a more bright look with black pens. This was a big deal last year, as not every pen delivered the kind of streak free signature needed to look nice.

Added in, Topps brought some huge names from outside MLB, mainly in Will Ferrell, John Elway, Russell Wilson and Dan Marino. If you remember back to earlier this year, the Ferrell cards sold for an absolutely shit ton out of Archives. The dynasty cards have a piece of game used jersey from his day in Spring training, and I would guess that they will be among the top cards in the product. The football players are a cool addition as well, with a fun tie to the teams they were drafted by. Russell Wilson is especially interesting, as like Ferrell, he was able to play a game in Spring Training a few years ago. His variations in Bowman still remain very valuable from the first time he was featured in a baseball product.

Dynasty is really the marriage of some great looking and well designed cards and some insane patches. Rarely do the two really exist together, as many times the design element is abandoned in favor of maximizing the patch space. This time, that didnt happen, and the results are amazing.

When you see some of the patches that came out of the product last year, this year looks to build on that situation. I cannot wait to chase down some of the cards for my guys, as it is clear that this is a product that is right up my alley. It has boom or bust potential like every high end product in some of the names on the checklist, but man, there are just some awesome cards that are going to come out. Whether its Ichiro, Bryant or one of the names mentioned above, there may not be a better case to watch opened live.

I would hate to be one of the people that pays for this product and ends up with Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval, but I would LOVE to be one of the people that gets the 1/1 Trout. For a person that lives for super premium products and autographs, this is a no brainer.

Buy or Sell: Cam Newton Setting the World On Fire

I remember back in 2011, the hobby was Cam Newton’s world, we were just living in it. Every single one of his cards was straight fire, and for a long time, he was the most valuable rookie in the world. He went on to set all sorts of rookie records, win Rookie of the Year, and the hearts of the hobby in the process. In following years, he has had ups and downs, but it took a 13-0 start to put him back atop the heap in 2015. It doesnt look like he is coming down any time soon.

Check out these prices, just insane:

2011 Topps Chrome Cam Newton Atomic Auto /50 BGS 9.5

2011 Crown Royale Cam Newton Silhouette Auto Patch

2014 Flawless Cam Newton Auto Patch /25

2011 National Treasures Cam Newton Auto Patch PSA 9

Newton has brought all the reasons the Panthers took him number one back to the forefront of the discussion, putting up wins and stats like he was playing a college football team each week. Its actually pretty rare for anyone to put up a season like Newton has, and even rarer that the hobby gets behind someone who has had a roller coaster career like him.

Its also worth mentioning that many in the hobby dont trust many of Newton's signatures, as his autograph inexplicably changed for some Panini, Upper Deck, and Topps products, and then switched back mysteriously when called out to the companies during 2012. I am one of the people who doesnt stand by these cards, as the autograph he “signed” doesnt appear on any in person autographs. The switch back to his confirmed autograph, is too damning to me. Dez Bryant has since gone through a similar transfer in his autographs, and it just doesnt look like it makes any sort of sense.

Here are the good signatures:

2011 Prime Signatures Cam Newton Auto

2011 Topps Five Star Cam Newton Quotable Inscriptions Auto

Here are the ones I dont trust:

2011 Absolute Star Power Cam Newton Auto

2011 Certified Cam Newton Fabric of the Game Auto Patch

You can see that the way he composes his signature is completely different, and that the structure of his letters with the swoop back to cross the T does not match any authenticated examples of in person autographs. He is notorious for being a diva when signing, and this only plays into that stigma.

That being said, any card of Newton’s right now is the best card to have, and its up to collectors to decide whether or not they are willing to bank on the Panthers winning it all, or sell while the hobby fire burns with the heat of 1000 suns.

I am not someone that likes Cam Newton, but I will say that if I had anything of his, it would be on the block as we speak. Its too hard to cash in on anything football these days, so I would be first in line at the window. Considering that 2011 is literally one of the ugliest years of cards I have ever seen, it wouldnt be hard to part with many of the examples. 2011 Contenders landed on my list of worst looking products of this era, with just a hideous approach to the set. 2011 National Treasures isnt much better, especially with the giant foil belt buckles and tiny signing area. I did like Five Star that year, but the rest of the hobby did not. Chrome remains a top card, but the Newton autographs are insanely hard to come by. If I was going to pick anything up from that year, it would be 100% chrome.

Again, all of this spike in value requires Newton to continue performing on the level he is currently performing. The hobby is a fickle bunch, and they rarely tolerate losing or poor performances. If the Panthers go 16-0, the cards will fly high. If they lose in the playoffs, all that spike will decrease to a more reasonable level.

The question becomes, how much confidence do you have in the unquestioned MVP to this point and beyond?

SCU Go Live Report: 2015 Topps Archives Signature Series

I like what Archives is all about, even though it occupies a very similar space as Topps Heritage. Where Heritage tackles one year at a time, Archives casts a much wider net. This product takes the yearly concept of previous Archives sets a bit further, buying back old cards and getting them signed by the players. This is one of the first baseball products in a long time without a rookie element, and with a low box price for on card autos, I think its a winner. The big names make it even better than I could have expected.

Here are some of the big cards up so far:

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Sandy Koufax 1962 Auto 1/1

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Cal Ripken Jr Ginter Auto 1/1

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Randy Johnson Auto Topps Chrome 1/1

2015 Topps Archives Signature Series Mariano Rivera Auto 1/1

I am a sucker for buyback cards with on card autos. I even love reprinted old designs with on card autos. Archives has all of that for less than half the cost of most products on the market these days. Although they took full advantage of the junk wax era for many of the players, that type of nostalgia triggers a special memory for me. I remember all those packs of cards I opened during this era, and to see them stamped and autographed is cool for me.

There are also some pretty nice vintage cards that they used for this set as well, and that is where the true superstar element resides. Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax and others have some very nice autograph examples from this part of the product, and they will sell for a ton.

Again, this is not a product that will come with a windfall of expensive hits, but if you want to relive a small part of your history in the hobby with low numbered on card autos, this product is tremendous.

Sure, there is a lot of George Foster, Livan Hernandez, and people like that, but from what I have seen, there are a few good ones per case. With such a low box price, you can bust a few and not feel as though you got killed.

I think that as a concept, Archives is venturing into territory we need to see more from the card companies. Using their history to create new products is well worth a few products each year, in my opinion. Topps has garnered a cult following with reprinting old designs with new players, but we rarely get what Archives brings to the table. I want more, and I want it across all the sports and brands.