2014 SPX Football Preview Tries to Build With Big Rookies

When you look at it 2014 has already been a relatively big year for Upper Deck, save the interview with Ken Griffey Jr on ESPN. A hockey exclusive, a relatively strong class of rookies in football that come from popular schools, etc. Although I don’t think SPX will end up being on their list of resounding victories come the end of the year, it looks like they are trying to build nicely on what it has become.

Rookie Jumbo Relic Autos

Aside from the unacceptable use of silk screened relics from cheap bookstore jerseys in their cards, the rookie jumbo relic autos have looked VERY nice these last few years. Another card that uses the rectangular 1X2 swatch that I love so much, the design looks well composed per usual UD standards. I think they look better this year than they did last year, although a stronger class will do more than any look could ever do. It also looks like these might be on card for the first time, which is great to see, especially because UD has such an advantage of not having to wait for the draft to produce the cards.

Last year:

2013 SPX Eddie Lacy Auto Jumbo Relic /175

2013 SPX EJ Manuel Jumbo Jersey Auto /475

2013 SPX Matt Barkley Jumbo Jersey Auto /475

This year:

2014-SPx-Football3 2014-SPx-Football2

UD Premier Quad Relic Autos

I have never been a fan of Premier when it was a standalone product, but these singular cards are nice. The fact that the numbers add an element of busy texture to the card isn’t attractive, but overall, its nice. They really haven’t changed much over the last few years, and collectors still aren’t sure where they fit, to be completely honest. As an extra hit in the box, its worth adding to the product.

Last Year:

2013 SPX Barry Sanders Retro UD Premier Auto Quad Relic

2013 SPX Le’Veon Bell UD Premier Auto Quad Relic

This year:

2014-SPx-Football4

Hologram Cards / other cards

These are some of my favorites from back when I was a kid, and I am glad to see they are back for another year. The nostalgic element of these cards will drive them, although I wish the autos weren’t as rare. The holoview diecuts were the pinnacle of my childhood collection, and to see them done this way with current guys brings the memories flooding back.

Last year:

2013 SPX Jim Kelly Holoview Die Cut Insert

2013 SPX John Elway Holoview Die Cut Insert

This year:

2014-SPx-Football5 2014-SPx-Football62014-SPx-Football1

Like I said above, SPX wont wow the pants off anyone the way Exquisite can. Its still looks like some nice improvements are going to be made.

2013 Spectra is Live – Is Price of Admission Too Much?

When 2013 Spectra Football was announced, I was VERRRRY skeptical. Although it promised on card autographs which I absolutely loved, the design looked like something straight off a trapper keeper like I had in 1995 during grade school. Bright colors, busy patterns, but an overall composition that mirrors what I usually like. I was torn on how I felt. Now that I am seeing the results, combined with the Bowman Sterling-esque price point, I have to believe this set will not end well for Panini.

2013 Panini Spectra EJ Manuel On Card Red Refractor /25

2013 Panini Spectra Eric Dickerson Auto HOF On Card

2013 Panini Spectra Eddie Lacy Auto Patch Emerald /5

2013 Panini Spectra Knile Davis Auto Logo Patch 1/1

Here is the question every collector should ask themselves – if Bowman Sterling is one of the worst price points of the year, why is Panini rushing to fill that category as well? You cant have boxes that cost 300 bucks unless you are delivering some of the best content of the year. So far, neither Bowman Sterling nor Spectra is on that path, so why are they being made? Does anyone else get the feeling that ever since Panini has “developed” their own diet Chrome, they have been trying to transfer every Topps product and make a Panini equivalent? It doesn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some cards I absolutely love. The HOF on card autograph refractors are both simple and stunning with on card autograph content. These types of cards should be saved for National Treasures they are so nice, and I am not complaining that they are included. It’s a hugely attractive subset.

I also like that players like Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning have on card patch auto content – as rare as it might be. On card autograph content is always welcome in my book, I just wish the design didn’t bring immediate comparisons to Lisa Frank. If Adrian Peterson ends up having an on card patch auto, ill likely buy it, so its not bad enough for me to stay away.

That isn’t the only problem. Panini looks to have added some depth to their patch auto checklist, which is good for player collectors who buy singles, but bad news for wax breakers. Im sorry, but a 300 dollar box should not have defensive guys as the box hit, unless they are a top player. 99% of defensive players fall in that bucket, 99.9% if they are rookies. Not saying these guys shouldn’t have auto patches, just not in a product like this. The RPS provides 40 guys, that’s enough for me. No need to add someone else unless they had a ridiculous season. Zac Stacy and Alfred Morris are good examples.

Does Spectra have its moments? It does – there is no denying that. Is it falling into the same shelf space as Bowman Sterling? Yes – and that is NOT a good thing.

2014 Donruss Baseball: New Recollection Collection Plays On Nostalgia

I am a huge fan of buyback style autos as long as they feature on card autos. For a very long time, the Donruss Recollection Collection made some major waves with collectors, offering just that type of card. Now that 2014 Donruss is out for the first time in close to a decade, these cards are making a return. Although I think the rest of the product is so hideous that I cant put it into words, the on card Recollection cards are amazing as they once were.

Here are some of the originals:

2002 Donruss Recollection Collection Kirby Puckett Auto Buyback

2001 Donruss Recollection Collection Wade Boggs RC Auto Buyback

2003 Donruss Recollection Collection Johnny Bench Auto Buyback

Here are the new ones:

2014 Donruss Recollection Collection Jose Canseco RC Auto

2014 Donruss Recollection Collection Tony Gwynn Auto

Adding on to the retro style cards, they have also included hard signed Diamond Kings cards, done in the style of the iconic older set. So far, the cards look as good as ever, bringing a nostalgic element to a product that is birthed from a different era.

Check them out:

2014 Donruss Diamond Kings Chris Davis Auto Boxtopper

2014 Donruss Diamond Kings Chris Sale Auto Boxtopper

I cant say much for the rest of the set, but I absolutely love this style of card. Because products like Topps and Donruss have such a rich heritage with the hobby, I don’t understand why stuff like this isn’t done more often. More recently, we have seen products like Leaf Memories take advantage of the collector’s need to relive the past, but nothing like we could see if the companies actually made these types of things a priority.

Over the last 5-10 years, as stickers have become a commonplace occurrence in the hobby, PSA slabbed signed cards from 1970 and beyond have become a hot commodity, even more so if they are rookie cards. It only goes to show how much the marriage of autographs and nostalgia is something that can drive a bus through the base of people that collect.

2014 Topps Football: In Depth Preview

Im interested to see how the first few products of 2014 start off, now that football has such a change in their off season calendar. The first victims of this new schedule will likely be sets like 2014 Topps Football, which is one of my favorites of the year. After seeing the design released a few weeks ago, we are now getting the full solicitation, which is looking MUCH improved over 2013.

Rookie Premiere Autos

These are a set of same day signed cards that has a long standing history with collectors. They have been around for over a decade, and for the first time in a very long time, they may be gone. Quick history lesson – back in 2012, the players started skipping photo sessions which led to a lot of issues in creating the cards. It was worse than ever in 2013. It looks like Topps is going to an inception style retouched photo with on card auto – something I think will be awesome. However, it does mean this set is likely done after a very controversial history. Not sure how I feel about that.

Last year:

2013 Topps Geno Smith Rookie Premiere Auto /90

2013 Topps Tavon Austin Rookie Premiere Auto /90

This year:

14TFB1_3513_RP-Auto_Beckham

Rookie Autos

I love the base versions of the rookie cards with autographs, as I think it adds a nice little element to the product over the last few years. They tend to be pretty rare, so its even more of a chase for the player collectors. They are back again this year and I think its a VERY good thing that we get these in the initial release with post-premiere photos. As mentioned before, these will have NFL uniforms at release.

Last Year:

2013 Topps Eddie Lacy Base Auto Variation

2013 Topps Geno Smith Base Auto Variation

This year:

14TFB1_3401_BaseRKAuto_Clowney

Vet Autos

Im so happy these were added last year, even with a smaller checklist. Vet autos are always welcome in the hobby, and to see the base cards get the autograph treatment is awesome. Topps’ base cards are some of the best designed sets of the year, and I am extremely happy we get autographed parallels.

Last Year:

2013 Topps Russell Wilson Variation Auto

2013 Topps Demaryius Thomas Variation Auto

This Year:

14TFB1_3203_BaseAuto_Lacy14TFB1_3021_ToppsAuto_Manning

Rookie Auto Patches

In 2013, these cards were awesome at the time they were released, especially the jumbo versions of them. I absolutely love the design for this year’s version, which will feature the first relic autos of the new rookie class. Before you ask, these are just mockups that will have regular teams on them come release time.

Last Year:

2013 Topps Cordarrelle Patterson Jumbo Patch Auto /5

2013 Topps Montee Ball Jumbo Patch Auto /5

This Year:

14TFB1_5101_RookieAutoJumboPatch_Lee

Other cards and Medallions

I think the inserts are VASTLY improved after a horrid year in 2013. I hated almost every single one of the insert sets last year, and I am happy that they have updated the cards with a much better look. The medallion style cards are back too, which I have always liked.

Last year:

2013 Topps Jerry Rice Metal Medallion 1000 Yard Club

2013 Topps Troy Aikman Metal Ring Card

This year:

14TFB1_9501_AllPro_Johnson14TFB1_2355_4000YD_BRADY14TFB1_2101_FtsyFocus_McCoy14TFB1_2032_Unleashed_Lynch14TFB1_9009_ToppsClub_Newton

Has the 2013 NFL Rookie Class Done Irrepairable Damage to Football Cards?

When it comes to the rest of the 2013 products now coinciding with 2014 pre-draft releases, are we safe to say that the new rookie class will in fact be better than the last? Although it shouldnt be worse, can the stain of 2013 impact how collectors are viewing single card sales of the rookies that are released each year. Basically – did the worst rookie class in years do irreparable damage?

The big rookie hits out of Supreme (a popular product since 2010) arent close to where they could have been:

2013 Topps Supreme Eddy Lacy Quad Patch Auto

2013 Topps Supreme EJ Manuel Auto Inscription Booklet /5

2013 Topps Supreme Mike Glennon Auto Patch

Crown Royale is even worse – and the silhouettes are some of the best Panini cards of the year:

2013 Crown Royale Le'Veon Bell Auto Patch Silhouette

2013 Crown Royale Eddie Lacy Auto Patch Silhouette

2013 Crown Royale Montee Ball Auto Patch Silhouette

I dont think its out of the question to assume that there were collectors driven away from buying wax after seeing how little secondary market value the cards had out of the pack. Rookie card after rookie card was dropping by the second after the product hit shelves, and with those people being driven away, is it possible that they may never come back? We should be considering the answer to that question.

Look at what is happening with some of the coolest looking cards of 2013 so far. They are so low in price, even though they look awesome, and are less than a week from release. After the player collectors pick up the first card they want, there are literally no other people that will pay close to that price. Some of the bids end so low, that the price stays low, even though so few people are opening the product.

After further consideration, we should all be very happy that 2014 rookies like Johnny Manziel have enormous value out of the gates. Even a defensive player like Jadeveon Clowney ending up as a 50 dollar card is promising considering he doesnt play offense. Blake Bortles is already selling above where I expected, and as the other QBs come through the draft, there could be more guys to round out the impact rookies.

Its possible that collectors were so spoiled by 2012, which was only exacerbated by ridiculous years for Russell Wilson and company. There were two players in the class that have National Treasures auto patches that will sell above a thousand dollars. Insanity right there, especially when Russell Wilson was drafted in the 3rd round. His card is the hottest there is right now, and that wont change for six months if not more. It could be a decade before that happens again. The success of this 2012 class even now, may be a good indicator that collectors are not above being re-captured.

Everyone should be excited to see 2013′s card calendar end. It was a BAD, terrible, horrible, no good year. Even when you see products coming out that are moving more to on card non-RC content, that doesnt matter when the majority of the hits will be rookies. Pray that 2014 turns out better.