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.

2014 Leaf Metal Draft Football is Live!

Well, the day has come – 2014 Football cards have hit the market, and for now, they are going to be a great barometer of what is going to be happening after a vast decrease in 2013. Leaf has been first to market for a few years now, and each year I have gotten more and more on board with what Brian Gray is doing with his sets. All on card, few redemptions, and some really nice designs.

Here are some big hits already up:

2014 Leaf Metal Draft Johnny Manziel Auto Red Refractor /5

2014 Leaf Metal Draft Johnny Manziel Auto Purple Refractor /25

2014 Leaf Metal Draft Blake Bortles Green Refractor Auto /10

2014 Leaf Metal Draft Teddy Bridgewater Green Refractor Auto /10

2014 Leaf Metal Draft Jadeveon Clowney Blue Refractor Auto

Although I think the Leaf Stars and the State Pride cards are horribly ugly, the rest of the set continues to be very well designed. You can tell Brian is taking more and more liberties with retouching the cards, leaving more of the uniform visible, despite not having a license to show logos. I think this year’s design is SIGNIFICANTLY better than 2013, and on par with 2012's banner year.

As for the cards themselves, it has become abundantly obvious in the last few months that Johnny Manziel will be the top guy. Not only is he a Heisman winner, but he is a polarizing figure that people love to hate, or just love. This fame leads to hobby value, and with speculation that he could go in the top 5, his cards are even hotter than ever.

The other players like Jadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater, and company arent necessarily on Manziel’s level, but they are already selling above where we saw 2013 start off. Its a deep class, especially on the QB and WR crop, which is ALWAYS a good thing.

Here is the thing. Despite the fact that it isnt a diluted checklist like some of the other pre-draft products are, these cards will only be hot for a VERY short time. The SECOND the first post-draft product hits the market, these will lose half their value. Based on that factor alone, the 100 dollar price tag is going to be tough to stomach. If you want to get your hands on these cards, it will be best to wait for the other products to come out. 2014 Bowman Football will likely be the first licensed product of the year, and that is coming off a HUGE year in 2013.

I really like this product in February, especially with all the hard signed autographs. The cards look great for the most part, and the Chrome stock is always a favorite.

2013 Topps Supreme: Can a Great Design Overcome a Weak Class?

Its clear that 2013 is a year that many people would like to say goodbye to. The rookie class hasnt helped sell any product, and when that happens in football, the rest of the calendar can suffer immensely. Although 2013 Topps Supreme is the best that it has ever looked, it is going to be a tough break for most of the people out there. I thought 2012 was a great looking product to begin with, and with a strong class, it wasnt as hard to get past the format of the boxes. This year's product looks that much better, but its going to be hard to get excited about a Tyler Wilson jersey card as your pack hit.

Here are some of the big hits so far:

2013 Topps Supreme Joe Montana Quad Patch Auto – Really like the look here.

2013 Topps Supreme Le'Veon Bell / Landry Jones Dual Silhouette Auto Relic Booklet

2013 Topps Supreme Eddie Lacy Jumbo Patch Auto

2013 Topps Supreme Joe Montana / Steve Young Dual Auto Patch Booklet

Now that Supreme is live, I think that the comparisons I have always drawn to Upper Deck's Ultimate Collection of 2008 and 2009 ring even more true. If you hit it big with Supreme, you can hit it BIG. The cards look so nice that the singles a player or team collector can pick up are going to far outweigh the price of admission.

My favorite cards in the product back in 2012 were the jumbo patch autos, which are back again for another year. Because the patch window isnt connected directly to the sticker window, I think the design is much more easy to follow, and looks a lot better. I wish that they werent so rare in the grand scheme of the format, but I really like the checklist for this year’s set.

The best non-autograph part of the set is the 1/1 logos, which I wasnt all that impressed with in 2012. The cards really look completely different this year, and it is a welcome change to the landscape. Adding in a better design on the letter patches and laundry tags to boot, and I have to applaud Topps for constructing things the right way.

Supreme will end up getting lost among the rest of the products at the end of the calendar, as the sticker autos are going to take things down a notch. However, this is one of those sets that really has no licensed competition in terms of the theme and focus of the finished product. If Topps were to find a way to get hard signed autographs for the vet and HOF sigs, I think my review would be much more favorable.