Black Friday. That great annual celebration of consumerism where we all gather around the great mall and pay our respects to goods and services. In all honesty, not my favorite day of the year. For one, people act crazy, for two, it tends to only drive sales to large corporations rather than small business, and three, those line are long. I do, however, appriciate a deal. As a public employee I’m not exactly at the top of my earning potential, so I take a bargain where I can get it. So here is my recap of my sports card-relevant black friday pickups.
Functional Friday Pickup
I finally purchased a printer with a scanner, so from this point on all of my images will be scans. Let me just say taht I can’t believe I didn’t have one before. It’s much easier than trying to find that perfect angle with the digital camera and the images are super sharp. Also, I got it for $30. Very nice. I would recommend a scanner for anyone who sells cards on-line or blogs.
On to the cards….
I often purchase a few boxes on Black Friday, usually on-line at either dacardworld.com or blowoutcards.com. Both have very good box prices and great selections. I continued that tradition by purchasing a box of 2012 Topps Archives Baseball from blowout. It was on-sale for an outrageous $59. I’ve already opened a box of it this year, but I love retro stuff and I can’t pass up the chance at two more on-card retro autos. Maybe I’ll get the Ken Griffey Jr. auto that I want so badly (wishful thinking). I do not have this hand yet, so I’ll post again with my box bustin’ results later.
This year I switched it up a little and also visted my local card shop, Showtime Cards, for their black friday sale. Normally, I only buy boxes on-line because they are so much more expensive at the shop, however I wanted to throw a little love their way this year because I truly enjoy having a good shop near my home. While I don’t normally buy boxes from them, I do get packs and all my supplies there and they are always congenial and knowledgeable. So I decided that it was time to fork over a little extra cash and I bought a box of 2012-13 Panini Threads Basketball for $108. It goes for $96 on-line, so the difference wasn’t too extreme and I got to feel good about supporting my local card shop. Let me say, it was well worth the extra money for peace of mind and also because of what I pulled.
First things first, my local shop was participating in the Panini Black Friday promotion, so I got my requisite pack of Panini Black Friday cards. I pulled a Bryce Harper and a Cam Newton card, unfortunately no auto’s or inserts, but at least I got a couple bigger names. The cards themselves are not my cup of tea, both are full of shine and cut out player photos. I’m sure they will be nice for collectors of these players and because of that they will be on eBay post haste.
On to the box. As mentioned in previous posts, I am a fan of this years Threads product. I like the simplicity of the design, I like the unaltered photographs, and I even think the wood card stock autograph idea is a good one. Overall, I think Panini did a good job with this product and I would like to see it become the flagship. It really reminds me, design-wise of the mid-90’s Upper Deck issues, which were always nice and understated. While I will always prefer classic card design with white borders, unaltered player shots, and a simple aesthetic, I also have a soft spot for the borderless design that Upper Deck was using for a while. For one thing, it helps cards grade higher, which is great on the resale market and for another it really takes away the potential for awful, busy designs (which Panini has a propensity for). I was happy to open these cards. Pictured below are a few examples of the quality design aesthetic at work.
While I do really like this design, with the copper flourish, the real reason I splurged on a box was because of the promise of three on-card autos. The autos were to be of rookies of this years and last years class and they were to be on wood card stock, which is a gimmick that I like because of the retro feel and the connection to the basketball hardwood. Opening the box created a lot of anticipation because of the breadth of the rookie class, guys like Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Damian Lillard, and Anthony Davis had me excited for what was in those packs. Remember the only rookie cards in this product are these autographs, therefore this box, moreso than the packs I bought, had the promise of amazing hits.
Rookie auto #1 – John Jenkins – great shooter in college, promise as a role-player but with great upside. Solid, but uninspiring hit.
Rookie Auto #2 – Bismack Biyombo – Interesting player with good defensive potential, though I can’t see him being anything other than limited minutes shot-blocker. Cool name, little esle to be excited about.
Rookie Auto #3 – Pack a Week HIT OF THE YEAR – Anthony Davis – This is the first time I’ve ever pulled an autograph of a #1 overall pick. Davis is poised to be a star, he has the defensive ability and the offensive potential to be an Olajuwon or a Ewing, and as long as he stays injury free I think he will get there. This has been a rough year on autograph hits for Pack a Week, but this is the sort of thing that gives you hope that you can occasionally get the big one. It also makes me glad that I spent the extra money for this box at the shop.
Fear the brow! Seriously, fear that thing.
I also got a number of inserts, some ok, some bad. I pulled a David West gold card, which is numbered out of /25. It is the base design but with a gold bottom border instead of a copper border. Given my affinity for the design, I like it, I’m just bummed it wasn’t a bigger star.
Also pulled were a few Floor Generals cards (including Kyrie Irving, who should bring a few bucks on the secondary market), A couple High Flyers (including Kevin Durant), some Century Greats (Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler), and a couple Talente Twosome cards. Overall the inserts are uninspired, though inoffensively designed. Most, other than the Century Greats feature full action shots and unobtrusive designs. The talented twosomes really reminds me of subsets from the 90’s featuring teammates, which is an ok idea but probably not worthy of a full insert set, though I do like the single photos featuring two players. The other ones just seem to be reaching for a theme and a design. I also pulled a few of the Team Threads Jersey Die-cut Cards, including a Lebron James. I’ve mentioned before that I like these cards. They are kind of like the team stickers of our day and they add a little diversity to the product. Overall the only decent inserts are the Team Threads and the different colored parallels. I’m guessing we’ll see some of the bigger star’s platinums versions going for $30 – $70 on eBay.
Can I call him Durantula, or will that other guy sue me?
Finally, I pulled one relic card, Anthony Mason, which is not pictured. There was also a pack of Kobe Bryant Anthology cards packed in the box. Kobe is my least favorite NBA player of all time. Bold statement, I know. But I just don’t like his smug demeanor and his selfish style. You can tell me he is a winner all you want and that he has that killer instinct, but it doesn’t change the kind of player he is and it’s not the kind I like. The cards are simply designed no borders and Kobe’s name at the bottom. If you’re a Kobe fan then this is awesome, if not…well…not so much.
After buying a box, I still really like this product. I like what they’ve done with the rookie cards. Making them all autos helps increase the value and also makes for something much more interesting. The experiment of using wood card stock seems successful and I can’t wait for more of the same. On-card autos is a double plus. While I don’t love the inserts, three autos per box makes up for it. The design is simple enough to withstand the test of time and I’m happy that Panini has put a decent set together given the fact that they are the only NBA game in town. Overall: 4.5/5
Finally, after entering probably 30 Golden Giveaway codes with Topps this year I only came up with one card, which I received this weekend. It’s Derek Jeter, which I like. I like nothing else. It is a non-sense die cut (why the jagged edges, does that symbolize something?), it’s shiny with some design in the background, and the picture is a cut-out. Bleeeech.