Today we switch it up with a product I was considering buying even before I got myself a box for free and that was 2011-12 Rookie Anthology. I love the idea of the set and it serves an important purpose within almost all of Panini's releases. Basically they created a new product with a new base set and new GU and AUTO cards but included RC's (some AUTO's some with GU materials) from past sets such as Pinnacle, Crown Royale, Luxury Suite, Certified etc.
What comes out of these boxes are a very wide variety of products and some SICK cards indeed. For myself, I was intrigued about this product the day I heard about it because it gives collectors an opportunity to dabble between many products in one box instead of just the regular one product per purchase.
Included within the box were 10 packs with 5 cards per pack, plus a bonus pack with one single "hit" card. That gives you a grand total of 51 cards with 5 GU or AUTO cards within that total. I was stoked to open up these packs so let's get to some of the cards:
The base cards may be some of the best designed from Panini this year. I'm always a fan of the team colour designed cards and the banner on the bottom of the fronts highlight well the players name, position and number. Even better is the classy use of gold foil for the team logo and Rookie Anthology logo.
The backs continue with the same kind of design at the front but I notice one technical error that bothers me. They put the players name, number and position on top in the same order and design of that on the front. But when I was first shuffling through the cards I didn't realize that the player number was not in fact the card number and was confused when I found two cards with the same number. The design team at Panini decided to put the "Card No." in the middle of the card, thus making it inconvenient to sort through. That's my only thumbs down on the design stand point.
BASE DESIGN RATING: 9.5/10
Next are the cards considered "hits" that fall one per pack. You'll have to know when purchasing a box of Rookie Anthology you will get your condolence prize which is the 6 non GU/AUTO cards that are considered "hits". Included in those 6 will most likely be 4 Pinnacle RC's (which will get to soon) and 2 random other RC cards.
I have no clue who either of these guys are but they are both from Chicago so they are up for trade. Like I said before, this is where you'll get the wide variety of products released earlier this season by Panini that they are now updating. The Shaw card on the left is from Crown Royale (which I busted this year as well) and a Panini Contenders is on the right (which I ripped one pack of this year).
Here are the afore mentioned Pinnacle RC's. In scanned form they look like a Dufex foiled mess. In reality they are still a Dufex foiled mess. I thought these cards might looked better in hand then what I had seen in scans online but they aren't that much better. Surprisingly they are not all that shiny nor are they bright. They're dark and because of that, show little detail.
Nonetheless, I was happy to pull the bottom card you see here of Eddie Lack.
If when Luongo gets traded Lack is next in line to become back up full time in the NHL. Although recently he has scared fans saying he doesn't wanna sign a long term contract right away. Hopefully he doesn't leave the NHL to go play in Sweden! Anyhoo, here's a little hint...you might see some more of Lack in the very near future ;)
First up for the real hits in this box is this dual GU card of rookies David Rundblad and Mika Zibanejad. I know more about Zibanejad than I do about Rundblad but this card doesn't have a whole lot of meaning to me personally. It is a cool concept though, it's not a highly recycled idea (even though it has been used a few times before) and the execution of the design is well done.
I apologize for the slightly blurry and dusty scan. I decided to crop the scan out a little further since I scanned it crooked in it's top loader.
This card is THICK! And what I love about thick cards is that you can feel the high quality in your hands. This is a Rookie Treasures card that comes from the Rookie Anthology set and not that of another product included within it. The design of this card is drool worthy and just screams high-end. The gold foil touches are beautiful and the fonts and faded designs have class slobbered all over them. The only critique I have is the sticker AUTO. These cards would be soooo much better with hard signed signatures. My two swatches of GU material were mediocre at best (but at least they aren't white)!
The back has a different player photo but still is classy and royal looking. I love the layout of this card, I just wish my scanner wasn't so dirty!
I told you Eddie would make another appearance! I was stoked to pull this card after pulling his Pinnacle RC from a pack before this! This card is just kick ass in every way. The foil technology to carve out "ROOKIE" above the long swatch of green material. Plus that signature is one of the coolest and abstract of the Canucks projects. What's ironic is how I've been chasing this exact card for awhile on eBay and have been outbid numerous times, now I got it for free!
The back continues with the cool and sleek design of Certified. I really like the way Lack plays, he's been brought up through the organization in a similar way Schneider was and I think would do well protecting NHL nets next season part time with Schneider. If you think I was excited about this card, wait till you see the next...
Here's a hint, you saw him in my box of Titanium...
He plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins...
He shares the card with a guy that has gaps in his teeth...
And they were drafted 1st and 2nd overall in 2004...
If you don't have the answer by now you have summer hockey brain...
YES! This card was a very exciting pull. Evgeni Malkin is the type of player I'd love to start pulling regularly, and when he brings along a friend like this, it's even better. Two of the biggest names in hockey today, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin! Along with two coloured swatches of GU jersey, this is a card I think I'll be keeping for awhile!
I really like how Panini used the logo's of the Penguins and Capitals from 2004 and not there more recent versions of 2011-12. Also included is the draft year logo. Definitely one of the nicer pulls of the year personally.
Last but not least was this single card pack included in the box. I could already feel from the thickness that it was a GU card and from most of the pulls I've seen online that means it is probably from Luxury Suite.
This dusty scan of a very nice card is a GU Jersey and Stick card from Luxury Suite of Mr. Jason Spezza. This card is very nice looking and has a unique swatch of memorabilia to it but it is going to be shipped off soon to a fellow collector via trade.
"HITS" DESIGN RATING: 9/10
Since there are so many different releases it seems there are so many nice looking "hit" cards and that is definitely the case!
SET IDEAS: 8.5/10
This product really restricts you from getting creative with your different sub sets and GU and AUTO sets. But Panini did a really good job of designing bringing in some different ideas like the Draft Day card I showed earlier. As well, the versatility of the products included give a wide range of what could have been a repetitive bunch of rookie GU and AUTO cards.
BANG FOR BUCK: 9/10
This product screams value with almost a good break every time. You're getting 5 hits a box which boiled down to 20 bucks a GU or AUTO'd card. Personally I think it would be easy to get back your money on eBay if you so desired to. This is a product I think I'll be diving into once again!
OVERALL RATING: 36/40 (90%) (A)
This product comfortably gets in "A" in my books and I would recommend it to all that are looking for a fun break!
Thanks Panini America and thank you Tracy!
GU NUCKS GO!