Shift in collection focus

Since I started collecting back in the mid-90s, my focus has always been on collecting ‘any and all Indiana Pacers cards, past or present’. The mid-to-late 90s Pacers will always hold a special place in my heart and in my basketball card collection. Guys like Mark Jackson, Rik Smits, Jalen Rose, Dale and Antonio Davis, and of course the great Reggie Miller are my favorite players of all-time, and I doubt that will ever change. After that era of Pacer basketball, players like Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, Ron Artest, Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, along with lesser-knowns, have come and gone. While exciting to watch, now that these players have moved on, I can’t say I go and regularly look through my collections of these guys like I do the cards of Pacers from the 90s.

How this impacts my collecting habits today? Well instead of collecting any and all Pacers, I’ve found myself shifting my focus to other favorite players not wearing a Pacer uniform, along with the key guys on the current team (currently Danny Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, etc…). And so my Tim Duncan collection has taken off, I’ve added autographs of other greats such as Tony Parker and Paul Pierce to my collection, and I’ve put together small collections of Kevin Durant and Grant Hill. I’m pleased with this shift so far, and while I’ll always collect the Pacers, I won’t have to look back in 10 years and try to remember how I ended up with so many cards of Ike Diogu or Shawne Williams. Plus, I’ll still have these guys covered in my All-Time Pacers autograph collection.

With all that said, I’ve picked up some recent Duncan inserts to add to the collection. Pretty excited about the Star Power Plus in particular.



Box Break: 2011-12 Panini Hoops

Panini Hoops has 8 cards per pack, 36 packs per hobby box. Each box typically contains two autographed cards per box, a glossy parallel card or two, an Artist’s proof parallel card or two, and a myriad of insert cards. Here is what Hoops Hobby pulled.


Artist’s Proof (1): Tayshaun Prince
Glossy (2): Patrick Patterson, Daniel Gibson


A Night to Remember (4): Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Dwyane Wade, Jason Terry
Action Photos (3): Kevin Love, Amare Stoudemire, Stephen Curry


Courtside (3): Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce
Slam Dunk Champions (3): Kenny ‘Sky’ Walker, Josh Smith, Blake Griffin


Hall of Fame Heroes (4): Nate Thurmond, John Havlicek, David Robinson, Dolph Schayes


Hoop Dreams (1): James Harden


Autographs (2): Hasheem Thabeet, Randy Foye

Impressions:

For a sub-$50 box, Hoops delivers as advertised, providing a bunch of inserts and parallels and the two autos per box, with a shot at a nice one (Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, etc…)

Some of these insert sets I like and may even try to complete myself. I find I enjoy the simple set designs like ‘Hoop Dreams’ and ‘Courtside’. The Slam Dunk set and ‘A Night to Remember’ have too much going on in one card.

The autographs are underwhelming, with this box providing Hasheem Thabeet (not afraid to go ahead and label Hasheem a big bust), and bench player Randy Foye. It’s a shame these autographs aren’t on-card, but again, for a sub-$50 product, can’t complain.

Hoops appeals to the crowd that likes opening a ton of cards, pulling a ton of inserts, and loves pulling multiple cards of their favorite players. Many of the stars have multiple base cards in this release. The base cards could be used for TTM autograph collectors and in-person autographs. While the value is good for the price, the potential for this release is so high, though, and it comes as a slight disappointment to me just because of some of the insert sets being underwhelming in design. I would like to see future releases such as these modeled after the 2010-11 Donruss product, which had a similar starting price point and received more praise from collectors.


Recent Pickups: Pacers Autographs


Excited about adding these three cards to the Pacers autograph collection, which now includes autographs of 76 different Pacer players.

David West’s SP Authentic rookie autograph can be had at a reasonable price.  He is still capable of a double-double on any given night.

Lou Amundson is becoming a fan favorite in Indiana with his high energy and constant hustle.  He scored a career-high 21 points last week  to lead the Pacers over the Portland Trailblazers.

And of course Rik Smits is an all-time Pacer great who is fairly short on different autograph cards, only included in a few sets, Skybox Autographics from the mid-late 90s, as well as the 2005-06 Topps Style set.


Panini Preferred Basketball Released

Panini’s second basketball product of the season, Preferred, is out and its singles are appearing on ebay.  Each box contains three autographs and a fold-out booklet with jersey swatches from up to 8 current and former players. I have to say, these booklets are awesome, particularly the patch versions.

I’m impressed with the product. At the $200/box price, I’ll be looking to pick up singles. At first glance, I wasn’t thrilled with the triangular Crown Royale autographs, but they are growing on me. It helps that these are on-card signatures.

Bring me the Paul George autographs and jumbo jerseys!


Box Break: 2010-11 Panini Prestige Retail

The Set:
2010-11 Panini Prestige
8 packs per retail box, 10 cards per retail pack
150 card base veterans and legends, 95 rookies (2 versions for each)
Bonus Shots parallel (#’d versions out of 499, 249, 49, 25 and rookies out of 999)
Franchise Favorites inserts and memorabilia versions
Playmakers inserts and memorabilia and autograph versions
Hardcourt Heroes inserts and memorabilia versions
Inside the Numbers inserts and memorabilia versions
Old School Inserts and memorabilia and autograph versions
NBA Draft Class inserts
Prestigious Picks inserts and memorabilia verions
Prestigious Pros inserts and memorabilia versions
Stars of the NBA inserts and memorabilia versions
Stat Stars inserts and memorabilia and autograph versions
Super Sophs inserts and memorabilia verions
True Colors inserts and memorabilia verions
NBA Draft Class Logo autographs

Our Break:


Rookies (8): John Wall, Paul George, Cole Aldrich, Greivis Vasquez, Quincy Pondexter x2 (both versions), Al-Farouq Aminu, Devin Ebanks,


Bonus Shots /499 (1): Amare Stoudemire


Franchise Favorites (1): Dwight Howard


Playmakers (1): Tyreke Evans


Prestigious Picks Materials Green /499 (1): James Anderson

Impressions:

Lacking a hobby box to break this week, I turned to my local Target and found this retail box on sale.  The results are pretty typical of what to expect from a retail box. Pulling the John Wall was fortunate and made the break an above average one, but with the rookies included and the game worn card, which I imagine is included at one-per-box on average, you could do much worse on a retail break.

The base set has both legends and current players.  It was nice to find old favorites such as Muggsey Bogues and Dell Curry in the product along with new stars of the game.

Honestly since I opened a few packs of Prestige upon its release, I’ve felt the base set design a bit lacking.  The gray splashes on the right don’t do anything for me, although the photography used for many of the cards is pretty exciting, such as in the Kobe for example.

If you can find these boxes, particularly at a discounted price, they are worth picking up for a fun break that delivers on rookies, inserts and memorablia cards.


Surprising Team #1: Philadelphia 76ers

While the Sixers have played one of the league’s easiest schedules so far in the early season, their 12-5 record cannot be discounted.  Even in a loss to the Wade-less Heat Saturday night, I was struck by the quality depth of this Sixers squad.  In Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young, and Evan Turner, they’ve got three guys who would start for some teams and heck, they should probably be starting for their own team.  Team balance is a result of their quality depth.  Going into their game Monday against the Wizards, the Sixers had seven players averaging double figure scoring, led by Louis Williams (coming off the bench) at 15.5 ppg.  Sidenote: Louis is currently shooting better from outside the 3-point arc than inside it.

With a young core that is locked up for the next several years, this team should be a contender in the East for years.  They’ve already got some playoff experience and will get more this season.

Will this recent success and bright outlook for the Sixers have any kind of hobby impact?  While Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday have more recent and probably more readily available rookie cards and autographs, some other Sixers might be flying under the radar a bit. Andre Iguodala’s rookie cards and autographs have some room to grow in value.  Louis Williams autographs can be had for less than $10 easily.  A few of the cards below might be worth a pickup if you can find them on the cheap:

2004-05 Topps Chrome #174 Andre Iguodala RC
2004-05 SP Authentic #179 Andre Iguodala AU RC
2005-06 SPx #126 Louis Williams JSY AU RC

and other rookie autographs.


Insert Set Flashback: 1997-98 Fleer Key Ingredients




The Set:
1997-98 Fleer Key Ingredients

Set Odds:
1 in 2 series one retail packs

Key Cards:
Shaquille O’Neal $1.50
Scottie Pippen $1.00

Why I Like It:
I actually didn’t know this set existed until recently, but its metallic looking finish jumped out at me.  These players are the ‘Keys’ to their teams, and each card has an identical background of the paint which is, as with several inserts sets from the late 90s, not a flat card.  There’s a 3D type effect that makes the player stand out against the background.  Fleer also produced a Gold version of these that were inserted at 1 in 18 packs.

I am putting the regular set together, and have just a few more cards I need to finish it.  You can find the ones I need on my Insert Wantlists page.  Let me know if you have any of the remaining cards there.  I have lots to trade. You can leave a comment or contact me at HoopsHobby@gmail.com