2010 Element Box Break & Review

Design: Photobucket

This year’s Element is all about “Going Green” and recycling.  Almost, if not all of the cards are printed on recycled cardboard.  The packs aren’t even wrapped in foil.  The wrappers feel like recycled paper too.  Sorta like some of the old school packs from the 90’s.  If your familiar with the Heritage products from that “other” manufacturer you’ll get the idea of how each card looks and feels.  2010 Element looks totally different than last year’s.  The 2010 cards have a clean, fresh look to them almost as if they were grown from a tree 🙂  Sometimes the black text on the reverse side can be hard to read because the cardboard is dark itself, but its not that bad.

Price: Photobucket

A hobby box will run you around $80.00.  To me, that sounds about normal.  Your not going to get a lot of new products for less than that.

Hit Quality: Photobucket

Press Pass guarantees two hits per box on average.  I ended up pulling three hits.  Every box comes with a Mystery pack on top which can yield a serial numbered card, autograph, or cash.  I pulled the following:

  • J.R. Fitzpatrick Blue Ink Autograph
  • Jimmie Johnson Finish Line Race-Used Tire #’ed/99
  • Jimmie Johnson Recycled Materials Race-Used Tire/Sheet Metal #’ed/25
  • Kevin Harvick Blue parallel #’ed/35

I’d like to think every box has a good chance of having something extra for the collector.  Press Pass seems to underestimate the number of hits you get per box.  Many of the boxes I’ve opened have had an extra hit.  You can look for Danica Patrick’s first NASCAR trading cards within this product too.  She doesn’t have any relics or autographs in Element, collectors will need to wait until Eclipse for those.

Press Pass is holding a contest where the winner will receive a complete set of 2010 Wheels Autographs numbered 1/1.  My box came with one contest card that gives you a starting point towards the answer.  I think each contest card says the same thing on the back.  You can head over to OrderOfElements.com for weekly clues until someone gets the right answer.

Overall: Photobucket

Overall, I give 2010 Element 4 recycling logos out of 5 (1=poor & 5=perfect).  This product does have a lot of base cards which is great for those set collectors.  I bet you could finish a single base set with two boxes.  I like the fact that Press Pass changes the theme of this product every year.  Its just not the same thing all the time, they put a lot of thought into it.  I like cards where you can hold them up to the light and you can see the grain of the cardboard versus a plain glossy coat.

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2009 Press Pass Legends Racing Break & Review

Design: Photobucket

’09 Legends Racing has the same base set design as their popular football product.  Images of current drivers are in color and drivers of the past come in black and white.  Most of the images on the base cards are closeups of the actual drivers which is common for a product like this.  There isn’t anything overly complicated about the design.

Price: Photobucket

Hobby boxes sell for around $130.00 per box.  Considering you get six hits per box thats not too bad of a price.  I can easily think of some other products out on the market that yield fewer hits but cost a lot more.

Hit Quality: Photobucket

I was very impressed with the quality and quantity of hits that I pulled.  Below is a list of the relics and autographs that I received:

  • Brad Keselowski Prominent Pieces Firesuit/Pit Wall Banner/Glove #’ed/150
  • David Ragan Prominent Pieces Firesuit/Sheet Metal/Glove #’ed/50
  • John Force/Ashley Force Family Relics Shoes #’ed/25
  • Darrell Waltrip Red Ink Nickname autograph #’ed/50
  • Cale Yarborough Blue Ink autograph
  • Geoffrey Bodine Blue Ink autograph #’ed/100

Press Pass did an excellent job with the on-card autographs.  The signatures are big and bold and look really great.  It looks as if Press Pass forgot to put the serial number on the Dale Earnhardt parallels of the checklist.  Its always cool to pull an error.

Overall: Photobucket

Overall, I give this product 4.5 tires out of 5 (1=poor & 5=perfect).  This is the highest rating I’ve given a product, but this one really deserves it.  The card design is great, the price isn’t that bad, and your going to pull some great hits.  The only thing I would suggest is to improve the quality control a little more since the Earnhardt checklist parallels don’t contain the serial numbers.  Errors are part of The Hobby, and its not really a bad thing.  If anything, it should bring more attention to the product.  As of right now, this is the best racing product on the market.

2009 Executive Trading Politicians Box Break & Review

Executive Trading is one of the newest card manufacturers to enter The Hobby.  They focus strictly on political trading cards, and contain images of people who work for the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches of government.  They were nice enough to send over a box for me to break and review.

Design: Photobucket

The first thing that I noticed when I opened my box was the size of the packs.  These packs are slightly small when you compare them to the basic pack that we’re all familiar with.  The cards themselves are about the size of a credit card and are designed to look like currency.  On the reverse side of each card they provide you with more information about that specific person.  You can easily read all the information, and the brownish tint that covers each card makes it look like an old document which I think looks good.

Price: Photobucket

This is one of the few companies that allow you to purchase hobby boxes directly off their website.  Each box costs $90.00 from Executive Trading, but you might be able to find one on eBay for a little less.  A lot of educational institutions will purchase products like this for their classrooms.

Hit Quality: Photobucket

One thing most collectors will notice right off the back is that this product doesn’t contain any relics and/or autographs.  That is something I’d like to see randomly inserted throughout some of their future boxes.  There are rare cards for you to look for such as: Obama (Gold), Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Roberts, Nancy Pelosi, Ron Paul, John McCain, and Edward Kennedy.  The rare cards can be redeemed for cash via the Executive Trading site.  Probably the biggest hit would be the Barack Obama 22k Gold Series insert which you can find randomly in packs.  Each pack also comes with a Lucky code card which you can go on their website and enter the code to see if you have won one of the 21 Obama 22k Golds.  You can also look for White House cards Michelle Obama, Bo, Air Force One, and Marine One.

Overall: Photobucket

Overall I give this product 3 American flags out of 5 (1=poor & 5=perfect).  I would like to see some relics and/or autographs in the future.  Maybe Executive Trading could create a product with various business people in the upcoming years.  Who wouldn’t want to pull a rookie card of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?  This product would fit well in a school environment, and maybe even help turn kids back on to collecting.

2009 UD SP Threads Football Box Pulls + Card Show Pickups

I really enjoyed opening this box of ’09 UD SP Threads Football.  It started off a little slow, but then it picked up.  In the past, Upper Deck made this a high-end product where you would receive a few autographs and/or relics per pack.  This year they changed it a little bit which I think is way better than the other versions of SP Threads.  I’d give this box 3.5 hot dogs out of 5 🙂

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2009 Wheels Main Event Box Break/Review

Out of all the boxes Press Pass has sent me, I think ’09 Wheels Main Event was the most entertaining product to open.  While leading up to the release date, Press Pass displayed images of some of the relics they obtained to cut up and insert into Main Event.  I always like it when companies show you stuff like that.  Alright, check out what I pulled and what I thought of the box.

Design: Photobucket

Each card in this 90-card base set has some type of poker theme to it.  Many of the cards feature good photography, but it seems like Press Pass got a little excited with some of the graphics.  A lot of the base cards seem a little busy to me.  The least busiest cards in the set would have to be the “Rounders” which you’ll receive the most of.  As far as inserts go, I think the “High Roller” cards look the best.  Each has a refractor like finish.

Price: Photobucket

Each hobby box costs around $87.00.  The average collector will receive (3) hits, but having the chance to pull (4) makes this product even more attractive.  Getting 3-4 hits for $87.00 isn’t that bad at all.

Hit Quality: Photobucket

I’m glad to see that Press Pass decided to include an average of (3) hits with this product.  In the past, most of their products only contained 1-2 hits per box.  ’09 Main Event promises at least (3), but I was able to pull a bonus Poker Pro autograph that they have randomly inserted.  My Poker Pro autograph is a redemption, so it will be fun to see how long it takes to receive the actual card.  I pulled the following hits:

  • Michael McDowell Blue Ink Auto #’ed 4/10
  • Phil Ivey Poker Pro Auto Redemption
  • Kyle Busch Triple Hat Relic #’ed/99
  • Juan Pablo Montoya Pit Sign Relic #’ed/120

Overall: Photobucket

Overall I give 2009 Wheels Main Event 3.5 tires out of 5 (1=poor & 5=perfect).  The design on most of the cards seems to be quite busy which in my opinion takes away from the photography.  I am happy that they included at least (3) hits with this product versus the standard (1) or (2).  I like the wide range of relics that you can pull too.  Getting all this for $87.00 is a pretty good value when you compare it to some of the other products on the market.

2009 TRISTAR Obak Box Break/Review

2009 TRISTAR Obak baseball contains some of the first cards of individuals that helped shape the game of baseball and the hobby we all enjoy.  One of my favorite things to do with this product was just sit and read the back of each card.  There is so much historical information on each card, especially the Game Changers.  One thing I’m glad to see that TRISTAR did was put the history of Obak cards on the back of the box.  Reading that before opening my box almost reminded me of the yellow scrolling text at the begining of a Star Wars movie.  I really hope TRISTAR brings this product back in 2010 and includes some more historical figures that have yet to have a card.

Design: Photobucket

TRISTAR tried to keep the design of ’09 Obak as close as they could to the original 1909-11 set.  Some of the photos may look a little fuzzy, but in my opinion that could be because they wanted to try and keep the newer cards looking like the older ones or its because the photos they used of older players such as Candy Cummings needed to be edited.  Some pictures look as if they were cell shaded or lightly painted.  I like the simple design and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

TRISTAR obtained many photos of very old players from The Baseball Hall of Fame Library.  I find it entertaining to try and find the original photo they used to make the card.  Take this card of Candy Cummings for example.

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Regular base card #77.  It looks as if he should be leaning on something.

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Original photo from the 1870’s

I’m sure there are many other cards in the set that you could do this with, but the Cummings stood out the most to me.

Price: Photobucket

The price of Obak is starting to come down.  You can find sealed hobby boxes for around $70.00.  Some people might consider that a lot for a minor league card product, but I think its reasonable considering all the retired/HOFers that you can pull.

Hit Quality: Photobucket

Each hobby box states that you’ll receive 9 hits.  I pulled the following:

  • Juan Francisco Autograph #’ed/50
  • Ron Kittle Autograph #’ed/200
  • Murphy/Wallace/Vitters/Stanton uncut strip #’ed/3600
  • Pat Venditte #’ed/50
  • Spencer Harris #’ed/50
  • George Rawlings #’ed/50
  • Arnold John “Jigger” Statz mini #’ed/50
  • William Howard Taft #99 SP
  • Barack Obama #100 SP

If your looking for the hits to pay for the box, thats probably not going to happen not unless you pull some crazy one-of-one autograph or cut signature.  My favorite cards from this set are the Game Changers.  The only Game Changer I didn’t pull was Jack Norworth, writer of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”.

Overall: Photobucket

Overall I give this product 4 out of 5 baseballs (1=poor & 5=perfect).  This is one of the most educational baseball products ever created.  It has a great selection of current minor leaguers and retired/HOFers which attracts a wide array of collectors.  If TRISTAR does bring Obak back next year, I’d like to see Jefferson Burdick have a Game Changers card in the set.  Burdick was the author of The American Card Catalog and was the first person to ever try and classify cards.  I don’t see a need to fill a product like this with relics.  The Hobby is filled with enough jerseys already.  The only way I’d want relics in Obak is if they were the first relic cards made of older people like Dummy Hoy, Candy Cummings, or Henry Chadwick.  Relics of people like that are almost impossible to find, but maybe TRISTAR could their hands on something.  Another thing I’d like to see would be original Obak cards inserted into packs.  I think thats one of the coolest things they could do with a product like this.  I don’t think this product will get the attention it truly deserves.  I have a feeling if Topps or Upper Deck made a product like this it would get more attention, but thats just my opinion.

P.S.

Earlier this year I wrote a post about how ’09 Allen & Ginter has a warning label on the box taking about how it contains small parts and could be a choking hazard.  After reading that it made me think that people were actually putting the mini’s in their mouth trying to eat them.  I find it ironic that on the back of the ’09 TRISTAR Obak replica mini’s it states the following, “Collect them all, as TRISTAR Obak is Fat Free and Good for Your Health.”

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2009 Press Pass VIP Break/Review

Design: Photobucket

I’ll be honest, the design of this set seems very basic.  Looking through the base set nothing really stands out to me because it looks as if I’ve seen it before.  The “raised up” part on some of the inserts is pretty cool, but its nothing really new.  Probably my favorite design aspect are the acetate versions of the inserts.  I’ve always liked the way cards look when their made of acetate.  The one thing that really turned me off is how Press Pass used the same design for their autographs in VIP as they did for ’09 Stealth.  The autographed cards look identical and use the same generic design.  It might be easier for Press Pass to get on-card signatures this way, but maybe in the future they could change the designs a little.

Price: Photobucket

Sealed hobby boxes of ’09 VIP are currently selling for around $80.00.  That seems about right for a product like this.  Most of Press Pass’s NASCAR products seem to be selling for around this range besides Showcase.

Hit Quality: Photobucket

’09 VIP really doesn’t really have anything that separates itself from their Premium brand.  Out of the 24 packs you should pull 1 autograph and 1 relic.  You have the chance of pulling a Gordon or Earnhardt, Jr auto, but the odds are really against you like they always are.  Out of my two hits, the Tony Stewart Race-Used Glove is probably the better pull.

Overall: Photobucket

I give this product an overall score of 2.5 tires out of 5 (1=poor & 5=perfect).  The set design seems very basic and the only thing that stood out to me were the cards printed on acetate.  I really think they should use different autographed cards for each product versus using one standard card design.  The price seems to fit the mold, but I could always use one more hit too.