2018/19 Topps Chrome Premier League Soccer Box Break & Review

Topps is king when it comes to Chrome-based products.  It doesn’t matter if its baseball, football, or professional wrestling, there will always be a core group of collectors lining up to rip into a box.  I bet if Topps made a Chrome set based solely on the Swiss curling team it would sell.

If you’re into Premier League soccer, you might have some fun with the new 2018/19 Topps Chrome Premier League product.  Boxes sell for around $55.  Inside every box there are (18) packs containing (4) cards each.  You’ll also find (1) autograph per box too.

The base set is comprised of (100) cards featuring top players from the Premier League.  Topps chose to use the 2018 baseball flagship design.  They did the same thing with 2017/18 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League.  Parallels are what make Chrome products so great, and this set has plenty of them.  Base set parallels include Refractor, Purple Refractor #’ed/250, Blue Refractor #’ed/150, Green Refractor #’ed/99, Blue Wave Refractor #’ed/75, Gold Refractor #’ed/50, Orange Refractor #’ed/25, Red Refractor #’ed/10, Red Wave Refractor #’ed/10, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1.

While ripping through your box, its a good idea to check the CMP code on those standard refractors.  There are (5) image variations to watch for.  Each has a refractor-like coloring, and the CMP code on the back ends in #08.  Base cards end in #88.  Superfractor versions of these variations exist as well.  The five players these apply to are Harry Kane #1, Romelu Lukaku #22, Kevin De Bruyne #50, N’Golo Kanté #63, and Mohamed Salah #100.  Here is a nice little guide I made to help.

Autographs come in four different formats – Base ChromeNew SigningsPremier League Debuts, and Superstar Sensations.  The Base Chrome Autographs have Blue Refractor #’ed/150, Green Refractor #’ed/99, Blue Wave Refractor #’ed/75, Gold Refractor #’ed/50, Orange Refractor #’ed/25, Red Refractor #’ed/10, Red Wave Refractor #’ed/10, and Superfractor #’ed/1 parallels.  The only parallels the other autographs have are Superfractors.  New SigningsPremier League Debuts, and Superstar Sensations all have unsigned counterparts.

No matter the sport, Topps Chrome always offers up a lot.  Between the image variations, refractors, and guaranteed autograph, the risk is fairly spread around.  You can’t beat it for $55.

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Dele Alli Superstar Sensations Auto #’ed/30

Parallels

  • James Ward-Prowse Gold Refractor #’ed/50
  • Mesut Özil Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • Kelechi Iheanacho Blue Refractor #’ed/150
  • Kieran Trippier Purple Refractor #’ed/250
  • Andros Townsend Refractor
  • Ruben Neves Refractor
  • Jack Cork Refractor
  • Tom Cairney Refractor
  • Junior Hoilett Refractor
  • Antonio Rüdiger Refractor

Inserts

  • Andriy Yarmolenko New Signings
  • Mohamed Elyounoussi New Signings
  • Richarlison New Signings
  • Ayoze Pérez Superstar Sensations
  • Steve Mounié Superstar Sensations
  • Chris Wood Superstar Sensations
  • Jordan Pickford Superstar Sensations

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2018 Bowman Draft Baseball Jumbo Box Break & Review

Every great trilogy has a beginning, middle, and end.  Bowman Draft is the final piece of the prospecting puzzle.  This is the first place to get those cards of newly drafted prospects.  Trust me.  Collectors and investors were chomping at the bit to get their hands on them.  Cards from the core three prospecting sets – BowmanBowman Chrome, and Bowman Draft traditionally hold the most value.

Everyone wants to get in early on that prospect who they think will turn into the next Mike Trout.  Can you blame them?  The Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Chrome Superfractor Auto #’ed 1/1 sold last year for a whopping $400k.  That’s a ton for a modern day baseball card.

It certainly didn’t take long for an eye catching sale to come out of the 2018 version of Bowman Draft.  From the looks of it, the Nolan Gorman Superfractor Auto sold for $15k.  Hopefully the transaction goes through, and the buyer/seller don’t have a falling out.  Talk about a lot of money for a card of a guy who was drafted #19 last summer, and has played less than 100 professional games.  From an investment standpoint I think its a bit nuts.  There are a lot more unproven prospects than Mike Trout superstars.  Just because he had 17 home runs in 63 games last year doesn’t mean he’ll be able to keep that going.  Single A ball is not the same as the majors.  Then again, who am I to say what people should or shouldn’t spend their money on?  As you can see, prospecting is very much alive and well.

2018 Bowman Draft comes in two different formats – Jumbo and Super Jumbo.  A Jumbo box contains (3) autographs, whereas a Super Jumbo box has (5).  The base set contains (200) cards, and has the following parallels: Sky Blue #’ed/499, Purple #’ed/250, Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Gold #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, Black #’ed/1, and Printing Plates #’ed/1.

Each base card has a Chrome counterpart with these parallels: Refractor, Asia Refractor, Sparkles Refractor, Sky Blue Refractor #’ed/402, Purple Refractor #’ed/250, Blue Refractor #’ed/150, Green Refractor #’ed/99, Gold Refractor #’ed/50, Orange Refractor #’ed/25, Red Refractor #’ed/5, Superfractor #’ed/1, and Printing Plates #’ed/1.

(14) cards have image variations.  These are quite easy to spot.  Each image variation has a Chrome, refractor-like finish, and the CMP code on the back will end in #0916.  Half of these image variations have autographed versions #’ed/99.

The Chrome Draft Pick Autographs are the real meat and potatoes when it comes to this brand.  This is where you’re guaranteed autographs will come from anyway.  At least most of the time.  The Bowman Sterling inserts are back which have a nice clean look.  What really stands out to me are the cards celebrating the 20th anniversary of 1998 Bowman.  I fondly remember the original 1998 Bowman because that’s where my Jimmy Rollins rookie is from.  A buyback autograph of that card would’ve been nice.  The 20th anniversary set features young prospects on the old design.  Those vertical autographs came out well.

I’m from Selinsgrove, PA.  One of the Cardinals 2018 draft picks, Nick Dunn, is from Sunbury, PA which is right across the river from me.  Its always fun to see a local person get cards.  He was a round 5 pick, 153rd overall.  I saw him play for the State College Spikes this past summer.  Bowman Draft has base and Chrome cards of him with all of the accompanying parallels.  No autographs yet.

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Ryan Weathers Chrome Draft Pick Auto Redemption
  • Owen White Chrome Draft Pick Auto
  • Kody Clemens Chrome Draft Pick Green Refractor Auto #’ed/99

Parallels

  • Korey Holland Purple #’ed/250
  • Adam Hill Sky Blue #’ed/499
  • Nick Schnell Sky Blue #’ed/499
  • Jameson Hannah Chrome Sparkles Refractor
  • Pavin Smith Chrome Purple Refractor #’ed/250
  • Jeremiah Jackson Chrome Sky Blue Refractor #’ed/402
  • Matt Vierling Chrome Sky Blue Refractor #’ed/402
  • Ethan Hankins Chrome Refractor
  • Jesus Luzardo Chrome Refractor
  • Ryan Weathers Chrome Refractor
  • Lenny Torres Chrome Refractor
  • Daniel Lynch Chrome Refractor
  • Jackson Kowar Chrome Refractor
  • Drevian Williams-Nelson Chrome Refractor
  • Taylor Trammell Chrome Refractor
  • Kody Clemens Chrome Refractor
  • Mitch Keller Chrome Refractor
  • (2) Keston Hiura Chrome Refractor
  • Tyler Frank Chrome Refractor
  • Jordyn Adams Chrome Refractor
  • Kevon Jackson Chrome Refractor
  • Sean Guilbe Chrome Refractor
  • Adrian Morejon Chrome Refractor
  • Adam Wolf Chrome Refractor
  • Mitchell White Chrome Refractor
  • Matthew Liberatore Chrome Refractor
  • Grayson Rodriguez Chrome Refractor
  • Braydon Fisher Chrome Refractor
  • Nico Hoerner Chrome Refractor
  • Andres Gimenez Chrome Refractor

Inserts

  • Ryan Weathers Bowman Sterling
  • Alec Bohm 1998 Bowman 20th Anniversary
  • Jonathan India 1998 Bowman 20th Anniversary
  • Cole Winn/Matthew Liberatore Recommended Viewing
  • Anthony Seigler/Noah Naylor Recommended Viewing
  • Nolan Gorman/Triston Casas Recommended Viewing
  • Simeon Woods-Richardson/Braxton Ashcraft Recommended Viewing
  • Logan Gilbert/Josh Stowers Franchise Futures
  • Ryan Weathers/Xavier Edwards Franchise Futures
  • Brady Singer/Jackson Kowar Franchise Futures
  • Jonathan India/Mike Siani Franchise Futures

2018 Bowman’s Best Baseball Master Box Break & Review

Its always bitter sweet when Bowman’s Best rolls around.  For awhile now, this brand traditionally is one of the last MLB-licensed products to come out before the end of the year.  Then we sink into a long gap before the 2019 products start pumping out.  The 2018 baseball collecting season has been a wild ride thanks to rookies like Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Juan Soto.  I wonder what 2019 will bring?

Bowman’s Best is a great product to end 2018.  Especially the way its been configured the last few years.  Prospects and rookies continue to dominate the checklist, but you can pull some nice veteran cards too.  Recently drafted prospects are one of the main attractions this product has.  New prospects such as Casey Mize, Alec Bohm, and Triston Casas are all top guys who have some of their first cards in here.

If you’re not someone who wants tons of base cards leftover after the break has finished, Bowman’s Best is perfect for those prospect hunters.  A master box consists of (2) mini-boxes.  Inside each mini-box there are (6) packs housing (5) cards each.  Every mini-box has (2) autographs.  That’s (4) autographs per master box.

The base set consists of (99) cards.  A mix of (70) rookies and veterans, and (29) top prospects.  Parallels include Refractor, Atomic Refractor, Purple Refractor #’ed/250, Blue Refractor #’ed/150, Green Refractor #’ed/99, Gold Refractor #’ed/50, Orange Refractor #’ed/25, Red Refractor #’ed/10, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1.

No relics here folks.  All autographs.  Most on-card too.  For the most part your autographs are going to be from the Best of 2018 set.  These cards resemble the base set, and come in a variety of colored parallels.  The Dual Autographs are very impressive and numbered to (25) or less.  The Mike Trout/Shohei Ohtani and Derek Jeter/Aaron Judge examples look sick.  Other autographs include 1998 Best PerformersEarly IndicationsNeophyte Sensations, and Power Producers.  All of these have numerous parallels, and non-autographed counterparts.

When I first started collecting as a Phillies fan I needed to have Scott Rolen’s 1995 Bowman’s Best rookie.  I still have it today sitting on my shelf.  I enjoy Bowman’s Best as its a semi-quick thrill with newly drafted prospects along with some veterans.

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Brice Turang Best of 2018 Auto Redemption
  • Jeren Kendall Best of 2018 Auto Redemption
  • Jose Siri Best of 2018 Refractor Auto
  • Franklin Perez Early Indications Gold Refractor Auto #’ed/50

Parallels

  • Roger Clemens 1998 Best Performers Atomic Refractor
  • Jose Abreu Atomic Refractor
  • Javier Baez Refractor
  • Jordan Groshans Refractor
  • Mitch Keller Refractor
  • Jo Adell Refractor
  • J.D. Martinez Refractor
  • Freddie Freeman Refractor
  • Mookie Betts Refractor
  • Khris Davis Refractor
  • Fernando Romero Refractor
  • Brian Anderson Refractor

Inserts

  • Walker Buehler Neophyte Sensations
  • Shohei Ohtani Power Producers
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Power Producers
  • Luis Urias Early Indications
  • Hunter Greene Early Indications
  • Jo Adell Early Indications
  • Ryan Weathers 1998 Best Performers
  • Brady Singer 1998 Best Performers
  • Ozzie Albies 1998 Best Performers
  • Anthony Rizzo 1998 Best Performers

2018 Topps Gallery Collector’s Box Break & Review

After a very successful revival last year, Topps Gallery makes it’s return in 2018.  Once again this product is a Walmart exclusive.  So if you’re out shopping for those last minute Christmas gifts, checkout the card section for Topps Gallery.

I really like this brand, and what Topps has done with it.  It comes in three different formats – Collector’s Box, Blaster, and Jumbo Value Pack.  A Collector’s Box is equal to what a hobby box would be, and is the only format that guarantees any hits.  Packaged within each Collector’s Box are (20) packs along with (1) Oversized Base Topper.  You should find at least (2) autographs.  Blasters have exclusive Artist’s Proofs, while Jumbo Value Packs have Canvas Parallels.

The base set consists of (150) cards.  Parallels include Artist’s Proof (Blaster), Canvas (Jumbo Value Pack), Private Issue #’ed/250, Green #’ed/99, Blue #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/1, and Printing Plates #’ed/1.  I’ve seen the Canvas parallels referred to as Wood sometimes.  Short Prints are found between #151 and #200.

Nine artists came together in order to produce the images for this set.  They are Gerry Garcia, Kris Penix, Mayumi Seto, Carlos Cabaleiro, Dan Bergren, John Giancaspro, Kevin Graham, Jeff Mallinson, and Evan Shoman.  Lots of these artists have done work for Topps before.  Mayumi Seto is responsible for all of the Topps Living Set cards.

On the back of each card you can see which artist did the work.  Five cards actually list the wrong artist – Ted Williams #163, Ernie Banks #167, Nelson Cruz #169, Robinson Cano #199, and Jackie Robinson #200.  These cards attribute Carlos Cabaleiro as the artist when in fact it should be Kris Penix.

In addition to the base set and autographs, there is a nice selection of inserts.  The Impressionists inserts are quite impressive.  Despite not having any parallels, just the inserts themselves get more attention on the secondary market than you’ed expect.  I pulled (1) from my Collector’s Box.

Although difficult to pull, its possible to own the original artwork used to make these cards.  You can only get these pieces in the Collector’s Boxes.  It would be hiding in your box topper pack instead of an oversized card.

Topps Gallery is one of my favorite looking products.  On-card autographs could improve it, but given that its a retail-exclusive stickers make sense.  I believe it to be one of their most important retail releases.

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Ryan McMahon RC Auto
  • Anthony Banda RC Blue Auto #’ed/50

Short Prints

  • Noah Syndergaard #195
  • Darryl Strawberry #170
  • Max Kepler #187
  • Randy Johnson #177

Parallels

  • John Smoltz Green #’ed/99
  • Jordan Hicks Private Issue #’ed/250
  • Jose Altuve Heritage Green #’ed/250

Inserts

  • Victor Robles Impressionists
  • Randy Johnson Masterpiece
  • Cody Bellinger Masterpiece
  • Hank Aaron Hall of Fame Gallery
  • Bob Gibson Hall of Fame Gallery
  • Anthony Rizzo Heritage
  • Nolan Arenado Heritage
  • Ichiro Heritage
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. Heritage
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. Oversized Base Topper

Notable Rookies

  • Rhys Hoskins #133
  • Shohei Ohtani #116
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. #140
  • Juan Soto #126

2018 Topps UFC Museum Collection Box Break & Review

Happy Holidays!  This time of the year can be very stressful for some people.  Friends and family are coming together.  It can sometimes lead to a lot of clashing.  People you only see once or twice a year may not always get along.  You could build an octagon in the backyard and let them go at it, or simply open a few boxes of 2018 Topps UFC Museum Collection.  Walking away with some nice hits always makes things better.  What better way to bring people together than the memory of an awesome pull.

If you’re a fan of Museum Collection Baseball this year, the UFC counterpart should be right up your alley.  That’s of course if you’re into UFC.  The design from the baseball set carries right over to this one.  The overall layout is similar, but you’ll notice that the cards from the UFC set have a refractor-like finish.  Not something you see done much outside of chrome-stock products.

A nice group of fighters make up the base set and various hits.  The base set consists of (50) fighters.  Parallels include Copper #’ed/159, Gold #’ed/75, Sapphire #’ed/25, Ruby #’ed/8, and Emerald #’ed 1/1.

Lets face it.  Hits are 100% what drive this product.  Its a quick thrill for UFC fans.  Every box comes with (1) pack.  Inside each pack there should be (1) relic, (1) on-card autograph, and (1) autographed relic.

UFC products can offer some interesting looking hits.  The on-card autographs, metal-frame, and patch cards are top notch.  I specifically enjoy the Signature Reebok Logo Signatures.

At around $70 for a box that offers (3) hits, its not that bad.  Longtime UFC collectors, new UFC collectors, and/or those just looking to give a UFC box a try should have fun.

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Henry Cejudo Museum Autograph Redemption

Relic

  • Rose Namajunas Primary Pieces Single Quad Relic #’ed/50

Auto/Relic

  • Joseph Benavidez Signature Swatch Triple Relic Auto Gold #’ed/25

Parallels

  • Demetrious Johnson Gold #’ed/75
  • Amanda Nunes Ruby #’ed/8

Base

  • Colby Covington #16
  • Holly Holm #6
  • Alexander Volkov #29

2018 Topps Triple Threads Baseball Box Break & Review

Love it or hate it.  Triple Threads has been a staple in the hobby for the last twelve years.  You’ve got to admire that type of lasting power.  Just think about how many other products have come and gone within that time.  Its a lot.

I’m a fan of Triple Threads.  Always will be.  The first time I opened a pack was way back in 2007.  This is when the packs came in that crazy triangle shape.  It was during my first trip to the National Sports Collectors Convention.  That year it was held at what has become my favorite location, the I-X Center in Cleveland.  While browsing the show floor, I came across Dave & Adam’s Card World.  They were selling Triple Threads by the pack, and I decided to take a shot.  Taking it over to the food court, I opened it while devouring a hot dog.  To my surprise, waiting inside that pack was a Dwight Gooden/Tom Seaver/Roger Clemens Triple Auto Relic #’ed 1/1.  Talk about a tremendous hit that made my first National even more memorable.  I know that I’ve told this story before, but its something that I like to do while busting my annual Triple Threads box.

Triple Threads has and always will be about the hits.  There is a nice looking base set to put together.  It consists of (100) cards, and has the following parallels: Amethyst #’ed/299, Emerald #’ed/259, Amber #’ed/199, Gold #’ed/99, Onyx #’ed/50, Sapphire #’ed/25, Ruby #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.  All veterans and retired stars.

Like I said before, Triple Threads is 100% hit driven.  Its always been a high-end, hobby-exclusive product.  We’ll never see a retail version.  Each box comes with (2) mini-boxes.  Inside each mini-box you should find (1) autograph and (1) relic card.  Plus (2) parallels.  A master-box should cost around $200.

Rookies, veterans, and retired stars/Hall of Famers highlight the hits.  There is an endless amount of autographs, jerseys, patches, cut signatures, and booklets that you can get.  Its the beating heart of Triple Threads.  The fact is, if you enjoyed this brand for the last twelve years you’re most likely going to have fun with it again in 2018.

The windows housing many of the relics spell out interesting (at times funny) tidbits about that specific player.  I’d like to see some specially made Triple Threads cards for the National Sports Collectors Convention.  Relic windows could easily be made to spell out “NSCC”.  I could see these as high-end giveaways at the Topps booth or what collectors receive during the Q&A session.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto/Relics

  • Justin Bour Triple Threads Autograph Single Jumbo Relic #’ed/99
  • Tom Glavine Triple Threads Autograph Relic Gold #’ed/9

Relics

  • Wil Myers Triple Threads Single Jumbo Relic Silver #’ed/27
  • Aroldis Chapman/Gary Sanchez/Masahiro Tanaka Triple Threads Relic Combo Emerald #’ed/18

Parallels

  • Don Mattingly Gold #’ed/99
  • Evan Longoria Amethyst #’ed/299
  • Adrian Beltre Emerald #’ed/259
  • Albert Pujols Emerald #’ed/259

Base

  • (2) Noah Syndergaard
  • Roberto Clemente
  • Johnny Bench
  • Ryne Sandberg
  • Byron Buxton

2018 Topps High Tek Baseball Box Break & Review

Acetate stock, on-card autographs, and a quick-thrill (1) pack per box configuration.  Yes please.  Sign me up!

Don’t let the (1) pack fool you.  2018 Topps High Tek is for both fast ripping thrill seekers, and collectors looking to complete that ultimate rainbow.  At first glance the patterns and parallels can be mind bending, but after awhile you’ll understand how things flow.

(112) cards make up the base set.  The National League and American League each have (4) distinct levels of pattern rarities.  Patterns 1-4 will look a certain way for NL players, while AL players will have their own set of patterns.  #1 is the easiest, while #4 traditionally is the most difficult.

Packaged inside every (1) pack box are (40) cards.  Yes, I said (40).  That’s quite a brick.  When breaking down the pack, you should find Rainbow Foils, Magma Diffractors, Orbit Diffractors, and Galactic Diffractors.  Each of these have their own parallels:

  • Rainbow Foil – Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Black #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/10, Gold #’ed 1/1
  • Magma Diffractor – Green #’ed/99, Black #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/10, Gold #’ed 1/1
  • Orbit Diffractor – Black #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/10, Gold #’ed 1/1
  • Galactic Diffractor – Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/10, Gold #’ed 1/1

(5) players – Aaron Judge, Kris Bryant, Mariano Rivera, Mike Trout, and Shohei Ohtani have Black & White Image Variations #’ed/50.  You can also find Gold SpecTEKular Diffractors of these #’ed 1/1.  From the looks of it, the parallels only apply to the first pattern.  In other words, you won’t find an Orange Orbit Diffractor #’ed/25 featuring the NL or AL third pattern.

In the middle of the 40-card brick is all the good stuff.  Every box should come with (2) on-card autographs.  You’re most likely going to get (2) autographs from the High Tek Autograph checklist.  Parallels include Green #’ed/99, Blue #’ed/75, Black Orbit Diffractors #’ed/50, Orange Orbit Diffractors #’ed/25, Red Orbit Diffractors #’ed/10, and Gold SpecTEKular Diffractors #’ed 1/1.  All of them feature either the NL or AL first pattern.  No autograph will come on patterns 2-4.  Having parallels and autographs for each pattern would be way too much.

Other autographs besides the High Tek ones that you can pull include Black & White Image VariationsPortraiTEKPyroTEKnicsRookie TEK, and Tek Buybacks.  All of these except the Tek Buybacks have non-autographed inserts.

Its a lot to take in.  This product is heavily concentrated with patterns and parallels.  If you feel like busting a box and focusing on just the autographs and parallels, that’s perfectly fine.  Despite patterns 2-4 being more rare, they don’t command too much more on the secondary market.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Mark McGwire
  • J.D. Davis RC

Parallels

  • Whit Merrifield Rainbow Foil Orange #’ed/25
  • David Ortiz Orbit Diffractor Black #’ed/50
  • Pedro Martinez Rainbow Foil Green #’ed/99
  • Kris Bryant Rainbow Foil Blue #’ed/150
  • Johnny Bench Galactic Diffractor
  • Byron Buxton Orbit Diffractor
  • Aaron Altherr Orbit Diffractor
  • Bernie Williams Magma Diffractor
  • Paul Goldschmidt Magma Diffractor
  • Jordan Luplow RC Magma Diffractor

Notable Patterns

  • Mike Trout #4
  • J.D. Davis #4
  • Tomas Nido RC #4
  • Carlos Santana #4