1995 and 1996 Pinnacle Summit Ground Zero Parallel
Ah yes, Ground Zero. Pinnacle Summit was far from what we consider a high-end product today but it was certainly in the upper tier of football cards at $6-7 per pack in the mid-1990′s. I don’t recall pack odds nor can I find odds at the moment but they were not very easy to come by. Summit had a black bordered base card, a silver foil parallel and then the Ground Zero parallel. The top RC’s from ’95 and ’96 still hold decent value from this set in the Ground Zero version. Marvin Harrison is usually $5-7, Curtis Martin $7-10, Steve McNair $7-10, Eddie George $10-12, Terrell Davis $6-7 and Kordell Stewart $3-5. Those are not earth shattering prices by any means but for cards produced those years outside of SP and Topps Chrome you won’t find anything else holding value over a dollar or so. This is one of my all time favorite parallels and without sounding too much like a homer I can really see this set gaining value as time goes by. These were the early days of parallels when I could still appreciate them.
There is much talk about which set has the better rookie cards and the argument doesn’t seem to have an end in sight although Panini’s sole licensing rights of the NFL are giving them the edge recently. The best way to analyze this argument is to break it down year by year….so we did. Please keep in mind we are examining the true rookies and not the entire set. Enjoy.
National Treasures got a slow start in 2006 with less than impressive true rookie card designs and numbering that left collectors confused. The true rookie was numbered out of 49 and had small-ish patch windows.
Meanwhile Exquisite got it’s start in 2005 with a similar small patch window issue but was overall much more pleasing to the eye. They also held value much better in the short term at least until the class of 2005 collapsed. 2006 Exquisite came out with two tiers of RC cards as well as gold parallels. First tier was numbered to 99 and second tier was numbered to 225 with golds at 25 and 99 respectively. 2006 also donned huge patches with horizontal layouts and set the wheels in motion for what collectors want and expect out of super high end rookie cards today.
2006 Winner: Exquisite
2007 National Treasures made a move to a much cleaner design and on card autographs rather than the framed stickers of 2006. Unfortunately in true Donruss/Playoff style they paralleled this set to death. Each rookie autograph had the following variations:
Rookie Signature Jumbo Prime Materials Silver Serial #’d to 99 or less.
Rookie Signature Jumbo Prime Materials Gold Serial #’d to 25 or less.
Rookie Signature Jumbo Prime Materials Platinum Serial #’d to 5 or less.
Rookie Signature Jumbo Prime Materials Black Serial #’d to 1.
Rookie Signature Materials Silver Serial #’d to 49 or less.
Rookie Signature Prime Materials Gold Serial #’d to 25 or less.
Rookie Signature Prime Materials Platinum Serial #’d to 1.
Rookie Combo Prime Signature Materials Gold Serial #’d to 10 or less.
Rookie Combo Prime Signature Materials Platinum Serial #’d to 1.
2007 Winner: Exquisite
2008 brought a newer even cleaner design to National Treasures along with the usual slew of parallels. However this year the true rookie was pretty clearly defined as the patch autographs serial numbered to 99. Exquisite added a bit of royal looking design and feel to the set but frankly ended up looking too “busy”. Even if you disagree it is tough to beat the 2008 NT design.
2008 Winner: National Treasures
Speaking of “busy” both sets added quite a bit to their overall design. Was it a good move? I’m not entirely sure. NT wasn’t as clean in 2009 as previous years but was still sharp looking. Exquisite added the golden hint to the background which is very cool to look at in person. Exquisite patches still outsized NT in 2009. NT had an obvious spot for players to sign which resulted in a cleaner look than exquisite again. This one is too close to call though.
2009 Winner: TIE
2010 was ushered in with an exclusive NFL rights agreement with Panini leaving Upper Deck to their NCAA license. There were questions surrounding Exquisite and whether or not it would be produced. In the end they created a solid product. However for most collectors college jerseys on a high end product just won’t cut it in the long run. Once again NT won the “clean” battle and put out a very nice looking set. Exquisite shrunk their patches but they did gain a bit of an advantage because at least their product features some game used materials. I would like to emphasize SOME. Panini is the clear winner in 2010.
2010 Winner: National Treasures
We shall see what 2011 has to offer but Panini still holds the biggest edge of having an NFL license this season.
2011 Topps Football: Release July 27, 2011
Look at all of these new additions! I’m usually the first one to dismiss the Topps release as garbage and wait for Topps Chrome but this year I don’t think I’ll be able to resist. It will have the usual suspects such as Rookie Premiere Autos, the Red Zone autograph program, a big base set with a slew of parallels but this year there are two things in particular that have caught my eye.
The Super Bowl Legends inserts which include collector coins, jerseys, autographs, tickets stubs, stamps, and manufactured patches(okay I don’t care about those). The initial pictures of these cards look great. I’m a bit pessimistic about the chances of them being on card autographs which I am a bit of a snob about.
Bart Starr Autograph #’d to 25
John Elway Super Bowl Legends Stamp
Joe Namath Super Bowl Legends Venue Relic
The Super Bowl Legends cards all look very nice and I do have a couple worries such as if they are on card autographs and where exactly these venue relics are coming from. If the venue relic is a bunch of seats from Browns stadium I don’t really care about the cards if they have Joe Namath and Joe Montana on them.
Next on the “I’m excited to see how these turn out” list is the new 1950 Bowman 144 card set in original 1950 Bowman size. I love those old Bowman sets and I think these will be cool as long as they all have the vintage look to them like the preview shot of Michael Vick. The parallels numbered to 50 are even cooler. I have always been jealous of Allen & Ginter as a heavy football collector but additions like this make me a little happier about it.
Topps made other additions this year like rookie patches that were unannounced until right before the Rookie Premiere. The hype for those were promptly squashed thanks to Mark Ingram’s twitter pic.
Oops! For added effect there is a Topps logo in the picture.
Topps also added a Game Day insert set with a bunch of jersey and autograph parallels said to highlight rivalries, accuracy of these “rivalries” to be decided at a later date, and another insert set called Faces of the Franchise which I’m sure is also littered with sticker autos like the one below most likely is even though their photoshop job makes it look like they will be on card.
At a price of $50-$55 per box I’m going to hold off initially, especially because Chrome usually ends up between $50 and $60 which I think has much more value. If it turns out there are super SP’s like last year and in other sports the main issue of Topps could be a steal at $50-$55 though.
2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects vs. 2010 Bowman Chrome USA U-18
2011 Bowman Release Date: May 18, 2011
2010 Bowman Chrome Release Date: October 18, 2010
|2010 Bowman Chrome 18U USA Baseball||18BC8||26||134||388||21||578|
|2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects||BCP1||3||21||171||8||203|
^ BGS Population Report 6/17/11 at 3:00 PM
What we have here are a couple cards that should not be commanding a premium for BGS 9.5 or better. However people are still paying $12-20 for the raw 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects and $30-50 for those graded gem mint. The 2010 USA Chrome sells for $50-60 raw and $80-100 gem mint. Proportionately those seem about right with a 80-100% premium on both copies in gem condition. However when you look at the population reports you see that 84% of the 2011 Chrome are coming out gem while only 67% of the 2010 come out gem. Neither one are exceptionally rare.
The take home point of this exercise is that you should look at the numbers before paying a premium. 84% gem means more than four out of every five you pull could get the same grade so you should be submitting them yourself. Couple that with the fact that the 2011 has a higher print run and was made a year later and it is easy to see how your BGS 9.5 2011 Harper Chrome might as well be serial numbered out of 1000 by the time next year rolls around.
Harper’s Washington counterpart Stephen Strasburg had a much nicer spread at 1:8 Chrome RC’s coming back gem mint. Don’t buy the hype, or in this case don’t buy the hyped up version of the hype. His prices will come down soon enough if submissions continue to ring in at their current rate.
Our recommendation is to keep buying the USA Chrome in whatever form you get it and maybe let the 2011 Chrome cool off a bit.