Back in June 2012, Panini released an end of the year product called Rookie Anthology. Reviews were mixed for this in the beginning as the price point (over $100) was a little steep considering this is a mish-mash or all the previously released sets. What does that mean, you ask? Think of Upper Deck's old Rookie Update sets from the early-mid 2000s and you would be pretty close to a match.
(Contrary to popular belief, I am over the age of 9, therefore I was able to purchase and open this product without legal ramifications for both the seller and my parental guardian.)
Each box contains 10 packs with 5 cards per pack. Guaranteed in each box are 1 Rookie Treasures card, 1 additional autograph card, and 2 memorabilia cards.
Let's take a look at what we pulled.
First, the BASE CARDS:
When I first saw these out there, I didn't think they were anything new or fresh. Just basically your run of the mill Panini set. The more I saw them, though, they kind of have a way of growing on you.
The base set cards feature a zoomed in shot of the player, fully colorized to stand out from the background. The color coding matches the team colors on the boarders and design. There is a, believe it or not, fairly unobtrusive product logo in the top left corner, and a gold foil stamped team logo on the right. The players name, number, and position are arced across the bottom in a ribbon/banner type design. They are clean, bright, and look very nice side by side in binder pages (its only a 100 card base set).
The interesting thing as I already mentioned, with Rookie Anthology is that it is much like the old Rookie Update sets from Upper Deck back in the day. Panini created new updated rookie cards with high numbers for the various sets produced that season and inserted them into this product. Here's what we pulled...
From 2011-12 Crown Royale. This is a Rookie Royalty card of Warren Peters. Warren is in the Penguins system now after signing with the team as a free agent in July 2012.
Here are the Ice Breakers from the Pinnacle "Update" set that I pulled. With the Nufex technology in full effect, it's hard to see what is going on with these scans (especially since my scanner now wants to put stripes on everything). And on top of that, I forgot to flip them before I uploaded them. Clockwise, I pulled Cody Eakin from the Capitals, Calvin De Haan from the Islanders, Peter Holland from the Ducks, and Anders Nilsson from the Islanders.
I pulled one Rookie Rivalry card. Here it is and features Toronto's Matt Frattin and David Rundblad from the Coyotes. For some reason, I pulled Rundblad in a few products as a hit. Too bad I don't collect Portland Pirates cards, or Coyotes, or Rundblad.
But the next card made the whole box (and then some). If you follow my Twitter, you probably already know what is coming.
Sorry for the crooked scan. The picture I posted on Twitter was much nicer I think. I even got a retweet by Panini because it's such a crazy card. This is the big one of the checklist. The RNH #/99 auto/dual multi-color swatch card has been moving on the secondary market, albeit at a much slower pace now that we have some time between release and now. It's kind of funny to see the differences in final sale prices between the plain swatch ones and the multi-color ones too. But still, I had a heck of time even pulling basic RNH cards out of products last season. Now this???!!! I was pretty happy as I haven't had much luck on rookie autos as of late. Very nice card, indeed.
BONUS PACK CARD:
In every box of Rookie Anthology, there is a bonus pack that contains an additional card. This card can be anything. More times than not, it will contain one of the hits of the box or an extra hit. On occasion, I have seen some of these with only base update rookies. Mine....??
We had another pretty awesome autograph...
This is a 2011-12 Panini Limited Stanley Cup Winners Auto of Brad Marchand. The card is some type of hybrid acetate/thick glossy/plastic-like material. So much so, that Brad (and all the others) had to sign with a silver sharpie marker. Brad's signature leaves something to the imagination but there is no question that it is his. He even put his number on there. Very nice looking card.
Overall, this is a nice Panini product. The base cards are nice and at 100 cards for a set, it isn't too difficult to track down the ones you may need to fill a checklist. The hits are plentiful and the opportunity to expand the base checklists of the earlier releases makes the set building chase even more challenging.
I would definitely recommend anyone to pick this up, especially at the current price point under $60. Check around and you will find some great deals on this one. You will probably get plenty of bang for your buck. I know I did.