The good people of Topps sent us a hobby box of 2010 Bowman Sterling for a break and review. I did the live break a few days back and had a lot of fun with it. If you are a collector who chases hits, this is the hobby box for you. Even more so if you like to collect rookies and prospects because these boxes are loaded with good stuff as far as RC's and prospects.
Here are the base cards from the box, the design is much like all the Sterling products of years past. If you like continuity then it's great, however if you are like me and like new and different... it leaves something to be desired.
I like that there was a J.R. Murphy in the box, I have a little bit of a collection of him going on. I was disappointed at no Jesus Montero cards, but not a big deal since I can't really afford to add him to my list of guys right now.
The refractors are pretty awesome looking. I think if all the base cards looked like these, they would be way better. I know that's not possible but to print a set that is roughly 100 cards on the refractor type paper/photo stock would be pretty damn cool if they would do it. They are all numbered to /199.
The game used cards that were in the box were all Team USA baseball cards with the guys that were also featured in Bowman Chrome. Notice the pattern of plain gray jersey swatches... Booooorrring.
Game used jersey refractor has two plain gray jersey swatches... If they don't want to include some sort of color on the "base" versions, at least spice up the refractors. Did anyone pull game used cards with a patch or stripe or something?
Now the mojo-est of the mojo- the autographs. I have to say, I have never opened a box of product like this before, and to just get auto after auto through the whole box was so much fun, even if I had never heard of the guys it was still awesome.
Jose Tabatawho was once upon a time collected by Sooz, until Tabata went crazy and started beating people up and got traded...
Ryan Bolden winner of worst signature in the set.
Deck McGuireaka Dr. McGuire by his signature...
Gary Brown who was the only dude in the whole box who signed in black ink.
The next two are refractor autographs serial numbered /199.
Team USA dual autograph, which I think could have look much better with a clear sticker if they are going to use one. The silver stickers look terrible on this card.
Noe Ramirez & Brett Mooneyham
Tyler Colvin RC, Gold refractor /50.
Team USA triple relic gold refractor /50, Mikie Mahtook.
Honestly, 3 blue piece of jersey on a gold refractor? This is really getting old.
Finally, the box topper/loader bonus card. A gold refractor /50, dual relic of Jimmy Rollins & Ryan Howard. Can you guess what I am thinking here? Aside from that, this card is really sweet looking. I love the dual relic design for the veteran card, and the gold extra hit is all the more amazing.
If I had to break it down, here is my overall grading on this product:
It doesn't get an A because I am bored with this same type of design year in and year out. Save the recycling for the flagship sets, this isn't the place. The dual relics and auto's are nice looking, and of course anything looks nice in gold refractor version. They need a little more spice for my personal taste. I know all about the logistics of the stickers and why they are sometimes necessary but getting these to be on card in the future would make them 100 times more appealing to everyone.
Before the price exploded in the last week (the hobby boxes are anywhere between $200-$300 right now), they were somewhere around $125-$150 at release/pre-sell, and that was a great value for this product. If you were buying this product now that it's hot, I don't know how I feel about it. You certainly get alot of bang for your buck here, that is for sure. Anyone who pre-ordered these was very wise and probably sitting on a nice pile of autographs to enjoy for years to come.
The cards are not curved like Bowman Chrome or Topps Chrome, and the quality of the card is definitely better than those sets as well. The refractors are gorgeous. I didn't notice any cards with imperfections on the surfaces, or any dinged corners. The packaging of these cards (a pack within a mini box) definitely protect the cards inside very well.
Despite the recycled design, this product is definitely a top notch, top quality set for all collectors who can afford a high end product such as this. Every collector I know loves pulling a hit, be it an autograph or a relic, and this product is absolutely loaded with good stuff.
If you are a prospector or someone who collects rookie cards, this is definitely a great product to buy. You will come out with minimal base cards, and plenty of hits to enjoy, grade, or trade.
Anyone open any boxes or cases? What do you guys think of this set?