Let me start by saying, "Congratulations, Topps!"
It appears that they are finally moving their high end cards in the right direction with this product, oddly enough it means they are starting to mimic some Upper Deck products which is fine because they were amazing at high end. The 2011 Topps Marquee game used, autographs, and dual relic/auto cards are absolutely amazing looking in person.
I scanned the cards by pack because there are only 4 packs per box, 5 cards per pack, and one autograph or game used card per pack. One of the things I wouldn't have known by looking at scans on eBay of these cards are the feel of the actual card, meaning the name stamp on the bottom. They appear to be a sort of foil stamp, or some sort of embossed name plate and it's not. The name plate area is just as flat as the rest of the card and I think that really cheapens the product.
The same can be said of the hits, with no embossed or impressed writing on the cards. I think when you have a high end product such as this you expect something above and beyond what you would get out of a mid-line or base product. It bothers me more so on the hits than on the base cards, but if they can make that change next year this could possibly stand to be a bigger hit next year.
The four packs come in their own mini box within the master box. Similar to how Sweet Spot used to be sold. Here are the packs...
Joey Votto /199
Jose Tabata on card autograph (Suzy hates you, Jose!)
Tim Lincecum /299
Ozzie Smith Titanic Threads bat relic /99
Carlos Santana /299
Brandon Belt dual patch autograph /400
Pack #4 (best patch I have EVER and may ever pull)
Tony Gwynn /199
Roberto Alomar quad patch 3/5
This may be the best pull ever. While I was never a Cleveland, Mets or Alomar fan I can certainly appreciate the kind of player he was and this awesome patch card. Now if I had seen this on eBay I would have been skeptical that it was a fake because this is just that ridiculous. I absolutely LOVE this card. I have two problems with the card. (Did you really think I wouldn't?) The first and biggest problem is the picture is him in a Mets uniform, yet the patch is an Indians patch. Why wouldn't they just use an Indians picture? The second problem is the quad format for this particular patch. Why would you want to ruin in by turning it into a quad when this logo would have been amazing as a jumbo patch in this set with an auto or without? This card is also the reason I was saying that Topps has come a long way but still has a little bit to go because aside from those issues the name of the player and the card should be either raised or impressed into the card to make it sharper.
Now onto the grades...
2011 Topps Marquee Report Card:
This is by far and away a huge improvement in the high end department of Topps baseball. The only product that is near the level of Triple Threads in terms of quality patches and autograph selection. The reason I can't give this an A is because of the issues mentioned above plus, I have a huge problem with the jumbo patch autographs that have a solid jersey swatch with a silver sticker auto slapped on it. The base cards have great photographs that go to all four borders which is nice, but I don't like how the names are not made to be more significant on the cards.
For around $150 per box you are getting 4 hits, and they are much higher quality hits than you get in other Topps products. This box was worth every penny of $150 and then some, however depending on what you got that could change. This is the type of product that you gamble on for that amount of money. Would the Tabata pack have been worth around $30-$40 if you picked up one mini box? No way. But if you picked the pack with a quad patch, it sure would be. Bottom line is 4 hits, 4 serial numbered parallels plus base cards is worth it if you are a hit chaser.
The base cards feel just like the dummy cards in packs to fool people into thinking they got a hit. They are obviously glossed slightly, but they look and sound like (yes, you know what I'm talking about) like the plain old white cards and they slapped images on both sides. The hits need to be be worked on as far as the lettering goes and a Titanic Threads card should be a little nicer and contain at least a small piece of a patch and they can use these giant plain swatches for base Topps hits. Also, why not have the players sign those solid swatches instead of silver stickers that look so horribly misplaced and tacky? Just some ideas, boys.
This product is showing that Topps creative team is trying to listen to what collectors want or what we have told them we like numerous times in the past from either Topps or other card companies high end products. Now that they have the right idea if they can tweak this just a little for next year I think people will love this product very much. It has a TON of potential to be a very premium product, but the little things need to be fixed for that to happen.