Good: Base set manufactured rookie patch autographs are better than ever, card design is crisper and sharper than last seasons, extremely reasonable price point, fun product to rip, Team Chemistry autographs, well conceived base set
Bad: regular base cards have no value, non-auto/relic inserts are annoying, longevity parallels aren't well conceived, sticker drop autographs look bad on most inserts
The Bottom Line:
Rookies & Stars is an extremely enjoyable product that comes in at an extremely affordable box price of $80. The manufactured rookie patch autographs are sharper looking than ever and the 300-card base set is extremely well conceived. I would highly recommend looking into Rookies & Stars if you are a huge football fan who is looking for a product that represents the 2010 NFL Rookie class extremely well.
I am a big fan of the manufactured logo rookie patch autographs. They are the perfect way of avoiding a sticker drop while at the same time not pretending to be an "event worn" relic of some sort. Overall, the card design is a refined version of last seasons Rookies & Stars. The rookie autographs look a bit sharper as do pretty much every other card in the set. The only real issue I have with the card design is the same issue I have with most every Panini product, for some reason a sticker drop on Panini's glossy stock looks worse than the other major card companies.
I am a big fan of the way Rookies & Stars constructs their base sets. The first 150 cards of the 300 card base set are worthless commons of veteran players, but where it shines is from card 151-300. I like the way they put parallels into the base set with the 15 "Elements" cards, which are vivid darker toned versions of select base cards 1-150. By far the best part of the checklist is the 50 SP Rookie Signatures (The Manufactured Team/NFL Logo Rookie Autographs).
The insert checklist is really hit or miss. The "Team Chemistry" dual and triple autographs are extremely cool. Where the insert checklist falls short is with the non-auto, non-relic regular versions of inserts like "Studio Rookies" and " Gold Stars" . I am also not a very big fan of the ever confusing "Longevity" parallels. I understand what they are trying to do and that's precisely why it's confusing. Panini needs to establish it's version of the Topps refractor.
Rookies & Stars is a great value. The manufactured patch base rookie autographs are always a big draw on eBay, especially if you pull a low numbered parallel. 4-hits and 1 manufactured rookie patch auto per box is pretty good deal for around $80 a box. As far a return on investment, "Rookies & Stars" blows "Prestige" and "Classics" out of the water both now and in the long run.
Rookies & Stars is an extremely collectible product, anytime you put rookies autographs in a base set the collectibility level shoots through the roof. Rookies & Stars is the perfect set to build for those who find Contenders a bit too spendy to put together. On top of that, the manufactured patch base rookie autographs look awesome and are extremely collectible in their own right.
Rookies & Stars is an extremely fun product to open. To me, it's the first product to truly kick-off the NFL Season. On top of that it's both affordable and offers some great rookies auto's. It's also the first product to have the majority of the players who changed teams over the off-season pictured in their new uniforms, such as Donovan McNabb in a Redskins uniform and Brandon Marshall in a Dolphins uniform.
The highlights of my box break: