Good: Excellent base card design, Low numbered relics and autographs, 6 pack box structure strikes perfect balance between too many and too few cards, Thick stock cards, Possibility of pulling book cards and cut signatures, Interesting multi-player autograph/relic lineup
Bad: Box price feels more expensive than it should, Surprisingly weak relic selection, Rookie autographs aren't part of the base set (no "RC" tag), Hard to justify ripping a box when products like Contenders and Five Star are now available, Card backs lack meaningful stats and info, Rookies take center stage when the product is called "Tribute"
The Bottom Line: 2.9/5
If we were talking about a product that carried a box price of around $180, this would be an excellent product. Seeing as how the actual box price is between $275-$325, Tribute simply doesn't deliver enough bang for your buck for a high-end product.
One of Tribute's biggest problems is that it tries to be too many things at once without staying true to it's name. It does feature fantastic base card design and I'm a fan of the six pack box structure, but at the end of the day the price is wrong and with the recent release of 2010 Playoff Contenders and 2010 Topps Five Star, I can only recommend this product to collectors with a sky high collecting budget. For the everyday collector, this product is simply too risky to consider breaking.
The base card design features a fantastic refractor like finish and sturdy stock, but you don't pay $300 a box for base cards. The hits are extremely plain and feature embedded sticker drop autographs and a relatively weak relic selection for a high end product.
The card backs are extremely plain as well. Each veteran card features nothing more than 2009 stats, each rookie card features a single 2009 college stat line and each legend card features one line of combined career numbers. As a stat junky, it's disappointing to see how little effort has been put into card backs in recent years.
The checklist features your standard mix of legends, veterans and rookies, with the rookies representing the most populous pulls. This sort of confused me, as the name Tribute suggests that legends and veteran stars would take center stage. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of rookie cards, but it would be a refreshing departure to see a product that offers collectors a vacation from rookie class overload.
Another thing that has always confused about Topps is why they refuse to put rookie autographs within a product's base set. They put an "RC" tag on their rookie autographs, but rest assured they don't qualify as a true "RC" because they are inserts. We either need to expand the definition of what a rookie card truly is or Topps needs to put more rookie autos in their base sets.
The silver lining of the checklist is the possibility of pulling a book card or cut signature featuring legends that are no longer with us like Sweetness, the Minister of Defense, and Night Train Lane. The book card might be my favorite growing trend in the sports card world.
Their is definitely some insanely valuable cards in Tribute, it just requires an insane hit for that value to justify the $300 box price. This is one of those products that I would let someone else rip and and simply grab singles on eBay. Tribute is simply too risky a rip for those who don't have an unlimited collecting budget.
Although I haven't had a chance to rip a box of 2010 Topps Five Star, it looks absolutely spectacular and would make for a substantially better high-end break than Tribute.
In coming weeks, Tribute's single card value should take a substantial hit as collectors progressively turn their full attention to Five Star. Granted, a box of Five Star is $100-$150 more than Tribute, but early indications are that it's well worth ponying up the difference.
Fun Factor: 2.75/5
Tribute is one of those products that will either deliver some exciting big time hits or leave you with a terrible case of buyer's remorse. My box delivered a 1/1 Tim Tebow printing plate - which certainly isn't par for the course after seeing several friend's break boxes. That said, there's simply not enough depth and substance in Tribute to create a meaningful and thoroughly satisfying box break.
The one thing I did enjoy about Tribute was the 6 pack box format. As I've noted in past reviews, I think the 5-10 pack box offers the perfect balance between too many cards (24-36 pack box) and too few cards (1-pack box). That said, there are far more enjoyable products to break that Tribute. It's not a bad product, it's just not $300 great.
Note on Review Process: We try not to let the quality of the review box hits (good or bad) impact the overall review score. Unlike videogames, reviewing a trading card product requires a much different type of perspective due to the fact that no two boxes are identical. In addition to breaking a box, we do additional research on each product including recent secondary market action, checklist analyzation and numerous other measures that ensure a more accurate review.