Review: 2012 Panini Elite Football

One of the staples of the Panini football season is long since released in 2012 Panini Elite football and I’m finally available to give you the review it deserves. Yeah, I’ve been away from the world for awhile touring in Europe for my honeymoon, but I’ve been wanting to write this review for quite awhile now. When I opened the box before I left, I had really hoped to be able to provide a review sooner. Weddings and honeymoons really get in the way of other plans sometimes. But needless to say, I have the review ready for everyone. It’s a bit late in the game with other products about to come out, but it’s still worthy to check it out. Let’s see what we got here…






To say Panini improved upon the design this year after last year’s product is an understatement. In fact, you could say Panini annihilated last year’s product and the product looks completely different. This looks fantastic and is something to build upon for the season. I enjoyed just about every facet of this year’s product from the awesome acetate cards that I’ve been bugging the industry about for the last year, to the Prime Numbers with little holes cut into the card, to even the solid base set. I’m not sure exactly what Panini did over there to get all these improvements done so fast, but I like it. I knew it was going to be looking good from previews, but I was still surprised even after opening the box. Good work.


A strong rookie class is always extra points for any checklist. And Panini’s usual supporting class in every product always helps as well. But something I’m not a huge fan of in this product is the amount of defensive players like linemen who are included in the autograph checklist. A card in which that I did pull. I’m also not a huge fan of the number of rookies in this product with 100 rookies available to pull. But that’s more of a personal preference. Other than that, you have your rookie talent which is plentiful, your veterans, and a few retired stars thrown in there as well. There’s always something for everybody.


In general I find most of Panini’s products to be overpriced a bit, so this being 4 stars is nothing new to my reviews. It’s a solid product value wise, but I think that has more to do with the awesome rookie class and an improved product in general. If it was priced a little lower it would easily be 4.5-5 stars so I’d definitely wait for the price to come down a bit. The big hang up for me is just some of the autographs on the checklist. See, I don’t mind if I get a 8th round quarterback autograph. At least it has the chance to rise in value someday. 2nd round defensive ends? They’re probably cost effective for the company, but the consumer isn’t always happy with it. It’s a thin line the companies toy with when it comes to rookie autographs. They include them for the fans, but a lot of collectors want some value in their purchases as well. It’s tough.


Overall, it feels like a new direction for Panini football products. The design is one of the best for this product in recent memory and provides the kind of momentum they can bring to future products this season. The checklist is usually what you would expect, nothing surprising about it, but it always provides something for everyone whether you are picking up singles or opening single boxes and packs. The value is what you’d really expect at this point as well, but there are some issues that I think could be worked on. Overall though, Panini should be happy with how the product turned out this year. Last year was a wreck and they needed a big boost this year to prove to some of the doubters out there that they can make nice looking products. They did that this year.

A big thanks goes out to Panini America for providing this box for review. You can find them on their official site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere else.

Oh, and here are some of what you might find in your own box. Let me know what you think.

You Will Love the 2012 Elite Football Acetate Autographs

The one thing I have been pushing since well before this blog was created, was for a company to start using acetate autographs once again. Upper Deck did it in their ICE hockey products and I knew it had to be brought over to other sports. It’s something I love to collect and I actually have a nice little acetate card collection, with a few autographs too.

Well Panini has listened to me. Well, I’d like to think they listened to me. I know a lot of collectors out there feel the same way I do about products and they have brought back what I love. These awesome cards can be found in 2012 Panini Elite football. Check out this Doug Martin:

On card, on acetate, whatever you want to call it, but it’s beautiful. Not only is the design great for an acetate autographed card, Panini has also taken the cues from other companies and collectors and has started to add a little bit of color in the ink. With different color inks meaning different rarity levels, it adds a great element for set collectors, player collectors, and even additional value.

So you will love the acetate autographs in this product. Well at least this set, I noticed some sticker autographs on the Hard Hats acetate autograph set that look at bit off, but these are gorgeous. You will love them.

Preview: 2012 Panini Elite Football

2012 Panini Elite football has been shown off over on the Panini blog, and there are already plenty of reasons to be excited.

First, this year, Elite will feature rookies in their NFL uniforms. That is a great improvement already and a reason to be excited. You’ll be able to see your favorite new rookies in this product in their new colors with the four rookie cards per box. With base rookies numbered to 999 with autographs numbered to 699 or less.

You’ll also be able to find other rookie autographs like Rookie Inscriptions which will feature something that hasn’t been done much in professional sports trading cards, with several different colored ink signatures that tell you the scarcity of the card.

There is also a larger retired players component this year with Throwback Threads, Back to the Future, and the return of one of Elite’s staples…Passing the Torch. All of these will feature autographs and game used memorabilia pieces.

And finally, you have your current NFL talent as well with inserts like Hit List, for the defensive standouts, and Prime Numbers featuring some of the top stat producing players. All of these feature autographs or memorabilia cards.

Elite is definitely taking a huge step forward over last year, so make sure you check it out when it releases right after July 4, 2012.

(Click here for a review of 2011 Panini Elite Football to compare to this year.)


Review: 2011-12 Panini Elite Hockey

Elite has been brought to the hockey side which means some pretty cool things for the hockey collectors. Featuring a ton of foil board, it’s a product which has transformed alot over several years but has always kept some of greatness from the original Elite series back in the day.

Now in hockey, it features some goodies of old as well as some really cool additions, which I was able to pull so I’ll get to talk about it more in the review! It’s great when things add up like that. So thanks to Panini for providing this box for review and we will get down to it with the first year of Panini Elite hockey.


I love how the design is just like some old school Elite. It’s very boxy with the frames around the foil board, which isn’t seen that much anymore. However, the design in itself is basic to the point where it just looks clean and clear. No extra frills in the base design or even the inserts. It’s quietly very nice for what it is. The Aspirations die-cuts are always nice, however I wonder why they aren’t numbered like in every other Elite product? But what shines is the Prime Numbers insert. You have 3 different die-cut cards which you can put together to form one long card with a game used piece, autograph, and autographed patch. They are beautiful and a fun thing for a collectors to try and put together.


The checklist is phenomenal for this product. Packed with today’s stars, recent superstars, and some future stars as well, this product has something for just about everyone other than the vintage hockey collector. Although I find there is a large number of rookies in this product, they still have all the top names with the great rookies being mostly SP’d, which isn’t bad as that helps their value, but it also makes finding them a little harder and most will be stuck with no name rookies. But other than that, there are some great names in the inserts and “hit” cards, so I think this is a job well done.


Now this part is difficult. $120, in my opinion, is a bit much for this product. However, it does have some great autograph names involved so that may be a reason why it’s priced a little higher as well as on-card autographs (more for shipping to players.) I was close to a 3 1/2 on this one but I went with the 4 stars because the checklist is so good. Another issue I have though, is that the Aspirations die-cuts weren’t numbered like they are in almost every other version of Elite. I think that may bring down the value a bit as well as we don’t really know the print run on the regular Aspirations. Value is always the toughest part to judge in a product and I think Panini’s prices in general start off a little high, but the market will dictate the price soon enough. I think this would be better around $90-$100.


Overall, Panini did a pretty swell job their first time through with the Elite brand in hockey. The design is nothing exciting, however, it is very good for what it is. I love the die-cuts and LOVE the Prime Numbers insert set as well so those were definitely good ideas. I thought the checklist was better than usual as well with some more recent superstars in autograph and jersey form as well as their own little insert sets. Finally, the price on the product I find to be a bit high, but that’s nothing new coming from me and looking at Panini products. I’d like to see a breakdown of what costs what in this product to find a way to bring the price down to where I thought it would be more reasonable. But that’s just me. But still, good job to Panini on this one.

Thanks again to Panini for providing this box for review. You can find them all over the internet by viewing their official site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and they probably have a ton of other stuff too.

Not pictured: Rookie Autograph Variations of Erik Gudbranson Redemption

Panini’s Social Signatures or “Twittergraphs” Create Stir

When Panini announced the Social Signatures autograph subset in 2011-12 Panini Elite hockey, it was kind of looked over on their blog. With Chris Olds’ piece on Beckett recently, collectors started to take notice.

A little more about the concept, Panini will be inserting an autographed subset that is the first of it’s kind…an autograph from the player along with an inscription of their Twitter handle will be signed on their card. Not only is that an interesting twist to the autograph genre of cards, it’s great self promotion for the hockey players included in that set. A ton of new followers means new fans to connect with.

With players being able to reach out to their fans with greater ease then ever before, this is a unique idea for collectors and players alike.

Personally, I love that Panini plans on this subset being very limited and I would love to see this brought to football, basketball, and baseball as well. As a Blazers fan, I follow a ton of very talkative Trailblazers on Twitter and I know they would enjoy inscribing their Twitter handles as they love talking with the fans. As I said in my preview of this product, it’s a little gimmicky, but it’s new and interesting so I like it.

Check out at least one confirmed player in 2011-12 Donruss Elite hockey, Paul Bissonnette, orĀ  @BizNasty2Point0