Preview: 2011-12 Panini Past and Present Basketball

As I stated lats night, today we would feature the next Panini basketball product after Preferred…and that is Past and Present basketball.

If you’ve been waiting for a product that finally has some rookies in it, this one is it. Although they come in redemption form, you will get your fix of rookies in this product. Not only will they feature rookies from 2011-12, 2012-13 will be included as well. While I don’t have complete details on it yet, rest assured I will keep you rookie collectors updated.

But besides the rookie redemptions, this product will be an interesting mix of both vintage and modern day card designs. With new card designs and technology being used in insert sets like Breakout, Changing Times, Fireworks, Raining 3s, you will see some of the new technology at work.

There will also be 2 different vintage style designs as well in this product, which makes me believe that Panini’s original plans for this season included a vintage designed product as well as this new technology. However, the lockout played a role in mashing them together, kind of like Preferred.

On May 9th, 2012, you will find this product in stores. At 20 packs per box and 3 autographs with 1 memorabilia card, the hit collectors will be excited with the 3 autographs. (Myself included) You will also find a large number of inserts as well as you do with most sports card products nowadays, as well as some short prints.

For now, you can check out the official Panini Peek here.

What Was Your Favorite Product of the Last 10 Years?

This is sort of an informal poll, but I’m just wondering what your favorite product was over the last 10 years. Why did you like that product so much? What would you have done to make it better?

Pretty simple question.

Mine would probably be 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball.

Why? Well the rehashing of the over 100 year old designs was a great start. They product looked beautiful from the start. The autographed checklist was also extremely good, filled with talented Major League players as well as icons such as Hulk Hogan, John Wooden, and Mike Tyson.

More great selling points were the buyback of original 1887 Allen & Ginter mini cards that were inserted into the product, the rip cards, and just the overall quality of the set Topps put together that year.

While I had a lot of other products I really liked including 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball, 2005 Donruss/Playoff Absolute Memorabilia baseball, and 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite basketball, Allen & Ginter began a phenomenon that even the casual collector could get into.

What would yours be?

On Card vs. Sticker Autographs

It seems like everyone has an opinion when it comes to on card autographs and sticker autographs. And it seems like everyone is just hating on sticker autographs on trading cards. Well let’s talk a little about both and then you tell me what you think.

Sticker Autographs

For those who don’t really know the difference, sticker autographs are the autographs that are basically signed on a sticker and then placed on the card. You can see the little company logo in the background as a form of authentication when you angle the card around.

Sticker autographs are needed in products to fill out what companies are dishing in products. With the large number of products that come out during a long period of time, it makes things extremely difficult for an athlete to sign already fully printed cards. The stickers provide some sort of relief to the company as they can create a product, design an area for the sticker, and just place the autograph on the card.

However, sticker autographs aren’t very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. They kind of get in the way of the design sometimes and sometimes just look out of place or just ruin the whole look of the card. Some people also find sticker autographs to be…less special then cards signed directly onto the card surface. There is no personal contact between the card and the player. The player, in essence, has no idea what they are signing. It’s just less of a personal feel for the collectors whom companies are trying to bring closer to the athletes.

On Card Autographs

On card autographs are those autographs that are signed directly on the surface of the card. The athlete has to physically touch the card to sign it and handle the card themselves. This leads to a few issues.

The card could get damaged in transit or by the athlete. You are paying the athlete per autograph, and in turn, may not be able to use that card. It’s a slightly higher risk of losing money when cards are signed on the actual card unless they are done in the presence of a representative who has the proper tools to make sure the card itself isn’t damaged.

However, the reward is outstanding. Cards look better when they are signed on card. You would have to see a comparison in person to really get the feel of what I am saying. For instance, my recent review of 2011 Contenders football really shows this. I pulled a Jake Locker on card autograph and 4 sticker autographs. If you can look at the Jake Locker autograph and then look at the others you might be able to see what I mean.

Not only do the autographs look better, you can design the card around where you want the autograph to generally be, but also have the room for additions. Topps Five Star football does this extremely well as they have a whole subset based on cards with autographs and inscriptions on the card. Inscriptions may cost more for the company, but it raises secondary value of the cards themselves as well and collectors eat that up. Would you rather have a plain Albert Pujols autograph or an Albert Pujols autograph with the inscription “El Hombre”, “The Machine”, or “2003 ROY”?

But sticker autographs have their place in trading cards. They are needed in products on some level, but they are at the point where it seems like the majority of products are just filled with sticker autographs and on card autographs are just a secondary thought.

I have seen the trading card companies try and get more on card content into their products, and that is great to see. But it shouldn’t be a selling point for their products, it should get to the point where it is expected that you will find these more often.

Hell, even a redemption to get the autograph on card may be better for a super star or top rookie. But I won’t even go back to how I feel about redemptions as that is an entirely different story.

Trading Card Redemptions Suck

Yeah, we all hate redemptions in boxes of our sports cards. We don’t know when they’ll be fulfilled, if they’ll be fulfilled, or what they may be fulfilled with.

Recently I had someone ask me a question about redemptions and it’s an actual incident that I had happen to me as well.

The question was concerning why they have a redemption for “x” player’s autograph and that same player’s autograph is in a newer product which is live and inside packs?

Well I had this experience recently and asked that same question to a sports card company representative and this was the basic answer: When they send out stickers for sticker autographs, that set of stickers is for a certain set. Sometimes, the stickers are returned in a different order and those stickers belong to that product, despite the chance that the product might be 2-3 months newer than the old product. So that is why you might find newer products with a player’s autograph when they had redemptions in an older product.

My thoughts? Yeah, it makes sense when putting together the cards…but god does that suck. First, redemptions in general suck. I hate how they are considered “prizes” and can only be redeemed within a certain period. It’s not a prize as technically buying a box of sports cards isn’t gambling. It’s more of an IOU then it is a prize and that shouldn’t have an expiration date.

But the fact that some autographs make it out before others from an earlier product is not fun. You have customers who are waiting, patiently, for their redemptions for sticker autographs when you can find them in newer products. Just not cool.

I commend trading card manufacturers like In The Game and Benchwarmer who have all of their products come out without redemptions.

2011-12 Panini NBA Trading Cards Line-up

Well with the NBA season back on course, Panini has announced what products will come out in this shortened season. With a mix of low and high end products, the season should pack quite a punch.

Panini will be coming out with 5 products. This year, the rookies may be worth more then previous years because of the lack of trading cards this season. If someone like Kemba Walker becomes an instant star in the league for years, these cards could be extremely valuable this season. That’s a good thing for collectors although it may not be for Panini just because of less revenue.

Here is the lineup for this season:

2011-12 Panini Preferred Basketball – late February – A high end product with 3 autographs and 1 six-eight piece memorabilia booklet card per pack. The price will be set around $200.

2011-12 Panini Hoops Basketball – March – a low end product to give you as much value as possible. A $1 per pack product with randomly inserted autographs with a hobby version at $2 per pack and two autographs per box.

2011-12 Panini Limited Basketball – May

2011-12 Panini Past & Present Basketball – June

2011-12 Panini Gold Standard Basketball – July – Here is an example of last year’s product.

So this basketball season looks to be solid and quite interesting with only 5 products coming out the door. I made a mention on Twitter that I would of preferred to have Hoops come out first and was met with a response from Panini’s VP of Marketing, Jason Howarth, that it was more about timing and they would of preferred to come out with Hoops first as well.

That is perfectly understandable given the notice that there actually would be an NBA season and when it was announced. You definitely don’t want to be wasting money on product that may never be released. I figured they wanted to release Hoops first too and that would be a reason why it wouldn’t happen. The lockout just threw everything off.

It’s good to see some NBA action this season and can’t wait to see these new products from Panini as well as the familiar brands.

Here is a link to Panini’s announcement of this information.