Thursday, July 22, 2010

FIRST LOOK: 2011 Panini NBA Prestige

Panini's first year foray with its license to produce NBA basketball cards is almost over. There's still a few more highly anticipated products coming out toward the end of summer including Crown Royale, Hall of Fame and National Treasures, but it's almost time to start thinking about next year's products. I received an email through Panini's Media Relations Program with a sneak peek at their first 2011 basketball release.

Panini's 2010 NBA Prestige release was a nice product that had a little something for everyone, and although still a little too far out, it looks like this coming 2011 release will follow suit. I know there were some mixed reviews of likes and dislikes regarding last year's Prestige release, but I was a fan. I understand that Prestige is not a product in the same mold of a UD Black or Panini National Treasures. At approximately $90 for a 24 pack hobby box, it's relatively affordable for most collectors. The suggested retail price for the 2011 packs is $4. I bought a few packs of 2010 Prestige last year and had a lot of fun opening them. From the early looks of it, the 2011 product will be even better.

It looks like Panini has listened to collectors as they claim there will be more than 20,000 on-card auto's in this years Prestige product with the on-card auto'd Kobe Bryant cards being the most sought after cards in the entire product. It also looks like there'll be four auto and/or memorabilia hits per hobby box which is similar to last year's product. In addition to the first on-card auto's of various 2011 rookies, this will also be the first product to feature the recently relocated free agents like Boozer, Bosh and Stoudemire.

The Prestige card design is very modern with a clean and crisp geometric look to it. This Steve Nash Playmakers auto is a great example of that geometric design. This is similar to last years design, however there looks to be a bit more vibrant color in the background of the cards. I would've like to have seen an example of what the base cards are going to look like. Although many collectors today collect auto's and patches, it's always nice when a product has a high quality or solid base card design. Last year's Prestige base set was quite large by today's standards and featured some NBA Legends and rookie SP cards. Hopefully, the 2011 set will continue those characteristics.

There'll also be some Prime Materials jersey/ patches (Prime is the designation Panini gives to its multi-colored jersey/patches). For example, this Allen Iverson Franchise Favorites has a Prime patch. It's a bit small, but I'm glad Panini didn't cut into an image of a player to arbitrarily fit a single colored jersey swatch in the middle of a card (Well… at least they didn't cut into Iverson, just the poor sap A.I. blew bye). This was a complaint I had with some of last years products that it looks like Panini may have addressed.

It looks like 2011 Panini Prestige will be a nice release to start the new product year out with. I look forward to seeing more images and information released by Panini about the product, and I'll make sure to post anything else I hear right here on the blog or on the Hoopography Facebook Fan Page. What are some of your thoughts on this first look of 2011 Panini Prestige?

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