Panini recently sent out a few media releases for a number of their upcoming basketball (Threads & Timeless Treasures) and football (Gridiron Gear) products. I'll give a short take on my thoughts regarding each product, but there's also polls for you to give each product a "Good", "Bad" or "Indifferent" vote of your own. Of course, there's also the "comments" section for you to really sing Panini's praises or exclaim your Panini hatred.
Panini Threads Basketball:
My Take: Panini's 2011 Threads Basketball release is a mix of Panini's best and worst. I posted about the Threads Rookies a couple of days ago. They're one of the best looking basketball card designs that I've seen in a long time. The use of wood card stock is really appropriate. These will also be on-card auto'd. Those are all obviously good selling points to collectors. The question I have is whether the Threads Rookies cards will be realistically obtainable for collectors. Is this going to be a case hit item or will you have a reasonable chance at pulling one of these great looking cards from a single box break? I also like the Rookie Team Threads jersey die-cuts. They were a nice little set last year and certainly add to this years product.
The good from this product is a step in the right direction for Panini basketball. The bad is a lot of the same from last years basketball products. Mainly, much of Threads looks pretty pedestrian with a few sticker auto's slapped on for good measure. In fairness to Panini, the media release does say there are more than 20,000 on-card auto's in the product, but many of the images from the release look like they have sticker auto's. We'll have to see when the first boxes are busted in late November. I'm also not a big fan of the base card design. I know many collectors just bust boxes for the hits, but there still are collectors who appreciate base cards. I'm not really sure I can appreciate the Threads base card. This isn't really a product that I'm excited about as much as there are a few insert sets that are interesting. Sometimes that's all it takes to prop a product up.
Panini Gridiron Gear:
My Take: 2010 Gridiron Gear is a product that looks pretty solid from top to bottom. The base card design is done simply, but effectively. There are some saddle features on the base cards that add to the entire card but do not take away from the highlighted NFL star. Very well done. The inserts, auto'd and relic cards look good too. I really like the NFL Gridiron Signatures cards as well as the Plates & Patches. However, I'm not a big fan of some of the patch placements and designs. Panini seems to arbitrarily cut holes in cards and stick a piece of jersey in there. It doesn't look like that is as much of an issue with Gridiron Gear as in years past, but there are a couple questionable patch placements. Would it hurt to put some foiling or a graphic around a patch? That would really make the patches look like they were put on the card with some purpose.
I've gotten more and more into football cards over the last year and this is a product I'll probably buy a pack or two of just for a chance at pulling a C.J. Spiller card or Gridiron Signatures Jim Kelly card.
Panini Timeless Treasures Basketball:
My Take: I busted a box of 2010 Timeless Treasures several months ago and really liked it. The 1 of 25 Lebron James Prime Jersey Patch card that I pulled probably had a lot to do with that, but I'm really a fan of the overall design and color scheme of this product line. The base cards have a cool and sophisticated elegance about them. The list of players on the product checklist is impressive. I also love the themes and designs of the inserts, auto's and relic sets. I do however have a few nit picky observations.
The patch placements and lack of foiling or graphic highlighting the patches is a big issue for me. It's not so much the placement of patches in Timeless Treasure, as it's the lack of any design element around the patches. Again this is nit picking, but at $100 for a five card box, I want perfection or close to perfection. Speaking of the $100 price tag, or $20 per card, are collectors getting on-card or sticker auto's? That makes a big difference as I'm sure many of you know.
Panini Treasures is a product line that I really like. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this years release to decide on whether to pick up a box or not, but I like what I see so far.