Sunday, November 7, 2010

Product Preview: 2011 Playoff Contenders Patches

Panini just released some images and details for its 2011 Playoff Contenders Patches product scheduled to be released sometime in February. I haven't been a big fan of the Contenders line in the past (aside from last year's Season Tickets set), and I don't think I'm going to be a fan of this year's either. It's not that 2011 Contenders is a bad product. Actually, I think this is going to be a very nice product with value for collectors. I'll get into the negatives later, but here are some of the good aspect Contenders offers.

Each hobby box will include four auto's and at least one of those auto's will be of a 2010 Lottery Pick. That's actually a really nice touch and means you'll get a RC auto in every box of a player you've heard of before. Also, four auto's per box isn't too shabby either at a suggested retail price of $120 (or $80 - $100 on eBay). Some of the product highlights seem to also have a decent amount of thought behind their designs. Most notably, the Place In History set features stars who were drafted be teams other than the ones they are currently on today. These are all nice features of 2011 Contenders, and I better stop right there before I talk myself into buying a box.

The problem I have is that the product appears to be laden with sticker auto's. I understand Panini was originally a sticker company, but I don't want stickers on my trading cards. It's one thing to feature sticker auto's in a product or two in order to keep prices down, but it's another to have them in every product (aside from 2010 Panini Basketball HOF). The other issue has to do with the manufactured patches that consequently which renames the Contenders line to: Playoff Contenders Patches.

To be honest, I'm sort of up in the air with this addition to the product. I'm not a fan of manufactured patches, but the Demarcus Cousins RC Patch below does look pretty decent. The problem is, with the seemingly endless amount of products coming out year after years, I'm not going to spend money on something that looks decent. There are just too many products out there, especially with stickers. The lines are definitely blurred between product.

2011 Contenders is a product that has some interesting design and possible value, but also has a lot of the typical Panini missteps. I'll have to see more images and box breaks on YouTube when it's released in February. Here are few of the images released by Panini:

So what do you think? Is 2011 Panini Playoff Contenders Patches a product you're interested in adding to your collection? What do you think of the addition of patches to the Contenders product line?

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