2014 National Treasures Update: New Cards Start to Show Up

Since the beginning of this train wreck, Panini has been very quiet on the enormous mistake that was made in the collation of 2014 National Treasures. As predicted, they have used the eventual surfacing of the cards to wash their hands of the issue, despite the fact that its very clear that they are painfully aware of how much damage it did to the original boxes in circulation. Now that a “second wave” of cases has hit, the cards have started to hit ebay in a slow trickle, as more of the boxes that were unsold from Panini eventually make their way into collectors’ hands.

Here are the Odell cards up so far (still not many even to this day):

2014 National Treasures Odell Beckham Rookie Auto Patch /99

2014 National Treasures Odell Beckham Rookie Auto Patch /99 #2

2014 National Treasures Odell Beckham Booklet Jumbo Patch Auto

Here are the Teddy cards:

2014 National Treasures Teddy Bridgewater Auto Vertical Booklet /99

2014 National Treasures Teddy Bridgewater Rookie Auto Patch Gold /10

2014 National Treasures Teddy Bridgewater Rookie Auto Patch Silver /25

As expected, many collectors have already moved past their frustration over the cards not showing up. They just want the hits and they want them now. In fact, a collector from New Jersey already posted a live redeemed Teddy Bridgewater rookie patch auto /99, a card that literally took a day or two from redemption to being in the mailbox. That type of fast is what we call “GET THIS SHIT OUT THE DOOR TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE FUCKING SEE IT!” fast. Panini wants visibility, and they will milk every last connection they can to make sure collectors see that the cards do exist.

That being said, there has been no addressing this debacle in a public manner, at least in a way that addresses how long it took for the cards to finally show up. All Panini is willing to offer is that the cards are “rare to find!” and “are in the product.” Fucking perfect right there. It doesnt help that every last distributor is calling their clients and offering “BRAND NEW cases from Panini’s floor”, including a few that have tacked on a few more dollars for the service of getting “wave 2.” I talked to a west coast shop that received no less than 3 calls in one day from different distributors trying to unload their brand new cases.

All things considered – it should be mentioned that not every “wave 2″ case will have these missing cards in them. After talking through it on some of the message boards, its likely that one in every three or four cases will have one of the Bridgewater or Beckham cards. Because collation is already a huge issue, its possible that concentrated pockets of the cards will show up, so people may get lucky.

I talked to a collector that purchased two cases from the new wave, and ended up with nothing worth mentioning. He actually said he did much better on the first boxes he opened, and that the two cases were far less loaded with better quality hits. Eric Ebron, he said, is all over these boxes, which isnt necessarily the best thing to have.

By this point, I dont expect Panini to address the issue, and I do not expect them to take responsibility for the problems. That would actually be doing the right thing, and we know how that works around here. Collectors will be left to search out the cards on the secondary market, especially if their shop has refused to order more until they can move the first batch. Panini has a huge black eye already from the “misprinted” Flawless cards, and this just makes it worse. However, until the collectors actually start to speak with their wallets, and stop buying boxes and stop buying into group breaks, Panini has no reason to say anything.

On the Radar: 2015 Topps Dynasty Baseball

Last year, Topps put a lot of eggs in the high end basket with the first edition of Dynasty baseball. It was a huge risk due to the enormous price tag on the boxes, which only contained one card. However, once people actually saw the ridiculous cards that were coming out of the product with high frequency, the cards caught a bit of hobby fire.

Here are some of the cards which made last year’s product so incredible:

2014 Topps Dynasty Yasiel Puig Jumbo Dirty Patch Auto

2014 Topps Dynasty Clayton Kershaw Jumbo Patch Auto

2014 Topps Dynasty Hank Aaron Dual Relic Auto

2014 Topps Dynasty Mike Trout Jumbo Patch Auto

2014 Topps Dynasty Mariano Rivera Jumbo Patch Auto

2014 Topps Dynasty Miguel Cabrera Jumbo Patch Auto

Topps previewed the first image from this year’s 2nd edition of the product, which looks to be formatted in a similar to what we saw last year. I would guess that the upcoming port to football may use a similar format for that release as well. 2014 Dynasty was mostly about high end autograph subjects with some pretty incredible patches, which looks to be part of the meat of this product again. We are still waiting on more of an extensive preview to see if a bit more variety is added to the set.

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Dynasty was easily one of my favorite baseball sets of the year last year, despite the simplicity of the product configuration. Each card was more beautiful than the next, and the on card autos with crazy patches finally created a format that brought ultra high end into a compatible medium for baseball. It has been a long time since someone has found a way to really produce a product in this tier that has served well for a long period of time.

If Topps wants to continue the success and keep the product fresh for 2015, they will definitely need to make some changes, outside of just adding or subtracting players from the checklist. As a few of us were discussing on twitter, chase elements like knobs, barrels and logomen could inspire a lot of different people to jump on board, and adding more top tier guys could also do a lot of good. That being said, a concise checklist is still the flavor du jour with a product like this, as diluted subjects detracts from the box break.

With Kris Bryant TEARING it up in the hobby, it should come as no surprise that Topps wants to capitalize on his hotness, especially for a set like this. Hopefully other fun additions will be coming too, as other young players have also had quite the hot start to the season. I will definitely check out some singles of the guys I collect, and I cannot wait to see the rest of the preview.

UPDATE – MORE IMAGES ADDED:

On the Radar: Panini Prizm Draft Picks Football

Starting in 2015, Panini’s plan for Hobby world domination takes another step, with them taking over the exclusive license for all NCAA logo trading cards. From 2010 through the beginning of this year, Upper Deck has owned the exclusive, and done well carving out a niche over the last five years. After releasing a few GREAT football products already this year, Upper Deck has left NCAA, and Panini is ramping up.

Panini just released some extensive previews from one of their new collegiate brands to be released before the NFL rookie premiere in May. Although I HATE that they have managed to lock down another exclusive, there is merit to what it can do for their products, picturing players in college jerseys. This space is where its definitely the most valuable.

Too bad Prizm remains the dog it always has been, and this preview really didnt do much for what I affectionately call “Chrome Zero.” I would call it Diet Chrome, but I dont think it even deserves that.

In a market where almost EVERY SINGLE product has on card autographs, Prizm is launching their new brand with stickers, something that I just cannot understand. Because every set that serves as their competition will feature hard signed autographs, Prizm wont be able to measure up in the least. Although the design is better than any other Prizm set to date (I know, not saying much), the usage of stickers could kill any potential it has to be successful.

Remember, this is NOT a part of the year that is devoid of great looking products, including a few we have yet to see. If Panini thinks they can waltz in and win the battle, they will fall flat on their stupid faces. College collectors are few and far between, but its different this time of year. Because so few sets have been released, many pro collectors will take a gamble out of boredom. Panini has almost ensured that the crossover collectors will choose an alternate route.

Even though this is only 60 bucks a box, come the first pro-release, these wont be worth the cardboard they are printed on. Unless something is special, most pre-draft type releases dont continue to hold their value, and Panini is playing with fire there. This goes double if things dont measure up. Of course, they dont really know their ass from a hole in the ground, so I cant blame them for being dumb about this.

Prizm is already a joke and a half, and this will further devalue an inferior brand. Regardless if the design is nicer than it normally is for this dumpster fire product, they have guaranteed that collectors will continue to give them the stink eye with each new thing they decide to try. Hey, at least this set gets some work, as they could not be bothered with Contenders to even come up with a new design. Ill give them that, but with everything else? Who cares. Cant wait to see how many packs are being offered for buying this junk at the National?

2014 Exquisite: Upper Deck Football’s Last Stand?

Last week, amid the drama of National Treasures and the simultaneous release of Five Star, Exquisite Football was also released. It is likely going to be one of, if not THE last licensed CLC football product from Upper Deck, something that is going to sadden a number of people who loved the brand. That isnt saying the brand is done for good, but maybe just not sticking around in the same way.

Check out some of the top hits:

2014 Exquisite Marcus Mariota XRC 1/1

2014 Exquisite Jameis Winston XRC /125

2014 Exquisite Teddy Bridgewater Rookie Auto Patch /75

2014 Exquisite Blake Bortles Rookie Auto Patch /75

2014 Exquisite Odell Beckham UD Black Auto

I have always been a huge fan of the Exquisite brand, especially in its days as the premier high end product for any of the sports it was produced in. These days, it still has tremendous value, and has birthed some of the more interesting cards of the last few years. It continues to be a fun set to chase your favorite players, including some of the big rookies for 2015, which accompany this year’s crop.

To release this set on the same day as National Treasures is not really the decision I would probably go with, but I understand they are limited by Panini’s usurping of their exclusive license. At the same time, I have stood by the fact that a product like this would SEEK AND DESTROY early on in the calendar year, as no other high end products are really released until halfway through the season. Because this is college licensed, the production can begin as soon as the rookies declare, with planning done months before that.

Either way, most of the cards look great. My favorites are definitely the dimensions jersey autos, which have taken a page from the past versions of the card, mix in a little bit of the tweaks made by Strata, and added some Exquisite flare. I also think the puzzle type art cards are pretty interesting, as are many of the HOF autographs from across the release.

Im not as much a fan of the rookie auto patch design this year, as the foil embellishments intrude too far into the cards surface. It leaves very little room for the player to sign, and creates a tough visible area for them to be seen unless the player is wearing a light jersey. Its not the worst its been since 2010, but its far from the best.

Additionally, the price of the product is significantly more expensive than the other two that were released over the course of last Wednesday, and that was a complaint I heard a lot of people making. However, from a group break perspective, this is a much more moot point, as people were able to divert the extra cost that way.

If this is indeed Exquisite’s last licensed year, I think it ended well but not in the insane way that it started. I think this was Upper Deck’s chance to really make a splash and show people how much they could be missed, but instead, it felt like just another year of a product that has been around since 2005. Considering so many of the cards still looked really good, UD should consider that part a victory, but I cant help but feel some potential was wasted.

2014 National Treasures: Teddy Bridgewater and Odell Beckham Cards Surface

Its been seven long days for a lot of breakers out there, and seven longer days for the collectors who have been looking to pick up any of the main National Treasures rookie cards of Odell Beckham and Teddy Bridgewater. Although both players have had autographs in the product that have surfaced as early as the day before release, it took this long for the least rare examples to pop up.

So far, at least 3 of the missing cards were uncovered last night, with two pulled in the same batch on a large group break site.

Here is the first of the auctions to be posted:

2014 National Treasures Odell Beckham Rookie Auto Patch

As I have been saying this whole time, none of this comes as a surprise. My stance from the first mention of this debacle was that was likely that a pack out or collation issue. Based on what everyone on every message board and every social media outlet has guessed, the floodgates will open, the cards will show up, and Panini’s spin doctors will go to work.

Although they crafted a carefully worded response on facebook a while ago that offered zero insight into the issue, it only took them a matter of hours to get the hype train a rollin’ on addressing the concerns.

Stupid hashtags aside, its borderline irresponsible to continue the charade that the cards were in circulation from day one. Although they were probably not lying in saying the cards were packed out, I have stood by the assertion that “packed out” and “in circulation” are two very different situations.

My prediction is that these cards will serve as the lightning rod for their response mechanism. They will point mercilessly in this direction, hoping that the cards’ eventual appearance shows that they were right all along. However, that is about as far from the issue at hand as it can be. Its not about whether or not the cards eventually show up, its how long it took. Panini may want you to think its about missing cards eventually surfacing and how they were right, but we cant forget the true situation.

The best part about this is that Panini’s blog cant trot these cards out as much as they want, as Redemptions dont have the same pull with collectors. Imagine if Teddy and OBJ were live and how much more potential those have to be lauded to the world. A redemption card just doesnt have that same appeal. They also know that the Beckham cards have the potential to turn into another Russell Wilson situation from 2012, where it took ages for the cards to finally get done. They would be ill advised to get people’s hopes up without knowing the cards will be done in a short timeframe.

Now, Panini’s team finally got tired of my coverage of the event and let their emotions get in the way of following best practices discussed in entry level Marketing classes. Seeing comments like this should show you how they are perceiving their place in this fiasco, as well as how they feel about criticism brought by their customer base. Best part is, I bet the words I used are half as tame as the emails they have been getting from other people. Yet, they chose to use their time in this fashion. Its just the cherry on their shit sundae when they have to stoop to my level, right?

Over the next few days, I would expect 5-10 more of the cards to show up as wave 2 boxes from the distributors finally make their way into the hands of the breakers. Panini’s favorite group break sites will likely feel the benefit immediately, even if they are not looking for that kind of treatment. I have talked to a number of people who have all been as surprised as I am that it took this long.

Prepare yourself for the blitz. It will come hard and it will come fast. Just keep all of this at the back of your mind when reading their posts.

Just so you can see how “transparent” Panini wants to be about this, here is an email that was sent to a user who reached out to them for a response. Pretty clear narrative is being established, and I am loving every minute of it.

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