Limited is live as we speak, and personally I find it awfully intriguing that it is going up against the recent release of Topps Supreme. The format and prices of the products are relatively similar, though Limited does have a few advantages in both collector loyalty and on card autographs for a small portion of their checklist. Outside of those advantages, there are a multitude of shortcomings that Limited epically fails to capitalize on, and these failures will result in huge disappointment from even the most rabid Panini fans.
First off, the design work on Topps Supreme is so far above Limited, that the comparisons is akin to a Porsche and a beat up 1985 Impala that is missing one of its rear tires. Basically, there is no comparison at all. Yes, you are guaranteed an autograph in every box, but the level of professionalism displayed in the design of that autograph is less than that of a trained monkey. There are so many subsets in Limited that actually make me nauseous as to their design, that I wonder if they understand how much they are behind on the scoreboard. Its like the team that is down 35 points and still running the ball at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Both products are predominantly stickers in the overall umbrella of the content, but Topps Supreme is a home run in their execution of the stickers, where Panini and their white boxes are three pitch strike outs.
When you look back over limited’s cards from the past few years, I have no clue why the RAPs from 2009 were not used as a template for success. Awesome photographs, team logo diecuts, and nicely conceived and placed design elements. This year’s, like 2010, might as well be Triple Threads lite, with the tiny ass player pictures jailed in the corner of the card, while focus is put entirely on the swatches.
This is all added on top of the fact that a huge portion of Limited’s on card autographs are redemptions, as Panini obviously did not get their ducks in a row when planning out this product. Considering how many of their previous products had live hard signed autographs from guys who are redemptions in this product, is ultimately concerning. It also goes without saying that the average collector doesn’t give a wet fart in hell as to why the redemptions exist, just THAT they exist. When Supreme has everything live, give or take, it’s a further loss on a set I used to love.
Most importantly, both products have extreme issues with box content, as neither should cost what they do for what they deliver. Supreme costing 90 bucks without a guaranteed autograph is ludicrous. Limited, costing 100 bucks for a box filled with single jersey cards of players no one cares about is similarly ludicrous. In all seriousness, these boxes should not cost more than 60 bucks a piece, as prices for secondary value is dropping by the second. As collectors become more disenfranchised with this level of return for the price, companies will continue to see a drop off in new collectors.
Neither of these products are on the level of an awfully conceived product like Gold Standard, costing 200 dollars a box for the junk Panini put in it, but its getting to that point. I sense that there is a growing dissention over the lack of effort that Panini has put into their football products in the wake of licensing in other sports, and that is not a good thing. When NFL licensing is up for grabs again at the end of this year, its likely that Panini will remain on board as a result of their international reach. It is not clear whether Topps will be included, and that scares me to death. If I am left with junk like Limited, Certified and Gold Standard as the only option for purchase, im stopping the purchase of new products into my collection. Topps is the ONLY bright spot left in the NFL, and the ridiculous thing is, that wont factor into any part of this.