2012-13 Panini Flawless Basketball Has Arrived – Is It Worth the Fanfare?

Tomorrow marks the release of the most expensive mainstream product ever put out by a league licensed company. Panini Flawless retails at 1250 a box, but I would guess that price is only temporary, as the limited production run will increase box prices significantly. Although we have had master collection boxes in the past from Upper Deck, this is on a very different level. Although I am surprised it took this long for someone to try this type of configuration, I dont think there is enough in Flawless to separate it from the Exquisite benchmark set years ago.

Take a look for yourself:

2013 Panini Flawless Kyrie Irving Auto Patch RC

2013 Panini Flawless Jeremy Lin Jumbo Patch /5

2013 Panini Flawless Jeremy Lin Diamond Embedded Base Card

2013 Panini Flawless Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Base Auto

2013 Panini Flawless Kyrie Irving Jumbo Patch

2013 Panini Flawless Derrick Favors Logo Patch Auto

Here is the thing. The cards look great, and are on the level of what we are usually seeing from an Exquisite release. They are well designed, and hard signed, which makes this product one of the first from Panini that uses this approach. However, none of the big signers from outside their ring of Panini exclusives are included in this release. The biggest miss is really out of their control for now, as Michael Jordan and Lebron James are still exclusives of Upper Deck. However, there is also no Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, or others that command value of a significant hobby status. We also see that there are MANY players on this checklist that do not belong in a box that costs this much. Its really crazy to believe that a guy like this would be included, I have never heard of him (h/t Scott in comments).

The addition of Damian Lillard to this product is a big plus, as the deal with Leaf was not in place when National Treasures was released. As a result, Flawless is the first real high end product to have his autos. That is a big win.

So, this obviously begs the question, what specifically makes Flawless so expensive? Obviously the packaging is pretty expensive by normal standards, as is the fact that they decided it was a good idea to include gemstones in cards for some stupid reason. To be honest, the previews we have seen for the similarly high end (and also horribly named) Immaculate Collection look much more attractive.

The odd thing is, licensed Michael Jordan autos out of Exquisite can be some of the most expensive modern cards of this era. Same thing with Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant. Considering these cards were available in a box that cost less than half of what Flawless costs, I dont know what to say. Upper Deck has set a mark for special products with Exquisite, and Panini still hasnt found their place at that table, and its not even close. Although the design is well done, Exquisite’s release in basketball was an event. Panini is trying to make this release into an event, but I fail to see anything that remotely resembles what we got in the years Exquisite was licensed.

To be completely honest, the price of Flawless is not the issue, as eventually we will get a product that costs more per box, and is all 1/1s. Mark my words, it will happen, and it will be in basketball. The problem is, Panini is looking at this from all the wrong angles. They have not done anything to show that Flawless is anything special. Hard signed autos and crazy jumbo patches? Nothing that hasnt been done a million times over. Diamonds in the base cards? A worthless idea that shouldnt have ever been explored. Nothing about Flawless shows that it is worth our attention in a manner like Panini is suggesting. It looks very nice, but I would much rather drop $2000 on a case of Exquisite than continue to reinforce that Panini has the right approach by buying Flawless.

Exquisite is and always has been groundbreaking as the first Super High End product. This is nothing more than a rebranding with a higher price tag and a much more lacking checklist.

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5574773276&toolid=10001&campid=5336520001&customid=&mpre=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fitm%2F2013-Panini-FLAWLESS-Emerald-Damian-Lillard-RC-Auto-4-5-Rookie-OnCard-Autograph-%2F221304341160%3Fpt%3DUS_Basketball%26hash%3Ditem3386c442a8″>Flawless is the first real high end product to have his autos</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5574773276&toolid=10001&campid=5336520001&customid=&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]”>

3 thoughts on “2012-13 Panini Flawless Basketball Has Arrived – Is It Worth the Fanfare?

  1. Blowout and Dave & Adam are already selling boxes for over $1520 each. Only 1300 2-box cases made, and it looks like the demand is there. OK some of the autographs are $30-$100 fillers. If you are selling these on eBay, sell them “Buy it Now or Best Offer.” There are fans out there who will pay the price, especially for low numbered autos from a $1500 product.

    Check out the analysis below. There are an average of 3 great autos per box. Kyrie Autos are 1:5 boxes, Kobe 1:5 boxes, Durant 1:5 boxes, Anthony Davis 1:6, Grant Hill 1:7, Bird 1:11, Dr. J 1:11, etc (see below). And, the relic cards are sweet GAME USED patches #d/25 or less. I expect the base cards to be in high demand. We will find out over the next couple of days.

    The average expected values are just my guess. Put in your own guess.

    Boxes Made 2600 9000
    Cards Made 26000 99000

    Kyrie 493 743 (340 double autos)
    Lillard 97 0
    Kobe 509 455
    Durant 515 338
    Pippen 137 30
    Grant Hill 386 255
    Anfernee 242 49
    Vince Carter 195 202
    Bill Russell 160 64
    Magic 129 89
    Bird 239 120
    Dr. J 241 127
    Kareem 164 25
    Shaq 67 70
    Karl Malone 153 0
    Anthony Davis 422 804
    Yao 51 51
    Gary Payton 189 25
    TOTAL 4389 3447

    PER BOX 1.688 0.383

    Blake Griffin 337
    Steve Nash 166
    Jason Kidd 175
    David Robinson 254
    Hakeem Olajuwon 249
    Jerry West 144
    Elgin Baylor 82
    Larry Johnson 153
    John Stockton 200
    John Havlicek 93
    Dennis Rodman 121
    TOTAL 2092
    PER BOX 0.805

    Kenneth Faried 107
    Tobias Harris 107
    Andre Drummond 107
    Harrison Barnes 107
    Bradley Beal 107
    17 Other Rookies 952
    TOTAL 1487
    PER BOX 0.572


    Autographs 7 5
    Patches 2 0.4
    Other Relics/Print Plates 0 4.1
    Base Cards 1 1.5

    Kyrie Autos 493 0.19 $900 $171
    Lillard Autos 97 0.04 $1500 $ 60
    Kobe Autos 509 0.20 $350 $ 70
    Durant Autos 515 0.20 $400 $ 80
    Anthony Davis Autos 422 0.16 $400 $ 64
    Other Rookie Autos 1487 0.57 $360 $205
    Base Rookies 260 0.10 $300 $ 30
    Other Base 2340 0.90 $120 $108
    Game Used Patches 5200 2.00 $ 60 $120
    Other Autos 14677 5.64 $100-150 $564-846

    AVG VALUE PER BOX $1472-$1754

  2. Cool product, even though I don’t think it’s worth the money. This is what National Treasures should be…er, National Printing Plates and Crappy Sticker Dual Autos. But, Panini gets all on-card autos and decides they should double the price. What they lack with super chase cards, a la Jordan and LeBron, they make up for with volume of guaranteed good hits.

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