Since 2010, Panini has used the Contenders set as the vehicle for their 14 Karat gold printed cards that are inserted over the product. Back at the beginning, they dedicated a lot of time publicizing the cards, even going so far as putting the redemptions on a map according to where they were pulled. These cards have since showed up in a few of the major sports, and the 2012 versions are just starting to pop up on eBay.
I have never really been a fan of these cards because the basic design wasnt even close to where it should have been. I didnt really see the appeal of cards made out of gold sheeting, but their release coincided with record value on precious metals, and things went from there. Now that the gold standard has dropped a bit, and the program is three years old, the cards dont have as much of a chase element. Obviously that hasnt stopped people from putting enormous prices on them.
At least this year, the design of the cards is the best it has been, which I think makes THESE versions that much better. From what I have gathered, the Luck and the Griffin have both been pulled, and Russell Wilson may have been as well. From what I remember, there wasnt even advertising for these cards on the box, so I was shocked to see them start to show up.
I understand the allure of owning a collectible made out of gold, but these just seem like golden printing plates to me. All of you should know how much I hate those cards, even though these are a bit more detailed and less ugly. I got the gold craze, dont get me wrong, but when you saw these, combined with horrible examples from one of the worst sets in recent memory, it was a bit overkill.
This year, things seem a bit better, and flying under the radar should have done them well.