With the impending release of the newest incarnation of Exquisite basketball, I think there are a lot of people out there who are not quite grasping what this will mean to the basketball hobby. The general consensus is that when Upper Deck left the licensed game due to Panini’s exclusive, the basketball collectors lost the one company that truly understood what their needs were. Now that the squizz is back, I think there are going to be a lot of hungry people out there who have been craving a fix for the last few years.
Obviously the two crown jewels of Basketball have not made a high end appearance since the last time Exquisite rolled around, and I can definitely say that this is one thing that has drastically hindered Panini’s ability to be successful in the basketball arena. Now that Gregg has promised a Jordan auto in every Exquisite case, the perceived value of a box has already skyrocketed higher than ever believed. Add in that LeBron is back as well, and all of a sudden, this is one set that many collectors are going to chase like crazy.
Bottom line, Jordan autos from past Exquisite sets sell for crazy money, and a promise of one per case will water down some but not completely. Check out a small portion of what I am talking about:
Even the lower ones are still crazy:
Obviously, when it comes to the stocking of one’s personal collection, Jordan collectors can be very picky. Not only that, it takes deep pockets to stay on top of the game when purchasing cards for a player that has the most valuable signature of any player in any sport. So, when the autographs become plentiful enough for the average collector to pick up, there might be a feeding frenzy enough to sop up the supply quicker than expected. I mean, even I want a Jordan for my collection.
Secondly, we saw with Fleer retro that branding can trump licensing, a fact that Im sure surprised the people at Upper Deck some, and that should mean some great results on a set that doesn’t feature NBA jerseys. Exquisite has a cult following that will never die, so much so that the rabid overseas market, combined with the competition from here in the States means that the smaller print run could get people into some ugly bidding wars.
Yes, its true that I do not have a crystal ball, but after a discussion at Sports Cards Plus today, I found out that there just isn’t that many pre-orders left to buy for the shops anymore. This product may have dried up well before its release, just because of what it stands for. The obvious solution to this is to give Upper Deck its license back, as Panini has had little success in cracking the nut that UD loyalists have presented. Panini may have signed Kobe and Durant, but its second fiddle as far as many people are concerned. Sure doesn’t hurt that the design of Upper Deck products continue to be top notch, something that Panini still struggles mightily with.
Upper Deck may never reach the platform they had secured back in 2009, but this part of the equation sure looks to be on track.