Today is a big day for baseball, as Panini is making their first attempt at releasing an UNLICENSED MLBP high end product. Although it is licensed through the MLBPA, there will be no logos available for use. Its an awful lot of faith to put in a category that has rarely been explored, even more without a license in place. The cards look about as good as expected, although there are quite a few examples of ones that made me wonder who green lighted their inclusion in a high end product.
2012 National Treasures Mariano Rivera Jumbo Jersey Cut Auto Booklet – Cut autos for living players PISSES me off.
2012 National Treasures Josh Hamilton Jumbo Patch Cut Auto Book – This is a disgrace.
My favorite cards, in terms of design,are the rookie auto jumbo patch card, which I wish had translated over to football this year. I love the layout and the way the card is structured with a focus on simplicity, and the on card autos are definitely a plus. I think that the checklist is Mike Trout plus some inconsequential prospects, so that is unfortunate to the veteran collectors, but the design is quite good.
I also like a lot of the relic autos and booklets that have started to pop up, as I believe the white dominated design is what many of the Panini baseball products have been missing. There is very little excess in a lot of the ways the cards are composed, and I hope that they will adopt this mentality for every other one of their products.
The worst part of National Treasures has carried over from the other two sports it is released in, and that is the consistent badgering of consumers with worthless jersey and relic cards. The hideous and played out manu-patch auto are back for ANOTHER product, but this time with the MSRP eclipsing 350 dollars, its the wrong venue to include them. If I were Panini, I wouldnt do them for ANY product, let alone the biggest of the year.
Panini still seems to believe that the box structure they provide is going to drive people to buy products like this, but after seeing a few cases broken on youtube, there are a LOT of dud boxes that I would be REALLY angry with. Products like this should not use prospects or low tier players to fill out checklists, unless they are proven players in the bigs, or have huge hype in the minors. Similarly, the junk cards with bats and jerseys need to go away for good. I dont pay 350 bucks for a box with the same hits as a box of Timeless Treasures. Things need to be freaking special when you breach the super high end category. Panini is INFAMOUS for this every single time.
Overall, National Treasures looks to be a good one for people who love Panini stuff. I think there are huge drawbacks to the way it was done, but its the best Panini release of the year so far. I think Five Star was A LOT prettier in its design and look, but this is a welcome departure from what Topps has done all year. There should have been more on card autos and a whole lot less stickers, but this is something that Panini hasnt quite figured out yet.
Maybe this is a sign of good things to come.