Next Wednesday is a big day in the card year. Not only is Panini putting out their last product of the year, but they are releasing the first of the super high end breaks that I thrive on. This year, for the first time in a VERY long time, National Treasures looks to be on the up and up. They have on card non-rookie autographs for the first time since 2007, and the white dominated design looks good almost all around. Previous years’ designs have been a complete disaster, while this year’s looks good from the previews.
They have been previewing cards in the last few weeks leading up to the release of the set, and today’s preview showed a recession back to a feature that I cannot understand. For so many of their products, they seem incapable of designing around the sticker autos they depend on for every set during the year. Where other companies like Topps and Upper Deck have found ways to use stickers without being too much of a detriment to design, Panini consistenly fails. Actually, they dont just fail, they fall about as flat on their face as possible.
For 2012, the Colossal patch cards for the veterans in the set look REALLY good. They are very similar looking to a lot of what Upper Deck was able to do over the last two years of their license in the NFL. Its almost like Panini is finally starting to make Treasures more than just a 500 dollar box of Prestige with better patches. Then we see how the Colossal autographs are done, and everything goes to shit. Rather than finding a way place the sticker below the swatch, thus leaving the player photo to stand alone on the left, they put a big white box and slice the player off at the waist. In fact, they did such a poor job, that they actually sliced the smoke behind the player as well. I dont even think they were trying here, because the initial design is pretty stunning without the sticker.
The big white box is all too common in Panini’s way of designing, and what makes this scary is that I rarely see anybody but a small handful of collectors speaking with their wallets. Topps is coming up on their 3rd year of Five Star with 100% on card autos, and we have yet to see Panini fully embrace this situation. Just to reinforce, these on card autographs from current veteran players are the first in AT LEAST 6 years! SIX YEARS! Not just for National Treasures, but for the ENTIRETY of their calendar. I am even having trouble finding any at all for the last 10 years.
That means for as old as some of your children are, Panini has not released a set of cards that included on card autographs from non-rookie and non-retired stars. Then, when they finally do get off their ass to do a product like this, its only one subset in a checklist of thousands.
It would be one thing if they could prove that they could design cards effectively without hard signed autographs, The big white box is all too common in Panini’s way of designing.
National Treasures will be released with the biggest price tag in football history. It is already selling about 100 bucks above MSRP because of how much people want the high end jumbo patch cards of the top rookies. With that big of an investment from each collector that buys a PACK of this product, let alone a case, they are unable to showcase that NT is deserving of that investment.
I REALLY like a lot of cards they have previewed. There are distinct indications that Panini has taken steps to improve this product. However, with consistent failures in design and content, I do not understand why collectors feel they should still support a product that performs in this way. Yet, every year comes forward, and the product is the top selling licensed set of the year, all while the far superior set in Five Star, is left to the collectors who actually know what a good set looks like.