Over the last few years, Panini has turned Limited from a brand that offered something unique to a relatively irrelevant product due to the refusal to change the theme and design of the set. Although on card autographs have been offered during the last 2 years for the rookie patch autos, the rest of the set and box format is unchanged since 2007. As a result, it blends in with the rest of Panini’s 18 products, offering absolutely nothing special for the many collectors that used to love it.
Here is what is up so far:
2012 Limited Ryan Mathews Base Auto Platinum 1/1 – See how much better these look without the big white box?
This year looks MUCH Better than last year in the main content of the product, which isnt saying much after the disaster that was 2011 Limited. There are nice base autographs and other veteran autographs that look reasonably good, alongside the rookie Jumbo Patch Autos that look to be the best cards of the product.
As for the box hit rookie phenom patch autos, I think this is an upgrade over the last two years by a long shot, but the diecut team word logos have been replaced by “PHENOMS” die cut instead. I think this was a poor decision, and I feel as though these could have been a lot better to leave the diecutting as it was since 2009.
For reference, these ones from 2009 are the best the Phenoms have ever looked.
All of this improvement is offset by some of the worst cards I have seen in recent memory. The first is the Limited Membership cards that Panini promoted on their blog, which look to be a complete train wreck. Aside from the fact that the photographs are the awful helmet off shots that make the rookies look awkward and stupid, the theme of this set is worthless and then some. I mused that the scrub rookies must be carrying these around in their wallets, just because they need to proof that they are “OFFICIAL MEMBERS OF XXXXXX NFL TEAM.” What a joke.
Moving further down the hideous offerings from this set, we have a complete subset of cards named “inked”, even though the autographs are stickers. They went back to the graffiti style presentation, which has never worked and WILL NEVER WORK. There are also more rookie cards with more helmet off photos, which Panini never seems to learn is a HORRIBLE idea. They never seem to realize that player likenesses are full battle gear, not like baseball where their face is part of it too. I will continue to complain about this until its burned into the consciousness of the people that buy this crap.
Its one thing to have an awkward player picture on a card, but its completely different to forgo the player picture in the first place. These lettermen cards have been popular since their inception, despite awful design work, and this year’s take the cake. The player letter is included with an autograph that breaks my rule of signed swatches, but it also does so without a player picture included. More reason to hate these cards that dont work well. How can you not include a picture of the person who the swatch belongs to? We collect cards because of the players, not the relics right?
Lastly, Panini has brought back signed football swatches to this product, and I am questioning why. Card companies dont get that autographs not signed on card or on a sticker dont age or display well, and yet they still continue to trot out new subsets every single year. These might be the worst I have seen.
Limited needs to change to stay relevant, and I really dont see that happening. Panini is staunch that their approach will be the right one, refusing to listen to what many of the collector feelings have started to illustrate on messageboards and blogs around the internet. I hope they get the point soon, because I feel as though there are a few examples this year which showed what they are capable of. Of course, the theory I have heard is that the good work was farmed out and the horrible examples are from the in house team. Who knows what is true, but someone needs a wake up call in Dallas.