With the release of Flawless Basketball today, we are getting a continued commitment to the new genre of wax breaks that go beyond the previous high end. These Ultra High End Boxes, which Panini is the first licensed company to break into, should offer collectors something that they cant find anywhere else. However, as I have repeated constantly, despite the nice cards Flawless really isnt anything special. Its more quantity of good players in a box, than QUALITY of those big hits when you pull them.
Here are some of the nicer cards that have already been listed:
After watching about 5 cases opened online, I wouldnt even be sure that the quantity of the big hits is where it used to be last year. Dont get me wrong, there are some nice additions to the checklist that will sell very well domestically and internationally, but can the market continue to sustain Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis cards as if they are top tier? Im not sure, ESPECIALLY if the cards dont offer something high end besides being encased.
The scariest thing about opening a box of Flawless is what happens when you dont pull Durant, Kobe, or Kyrie. Add in others like Michael Carter-Williams, and Shaq, and there might be some relief, but from what I have seen, its not always a slam dunk.
Flawless banks on contrived scarcity and player quality to float it's ridiculous box price, and seeing that no box will have Jordan autos and no box would have Lebron autos, Im not sure the luster is returning the way it started last year. I dont collect basketball enough to recognize trends, but Im not seeing the value the way I saw the first time around.
Are there nice cards in the product? Of course, the design is definitely some of the better looking cards that Panini makes. However, with on card autos and jumbo patches being the main draw, havent we gotten more out of other products that cost 1/3rd the price? Yes. Yes we have.
One former Upper Deck employee gaffed at what Panini put in Flawless the first time around, wondering what Exquisite would have been like with a box price over 1000 bucks. I am of that same crowd, as even with this price tag, none of the cards are even close to the level we saw come out of Upper Deck’s flagship products.
Panini does have the right idea, however, as High End is more in demand for Basketball than any other sport. Although they were pressured into creating the product the first time around, they may have fallen ass backwards into a set that has legs under very specific circumstances.
If Panini can find a way to either buy out UD, or get UD to license Jordan and Lebron for these products, get out of the way. Rumble of running collectors will cause earthquakes around shops that get Flawless on the shelves.
In all seriousness, if you arent a group breaker, or someone that can waste this kind of cash, Im wondering why you are buying boxes of this year’s edition. Last year’s softened considerably as the release passed along, and I would expect that to be doubly so with 2014’s version. Think of this like a rookie card and a second year card. The rookie card can remain hot, while the next card drops significantly. This should end up being a similar situation.
Be careful, that’s my advice.