Panini previewed its second product this week, after earlier posting a bunch of pics from Clear Vision. 2015 Prestige started coming off the line yesterday, being the first Panini set of the year that many collectors have a history with.
In case you forgot, last year’s Prestige was easily one of the worst looking products of the year, as Panini inexplicably combined airbrushed pre-draft shots with content obtained at the rookie premiere.
It ended up being a prime staple on all the closeout sales:
Wait, doesnt that look exactly like the diarrhea that was Hot Rookies? WHY YES! It does!
If you are wondering how someone could have fresh pro-uniform content available AND STILL opt to use airbrushed pre-draft shots that look horrendous, you are not alone. These are the types of decisions that Panini is infamous for making, and though this year’s set is a million times better looking than 2014, all on card content from previous years is gone. Its like you cant have your cake and eat it to with them, as 2012, 2013 and 2014 all had multiple sets with hard signed rookie autographs.
For everyone who is unfamiliar – since 2011, getting cards hard signed at the premiere has almost become the focus of the event. Although Topps and Upper Deck had gotten cards signed in previous years, most of them were completed DURING the weekend to be signed. With Inception, it was one of the first times that a company had brought a pre-fabricated set. In 2012, Panini followed suit and brought a ton of stuff to match their competition. It has been the standard up until this year, where Panini decided that sheets of stickers and acetate windows were more important – leaving Prestige with its fourth set of the year with all sticker content.
The rookie base design this year actually isnt bad at all. I dont mind it one bit, and even with the standard GIANT text that Panini has incorporated into every set, its a good looking base set with some nice full bleed photos. On the veteran side, this isnt the same situation, as Panini has crowded some really nice action shots with needless amounts of text.
Autographs arent terrible looking either, but there isnt any confirmation that there will be pro-uniform sticker autos as has been the case in previous years. One can only long for the days of 2012 Prestige, which still remains my favorite set Panini has done with the brand.
As for the inserts, saying they are busy and cluttered doesnt even begin to describe how bad they really are. Panini has had a history of making really obnoxious design decisions, like the giant text mentioned above, and this product is packed to the brim. On the micro etched cards, the name plates obscure WAY too much of the surface area. Text is everywhere, and completely disorganized. It looks awful and rushed.
Here is the bottom line. Without the on card stuff, I really find no reason to dive headfirst into this product, as the boxes will be below dealer cost by mid year. Panini is banking on the fact that you are bored with airbrushed and college stuff, and wants you to ignore some great products from Leaf that have recently been released. I would advise against that. Nice cards from Prestige come very infrequently, and its close to impossible to walk away with top rookie content unless you hit the jackpot.
Wait as long as possible for the good sets to start coming out, and you will not walk away as disappointed.