If you didnt see this one coming, im going to question your foresight here. Panini's Flawless brand has invaded all facets of the industry, including an upcoming release in Soccer. Even though I hate the name of the set, I do think that it has merit in some capacity in Basketball and Football. My main complaint is that the brand has rarely offered anything that isnt available in every other high end product that Panini does, and begs the question – should we really have to pay 1500 plus just to get a realistic shot a better players on the checklist?
We know super premium products can work in Baseball, but im wondering if the performance will be too low to justify the price. You can get really nice NT and Immaculate cards for not a lot of money:
Baseball is even tougher to imagine being a rightful direction of the brand, especially when you consider they are unlicensed and almost every big name is under exclusive contract with Topps. Trout, Harper, Correa, plus a number of other top guys will not be able to be used in this product, and that means there will be a large hole that can only be filled with more autographs of guys who I dont see being that important in the grand scheme of things. Add in the fact that the cards will have no logos, and I can see this playing out very similarly to the other high end baseball products Panini has put out.
The cards are simple and nice, like they were in Basketball this past year, and likely will be in Football. I think the simplicity here is where Flawless tends to differ from normal Panini designs, and that is a VERY good thing. They chose to go with a white dominated look, something that plays very well for the autographs and patches, and it looks like photo choices are good too. Unlike just about every single Panini product in existence, design isnt the main issue at play.
When its tougher to sell the cards on the secondary market because licensed cards sell for significantly more money, im curious how this will be accepted. I would much rather have Dynasty or even cards that will be released in the Mint, but that isnt saying the Flawless cards arent some of the nicer unlicensed stuff that is available. In the end, its not about how I feel, its how collectors feel, and the history isnt on the side of Panini here. Im guessing it will be hot at first, but like we see with all of their previous baseball products, its not going to be sustainable.
Obviously, Panini only cares about selling the boxes, and not the secondary market performance, so they will get some of what they need up front. However, this is almost a group break exclusive product, as its going to be tough to see individual collectors wanting to pony up money for a set that has so much prospect content, and none of the big names in Baseball.
The one main redeeming factor of this product should be the REALLY old guys, pre war relics from Ruth and company. Somehow, Panini still has relics of these guys, and that is where they have a place to market Flawless as a big draw. Mixing them in with low to mid range prospects is still confusing to me, and I still see very little unique content outside of these types of historic players.
I wouldnt touch boxes of this with a 10 foot pole, but as mentioned prior, this is group break city. Then again, people broke Spectra football, so anything is possible.