The first big release of the 2012 Football Card season has hit shelves as of today, and I for one was excited to get our first real opportunity to get some high end cards of the NFL prospects. Elite has been one of the longest running products that Panini has had on their roster, and after a disasterous 2011 set, this one looks to be much improved.
At 120 bucks a box, Elite falls under pricey but not exorbitant, and the collectors have a huge chance to get some really valuable cards. It is one of the only Panini products with value derived from non-hit cards, as the parallels in the set function much like Refractors do in Topps products.
Here are the big pulls so far:
Additionally, the use of acetate for this year’s set is a welcome change, and I went hunting for a nice pull when I broke 2 boxes this afternoon at Sports Cards Plus in San Antonio. In my first box, I was ridiculously surprised to find all four of my hits were autographs, including a LaMichael James Gold Status die cut auto /24 and a Danny Coale Hard Hats auto acetate card out of 199. The rookies were quite uneventful outside of these cards, but I wasn’t complaining.
The next box contained one of the Acetate hard signed cards I was looking for, even though I didn’t exactly pull the best guy. I came away with a Chris Givens red ink auto, and I must say, these cards are definitely worth the chase.
Overall, the foil board stock is still very tough to deal with, both because of its awful visual appeal and condition sensitive nature, but the design is MILES ahead of last years, which is great. I saw some of the New Breed Jumbo jersey autos at the shop, and I believe that even as soon as one year ago, Panini would never have produced a card that is on this level of design.
I was also very disappointed that Panini couldn’t get off their ass and get hard signed signatures for the throwback design for the Passing the Torch cards this year. To see that they did stickers for this set that has so many collectors, makes me feel really apathetic about them using this design. The Walter Payton and Peyton Manning/Johnny Unitas cards from the previous incarnations are some of the most sought after autographs in modern football cards. I think this is a cop out to bring it back this way.
Much to my surprise, the boxes were delivering some nice content, even though I wasn’t expecting much. The rookies look that much better with the vertical orientation, and the good guys are NOT easy pulls. I think that its going to be tough for other Panini sets to match the success of the way some of the cards look, based on future previews of products that are on the horizon, and though they are not on the level of Topps yet, they are at least going from horrid to mediocre.