Is 2012-13 Panini Flawless Special Enough to Warrant a $1250 Dollar Price Tag?

There are few things in this hobby that shock me any longer. Very few. A box that costs $1250 for 10 cards? Thats pretty high on the holy shit-o-meter.

Panini released some initial images and details about 12/13 Flawless Basketball, which might have one of the most laughable names in history. That is until you also see that they are releasing Immaculate Basketball also this year. Flawless, which immediately calls for people to seek out its imperfections, offers on card autographs and jumbo swatches, but that isnt all that special when you see what is in National Treasures each year. For some god forsaken reason, Panini decided to include cards encrusted in emeralds and diamonds, which totally gives new meaning to “gem mint.” (Thank you Ryan!) Diamonds have been done before too, with non-spectacular results.

Honestly, Panini has some nice looking cards in the preview, and the on card autos are cool. Yet, is it really that necessary to bump the price tag to insane heights, even though the two biggest names in the sport wont be signing for you? Hell, for that much money, are the players hand making these cards? Do they auto-list themselves on eBay when you take them out of the box? Im curious, maybe you can print out a congratulatory letter that recognizes your ability to afford the box? Im not sure, because I see absolutely NOTHING that makes this anything special.

When you consider that a Jordan Exquisite Auto costs about that much money, or that you can buy just about any other autograph of any other player, INCLUDING Pete Maravich for a little more than 1250, I cannot see why anyone would open a box of this stuff, unless they were just trying to show that they can. Basketball is more about super high end than any other sport, but I fail to understand why this even comes close to what we have previously seen in the original licensed versions Exquisite Basketball that can be had for less than half the price.

More important than my reservations with the price point, do collectors really care about stones in their cards? Are there people out there looking at their autographed cards of their favorite players and thinking, “man this would look so much nicer with diamonds.”? I doubt it. Pure gimmickry, that’s what this is. At least Exquisite, the benchmark set for everything a basketball product can be, had Jordan and LeBron readily available.

Panini has brokered a special deal to include Leaf exclusive Damian Lillard signatures in the product, but unless it comes embedded with sequential DNA so I can clone my very own Lillard, it makes little to no difference. He is the reigning rookie of the year, and he has not had licensed autos yet, but good god, he cannot star alongside Tom Chambers, Mark Eaton and Dikembe Mutombo to get my vote for this colossal price tag.

I get it, when you put out 25 sets in a year (yes, you heard that right), and the license is costing you more than its worth, you try drastic things. Drastic does not include me paying 1250 for 10 cards, diamonds or no diamonds. I would much rather Panini create National Treasures series 2 than try to rape me with this rusty fork of a price. Add in Jordan, LeBron, Tiger, Jeter, and the rest of the UD exclusives? Maybe we can talk.

I included some of the horrid names on the checklist in the pics below, just so you can see what I mean:

7 thoughts on “Is 2012-13 Panini Flawless Special Enough to Warrant a $1250 Dollar Price Tag?

  1. They have put out way too many sets this year. I get trying to capitolize on the dula Rookie class, but I would expect them to do the same thing for this upcoming season too, which, like football, has a weak rookie class.

    I’m not sure that NBA collectors are going to support all the Super High end sets that are coming out now. I thought National Treasures was the tent pole end of the year set, but they have 4-5 releases after it.

    Sad part is I really love the look of this set. Had no idea it was $1250 a box. Easily half of the players shown in Panini’s preview should be no where near this set, and I love me some Spud Webb and Darryl Dawkins. Sorry guys.

  2. These cards actually look pretty nice, but the price point is literally insane. Panini needs to buy Upper Deck soon or give up its exclusive basketball license.

  3. Panini’s release schedule is so f@#ked up, their 12-13 products are going to overlap their 13-14 products.

    Also, over half of their products this year have been at least $150-$200 or more for a box of 4-6 cards. Anything below the $100 level has been absolute crap. Prestige Basketball wasn’t that bad, but it came out a loooooooong time ago. Talk about screwing over collectors.

  4. Again with all the colored foil? I dont follow basketball that closely to tell the difference between this and NT if it wasnt for the giant “flawless” on the front of the cards.

    I dont think you could get $1250 for the all 27 cards shown in your preview

  5. I totally agree with your point on the player selection. You can dress a pig all you want, but in the end its just a pig, aka Mark Eaton and Cazzie Russell cards for example.

  6. I totally agree! I was so excited when I first heard of this product! I was looking forward to buying a case! But as soon as the pictures dropped I quickly changed my mind, I could not believe panini would ask a price tag like that and still have some scrub players and old schoolers that won’t event get $5 on eBay! Really Panini! You guys should have took notes from Upper Deck and there All time Greats Basketball product. I’ll definitely pass on this product for now. I’ll just scoop up the singles off eBay!

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