Now that Inception has been live for a few days, I have been similarly impressed and unimpressed with a lot of the elements of the set. We have also seen that Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck each have a ton of 1/1 style cards, a few of which have already made their way onto eBay. The biggest complaints are ones that seem to be minor or uncontrollable, and overall, I think collectors have seemed to embrace what Inception delivers from a July product. It is relatively the same price as Prestige was, and though both sets have their plusses and minuses, both look to be successful products this early in the card season. Definitely more so than we have seen in the years prior to 2009.
Here are the 1/1s up so far:
I really continue to have an issue with the cards that feature signed swatches of material, regardless of rarity. Inception offers signed letters, signed jumbo swatches, and signed tags, all numbered 1/1, and all well outside of something I would buy. For the second year in a row, I feel like the Letters leave a lot on the table in terms of look, as Topps went with the ridiculously tiny player pic at the bottom of the card instead of going at it another way. I wish they had done the letters more similar to these cards, with a focus on more of a visual player presence. Collectors have generally moved on from the novelty of these types of cards, as evidenced by the eventual prices they achieve. More Cards like this have seemed to get a better reaction from the people who buy.
The tags and jumbo swatch autos already look to have bleeding issues with the signatures, and that bugs me. As I have said in previous posts, its not worth the trouble. I think there are some other ideas I would have used first, like more of a parallel structure around the awesome looking silver signings instead of more tags and letters.
As for the two collector complaints, one is warranted and the other is an uncontrollable part of NFL licensing.
The most rampant issue that Topps can have some sort of control over is the chipping on the cards that has garnered quite a few complaints from people who have busted the packs. Now, any time you have hard signed cards, the player will have a hand in the eventual condition. Regardless, the black coated stock does have a number of issues just because of its color, which should be considered for change next year. Either way, Im not sure why anyone would be grading cards of this nature at all, to begin with. I personally would trade on card autos with chipping for stickers with no chipping every day of the week, but that’s just me. Condition isnt as important to me as the design, look and auto quality on the card.
The more uncontrollable aspect of Inception is the Jim Otto “00” jerseys worn by some of the lesser rookies. This is an NFL licensing thing that Prestige had similar problems with for its on card autos, it just wasnt as noticeable because the pics were busts instead of full body in most cases. The NFL does not allow jersey numbers for players who do not have them assigned, and that is where Topps was unable to get the numbers before the Inception cards had to be produced. Obviously, guys like Luck, Griffin and Richardson all have the correct numbers, but not everyone was so lucky. Its definitely an issue, but not one that could have been avoided.
Overall, I liked Inception enough last year to buy a box at my local shop this year, and I think it turned out nice. It will never be as good of a product as it could be later on in the season, but Inception continues to be a product that collectors will be excited for as a pre-season offering. Sure doesnt hurt that the hard signed cards are as cool as they are. Lets just hope they change the design a bit next year to prevent it from getting stale.