Let me start of this by saying that I am a fan of Flawless and what it brings to the table. I am NOT a fan of the pricing structure, as I mentioned before, mainly because of the content. There are many different parts of the set that are done to perfection, which goes without saying. However, the cream of the crop here are the jumbo patch cards, many of which feature some pretty amazing swatches.
Check these out:
2013 Panini Flawless Pete Maravich Jumbo Patch SSP – This is a great piece for the checklist, wow!
2013 Panini Flawless Wilt Chamberlain Jumbo Patch SSP – Just incredible, he hasnt had many cards like this.
Not only is this where the product’s checklist is the strongest, but it is also a place where we are seeing collectors fight over the cards. Lebron James' only memorabilia cards are in this set, and they should go for a ton. They are done that well, in most cases, and I think that the value is relative to what we saw with Exquisite back in the day. This should provide commentary on how important James and Jordan are, because there remains lots of questions without their inclusions. Collectors are hungry for licensed autographs of both, and this should be a prime driver in making that happen. The main issue with this whole set is a lack of a wow factor – no logos, no multi signed cards, and definitely no card that will break some of the records set by Exquisite over its run.
Although these patches are definitely commanding top value, it begs the question of why Panini only took Flawless to this point. If there is anything we learned from previous high end runs, the biggest cards are not the patches. It further engages me to wonder what UD could have done if they pumped a licensed Exquisite product up to $1250 MSRP? I can only begin to fathom what would have been possible. Its insane the level that Upper Deck would have gone to, likely including huge amounts of the most incredible cards in the history of basketball.
Personally, I see absolutely nothing in Flawless that dictates a ridiculous price that it has. Sure the box content has more likelihood of delivering better players than we saw in National Treasures and the like, but its nothing that hasnt been done before. That is where these jumbo patch cards come into play, as this is something that Panini hasnt done this well before. Its the one part of Flawless that actually got a reaction of “Wow” out of me.
I think its time to ask Panini to walk us through the plans they have for the next few years, because they definitely have not shown they are on the level of where Upper Deck used to be.