Panini was really making waves at the Summit this week, which has been the case for the last few years.
I already posted my thoughts on the new Panini Rewards Redemption Program, but I want to cover the other piece of news, which I find to be that much more interesting and beneficial for EVERY collector who buys Panini Products.
Over the last few card years, the quality of patches released in products has grown to an almost unsupportable level. As game used jerseys have become commonplace and lost values, companies have relied almost exclusively on finding ways to keep them as a valuable part of a product’s checklist. One way to do that is to introduce more and more crazy patches in as many cards as possible. Prior to that, logo and multicolored patches were so rare, that any quality patch was enormously valuable above and beyond the normal card. Whenever something gains popularity in this fashion, the scammers come out of the woodwork to find ways to exploit it. What happened was the removal of the low quality patch from the card via a variety of techniques, and replacing them with some of the logo patches that were are now all used to.
Because so few cards had logo patches, and many of the fakes looked almost identical to one another, it was easy to tell when something wasn’t real.
Many companies tried to work against faking patches, some by encapsulating cards, others by listing the patch content on the actual card themselves. None of these worked well, as the criminals always found a way to take advantage of the people who weren’t in the know.
Fast forward to today, after years of problems. One of the ripple effects of this new era of patch quality is that it is no longer easy or possible to tell the good fakes from the real cards. Because the practice has been around for so long, and because any card in any set can have a crazy patch, we are at the mercy of these idiots.
All these cards are high numbered:
For a long time, collectors have asked for a database sponsored by the manufacturer to showcase each card. Up until yesterday, no one was able to make that happen. Well Panini is taking a bold and needed step forward in adding a QR code to the back of each prime patch card to be linked to an image of the card at packout. This is a huge step in combatting fakes, even though it doesn’t solve the whole problem. It solves enough of the problem that the rest almost becomes moot.
In fact, I used to cover fakes on my site all the time, but its just not feasible anymore. That is a shame that I cant be the person I used to be, as everyone needs education on these matters. You cant tell, and this is going to be great.
I sincerely hope this becomes a main focus for Panini in their product development, and I am eager to see what happens when it comes into play next year. There are so many patch cards from each product that I am curious to see how they will be able to execute this problem, but I almost don’t care as long as it happens in SOME capacity.
There was also talk at the summit around adding photos of the game used jerseys to the back of the card in which they are used, also a big deal. There is a lot of talk, mostly unwarranted, surrounding the authenticity of game used material in cards, and this should help alleviate that situation somewhat. Although we still have to take the company’s word in some cases about the source of the jersey, we now have more of a roadmap to confirming authenticity of our swatches. This doesn’t solve the usage of event used material, which has become its own monster, and wont likely solve that any time soon.
My thoughts are simple. There is no reason for Topps, Panini or anyone to knowingly defraud their customers on the authenticity of game used material, regardless of guarantees on the back of the card. It just isn’t worth it, especially with the amount of access many of the companies have directly to the locker rooms in the major sports. Topps has piss poor wording on their cards to CYA, but I don’t see that as a risk. No one will be or can be perfect in a venture like this where there are more fakes than real material. One of the companies will get burned eventually, but it just does not make sense to risk it. We have all heard the stories about UD and their shady business, but I am forced to believe this is a different time.
Panini has tried sets that source GU jerseys to a specific game, and they haven’t done any better than non-sourced material. It just doesn’t do much for the average collector. That doesn’t make it any less of a nice to have, but we should all be realistic.
As much of a hater as I am over the previous announcement, I absolutely love this.