Today is quite the day for product releases, and judging by the level of hype surrounding all three products, I think we are in for an interesting go of it. National Treasures is the first of the big releases to hit eBay in mass, so I am going to start there. From what we have seen in the previews, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about it, but there are some massive reasons to be beyond frightened as well.
Here are some of the big hits so far:
First off, the design is better than it has ever been. The cards look great, the design of the main hits is really nice looking, and for the most part, the enormous dud designs that have plagued this product in the past are less of a focus this year. Dont get me wrong, there are some horrendously designed cards that are still a part of NT, but it wouldnt be a Panini product without those.
Considering how fucking awful some of the main sets have been (Contenders is at the top of that list), I consider it a relief that NT isnt in that same vein. I love the rookie auto patch design this year, which in the past, has been one of the weakest parts of the product. The simple design, with big area to sign, coupled with a large player picture, all play to what I love.
My other favorite part of this set – the notable nicknames inscriptions also look pretty good, despite being a vertical card with a separated area for the signature. Some how, some way, Panini made it work, and it looks better than expected.
The booklets are back again, this time with a twist, and I think this is where the set starts to become a bit tenuous in the way it looks. The normal horizontal booklets look great, but the new vertical booklet look forced, and have those shitty pictures where the player is literally sliced off at the waist. Its funny how something so simple can derail a card.
All this under consideration has one tremendous fucking drawback, and it is a big one. A BIG ONE. Where Exquisite and Five Star are both all on card in the same price arena, Treasures remains littered with stickers. Not just stickers of players that are hard to get autographs from, but rookie stickers – a lot of rookie stickers from guys with on card other places in the set. To say this is inexcusable isnt giving the correct amount of gravitas to the situation, especially when you see how much a box of NT still costs. Im also not sure I agree with this as a choice for the checklist of Green Bay Greats.
Add in that there could be a brewing Russell Wilson scenario with Odell Beckham Jr being a redemption, that might not be filled in the near future, and this product gets murky at best. Teddy Bridgewater looks to be a redemption as well, but his cards have already been posted on their blog as completed and in house. Not sure why Topps was able to get their stuff done, but Panini has not for the last two sets.
If you are satisfied with the risk of opening a box, and not coming even close to your investment, pulling a Asa Watson or Michael Sam as your main hit, then have at it. This type of risk is inherent to all products of this nature, but at least with Five Star and Exquisite, there are no stickers from the first few looks we have gotten. I think Five Star is the better looking product, but its obvious that Treasures has the legs. Its really unfortunate that we dont reward the product that does it the right way. Sad really.