Every year, Five Star is one of my favorite sets released. 100% on card content didnt exist outside of this product until Flawless came around, but you dont need to spend over a grand for a better looking design. This year’s checklist looks to be one of the stronger ones since 2010, and I think that as people rip into boxes, they will see how loaded it really is.
Here are some of the bigger hits up so far:
That being said, configuration wise, there are some major changes. Structures that havent existed in Five Star are new this year, and it could undermine the potential of competition between the other sets. First off, signed relic card content in this product is minimal. Where in 2013 and 2014 there were almost an auto patch per box, this year, they are exceedingly rare. They have added some awesome looking new booklet parallels, but the basic auto patch is gone.
Booklet content is severely reduced as well, focusing more on delivering autographs for top signers in other parts of the product. For me, this makes perfect sense, and I support the decision 100%. I DONT CARE ABOUT EVENT USED JERSEYS. That being said, very few other people feel this way. Because rookie auto patches are so common elsewhere, people will raise an eyebrow when they see how this is built.
Here is the thing we need to consider. Topps has packed Five Star year after year with the best looking rookie auto patches in the game. People dont care, as they still want to go and pay that much more for Treasures ONLY because the patches are bigger and have more logos. Customers are choosing something that looks worse but has larger patches, rather than the cards that look beautiful, and have all on card autographs. Instead, Topps has tried to help the other complaint about high end products, adding more top autographs per case.
So few people understand that the event used jerseys arent even put all the way on at the Premiere/Pro Bowl. They are worn for 1 second, taken off, and loaded into a plastic bag to be flown back. Its become so happenstance, that Panini and Topps havent even bothered to get the actual player's jersey due to cost. If it mattered to collectors, they would spend the money. It doesnt, so they use old model jerseys and ones that will never be worn by the player in a game.
Instead of speaking with their wallets, the general base is ignorant or indifferent. They always choose Treasures over the better looking Five Star, so why even try to play that game? In that type of a situation, I understand WHY the decision was made to forgo that cost and focus on delivering better autographs.
On the other hand, I REALLY dont agree with removing the inscriptions from the checklist. They were the heart and soul of what made Five Star special, and now that they are gone, I am left feeling empty. They were always the best cards of the product, and it wasnt even close. If this is truly an autograph collectors’ main set, Inscriptions needed to stay. Big mistake.
Similarly, Im reading that collectors are pretty frustrated with unnumbered base autographs, all of which were numbered in previous years. Again, collectors oddly value rarity over look and presentation, and this decision doesnt really do much to help things.
Loving Five Star as much as I do, I almost feel like that guy who is sitting in the indie theater and loving that great movie that only the real movie fans like. People will line up around the block to see Fast and the Furious, but others that deserve the attention dont really get it. That’s the competition between Five Star and Treasures.
Ill give Panini credit because they press all the right buttons in catering to the type of collector that loves their crap. Big swatches, tons of logos, and TONS OF MOJOSZOZ! They dont care about stickers, they dont care about design, and they only care about pumping the market full of stuff that makes group breakers use those animated logos I cant stand.
The issue is that the substance doesnt match the flash in the slightest. Treasures wraps a 100 dollar bill around a wad of ones to make it look like a fat roll of cash. Instead its just pocket change.
Dont get me wrong, Treasures offers some really nice looking cards every year. However, in comparing side by side with Five Star, Ill stick to my under-appreciated indie film. Transformers 4 may sell the most tickets, but it never wins any awards.
The booklets in Five Star look like finely crafted pieces of sports art. The booklets in Treasures look good, but its not the same. Guess what collectors will want? The one with the bigger patch, even though it is only worn for a few seconds. No one will even miss that there are no longer any non-rookies on the checklist like 2013.
Sadly, Five Star will only have one more year under the NFL umbrella, and Panini will be able to continue on. Im going to sit here and appreciate my fine wine, and watch as the bubble bursts eventually. Collectors can only take so much of the gristle before they start to want a real steak.