I have always liked what Immaculate has done in terms of the look and feel of the set. Although I HATE HATE HATE the name of it, the design and content has always been great. I have actually mentioned on a number of occasions that the set feels more complete than Flawless, especially considered the difference in price points. This year's set looks to be another in a line of nice products, and Im curious to see how things shake out.
Here are some of the big hits posted so far:
Bearing in mind that Panini has had a ton of problems recently, im just as interested to see collector reaction to another high end product being released by a company who many have lost trust in. Being that this is a different sport, I dont think the impact will be as large, but they have had problems in basketball up until this point.
I also think it should be mentioned that few card shops were able to order this product alone. Many were forced to take on cases of previous crap that Panini or the distros could not sell. Although this has been done MANY times in the past, seems like kicking a bit harder when so many stores are already down.
Either way, the cards do look really nice. There are auto patches and autograph cards that I would love to have in Football. The jumbo patch autos are easily one of my favorite basketball cards I have seen Panini put out in a long time. The swooping lines and big patches are a concept that has been in Immaculate since the beginning, and this year's definitely looks better than any previous.
The acetate autos are also extremely nice, a card that has been a big part of the set’s success in the past. New shadow box acetate styles do a great job of making the player and autograph pop. I think that this type of card is quickly becoming a focus for Panini based on what we have seen in both of their main sports, but this is the first time I have really seen it be VERY successful. Previously, I have seen poor to moderate in the designs.
Aside from the cooler parts of the set, there is a new element to Immaculate that has made appearances as Panini’s new type of go to card design. The Black Paper autograph is all over this product, and much like its predecessors, it is more of a train wreck than ever. It has replaced the manu-patch autograph as Panini’s ugliest type of card, and I just cannot understand how or why it was created. Because they are pre-produced with a paper area for the player to sign on card, it makes little sense at all. Why not just have them sign the stock? There is ZERO fucking reason to add a swatch of black paper, when it is just as easy to do it with the regular signature area. Panini is fucking dumb like that.
Overall, Immaculate is still about the wow factor for Panini, and I think they have succeeded in many ways this year. However, with recent events at play, I cant help but feel like the dark cloud over their company remains. Deservedly, of course. I dont follow Basketball much, but I know that high end is where its at. Without good high end products, your basketball brand is even further into the red than it already is. Immaculate is good, but not great in that respect. It still feels like a modest rip off of Exquisite, and as long as that exists, Panini will always play second fiddle int the hearts of collectors.