Monday, April 19, 2010

Sponsored Box Break: 09-10 Panini Classics


I came home Monday night to find a nice surprise waiting for me.  Panini had sent over a box of Classics to break open and review on the site.  This came as a complete surprise and made my day.

Packs of Classic carry a suggested retail price of $6 and boxes are currently selling for $83 on Blowout Cards.  You get 18 packs per box and 5 cards per pack.

The design of the base card is simple.  The cards feature large, close up images of the player and look very nice.  I didn’t see a lot of variety in the types of pictures used while going through the cards that I pulled out of my box, but I only have 75 out of the 200 cards in the set.

This set is chock full of goodies for a Celtics fan such as myself.  Once you get past the fact that Rajon Rondo was left out of this set in favor of Kendrick Perkins and washed up Rasheed Wallace, you start to see some very cool cards available to pull.  One card in particular that I will be chasing is the Reggie Lewis Blast From the Past Jersey card.  As far as I know, this is the first jersey card ever produced of the late, great Reggie Lewis.  There’s a regular version numbered to 199 and a patch version numbered to 30.  The two patches listed on eBay so far have gone for $50 and $70 dollars.  It definitely looks like Panini filled a demand with this card.

LegendThe set consists of 200 cards.  Of those 200, the first 100 are regular base cards.  Cards 101-160 are Legends and those are numbered to 999.  Panini states that you get at least 3 Legends in a box and I beat the odds there and pulled 4 Legends out of my box.  I got Buck Williams, Oscar Robertson, Kareem and Willis Reed.

This is not a product for set collectors.  With 16 boxes in a case, you’re not going to get a complete set of Legends out of a case at 3 per box and that’s if you get perfect collation.

I will be looking for some singles of Celtic Legends such as Larry Bird, recent and long overdue Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson, Bill Russell, Kevin McHale and Bob Cousy.

TeagueCards 161-200 are autographed rookies.  All of the big names are here including Blake Griffin, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings.  Some of the cards are numbered to 999 while this Jeff Teague is numbered to 553.  A couple of the rookie autographs are numbered to only 99 copies making a complete set that much tougher to complete.

The best part about the rookie autograph cards in this set is that from what I’ve seen, they’re all on-card.  That has been a rarity in basketball for anything that costs less than $50 per card.  I think the only stickers to be found are on the jersey cards, but some of the superstars could possibly be sticker autographs, I’m not 100% sure.

25There are some numbered parallels.  Every card in the set can be found in various numbered parallels.  This David Lee is a Dress Code Platinum numbered 5/25.  I also pulled an Andre Iguodala Gold which is numbered to 100.

These cards are usually more of a crap shoot than anything else pulled out of boxes.  If you pull a numbered card of a minor star it’s no big deal, but if you pull a low numbered card of a big star then it may be your lucky day.  Pulling a serial number that matches the player’s jersey number can be rewarding as well.  So, it’s nice to have that chance to get a little something out of the box besides the advertised hits.

DressThese Dress Code cards are one of the few negative things about this set.  These cards only exist so that there can be jersey parallels.  The jersey cards look nice, but these cards don’t.  To top it off, the set checklist isn’t that impressive.  There are some players in this set that leave you scratching your head.

If these cards only existed as jersey cards then they’d be perfect.  I don’t see the need to have the base versions as well.  Since I’m a set collector by nature, I’d much rather have more base cards than an insert set where you get 3 of 25 cards.  My box contained Sam Perkins, Shawn Marion and Samuel Dalembert.

CombosI’m not sure why it bothers me so much, but I really don’t like that these insert cards are designed with the jersey variations in mind.  It’s not quite as glaring on these Classic Combos cards and the player selection is much better, but those basketballs with the player’s jersey number on it are almost as big as the player pictures.

My box contained Kobe/Odom and LeBron/Shaq.  What I would have liked to pull would have been the Garnett/Pierce and Russell/Sharman cards.

Again, the jersey versions of these cards look good, but these “template” cards don’t look quite as good in my opinion.

ConfrontThese Classic Confrontation cards are two sided and feature players who have faced off frequently during their careers.  This card features Kevin Garnett who plays forward and Shaquille O’Neal who plays center.  There aren’t any stats on the card at all so you’re not really sure what confrontation they’re talking about.  Maybe it’s just weirdness on this card, let me check the other card that I got in my box.  That one features point guard Chris Paul and shooting guard Dwayne Wade.  Looking at the rest of the checklist, most of the rest of the checklist seems to make sense.  I just seem to have pulled two of the abnormalities.  There are some nice matchups such as Bird/Magic, Worthy/Parish and Kidd/Nash.

GreatsThe final insert set is another one with a jersey window integrated into the design.  The jersey cards do look nice, but the regular cards look a little strange with the team logo floating in the middle of nowhere.  It results in the bottom part of the card looking crowded with the player smooshed over to the side to make room for the logo/jersey window.

My box contained three Classic Greats.  I was happy to pull Celtic Great John Havlicek, but also saw Lakers James Worthy and “Mr. NBA Logo” Jerry West come out of the box.  I think that I pulled all of these Lakers because the box destined for Boston ended up going to The Basketball Card Blog.  Now I have to hope for a Boston sweep and the Cousy card from that box will make its way to Boston.

MeeksSo far, you’ve only seen one of the hits from this box.  Each box guarantees four hits, but you don’t know what kinds of hits that you’ll get with the exception that at least one hit will be an autograph.  I was very lucky with the contents of my box since it contained three autographs.  Since these are all on-card autographs that ends up being a great value.

This redemption card is for a Jodie Meeks autograph and is numbered to 249.  I love Panini’s card replacement process and wanted to see what their redemption process is like.  I really like that you can pick the time frame that you are willing to wait before you are offered a replacement.  I selected the 4 month time frame for this card to see what happens.

TaylorThe final autograph in my box was of Jermaine Taylor and is numbered to 999.  I don’t think that I got a rookie autograph in my box of a player that averaged more than 5 points per game last season which is unfortunate.

Before I go on to the final hit from my box, check out the first post on this thread paying particular attention to the hits that were in the box.  That box contained two autographs that were also in my box as well as a patch card of a player named Gerald.  I had already stated that my box contained three autographs and you’ve seen all three of them so the final card in my box must be a patch card of a player named Gerald.

HendersonThe big hit from my box was this Gerald Henderson prime patch card numbered to 25.  Unfortunately, this brings up another frustration for me.  Panini does a good job of designing the jersey cards on their insert sets, but make the mistake of also using those designs for jersey-less cards that don’t look as good.  Now you’ve got a nice looking base card with a jersey swatch slapped over the stomach of the player.

If this patch were placed inside of one of the insert cards it would have resulted in a beautiful card.  This is a beautiful patch in an alright looking card.  It just confuses me a little bit.  There’s a lot of good in this Panini release, but there’s a good amount of bad as well.

It may seem like I’m being harsh from reading the review of this set, but I think that is mostly due to the fact that this set contains a lot of one of my biggest pet peeves.  If Panini designed jersey cards and then only used those designs for the jersey cards, this set would improve by leaps and bounds.  They should also confine the jersey swatches to those cards designed to hold them.

The main selling point to this set is going to be the on-card autographs, but since you are only guaranteed one autograph per box, I don’t know if that’s going to be enough to push sales of this set.  I would have liked for these to be at least two guaranteed autographs.  I know that I would be disappointed if I purchase a box that contained one autograph and three relic cards.  My box contained three rookie autograph and that’s a box that I would have been very happy with if I had purchased it.  Yes, they aren’t great rookies at the moment, but sometimes you have to give them time.  People would have scoffed at Rodrigue Beaubois autographs at the beginning of the season, but by the end of the season he was one of the top rookies in the league.  So, someone such as Meeks who had a good college career and is on a team with some other good young players might hit his stride in his second or third season.  Due to the wide range of what you can get in a box, it’s tough to give this an overall value rating, but for my box specifically I would give it an A.  It’s tough to beat three on-card autographs and a low numbered rookie patch.

The collation was fine.  I didn’t get any duplicates.  Panini boxes have this weird trend of inserts coming in numbered order.  It’s very evident in the flagship set where you get a ton of inserts, but you notice it in this set as well.  I pulled Classic Confrontations 7 and 8, Classic Combos 1 and 2, Dress Code 8, 9 and 10 and Classic Greats 13, 14 and 15.  Combine that with the other box break that I liked to which was extremely similar to this one and it makes you wonder.  I have to think that it wouldn’t hurt for Panini to possibly look into changing how they load up their boxes.  Then again, I got all of my promised hits which is a lot more than I can say for the Topps and Upper Deck boxes that I’ve opened over the past couple of years.  I’d give the collation a B+ with just a few points off for the quirkiness of the collation across the whole run of the product.

The condition of the cards out of the packs were good with the exception of one of the autographed cards.  The Jermaine Taylor had a lot of white showing along the black edge on the bottom of the card.  If it were a better card, I would send it back especially since Panini’s card replacement process is so great, but for this card I think I’ll just hold on to this copy.  This box gets an A for condition.

Finally we come to design.  I’ve discussed the card designs thoroughly in the box review so I’ll just give the grade here.  I’ll go with the middle of the road C.  There’s a lot of promise, but after a great looking set such as Studio, this was a bit of a letdown.

Overall, I would give this box a B+.  I would place this product at the top of the heap as far as Panini’s releases go this year.  The best looking set is Studio, but this is the set that people are going to go after if they want the best rookie autographs of this year’s players.


G_Moses said...

Yeah, we can't all be rolling with Bob Cousy autographs. But at the same time, three autos is a great pull.

I didn't really notice the placement of my jersey cards. But that's probably because they weren't patch versions. If they were patches, I might have dissected them a bit more.

Still nice box. I'm with you on the SP's though. Man, it would be a big bankroll that could ebay their way to that set.

Offy said...

Yeah, I don't think that you can go wrong with three rookie, on-card autos. If every box had that for guaranteed hits, this would easily be the product of the year.

I think I notice the design elements a little more because of my background in web/graphic design. I can't help critiquing that when I see cards.

This set would definitely be a monster to put together. It'll be interesting to see how much the legend SP cards end up selling for.

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