Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who Are You Trying to Kid, Panini?

I feel like a crotchety old man, but there’s just too much about the hobby that’s no fun these days.  Topps’ whole 2010 release schedule ended up being a huge disaster because one guy got injured.  Well, that’s how they’ll try and spin it, but the real problem is the poor level of quality control which is amplified by the lackluster customer service.  I’m sick of the empty promises and PR prattle being spewed forth from sports card companies.  Don’t even get me started on all of the illegal shenanigans that Upper Deck tried to hide from collectors.

On January 7th, Panini posted on their blog about “The State of Redemption Cards.”  Long story short, it was more PR fluff from Panini’s VP of Operations stating that they’re going to try and improve the process for fulfilling redemption cards and ultimately eliminating them completely.

Panini recently released their high end product 2010/11 Timeless Treasures.  There are five cards per tin and most tins contain 2 jersey cards and one sticker autograph.  Check out this case break on the Blowout Forums.  There are 15 boxes per case.  In 30 boxes this person pulled 20 redemption cards.  Amongst those redemption cards is one for Kobe Bryant.  That would be Panini spokesman Kobe Bryant.  If Panini can’t get their spokesman to sign then what the hell are they doing?  All I know is that card had better be on-card and not a sticker.  His third case had 7 redemption cards in 15 boxes which is better than his first two cases.  Ouch.  Why would anyone go anywhere near this stuff?  Yes, there are some beautiful looking cards, but you’re better off ponying up the cash for the singles if you really want them.

Maybe releasing this set in this state was the straw that broke the camels back and led to that posting on the blog, but this release as one of your top products is embarrassing.  38 autographs in 30 boxes in the first two cases and 20 of those autographs are redemptions.  17 autographs in 15 boxes in the second case and 7 of those are redemptions.  So, 10 out of 45 boxes had two autographs while 35 only had one.  These are terrible percentages all over the board.  Around 20% of the time you’re only going to get one auto and 50% of the time that auto is going to be a redemption card.  That’s after paying $80 - $100 for a tin of 5 cards.

So, it looks like I’m going to go another year buying minimal Panini basketball product.  They overvalue the jersey cards that they put into products and it overinflates the prices of their products.  I’d love for Panini to prove me wrong, but right now their products just aren’t worth it.



G_Moses said...

Well sir, you shut your mouth!

Seriously. They went through all that trouble of getting the exclusive license...surly they're allowed a bit of leeway with some redemptions, right?

Ha. But seriously. Panini has been a bit baffling as of late. Ok. Really baffling.

A shit ton (pardon my English) of redemptions is the tip of the iceberg. The very first release they gave of 09/10 was not renewed for 10/ no continuity for collectors to get behind.

And then their most expensive product of the last year had sticker autos....

It's mind numbing.

And oh yeah - they love them some Beckett.

I'm looking at buying older boxes until the market gets cleaned up.

Charles @ Hoopography said...

I've seen some really great stuff pulled out of some of these tins, but the $90 doesn't justify the risk. I haven't seen enough good pulls out of the boxes. The single color jersey cards just don't don't get it done. This is an eBay singles only product or at best, waiting for the prices to go down/tin.

Offy said...

Panini seems to be backtracking in terms of quality. As long as they keep on going with their shyster wording to describe the number of hits in a box, I'm going to steer clear of their products. "4 memorabilia or autograph cards per box (1 auto guaranteed)" doesn't cut it. They were making some progress on the elimination of stickers last year, but the early releases this year are almost all stickers and there are stickers all over Panini's high end products.

There are a handful of beautiful cards in every Panini release, but it is always by far a small percentage of the total number of cards that exist. It's not surprising from a company that designs their base cards for the 1% or less of the cards that will have an autograph or jersey version leaving the other 99% of the normal versions looking terrible. Panini's laziness also shines through as they find more and more ways to put more of the same cards in packs and then call it "added value." Good value to me is getting close to a base set out of a box, knowing how many and what kind of hits I'm going to get out of a box and having some variety from set to set. People rag on Topps for the large number of retro sets that they do, but the retro sets look different from one another. All of Panini's sets run into one another by the end of the year. It's like one big foilboard blur.

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