I know everyone hates redemptions, and I do, too, but every now and then, you can turn those negatives into positives, as evidenced by my most recent three redemption replacements from Panini. After breaking away from my typically-exclusive hockey & baseball buying habits and venturing into the world of football & basketball, I became the not-so-proud owner to three redemptions:
-2011 Limited Troy Aikman Material Monikers /30
-2011 Plates & Patches Von Miller Rookie Signatures /499
-2010 Black Box Vlade Divac Flag Patches /149
Now, I don't care whatsoever about Divac, and truthfully, I was hoping it wouldn't get filled, so that I could try my luck at a replacement that I would better enjoy. Miller was 2011's second overall draft pick. That card in 2012 would be Robert Griffin III. What a difference a year makes. The Aikman was the only one that worried me. You could give me almost anything for the other two and I'd be ok, but the Aikman is a low-serial-numbered autographed relic card of an NFL legend and that one could easily result in a disappointing replacement.
Last week, I called Panini's customer service department to get these three cards replaced. I wanted to speak to a person, so it took me a couple of tries, but I finally got through. I figured I'd go for broke, and try and not only get these cards replaced, but get them replaced with card for my personal collection. I asked the CSR if I could get them replaced with hockey cards of players for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the CSR said she couldn't guarantee anything, but would see what she could do.
Well, today that package arrived in the mail, and here's how Panini did.
2010 Black Box Vlade Divac Flag Patches /149 became:
2011/12 Limited Phenoms Silver Spotlight Joe Vitale 43/49
This is the rare parallel of the regular "patch" card which features the player's autograph on a piece of fabric near a team logo. The regular versions are numbered /299. The silver is not only more rare, but the auto is next to an alternate team logo, which is embroidered into the fabric. It's a great card, and the cool thing is, it's pretty much identical to the card originally redeemed, with both being on-fabric autographs. I definitely ended up getting the better card on this one. (Although it was funny hearing the CSR mispronounce the name on the original card as "Vlaid Divik")
2011 Plates & Patches Von Miller Rookie Signatures /499 became:
2011/12 Limited Select Signatures Ron Francis 20/49
First of all, as I said, what a difference a year makes, as one year later an autographed card of the #2 pick would have been RG3, not Von Miller. It also would have been immediately flipped on Ebay, not redeemed, hoping for a replacement. But looking at what I could have gotten, we have a mid-range serial number and a sticker auto. In return, I got a low-serial-numbered on-card auto of a hockey hall-of-famer who won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins, and ended his run FOURTH in career points (1,798) and SECOND in career assists (1,249). Of the three cards I received, this one ended up being the biggest leap forward, in my opinion, for quality and value.
2011 Limited Troy Aikman Material Monikers /30 became:
2011/12 Limited Private Signings Paul Coffey
This one I wasn't too sure about, until I did a little bit of research. Now as a Penguins fan, and a hockey fan in general, I love Paul Coffey. He won four Stanley Cups (one with Pittsburgh in 1991) and three Norris Trophies (league's top defenseman), was named to 14 All Star teams, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, and holds the single-season record for goals by a defenseman (48 in 1985/86). Come to think of it, when you look at the numbers, Coffey really doesn't get the hobby love that he should. What made me unsure, though, was that I was going from an autographed card with a piece of fabric and a low serial number, to an autographed card with no memorabilia and no serial number. In doing research on these two cards, they seemed to be going for the same dollar amount on Ebay, which is good. Also, the Material Monikers cards are all sticker autos, whereas all of the Private Signings cards are on-card. But the real kicker here is the rarity. The Coffey is actually a variation of the "regular" Private Signings card, and the Penguins version is listed as an "XSP." I'm not entirely sure what this means for the rarity, but if the XSP is more rare than the "SSP," and the "SSP" is more rare than the "SP," then maybe the production is actually close to the 30 that my almost-Aikman had, just without a serial number. Either way, I'm VERY happy with the card.
What I discovered with this experience, is that sometime you win, and sometimes you lose. My last redemption replacement wasn't nearly as positive, and fellow blogger Scott S. at Sports Cards Ate My Brain had a negative replacement experience as well. The only thing I can recommend when getting a replacement is to call up Panini's customer service and speak to a person. It may take a few attempts to get past their answering machine (it took me 3), but be polite with the CSR and lead him or her in a specific direction as far as sport and team, and you might get lucky. It worked for me.