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Friday, September 6, 2013

$1250 For A Pack of Cards: 2012-13 Panini Flawless

As some of you may or may not know, Panini just announced a brand new product line that really pushes the envelope when it comes to what people would be willing to spend on cards.

Flawless is expected to be released on October 2, and features an unheard of pack content. 10 cards will come in each pack. There will only be one diamond-encrusted base card, which is numbered to 20. There are also emerald parallels numbered to 5, as well as 1-of-1 diamond-embedded parallels. Apart from the one base card, there will also be seven on-card autographs and two jumbo memorabilia cards.

The price? $1250

While this may seem like an insane amount of money to spend on a pack of cards, there are a few things to factor in. For one, you have the base cards, which at most, are serial-numbered to 20. The rarity of these are so scarce, that if every single pack were to be opened, and every single card pooled together, there would be only 20 base sets. That's about as rare as it gets, which means that even the "basic" base cards will carry a ton of weight when it comes to secondary market sales. Also, whether encrusted or embedded, each one of the base cards will contain either an emerald or a diamond.

Of course, most people who purchase Flawless will do so for the hits. Each pack promises seven autos and two jumbo memorabilia cards. Panini has released photos of the cards on their blog, The Knight's Lance, and from what they posted, all of the jumbo memorabilia cards are autographed as well. There still isn't a whole lot of information on too many of the specifics yet, so I'm not sure if all of the jumbo memorabilia cards are this way (making it a total of nine autos per pack) or if they count as one of the autos (potentially resulting in more than two jumbo memorabilia cards.

The other big thing here is that the announcement of this product line comes just on the heels of a pretty major announcement of an agreement between Panini and Leaf regarding autographs of Damian Lillard, who in 2012-13, became only the fourth unanimous selection as Rookie of the Year in NBA history. Leaf had an exclusive agreement with Lillard, but worked out a deal with Panini to allow them to include his autos in a few select NBA sets. Most of his autos are stickers, but Flawless will feature the only on-card autographs of Lillard on a fully-licensed basketball card.

$1,250 is a lot of money for a pack of card, but while there may be a great deal of sticker shock, it is still too early to fully make judgement on this product line. A lot of questions will be answered, for sure, when the checklist is released, and we are able to compare the legends and stars to the unproven rookies and journeymen. So far, Panini has shown cards autographed by players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dennis Rodman, Clyde Drexler, and John Havlicek, and there's plenty more on the way.

The star power is definitely there, but only time will tell whether collectors decide to embrace this high-end product, or if Panini's ambition went too far out of the reach of even the most free-spending collector.

(Photos taken from The Knight's Lance)


  1. I didn't know that the basketball card market had high rollers like that. Baseball would make the most sense but I guess without a license it would be a little obscene. I will be curious to see if they try that with hockey.

    1. Apparently, basketball is HUGE as far as international sales go. As far as hockey goes, it's difficult to think of what they could do that they haven't already done with Dominion or Prime.

  2. You know how many Hall of Fame autos I can get for $1,250? If there was a Larry Bird Auto #100 selling for $50 and a Larry Bird Auto #20 selling for $500...sorry but I'm buying the card for the auto not as much as the card.

    1. You could probably get an actual full game-used jersey of a lot of these players for that price. Knowing what I know about the card business though, hysteria will overtake rationality and plenty of these will still be bought up.

  3. Crazy, I like spending money as much as the next guy but even I can't justify it for 10 cards. And not one of them is a Mickey Mantle rookie card!

  4. That Dennis Rodman auto is just plain pitiful.