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)