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Panini Spectra Basketball’s Extra Cards Giving Product a Boost

Funny how “reality” can change from one point in time to another.

We see evidence of it everywhere, from the promise of a newly elected politician to his public outing as a less than honorable person, to the greatly hyped movie or TV show that tanks, to the unheralded 48th round draft pick that ends up making the All-Star team. Initial perception does not always equate with the eventual reality.

And we may see that with a basketball card product that hit the shelves this week. 2013/14 Panini Spectra Basketball released on July 16, and the early returns act as if this set may be a lot more in demand than many people thought.
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2013-14 Spectra Basketball boxWhen Panini first announced that the Spectra brand was coming to basketball cards after it’s NFL debut, it was met with somewhat of a stifled moan. Indeed, a glance through some of the larger forums online reveal a consensus (among those that posted) that another set of this type was unnecessary, and the sample cards teased were uninspiring. Here are a couple of quotes that were posted which seemed to sum up what most were writing:

“It wasn’t a hit in football. They aren’t sought after cards. And then they go and make it a one pack box. Maybe that would fly next year but not with this junky rookie class. Just bring on National Treasures and Immaculate and go on to next year already.”

“Panini really has trouble with understanding the concept of rarity, and that rarity=value.”

But, as we mentioned above, time can often alter a perception of reality, and when the cards released this week the reaction was considerably more favorable than what those quotes would have offered. Several box and case breaks were released via the usual channels, and some of the hits found were causing empty slots in the breaks to fill up.

Some of this may be attributed to the perception of a better value than expected. Spectra was pre-sold to dealers with the configuration of 5 boxes per case, 1 pack per box, and 8 cards per pack. However, on the day before the official release, Panini announced via their website and blog “Although each box of 2013-14 Spectra Basketball promises to include eight cards, it actually delivers 12, including five autograph memorabilia cards and two memorabilia cards.”
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That 50% increase in the number of cards per box, especially if a collector first saw it in a break or upon opening a box without knowing of the increase in advance, would certainly create a good buzz. And the increase did not come via the inclusion of cards more boring than the hits, but rather still involved many cards with the Optichrome technology Panini uses.  The bonus helps soften the punchy $275-290 per box price point.

2013-14 Spectra basketball cardsDanny Mayfield, owner of  DKSportsbreaks.com, was discussing the product with another dealer. His immediate take on Spectra was built on this upgrade. He said, “They made a lot of people happy when the product actually came out as a twelve card two pack box. This brought the hits up to 8 total.”

Additionally, the increase included one more autograph and memorabilia card over what was originally promised in the pre-sale materials. The original promise mentioned four Autographed Memorabilia cards and one Memorabilia card.

The variety of those hits is interesting in this product. Panini’s pre-release materials and the box-breaks that have taken place reveal several types of hits for collectors to chase:

  • Rookie Jersey Autos: the NBA’s young stars paired with a sizable swatch
  • All-Star Jersey Autos: featuring only NBA All-Stars
  • Spectacular Swatch Signatures: stars including Kyrie Irving and others
  • Rookie Jumbo Jersey: super-sized swatch with some prime versions numbered to 10 and 1
  • Jumbo Prime Materials: numbered to 10 or lesspanini-america-2013-14-spectra-basketball-kobe

Another help in improving the excitement around the Spectra offering has been the actual cards being pulled from the packs. Several low-numbered cards with intricate patch pieces have garnered great comments on the break pages, and a quick glance at eBay’s completed listings revealed some cards selling for three figures in the first 24 hours of release.

Sadly, the product is plagued with the reality of redemptions. That is not a reality that is prone to be altered by perception. It just exists. But in a product that includes multiple hits, parallel and variation cards that include Blue #’d/65, Red Die-Cut Variations #’d/25, Gold #’d/10, and Black #’d/ 1/1, the occasional redemption is unlikely to hurt the reputation. Indeed, now that the cards have been released, 2013/14 Panini Spectra Basketball seems to be forging a reputation based on reality and not just perception. Time will tell, as it always does.

You can see the hottest (most watched) 2013-14 Panini Spectra cards at auction via the live list below.

2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA SHAQUILLE O'NEAL SPECTACUALR LIGHT BLUE SWATCH AUTO #/20
4 bids - Price: $7.50 - Watchers: 23
Item # 231333544678
1/1 BGS 9.5 KOBE BRYANT 2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA GOLD REFRACTOR PATCH 10/10 *POP 1
21 bids - Price: $56.00 - Watchers: 19
Item # 131299309576
2013-14 Panini Spectra Kobe Bryant Gold Parallel #8/10 Original Jersey # Lakers
13 bids - Price: $51.00 - Watchers: 16
Item # 151411342359
Paul George 2013-14 Panini Spectra Jersey Patch #08/10
7 bids - Price: $12.06 - Watchers: 14
Item # 361050911104
KEVIN MCHALE 2013/14 PANINI SPECTRA MARKS AUTOGRAPH JUMBO JERSEY AUTO SP #06/15
9 bids - Price: $17.50 - Watchers: 13
Item # 291242042398
2013-14 Panini Spectra Clyde Drexler Gold 2 Clr Jumbo Patch On Card Auto #/10
15 bids - Price: $19.50 - Watchers: 12
Item # 131298112864
2013-14 Panini Spectra Bradley Beal Gold Patch On Card Auto #'d 03/10 Jersey #
6 bids - Price: $9.50 - Watchers: 11
Item # 131298076239
2013-14 Panini Spectra Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Gold Refractor Patch Auto #06/10
3 bids - Price: $10.50 - Watchers: 11
Item # 171460639621
BLAKE GRIFFIN 2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA GAME WORN 3-CLR PATCH GOLD SP 2/10
4 bids - Price: $2.25 - Watchers: 11
Item # 141409981609
KEVIN LOVE 2013/14 PANINI SPECTRA ORANGE REFRACTOR AUTO JERSEY /20 CAVALIERS
3 bids - Price: $4.25 - Watchers: 11
Item # 111465420636
KAWHI LEONARD 2013 14 PANINI SPECTRA INDELIBLE INK JERSEY AUTO – REDEMPTION
9 bids - Price: $17.50 - Watchers: 10
Item # 201168703377
2013-14 Panini Spectra Paul George 3 Color Patch Gold Parallel #5/10 SSP!
1 bids - Price: $9.99 - Watchers: 10
Item # 321527629782
2013-14 STEPHEN CURRY PANINI SPECTRA THREADS AUTO LIGHT BLUE REDEMPTION #4
2 bids - Price: $1.25 - Watchers: 10
Item # 131298912571
Paul Geroge 2013-14 Panini Spectra Gold #08/10
7 bids - Price: $11.50 - Watchers: 9
Item # 351170796359
2013-14 Panini Spectra Michael Carter Williams Rookie RC Jersey Auto #'d /60
4 bids - Price: $2.25 - Watchers: 9
Item # 131298078444
2013/14 PANINI SPECTRA DWYANE WADE MATERIALS JERSEY 13/25
4 bids - Price: $2.47 - Watchers: 9
Item # 311093632818
KELLY OLYNYK 2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA ROOKIE 2-CLR JUMBO PATCH GOLD 6/10 CELTICS
4 bids - Price: $4.25 - Watchers: 7
Item # 141406078467
2013-14 Panini Spectra Giannis Antetokounmpo Rookie Jersey Auto Bucks RC #120
5 bids - Price: $5.50 - Watchers: 7
Item # 331320083152
2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA BRAD DAUGHERTY BLACK PATCH AUTO 1/1
4 bids - Price: $20.50 - Watchers: 7
Item # 231333544677
2013-14 Panini Spectra Bradley Beal Gold Jumbo 2 Clr Patch #'d /10
3 bids - Price: $2.20 - Watchers: 6
Item # 131298073721
About Larry Pauley

Larry Pauley began collecting in the 1960's, opened his first card shop in the KC area during the late 1980's, and today, when not combing flea markets for the next “find,” he runs MLB Memories—a card shop in Nixa, MO, a website at mlbmemories.com, and stores on eBay and Amazon. Track him down @MLBMemories on Twitter or Facebook, or e-mail [email protected].

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