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Panini Spectra Basketball’s Extra Cards Giving Product a Boost

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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.
panini-america-2013-14-spectra-basketball-durant-blue
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 Gold #9 Dwyane Wade, LeBron James /10 [BGS 9.5]
10 bids - Price: $51.00 - Watchers: 18
Item # 121493700745
2013-14 Panini Spectra Gold Refractor Patch LeBron James 6/10 JERSEY SERIAL #
12 bids - Price: $102.74 - Watchers: 17
Item # 301408631621
2013-14 Panini Spectra Game Time Materials Gold Prime #6 - Blake Griffin /10
8 bids - Price: $5.50 - Watchers: 15
Item # 121493691711
Panini 2013-14 Spectra Cavaliers Anthony Bennett 05/10 RPA
7 bids - Price: $20.51 - Watchers: 10
Item # 191425621955
TIM DUNCAN 2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA PARALLEL DIE CUT 5/25
4 bids - Price: $1.54 - Watchers: 9
Item # 361131112179
2013-14 Panini Spectra Nate Wolters Rookie Gold Patch Auto /10 Bucks RC
5 bids - Price: $6.61 - Watchers: 8
Item # 111524313165
2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA JOHN HAVLICEK ORANGE PRIZM GU AUTO #13/20 HOF
7 bids - Price: $4.26 - Watchers: 8
Item # 271681772867
2013-14 Panini Spectra #125 Steven Adams Jersey Auto RC Rookie - Thunder
3 bids - Price: $4.25 - Watchers: 5
Item # 131355801597
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO 2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA ROOKIE RC JERSEY AUTO
6 bids - Price: $15.53 - Watchers: 5
Item # 301408615367
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO 2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA ROOKIE RC TEAL JERSEY AUTO 56/99
15 bids - Price: $23.06 - Watchers: 5
Item # 301408621630
2013-14 Panini Spectra Giannis Antetokounmpo Green Rookie Jersey Auto Bucks RC
7 bids - Price: $23.55 - Watchers: 5
Item # 111524316724
2013-14 Panini Spectra Tim Hardaway Jr. auto jersey green refractor prizm Knicks
1 bids - Price: $2.99 - Watchers: 4
Item # 381066744278
2013-14 Panini Spectra HOF Blue Jersey Auto Arvydas Sabonis
1 bids - Price: $0.99 - Watchers: 4
Item # 331395057181
2013-14 Panini Spectra Arvydas Sabonis Auto Jersey #d 20/60 Trail Blazers
3 bids - Price: $5.50 - Watchers: 4
Item # 151490925231
STEVEN ADAMS 2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA RPA ROOKIE JERSEY AUTOGRAPH OKC THUNDER
1 bids - Price: $0.99 - Watchers: 4
Item # 291305460291
2013-14 Panini Spectra Rookie Jersey Autograph Giannis Antetokounmpo
6 bids - Price: $20.50 - Watchers: 3
Item # 121494531032
2013-14 Panini Spectra Jrue Holiday SICK JERSEY PATCH 1/10 1/1 EBAY GOLD 4 CLR
1 bids - Price: $9.99 - Watchers: 3
Item # 221614174520
TREY BURKE 2013-14 PANINI SPECTRA ROOKIE RC AUTO AUTOGRAPH JERSEY 99/99
2 bids - Price: $1.30 - Watchers: 3
Item # 271684636112
Larry Johnson 2013/14 Panini Spectra Blue Jersey SP #d 18/49 Charlotte Hornets
1 bids - Price: $0.99 - Watchers: 2
Item # 111527217622
2013-14 Kawhi Leonard Panini Spectra Indelible Jersey Auto Light Blue
1 bids - Price: $24.95 - Watchers: 1
Item # 151485423057
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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