By Rich Klein
There has been little doubt that the first few months of 2010 have been very good to Panini.
The company now has licenses to print cards in basketball, football and hockey. With that type of momentum, collectors have reason to look forward to new releases of the company's products and the 2009-10 Panini Classics box is no exception.
2009-10 Panini Classics Basketball was recently released and is currently selling at between $80-100 per box through online sellers including eBay.
Each box contains 18 packs with five cards in each pack.
Boxes promise that on average, that a collector will receive four autograph or memorabilia cards in a box. With that notation and Panini's excellent reputation for including these big "hits" as well as many other desirable cards, will this box produce the good results expected from a Panini product?
First, the design of the base cards. The mostly white borders, albeit with a touch of gray, surround the player photo which dominates the middle of the card. The player's name and team are underneath along with the 09-10 Classics logo.
The back has the player's name, biographical data, a short informational blurb and stats for the last five seasons a well as career totals. The base set is also sorted in team alphabetical order by teams which are arranged in alphabetical order by division.
While the design is fun and good to note, most collectors are more interested in what we got out of our box and here are the results:
Base Set: 70 cards of 100. No duplicates...always appreciated.
Legends (#d to 999) : Elgin Baylor; Spencer Haywood; Mitch Richmond and John Salley
Timeless Tributes Silver (#d to 100): Jack Sikma
Timeless Tributes Gold (#d to 50): Mark Price
Dress Code: Kobe Bryant; Kevin Garnett; Jeff Hornacek
Dress Code Platinum (#d to 25): Carlos Boozer
Greats: Dave Cowens, Clyde Drexler, Earl Monroe
Classic Confrontations: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar/Willis Reed; Walt Frazier/Earl Monroe (In one of the great ironies of late 60's-early 70's basketball Monroe and Frazier later spent several years as teammates and were one of the great guard tandems in NBA history. They are perhaps the only two players who are famed BOTH as rivals AND as teammates).
Classic Confrontations Gold (#d to 100): Dwayne Wade/Chris Paul
Classic Combos: Alonzo Mourning/Tim Hardaway; Clyde Drexler/Hakeem Olajuwon (An fascinating pairing because they were a classic combo at both the NCAA and NBA level. That is a very rare situation, another situation like that, except they were teammates for longer at the NBA level were KC Jones and Bill Russell who won championships at USF (University of San Francisco) and many titles with the Boston Celtics)
Timeless Threads: Rodrigue Beaubois (#d to 265)
Blast from the Past Jerseys: Bob Lanier (#d to 199)
Autographed Rookie Cards: Darren Collison (#d to 799, please note this is an exchange card) and Jrue Holiday (#d to 499 and a "player-touched" autograph.
Yes we did get our four autograph or memorabilia cards that the box promises and a whole lot more as well.
We're giving Classics pretty high marks thanks to a cool amount of big and smaller "hits" for the money including a solid amount of stars past and present.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]