A collector will find not only autographed cards with very limited print runs and other low-numbered inserts and their parallel versions when 2013-14 Panini Signatures Basketball arrives Wednesday, but also some of the earliest cards of rookies in the much-anticipated 2014 NBA Draft. It's the follow-up to last year's debut set but there have been some changes.
Signatures will have just four cards per box this year with a pair of two-card packs per box. Each pack will deliver two autographs, one Film card and one Chase insert along with a 2014-15 Draft Exchange card. Base cards? Not in this product. Last year there were three autographs per box while this year, Panini will deliver two at a lower price point.
So what will we see when the product starts going home with collectors or showing up on eBay en masse? Start with Hall Hopeful Signatures, an insert set highlighting players who are expected to find their way to the Basketball Hall of Fame in the future. The top third of the card is a big white space for the signature to go, and underneath is a large picture of the player.
Franchise Graphs gives team collectors an autograph of their team's star player. The card design uses two pictures of the player on the front with the autograph under them.
History of the Hall Autographs, Endorsements, Dynamic Ink, Endorsements and Ringing Endorsements are also among the subsets.
There have been some interesting cards over the years with pieces of film in them. They were a popular card in last year's Signatures and the concept returns in 2013-14. Panini Signatures will include Film Cell cards with autographs and also another set without them. The cards in those insert sets stand out from many of the other cards from Signatures, not only for the film piece but due to their horizontal design.
Signatures eschews the base card for a low-numbered Chase card that has current players, split into veterans, rookies and retired legends. The design of the Chase cards maintains a similar design to the cards from last year's Signatures release.
Next Year's Rookie Cards Now
It is Christmas come early, 2014-15 cards of next season's top rookies can be found in 2013-14 Signatures. Similar to the redemption cards in 2013-14 Intrigue, the 2014 Draft Exchange cards in 2013-14 Signatures can later be exchanged for cards of players who are said to be a class better than anything since the LeBron draft. Intrigue draft pick redemption cards have sold for over $100 each for the #1, #2 and #3 cards. One draft exchange card will be in each box of 2013-14 Signatures.
Collectors and card investors will need to grab the cards a month before the draft. Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are expected to go in the top three and their cards could be worth a lot more than center Joel Embiid, who is also challenging them to be the top overall pick. There is a chance that the #1 card in the 2014 Draft Exchange set ends up being Embiid and the next two cards in the set are more valuable after the picks are made by the NBA teams in late June.
Panini's 2013-14 Signatures is a chance for fans and collectors to get low-numbered, premium cards. In some ways it is a basketball card combination of Upper Deck Ultimate Collection and Topps Signature but without base cards. Click here to see what's available on eBay.