Whether or not you are a fan of football cards or Panini's products it is right to give credit where credit is due, and Panini has certainly done a good job using the hype machine to build interest in the high-end football product that releases Wednesday, National Treasures.
Actually, it is 2013 National Treasures Football releasing a mere five days before the Opening Night of the 2014 Major League Baseball season. But that does not really seem to matter to the many fans who have been itching to get their hands on this luxury lineup of gridiron cardboard. With boxes of the product pre-selling in the $450-500 range it is certainly a high-risk and potentially high-reward product.
Panini has kept the tension building for 2013 National Treasures Football by teasing several pre-release galleries of the cards on their own website. Plus, in a well-timed stroke of marketing adrenaline, they featured an early case break at the Industry Summit in Las Vegas a full week before the product would go "live" for collectors in the hobby shops primed to sell the boxes.
That early showing of the product was enough to demonstrate that this high-end sports collectible gets the high end treatment all the way around. The box is sealed with an outer plastic wrap which closes in a glossy printed card stock sleeve that is protecting a hinged wooded box which contains a smaller sealed box which holds the cards. It looks as if it is meant to help justify the high price…even if it does bring to mind those stacking dolls.
Interestingly, though the boxes of 2013 National Treasures Football have been pre-sold as eight cards to a pack/box (there is one pack per box), the boxes opened at the Industry Summit featured more than the advertised number of cards. It will be interesting to see if that carries over to the street product as collectors and dealers continue to break them. The planned distribution is the eight cards to a pack with six of the cards being "hits," including three autographs and three memorabilia cards. At the Summit, the first box cracked of the product featured the following types of cards:
- two base cards numbered to 99
- two jersey relic cards (one #'d/99, the other #'d/49)
- a double patch card, 11/25
- a triple relic, 86/99
- a rookie auto, 29/99
- a triple autographed card, 08/10
- a double-relic auto card, 50/99
- a gold RC autographed patch card, 7/49
- AND a redemption for a Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Souvenir Cut with Prime Patch
National Treasures has always been an ultra high-end product ever since being introduced and manufactured by Panini back in 2006. Generally the set features short printed, serial numbered cards of legends, fan favorites, super stars and rookies complete with autographs, and a wide array of premium memorabilia. As alluded to earlier, base and legend cards combine to come two per box, and are numbered to 99 or less. Rookie Signature Materials incorporate on-card signatures and jumbo prime memorabilia patches from players who attended the NFLPA Rookie Premiere. The base Silver version is numbered to 99 and the subset is further enhanced by several parallels, including Gold (#/49), Black (#/25), Platinum (#/5), Nike Swoosh (#/2), Laundry Tag (1/1), NFL Shield (1/1), and Printing Plates (1/1).
Both the newcomers to the NFL and the all-time greats are featured in National Treasures. The young turks are featured with on-card rookie signatures, Jumbo Prime Booklets, Hats Off, NFL Gear and Colossal Jersey Numbers, all of which serve to bring to the collector some of the biggest rookie players of 2013. But the vets are also served well also appearing on Signature Materials, Jumbo Prime Booklets, Notable Nicknames, and Colossal Jersey Numbers.
Additional memorabilia cards include Captain Patches, 50th Anniversary Hall of Fame Patches, Pro Bowl Patches, Brand Logo Patches, NFL Shield Patches, and Super Bowl Champion Seahawks 12th Man Patches. Plus, it is likely there will quite a chase for the Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Souvenir Cuts which honors the first four NFL Hall of Fame classes with 29 players cards that feature autographs and/or memorabilia from the star's career.
Personally, I also like the idea of the game-dated Timelines insert which ties the embedded piece of memorabilia to a particular battle between the white lines.
Panini has declared that 2013 National Treasures Football represents the closest the NFL market has come to replicating Panini America’s Prime Hockey or Immaculate Basketball, which is setting the standard fairly high. They have also already referred to 2013 National Treasures Football as "one of the greatest renditions of the high-end, well-heeled hobby heavyweight ever created." Once the proudct releases to the actual collectors spending a few hundred (thousand?) dollars on the product, we will find out if it is mostly hype or reality.
Click here to see what's listed on eBay.
Watch a case break at Mike's Stadium Sports Cards below.