by Mike Fruitman
Hobby shops received the first product of the year recently, and while 2012 Crown Royale is the first new release to not enjoy the benefit of Andrew Luck and RGIII still attracting attention in the playoffs, that doesn't mean collectors are ignoring it.
Heck, looking ahead to the draft class of 2013 NFL, stores might like another 18 2012 releases. I saw a mock draft this morning for the first ten picks and there was not a QB, RB or WR in the bunch (OUCH!).
Royale represents the fourth one hit per pack release from Panini this season and is back for the third year in its current format. Boxes have four packs and will have a minimum of two autographed cards.
This year Panini brought back a familiar insert set to long time collectors. Formerly known as Cramer’s Choice inserts back when Pacific was more than just a body of water, the Panini’s Choice inserts should draw a lot of interest. There are four different versions for each card including a blue 1/1 option, and the set is filled with hobby favorites. Collectors can hope to snag autographed singles of greats like Bo Jackson, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Cam Newton, Charles Woodson, Tony Romo and Kyle Rudolph (ok, you caught me; Rudolph is not a hobby great).
Personally, my favorite chase set from Royale is the Silhouette cards. They offer some of the best possible patch swatches coupled with autographs and they look simply incredible. The rookie Silhouette checklist offers a medley of the hottest young players in the game. Of course the above mentioned Luck and Griffin appear along with Ryan Tannehill, Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and more.
The retired player version offers a NFL dream team list that would make any collector happy. Anyone care for autographed patch cards from John Elway, Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, Dan Marino, Jerry Rice or Doug Flutie (you caught me again, I’m from Miami and I HATE Doug Flutie)?
One of the things I have loved about Royale since it returned in 2010 is how collectors seem to work on this set more than other releases. The base cards again offer the familiar die cut design and my store has already received calls from those who are happy to work on the base set. Collectors can also take on the challenge of all the base parallels including Bronze unnumbered singles, Silver /150, Gold /99, Green /49, Purple /25 and the 'maddening to master set makers' Blue/5.
In two days we have moved all but two boxes from our first case and with that type of interest, I really would not mind about 18 more 2012 releases.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike's Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colo. You can read his column here every week, focusing on what products are selling best in hobby shops. See his eBay listings here. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter. Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook and you can email him at [email protected].