It’s early in the game but reviews on 2012-13 Panini Immaculate Basketball are starting to conjure up memories of the company’s last buzz worthy product: 2012 National Treasures Baseball. Released just a few days ago, Immaculate is causing a stir thanks to some patch cards that are more than just an undistinguishable swatch of one-color fabric and a nice selection of low-numbered autographs.
“I brought in two cases and they flew out fast,” stated Denver area shop owner Mike Fruitman.
Immaculate is a high-end product, but not nearly as pricey as the much ballyhooed Flawless line that comes in a metal briefcase. There is one pack per box with six cards per pack, four of which are hits including at least two autographs.
Of course, not every card is a signed Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin or other NBA superstar from the present or past. There are some second round picks and players whose autographs and relics can turn that investment into a big-time dud. It’s one case, though, where the brand and the quality of the cards may bring at least a little long-term value to even the most pedestrian hits.
Each box of 2012-13 Panini Immaculate Basketball contains one autographed rookie patch card, one autograph or autographed patch, one memorabilia/relic card, one additional autograph or relic card, one base card numbered to 99 and one additional card.
Panini promoted Immaculate as having “the most unique memorabilia cards the industry has ever seen” and at the very least the giant patch cards and autographs are drawing comparisons to the last licensed NBA Exquisite product issued by Upper Deck several years ago.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal and Jerry West are just a few of the retired stars who have signed for the product.
Major hits in Immaculate include the first-ever six NBA ‘logo man’ booklet cards, all numbered 1 of 1.
The only oddity that’s a bit of a head scratcher are the Immaculate caps, featuring player-worn hat swatches, some of which are autographed. Since caps are commonly affixed to young athletes’ heads, it’s not bizarre, but still odd to see a relic that really has nothing to do with the game on the floor.
Other subsets include:
- Immaculate Insignias which feature team-specific logo swatches.
- Immaculate logos, which are oversized patches of logos, numbers and commemorative patches that were part of a player’s uniform
- All-Star Lineage Autograph Cards feature players who have won an NBA title or appeared in an All-Star Game and in a cool touch, Panini has numbered them to the amount of times a player has won an NBA Championship or appeared in an All-Star Game
- Immaculate Standard memorabilia cards have oversized swatches of the best players on the Immaculate acetate substrate
Because the patches seem destined to be pretty popular, some collectors have expressed hope that Panini has created a database of the swatches used so fake patches can’t make their way onto some of the cards.
One thing is certain. In the first few days, case breakers and collectors have been opening up a lot of 2012-13 Immaculate Basketball. Over 3,200 listings were on eBay at last check. You can monitor the Most Watched Immaculate cards in our real-time list below.