Training camp for a new season is edging closer and 2015-16 Panini Immaculate Basketball is about to round out last season’s releases with another slate of high-end autographs and relics. Set for release Wednesday, Immaculate will have one pack of six cards in a hobby box — but five of the six will be autograph or memorabilia cards.
Oh, sure, there is a base card or parallel in every pack, but most collectors who will be buying Immaculate are generally not set-builders, although the cards will carry low serial numbers, and there will be bronze parallels (numbered to 49), blue parallels (10) and 1/1 platinum parallels.
And there are some interesting relics planned. The Christmas Day cards, for example, will feature memorabilia from NBA games played on December 25, 2015. Those great sneakers that players wear (and kids want) will have a presence in Immaculate. Sneak Peek will feature a large swatch of a player’s sneaker, while Sole of the Game and Sneaker Swatches also are inspired by footwear.
The combination of relic and autographs will be featured in Rookie Patch Autographs, with players like Karl-Anthony Towns among the more coveted players in the group. Others include Jahlil Okafor, Kristaps Porzingis, and — my personal favorite, for some reason — D’Angelo Russell. There also will be 1/1 Logoman versions.
Premium Patch Autographs will combine an on-card autograph and a piece of a jersey. Dual, Triple and Quad Autographs will consist of on-card signatures of former teammates or players from the same draft class. One of the mock-ups that Panini presented on its sell sheet would make any basketball fan drool — especially if you rooted for the Boston Celtics. Just imagine a Quad Autograph with the signatures of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Bill Russell. There also was one containing the autographs of Laker greats Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal.
Please pass the smelling salts.
By the way, buying a hobby box is not for the faint of heart. Several outlets have been offering presells in the $675-725 range. That’s over $110 per card–on the low end.
Collectors are not being deterred by the price, as several case breaks on the internet are being prepared by dealers. It will be interesting to see what gets pulled. I’ll be checking them out on YouTube.
Panini’s Immaculate Basketball comes at a high cost, but by now collectors realize it’s one of the season’s premier products. Immaculate certainly appears to offer some interesting cards this year. It’s up to the individual collector to decide whether the price is worth it.