Panini America acknowledged Tuesday that some of the jersey swatches cut up for use in 2014 Panini Flawless Football were actually event-worn patches rather than the game-worn material they were professed to be. However, the issue may be deeper than even company officials realize.
Some astute collectors on the Blowout Cards forum compared the Russell Wilson patches to game-worn Wilson jerseys and discovered the patches appeared to be cut from retail jerseys.
Flawless is the most expensive trading card product in the industry, with the cards packed inside briefcases that retail for well over $1,000. While it’s been common practice for card companies to use phrases such as “player worn” or “event worn” when describing the provenance of the jersey or relic pieces they use on trading cards, Flawless clearly labeled its cards as “game worn” memorabilia. Company CEO Mark Warsop admits they were not, but said the problem wasn’t that incorrect patches were used. Warsop says the front of the cards featuring Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Alshon Jeffery were labeled incorrectly and should have stated something other than ‘game worn’.
According to Panini, the error “only impacted the 168 patch cards (56 of each player) in the Patches(numbered to 25), Patches Ruby (numbered to 15), Patches Gold (numbered to 10), Patches Emerald (numbered to five) and Patches Platinum (numbered to one) inserts”.
Warsop says the autographed versions of those three players’ cards do contain actual game-worn memorabilia.
However, later on Tuesday, collectors pointed out two cards of Terrell Davis, in a group numbered to 5, that appear to contain older Seahawks jersey swatches rather than the Broncos pieces one would expect.
“There is nothing we take more seriously here at Panini America than the ironclad authenticity of our products — and the memorabilia and autographs we use to make them,” Warsop stated. “While this is a truly regrettable mistake, that’s all it is. There was no intent to deceive or to portray those pieces of memorabilia as anything other than what they are: Event-worn by those players.
“The error in this case occurred in the labeling of those cards, not in producing them. We pride ourselves in being true to our consumers and in standing by every product we make. We absolutely will do that in this regard.”
Collectors possessing any of the affected cards can exchange them for cards of equal or greater value by contacting the Panini America Customer Service Department via email at [email protected].
The company says it held internal meetings Tuesday morning “to reevaluate processes and procedures and to identify measures that will prevent these types of mistakes from occurring in the future”.
“We apologize to all of our collectors for this mistake — it hurts all of us — and we vow to do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Warsop said.
The issue of memorabilia patches on trading cards has been a hot hobby topic for years. As we’ve reported numerous times, federal investigations into the activities of dealers who recently served jail time for selling retail jerseys they represented as game-worn, included sales of thousands of jerseys to card companies over a period of several years. Donruss was one of the companies where those jerseys were sold. Panini wasn’t involved with U.S. cards at the time. The company purchased Donruss several years ago.
Seeded into packs of 2015 Topps Baseball Series 1 are game cards that the company says “harken back to the scratcher games frequently found in packs of Topps in the early 1980s”.
The Babe Ruth Call Your Shot Game will let collectors enter a contest through a code revealed by scratching off one of three boxes that will reveal a code that allows entry into the drawing for prizes including:
Trip for two to four events: 2016 Spring Training, Opening Day, All-Star Game and World Series)
Autograph (A chance at an autographed card)
- Autograph Relic (A chance at a relic card)
No other details were released.
2015 Topps Series One Baseball will release the second week of February.
We don’t expect to see him in a big league uniform anytime soon, but Johnny Manziel will get a baseball card. His autographs are randomly inserted into 2014 Bowman Draft, slated for release next month.
Manziel took some batting practice with the Padres earlier this year and the team selected him in the 28th round of this year’s amateur draft.
If he’s still stuck behind Brian Hoyer next fall, that hardball career might sound appealing.
Always nice to see some decent media coverage of local card shows and this online newspaper story from Maryland includes video as well.