What? Did you really think there was any chance that I could offer up some alliteration with the letter V?
Among the challenges of owning card store is trying to predict the future. Fortunately for the sake of staying in business, I’ve been able to channel my inner Nostradamus a favorable amount of the time. When the order form came out for 2015 Panini Clear vision, the collecting historian in me said that Panini unearthed the ancient ruins of Fleer E-X and added the top rookies from the 2015 NFL draft. Well, perhaps not THAT exciting a find, but one that had some potential at least.
For some reason, that only led me to order one nine-box case. Clearly I underestimated the response from collectors in my shop and those nine boxes flew out so fast that I wondered if Panini had somehow found a way to include Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber autographs.
With distinct see-through packaging and one hit per pack, Clear Vision kind of reminds me of the old style presentation of Absolute with loads more singles than the four those packs used to offer. So far, breakers at my shop have enjoyed the option of a sub $65 box that offers the first rookie year cards of the newest rookies in their pro uniforms with a mid-level feel.
Where I think the folks at Panini earned their paychecks on this release was by choosing to focus so strong on veteran autographs within the set. Let’s face it, the list of one-year wonders in the hobby rivals the extensive list of failed TV series from FOX. But even while I was stocking just nine boxes, I did give thought to doing more and we’ll make sure we get them to satisfy the demand.
Yes, this time of the year there is loads of interest in all the newest rookies but part of the problem with early season releases is that outside of Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper, Melvin Gordon, Bryce Petty (who has a former Jets LB to thank for recent mentions on ESPN), Todd Gurley and a few others, many collectors are frustrated pulling early autographs of players that are not exactly household names. I can remember as recently as this time last year when there was frustration over pulling some WR named Odell and being ticked.
In trying to figure out what to break this weekend at the shop, autographs of players like John Elway, Peyton Manning, Terry Bradshaw, Gale Sayers, Tom Brady, Brian Urlacher, Dan Marino, Bo Jackson, Roger Staubach, Barry Sanders, Drew Brees, Jerome Bettis, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, Rob Gronkowski, Tony Dorsett, Earl Campbell, Terrell Davis and others have separated Clear Vision from every other early season release we have seen so far this season.
Panini earned super-secret bonus points for getting more than 25 signatures of Bill Parcells into the hands of collectors thanks to this set.
Putting known names and Hall of Famers into a product when everyone is excited about football but no new stars have emerged just makes sense. The only negative with this product is that on some cards, the player autographs don’t always fit well inside the cut out. There is only one autograph per case but all are numbered to 50 or less.
Clear Vision does offer 64 of the newest rookies in the base set, which has six different colored parallels. Good luck finding the 1/1 purple. Panini went down the Topps Chrome route and is offering photo variations of 15 veterans and also of 20 rookies. Of course these have the same parallels as the base set cards.
While relics do not carry quite the same weight as signed cards, I will not be disappointed to see some of our 18 boxes from this weekend deliver relics from many of the veterans listed above as well as Jerry Rice, Aaron Rodgers, the original LT, Emmitt Smith, Joe Namath, Jim Kelly, Colin Kaepernick and since Panini has apparently too many relic swatches lying around, Johnny Football appears as well.
With the pre-season and Hard Knocks signifying the changing of the year, my guess is that we will be filling our in-store break this weekend and perhaps the early run of Clear Vision is enough to make it part of the 2016 product line.
If you’re curious, you can check out 2015 Panini Clear Vision on eBay here.
Beyond 2015 Panini Clear Vision, here’s our list of the five other hot products in the shop:
- 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter – While it did not get the lead role in this installment of the Hot List, A&G did hold onto the top “other” spot again.
- 2014 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects – I am starting to think that my store is singlehandedly helping every distributor clear out their back stock of this release. Well, probably not because case prices are not going up solely thanks to me.
- 2015 Panini Prestige NFL – Clear Vision is not the only Panini NFL offering to generate some buzz. Prestige is back with four hits, 24 packs and a jumbo box topper that makes me wonder if there is some compensating going on. Probably not, but every once in a while I have to drop something with at least a hint of crude in here.
- 2015-16 Upper Deck MVP NHL – While Connor McDavid does not make a specific appearance in this pre-season release, UD is channeling their Shaq redemption process from 92/93 UD NBA. Yes, I believe I just showed my age.
- 2015 Topps Inception NFL – Sure it just arrived Wednesday, but I’ve already sold three cases of it. That makes for a hot list appearance in my book.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO. Normally, his column focuses on what products are selling best in hobby shops. He’s got thousands of cards for sale on COMC.com under the ID cardmn5150. 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].