2014 Panini Certified NFL arrived in time for kickoff week and for most collectors, it signals the beginning of the higher-end release part of the season. While Upper Deck (base) Topps (base), Bowman, Prestige and Rookies & Stars have so far been well received, it is usually Certified that gets some of the big boy shredders into the store.
Sure it hits in the same general range of pricing as Prestige and Rookies & Stars in terms of pricing, the 10 pack per box facet positions it differently than the previous Panini offerings. What really separates it are the chances at some of the 1/1 Mirror Black parallels. Sure there are Mirror Red /249, Blue /99, Gold /25, Green /5 and Mirror Green also /5, but it is safe to say that Black is the new orange (or something like that).
Short of using a NFL logo shield, it was hard for Panini to top this Mirror Black Russell Wilson patch.
This year we chose to being it in by the mini case instead of committing to the 24 box behemoth that came straight from Panini, but based on early sales, it would not have been a problem to have stepped up to the two dozen direct case. From a local perspective, even though the Broncos are best represented by Cody Latimer, a second round WR pick from Indiana who has Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker in front of him, it does not seem to be slowing down sales.
Of course the set is loaded with 80 of the (hopefully) best rookies from the most recent draft. One name players like Johnny, Teddy, Blake, Derek, AJ and others made the cut and now it’s up to them to perform on the field.
Fortunately, Panini once again didn’t stop with just rookies for their autograph list with possible autographs of powerhouses like Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Richard Sherman, Eddie Lacy, Matthew Stafford and more.
Also returning are the Fabrics Of The Game relic cards. It is rare these days for a game-used relic generates as much hype as this set does. Between its longevity and the player checklist, this is one of those sets that really gets the juices of collectors going. Possible players include Fran Tarkenton, Bruce Smith, Chris Carter, Randy White, Thurman Thomas and Warren Moon on top of a current player roster that would make every GM jealous.
Rounding out the Top 5 on the Hot List are:
2) 13/14 Panini National Treasures NHL. While my store is in Colorado, it seems the entire continent knows who Nathan MacKinnon is and if I got a dozen cases, it would still not be enough.
3) 2014 Topps Chrome MLB. Collectors are definitely digging an affordable box of cards that offers 2 autographs in it. Throw in one of the most impressive MLB rookie crops in years and while it is remaining affordable by the box, it should have quite a long run in it.
4) 14/15 Upper Deck MVP NHL. Sure it just has the carry over rookies from 13/14, but with chances at autographs from Gretzky, Toews, MacKinnon, Kane and more, it still has puckheads taking a close look.
5) 2014 Topps Finest MLB. Collectors are still seeing good reasons to break open this 2 mini-pack box with 2 autographs and seemingly more parallels possible than any other release.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO where they’ve got a brand, spanking new look to their website. Normally, his column focuses 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]