Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010-2011 Panini Limited Review

Base Card Design -
So I've been excited to get my hands on the first premium product of the year in Panini Limited. The box/pack price is around $85-$100... so it's a lot... but hopefully you can get a lot in the box you buy.

In my box I got 2 regular base cards. I actually thought I had three, but it turns out that the other one was a parallel that I didn't realize I had gotten until later. Anyways, the base cards are all numbered to 299. They feature a very shiny foiled finish on thin card stock. It surprises me that the cards are so thin. They actually remind me of the Certified base cards. Usually with a higher end product like this I expect the cards to be thicker for a more premium feel.

In terms of design, the cards feature a nice, simple design. It's pleasing and unobtrusive. The graphics on the card are subdued and look classy. The bottom of the card features the player's name in sort of an ice-y/marble-y looking section. The player on the card is popping out of the faded out background and is prominent on the front of the card.

Often times I feel that the products logo clashes with the card design, but in this case, the Limited logo looks great and fits in nicely.

The rookie cards are called Material Phenoms and are a part of the base set. Here's what mine looked like:

Yep... dreaded redemption card. According to the checklist this should be Philip Larsen.

The Material Phenom cards feature a manufactured patch of the player's team on the front. There is a large white patch area that the player signs in. Go ahead and check some pics out on eBay to see what they look like if you haven't seen them yet.

I will say that I am not a fan of the manufactured patch cards. To me the little team logos don't look that good and there isn't much meaning to a manufactured patch. I said the same thing about the OPC Premier patches as well. I am just not a fan of them. I do think Panini thought outside the box to come up with this unique design, but I'm just not a huge fan of it - just my own personal taste. BTW, these types of cards may be new to hockey collectors, but they have already been introduced in Panini basketball and football products. Didn't like them in those, don't like them in these. As of now I'm undecided whether or not to redeem the one I got. It's definitely up for trade though. Let me know if you want it.

Base Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Just like other super high end products like OPC Premier and Ultimate Collection, there are a ton of inserts, and these cards are the backbone of the product. In my box I received 5 inserts. Three of the inserts were base card parallels. Here they are:

I thought the Kovalchuk card was a regular base card until I looked at the back and realized it was numbered to just 10. It also says 'Spotlight' on the front down the two lines that converge on the Limited logo. The Kovalchuk I received came in bad condition. There were crinkles in the foil. That's really too bad. I'm going to send it back to Panini for replacement. I'm not sure I'll get the same card back since it was such a low numbered card. I'll just have to wait and see. I'll let you guys know what they do for me.

The Doan is a jersey card numbered to 199 and the Varlamov is a PRIME (which means cooler patch type card in Panini vocabulary) piece numbered to 25. These cards remind me of how Panini stuck game-used pieces onto the Certified base cards. I would have loved to get different types of inserts rather than just game-used on base, but that's ok. The cards themselves are nice, but the swatches are just placed where the player's photo is. Maybe some more thought could have gone into swatch placement here.

My other two inserts came from the same family. They are both members of the Retired Numbers insert set. One features a jersey piece while the other is the non-game-used version.

This is a nice way to sneak retired players into the set. The idea is a good one and the design is pretty nice. Having the the years the player played on the front is a great feature and the banner is also a nice design element. This is a nice looking insert card. Now, you see that Blackhawks logo floating there in the middle? That's where the jersey swatches go! Check it out!

And here's the jersey version. This card features a small piece of jersey (bigger would have been nice) on the insert card. I think this particular card looks fine, but again, my complaint comes in that the jersey piece is not integrated into the overall design of the card. It's just THERE. Also, many of the inserts that I have seen have big blank spaces where you know there should be an autograph or memorabilia card. This is just not pleasing to the eye.

The checklist reveals that there are many other inserts. Many of them look great. I especially like the classy look of the Select Signatures. Hopefully I'll pull one one day!

Inserts/Game-used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
The box of Limited I got was not that great. In fact, pretty terrible. I spent $100 on it and I'm pretty sure I could have gotten all the cards in my box for under $30 delivered. Like all products like this, they are very hit or miss. I may choose to buy one more box of this... but I am reluctant. The cards are fairly nice, but I'm just afraid the value of this product will not hold up.

I also have seen MANY redemptions come out of this product already. When I was at my LCS, the owner opened a box and got a redemption card. I got a redemption card... and there are many more in box breaks that I have seen. This is just not cool. I think Panini may be the new king of the redemption cards.

So in the end, I might just have to set my limit of Limited at two boxes. I've already gotten box one. I might get another box next month... we'll just have to see. Keep reading to find out!

Overall Rating:
(not an average)

Here's the video of my break of Limited:

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