Saturday, April 27, 2013

2012-2013 Panini Preferred + Kobe Anthology Review

Hello faithful readers! Today I'm excited to announce that I will be officially diving full-on into doing basketball reviews! The hockey content will continue as always, and will definitely still be the main focus of my personal collecting interests, but it's about time to diversify the reviews a bit! If you know anyone out there who is into basketball cards, please point them here - The Cardboard Review.

Base Card Design (Kobe Anthology) -
I usually start my reviews with a discussion of a product's base cards, but with Panini Preferred... there really aren't any! Preferred is a high-end basketball offering that gives collectors only four cards per box - all hits. But because this year Panini is celebrating Kobe Bryant's amazing career, collectors will find a special Kobe Anthology card pack within the Preferred box... upping the card content by five cards. I'll take advantage of the fact that there are no base cards in Preferred to talk about the special Kobe pack here in this review.

The Kobe Anthology packs can be found across the entire 12/13 Panini Basketball product line. Every Panini hobby box this year will contain one of these special packs. It's definitely a unique idea for Panini to come up with - I've never seen a company do something quite like this before. I know I would have never thought of it! But good on Panini for honoring their number one spokesman in this way while also adding value to their basketball lines.

As for the cards themselves... they are very classily done. I'm impressed. They look great, and do an amazing job of chronicling Bryant's career. The photograph selection is varied and diverse - containing action shots (both offensive and defensive), posed photos, and candid shots of this great Laker. I get a kick out of seeing Kobe 'grow-up' as I look through these cards - from having more hair to less, and from no tat to tat! In terms of card design, Panini has a real winner with the look of these cards. The fonts used for these cards are slick and modern, and the cards' use of darker hues help the vibrant images of Kobe really pop.

Most packs of Kobe Anthology will contain just five base cards, but some lucky collectors will find very short printed and valuable serial numbered base cards, autographs, and memorabilia cards within. As a special insert into products, collectors just can't go wrong with these... well... unless you really don't like Kobe. But for the most part, Panini does right by giving collectors a little something extra in their basketball purchases this year.

Kobe Anthology Overall Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
And now, on to the actual Preferred cards! As I stated earlier, besides the Kobe Anthology pack, Preferred only yields four cards per box. Collectors will find three packs containing only one card each as well as a booklet card. I have to say that there is a lot of packaging for only four cards, but I guess that adds to the high-end premium feel of this product.

The awesome thing about Preferred is that all the autographed content within is all hard-signed. You won't be seeing sticker autos in here. Two of my on-card autographs came in the form of these Panini Choice Award die-cut cards. You can see from the Jan Vesely above and the Greg Monroe at the beginning of this review that these cards have a trophy-like design to them. This design has been employed by Panini quite a bit in the past couple of years. Though these cards certainly look unique, they are actually a revival of the old Cramer's Choice inserts from the old Pacific brand. I really enjoy the look of these cards. The extremely cut nature of these cards give them a look and feel like no other card. I can't think of another card that has so little cardboard compared to a standard-sized card. The colored foil on the top with textured silver foil sandwiching the hard-signed autograph works very well. I also love that though the card is two-dimensional, the designers gave the cards a three-dimensional effect by adjusting the look on the right side of the card - very cool. These are unique cards with a different and colorful design that many collectors will enjoy. The blue foil Monroe was serial numbered to 49, the Vesely to 99.

Unfortunately, my third autographed card came in the form of a redemption. And this would have probably been the best card in the box. In hockey, Panini has been doing better in terms of having less redemption content in their boxes... but I've seen many basketball breaks with at least one redemption card - sometimes with multiple! It's a bit disappointing not to have this card live, but it is nice to get a Hall of Famer autograph in my box. I'm looking forward to seeing what this James Worthy card will look like in person. On a positive note, Panini has done a very good job of informing collectors when they receive a lot of their autographed content back from players via their social media sites.

The booklet card in the box was an eight piece jersey card of international NBA players.The words 'All World' have been die-cut into the card with the jersey pieces imbedded within. It's a very nice looking card, but it's of a design that has been done before. It wasn't that long ago that booklet cards were a very special and rare card type. Now, with products like Preferred (and other high-end products), they are getting increasingly more common. I'm feeling that there is collector fatigue of this card type settling in already. These booklet cards, while nice, don't command the high dollar amounts that they did when they first arrived on the scene. Also, collectors are desiring better content within these cards. Rather than just jerseys (which are very common now), collectors want crazy patches or multiple autographs in these books. It is my hope that companies like Panini handle their production of booklet cards in a way that keeps them desirable. I do have to say though that getting your favorite team on a booklet card is always sweet! And I know there are definitely team centric booklets to be found in Preferred.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
Panini Preferred is an expensive, high-end basketball product. As with all things high-end, it's going to be a pretty high risk, high reward proposition. At almost $200 per box, you're looking at each card being $50. The box I opened in this review was a bit disappointing in terms of the cost of a box. Getting the James Worthy autograph was pretty nice, but I wouldn't say it was something I'd jump out of my chair over. To get your money's worth, there better be something pretty spectacular within! And Preferred can definitely yield the spectacular... just not this time with this box.

But even if you don't hit that big money card, the cards that you find within Preferred boxes are well designed and unique. Preferred offers collectors hard-signed content as well as a guaranteed booklet card per box. For those in the hobby that can appreciate those elements (and can afford it), I would definitely recommend going for Preferred. There just isn't anything else really like it around.

For the casual collectors out there, you might have to think twice about getting into it. Getting multiple boxes of Preferred will probably be out of reach for many. If you're like me though, it's always fun to gamble on one or two boxes of high-end to see what my luck brings me. The packaging of preferred only adds to the thrill of opening it up. By packing each individual card in its own pack, Panini gives collectors the feeling that everything coming out is something to be treasured.

Preferred is a sweet new product out on the market. Know what you're getting into when buying it, but enjoy it for what it gives you!

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of 12/13 Panini Preferred:


  1. The box design is great. I love the size of it and the way that it is presented and layed out. When you open it you wouldnt expect to see that. I like how everything is facing you directly and there are no suprises on what you will get.

    The Kobe anthology is nice, I don't know if I would want to collect the set as it would get pretty expensive. The base cards are pretty unique though, the pictures are very well done for it.

    Panini Choice cards I love the design but I don't like the size of them. I find them to be too small for only one card per pack. If your not careful opening the pack there goes an expensive card.
    The picture for them are great in game action shots are always nice to see. The colour scheme blends very nicely. My favourite part of the card to be honest is the crown at the top. I feel it has something to do with it being a Choice card and a crown makes it seem like it is a top card to collect. If that makes sense.

    The Redemption. I have not had to use a redemtion yet for a basketball product so I am not to sure on how long they take but I hope it is not as long as some hockey products where you are stuck waiting for months and sometimes years. I have seen that product before and the design just like the rest of the cards is fantastic. Panini has spent a great deal of time designing these cards and it shows.

    Die Cut Booklet card is simply jaw dropping. The cuts are clean and crisp I have found sometimes in booklets the edging is not always perfect. It is something minor but it is a pet peeve of mine. Even though every jersey is only one colour there are some texture patterns to go along with them which is a nice touch.
    The acctual cover for the book is nice as well it is very elegant which suites this product and how high class it is.

    Excellent product, it is simply a must for anyone who collects basketball.

    Overall I would rate this product the same as you an 8.5/10. The only thing I do not like about the product as mentioned above is the size of the Choice cards its very risky for the packs. Also do they make protectors that small?

    Youtube: Starnsfan00

  2. I think Preferred is a nice product but they always are just the Panini's Choice Awards or the Crown Royale Autos, which is kind of boring, but the silhouettes are what make this product a good one because they are more rare but most just have jerseys. The books this year have a nicer design then last years but they are mainly jerseys also.
    8/10 for this product.

    Youtube: jtayl132

  3. For a mostly hockey card collector this is weird product becose you get every time a booklet and 3 packs with 1 card inside. Why don´t they just put them in 1 pack?! But I think that the cards are own packs makes is product cooler some way and getting booklet everytime is great for collectors who wants nicer and nicer cards.


  4. Preferred seems to be the play book of basketball products. Panini did a much better job on play book then they did on preferred. I don't see many of the boxes making you close to $200 back.
    Overall 8/10

  5. I think this product looks amazing, besides the base. The autos look sick , and so do the jerseys. A great product for basketball collectors.

    YouTube Username: MrHockeynut77

  6. I absoulutly love this product!!!! Book card in every box ahhaah who wouldnt be happy with a book. Panini did a really great job making these cards. The kobe is a great idea but the chances of getting anything are really slim. What card will be for the contest? Great Review. GO SACREMENTO GO!!! youtube name riley thomson

  7. I really like this product, very nice value in your boxes. Every card seems to be selling for like $30-plus on eBay, even the scrubs. Set collectors love putting together autograph sets of Silhouettes apparently, wish I could afford my PC players' singles.

    youtube: gabevideo

  8. I really would like to get some of this but I don't have the money. I really like the paninis choice cards and the patch books

    YouTube micerule934

  9. This product is just like Playbook football. I like the idea of getting hits every pack, but rarely do you make your money back when it comes to this type of product. Great review Luke.
    YT- bmurphy1325

  10. First I have to mention about the packaging: PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE ECONOMICAL AND ENVIROMENTAL SIDE! That's just to big for 4 cards (plus the bonus pack), and actually it's not that exciting either. And one card/pack is to much waste of packaging too. You can definitely do a better job here, Panini!

    On to the actual cards: There's a nice design to many of them, and the die-cut cards acutally have really nice colours and effects. Since I don't know basketball that well I can't say that much about the player's names though.

    The booklets? Putting one of them in every box is in my opinion I D I O T I C. There's not even an easy and cheap way to us collectors to storage them. Sure they look absolutely ok, but making them that common is absolutely wrong. They should be extremely rare and limited, unless they both lose it's value and excitement from the collectors.

    Youtube: Majlfp

  11. Hey there Luke! I'm back once again as I missed your other two videos/reviews. Do to the fact that my last comment took me a while and I have to go soon I need to keep this one nice and short. Kind of like I used to. I never made them too short but as of late I have made them much longer as it is the least I can do and I like to!

    To the product; It was quiet cool. I think one of the things I liked the most was the packaging! The idea is kind of like Titanium Hockey or the fairly new SPGU, I find. Very few packs and completely focused on the hits. I'm not too fond of that as I like the surprise but it's okay. The best part must be how they do booklets!

    Overall, I like the product. Thanks for everything!

    - NothinButHockeyCards

  12. this product seems to be a big hit, but only if you hit one of those silhouettes cards. i like the fact that its on card autos, thats a definite plus and i think the triangle cards are pretty cool. For the booklets, I think theres some issues with it. I think theres way too many. Too many combinations and a lot of them have a few random players thrown in or the player choice doesnt make much sense. Not to mention that Ive seen 1 booklet where the player selection isn't even correct. (the Draft10 book has half of the players from the 09 draft class). Im a lower end collector, to me, $200 is way too much to be spent on this product. If it were much cheaper, maybe i'll open a box, but for now i think i'll stick with singles.

    i dont have a youtube account, but i found this post from a SCF thread, my ID is romayo

  13. I do love this product although it is a bit overpriced this product also has a drawback from its redemptions and not enough variety of booklets. Youtube: TeamRGHQ2Sports

  14. I will have to agree on this with your review. Only thing is that i don't like are the Kobe Anthology packs i think that they are completely stupid and unnecessary.
    Youtube- Irbehockey cardcolect

  15. Well I think that that product delivered on the James Worthy autograph. The other 2 auto's I've never heard of. The booklet is pretty sick, but pretty high numbered! I thought that was a major downside. The Kobe pack is pretty irrelevent. Wish there was more of a set to collect other than the Kobe pack. Will the James worthy auto be prism shaped too? Kind of awkward and cheap looking to me. Not a great design. On card though so can't complain.


  16. this product is very interesting i dont think i really like the pyramid like die cuts that much especially getting 2 in 1 box im not a big fan of. too bad you gotta redemption... but ive seen a lot of breaks of this product and there are some really nice hits you can get in this product like the rookie jersey autos that look similar to the silhouettes from last years crown royale hockey they also have auto die cuts that look like the base from last years crown royale hockey so this is basically crown royale basketball but they added one thing that makes this product better in my opinion and that is the booklets. i personally love booklets i actually just got my first booklet this week and i love it and they have some really sick 6-8 player patch booklets that look phenomenal so i really think this product is pretty good! lastly the kobe pack... i think the design is really nice but i really cant stand kobe so it kinda ruins that for me but it looks nice maybe if they did LeBron anthology then it be a different story but he signed with UD so thats not gonna happen but i would give this product a 8.5/10!

    Thanks again!


  17. A very nice high end basketball product for the 2012 13 season, The card design is very nice but not a huge fan on the die cut cards but still I like how you get 3 autos and a booklet, overall very nice and is worth the money with the booklet.

    Youtube: mncards22

  18. Nice break and review.

    James Worthy auto is always good!

    I have subscribed and look forward to future breaks :)