Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2012-2013 Panini Past and Present Review

Retro products are hard to pull off, but when they are done right, they are adored by collectors. Panini Past and Present is a brand that combines a strong retro feel with some great modern elements. Panini experimented with the mix in the brand's debut last year with great success. This year's product continues to impress with a sweet mixture of old school and new school flavor; and they have come up with a product that will be enjoyed by all collectors - both old and new!

Base Card Design -
When collectors open their packs of Past and Present, they will see a distinctly retro-designed card. The cards are non-glossy and have the feel of a real cardboard card - go figure, right?!?! Rather than just dip back to the 80's though, Panini has evoked an even older era of collecting. The washed out colors and simple graphics give a 60's or 70's-type vibe. The base cards are the perfect representation of 'past' for this set. Older collectors will enjoy them because they are a shout out to a simpler time in collecting. Non-glossy cards don't slip all over the place and are great for in-person autographs. Newer or younger collectors will enjoy how different and colorful these cards are compared to many of the other sets available to them. These cards definitely stand out... in a good way, of course!

The back of the base card continues on with the 'past' theme. Again, the designers at Panini have wisely chosen colors appropriate for a retro card. It can be easy to forget how important color selection is in creating a specific feel. The vertical orientation of the card is reminiscent of how cards used to be as well. It's simple and it works. If I could make one suggestion, adding some fun cartoons or pictures on the back would have really been a slam dunk for this set. I recall that card companies back in the day had fun facts in the form of cartoons in some of their card sets. It added a whole lot of interactive fun to each card. That would be sweet as opposed to this more spartan, straight forward approach.

The base set has three main card designs. This Divac is definitely different than the Kobe above. I was trying to figure out how Panini chose to differentiate the designs and players... but I don't think there is a rhyme or reason for it. Each type of design has a good selection of past and present NBA players. The third design (not pictured) has a baby blue background with an enlarged version of the red basketball graphic seen in the upper left hand corner of the Divac card. All three designs feature the same card back with varying color schemes.

A small short-printed variation set is also available to be found within packs. This 50 card set features yet another retro-inspired design. Unlike the standard base cards, these are much harder to come by. In my box I was only able to find one - the Chris Paul shown above. Collectors wanting a master set of Past and Present will definitely have a challenging time tracking all of these down. I liked that Panini made these cards relatively difficult to obtain, but not impossible. Collectors on a budget can definitely take up the challenge of finding these 50 cards if they so desire.

Like in many products nowadays, rookies have their own special subset within the main base set of cards. These rookie cards definitely stand out within the main set as their design is radically different than all the others. These cards remind me of an old movie poster. The large 'ROOKIE' at the top is probably what makes me think that. The rookies cards in Past and Present are easy to find in packs and are not particularly short-printed. They provide easy access to the bigger named rookies since they are not serial numbered, not autographed, and not embedded with jersey pieces. Again, that's great for collectors wanting rookie cards on a budget.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Panini did something very surprising this year for Past and Present - they made game-used memorabilia cards available only in retail versions of the product. Jersey and patch cards are nowhere to be found in hobby packs and boxes! That is pretty stunning to me. Though I am shocked at their choice, I think it's a brilliant move by Panini. It really gives retail buyers something to chase and feel good about. Finally, an exclusive at retail worth collecting! I've seen some of the patch pieces available... they are very nice... and very limited!

Though there is no memorabilia available in Past and Present hobby boxes, Past and Present will still give collectors a chance to find autographs like the Fat Lever shown above. These Elusive autographs feature players who may not have many autographs currently available on cards. It's a great idea that allows collectors to find older players from their favorite teams that they wished had signed cards in the past. Panini had this same autographed set last year, but this year's design is a step up in my opinion. These cards are super clean and modern. I would call this and almost all the other inserts found in Past and Present the 'present' part of the set. Gone is the retro feel. These cards are all about slick modern looks, light refraction, and unique textures.

This Steve Novak on-card autographed card is another example of simple, modern design schemes. It's not as sparse looking as the Elusive autographed cards, but the background of the card, as well as the fonts used, are totally in the 'now'. I was actually very surprised to find an on-card autograph in Past and Present. You usually don't see on-card autographs on products at this price point. I have to commend Panini for giving collectors this rare treat in this product!

The Shattered insert set shows off Panini's cracked-ice technology. These shiny cards are reminiscent of prism cards introduced in the 90's, but done better. These Shattered inserts showcase the strong dunkers of the game from both the past and the present. The Drexler card seen above has bright silver reflective pieces, but other cards in the set feature black ones. Those cards don't stand out as much, but I love the subtlety they have.

In terms of texture, Past and Present has that in abundance. The Treads insert set is all about the player's shoe. Though the patterns shown are not the exact pattern underneath the shoe, it's the idea that really shines through here. Shoes are such a huge part of the NBA and basketball culture. I'm glad that there is an insert set that celebrates the shoe in this way. I'd be interested to see if they keep going with this idea in future sets. I'd love an actual shoe print on a card; that might be a natural next step with the Treads insert idea.

Headbands are another big part of the NBA game. I see more and more players sporting headbands to keep the sweat out of their eyes. The Headbands insert set is so cool! The cards show an up-close shot of the players head. The headband on the card has a felt-like material that mimics the feel of the player's headband. Here is yet another unique insert set idea from Panini. I've never seen this done and I think it's brilliant.

Continuing with the felt feel are the NBA Championship Banner cards. Not only do these cards have the feel of felt, but they are also die-cut to look like an actual banner. Talk about pulling out all the stops! Panini did a similar card to these in their Classics Hockey set. I didn't think they did a good job there. Those cards were flat and boring. The way Panini included an image of the player within the banner with the team logo and everything else on the card is simply amazing.

Lastly, Panini brought back the Raining 3's set. This set is also textured, but in a much more subtle way. Rather than have felt or a bumpy shoe pattern, these cards are glossed in different areas of the card. You can't tell by the scans of the card, but in-person, it's a pretty nice effect. More than the glossing, however, is the beauty of the Raining 3's design. It's so artistic and modern! I think these cards will be under appreciated by the general collecting public... but I wanted to get it out there that I personally think these cards are spectacular looking.

Aside from the cards shown, base card variation autographs and game-used cards are available when buying different forms of 2012/13 Past and Present Basketball. Rise N' Shine inserts featuring a very in-your-face design can also be found. Unlike the other inserts in the set, this one has a retro flair to it. The selection and variety here in Past and Present is off the charts!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
For well under $100 you can find a box of the new 2012/13 Panini Past and Present Basketball. Though it may not have the moster hits that hardcore collectors look for, it does have content worth collecting. Past and Present has presented collectors with a fun and exciting basketball card break. The experience of opening Past and Present is well worth the money. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this product to just about any collector.

Like I mentioned before, Panini has varied its distribution of hits this year for Past and Present. If you're looking for game-used pieces of jersey or patch, go for retail. If you want more autographed content, then hobby is the way to go. Either way, I think you'll have an enjoyable break.

Check out a box or two of 2012/13 Panini Past and Present for yourself! Let me know what you get in your box. I'd love to hear your opinion of it in the comments below.

Overall Rating:

See me open a box of 12/13 Past and Present below. Thanks to Panini for this review box:


  1. I really like this product for many reasons. I really like the base cards, inserts and hits. My favorite part of this product is the tread insert. Really like the effort Panini put into it.

    YouTube micerule934

  2. I don't collect basketball, but this product makes me am want to buy some. The banner and the show inserts are my definite favorites, they look great and maybe panini could use some of this card technology on hockey cards as well. Autos are nice, and clean looking. I really like these cards!!

    YouTube: MrCardCollector97

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I love products like these they are so fun and always look great thanks for the awesome review. LOVE IT!
    Youtube: clarkeesportscards

  5. great review, very detailed. as for the product, they shouldve put the gamers jerseys in hobby, not retail exclusive. they were really popular last year but sucks theyre not in it this year.
    youtube: sauone24

  6. I don't know why hockey products are so narrow based, there is products that come out every year for 10 years and don't change( series 1) I mean contenders is 30 bucks less and you get so much more great review


  7. this product is well put by panini. the design of the base cards are fantastic. I like the fact that it's all past, and present. panini deserves a 9.5/10

    Youtube: jtayl132

  8. I really like the box, it screams 1980's which is perfect for the product title. The colours blend well together and the design is simple but effective.

    Base cards are interesting as well the colours go well with the box also the backs remind me of early 1990's Basketball Products.

    I agree with you on the elusive it is clean and fancy something that would look good in a frame once the set is complete.

    With the treads cards do you think that they take the players actual show prints and put them on the card? If that is the case that is amazing.

    The second auto is nice a well the nice is different not my favourite but the fact that it is on card makes up for it for sure.

    The banner is amazing something I would collect as a set. Im in awe still.

    The Shattered almost looks like glass breaking which is cool. I hope they have a Shaq short print of shattered it would make the most sense.

    Already reviewed the shattered but the Harden I LOVE as I am a HUGE Harden and Houston fan.

    Overall great product and great break. Something I will buy that is for sure.

    Overall I rate this the same as you 9.5/10

    Youtube: Starnsfan00

  9. This is a great basketball product to come out since it has a ton of inserts such as the headbands one which is really cool. the hits are alright as you might not be able to make your money back but this product is really nice. Overall Rating: 8.5/10 YT: TeamRGHQ2Sports

  10. This product looks great because of its simple classic design but with a newer flair. The look of it is great and proves that it can stand the test of time. The autograph insert are also well made. Panini did really well to make up of all the space on the card. They stay true on the "Past and Present" by giving collectors the chance at getting some classic, older autographs and also some of the new generation. I love when card companies think outside-the-box and so the Threads and Headbands insert sets really do it for me. Overall, I think that this product is great for the insert value and also for the fact that its a great basketball product at an affordable price. I only have one last thing to say, GO RAPTORS!

    YT: Thesens8

  11. I like the base cards, the retro look is really cool
    I really like the inserts especially the shattered which are awesome

  12. Very interesting product. It kind of confuses me since I'm so used to hockey.

    To start, I must say the design is very intriguing. I'm not sure if saying it is almost like Retro-ish may be a stretch but I kind of feel that way. There is a large variety which I know is true. There are glossy cards, texture cards, die-cut cards, and much more. S if you like all-round products, I think this may be one for you. If anything it's weird because as I watch your video I notice that the base look Retro-like but the inserts look different. It's like everything has been meshed together like the new Rookie Anthology Hockey. It is very interesting.

    That would be my un-bias review on the design. I say it's un-bias because IO have no idea what I'm talking about.

    Thanks a lot for another review!

  13. Past and Present is a great medley of textured fun and autographed goodness!

    The best thing I love about this product is the variation for the base. They have unique looks to resemble the decades and I love that.

    I also love the Elusive Autographs and the variety of hits you can find on this product. I do think the inserts can be a bit redundant but for some kids they love having those cards to play with.

    Overall it's an 8.25/10

  14. Past & Present feels like cards from early 80's!
    Cheap for kids
    Past & Present is cool with these headbands and shoes! Also great for IP autographs!
    YT martinspridstavlaet

  15. This is a very good product overall.The cardboard cards make it feel a little bit cheap though.Other then that I have no problems about this product.Youtube username is Erik Karlsson

  16. Very cool product! Will definitely buy!I really like how they're encouraging people to buy the retail sets.

    Youtube: Erikson9480

  17. The autos look really nice, I also like it when any brand of cards does a retro set. The old designs were great and having them with new players is always enjoyable!

    Youtube: 14opc

  18. This product looks fantastic I love all the inserts and rookies and the autos add a nice touch. This product would also be really good to get in person autos on and I highly recommend it.
    Youtube: mncards22

  19. Hey great review on this product you got a lot of good cards and they all look great I really like the Trends ones cause they are designed really cool and I also like the on card autographs I however dont like when Panini has the autographs on stickers So when you find a Panini Basketball card and it is on the card the autograph then that is very intersing I love watching your video though and you do great review so keep it up my favorite card that you had in this pack is the Carmelo Anthony one well he is my favorite player but that trends one was very cool and they did a great job on the design

    My Youtube Channel is: Colin Anthony (and the main picture is of Carmelo Anthony wearing the Orange Christmas day uniform as a knick)Thanks, Colin

  20. Well I don't get over enthusiastic at all of any of the base card designs, and peronally hate the idea of having more than one base design in one Product. But still, the base cards are not the only thing in a Product, and if you look at the inserts, I love it!

    Both the "Elusive" and "Modern Marks" auto sets are really nice looking, with a Clean and great design. The "Treads" inserts are really creative and sweet looking, and the "Raining 3"'s... WOW.. Probably one of my favourite inserts in a long time, and I'm not even such a big basketball collector! Great job!

    Youtube: Majlfp

  21. I really like this product. It's really cool how they combine the old school looking base cards with some more modern looking auto subsets. I actually had a chance to meet dell curry at a signing in Toronto! I got a picture Autographed (I showed in my 50th vid) and I also got a picture taken with him! Thanks for the review and I'm looking forward for more in the future!