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Panini Prestige signals the beginning of the football-card-collecting year. Sure, plenty of other products hit store shelves before Prestige, but none of them include all of the goodies: on-card autographs of rookies in their new NFL uniforms, with their new numbers, with action-photography. It’s a licensing thing, but for the past several years Panini Prestige continues starting out of the gates with licensed rookie cards before anyone else. (NOTE: I’m aware that Score came out earlier this year with licensed rookie autos, but the majority of those RCs were non-action photographs of players without their helmets on.) Historically, being the first NFL-licensed product of the year also comes with the stigma of being a low-end product. Not a great reputation to have.
Last year, Prestige busted that reputation wide open with the greatest Prestige offering ever (good timing, too, given the historically significant 2012 rookie class.) 2012 Prestige had gorgeous rookie patch autographs (RPAs,) a simple, yet elegant base-card design, subtle gradients, and a bunch of inserts. It was awesome.
Can we expect the same kind of amazingness from the 2013 product? Check out my box break below to find out, then continue reading for the rest of the review.
Although I am disappointed that Panini eliminated the RPA from Prestige, I can understand the mentality behind the decision. If every single product includes an RPA, then they eventually lose their significance in the hobby. Plus, we can assume that they are saving rookie-memorabilia for upcoming products. Surprisingly, the lack of an RPA did not hinder my enjoyment at all. I was not expecting to have a great time busting this box, but the new acetate/totally certified/gold foil inserts all contributed to a super fun break. Many could argue that my box really sucked…it certainly wasn’t great. But it was still fun.
From a design standpoint, I actually like the base cards. The team-colored gradient and white “shadow-box” text remind me of the design I’d find on a bottle of high-end vodka. The card stock is decent and the corners of the base cards are sharp. Nothing too fancy, but a classy design for a product interested in maintaining the “not-low-end” look it established last year.
I was very surprised by how cool the inserts were. The acetate die-cut cards definitely stole the show. Love the way those turned out. I have collected “Extra Points” cards for a few years now…never in a big way, but every year I pick up a handful of really short-printed ones like Extra Points “Black” which is typically numbered to 10. This is the first time I’ve seen Panini use foil-board for the Extra Points parallels and I think it looks great. My Haloti Ngata card is numbered to 100, but it was one of my favorite cards in this box.
Bringing the “Totally Certified” etching technology to some of the inserts is an interesting decision. Not sure if I’m in love with it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the card designs, but With the addition of acetate die-cut cards (reminiscent of Elite) and these gold inserts (reminiscent of Totally Certified) you begin to wonder if Prestige is unsure of its own identity. The idea of having the word “ROOKIE” so prominent at the bottom of the card is something most collectors either love or hate. Doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. Although the size of the font bothered me on earlier products like Score, here it really doesn’t bug me. I like the gradient in the background and I like the style of the word “ROOKIE” (which reminds of of the logo for SportsCardMagazine.net.) On the Extra Points rookie cards, the colored, foil background makes the player pop. To each his own 🙂
My hits weren’t remarkable, but the Dion Jordan could turn out to be a good one. The Geno Smith autos comparable to my Dion Jordan are selling for crazy money. Sure, those prices will go down once more products hit the market, but still. That’s crazy high for a Prestige auto…what can I say? People like Foil-board autos. Although I liked my two jersey cards, they seem completely out of place in this set. I felt like I randomly got two hits from Totally Certified in my box of Prestige. My Rookie Tickets auto of Quinton Patton, though, was nice. Big player picture and a nice signing area. Kudos to Quinton for his quality signature.
Overall, this was a fun box to bust. I thought I was going to hate everything about this product after falling in love with the 2012 release, but this set actually did a few things really nicely. Lack of RPA was a buzz-kill–would have loved the chance to pull the first Geno Smith RPA of the year–but the foil “Extra Points” cards and acetate inserts impressed me in a good way. I wouldn’t buy a case of Prestige because I prefer the on-card autos and RPAs of later products, but this is a product I always have to bust a box of…just to scratch that itch.
Final Note: A YouTube follower of mine commented that the box art was similar to the 2010 design, so the following graphical comparison was made just for him….by the way, he was right!