For those who follow this blog, you know I've been waiting, with much anticipation, for the release of the 2010 Panini Century Collection. I wrote in my blog post Officially on my holiday wish list... autographs! that I was hoping to hit a cut auto of Lefty Gomez, an autograph that I've been chasing since childhood. Well... I'll spoil the surprise and tell you I didn't pull one so the chase continues. But I'm not disappointed because this box falls under our category of Ultra Premium Cards which we refer to as "lottery boxes," high risk, high reward. So you can't expect you will always pull the card of your dreams or even that you will pull cards that have a book value of what you paid for the box every time. Some people will come out ahead, some will not. But just as in any lottery, "you have to be in it to win it." You want a shot at a cut auto from Gomez, Ruth, DiMaggio or Ted Williams, you have to put your money down and take your chances. But at $200 a box for 5 cards (or as it is appearing in most boxes, 6 cards) this lottery box seems to have the odds stacked in your favor.
Lets get to the cards in the box first and then I tell you what I think about this release.
Barry Larkin Blast From The Past bat card 02/99
Barry Larkin was just behind Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven on this years Hall of Fame ballot, missing induction by a small margin. He will probably make it in on next year's vote.
Ed Gibson worn/used material and vintage stamp card 094/250
Ed Gibson was the Science Pilot aboard for Skylab-4 in 1973. He spent 84 days in space on the space station, which at the time was the longest manned flight in the history of manned space exploration, and traveled the equivalent of 34.5 million miles on the flight.
Katharine Hepburn Hollywood Materials worn/used material and stamp 041/250
Katharine Hepburn was famous for her leading roles in the films Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and On Golden Pond. She has the record for most Best Actress Oscar wins with four. She received an Emmy and was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, five Emmys, two Tony Awards and eight Golden Globes .
Wade Boggs Blast From The Past bat card 015/250
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 on his first ballot, Wade Boggs is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, eight-time Silver Slugger Award winner, twelve-time All-Star selection and a World Series Champion in 1996 with the New York Yankees.
Monte Irvin Autographed Postmark card 185/250
Monte Irvin was an All-Star selection in both the Negro League and the Major League, a World Series Champion in both the Negro League and the Major League. He was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.
So that's five cards, but there was also this card, already in a Ultra Pro holder with a Panini sticker sealing it.
Carlton Fisk Souvenir Stamp Autograph and Vintage Stamp card 13/38Carlton Fisk was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1972, the same year he won his only Gold Glove award, a three time Silver Slugger Award winner and an eleven-time All-Star selection. Her was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Overall LookWithout an MLB license, Panini is not allowed to show any baseball players in uniforms with Major League logos. In the movie Jaws, Steven Spielberg could not show the shark in the majority of the film because the mechanical shark used for filming kept breaking down. Spielberg has acknowledged the film is better because he had to find different and creative ways to complete the movie without seeing the shark. The same applies to Panini and their use of players in black and white photos from their youth, some in high school uniforms and sometimes in the uniforms of sports that are different than the one's they played. Baseball great Jim Rice appears in his high school football uniform. I love the vintage photos of the athletes, it works great with the "Century Collection" theme and separates this release from the rest. The card design is wonderful. The addition of the stamps, both recent and vintage, are great. I also appreciate that the stamps are exposed so you can get close to them. Yes... it forces you to be careful with the stamps because they can easily be damaged, but its as important to me to be able to touch the stamps as it is to be able to touch a relic or a material.
Quality and Variety of Players
This set is loaded with baseball players who are members of the Hall of Fame as well as the Basketball, Football and Hockey Halls of Fame. You'll find racing legends, famous singers, Hollywood legends, astronauts and a former president. If award winners are your thing, this set is also loaded with winners of the World Series, NBA Championship, Stanley Cup, MVP trophies, Gold Gloves, Golden Globes, Grammys, Emmys, Academy Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. All of this makes the depth and the quality of the set amazing.
Thrill Seeking Fulfillment
One word to describe this release of Panini Century Collection, awesome! The anticipation of opening this box was intense, and the actual break was a thrill. No numbered base cards to "get through" to see the hits, each card was a hit, a big bonus for any Ultra Premium box. On top of that, I was expecting five cards and wound up with six, gotta love that. Out of the four Baseball Cards, three current members and one future member of the Hall of Fame with two of their autos, an astronaut and a silver screen star, these cards provide quite a thrill.
Buyers Remorse or Speculator's DelightMy hits were not the biggest ones available, but I was still happy the next day with the cards I pulled, a true measurement of an exceptional set of cards and a feat not easily accomplished. I find myself looking at these cards over and over again, its hard to put them down. These are cards to hold on to and to revisit in the years to come. I can see opening more boxes of Panini Century Collection if resources are not an issue.
5 out of 5
Do yourself a favor and pick up a box before they are all gone.