NFL Players Association signs exclusive deal with Panini

Begining in 2016, Panini will be the only sports trading card manufacturer that can produce NFL trading cards. According to Darren Rovell, ESPN sports business reporter, the NFL Players Association and Panini have agreed to a multi-year deal that will make Panini the exclusive maker of football cards. This means that Topps will no longer be in the football card business.

No more Topps Football.

No more Bowman Football.

No more Topps Chrome.

With this deal, every major sport in North America now has an exclusive deal with a different trading card company. Topps has MLB baseball, Panini will have NFL football and NBA basketball, and Upper Deck will have NHL hockey.

Speaking as someone who really likes Topps, this is bad news. Topps is an American icon, albeit, one that is not in the best financial health. Panini, a company based out of Modena, Italy, produces cards I usually don’t care for. Panini cards generally look cheap and obnoxious.

It looks like that trend with only continue with the exclusive deal. This is what Panini America CEO Mark Warsop had to say:

I want to get kids back to collecting sets again, and if that means that we could have a product whose packs sell for 50 cents, and make no money on it, to grow the category, we can now do that.

Great. One of the things this exclusive deal will allow Panini to do is flood the market with cheap cards that nobody wants. Kids don’t want cheap cards. They want the same well made, quality cards that everyone else wants.

I already don’t bother with NBA cards anymore, not because I don’t like basketball, but because I don’t like Panini. It looks like beginning in 2016, I will no longer bother with NFL cards either.

2013 Topps Heritage Derek Jeter hand numbered mini card

I picked up a jumbo pack of 2013 Topps Heritage Baseball at Wal-Mart this past Sunday afternoon. After I got home that day, I opened the pack to see what I had. One of the cards I pulled was a tiny, micro version of a regular Derek Jeter card. It also had “062/100” written in what appeared to be blue ballpoint ink on the front of the card, to the right of Jeter’s head.

tiny-jeter

I put the card aside and didn’t think too much about it. I had recently purchased a hobby box of 2013 Topps Series 1 Baseball on eBay and pulled a number of mini cards from the packs. I think they were seeded 1:3 in the packs, but I may be wrong. Those mini cards were a bit different in that they didn’t mimic the regular sized cards in the series.

This Jeter card was just like the regular sized cards in the set, plus it had ballpoint ink writing on it.

I did some research and discovered that it is a special insert card. Each regular card in 2013 Topps Heritage Baseball has a parallel mini version limited to only 100 copies. Unlike other numbered parallel cards released by Topps which are machine stamped with a serial number, these cards were hand numbered.

I checked eBay and found out that card 031/100 went for $124.50.

I listed my card on eBay Sunday night with a starting bid of $20. It’s currently at $26. There’s also 13 people watching it. It should be interesting to see how much it ends up going for. Just my luck, it will end at $26 and turn out to be the lowest priced Derek Jeter mini card to go on eBay.

Update: The card ended up going for $102.50. Needless to say, I was quite pleased.