Product Review: 2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia

Before ramping up for another busy week in the real world, let’s take a quick look at another product review from yesteryear. Okay, this review isn’t so late that you’d expect “yesteryear” in its usual context, but this product is so 2010. Literally. The funky almost-a-trapezoid-but-technically-a-pentagonal-prism box says so…

2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia box
The Box – Click for Detail

Hobby boxes come with 4 4-card packs for a total of 16 cards. I purchased this box from Dave and Adam’s Card World for $118.75, which translates into a $7.42/card ratio. That is definitely above my normal comfort zone, but a goal is a goal, right? Maybe next year I won’t tell myself to review every product on the football release calendar.

2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia Pack
Pillow-Box packs are fun to open but hard to scan

The Breakdown:
Base Cards: 11 (0 duplicates)
   Rookie Cards: 3 (included in base card total above)
   Marks of Fame (#/50): 1
   Rookie Auto (#/99): 1
   Rookie Auto (#/25): 1
   Gridiron Force Prime Jersey (#/50): 1
   Absolute Heroes Patch (#/50): 1

2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia
Click images for full-sized scans

1st Down, Design: On the surface, these base cards aren’t bad. They have a fairly clean design, the player photos are prominent, and the bit of team color is a nice touch. However, there are some more glaring problems with the base cards that seem to overshadow the good aspects. When rainbow foil board was first used, it was pretty sweet. It was an easy way to pick out a cool insert card. Now, it just seems trite and overused, especially for a base card. Also, will Panini ever learn to incorporate the team logo on the front of the card? Other than the occasional side-helmet shot, this could be mistaken for a non-licensed product. Lastly, I realize I don’t know the inner workings of the industry, but it wasn’t possible to get game action shots of rookies…in a product that was released in mid-October? Really? Even if those are the last cards you finalize and print, I would expect to see full uniforms for rookies at this point in the release calendar. The pre-season releases get a training camp photo excuse. Mid-October releases do not.

2nd Down, Inserts: The main point of a product like this is the hits, so let’s not even bother discussing the non-hit insert I pulled. Granted, even if that weren’t the case, I don’t know that I’d take time to discuss this Marks of Fame card anyway. Moving on. The hits were generally underwhelming in this box. For a product that is approaching high end, I’d expect to see some autographs that aren’t just mid-level rookies with sticker labels slapped on a barely altered base parallel. I like that they took the time to add a white fade zone to make the autograph more prominent, but that’s just not enough effort for a product of this caliber. The jerseys were also disappointing. I’ll never understand the use of tiny number and letter die-cut windows. It just makes the small jersey swatch seem smaller. And how am I supposed to believe this plain red swatch is from a “prime” part of the jersey? The Steve Smith patch card is decent with the giant panther logo about to snack on Smith and the nice three-color patch, but I’d rather see non-rainbow foil and a bigger swatch window. Patches are still cool to see and touch, even if they are overused at this point in the game, so let me see more on this card.

3rd Down, Collation: It’s really tough to gauge the collation when you’re getting just 16 cards in a hobby box. Granted, I didn’t pull any duplicates, so that’s good. That would have been an absolute deadly sin for a box like this. I also pulled the stated hit seeding, so that’s hard to argue. I guess my thought would be there was probably a box somewhere that had four amazing hits in it or at least two sweet hits and really good base rookies. It would have been nice to even that out with my box of rather crappy hits and barely noteworthy rookies. Then again, maybe every box delivered this (lack of) quality.

4th Down, Overall Value: This has to be the worst part about this product, or at least the box I busted. If you had given me the exact same 16 cards in a blind review and told me they all came from the same box, I probably would have thought it was a decent box/product. However, this isn’t a blind review and I am painfully aware of the price tag this box carried, even two months after its release (I purchased this box just before the new year). There is no way the base cards are worth any where near the $7.42/card average. Granted, it is typically the case that base cards don’t carry their own weight. But in most boxes, the inserts and hits make up the difference. That is not the case here where even the “best” hits will struggle to get to $7.42. Kudos Panini America. You just got another $118.75 from me that you really didn’t deserve. Then again, I suppose the sole blame rests on me for pulling the purchase trigger. To begin with. As other wise bloggers have said, if you don’t like the products, don’t buy it. Hopefully some day I will learn that lesson. On the other hand, I still firmly believe you can’t acurately judge a product from eBay listings and product sell sheets. You need to touch and see the cards personally and you need to see a box in its entirety, not just some random shots of the best cards in the set.

RED ZONE RESULTS: UNSPORTSMAN LIKE CONDUCT, KEY-PLAYER EJECTED 2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia was an absolute disappointment. The product lacked anything that resembled quality cards and reminded me of a lower-to-mid shelf product, rather than one that might be placed on the top shelf. Rainbow foilboard doesn’t make a card more valuable. 1997 Flair had sweet base cards that felt valuable. 2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia does not. Overall, the product may not have been terrible, but was at least way over priced. It’s as if the only good player on offense dropped a pass to the endzone, drop-kicked the opposing cornerback out of frustration, was ejected from the game, and the home team went on to be routed by Little Sisters of the Poor. Please tell me you can do better, Panini. You have 50% of the pro football card market now. I don’t want to hate your company. Really, I don’t. But sometimes you make it so difficult to lend you any respect.

NEXT UP: 2010 Panini Limited


4 Responses to Product Review: 2010 Panini Absolute Memorabilia

  1. Tim says:

    Smack that thing out of here! That has to be the worst box break I have ever seen.

  2. Panini keeps laying goose egg after goose egg when it comes to design, initial value, and overall collect-ability. I say quit while you’re ahead and cut your loses. Anything else that comes out of these guys is just going to disappoint because it will be a recycled version of something else.

  3. theodoersing says:

    Yeah, can’t say I’m impressed with this product either. I was underwhelmed by the card designs. I bought 3 boxes of 2010 Topps Finest and was going to get more, but the card shop guy talked me into a box of the Absolute. I half-way wondered later if he was just trying to get rid of it. And I spent $130 on mine (without shipping, at least).

    The only redeeming thing was I got a good hit with my CJ Spiller RPM autograph serial-numbered 21/25 (his jersey #).

    Otherwise, I’d be feeling as violated by Panini as you.

  4. wow. I hope they bought you dinner first…

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