Posts Tagged ‘Donruss’

2016 Panini Donruss—4 Pack Rip!

Posted: March 16, 2016 by Crackin' Wax in Donruss
Tags: , ,

Earlier today, I launched a survey polling those in our Group Breaks Mailing List asking which products they would like us to use in our charity case breaks in 2016. As I was drawing up the survey, I had a good sense of what the survey-takers would choose. So far, my intuition has proven to be correct—even down to the least popular choice.

I only like to conduct breaks using products that I know will be popular, will sell out, and will help to raise charity. That being said, I have never used any Panini products in a case break. Yes, I have busted Panini boxes in charity and private breaks in the past, but never Panini cases. So, what is the problem with Panini, anyway?

In my limited experience with Panini products held mostly to baseball, it’s clear that my personal opinion is weighted by two factors: product quality and MLB licensing—or lackthereof in both cases. Perhaps, however, my personal problem with Panini is my limited experience. One could argue that the limitations on my experience with the product have been imposed by the dominating presence of hobby giant Topps. So far in 2015, Panini has released Cooperstown, Donruss, Diamond Kings, Elite, Immaculate, Prizm, and Stars and Stripes. That represents just a mere fraction of what Topps has produced so far just this year.

Quantity isn’t everything, however. Just because Topps clogs up the release calendar doesn’t mean that some of their own releases aren’t pure bloat. Quality is, in my opinion, far more important than quantity. As stated before, however, that’s one of my issues with Panini. Donruss was a well-intentioned call-back to the 80s staple that just didn’t click, Prizm came off like a powder-coated cheap rip-off of the more well-established Topps Chrome (I kid you not, I still find that Prizm dust all over the place), Cooperstown was a good idea that somehow managed to feel awkward (to me, at least), and Triple Play was fun as a one-time pack break that did nothing to make me want to come back.

True, that’s just my personal opinion—but what about those who were polled earlier today? What do they have against Panini? In that poll I asked participants to rank in order of preference 10 different 2016 baseball products that they would like us to use in charity case breaks, then asked to do the same for 10 more 2016 baseball products, then asked for write-ins of any products that I missed. Based primarily on past trends with our breaks as well as my own personal opinion, I only included Panini Donruss in the survey. As I write this, Donruss sits dead last on the poll and only Diamond Kings and Elite have been written-in (once each). To me, that says Panini has not done enough to capture the attention of collectors in 2015.

Of course, this is a very small sample size and does not represent the collecting community as a whole, but I believe it does represent a crucial thought in the industry, which is that Panini is clearly a distant second to Topps. I want to be able to run charity case breaks with Panini products that collectors want. I want Panini to capture the attention and imagination of collectors all over the world, even without an official MLB license (although, in my opinion, having one would go a long way).

As a collector, what do you think is the problem with Panini, if any at all?

It’s been a whirlwind of activity in Crackin’ Wax Manor, so things haven’t been tended to here at the blog as they normally would be. With that in mind, I’m going to quickly touch on a few subjects. The first being the 2015 Topps Finest Charity Case Break. Spots are now live to the public and, as of this posting, there are only 4 left! Why, you ask? The Group Breaks Mailing List pre-sale! Those who are signed up for the mailing list have the first crack at spots in select breaks. To check out the break specifics and grab some spots, just head up to the Crackin’ Wax Case Breaks menu and click on 2015 Topps Finest Charity. To get in on future pre-sales, just sign up to join our Group Breaks Mailing List.

The second subject has to do with the recently released 2015 Panini Diamond Kings. I’ve got a box of this great product and I’m adding it to the end-of-year Private Break! The only way to get an invitation to the Private Break is to take at least one spot in at least one Crackin’ Wax Charity Case Break—just like Finest!

The Mrs. and I are going to go back to selling our house while buying a new house while she’s running for a promotion at her job while being recognized as Big Sister of the Year while I’m working on relaunching Varsity Trading Cards while… did we bite off more than we can chew? NAH!

Oh, and if you missed it, the Bowman break this past Saturday was awesome! Somehow I managed to get all of the cards sorted, packed, and shipped on Monday morning! If you missed the break, check out the replay video and a couple of the nice hits we pulled below.

What’s the deal with Domingo German’s card numbering?

Gut Reaction: 2014 Donruss Announced

Posted: November 26, 2013 by Crackin' Wax in Donruss, Panini
Tags: , ,

Let me just start out by stating that this post was meant to hit the internet hours ago. Thanks to an outage in my area, I was unable to upload anything and was barely able to download much information. That means that I was able to tweet intermittently, and that’s about it. It was through Twitter earlier in the day that I, along with most of the rest of the trading card collecting universe (or those sitting in Canada and/or The U.S.) learned that Panini was re-reintroducing the Donruss baseball brand.

Re-reintroducing, you say? Donruss’ first run in the realm of baseball cards occurred from 1981-1998 under the Pinnacle Brands umbrella. That parent company filed for bankruptcy, thus ceasing production of Donruss baseball for a short time. In 2001, Playoff Corporation acquired rights to produce baseball cards and did so under the Donruss Playoff moniker. In 2009, Panini acquired Donruss Playoff and produced limited baseball products, such as Donruss Elite Extra Edition. However, since Panini had an MLBPA license but not an MLB license, they were and continue to be allowed only to use player likenesses and names. That means they were and remain unable to use anything owned by Major League Baseball–this includes team names and team logos.

Now, in 2014, Panini is bringing back the Donruss flagship brand for a third round–still without an MLB license.


Above is an example of the base design of the 2014 revival of the Donruss product. Given the usage of the early 80s logo as well as a call-back to early 80s Donruss designs, this is clearly a retro homage set. Instead of revitalizing the brand, Panini has decided to go the Allen & Ginter route. One could argue that they are going more the way of Archives, but that set pays tribute to multiple designs from the vintage and junk wax eras. On the other hand, sets like Allen & Ginter or Gypsy Queen are entirely based on those respective past designs. They draw from and are inspired by their original classic counterparts, much like Panini is attempting to do with this new iteration of Donruss.

dk studio elite hall

Making an appearance in this retro revival set are memorable subsets and inserts such as Diamond Kings, Studio, Elite and Rated Rookies. Panini is certainly paying special attention to hit some of the better highlights of Donruss’ junk wax era.

Of course, no modern release of a throwback product would be complete without its share of hits.

au gu powerplus_au

Each hobby box will include 24 packs with 8 cards per pack. You’ll be able to find 2 autographs and 1 memorabilia card as well as 16 inserts, 4 Diamond Kings, 4 Rated Rookies and 1 5″ x 7″ Diamond Kings box topper per hobby box. No price point was available upon this posting, however I would imagine that, based on similar products by Topps, this could easily be in the $70-$90 per hobby box range.

Since I was without internet for a few hours, I was able to let the idea of this settle in for a while and churn around my irritated and annoyed brain. Perhaps it’s not fair to the product that I was not and am still not in the most positive frame of mind while considering the new set, but sometimes a person is much more truthful and honest when they are a bit pissy.

Before I get too far into my opinions, I just want to let it be known that I am really rooting for Panini and its endeavors in the production of baseball trading cards. I am of the “it’s good for competition” camp to keep both themselves and Topps at their very best. I am hoping beyond hope that Panini is able to secure an MLB license very soon, as well. That lack of a license, however, plays a bit of a role of my gut reaction.

Firstly, while I am rooting for Panini to do well, I have not been a fan of any of their baseball products to date. I partly blame the aforementioned lack of an MLB license. Without that license, the designers at Panini America are very limited in what they are able to do. Without the ability to use photographs of ball players in their uniforms as is, they are forced to crop caps, erase logos and, in many cases, hope for an awkward logo-obstructing action pose. Also, as much as I have tried my best to look past this issue, I have never cared for professional baseball trading cards that did not use professional baseball logos. Something about them just seems amateur and cheap–even though the rest of the card may not be.

Secondly, while I believe I fully understand the retro throwback homage-paying theme to the set, the base design they came up with looks as if it were designed by an amateur custom card designer–one with very little practice. That may be a limitation of the look of that era, but it may also have to do with the planning and execution. Since this design isn’t being straight up copied a la Archives but rather drawn from Donruss’ look of the 80s, it has its own unique design layout that looks familiar a la Allen & Ginter’s. The difference between 2014 Donruss and recent releases of Allen & Ginter is that Topps has a nice design from which to draw inspiration whereas Panini does not. They instead have junk wax styles from some of the ugliest sets of that era. What I believe would have worked better would have been an updated, more modern version of the design they settled on–hell, they could even keep the retro logo (although scaled smaller). Pay homage by designing an 80s style card with 21st century sensibilities and call back to that era by throwing in some fun junk wax design short prints and inserts.

Thirdly, I am inclined to agree with some of my fellow bloggers that plain white blocks do not a good autograph area make… in most cases, that is. I don’t so much mind it on cards designed like the Strasburg “Donruss Signatures” card shown above but have a hard time stomaching that big bad glaring white block on the already ugly Mike Trout “Power Plus” card. The white block works on the Strasburg because it looks as if it belongs there. It ties in perfectly with the rest of the design. On the Trout card, it looks like an accident. Actually, that whole card just looks like one big mistake.

Additionally, the Diamond Kings insert set, based only on the Harper example, does not fit with the set they’re trying to present. When I think Diamond Kings, I think of portraits of players painted by sports artists. Harper’s photo looks slightly photoshopped to bring out some extra contrast. To me, that hardly looks like an oil-on-canvas painting. If you’re going to properly pay homage, do it right. Don’t cut corners. Don’t rush things. Trust me, a little detail like this could go a long way to help repopularize this product.

I am actually pretty excited to see how this set fares. My guess is that it will do fairly well this year, but, without vast improvements and an MLB license, sales of subsequent releases will diminish year after year. Retro themed sets aren’t always the easiest to design and sell. By the very nature of the hobby, if anyone wants old school and/or vintage style cards, they’ll just go out and get old school and/or vintage style cards–period. Products like Heritage and Archives work because they’re modern day copies of past styles. Trying to invent a retro style is hard to do, especially when that retro look you’re going for is inherently gross to the eyes. Without the benefit of an MLB license, it’s going to be hard for me and many other collectors to view this set as a serious option. Sure, it might be fun to bust open a packs or two, but I just don’t see the collectibility. A modern twist on the throwback style, more care and attention to the execution of beloved inserts, making the logo less of a focus on the design, fixing the white autograph box where one does not fit the design (a nice fade will do the trick) and using actual old school designs as short prints and inserts may just give this set a big boost if Panini decides to make another retro run with Donruss in 2015.

Agree? Disagree? I want to know! Tell me your thoughts on Donruss 2014. Share with me what you agree and disagree with. Heck, you can even literally tell me what’s in your guts. Seriously. I wanna know what you had for dinner!

The deadline to sign up for the 2nd Annual Crackin’ Wax trading card holiday gift exchange is this coming Saturday November 30th! Names will be drawn the following day. No spending minimum OR limit! There are already some big names involved–including Ultra-Pro. Go sign up now! Also, information for the 2014 Allen & Ginter’s charity case break has been updated. Spots are currently being filled for all listed case breaks. For more information and to secure your spots, please see the Crackin’ Wax Case Breaks page!