You can count on one hand the number of sports card products that are instantly recognizable from five feet away with just a glimpse of the base card. The rather regal Crown Royale is one of those products — and Panini America is giving the elaborate testament to mid-’90s technological decadence a full-blown football set for the first time since 2002.
Due out in late October, 2010 Crown Royale Football looks to be a true-to-its-roots updating of the trailblazing original, the creative, die-cut brainchild of former Pacific Trading Cards owner Michael Cramer. Panini has tinkered with the Crown Royale concept sporadically since acquiring the rights to it and other Pacific names and brands in 2004.
Until earlier this summer, that tinkering was confined to the occasional insert or promotional card. But in July the company released 2009-10 Crown Royale Basketball, setting the stage for its more deeply rooted football counterpart later this fall.
It’s a high-end product ($25 per five-card pack with an autograph or memorabilia card perk) with a familiarly non-traditional design sure to send longtime collectors immediately back in time to 1995, when the first Crown Royale arrived.
There’s something distinctly, refreshingly Chaucerian about the insert designs that makes me want to set out on a pilgrimage to the hobby shop. In a category often criticized for the perceived sameness from product to product and season to season, Crown Royale definitively bucks that trend despite being a 15-year-old idea.
Of the product’s two autographs per box, one will come from either the RPS Crown Rookie Signatures (#’d to 499 or less) or RPS Rookie Royalty Signatures (#’d to 100 or less) roster while the other will hail from a group that includes the RPS Rookie Die-Cut Signature Materials (#’d to 50), Majestic Signatures (#’d to 50 or less), Kings of the NFL Signature Materials (#’d to 25 or less) as well as three other insert sets.
The average Crown Royale box will yield two autograph cards, two memorabilia cards, eight Crown commons, four Crown Rookies (#’d to 499), one Crown parallel (Blue, Gold or Green) numbered to 100 or less and seven additional inserts.
Stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional information on this product.
Tracy Hackler is the editorial director for Beckett Media. Have a comment or question? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.