Panini acknowledges additional Flawless mistakes

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Thirty-seven cards of five NFL players in 2014 Flawless have event-worn material mislabeled as game-used material on cards, according to Panini America.

The company announced the developments on Thursday as a result of its findings earlier this week that other cards in the product were mislabeled.

“This week’s experiences, while not ideal, have only strengthened our focus, our desire and our commitment to doing things the right way every time; mistakes happen, they’re part of any human process,” said a statement issued by the company. “We are truly sorry about these mistakes; but we are grateful that our collectors were able to shed the light on this issue to allow us to look deeper into what went wrong in the process. Our intent is always to get it right and properly identify whether a patch is event-worn or game-worn. We evaluated the ‘event-worn’ vs. ‘game-worn’ strategy on a number of occasions — and while this process is much more detailed — and have determined that this was a better scenario than just identifying every patch as ‘player-worn.’ As always, we are committed to making this right for consumers.”

According to the Panini announcement today, cards of Andrew Luck, Calvin Johnson Jr., Cam Newton, Joe Flacco and Ryan Tannehill were mislabeled in Flawless’ Patches insert. According to the company, they are:

— “Luck: Four total cards (three from the Patches Emerald parallel and one from the Patches Platinum parallel)”
— “Johnson: 14 total cards (13 from the base Patches insert and one from the Patches Platinum parallel)”
— “Newton: 17 total cards (two from the base Patches insert, five from the Patches Emerald parallel and 10 from the Patches Gold parallel)”
— “Flacco: One card from the Patches Platinum parallel”
— “Tannehill: One card from the Patches Gold parallel.”

The company said it is also looking into two other cards with mismatched swatches — three cards of Terrell Davis and Tajh Boyd. Any collectors owning these cards can email  Panini America Customer Service via email at hobby411@paniniamerica.net. The company is offering to either buy back the cards, replace them with others of equal value or replace swatches with game-used material.

The remainder of the company’s statement is as follows:

“We’ve spent most of this week thoroughly exploring and reassessing our processes and procedures, not just to identify what happened with this particular product, but also to strengthen every step in the product-development process to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again. As part of that process, we uncovered additional cards that we’re impacted and we wanted to be proactive in bringing them to the attention of collectors.”

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisolds2009.

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24 comments

  1. Charlie DiPietro 20 November, 2014 at 20:23

    Panini’s honesty and detailed research into this matter is commendable. I respect and trust those who tell me they made a mistake and will make sure it does not happen again. While this mistake will result in a lot of negative talk from a vocal few, there is much good that will result in the future. Having truly “Game Used” material cards is far better than just labeling everything as “Player Worn.” And, having a process which guarantees the Jersey Cards are accurately identified is important to the hobby.

    I am sure that Panini has/can fix them problem. However, even before this situation, there has been a significant number of skeptics with regards to the authenticity of “Game Used” memorabilia throughout the hobby. A tab on the Panini website with a video of the entire improved process would help to convince the most skeptics that they get the real thing when they buy Panini.

    While this situation may be embarrassing, my trust and respect for Panini America has grown. I look forward to doing business with Panini America for a long time.

    Charlie DiPietro, Owner
    Sports Cards Plus of San Antonio

  2. Dave 21 November, 2014 at 03:00

    If you really think about it Panini has pretty much told us that they put out a product “2014 Totally Flawed Football” that has a price tag of over $1200 a box for 10 cards and they used “Event” worn patches in the product. Why did they ever think of using “Event” worn patches in this product to begin with? We get those in lower end products that cost less than $1200 for a 12 box case.

    The following are things Panini really needs to work on:
    1. On-card autos. It seems like 90% (probably more) of every Panini auto I’ve seen from the last couple years of products have been stickers. Even National Treasures has sticker autos and has $500/box price tag come on if you cannot get a player to sign on card with a product this costly just take him out of it completely. The only exception would be if it is of a deceased player where you have left over stickers.

    Topps is the opposite were mainly all their autos are on card unless it is a MEM auto or from Supreme which it seems they release just so they can rid themselves of their sticker overstock.

    2. Redemptions. Yes I know Panini is no longer going to have them in new products as they have changed over to a reward program but some of us have outstanding redemptions and would like to transfer those into reward points which you don’t offer at this time. I think all of us would rather have points instead of having you chose the replacements for us.

    To my surprise Topps has been doing a real good job lately with redemptions since they brought the process in house. It seems like they are working harder on actually following through with them. I can’t say the same for Panini. It almost seems like I haven’t received a single redemption from Panini since they started the reward program.

    Finally. The reason why I hate sticker autos so much is because of the following:

    Let’s say you are a super collector for Player A. Player A is a redemption in every single product made. You buy a redemption of every parallel from every set Player A has off EBay. (Elite, NT, Certified, etc…). One day you get a big package delivered from Panini and you open it and it’s all of your redemptions of Player A. You’re happy as can be. But a minute after you look at them all you realize that every single AUTO is on a sticker. So what does this tell you? It tells you that Panini has a player sign thousands of stickers in a single session so that they can release a hundreds of different sets (Low end to High end) and not have to worry about having to get that player to sign anything after each product is printed. Those stickers you see in NT are from the same batch that was put in Prizm. Panini has now way of proving otherwise. This is why sticker autos are bad.

  3. George 21 November, 2014 at 03:15

    Panini didn’t “catch” the mistake. The collectors on Blowout did. The company only answered when wary collectors saw the problem. Sure, it’s nice for Panini to make a statement but let’s not act like it is being selfless here. And, Charlie, maybe your trust had grown but I doubt I’m the only collector whose trust has dwindled in this company. Good grief, and they have an exclusive football license coming next year. This pretty much ends my hobby.

  4. Charlie DiPietro 21 November, 2014 at 08:12

    Jordan,
    As you have stated, the misidentified cards were first reported on several blogs/forums. The “DETAIL RESEARCH” I am referring to is the examination of the current process for acquiring “Game Used” Jerseys, storing them, taking them out for use, storing them again, ……..etc., that is, the entire process of making a “Game Used” Jersey Card.

    Authentic Game Used Jerseys are important to this hobby. My thanks to all the bloggers who identified the problem. When a manufacturer has a mixture of many thousands of “Game Used” and “Player Worn” Jerseys, and at the same time, has a tight deadline for producing products, I can see how this mistake could happen.

    Panini, through their “detailed research” has identified the “Game Used” Jersey process problems and has developed a new process. My thanks to Panini for fixing the process and thanks to the bloggers for identifying the problem.

  5. David Johnson 21 November, 2014 at 09:33

    Easiest way to fix this problem…STOP using player worn jerseys and just use game used ones. Sure that means there will be less jersey cards, but that is definitely a good thing.

  6. chrisolds 21 November, 2014 at 10:41

    David: Do that and you’d be looking at a 75 to 90 percent drop in mem card volume (my estimate) simply because the Rookie Premiere Materials cards would vanish.

  7. Chris 21 November, 2014 at 11:43

    Chris Olds……I’d be ok with a significant reduction in RPM cards. The flooding of the market makes them all but worthless unless they are players like Andrew Luck…even then it’s often the auto that drives the price not the RPN swatch.

  8. Steve 21 November, 2014 at 12:10

    Charlie, if Panini had done “detail research” from the beginning we wouldn’t have this problem.

    The process for creating game-used (sorry, event-worn) jersey cards involves more than “storing” and more “storing” It also involves purchasing and labeling. And cutting. And placement.

    What’s to say that other mislabeled memorabilia items haven’t been seeping into the hobby for years, mislabeled items that Panini isn’t aware of anymore because they’ve exhausted the supply of said items? Keep in mind, Terrell Davis last played in 2001.

    If the company can’t uphold a baseline standard of authenticity — authenticity that it promises — amid a “tight deadline,” maybe it shouldn’t have an exclusive football license.

  9. Robert 21 November, 2014 at 12:29

    At least you can actually start calling it a memorabilia card if they just use game used and get rid of the event worn. It’s just a shirt off the rack unless its worn in a game. These players are just throwing it on for a few minutes to call it player worn. It means nothing. While they are at it, get rid of the sticker autographs. You wouldn’t want someone to slap a sticker on a basketball and call it autographed. So how in the world did this become acceptable in the card industry? If they cut back on the number of products they would have the time to obtain the on card autographs.

  10. mike b. 21 November, 2014 at 12:43

    But, Chris, wouldn’t that overall be better for the industry as a whole? “Event-Used” jerseys are nothing more than the player touched the jersey, no historical signifigance.

    I would not mind seeing a reduction in the number of memorabilia cards if it meant the overall QUALITY of the release would increase.

    Did ya see how many jersey/memorabilia cards were on the floor of the National at $2 or less? Junk.

    The fad is quickly coming to an end, in my opinion.

  11. J.R. 21 November, 2014 at 12:53

    Chris, in your response to David…

    I am good with that! If it means 75-90% less memorabilia cards, that would, in turn, mean we may have memorabilia cards that are actually worth money, a system of actually tracking which jerseys from which games go into the now-much-more-limited memorabilia cards we ARE getting, and a further incentive from the manufacturers to now supply us with well designed, well thought out, low numbered cards that will be not only pleasing to our eyes, but to the secondary market.

  12. Stan 21 November, 2014 at 13:01

    Charlie, who are these “vocal few” you speak of, collectors? Seems like you’re the most vocal person on this website.

    I think the “vocal few” are simply expressing concerns in the means of production and distribution model.

    Is this a concern for basketball and baseball, too?

  13. Jonathan W. Iwanski 21 November, 2014 at 13:42

    Chris, are you saying that Rookie Premier Materials cards make up 75-90% of the memorabilia cards out there? If that’s the case, I’m with David. Having one small idea rule that large a section of the hobby is not good for anyone but the people selling us cards.

  14. Tom 21 November, 2014 at 14:17

    The manufacturers can fix this with accurate documentation and photographic evidence and precise language. Accurate documentation involves inventorying everything correctly. Photographic evidence has been done before (I have a Donruss card from a decade ago that has a swatch and a photo on the back of the jersey from which it was cut). Precise language is as follows: “Panini certifies that Jim Thome wore this home jersey during batting practice at the All-Star Game in Chicago on July 7, 2002.” The only variables to insert are name, type of relic, type of event, location and date. The language part is simple if you have a precise inventory accounting method not a closet full of Phillies jerseys on stock with paper tags.

  15. Bill 21 November, 2014 at 14:38

    Good point about the patch database J.R., Leaf has done that, and all the other companies should follow suit. It would allow for more openness, and create another level of authentication so issues of this nature can be avoided as much as possible.

    I like the discussion about event-worn versus game-worn, too. It’s obvious that the companies are stockpiling event-worn items (from rookie premiere-type events) and stickers, making the players sign sheet after sheet when they’re rookies (and thus more affordable), then holding onto the stuff for when the players become more collectible. A company can pay a guy $6 for each autograph now, and have them sign a bunch of stuff, or wait until they’re a superstar and pay ten times that.

    I wish the event-worn items weren’t considered “hits” the way they are, but simply appeared from time to time. I would rather pull one guaranteed game-worn patch card with event-worn cards randomly inserted, instead of three cards featuring event-worn materials.

  16. Chris H 21 November, 2014 at 14:51

    I like Panini products but I kinda hope this leads to loss of exclusive! Not license loss, though, as I believe they will learn from this. More competition is always good.

    Crack down and tighten ship in terms of mem and who’s handling them in the manufacturing process.

  17. D.J. 21 November, 2014 at 15:01

    Calvin Johnson debuted in the NFL in 2007 and Flacco in 2008.. There’s no reason why their event-worn items should still be floating around on new cards, mistake or not.

  18. Caleb 22 November, 2014 at 10:43

    The whole Q/C Panini team should be fired. What else in their other products have they missed? What else in Flawless is not true? Just like a stock, the price of Flawless should fall based on uncertainty of the product but it has not.

    Panini is only taking these corrective measures because they got caught by some very knowledgable collectors. If not, they would not have stepped up at all. So please, do not give them that much credit. As the old saying goes, if you get caught just deny any knowledge of what transpired just exactly what they are doing which I presumed was advised by their legal team.

    I just read the sell sheet for Flawless FB and I just laughed at the hype.

  19. Mike Pereira 23 November, 2014 at 06:50

    Simply all reading from all post on this subject I get collectors want

    1) No more “event worn” patch and a database or something saying were the patch came from
    2) Less parallels and product offerings
    3) Less sticker autos and better signed autos no more chicken scratch or lazy initials

  20. Tom 24 November, 2014 at 13:31

    I have a new product idea. Build a 2015 product with 100 base card players. Take one of each of their jerseys, cut it up and dump it into the product but as a loose swatch. Run an online contest with photos of the players wearing the jerseys. If you can enter your serial code and guess the player associated with your loose jersey swatch, you are entered into a contest for a trip to one of the next photo shoots. If not, at least you have a small colorful dust rag for the house.

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