COMMENTARY: Panini HRX video card redemptions command cash

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By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor | Commentary

Earlier this year, there was plenty of talk with the future of trading cards set to be coming from both Panini America and Upper Deck in the form of the video trading card.

Whether the camps will cop to it or not, there were plenty of jabs offered up at the competition. One fight was over “firsties” — who was first with the cards. For the record (as I reported before), Upper Deck was the first to tease that something was coming, but Panini stole its thunder days later when it was the first to publicly announce its intentions for a video card. Meanwhile, though, Upper Deck was the first to deliver the actual cards in boxes of 2011 Upper Deck Football as the boxes included Evolution.

The second fight was over the concept and the quality — a war of words that took place via the companies’ blogs as they jabbed over something that many collectors might not have been so gung-ho over — something that they just might not really care about — while trying to sell collectors on their cards and their inherent superiority. Again, the companies might dispute that approach now as merely salesmanship or educational efforts but what was said was said. (Hey, there were lots of shots — Upper Deck even took a shot at me for my reporting of what they said.)

However, it can’t be disputed.

And now, with the arrival of Panini HRX video cards, there’s no disputing which one has won thus far in the eyes of collectors — at least with those who have paid attention with their pocketbooks. And the irony? Panini’s cards have still yet to physically arrive out of packs of 2010-11 Totally Certified. All of the sales have been for redemption cards.

But, again, the collectors — you — have spoken with your pocketbooks.

Upper Deck’s Evolution cards were not numbered, falling approximately one per case, and featured a minute-long college highlight clip for one of four football players — Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Tony Romo and DeSean Jackson. The highest tracked price for an Evolution sale in the database is $153 — and only four other tracked sales topped the $100 mark (all were Petersons).  The lowest sale was a $10.50 for a Jackson back in mid-May. (Sixty other tracked sales all fall between the Jackson and Petersons.)

Perhaps it’s a sign of differences in the products, their price-points, their availability or their licensing … but the most recent completed sales of HRX redemptions this week show that collectors have, in part, determined a winner on their own without even seeing the cards in-person yet.

The cheapest completed eBay auction so far? A Blake Griffin (unsigned) for $366. Next-lowest? Griffin again at $400. Next? John Wall at $407.55. Kobe Bryant? $495 and $650.

Those are all sales for unsigned cards.

Completed auctions of the inked versions? Kevin Durant at $535. Griffin at $862.50. Kobe? A cool $1,000.

Yes, the Panini HRX cards are inherently rarer and come from a higher-priced product. Only 240 total cards exist with 51 cards per player (40 standard, 10 signed and one 14-karat gold autograph card). That should make them more valuable but there are no guarantees on the secondary market.

Oh, and the asking prices for some of the cards that have been found? Even crazier. The Kobe can be yours for a lil’ something.

Your reactions to the cards say a lot — plenty more than I could — but all of this comes without exactly knowing what will be found on the HRX cards. I’m not totally sold on whether the Panini cards are better — will have to wait and see in-person there — but it’s clear that some collectors are sold sight-unseen.

We’re betting you’ll have more to say about video cards soon — when we can show you just what you’ll be getting for your redemption cards as we’ll have a sample Panini HRX card in-hand to examine — and compare — for ourselves.

Until then …

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


  1. David Johnson
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    The price is all about the quantity (and scarcity of finding one from Panini) not the quality. its easy to find the cards in a box of UpperDeck compared to finding one in Panini. The Panini cards are inserted in packs randomly and as redemptions (which means pack searchers will have a harder time finding them) and they have a very limited production. The UpperDeck cards are inserted in a special bonus pack not normal packs. It’s easy to find which box in a case has the bonus pack, which means dealers or case breakers can find the single pack and sell it sealed or open it and sell it, and then resell the rest of the case. You won’t find a random pack in a box that just might have a video card in it from UpperDeck, however you have that chance when its a redemption card from Panini. This will just add to the scarcity of the Panini cards, as some of the redemptions won’t be found for a long time.

  2. Patrick McCollough
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I hink it has a lot to do with player selection. lake Grifin is on fire right now so if Uppe Deck were able to get a card of him or even Kobe then tey would also likely be very expensive.

  3. Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Upper Deck was first out, and Panini did an excellent job to make their first HRX Video Card effort a huge success. Although I am not very good at seeing into the future, I am not sure this is the future of trading cards. However, anything which generates interest and resulting in positive customer reation (I know the blogs are full of negative comments, mostly from people who will also state they don’t bust packs anymore.) is GOOD FOR THE HOBBY.

    The hobby was in need of something new, and Upper Deck & Panini came up with the video card. I like it, and so do my customers who DO bust open packs. However, too much of a good thing is bad. Back in 1998 Game Used Jersey cards sold on eBay for over $1000. The trick is making Video Cards rare enough to hold their value, yet make it within reach to encourage pack busters to give it a try. The Panini HRX, with its numbered three tier approach appears to have hit that right balance to make this first effort a huge success. Panini, keep up the good work.

    I still have people buying 2011 Upper Deck Football, and the video card is the main reason customers state they continue to give it a try. The value of an insert card is not the only measure of success. While in resent years, many products have gone down in price to the point that they sell for less than factory direct cost, 2011 Upper Deck Football selling prices have continued to give shop owners a reasonable profit. Upper Deck, keep up the good work.

    I am sure both companies will improve upon their video card products and distribute them to make it rare enough to hold their value while make it within reach to encourage collectors to give it a try.

  4. Caleb Douthitt
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    If Panini could just find the money they spend on R&D for these HRX and spend that money on actually getting the redemtions out to the customers, I bet no one would complain that the HRX cards don’t exist.

    Good luck on the redemptions that you might have bought, if these are the same wait time as the majority of their redemtions be very very patient.

  5. Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    David is right… UD has one per case.. Panini has only 200 out there. 50 of each guy, and only 10 of those 50 auto’d. Been better if they were in packs, instead of a redemption. Have to that cudos to UD for having them in boxes.
    I give Panini cudos for have auto’d versions.

    But again, UD is one per case, while Panini is 200 total in their product run..


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