Saturday, October 23, 2010

REVIEW: 2010/11 Panini Certified

As promised, I'm taking a closer look at Panini's first ever product release in the hockey card world.

A highly anticipated product both for it's potential and the curiosity hobbyists have for something new.

This isn't technically a 'box break' as I gained most of my cards in a round of Pack Wars at the local card store's 'Trader's Night' this past week. I also purchased 5 packs of the product after the fact (probably shouldn't have done that).

note: this could be a long post. I won't feel the least bit slighted if you just want to scroll through and look at the pictures. :)

2010/11 Panini Certified

Packs were $9.99 each with 5 cards per pack. Boxes were $100 with 10 packs per box. FYI.

Quick note....if you are under the age of 9, I'm sorry, you can't participate in this product. Sorry. Those are the rules. The pack says so. No, no, I don't care if you say you can handle it. Panini knows best. You're too young to handle what is about to come. Turn your heads away or just move on to another webpage on the internet. I'm sure there are much safer things there.

Sheesh. NINE? C'mon. What's Panini afraid of? Kids getting papercuts? The funniest part of the ridiculousness was when we were looking through the packs at the store, one person pointed out on the UFC trading card pack - 'Ages 5 and up'. Nice.

This is a 150 card base set.....with a bazillion inserts, parallels and serial numbers bits of goodness. And I'm not kidding. You've been warned! The biggest beef so far is the fact people can't figure out what all is available from the product. As a player collector, that's no good.

The player selection is pretty solid for the base cards. A nice mix of stars, young up-and-comers and impact-type players.

Here's a look at the simple base cards. Not numbered to anything. Just base. Not too bad of a design. But one thing really bothers me. The lack of quality photos. There is a lot of blandness when it comes to the pictures. With all the shiny card background going on, the player photo should pop right out and kick you in the face. Instead, it just makes me do a raspberry face.

Here's a perfect example. The whiteness of the jersey and the pale color complexion just does nothing for me. A real miss in my opinion.

The back of the card is ok. A little 'McDonald's-ish' in its look. It gets the info across though and the design is consistent with the front of the card. The texture of the card back is interesting as well. It's got a 'lustre photo paper' feel. Unique for sure.

Prepare to have your mind blown.

No.....really. I still can't figure it all out. The parallels in this product are out of control.

They should have called it Panini Certified Parallels.

These are the Platinum parallels. They have a texture and look on the front of the card similar to the old Pinnacle Rink collection cards of the mid-90's. They don't scan well, but they look pretty cool.

The Platinum Red's are numbered out of 999.

These are the Platinum Blues. They are numbered out of 250. There are also Emerald parallels and Gold. Sick already?

A side note, this is the card that won me my round of pack wars. 'The player with the jersey number closest to 22'. Thank you Drayson Bowman..... whoever you are.

Also, the round I won was a 'hot box' round. Apparently, there are some boxes that are just loaded with these parallels. Normally slated 1 every couple packs, the hot box packs have multiple parallel cards in each pack. Cool.

Time for the Mirror parallels. Another round of the Reds (/250), Blues (/100), Emerald and Gold.

Player collectors....are you paying attention? I'm lost too.

Apparently, there are also auto versions of the cards which really throw a wrench into the......pile of wrenches.

Oh yeah, jersey cards too. And I'm sure there are parallels of the jerseys of the base. Mirrors and Platinums? I don't know. I don't care.

My beef with these jersey cards is that the jersey seems like an after thought. I didn't realize I even had a jersey card initially. The swatches just get lost in the blackness of the photo. Terrible display and layout.

My Mirror Red jersey of Goligoski is numbered out of 150....just in case you cared.

The Immortals insert set is what had my mouth watering for this product. Trevor Linden in the house.

This is one of a bazillion insert sets /subsets included in this release. It is a 20 card subset (151-170) and includes names from some of the greats of the game. The 'base' version of the card is numbered out of 500 and there are a multitude of parallels (although not to the extent of the regular base cards....thank goodness).

Names in the product include Neely, Yzerman, Giacomin, Beliveau, Lemieux, Roy, Mikita, Esposito (both of 'em), Lafleur and Linden.

One of these things is not like the of these things just doesn't belong.

I'm a big fan of Trevor Linden. Huge fan! But even I can't figure out why he's in with this group of guys. Other than the fact that there are a few crazed Trevor Linden collectors out there who will travel to the ends of the Earth in search of new cards to collect.

I'm not complaining, I just find it odd.

The design is identical to that of the base card, except for the words 'Immortals' down each side. Keep it simple.

The photo selection is again ho-hum. I got a nice Mirror Blue McDonald (/100) for those keeping score.

Hey, these cards look different. Yup, here the onslaught begins.

The Certified Champions insert set (25 cards, /500) is one that I like. Players at that moment they reach the top of the mountain. And a pretty neat mixture of players.

I really like the Robitaille Red Wings card.


The Masked Marvels set is one that at first glance looks really cool.

A second look says - no.

Basically, it's a goalie mask insert set. One problem can barely make out the masks. The photos are way too small.

Terrible card design. Can you make out any of the details in the two goalies I've scanned? Neither can I. What a waste of space.

Swing and a miss.

Autograph time. I'm tired. I'm losing steam. And this card does not help one bit.

Sure, a nice auto card. But again with the crappy photo selection. Black on black is horrible. Why even have a photo? Really. Brutal selection.

This card is numbered out of 799. I don't know why.

And yes.......parallels.

The Freshman Signature cards are much nicer to look at. A hard signed auto. Nice and easy to read. A bit of a change to the design. Nice. What's odd is these cards are numbered to 1299 copies. Seems like a lot.

Now if we can just get these guys to not scribble all over them.

If you have time, go search for Nazem Kadri's auto. As my niece would say...


I did get a redemption for a Freshman Signature card in my pack war victory. Some of the players just were not able to sign for one reason or another.

My guy.....P.K. Subban.

Can't wait for his scribble to arrive.

More jersey cards. The Certified Potential cards are the new crop of players. Kadri, Subban, Tavares, Myers and Rask to name a few in this 18 card insert set.


Mine is a Mirror Red (I think) and is numbered to 99 copies.

Dual jersey cards. These are a nice switch from what I've seen so far.

The Shirt Off My Back Combo insert set (15 cards) has some great pairings.

In addition to the Iggy/Crosby that I landed, there are Lemieux/Roy, Crosby/Stamkos, Ovechkin/Backstrom combos.

Decent cards numbered to 250.


The final card in my show and tell (doesn't it seem like we've been in an extremely long car ride or something? I need to stretch my feet).

This is the big hit in my pack wars win. A great looking patch card of one of the league's best. And a low print run (numbered to just 25)!

A totally different looking card than anything else in the product.

I really like the layout of the card. The jersey mesh, skate leathery, sewing bits and stuff look is one that I'm a sucker for.

The one beef though I have with it is the die-cutting on some of the other cards. They have the jersey or patch in behind words like 'Flames' or 'NHL' and the font style used for the die-cutting is a little weak. I think they could have created better windows to show off the memorabilia pieces.

In addition to the cards I've shown you, there are other insert sets that I never got any hits from.

Big Men On Campus, Junior Legacy Combos, Certified Top Choice, Collision Course, Throwback Threads (which looks really cool) and Certified Legends to name a few.


Overall, a decent attempt of a debut product. I hope they learn their lesson about not confusing the buyer with a bazillion types of cards (told you so).

In addition to the craziness of the checklist, the lack of a user-friendly Panini website to check out your favorite player's card lists is severely evident. A terrible workflow and structure to the checklists online make it not even worth checking out.

Is it worth buying a pack or a box? It won't be the worst purchase you've ever made, but it's a real hit or miss.

Now that I think of it....'Age 9+' does seem a little more appropriate.



  1. you know my obsession with Subban.... if you wanna swap, lmk

  2. Longest. Post. Ever. :-)

    As a father of a 7 year old, the only thing I would say about the 9+ thing, is that it gives me an out not to buy him $10 packs of cards! "Sorry, Max. The pack says 9 and up. You can get one of these 99 cent packs, though."

  3. That's true. It makes it easy.

    I'm still scratching my head as to why the age limit? Is it because they are $10 a pack?


  4. i think the base cards look 'ok'... but i didn't get much value from the box i bought. also, those jersey windows are very small - especially the ones for the base cards. they are like little slivers. i thought this was mid-high product. oh yes, and i totally agree with you about the parallel cards. WAAAAAY too much - but that's what panini does: parallels. they could change their company name to that.