2012 Panini Prizm Baseball
2012 Panini Prizm Baseball Review – by Ryan Bandy
In the early 1990’s, baseball cards hit an all-time high in popularity despite being relatively basic in design compared to today’s releases. The reason for this success was simple, perceived scarcity. Even though most cards were being mass produced, the manufacturers had a brilliant idea to include rare inserts and serially numbered cards for collectors to chase. Since this was before the days of eBay and online trading, even cards numbered to 10,000 were difficult to locate and were sold for top dollar at shows and card shops.
Fast forward 20 years and Panini reinvented that same effective formula. As seen with their previously released basketball and football versions of Prizm, collectors and prospectors will rip through cases to pan for that rare gold featuring their favorite prospect or veteran player. Gold Prizm cards are the new cards to chase, serially numbered to 10 and falling approximately 2-4 per case. In the modern days of eBay and mass breaking, these rare nuggets are selling for top dollar, despite not being autographed or including pieces of memorabilia. This is a true statement to how well these look in person. Gold Prizms in the basketball release have sold for over $1k when featuring top players or rookies. Although 2012 Panini Prizm Baseball has only been out for a short time, many Gold Prizm cards are showing similar popularity. Unlike many modern releases, this is one where pulling some big name veterans will give you significant return for your investment. Even the 4th outfielders or late inning pinch hitters see prices over $20-30. If you want to go for the home-run, keep an eye out for Finite Black parallels /1.
Even if you do not hit a Gold Prizm, there is still plenty to be excited about in a box or case break. Each box of 2012 Panini Prizm Baseball delivers at least two autographs with some including a third autograph from an extension of Panini’s earlier success, Elite Extra Edition. The Elite cards include base inserts (only one per box) with the Prizm technology, autographs numbered /200 and prizm autographs /20. These cards are limited to 10 top prospects such as Carlos Correa (HOU), Byron Buxton (MIN) and Jesse Winker (CIN). Look for autographed versions from Lucas Giolito (WAS), Joey Gallo (TEX), Mike Zunino (SEA) and David Dahl (COL). Also making a Panini debut are USA Baseball inserts with some star alumni (8 players in total) such as Mike Trout, Buster Posey and Stephen Strasburg providing signed versions (/25) of these cards.
These hits alone would make a rip enticing, but with two autographs guaranteed in each box and a very deep checklist filled with veterans and rookies makes for some unexpected pulls. Of course all products will have their share of young guys such as Alex Rios (CWS) or Miguel Montero (ARI) but this release is loaded with veteran names like Cal Ripken, George Brett, Bo Jackson (redemption), Ken Griffey Jr and Don Mattingly putting their ink on cards as well. And unlike many established releases it does not appear the retired players are extremely short printed and tend to fall a couple per case. Also, as opposed to recycling bench squatting rookies seen in many other products, 2012 Panini Prizm Baseball adds some big names to the Rookie Card autograph lineup with the addition of the Mets pitching prospect Matt Harvey and the A’s Cuban phenom Yoenis “La Potencia” Cespedes.
One drawback of 2012 Panini Prizm Baseball is the lack of licensing from MLB which prevents team logos from being displayed. That being said, Panini really made these cards look nice using a thicker stock and Prizm technology that really causes these cards to pop without drawing attention to the lack of logos. Don’t overlook the base rookie cards either as all the big names making their debut in 2012 are present (Darvish, Harper, Cespedes, Middlebrooks, Harvey) as well as some lesser known players with high ceilings. The Prizm parallels of these players should hold value, as well as selling lots of any of the top rookies. If rainbows are your forte in player collecting, check out Target and Wal-Mart for Red and Blue prizm parallels respectively. All retail outlets will also include green prizms previously found in the basketball and football releases. Remember why Bowman Chrome originally became popular? Big name prospects on shiny, nicely produced cards, with a few low numbered variations to chase. It appears Panini was able to re-create that magic and add a few surprises of their own.