At first glance, the Shohei Ohtani ‘Gallery of Stars’ inserts may be the contender for the best looking card of 2018. No offense to the official brand of baseball cards, Topps, but Panini America just swung for the fences and hit a bomb. Sure, Ohtani’s ’18 Heritage has been thecard of the year so far but as far as design, this “Donruss” card wins hands down. Unfortunately, Panini didn’t stop there and completely inundated collectors with nearly a dozen different Ohtani cards in their 2018 Diamond Kings release.
Sure, for collectors not lucky enough to pull Ohtani from Topps’ releases, this is a good sign as you may finally be able to afford a card of this year’s early MVP, Cy Young Award winner, Rookie of the Year, and second-coming of Babe Ruth. However, all it really does is cements Panini’s place as a second-rate baseball card manufacturer behind Topps, who is releasing Ohtani cards at a much slower rate. It should be no surprise why Topps’ Ohtani releases are outselling the competition.
No Ohtani autographs but geez, I racked up!! pic.twitter.com/jH6nTiywGi
— Dub Mentality (@DubMentality) April 20, 2018
Aside from the beautiful Ohtani insert, the rest of the cards are either bland, forgettable or simply fail to attract any attention. Panini America has somehow managed to make Ohtani cards “commons”. Look at how many have recently failed to sell on eBay for .99 cents. So, #ThankYouPanini for officially killing the Shohei Ohtani card market with just one release. Who knows what other brands they have locked and loaded and what type of damage they will do to sellers.
As far as floods are concerned, Panini America is nowhere near as bad as what Topps is doing with 2018 Bowman Baseball. This brand, which hit its stride in 1992 and has become a monster in the hobby, has completely gone off the tracks because the chrome inserts now have up to 17 different parallels. Those are numbers people use to complain about with Donruss in the early 2000s and what many blamed for them losing their license but with Topps, it seems people don’t care.
Do 17 parallels personally affect me? No, not at all. I’ve always loved Refractors but there will one day come a time when people realize how overproduced this stuff is. Just look at the comic book crash of the 90s when the industry became full of speculators and comic book companies began releasing nothing but foil and holographic covers. Take a look at how valuable those comics are today. Topps is flooding their own market and my guess is because they are extremely low on funds.
It’s 2018 and the bottom has fallen out of the certified autograph and game-used relic market (unless you pull a superstar) and now Topps is aiming to kill the most successful and in my opinion, most beautiful parallel, the Refractor. This month it’s 17, tomorrow it could be 25 and by 2019, we could be looking at 30-40 different parallels for each card produced. Of course, odds are many collectors will take a break before that much like so many did in the early to mid-90s.
I truly hope Upper Deck and Leaf Trading Cards get back in the game in 2020.