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Panini’s America’s Pastime baseball offers high-end gratification

Posted Oct 29, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Oct 29, 2013 at 01:11 PM

Panini America is venturing back into high-end cards, and its 2013 America’s Pastime baseball set appears to have the kinds of cards, autographs and memorabilia that will appeal to collectors who love the past and the present.

And if you’re not shy about opening your wallet, then you might find America’s Pastime intriguing.

America’s Pastime has a late December 2013 release date. There will be one pack to a box, and 10 cards to a pack. Each pack will deliver one booklet card, three autographs, two memorabilia cards and at least two other cards numbered to 125 or less.

Rookies like the Rays’ Wil Myers, Baltimore’s Manny Machado and Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig also will play prominent roles in the set. The card companies sure can’t get enough of the Los Angeles rookie. Talk about Puig-ing out on one player. …

Anyway, America’s Pastime also will include Rookie booklets numbered to 99 or less. These booklets will contain an autograph and three pieces of memorabilia. The booklets also will have parallels in red (numbered to 49), gold (numbered to 25), green (numbered to 5) and a 1/1 black version.

Panini is promising that in every 12-box case of America’s Pastime, there will be at least one autograph, vintage memorabilia card or prime memorabilia from one of these players: Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, Chance,“Wahoo” Sam Crawford, Pete Rose, Derek Jeter , Ken Griffey Jr., Bryce Harper, Warren Spahn, Mike Trout, Rickey Henderson, Roger Clemens, Johnny Bench, Nolan Ryan, Mike Piazza, Yogi Berra,Mariano Rivera, Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson and Ernie Banks.

I like the idea of the Past, Present and Future insert, which combines an all-time great with a current star and a rising player. The example Panini uses is first base, with uniform swatches for Lou Gehrig, Albert Pujols and Chris Davis.

Between the Seams looks like another attractive insert, as the player’s signature is written between material that looks like the cover of a baseball, penned between the seams. This has been done before, but to get a Mariano Rivera card in this format would be very exciting.

Pastime Cuts will feature cut signatures of deceased players like Warren Spahn. The example Panini gives is a canceled check with Spahn’s signature on it. Because banking is now done electronically, very few (if any) institutions send back the canceled checks to the owners in their reconciliation statements. But that was the norm in the 1940s, right down to the early 1990s, so getting hold of a copy is much easier in the case of older players. I worked in the proof department of a bank during the mid-1970s and saw many canceled checks; nobody famous, unless you counted the Boynton Beach chief of police.

Documented Lumber comes in a booklet with a player like Cobb, along with an authentic piece of the Georgia Peach’s bat.

High-end can be high risk, but oh, if you hit a nice pack, it could be a nice reward. That’s what Panini is hoping collectors will think when America’s Pastime is released.

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