Panini’s first foray into the ultra high-end hockey department, 2010-11 Panini Dominion, was seen as a success by most. After a string of successful products with National Treasures, their high-end football and basketball brand, Panini’s next attempt came with their freshly acquired NHL license.
The hockey collecting community has long been in a passionate relationship with Upper Deck’s The Cup. Panini was the new kid in town, trying to prove themselves with Dominion. While the product was solid, collectors had a few issues after seeing box breaks or opening the product themselves.
The first was the rarity of the rookie patch autographs. 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup had them one per box. 2010-11 Panini Dominion did not have such guarantees. Rookie patch autographs are some of the most valuable cards in the high-end genre and without a guarantee of them in a box of Dominion, collectors weren’t very receptive. Second was the overuse of plain, single-swatch game-used jersey cards. A $400 product isn't the place for such cards.
Not only was Upper Deck providing the opportunity for higher end rookie cards, the results show that Upper Deck's formula works on the secondary market as well. For instance, a 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup Taylor Hall rookie patch autograph numbered to 99 is worth significantly more than a similarly numbered 2010-11 Panini Dominion rookie patch autograph. That may have more to do with brand loyalty, but it’s still worth noting, especially with Dominion having much larger memorabilia swatches.
This year, Panini has listened to collectors and made some positive changes to the product. First, 2011-12 Panini Dominion guarantees one rookie patch autograph per box. Preview photos give the impression there will be less single-color, single-swatch memorabilia cards as well. In their place are a large number of patches, laundry tags, shields, fight straps and other pieces that are more unique.
Panini has also kept a number of the fan favorites from last year as well. Tape to Tape makes a return with one of the most unique memorabilia cards in the hobby. The cards use game-used stick tape that is autographed by the player. Also returning are Engravatures, Peerless Patches, which have some of the biggest patches in the industry, Stickside Signatures and rare rookie booklet autographed patches.
Did Panini do enough this time to really give Upper Deck a run for its money? Listening to collectors is a good start, but we won’t know the final results until Dominion finally arrives. However, things look very promising.
Check out the 2011-12 Panini Dominion hockey product information page for more info.