Hobby Musings: Revisiting 2013 Panini Golden Age Baseball – While I was on the road the previous week, I decided to take advantage of a nearby shop’s sale of 2013 Panini Golden Age Baseball. This is a product that Panini hasn’t produced in a few years. Each box offers two hits among the 24 packs. While I haven’t been busting many boxes lately, the $30 price tag for a full hobby box was tough to resist.
Golden Age actually offers a fairly diverse checklist. Besides baseball greats like Jim Bottomley and Mel Ott, other sports starts like Dolphins HOF QB Bob Griese can also be found. If you like to branch out beyond sports, Golden Age has covered you there with well-known entertainers like Bob Denver and other famous figures like Abraham Lincoln. Heck, you can even come away with cards of Seattle Slew.
The horse racing game was on display right away as I pulled a Seabiscuit over-sized card in my box topper pack. All in all, my box provided pretty good collation as I came away with 102 of the 150 base cards and no duplicates. Among my regular-sized cards, I also pulled a white border parallel of former Mets great Ron Swoboda. Of particular amusement and interest to me were the two Three Stooges cards I pulled. One was a base card while the other was part of the insert set centered around the comedic trio. If this is a set you’d like to finish off, you will need multiple boxes as they seem to fall one per, with my other card (featuring Shemp Howard no less) being part of the base set.
While going through your base cards, be sure to keep a keen eye. Try and spot the various parallels and other variations. I actually missed the difference of the Swoboda at first and only caught it while ordering the cards. There are also short-print variations of some of the base cards that are worth keeping an eye on for their rarity.
Besides the regular base cards, each pack of Golden Age also included one mini card. Featuring the same picture and design as their base cards, the minis offer an extra set to chase within the product. That can be either be a happy or frustrating aspect of the box. I fall a little more into the latter as I usually end up wishing that my box had more base cards to finish the set. That being said, if you pull one of the rarer mini cards in the product, it can help add nice value to your break.
I did pull the advertised two hits per box. Some Panini products have over-delivered on the amount of hits, but Golden Age doesn’t seem to be one of them. I did pull one of the Bad News Bears autographs in the set. While it wasn’t Tatum O’Neal or Jackie Earle Haley, I received Erin Blunt, who portrayed Ahmad Abdul-Rahim in the film. A big plus of the product is the on-card autographs. Especially with the soft stock, I’m glad Panini didn’t use sticker autographs in the product, as they would have looked pretty rough.
All in all, Golden Age has a fairly impressive signature checklist. This is especially given its current low price point. Some of the other notable autographs include baseball legends like Carlton Fisk or pop culture notables like Stan Lee. There are even cut signatures to chase of subjects like Jimmy Stewart, albeit at very long odds.
Besides the autographs, each box offers one Museum Age Memorabilia card. My pull happened to be of actress Lana Turner. The card itself featured a one-color swatch of material. Unfortunately, the card itself, other than verifying the authenticity, doesn’t make any mention of its provenance. So it’s impossible to tell if this was an item used in an on-screen performance, or perhaps just something Miss Turner owned and wore in everyday life. While this may seem like a minor thing, it can change the intrigue, and sometimes value, of the memorabilia card.
Overall, Golden Age proved to be a fun look-back box break. For the price point, you can’t get much better, and the fun factor is pretty high. If you’re looking for a strict baseball product, you may want to avoid Golden Age as you receive cards from outside the sport. Prices for the product seem range anywhere from $35 to $45 online before shipping. If you’re having trouble finding boxes of the 2013 product, there are also releases from 2012 and 2014 that can be found as well.
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