The Immaculate Redemption

“Redemption” is a dirty word in the card collecting world.  No one really likes them, not even the companies.  Now, we could get into all kinds of reasons as to why they exist and offer alternate solutions.  Maybe I’ll get into some of that another day (I am waiting on a Kris Bryant auto redemption to be filled). Right now, I’m not in the right mindset to dive into all of that.  Feel free to comment below to get that conversation started as you see fit and perhaps we can revisit it all later and do some backseat card production.

Anyway, today’s story starts a few years ago.  As some may know or remember or will learn today, I have been attempting to collect a master set of the 2011-12 Panini Past & Present Basketball set.  If you want to help, check out my needs near the bottom of my want list page, and I have a lot to trade if anyone is also collecting any portion (including autos).

The reason I have so many autos to trade is that each hobby box came with 3 autographs and 1 relic card, and I’ve purchased more than a case worth of the stuff.

Now, nearly all the autos are live, but the big thing is that there is a redemption in each box for the rookie class.  Some redemptions were for autographs and some were for inserts.  The reason that happened was due to some weird issue with the draft class and some NBA rules or something.  I actually don’t remember. What I do remember is that the redemptions didn’t have names, but instead random codes that would apply to a dual draft class and then they did some randomization (or a fake randomization) after the fact that told you which player went with which code.

Okay, so long story short, I had a bunch of redemptions from my boxes, and I entered all the codes (the best one was a Klay Thompson auto, which I sold when the Warriors reached the finals for the first time), and waited for them to get filled.  Most did, but a few of the scrubs never came in.

It was also around this time when my work got so incredibly busy that card collecting was on my mind, but not anything I could actively work on at all (See: the missing months in the post archive over there on the left).  So, a couple years passed and I remembered I had them.  One of the redemptions was replaced with another guy, which was fine, but I think I had two or three still completely unfilled.  Again, nobody I knew or really cared about – late 2nd round picks that likely didn’t play much.

Still, I figured I would try to get a replacement for them, so I reached out to the Panini Customer Service twitter account, gave them my info, said I’d be interested in something Cubs (1st choice) or Bulls (2nd choice), and then…nothing.

A few months passed, because I got too busy with work again and kind of forgot, but then I realized that while the CS rep said they would see what they could do, nothing came of it.  So, I reached out again, explained it was a couple months ago but I’ve been busy and anything they can throw my way would be good.

This time, I did get a card in the mail.

Different Past & Present set

This was a huge surprise!  A great, on-card Immaculate Collection auto of Jake Arrieta!  I certainly didn’t expect to see an auto from one of the Cubs’ top of the rotation guys come back in exchange for 2 or 3 2nd round draft pick autos.  And then to add to it, the fact that Arrieta really doesn’t sign very much.  Plus, I certainly wouldn’t have expected anything numbered so low.

I know there was a little bit of a delay, but in my opinion, the Panini Customer Service team really went above and beyond with what they sent back.  I wish you could see how vibrant the red foil is on this thing.  It’s a beautiful card (yes, even without logos), and one that I’m very happy to add to my collection.

5 comments to The Immaculate Redemption

  • Brett Alan


    You have to give Panini credit for being willing to ignore expiration dates and honor redemptions from past years.

  • sanjosefuji

    Congratulations! It’s nice to hear a positive redemption card story. I have a Michael Conforto autograph redemption that I’ve been waiting on for a few years. Maybe I should ask for a replacement.

  • That’s great. Don’t you love when people follow up on the little post-it notes they stick on their computer? Because that’s my theory on redemption departments at card companies: there is 1 person employed to handle everything redemption, and that’s it.

  • Jafronius

    Congrats on the great pickup! I’ve read several positive stories about Panini CS…seems to give Topps a run for their money.

  • Jon

    Thanks for all the responses!

    Brett – In this case, they were redeemed on time, I just waited like 2 years to even ask. Although I have dealt with them on expired stuff and they’ve been good on that front, too.

    Fuji – It may not hurt to give it a shot. If you’re not sold on getting Conforto, I bet they could get you something closer to your team interests.

    N.O. – I’ve done that in my line of work…tough to keep track of 2000+ different medical practices with 100% accuracy. It’s probably more than one guy, but I can’t imagine how many orders each person is responsible for. Would love to peel back the curtain on it.

    Jafronius – Thank you! I have too, and I agree that their rep seems better than Topps. I’m about to deal with Topps on a non-redemption issue, so time will tell!

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