Panini has put these wood cards into several different products (mostly basketball) recently and I'm all for it. These cards have a great feel to them and are sure to be popular among collectors.
The Historic Tickets inserts add a fun new touch this year. They're a good example of the creative ideas Panini puts into Cooperstown to make you forget about the lack of an MLB license. Throughout this break I didn't think about the license once which is a testament to Panini.
Colgan's Chips are inserted one per pack and are just under 3 inches in diameter. The backs are identical for every chip, but there are well over 100 chips in the set. It's a nice idea, but I found them to be slightly boring. I'll hold onto a few for my oddball collection but the rest will end up in random trades.
The Induction inserts are pretty straight forward. A passage from the HOF member's induction speech is written on the back. More cliches than an evening with Jim Nantz.
The Emerald Cracked Ice parallels look really good in person. Whether you buy any of this product or not, I'd recommend acquiring one if you've got a PC player in the set. I was very happy to get a Walter Johnson to add to my PC! Take a look at the Johnny Bench photo. If there was ever a photo that didn't need an MLB logo, it's this one. I doubt they had to do any photoshopping to this shot in the first place.
If you're a paralleliac (parallel maniac, duh) you can try to complete the rainbow with the blue, red or yellow parallels. I'm sure these have fancy names like ruby or something, but I've never understood the need to compare baseball cards to precious gems. Are there many men out there who collect baseball cards and jewelry? If so, these cards are for you. DOUBLE STENGELS!
The card backs in 2013 Cooperstown are pretty awesome. There's a ton of info packed in each one including first and last game, HOF Class, a box score from a significant game they played in, and their complete career line. The cards don't feel busy, so it's a testament to the design team at Panini for pulling this off so well.
Ahhhhhh yeah! I've been pulling Panini redemption cards left and right, but I'll never complain about a Barry Larkin! Look it up sometime and you'll see how few certified card autos Larkin has out there, which surprises me for such a popular and young Hall of Famer. I guess he doesn't need the cash yet. According to the checklist these will be serial numbered to #190. Judging by sales of his other auto cards, I think this is a $40 card all day which would cover more than half of the box by itself. As you can see I'll be redeeming it. Once it comes in I'll admire it, then toss it on the Bay. I'm a terrible person like that.
Overall I give this product a solid thumbs up. One hobby box is more than enough and it really doesn't appeal much to the set builder in me. Nonetheless every card is interesting, it really does feel like a mini trip through Cooperstown with the information they pack in. The only real complaint I would have is that the historic stadium inserts didn't come back this year. Out of ten cards in the set last year, half were the Polo Grounds so I thought they'd have plenty of new opportunities.
Buy, Sell or Hold?
I'd hold off on making a hobby box purchase with 2013 Cooperstown. The 2012 boxes came down in price quite a bit after the release so I expect the sophomore release to do so even more. This could be a great buy around Christmas and is definitely worth $60 to $70!