What’s In 2021 Illusions Football?

Panini Illusions launched in 2017 and has been a staple NFL release ever since. With it’s low run parallels and guaranteed autos and memorabilia cards in the hobby box, Illusions is a fun purchase at a reasonable price.

Over the years, Illusions has stayed relatively consistent. They’ve been known for their clear acetate inserts and dual image base cards, and have once again stuck to their guns in 2021. That said, this year’s set does feature a few new inserts that have so far been well received.

As a subsidiary of Panini, Illusions are, of course, the real deal. All cards are fully licensed, feature rookies in their NFL jerseys, and should hold a fairly strong value in the singles and wax in the coming years.

Check out 2021 Panini Illusions Football hobby boxes on eBay

What we like about 2021 Illusions Football

Illusions might be one of the most fun products on the market to rip.

Sure there are higher-end options out there. But for an original price of $425 for a hobby box, Illusions is right in the sweet spot between value and price. Each box comes with 50 cards and contains:

  • 3 autographs cards
  • 2 memorabilia cards
  • 10 acetate inserts
  • 5 parallels

That’s 20 hits. Compare it to a release like Spectra, which offers only 16 cards for $1,000, and you’re getting more hits with Illusions than you are total cards with Spectra. And while you don’t have the thrill of hitting on one of Spectra’s top-end cards, you still get 20 shots at something exciting.

2021 nfl illusions base design
2021 Illusions Base Design

We also love the design of the base cards and parallels themselves. The base features the classic Illusions look, with bright colors and a dual image design. This year, the cards feature a centered action shot in full focus, complimented by a faded “helmet-off” headshot off to the right.

The parallels, however, are what truly sets Illusions apart. The acetate inserts are the ever-popular trademark of the release. These cards are see-through, contain 2-3 player images, and have a look that isn’t really replicated in other releases. This year they are:

  • Clear Shot
  • Shining Stars
  • King of Cards
  • Mystique
  • Illusionists
  • Holo Heroes

Our favorite acetate insert in the 2021 release is the “King of Cards,” which features a colored tint and painted white borders.

Another popular parallel that is new to 2021 and getting a lot of attention is the “Holo heroes” insert. It’s an extremely low print run and was only released for 7 players. It’s an unusual card shape, with jagged, zig-zagging edges, and uses what Panini refers to as a “new hologram technology.”

2021 illusions nfl holo heros

What we don’t like about 2021 NFL Illusions

Overall the 2021 NFl Illusions release is very solid, so the issues we have are just small quips, not total dealbreakers.

That said, there have been some concerns about the quality of the cards this year. Some buyers are opening packs to find cards with frayed edges and chipped paint. This doesn’t seem to be an across-the-board issue, but these one-off reports have been more frequent than normal.

There is also the drawback that comes with the territory of a more affordable release – the relatively low ceiling of its rarest cards.

Many of the 1/1’s for star players from the 2020 set are selling between $1500-2500 in the singles market. Compare that to the Spectra, where the most valuable 1/1s can grab between $5000-10,000, and it makes it somewhat less thrilling when you land one of the best Illusions cards.

But there’s a reason you’re paying $8.50 per card in an Illusions hobby box compared to $62 per card in a Spectra. If you’re looking to hit big on the most valuable cards on the market, you’re not going to find that with Illusions.

What you’ll find in Illusions Football 2021

Illusions is available in bulk with both the blaster and hobby box. The hobby box has more cards and more guaranteed hits, while the blaster box is a cheaper alternative at nearly a fifth the price.

Blaster Box

  • 6 packs per box
  • 6 cards per pack
  • 4 exclusive parallels

Currently selling for around $40 on eBay

Hobby Box

  • 10 packs per box
  • 5 cards per packs
  • 10 acetate inserts, 5 parallels, 3 autos, 2 memorabilia cards

Currently selling for over $600 eBay

2021 Illusions Football Checklist info

Illusions has a 100-card base set that is a pretty standard mix of veteran stars and rookies. #1-58 are your veterans (note the Tim Tebow card at #10), and #59-100 are your rookies.

In this QB-heavy rookie class, gunslingers like Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, and Trey Lance have been amongst the most valuable singles so far.

NFL Illusions 2021 base parallels

Colored parallels of standard base cards

  • Bronze – /499
  • Pink – /399
  • Yellow Diamond – /249
  • Light Blue – /149
  • Red – /99
  • Blue – /75
  • Black Ice – /50
  • Platinum – /35
  • Gold – /25
  • Green – /10
  • Purple – 1/1

Find 2021 Illusions Football parallels on eBay

2021 illusions football gold parallel

Trophy Collection

The Trophy Collection is an interesting subset that features two different players who are in some way connected (typically by team and position). It shares the dual image design of the base cards, but replaces the faded helmet-off image with a full-focus shot of the secondary player.

The trophy collection parallels are named after the rounds of the playoffs, and its print run is broken down into:

  • Wild card /25
  • Divisional /10)
  • Conference /5)
  • Super Bowl /1

Some of the notable trophy collection cards are:

  • #1 Aaron Rodgers / Brett Favre
  • # 61 Joe Montana / Trey Lance
  • # 64 Mac Jones / Tom Brady

2021 NFL Illusions Acetate Inserts

Here’s the checklist info for the acetate inserts. All of them come with the following odds for parallels (except holo heroes):

  • Emerald
  • Mosaic
  • Orange
  • Rainbow
  • Sapphire
  • Sparkle
  • Stardust
  • Pink – /399
  • Light Blue – /299
  • Red – /149
  • Black – /50
  • Gold – /25
  • Green – /10
  • Purple – 1/1

King of Cards

  • Pink – #’d/399
  • Light Blue – #’d/299
  • Red – #’d/149
  • Black – #’d/50
  • Gold – #’d/25
  • Green – #’d/10
  • Purple – 1/1

Holo Heroes

The HoloHeroes insert is going to be focused on six players, including Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields. But it will feature each player multiple times including Tom Brady playing for New England and others for Tampa Bay.

  • Tom Brady #1-16
  • Patrick Mahomes #17-24
  • Justin Herbert #25-32
  • Joe Montana #33-40
  • Trevor Lawrence #41-48
  • Zach Wilson #49-56
  • Justin Fields #57-64

Rookie Idols Dual Memorabilia

  • Red – #’d/99
  • Blue – #’d/75
  • Black – #’d/50
  • Gold – #’d/25
  • Green – #’d/10
  • Purple – 1/1

Deja Vu

  • Red – #’d/99
  • Blue – #’d/75
  • Black – #’d/50
  • Gold – #’d/25
  • Green – #’d/10
  • Purple – 1/1

Limelight Signatures

  • Base – #’d/199
  • Red – #’d/99
  • Blue – #’d/75
  • Black – #’d/50
  • Gold – #’d/25
  • Green – #’d/10
  • Purple – 1/1

First Impressions Autographed Memorabilia

  • Base – #’d/299
  • Red – #’d/99
  • Blue – #’d/75
  • Black – #’d/50
  • Gold – #’d/25
  • Green – #’d/10
  • Purple – 1/1

Rookie Reflections Dual Patch Autos

  • Base – #’d/299
  • Red – #’d/99
  • Blue – #’d/75
  • Black – #’d/50
  • Gold – #’d/25
  • Green – #’d/10
  • Purple – 1/1

The 2021 Panini Illusions Football Autographs Review

Since each Hobby Box comes with at least 3 guaranteed autographs, collectors will have no shortage of opportunities to hit one of the many autograph subsets included in this year’s Panini Illusions Football set.

While landing an autograph rookie card is a great feeling, it is even better to land one of the short-printed ink variations in Rookie Endorsements. Those are going to become the must have autos from this set this year. It is exclusive to Hobby so whenever they do decide to release to retail stores like Walmart or Target, you will not be able to get them.

Another big deal is the way they numbered their First Impressions Autographed Memorabilia cards. While the subset will feature parallels including Red, Blue, Black, Gold, Green, and Purple, four rookies will actually have shorter print runs then the rest of the cards. Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Trevor Lawrence, and Zach Wilson will only have half the stated print run for each parallel in that series.

Clear Shots Signatures

The Clear Shots Signatures subset provides you with a good variety of rookies, stars, and legends. You can pull a Justin Herbert, Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders, Brett Favre, Justin Fields, or Mac Jones autograph, among others. This set will give you a variety of chances to also hit a Tom Brady or Joe Montana autograph, two cards collectors have always found valuable and love to chase.

Here are some parallels in the Clear Shots Signatures:

  • Black (13 Cards)
    • While most of the Clear Shots Signatures Black are numbered to 15, a few of them will only be numbered to seven. This will also be one of the Clear Shots sets that does include a Justin Fields autograph.
  • Gold (15 Cards)
    • Once again, the Justin Fields autograph will be included in the Clear Shots Signatures Gold set. However, the two cards people are going to love to chase are going to be the Tom Brady and Joe Montana autographs, both just numbered to two.
  • Green (13 Cards)
    • The Clear Shots Signatures Green cards are either numbered to five or three.
  • Light Blue (12 Cards)
    • Every time the color of the Clear Shots Signatures changes, they seem to lose at least one card. The Light Blue set will not feature a Justin Fields autograph.
  • Pink (11 Cards)
    • The Clear Shots Signatures Pink parallels are numbered to 50, 30, and 20.
  • Purple (15 Cards)
    • With perhaps the most value potential in the entire set, the Clear Shots Signature Purple cards are all numbered to one and will include Tom Brady and Joe Montana autographs once again.
  • Red (13 Cards)
    • Anytime you can potentially land a Joe Montana autograph card, there is going to be value and the Clear Shots Signatures Red cards are going to give collectors plenty of value.

Elusive Ink

Parallels in Elusive Ink:

  • Red (23 Cards)
    • The Elusive Ink Red set is going to give you a chance to collect former legends and stars. The cards in the Red set are going to be numbered to either 99 or 25.
  • Black (23 Cards)
    • Like most of the other parallels in this set, the print runs will get smaller and smaller for every color. The Black set is numbered to 50 or 15, depending on the player.
  • Blue (23 Cards)
    • Although the Black are numbered to 50 or 15, the Blue are going to be numbered to either 75 or 20.
  • Gold (23 Cards)
    • The Elusive Ink Gold cards are almost all numbered to 25 while a select few are numbered to 10 including Vince Young, Drew Bledsoe, Kam Chancellor, and DeMarcus Ware.
  • Green (23 Cards)
    • IF you are lucky enough to land one of the beautiful Green parallels for the Elusive Ink autographs, you will be landing either a card numbered to 10 or even lower, and only numbered to five.
  • Purple (23 Cards)
    • The hit of the Elusive Ink set is going to be the Purple parallel cards, which are all only numbered to one.

Illusionists

The Illusions Football Illusionists autographs are another one of those subsets that feature a random assortment of players from legends to rookies on an Acetate card, which gives the look and feel as though the image is moving, like an illusion.

The base set will give you a chance to land current rookies and stars like Austin Ekeler, Josh Jacobs, and Dak Prescott. The set is numbered to 99, 35, and 25.

Parallels in Illusionaists:

  • Red (13 Cards)
    • The cards featured in the Illusionists Red set are numbered to 25, 20, and 10.
  • Black (14 Cards)
    • Just like all the other Black parallels, these are also numbered to 15 or 7.
  • Gold (14 Cards)
    • While it would be nice to get any of the Illusionists autographs, the Gold ones are numbered to either 10 or 5 and make for a very valuable subset of cards.
  • Green (14 Cards)
    • The Green Illusionists cards are numbered to either 5 or 3.
  • Light Blue (13 Cards)
    • The Light Blue Illusionist cards are numbered to 35, 25, or 15
  • Pink (13 Cards)
    • The Pink parallels are numbered to 50, 30, or 20.
  • Purple (14 Cards)
    • The Purple parallel cards in the Illusionists subset are all numbered to one.

Immortalized Jersey Autos

The Immortalized Jersey Autographs continues the Illusions tradition of putting together a great mix of current stars and former legends. There are chances to land some hard-to-find autographs of legends like Peyton Manning, Jared Allen, Mike Alstott, Thurman Thomas, Dan Marino, Ozzie Newsome, Jason Taylor, and Michael Vick. The base cards of the Immortalized Jersey Autographs set are numbered to 299, 35, and 20.

Parallels in this set:

  • Black (35 Cards)
    • While it will be nice to land a T.J. Houshmandzadeh or Hines Ward autograph, the real winners of the Black parallel subset of the Immortalized Jerseys will be the Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Bo Jackson, Ed Reed, Marshall Faulk, Dan Marino, and Rob Gronkowski cards, which are all numbered to 7. The rest of the set is numbered to either 50 or 15.
  • Blue (35 Cards)
    • The Immortalized Jersey Blue parallel has a beautiful variety of blue tint on the holofoil cards which are numbered to 75, 20, or 10.
  • Gold (36 Cards)
    • The Gold parallel is going to feature the same mix of stars and former legends and are going to be numbered to 25, 10, 6, or 5.
  • Green (37 Cards)
    • Since the Purple is the hottest ticket of all the parallels, the Green Immortalized Jersey Autographs are going to be numbered to 10, 5, or 3.
  • Purple (37 Cards)
    • The Purple parallel for 2021 Illusions Football is going to be the hit of the box because they are numbered one of one. Every set, including the Immortalized Jersey Autographs, that have Purple parallels will be numbered to one.
  • Red (36 Cards)
    • In the Red Immortalized Jersey Autograph parallel subset, you will find that these superstars are going to be numbered to 99, 25, and 15.

Ink Blots

One of the coolest-looking autograph cards from Illusions Football for 2021 are the Ink Blots. The image pops off the card while the background looks as if someone spilled a bottle of ink on the card just before it went into the printer. This is mostly a rookie subset but it does include a few bonus players like Derrick Henry, Carson Wentz, and Matthew Stafford.

Parallels in this set:

  • Black (24 Cards)
    • The Black Ink Blots are numbered to 50 or 15.
  • Gold (24 Cards)
    • The Gold Ink Blots are numbered to 25 or 10.
  • Green (24 Cards)
    • The gorgeous looking Green Ink Blots are so amazing you might want to start collecting them because they are going to be hard to find. These are going to be numbered to 10 or 5.
  • Purple (25 Cards)
    • All of the other parallels of the Rookie Ink Blots feature the same rookie cards except for the Purple subset which will also include Elijah Moore and Josh Palmer. These cards are all numbered one of one.
  • Red (23 Cards)
    • The Red Ink Blots are numbered to 75 or 20.

Limelight Signatures

This set has the following parallels:

  • Black (21 Cards)
    • The Black Limelight Signatures are numbered to either 50, 15, or 7.
  • Blue (20 Cards)
    • The Blue Limelight Signatures are numbered to either 75, 20, or 10.
  • Gold (20 Cards)
    • The Black Limelight Signatures are numbered to either 25, 10, or 5.
  • Green (20 Cards)
    • The Black Limelight Signatures are numbered to either 10, 5, or 3.
  • Purple (21 Cards)
    • The Black Limelight Signatures are numbered one of one.
  • Red (20 Cards)
    • The Black Limelight Signatures are numbered to either 99, 25, or 15.

Mirage Ink

It is hard to deny that the 2021 Illusions Football set has one of the richest collections of past and present stars. Not many sets can claim to have autographs of John Randle, Jack Youngblood, Kurt Warner, David Carr, Ricky Williams, or Charles Haley. And those are all just a few of the players featured in the Mirage Ink autographs. The base set is numbered to either 99 or 25.

Parallels in the set:

  • Black (24 Cards)
    • The Black Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 50 or 15.
  • Gold (25 Cards)
    • The Gold Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 25 or 10.
  • Green (25 Cards)
    • The Green Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 10 or 5.
  • Purple (25 Cards)
    • The Black Mirage Ink cards are numbered one of one.
  • Red (24 Cards)
    • The Red Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 75 or 20.

Mystique Autographs (13 Cards)

The Mystique autographs are the first insert that also has another collection of autograph cards. Not only are they going to be one of the more common hits, mostly because of how many they have between the inserts and the autographs, but they also will add a Pink parallel, which very few other autograph sets will have for this rookie set. This is also one of the few exclusive rookie autograph sets in Illusions Football this year. The base set will feature 13 cards numbered to 99 or 35.

  • Parallels
    • Black (14 Cards)
      • The Black Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 15 or 7.
    • Gold (15 Cards)
      • The Gold Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 10 or 5.
    • Green (15 Cards)
      • The Green Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 5 or 3.
    • Light Blue (13 Cards)
      • The Black Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 35, 25, or 15.
    • Pink (13 Cards)
      • The Black Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 50, 30, or 20.
    • Purple (15 Cards)
      • The Gold Mirage Ink cards are numbered one of one.
    • Red (13 Cards)
      • The Gold Mirage Ink cards are numbered to either 25, 20, or 10.

Rookie Endorsements (15 Cards)

Although there are several other rookie autograph subsets in the 2021 Illusions Football set that are going to be more valuable and include patches or dual signatures, the Rookie Endorsements is still very much a collector’s item thanks to its’ list of parallels including multiple rookies that are numbered to one. The Base set will feature 15 cards numbered to 199, 125, 99, or 75.

  • Parallels
    • Gold (41 Cards)
      • The Gold Rookie Endorsements are numbered one of one.
    • Green (40 Cards)
      • The Gold Rookie Endorsements are numbered to either 50, 35, or 25.
    • Purple (40 Cards)
      • The Gold Rookie Endorsements are numbered to 10.
    • Red (40 Cards)
      • The Gold Rookie Endorsements are numbered to either 99, 75, or 50.

Rookie Reflections Dual Patch Autographs

The Rookie Reflections Dual Patch autographs will feature two rookies are each card while also throwing in a patch for both cards. This could turn out to be the highest priced rookie cards from Illusions Football this season so you better get your hands on them before they reach insane prices online. The base set will feature 20 cards numbered to 299, 99, or 20.

  • Parallels
    • Black (20 Cards)
      • The Black Rookie Reflections Dual Patch autographs are numbered to either 50, 25, or 7.
    • Blue (20 Cards)
      • The Blue Rookie Reflections Dual Patch autographs are numbered to either 75, 50, or 10.
    • Gold (20 Cards)
      • The Gold Rookie Reflections Dual Patch autographs are numbered to either 25, 10, or 5.
    • Green (20 Cards)
      • The Green Rookie Reflections Dual Patch autographs are numbered to either 10, 5, or 3.
    • Purple (20 Cards)
      • The Purple Rookie Reflections Dual Patch autographs are numbered one of one.
    • Red (20 Cards)
      • The Red Rookie Reflections Dual Patch autographs are numbered to either 99, 75, or 15.

Rookie Signs (33 Cards)

With the Rookie Signs autographs, Illusions Football includes yet another rookie subset only this one features a dual image of a rookie player on the front with his signature placed on the bottom. The base set will feature 33 cards numbered to 199 or 35.

  • Parallels
    • Black (36 Cards)
      • The Black Rookie Signs are numbered to either 50 or 15.
    • Blue (34 Cards)
      • The Blue Rookie Signs are numbered to either 75 or 20
    • Gold (34 Cards)
      • The Gold Rookie Signs are numbered to either 25 or 10.
    • Green (36 Cards)
      • The Green Rookie Signs are numbered to either 10 or 5.
    • Orange (29 Cards)
    • Purple (37 Cards)
      • The Purple Rookie Signs are numbered one of one.
    • Red (33 Cards)
      • The Red Rookie Signs are numbered to either 99 or 25.

Rookie Vision Signatures

The Rookie Vision Signatures is another rookie autographs set that features several parallels in Red, Black, Gold, Green, and Purple. The base set will feature 13 cards numbered to either 99 or 25.

  • Parallels
    • Red (13 Cards)
      • The Red Rookie Vision Signatures are numbered to either 75 or 20.
    • Black (13 Cards)
      • The Black Rookie Vision Signatures are numbered to either 50 or 15.
    • Gold (13 Cards)
      • The Gold Rookie Vision Signatures are numbered to either 25 or 10.
    • Green (13 Cards)
      • The Green Rookie Vision Signatures are numbered to either 10 or 5.
    • Purple (13 Cards)
      • The Purple Rookie Vision Signatures are numbered one of one.

Shining Stars Signatures

While you might prefer to get a Mac Jones or Trevor Lawrence Shining Star autograph, the Shining Stars signatures also includes stars of today like Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Amari Cooper, or Nick Chubb. The base set includes 11 cards numbered from either 99, 35, or 25.

  • Parallels
    • Black (12 Cards)
      • The Black Shining Stars Signatures are numbered to either 15 or 7.
    • Gold (13 Cards)
      • The Gold Shining Stars Signatures are numbered to either 10 or 5.
    • Green (12 Cards)
      • The Green Shining Stars Signatures are numbered to either 5 or 3.
    • Light Blue (11 Cards)
      • The Light Blue Shining Stars Signatures are numbered to either 35, 25, or 15.
    • Pink (11 Cards)
      • The Pink Shining Stars Signatures are numbered to either 50, 30, or 20.
    • Purple (13 Cards)
      • The Purple Shining Stars Signatures are numbered one of one.
    • Red (11 Cards)
      • The Red Shining Stars Signatures are numbered to either 25, 20, or 10.

Superlatives (43 Cards)

Once again, Illusions Football finds a way to include current stars and former legends into one autograph subset. The Superlatives subset will include rare signatures of former players like Vince Young, Dallas Clark, and Plaxico Burress. The base set features 43 cards numbered to 199, 99, or 25.

  • Parallels
    • Gold (55 Cards)
      • The Gold Superlatives subset is numbered one of one.
    • Green (53 Cards)
      • The Green Superlatives subset are numbered to either 50 or 10.
    • Orange (23 Cards)
    • Purple (54 Cards)
      • The Green Superlatives subset are numbered to either 10 or 5.
    • Red (54 Cards)
      • The Green Superlatives subset are numbered to either 75 or 15.

Trophy Collection Signatures (17 Cards)

The hunt for rookie autographs is going to end with the Trophy Collection Signatures subset, which will not only feature a ton of rookies, it also adds in some other current stars and former players. The base set features 17 cards numbered to either 99, 35, or 25.

  • Parallels
    • Black (18 Cards)
      • The Black Trophy Collection Signatures are numbered to either 50, 15, or 10.
    • Gold (18 Cards)
      • The Gold Trophy Collection Signatures are numbered to either 25, 10, or 5.
    • Green (18 Cards)
      • The Green Trophy Collection Signatures are numbered to either 10, 5, or 3.
    • Purple (18 Cards)
      • The Purple Trophy Collection Signatures are numbered one of one.
    • Red (18 Cards)
      • The Red Trophy Collection Signatures are numbered to either 75, 25, or 15.

The 2021 Panini Illusions Football review of value

The history of Panini Illusions Football goes back five years when it all began in 2017. That was one of the richest draft classes in recent memory in the NFL and included stars like Patrick Mahomes and Kareem Hunt, to name a few.

The value has found a home in the above-average price range, especially after the recent sports card industry boom, and that can only be seen if you take a look at the Singles and Wax values over the years.

2021 Panini Illusions Football review of singles value

With just five years to look at, there was not a ton of cards to review but that does not mean the value is not there. In fact, for only being around five short years, Panini Illusions Football has found a way to crack into the upper echelon of the football cards.

2021 Panini Illusions Football review of wax value

Since there are only five years of Panini Illusions Football to pull from, and there are still plenty of big time cards that have yet to surface, then maybe you want to grab a Hobby Box instead of a single. The value of the boxes is a true testament to what the rest of the year’s set is really all about.

Final thoughts on the 2021 Panini Illusions Football

With so many football card sets costing collectors tons of cash, the 2021 Panini Illusions Football set remains one of the better deals. It is not overly priced and includes a ton of hits per box nearly guaranteeing you a high probability of getting your money back in one box. That is not something you will hear much about today because of the pricing of the hobby boxes.

So, when you are finished chasing after the Kaboom hits from Absolute, maybe you can grab a few boxes of 2021 Illusions Football and land a Mac Jones 1/1 rookie card or maybe a veteran like Joe Montana or Bo Jackson autograph.

There is no better-priced Hobby Box that provides as many hits or autograph chances as Illusions Football. That makes it worth the price and definitely worth investing in today.

2021 Illusions Football Checklist

1 Justin Herbert

2 Patrick Mahomes II

3 Tom Brady

4 Aaron Donald

5 Darius Leonard

6 Derwin James Jr.

7 Saquon Barkley

8 Davante Adams

9 Travis Kelce

10 Deion Sanders

11 Brett Favre

12 Joe Montana

13 Charles Woodson

14 Barry Sanders

15 James Harrison

16 Trevor Lawrence

17 Zach Wilson

18 Trey Lance

19 Justin Fields

20 Mac Jones

1 Austin Ekeler

2 Rob Gronkowski

3 Michael Thomas

4 Josh Jacobs

5 George Kittle

6 DK Metcalf

7 Allen Robinson II

8 Dak Prescott

9 Ryan Tannehill

10 Trevor Lawrence

11 Zach Wilson

12 Trey Lance

13 Justin Fields

14 Mac Jones

15 DeVonta Smith

16 Ja’Marr Chase

17 Kyle Pitts

18 Najee Harris

19 Travis Etienne Jr.

20 Jaylen Waddle

1 Trevor Lawrence
2 Zach Wilson
3 Trey Lance
4 Justin Fields
5 DeVonta Smith
6 Mac Jones
7 Ja’Marr Chase
8 Jaylen Waddle
9 Kyle Trask
10 Rashod Bateman
11 Kyle Pitts
12 Kadarius Toney
13 Najee Harris
14 Travis Etienne Jr.
15 Javonte Williams
16 Elijah Moore
17 Rondale Moore
18 Terrace Marshall Jr.
19 Kellen Mond
20 Davis Mills

1 Trevor Lawrence
2 Zach Wilson
3 Trey Lance
4 Justin Fields
5 DeVonta Smith
6 Mac Jones
7 Ja’Marr Chase
8 Jaylen Waddle
9 Kyle Trask
10 Rashod Bateman
11 Kyle Pitts
12 Kadarius Toney
13 Najee Harris
14 Travis Etienne Jr.
15 Javonte Williams
16 Elijah Moore
17 Rondale Moore
18 Terrace Marshall Jr.
19 Kellen Mond
20 Davis Mills

1 Kyler Murray

2 Josh Allen

3 Darren Waller

4 Christian McCaffrey

5 Nick Chubb

6 Amari Cooper

7 Patrick Mahomes II

8 Justin Herbert

9 Dalvin Cook

10 Tom Brady

11 Trevor Lawrence

12 Zach Wilson

13 Trey Lance

14 Justin Fields

15 DeVonta Smith

16 Mac Jones

17 Ja’Marr Chase

18 Kyle Pitts

19 Najee Harris

20 Travis Etienne Jr.

2021 Illusions Football investment outlook

2021 NFL Illusions wax

With Illusions only being in its 5th year, we don’t have extensive selling data on wax. Still, here’s the most recent verified sales info we can find on Ebay.

2017$1,125
2018$695
2019$515

Between 2017-2019 most of the boxes were retailing between $140-$400 dollars, so each of them has already turned quite a solid profit. It’s hard to tell if 2017 is an outlier due to its age or whether it has a Patrick Mahomes rookie, but it’s clear that buying and holding Illusions has historically brought value.

Illusions basketball singles

How well do Illusions cards hold their value?

One of the red flags that could potentially affect Illusions’ card value is its release date. While it is not one of the first NFL products to hit the market, it still comes out months before releases like Prizm.

One of the biggest traps that early releases can fall into is overinflation in the singles market for the first 2-3 months after release. Collectors are eager to get their hands on the first licensed product of the latest draft class, and will overspend on cards that plummet in value when the more valuable releases come out later in the season.

However, Illusions doesn’t really seem to be too affected by later release dates of other cards. Ebay sale prices for last year’s high-profile rookies either held or went up following the Prizm release.

Take a look at the average selling price for a PSA 10 base rookie for a few key players in 2020:


Justin Herbert #7Joe Burrow #5Justin Jefferson #22
Jan 2021$55$87$42
April 2021$71$96$41

We’re not sure if it’s that the release date is late enough for the early rookie buzz to have worn off, or if Illusions are high quality enough to not be affected by other releases, but this data suggests that the singles market won’t fall victim to the “rookie bubble” in the months after it’s release.

Bottom line on 2021 Panini Illusions Football

The 2021 NFL Illusions line is perfect for investors who want to make a smart purchase without forking over thousands. It’s also a great option for collectors who are after a certain player or team, as the 50-card hobby box gives you a better chance at getting what you’re looking for.

Like most hobby boxes, the best investment strategy is to buy and hold, and wait to see if this year’s rookie class is something desirable down the road.

However, it’s not a terrible option for those looking to sell in the singles market either – the cards hold their value on their own. Couple that with the high quantity of guaranteed hits in the hobby box, and it’s one of the smarter flipping options.

All around, we are happy with the design and creativity of this release, and see it as one that will continue to be valuable in the years to come.

Brian Marshall

Brian Marshall

Brian’s a Denver based freelance writer, who’s interested in all things Denver sports. He’s an NBA aficionado who still can’t get over Derrick Rose’s ACL tear, and will happily debate anyone who doesn’t believe that Nikola Jokic is the greatest basketball player on the planet.


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