The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s the perfect time to pick up some gifts for the sports card enthusiasts in your life (or yourself – we won’t judge). You can expect a great variety from December sports card releases.
It’s also an exciting time for collecting as the NFL playoff picture comes into focus. In addition, the NBA season hits its stride, with rookies learning and improving every game.
Panini is still struggling with release delays. Therefore, products that seem like they should have been released months ago are still trickling out. However, we have new releases to keep any collector interested for December.
Also, note that all these release dates are speculative. Panini has been moving these launches around quite a bit recently. As of right now, here are the releases to watch for:
Panini XR is back again with a hobby-only release. It includes 2 packs per box and 7 cards per pack. While this 14-card box will cost you $400, it has a chance for big hits, like a 1 of 1 in every case. Each box contains 2 autos, 1 memorabilia card, 1 insert, and 4 parallels. Also, be sure to look for the new Base X and Rookie X short-printed parallel. They’re unnumbered case hits. Also, the new GAMERS memorabilia cards and autographs feature only game-used memorabilia!
Flawless is one of the most revered – and expensive – brands in all collecting. While the baseball boxes are unlicensed, they’ll cost you $2,250/box nonetheless. Each box contains 10 cards, with 7 autographs, 2 memorabilia, and 1 gem card, keeping it true to Flawless form. Some of the cards can have massive potential with legendary players, and the on-card autos with prime patches can still demand a pretty penny even though they’re not numbered. Still, with a price tag over $2,000, you need to proceed with caution. These boxes entail a significant roll of the dice.
Panini One and One Basketball is true to its name: each box contains one slabbed card and one “base” card. Therefore, you get one and one out of every box. We don’t have an official release price for this product yet. However, it will likely cost around $2,000 as it has in the past. Therefore, this is another big gamble.
Depending on your definition, Spectra could be considered the first opti-chrome release of 2021. The cards use the same printing technology as Prizm, Optic, Mosaic, and Select. However, this sixteen-card box doesn’t follow the more widespread releases with more cards to collect. Spectra 2021 will not disappoint, however. Each box includes 1 Rookie Patch Autograph, 3 Additional Autographs, 4 memorabilia cards, 7 base/parallels/variations, and 1 insert per box on average. There’s also a slew of new inserts, so keep your eyes peeled for those if you rip one of these $1,400 boxes.
Another release that gives you the chance to pull a LaMelo Ball or Anthony Ewards card. Flux now has a standalone release. The Flux boxes are 10 packs of 5 cards each, with 1 Uncirculated Encased Insert, Parallel Or Autograph Box Topper, 1 Autograph, 1 Atmosphere Insert, 3 Additional Inserts, 1 Insert Prizm, and 3 Silver per box. There will be many color parallels in this product, and Panini advertises a chance to “discover different levels of the atmosphere in the 5 different Hobby Exclusive insert sets: Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere, and Exosphere!” Unfortunately, we don’t have a price yet. However, it is selling for a relatively modest $369.
Contenders Baseball hits shelves the week before Christmas with a true-to-form Contenders delivery:6 packs of 18 cards with 6 autographs. However, this year’s release is different. It has 18 Optic base or parallels per hobby box. Contenders Baseball keeps the iconic design that has made Contenders a popular product for decades. While it’s unlicensed, the $130 price tag should put it on your radar nonetheless.
Racing fans, this one is for you. The National Treasures racing box is a $400 box that contains 8 cards per pack, and each box has 4 autos, 3 memorabilia cards, 1 base/parallel, and 1 booklet. Panini advertises this as a chance to pull legendary hits, saying, “Whether it’s historical pairings like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson or father/son duos like Bill and Chase Elliott, Dual Autographs features 10 iconic pairings that collectors are sure to covet.” The best news? At just $400, it’s probably the cheapest box of National Treasures you’ll ever encounter.
Allen and Ginter Chrome is the chromium release of Allen & Ginter, so the box contents are very, very similar to the regular release. It includes 18 packs of 4 cards. The chromium boxes offer 6 base card refractors, 18 mini cards, 7 inserts, and one on-card auto per case. This has always been a popular product because of its vintage design and feel, making it popular among collectors. These boxes are $157 on Blowout cards.
Panini insists on making Illusions a popular brand. As part of this attempt, this $400 release drops right before Christmas. Each box contains 50 cards and 3 Autographs, 2 Memorabilia, 5 Parallels, and 10 Acetate Inserts/Parallels. The hobby boxes have some perks to make them a bit more worthwhile: look for super short-printed Trophy Collection Wild Cards, which feature a current rookie or star paired with a former legend, and find short-printed ink variations in Rookie Endorsements. These might be better than their basketball alternative, but if you want a last-minute Christmas gift, I’d recommend…
Mosaic is a welcomed addition to the Opti-Chrome world, although the $750 price tag might turn away some potential buyers. Indeed, it is a welcome addition to December sports card releases. Each box contains 2 Autographs, 5 Silver Parallels, 15 Mosaic Parallels, and 20 Inserts. Exclusive to Hobby Boxes find Autographs Mosaic and Rookie Autographs Mosaic. Also, join the hobby-only hunt for SSP Gold and Black parallels and the following autograph parallels: Red, Blue (#’d /99), Purple (#’d /49), White (#’d /25), Gold (#’d /10) and Black (#’d /1). There will also be four brand new case hits: Busted, Glass Mosaic, Storm Chasers, and Masquerade Ballers. There will still be a blaster version too, but it sounds like a lot of the excitement will be occurring in hobby boxes. This release could make a great Christmas gift, but a note of caution: Panini’s constant delays could very well make this a late gift. So please don’t count on it to release on the 22nd.
The baseball releases in December are a bit iffy, but you can expect that in the offseason. However, the NBA and NFL releases give you more than enough holiday options. So get your loved one the stocking stuffer they deserve, and pick up a little something for yourself while you are at it.