With an NFL free agency moving around and hype building around the incoming rookie class, so football is refusing to take an “offseason.” On top of that, baseball is coming back, so MLB excitement is swelling. Meanwhile, the NBA is ticking down the final games until the playoffs start. All in all, the April sports card releases look great. But, as always, note that these are only rough estimates on release dates, which keep moving backward because of ongoing delays.
At $250 a box, Prizm Draft Picks basketball for 2021/22 defies all logic about Draft Picks cards. It’s unfortunate to see a college uniform release just two weeks before the end of the regular season. It’s also hard to imagine many collectors prefer the college Prizm cards over NBA-licensed Donruss cards. However, still, the boxes are $250 and contain 4 autographs. That’s not a bad price. In addition to the autographs, each box includes 4 silvers, 8 parallels, and a handful of inserts.
2022 Topps Sterling is about as high-end a product as you’ll find from Topps. It arrives in time to kick off the 2022 season and comes with a $1,000 price tag. For that price, you only get two cards. The “master box” has 2 mini-boxes – those contain a relic card numbered to 25 or less, a 1-of-1 relic, or an autographed relic. This product promises to feature autos and relics from “the best in the game, including current stars, retired legends, and the most collectible rookies.
Contenders include perhaps the single most iconic rookie autograph card one can own. The rookie ticket autos are pioneers in the rookie autographs business. The chance to pull a timeless rookie autograph from the exciting draft class of Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes, and others is a big draw for this product. Want the case against Contenders? The hobby boxes are $550, and this product is incredibly driven by rookie autographs, which you’ll only pull 2 of per box. Unfortunately, contenders doesn’t have base rookie cards that ever sell for anything of note. So, you either will get fortunate or strikeout. Unfortunately, the latter is much more common.
Panini encased is a product that prioritizes slabs. Each 5 card box comes at a pre-order price of $1,000 and includes 2 autographs, one of which is graded by BGS. These cards go to BGS straight from Panini, and then they’re put in packs. The punchline? Most of them don’t gem. You’ll see many BGS 8.5 and BGS 9 come out of Encased. The card lineup includes Reserve Signatures, Superscribe Signatures, Legendary Signatures, Rookie Endorsements, Rookie Dual Swatch Signatures, Scripted Signatures, and many more. These are standard sets for fans of the product, and there’s also a new Sapphire Signature set that includes “bold on-card autographs.”
Phoenix football returns for 2021 (in April of ’22) with the same look and feel we have come to expect. Alternate opening line: Much like the mythical phoenix, this product feels dead every year, and then Panini brings it back from the ashes.
Seriously, this is one of the mid-tier products that doesn’t get a lot of love. It’s opti-chrome and looks good, but many prismatic big brothers also overshadow it. Each box is priced at $500 and includes 2 autographs, 1 memorabilia, 2 silvers, 9 numbered parallels, and 12 rookies. That’s quite a bit of bang for your buck, but the ceiling is only so high for Phoenix football. It should be in the hot seat if it were an NFL coach.
Panini One presents collectors with a chance to pay $700 for a one-card box. If you’re still reading for some reason, here’s the scoop. Each box of Panini One includes an on-card autograph per box, and each autograph will be of a top rookie, legend, or current star. Patch cards include “prime” and “super prime” memorabilia, and you can also find opti-chrome inserts. This box is the lottery ticket of all sports card products. So, rip it if that’s your thing.
Bowman Baseball is the king of prospect investing. Every year it’s a hot release and the first card of many future stars, so collectors love to get in early with the investment. The Jumbo box comes with a price tag of about $700 and includes 3 autographs, while the hobby box costs $350 and includes 1 auto. In addition, a 100-card Base Set compiled of the top stars and rookies, and then a 150-Card Prospect list features the young talent that continues to bring collectors back to this product.
Finally, it’s time for Prizm. This is the brand that some collectors will trade their firstborn for. Indeed, you can reasonably expect to see tents pitched in the Walmart card aisle as collectors await the shelf-stockers. Of course, campfire stories and s’mores aren’t out of the question, either. But there’s a reason: Prizm delivers one of the most big-money potential lineups of cards on that market with a rainbow of colorful prizms and rookie autographs that can turn into big money if you get lucky. Between new prizms and the return of the Color Blast, there will be several five-figure cards coming out of a product like this. Each box has 2 autos, 10 numbered Prizms, 4 silver prizms, 24 rookies, and 5 inserts and will cost $1,250. Unfortunately, this product is releasing so late that the excitement has died on some of the picks (would you really be excited about pulling a nice Zach Wilson?), but there’s still a lot of potential packed into Prizm. Bold prediction: there will be further delays on the release.
It will be a big year for soccer cards because of the World Cup. Mosaic Premier League is set to take advantage of that while continuing Mosaic’s quest to trickle into every sport. Each box contains 10 packs of 15 cards, and that loadout also includes 1 autograph, 5 silvers, 15 other mosaic parallels, and 20 inserts. The boxes are pre-ordering for $350. In addition, there will be 2 different hobby-exclusive case hits, Stained Glass and Overdrive, that will add more big-pull potential. So, if you’re a soccer fan, it could be a fun rip.
Revolution is typically an early-season, low-end product, but this time it will be released in time for the playoffs. It’s unusual for a hobby box because you’re not guaranteed an autograph despite the $350 price tag. Instead, you can look for 4 rookies, 4 inserts, and 8 parallels. Worse still, the Revolution parallels don’t sell for nearly as much as collectors would like to see in a parallel-driven product. The tiers are a bit weird and confusingly named: Astro, Groove, Fractal, Impact (#’ d/149), Cosmic (#’ d/99), NBA 75th Anniversary (#’ d/75), Sunburst (#’ d/60), Cubic (#’ d/50), Lava (#’ d/10), and Galactic! These parallels have you covered whether you’re collecting cards or leading a Sith Army.
A lot of high-profile products are dropping in April. However, the excitement suffers from extended delays to some of the Panini products among the April sports card releases. Still, you can’t complain about the selection of football, basketball, baseball, and soccer entering our lives.