After a jam-packed July full of big-name releases, July cools down a bit. There are many products among the notable July sports card releases. Unfortunately, however, few products among them will age well.
That said, perhaps the biggest release of the entire sports card calendar is scheduled to drop: 2021-22 Prizm Basketball. That alone should redeem a quieter summer month. Indeed, most savvy collectors will pass on the minor releases to save up for Prizm.
Here are the Cardlines picks for releases to watch in July. But please note: the release schedules are fluid and move frequently. Therefore, these dates are not guaranteed.
Chronicles Draft Picks is my least favorite product ever. There. I said it. Among the July sports card releases
And now I’ll explain my stance. This product contains only rookies, so each box has what feels like a half-dozen of each of the big-name rookies. Sounds good, right? But none of the cards are worth anything. It floods the market with an influx of “prospect” cards in their college uniforms. However, none of them age well. Suppose you pull a base card of the future rookie of the year; cool. It’ll probably be worth $4 after the initial hype wears off and the NFL-jersey cards come out.
That said, these boxes are only $150 preorder and come with 3 autos, 1 memorabilia, and 12 optichrome cards. So it could be worth a rip and quick flip if you hit an excellent rookie for that price. Just don’t buy these singles or boxes to hold long-term.
Stadium Club is a product focused on photography. It boasts “iconic imagery from the MLB” as one of its selling points. The cards are minimalist in design – juxtaposed sharply against a logo that feels pretty dated. These cards aren’t particularly valuable. However, they’ve been popular with a particular faction of collectors for decades. Each box has 16 packs of 8 cards and contains 2 autographs. You can preorder a box for $180.
Prizm delivers potential big money cards with a rainbow of colorful prizms and rookie autographs that can turn into big money if you get lucky. We all look forward to the big “mark your calendars” day. Prizm Basketball is coming in hot with a preorder price of $1,899, and each box will include 2 autographs ranging from Sensational Signatures, Flashback Signatures, and Hobby-exclusive Rookie Signatures. You’ll also expect to find 22 prizms per hobby box in addition to 10 inserts. There will be a lot of new inserts this year, too. Look for Prizmatic, Fireworks, Widescreen, Mindset, Fearless, and two new inserts celebrating the 75th season of the NBA with NBA 75th Logo Hobby and 75 Years of the NBA.
As you can tell from my preview for Chronicles 2021 football, I’m not a massive fan of the product. I can’t get past the idea of 10+ sets presenting numbered cards within the same product. This method falsely inflates the value with almost forged “scarcity.” If you’re into the product and believe in its long-term value, you can preorder a box for $650. Each box contains 6 packs of 8 cards. The box includes 2 autographs, 1 memorabilia card, 4 parallels, and 2 silver Prizms. Panini advertises Flux, Plates & Patches, and Magnitude cards. More sets – how exciting. If you want the chance to pull 5 Mac Jones cards in one box, Chronicles is here for you.
I almost didn’t include this release. Why? I rolled my eyes when I saw Select was making a collegiate debut. Still, I ultimately decided to do my civic duty: advising you to skip this product. The same issues I outlined for Chronicles Draft Picks apply here: college cards are only popular for a short window. When does it end? As soon as the NFL-licensed cards drop. After that, they become worth approximately 10% of what the big brother NFL product is worth (a quick eBay search will back this up). Therefore, these $250 boxes include 3 autographs, 3 silver prizms, 6 parallels, and long-term regrets.
Skip on Select Draft Picks. But, if you’re a football fan and you like the optichrome, rainbow-building experience, wait a few days for…
Optic is back! It’s late, not even fashionably so, but it’s still a welcomed arrival. Optic is considered the second-best mass-market card and investment opportunity. I think of it at the same level as Select). This years release is no different. The box contains 20 packs of 4 cards with 1 autograph, 20 rated rookies, 10 parallels (8 numbered), and lots of big-pull potentials. This 2021 release is late, but compared to the 2022 class, the rookies are still much more exciting. In addition, this year introduces Base Ice #’d/15 and Rated Rookies Ice #’d/15, so there’s a new low-numbered color to chase. While this is a great product, it is releasing for $1,000. So, invest wisely.
Panini baseball cards are unlicensed. Therefore, they are not as valuable as their Topps counterparts. However, immaculate is such a high-end brand that it at least deserves a mention. The boxes aren’t priced yet, but they’ll probably hover around the $800 mark. Each box contains 6 cards – all of which are hits. In total, this will be 4 autographs and 2 memorabilia cards. From rookies to legends, Immaculate baseball has everything. Everything, at least, besides team logos.
National Treasures is the second most expensive brand from Panini that makes a consistent annual release. The 1 pack, 10 card product delivers 4 autographs, 4 memorabilia cards, 1 printing plate (1 of 1), and 1 base or base parallel. There’s no preorder pricing yet, but we know National Treasures won’t be cheap.
However, the card lineup could be worth it: look for popular Rookie Patch Autographs, Treasured Tags Autographs, Logoman Autographs, and much more. We’ve written about the logoman autographs, and the conclusion is simple: these are some of the best sports cards ever. It’s a considerable risk, big reward play.
Select will finally be rounding out the optichrome big three in late July. It’s a product known for its three tiers of scarcity. Therefore, a purchase requires a bit of inside info. The $1,200 boxes include 2 autographs, 1 memorabilia, 10 silvers, 5 other prizms, and 6 inserts. One of the product’s most noteworthy cards is the “mystery XRC redemptions,” which can be exchanged for a draft pick based on position (for example, “Wide Reciever #3”). These make draft night a lot of fun under normal circumstances. However, given the lateness of the release, some of the appeal is gone for the XRC set. Still, Select promises to be incredibly popular yet again.
The July lineup of releases varies wildly. It includes some of the best value, and worst value, releases of the year. Invest carefully. In this economy, no one can afford to be wasteful.