When it comes to the best Panini Football cards to buy in 2021, there’s certainly no shortage of choices. For instance, just this year alone Panini will release well over 20 boxes. As you would think, so many options can be confusing. That’s why we’re here to help you single out the best cards Panini has to offer this year.
Unline many of our lists, here we’ll focus on the set rather than the player. This way you can find a player you’re bullish on and hone in on a set that best fits your price range. Doesn’t get much simpler than that! Enough beating around the bush, it’s well past time to get down to it.
Related: Check out our list of the Most Valuable Football Cards of the 1980s!
Best Panini Football Cards to Buy (and sell for a profit!)
2020 Panini Prizm Football (Check Price)
If we could pick one football set from 2020, this is it. The base offers that classic Prizm design and is loaded with any player you can think of that’s worth collecting. Add to that a sprawling array of Prizms and you have yourself a set to write home about.
On top of the wide variety of unique Prizms, the set includes the stunning Color Blast and Stained Glass inserts.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the rookies. In a year that saw one of the best rookie QB classes in recent memory, 2020 Panini Prizm has that aspect covered. Just take a look at that Justin Herbert Color Blast insert above and try to argue otherwise!
Value Rating: Something For Everyone
2020 Panini Prizm Football definitely has some cards that will require making a high-end investment. For instance, that Herbert card we just talked about recently sold for north of $15,000 on eBay. Even non-rookie cards of veterans like Rodgers, Brady, and Mahomes command some big price tags in this set.
Meanwhile, the less common Prizms and base cards offer some entry-level prices that the “less serious” investors won’t mind paying. And that kind of variety in value is precisely why these are some of the best Panini football cards to buy if you’re looking to diversify your portfolio.
2020 Mosaic (Check Price)
A new concept from Panini that has been turning the heads of many hobbyists in 2020. Just like Select and Prizm, Mosaic has a wide array of Prizms and autographs from all the league’s top rookies and veterans alike. However, unlike those two sets, Mosaic offers an “NFL Debut” parallel that includes only a handful of the NFL’s most promising rookies. Safe to say Tua, Herbert, and Burrow all make that list.
One thing we don’t like about the set is the comparatively weak insert game. For example, the Overdrive insert doesn’t hold a candle to the Color Blast from the Prizm set. In terms of value or style. Not even close.
Value Guide: Similar Values as Panini Select
While the values found in this set are pretty close to Select, it may not stay that way for long. It’s a brand new release and we wouldn’t surprise to see it grow in popularity over the next few years. Who knows, in time it could be eating Prizms lunch. For breakfast. Or something like that.
2020 Panini Flawless Collegiate (Check Price)
Now we go to a set that focuses on one aspect of the trading card market that moves the needle like no other: ROOKIE CARDS. In Panini Flawless Collegiate you’ll find the year’s most electrifying talent suited up in their college uniforms. Just like the other Panini sets on this list, you’ll find no shortage of autographs, patches, and unique parallels. Making these without a doubt some of the best Panini football cards to buy. Period.
With a rookie class like we saw in 2020, it only makes sense to include one of the most prestigious early release collegiate sets on our list.
Value Guide: High End
On average the set seems more expensive than others on the list but that’s because it’s LOADED only with incredibly rare cards. The old adage “all killer no filler” fits well here. So if you’re more worried about ROI than what you’ll need to spend, this is the set for you. Just make sure you pick the right rookie to invest in!
Best Panini Football Cards To Buy: Blast From the Past
2017 Panini Select (Check Price)
Just because it’s 2021 doesn’t mean you should only be thinking about sets from 2020 or newer!
We need to include this set for one reason and one reason only: Patrick Mahomes. If you’ve yet to get your hands on a Patrick Mahomes quarterback this set is an amazing option to consider. For starters, you have a wide array of Prizm, patch, and autograph combos to choose from. Secondly, they’re just amazing-looking cards. The bold Select logo appears at the top of the base cards and harbors a close-up of the player beneath.
Besides Mahomes, there is plenty of other rookie options available (Alvin Kamara comes to find) along with a solid lineup of NFL veterans.
By the way, did we mention they’re quite popular? Meaning that when it comes time to rake those profits you should have no problem finding a buyer.
Value Rating: Panini Prizm’s Fancy Cousin
In many ways, Panini Select is a lot like the Prizm set we mentioned earlier. However, you won’t receive as many cards in a box and the collection is a bit more limited overall. Value-wise, prices can be just as high or even higher than Prizm so if you’re looking to invest a substantial amount in a card, rest assured Panini Select will deliver. A great collection of cards that’s clearly here to stay. Prizm better watch out as Select may be coming for its throne as the best Panini football card to buy one of these days.
Best Panini Football Cards To Buy: New Arrivals
2021 Panini Prizm Draft (Check Price)
The urge to look ahead and find the newest in new is something that is at the core of any card collector. And what better set to focus these thoughts on than the first BIG football card collection release of the year. Panini Prizm Draft is now on the shelves and is going to be your first extensive look at the cream of the crop picks that were taken in the upcoming NFL Draft. So if you’re thinking about an early investment in a Trevor Lawrence rookie card, look no further. In addition to Lawrence, you’re sure to see other big-name draft picks such as Zach Wilson, DeVonta smith, and Justin Fields.
2021 Panini Contenders Draft (Check Price)
Just like the previous collection, Panini Contenders Draft offers an incredible first look at some of the best talent entering the NFL in 2021. Whether it be Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, or any of the other amazing talents that came out of the draft this year, you’re sure to find something you like. Not only will you find various “Ticket” cards like the Blue Shimmer shown above, the collection also includes a variety of cool inserts such as the “Numbers Game” and the “School Colors” editions. And as you can see, many of the cards in this set offer the player’s autograph as well.
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Best Panini Football Cards To Buy 2020: Investment Thoughts
We’ve singled out 5 of the best Panini sets in recent years along with one that’s about to hit the open market. As far as 2021 goes, we’d expect all of these collections to perform well but look towards the newer editions if you’re looking for the most excitement. As you can imagine the price action of a first-year player who catches fire is seldom matched. That’s why the list is dominated by 2020 and 2021 Panini releases.
HOWEVER, the 2017 Panini Select set can’t be overlooked due to its assortment of Mahomes rookie card options. If he overcomes the 2021 disappointment and adds another Super Bowl ring to his collection in 2022, you’ll see just how quickly a third-year player can impact the market.
Regardless of what cards you choose to invest in this year, due diligence and a diverse outlook are always big factors in your end of 2021 bottom line. Don’t forget about either.
Don’t forget to read our other “Best Of” lists!