Much like Topps Archives, Panini Classics is one of my preferred sets for building among current releases. With so many football releases, I have to just pick a couple that I am going to invest in for boxes and focus on them. I like to pick up packs of as many products as I can get my hands on to experience them but this is one that I really enjoyed ripping last year. It’s a very reasonable set when it comes to pricing and has a very interesting checklist with current stars, hall of famers and some past stars I haven’t thought about since I was a kid. A lot of Panini sets include retired stars but this one has a legitimate vintage feel to me.Much like Archives, you also get a shot at a retired player autograph which is something I love adding to my PC. I remember pulling Harold Carmichael last year and was pretty excited about it. My biggest football pull in the last few years came in 2016 Classics with this Hines Ward #’d to 25! By the time I pulled this, a Classics box was down to about $36. So again, similar to Archives, you can pull a lot of basic semi-stars from yesteryear but you can also stumble on a big hit every now and then. For me, I don’t ask for much more than that. You know me as the guy who loves to break ’89 Donruss so do you really see me busting National Treasures to get those huge hits that are floating around?Today, many of my life’s decisions are about the level of risk I’m willing to take. A nostalgic guy who loves collecting at its roots is not a big risk taker by nature. And that’s really what Panini Classics is; a fairly low risk with a heavy dose of nostalgia, a guaranteed auto and the chance for the occasional jaw dropper. The box is currently running about $70 for 14 packs. The average box promises one autograph, one memorabilia card, a rookie in each pack and one sepia short print (new for 2017). The base set is 300 cards with Current Stars located 1-100, Legends 101-200 and Rookies 201-300. The design itself does not pull from a previous set like Archives and is simply a play on the card sets of my youth. Think about the old Wax I talked about HERE and add some gloss to them. Even the box and packs have a retro look to them. I was able to save a few packs in this box break for my pack collection.
The checklist for 1-100 is just how you would imagine. The likes of these three players pictured along with Brady, Luck, Julio, AJ, Freeman and others. Each photo has a pretty cool shot of the player that is very clear with the background being a bit hazy. It reminds me of the new “portrait” feature on the iPhone, which I love by the way. I may have to use that feature for my next personal Topps card!
Here is where I get my money’s worth. This is an unbelievable checklist for an 80’s-90’s DORK such as myself. No retro set is complete without Bo. And look at that sweet Deion in the black jersey. There are also 2 TSB Legends in Ickey Woods and Christian Okoye. I love this section of the checklist.
I’m not sold on the 2017 rookie class just yet outside of the top running backs but I’m sure there will be some that hit. One thing is for sure; it’s got a fair share of Alabama players which hopefully is a good sign for the rest of us in the SEC this year. Odds are that they’ll just reload like they always do but they lost some major talent.
This insert shows a player in the uniforms they wore during their career. There are some solid names here with Peyton Manning, Jerome Bettis, Marcus Allen and others. The most teams I’ve seen on a card in this checklist is 3. I actually forgot about Emmitt’s time in AZ until seeing this card.
This insert features 2 players that had epic matchups over the last 30 years. There are duos like Rice/Deion, Montana/Young, OBJ/Norman and Favre/Rodgers. You know that Howie and Montana had some memorable Bay Area matchups back in the day!
As you can guess by the name and this card, this insert features a current star with a player that they emulate or were similar too from the past. There are duos like Ronnie Lott/Kam Chancellor, Brett Favre/Matt Ryan and Devin Hester/Ty”Freak” Hill included.
This insert features a coordinated front and back effort to show stars in their NFL and College uniforms. Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Brian Urlacher and Julio Jones headline this checklist. I always enjoy seeing players in their college colors.
I don’t know what it is but this is already my favorite base insert of the last several years. I don’t know if it’s the Atari look or what but this design just hits me hard! Luckily, I pulled a Matty Ice as my first card too. Unfortunately, I also pulled Cam Newton and Drew Brees, division foes. But this card is slick! Autographed would be the only way to top this design.
This insert set is just what you think by the name. And what Super Bowl Hero set is complete without Joe Montana? The checklist includes Terrell Davis, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Terry Bradshaw and others.
Each card in the set has a gold parallel but they don’t appear to be extremely rare. I pulled 4 in the box of 14 packs.
These are found one per box on average but I got lucky and pulled a second with Steve Largent, not pictured. Not only is it a sepia exposure, the image is different as well, as shown above.
I pulled a nice Russell Wilson patch but it was a basic one color, numbered to 250. I don’t get overly excited about patch cards but I’m pleased it was a star player.
I didn’t pull a retired player like I prefer but I did pull a rookie I have some familiarity with. I hope he performs well in Minnesota and not just because I pulled his auto. The Auto is numbered to 199 and it is a Sticker Auto. We will save the Sticker vs On Card debate for another post.
After I pulled the stated hits in the box, I was excited to see this 1/1 Cameron Wake Timeless Tributes. I like the way Panini makes their 1 of 1 logo a little different than all the other serial numbers. This was an added bonus!
Classics is one of those sets that people either really like or they feel is just “meh”. It’s not a set that will grab the attention of the thrill seekers but it is a solid set for the old school collector in my opinion. In a world where hobby boxes continue to increase in pizazz and cost, Classics remains a reasonable option for the simple cardboard cravings of a collector on a budget. You can still go out and buy 2016 for less than $40 and there are some solid stars to be found. I’ll be picking up a couple more boxes of the product this year. I’m going to give it a 4 on the Dub-O-Meter. Because of the cost and checklist, it’s worthy of ripping and collecting. If it provided 2 autos or 1 guaranteed veteran auto, I could stretch it to a 5. No matter how I finish off the scoring, it is a product I’d recommend if you are a collector like me.
1. Let me be the sacrificial lamb so you don’t have to buy these cards. Just read the post and thank me later.
2. There is worse but there is much better – not worth the effort though.
3. Middle of the road – I wouldn’t talk you into buying these but I certainly wouldn’t talk you out of them.
4. You should probably go out and buy a box and enjoy the rip – I did! It has some downside but worth the ride.
5. Stop reading and find a box to buy and get to Breaking! What are you waiting on?