It's that magical time of year again. The weather is getting colder. Snow will soon be falling. There will be beautiful holiday decorations at every turn. Jolly Old Saint Nick will be making his rounds and Mariah Carey's voice will be on every audio device known to mankind.
Yes, it's the holiday season.
With that in mind, we offer a number of great gift ideas for the sports card collector in all of us.
2021 Topps Update Baseball
This is a highly anticipated product each year as we get to see a number of star rookies appear in the prestigious Topps set. You will also find most of the players that have been traded showing up in their brand-new uniforms in this final Topps Series of the season. It's the third and final flagship Topps product each year following Topps Series 1 and Topps Series 2.
Will we come back to this product in a few years to find the 2021 version of the 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout RC? Maybe, maybe not. This product is filled with a wide range of jerseys, autographs and other memorabilia as well as a never-ending number of numbered cards. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the extremely popular photo variations found in the product as well from SPs to SSPs and beyond. It's a home run each year and would be gladly accepted by any sports collector you're looking to give a gift to this holiday season.
2021 Topps Transcendent
The Transcendent collection was the original super premium product in baseball circles ... and for good reason. It is super premium. The box prices run well into five figures as it offers super premium cards and one-of-one offerings literally from front to back.
Each amazing box offers one Full Transcendent Icons Base Set of 50 cards. The 50 Transcendent Collection Autographs (#/25 or less) in each box also offers one of each Transcendent Icons Gold Deco Autograph (1/1), 1957 Topps Superfractor Autograph (1/1), Through the Years Autograph (1/1), Autographed Patch or Autograph Bat Knob/Nameplate Book (1/1), and one breathtaking Oversized Cut Signature, Dual Cut Signature or Oversized Letter Autograph (1/1) featuring the likes of King Henry, Babe Ruth, Thomas Edison and other sports and cultural icons. You will also get an Original Art Sketch or Original Art Sketch Relic. The coup de gras is the prestigious Topps VIP Party Invitation.
2020-21 Donruss Optic Premium Box Set
Factory sets were a hot commodity and made great gifts during my childhood in the ’80s. They eventually went by the wayside when most collectors stopped collecting sets and focused on singles and inserts. Refreshingly, they are back, and in the case of 2020-21 Donruss Optic Premium, they are back in a big way.
Similar to last year's set, the entire base set of the current season's Donruss Optic is placed on a special Kaleidoscope premium stock, including all 50 Rated Rookies. A product offered exclusively on the Panini website, this premium product will be limited to 249 boxed sets, with each factory set boosting a Rated Rookie autograph numbered to just 10 copies. The product dropped on the Panini website on Oct. 15, so you may have to do some searching on the secondary market, but it would be well worth your time as the recipient will be over the moon to get this product.
2020-21 Panini Mosaic
Since its first release just a few years ago, Mosaic has positioned itself near Prizm and Select in the hierarchy as another shiny mid-level option for basketball fans. This set offers the classic shine and brings back the popular Silver and various Mosaic multicolored parallels. The Hobby-only insert lineup consists of Center Stage, Overdrive, Stained Glass, Straight Fire and Swagger.
Hobby boxes offer one autograph of a veteran or rookie standout. Each hobby box boasts the aforementioned autographs with five Silvers and 15 Mosaics for a grand total of 20 inserts. This is a great option at a somewhat reasonable price for a savvy collector on your gift list.
2020-21 Panini Chronicles
This product is a good fit for the person with ADD on your list as it will boast 10-plus different products all packed into one. It's a great product full of variety and, for that reason, a fun box to open. This year's version will continue to feature veterans and a plethora of rookies in all the various formats.
Expect to find fan favorite brands such as Donruss Optic Traded, Gala (Hobby only), Gold Standard (Hobby only), Limited (Hobby only), Majestic (Hobby only), Plates & Patches (Hobby only), Prizm Update and Titanium (Hobby only). There will be a wide range of rookie and veteran autographs and even some legends. Expect to find two autographs per hobby box, on average. This is a solid gift for a semi-serious collector on your list.
2021 Donruss Factory Set
Yet another factory set finds its way onto the holiday list. As you would expect you'll find every base card from the entire set in the factory box, including 250 veterans, 100 rookies and the 50 photo variation cards. There is both a retail and Hobby version of the factory set, as the Hobby version adds five random cards from the Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Preview Holos bonus insert. This might be a nice pick for a young kid who would like to collect an entire base set and have a solid rookie card of all of this year's first-year standouts.
2021 National Treasures Collegiate
To borrow a familiar college football phrase, this is the granddaddy of them all when it comes to college football cards. The high-end, eight-card Hobby boxes rumble down the field at nearly $1,000 a box and offer seven hits in the eight-card boxes. You will find absolutely beautiful cards of the rookies in their college uniforms, featuring the College Material Signatures and College Silhouettes Signatures subsets. Other signed options come via Brand Logo Signatures, Dual Signatures and College Materials Signature Booklets.
You can find a wide range of memorabilia cards as always in NT, including Brand Logo, Rookie Silhouettes, Team Dual Materials, Team Trio Materials and many more.
All in all, this is a beautiful product but to give it as a gift, your recipient better have been a very good boy or girl this year.
2021 Upper Deck All Elite Wrestling AEW
This is a monumental set on a few levels. This will be the first wrestling product Upper Deck has ever produced, and in turn, it's also the first AEW set produced under Upper Deck's new exclusive multi-year deal with the upstart wrestling company. The cards will be found in hobby shops and on Upper Deck's exclusive epack platform.
The physical set offers a wide range of insert sets, including bringing an entirely new meaning to the Upper Deck Canvas cards, as well as offering inserts titled Top Rope where you can see AEW champion Kenny Omega and other stars in mid-flight and Rhodes To Success, a 10-card tribute set to wrestler and company exec Cody Rhodes.
There is a wide range of autographs, including base autographs featuring Legends such as Sting and others and the incredibly tough Dotted Line autograph series featuring current stars such as Darby Allin. You can find Base memorabilia cards featuring a wide range of AEW stars. The hobby box offers one Base Finisher/Callout/1st Edition Parallel, five Base Pyro Parallels, 16 Base Gold Parallels, two Additional Parallels (#'d and/or Dynamite), four UD Canvas Cards, 16 Inserts (Main Features, Rhodes to Success and/or Top Rope), three Silver Insert Parallels (Main Features, Rhodes to Success and/or Top Rope), so there's no shortage of body slams and piledrivers in the box.
2021 Panini Chronicles UFC
For the first time ever the sport of Mixed Martial Arts gets the Panini Chronicles treatment, which means a dizzying array of double-digit products all under the Chronicles banner.
Opening packs and boxes might be like trying to trade punches and kicks with Jon Jones. With over 20 different base sets, 2021 Panini Chronicles UFC takes this fight into the championship rounds. The Base Brand Designs Rundown includes the base Sets, including Contenders Optic Season Ticket, Donruss Optic Rated Rookie, Flux, Illusions, Origins, Rookies & Stars Crusade, Spectra and Hobby Exclusives in Gala, National Treasures and Noir. Chronicles UFC offers plenty of variety with autographs in Contenders Rookie Ticket, Flux Signatures, National Pride Signatures and National Treasures Memorabilia Autographs. The spectacular Crown Royale Silhouettes is exclusive to Hobby boxes.
The hobby box breakdown includes: 8 cards per pack, 6 packs per box, 12 boxes per case. This product is reserved for the toughest gift recipient on your list.