Card Buyer’s Guide: December 2020

by Blake Hockenbrough
Area 51 Collectibles Card Investments Specialist

Tis the season for giving, and also buying sportscards! This holiday season will give us a great lineup of cards to select from, whether you are purchasing for yourself or someone else. In this article I am going to weigh in on the new releases for December in an effort to help give some more information on my favorite releases for this month.

Number 1: 2020 Panini Prizm Football – release 12/4

Hobby Box Price – $969.99

If you have been buying cards for any amount of time you know that last week Panini America released Panini Prizm Football. If you have walked into any Target or Walmart and seen a bunch of guys standing around in socks and sandals waiting in the sports card aisle, they are probably waiting for this product to hit the shelves. It is definitely the most hyped product on the market right now… but why is that? Prizm for the last few years has emerged to be “THE” product to own for rookie cards. If you want to be able to tell people you have the most sought after Justin Herbert rookie then you will need to track down this product. Right now the secondary market is selling over triple what you can buy this product in a retail location, so if you see any on the shelf I would recommend scooping it up. Hobby product is is making it’s way into shops across the country as well but those prices may be pretty steep for the every-day collector… but it is absolutely THE product to have.

Number 2: 2020 Donruss Optic Football – release 12/23

Hobby Box Price – $469.99

December is prime time football season and that is why my top two picks for this month are football releases. Donruss Optic is another very sought after release. While it might not be as hyped up as Prizm, it is not far off. The “Rated Rookie” cards of any player with rookie of the year potential will be very hot out of this product. The set offers a good mixture of rookies and veterans and for collectors might be a better budget option if you are looking to complete a whole set (instead of Prizm.) When this product releases, I would again recommend purchasing any of this product you find in your local Walmart or Target as it will quickly be hard to find at mass retail.

Number 3: 2020 Bowman Draft Baseball – release 12/9

Hobby Box Price – $324.99

Whenever a Bowman release happens in the baseball world it is usually met with a lot of anticipation.  Bowman Draft offers the first cards for many of the new hottest prospects to be drafted by MLB teams. New players like Spencer Torkelson (1st pick)  and Heston Kjerstad (2nd pick) will have their 1st Bowman cards in this release which will make this product pretty hot. If any of these top prospects have hot starts next year these cards will likely shoot up. Both of the top two picks also have autographs in this release (but expect them to be rare and pricey.)  

Number 4: 2019-20 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League Soccer – release 12/9

Hobby Box Price – $649.99

I spoke about American football being the hottest sport in the sports card world in my Prizm breakdown, but there is an argument to be made that American football isn’t even the hottest football cards on the market. Soccer has swept the sports card market over the last 18 months and we have seen a huge rise in prices for soccer cards across the board. When you combine a worldwide market, a lot of public attention, and a Topps Chrome release you are going to be talking about a winning product. This release offers both on card and sticker autographs from all the top clubs in Europe so there are plenty of big hits that will be pulled. If you are a soccer fan, this is a must buy set. If you are just looking to invest, expect this set to be straight fire and worth the money.

Number 5: 2019-20 NBA Hoops Premium Stock Basketball – Release 12/16

Box Price – $249.99

With Basketball season starting in December NBA Hoops Premium stock offers updated pictures and players on their new teams. Basketball cards are definitely heating up before the season and Luka is still all the rage. This is a complete set box but does offer 5 bonus Pulsar Prizms which will be very sought after. This comes at the right time as a solid gift purchase for the avid basketball fan/collector.

 

Number 6: 2020 Topps Stadium Club Chrome Baseball – 12/9

Hobby box price – $199.99

One of my favorite releases every year is Topps Stadium Club. The cards don’t necessarily have the same value as some of the flagship products but Stadium Club easily has the best photography of any Topps release. The mix of amazing pictures and a Topps Chrome product result in a very aesthetically pleasing release and that is sure to make this a sought after product. Buying hobby is a great way to go here and releases early enough to find it before last minute holiday shopping is needed. This is a solid baseball product all around.

Number 7: 2020 Panini Immaculate Collection Football – 12/16

Hobby Box Price – $749.99

If you are looking for the very best that football cards have to offer then look no further. Panini Immaculate is known for the biggest hits on the market. It would be higher on my list but it is most likely out of most collectors price range. The insane relics, on card autographs, and RPAs make this product all about the very high end market and an absolute gem! If you can buy this product, you will almost certainly not be disappointed. Expect this to sell out quick from direct sources and be a very popular social media staple for the first couple of weeks following.

Number 8 – 2020 Bowman’s Best Baseball – 12/23

Hobby Box Price – $204

Bowman’s Best is one of the last releases of the 2020 Calendar year. I really like Bowman’s Best because it has a chrome look and also includes all of this year’s top prospects and rookies. Bowman’s Best is all about the refractors so if you like chrome cards in colors I highly recommend it. Refractors in high grades typically carry a pretty solid value for big names as well making this a solid investment for the price.

Number 9 – 2020 Topps Finest WWE Wrestling – release 12/9

Hobby Box Price: $104.99

This one is for Erin! I had to include at least one wrestling release on this article and why not choose a brand new product for the WWE. Topps Finest has always been a staple release in baseball and I could easily see it becoming the same for wrestling cards.  Topps Finest WWE Wrestling will be very refractor heavy and lots of colorful parallels. If you are into the WWE I highly recommend this release. Great for the wrestling fans young and old alike!

Number 10 – 2020 Panini Contenders Football – release 12/28

Hobby Box Price – $499.99

Rounding out our top 10 is Panini Contenders Football. One of the most consistent rookie card lines in collecting belongs to Contenders in the Rookie Ticket inserts. Contenders is a good pick up for any Football card collector if you have made it through the holidays with some extra cash. Rookie Tickets tend to be highly sought after so it’s worth grabbing a few to stash away with such an exciting quarterback class in 2020.

  • Written by Blake Hockenbrough, the investment guru for Area 51 Collectibles

All images are the property of their respective company. Area 51 is not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the companies shown here at the time of posting.

A Quick Look: 2020 Mosaic Football by Panini

Panini Mosaic Football 2020

Mosaic Football made its debut in 2020 and is loaded with parallels, inserts and autographs of all the best rookies. The colorful Opti-chrome Prizm technology is a real eye catcher and has quickly become a fan favorite of many collectors. The 300-card base set contains hall-of-famers, veterans, and rookies alike. Following suit with it’s “big brother” Prizm, Mosaic carries a similar look and feel

Here we will give a quick breakdown of the differences in hobby and mass retail product so you the buyer know what to look for…

Why choose Mosaic hobby?

Hobby as some exclusive inserts that may generate interest simply because of how beautiful the cards look. Hobby-exclusive inserts: In it to Win it, Center Stage, Swagger, Stained Glass and Overdrive. Also exclusive to hobby boxes are the Autograph Mosaic and Rookie Autograph Mosaic inserts featuring SSP Gold and Black parallels (which means the only place to get the most Mosaic autos is in hobby product.) Hunt for the hobby-only Base and Rookie parallels Red, Blue (numbered to 99), Purple (numbered to 49), White (numbered to 25), Gold (numbered to 10) and Black 1/1s. These cards are sure to continue climbing the value ladder over time and just from the performance of Prizm in the past, should be worth the investment.

Why buy retail Mosaic?

Lots of pretty color parallels are exclusive to the mass retail products (Target & Wal-Mart.) Camo Pink (Cello Multi-Pack), Orange Fluorescent (Blaster), Pink Fluorescent (Mega Box), and Mosaic Reactive Orange (Hanger) make for a fun pack opening experience. The lack of abundant autographs in retail does make the “Hits” a little less impressive compared to other products, but the Rookie Scripts do pack an impressive punch and are found specifically in retail. From our experience these seem to show up most frequently in the multi-pack cellos, but are found in the other mass retail products as well. Don’t sleep on the parallels however! So far they have kept great value when looking at sold prices at auction.

What makes Mosaic different? 

When talking about Mosaic you have to start with the card design and colors. A true eye catching product that will stand out in any collection. Between the parallels and the inserts there are plenty of fun cards to pull that make this product a fun rip. The inclusion of iconic Hall of Famers does make for some fun nostalgia (although that’s less of an investment quality and more personal fun choice.) The base cards have a wonderful mirror finish that makes the set really stand out and we are confident will be the “#2 base rookies” for 2020 (behind 2020 Prizm.)

Who We Are: Area 51 Collectibles

Blake and I are excited to be bringing back the fan favorite Area 51 Collectibles name to the hobby industry. Combined, we have more than 40 years of collecting and hobby experience and thrilled to bring that knowledge to your screen. We are poised to turn our long running industry history into educational content, helping collectors maximize the enjoyment of the hobby and realize the best possible results of their investments.

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