It’s been nearly a quarter century since Donruss created the first serial numbered insert set. To show what a different world the card market was back in 1991, the cards serial numbered to 10,000 were all very difficult to obtain from packs because of the sheer number of cards they produced. If I remember there were full cases broken in which not one of these cards were pulled. Today, with the exception of the most base sets, I’d think any set numbered to 10,000 would be a one per pack insert.
2015 Panini Elite Baseball, which arrived earlier this month, has evolved from that early 1990’s insert set into a product name which is a major part of the company’s stable of baseball products. Not only do we have the major league set such as this using Elite but we also have prospect-based sets being titled Elite Extra Edition. Despite Panini not having an MLB license, both issues still have a following among collectors.
This year’s Elite base set features a full color player photo set against a silver and brown background. The Elite logo is in the middle bottom while the player’s name, team location and position is at the bottom. What is interesting is the set is broken down into three parts: active major leaguers, major leaguers identified by their college and then a small section of retired greats. The set was issued in 16 pack boxes with the boxes stating an average of four autographs or memorabilia cards per box. When I stopped into Nick’s Sports Cards, he reported good sales at $84 per box, while leading online retailers are currently between $70-75 but several of them are also sold out which may mean a good long-term bump.
Here’s what we pulled (autographs were on stickers):
Base Cards: 58 of 200. We did not note any duplicates. One would need four hobby boxes to complete a set.
Status: Gold Parallel (#d to 49): Wei-Chung Wang
All-Star Salute: Robinson Cano, Clayton Kershaw, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout
Collegiate Elite: Brandon Finnegan, Reggie Jackson
Gold Stars: George Brett, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Frank Thomas
Hype: Carlos Correa, Carlos Rodon
Legends of the Fall: Reggie Jackson
Stature: David Wright
Back 2 Back Jacks: Miguel Cabrera/Evan Longoria
Career Best Materials (#d to 299): Alex Rodriguez
Signature Status Green (#d to 15); Billy Butler
The good news was we actually exceeded the odds and pulled five “hits” from our box. The bad news is none of them are major hits but when you consider there was an average of one other insert per pack that means even for collectors just picking up an solitary Elite pack there will probably be something in addition to a base card in every pack. And for today’s collectors, any pack which basically guarantees a single in every pack with a chance of something better, is attractive and helps why explain why, despite the lack of logos, that dealers are still having some success selling them.
To see 2015 Panini Elite on eBay, click here.