The days of massive base sets and a few hard to find inserts to chase ended about 20 years ago but Panini America announced Tuesday that it would be dusting off a familiar hobby name. 2014 Donruss Baseball will mix a lot of the old branding with some modern expectations when it pops back into consciousness in three months.
It won’t be your father’s Donruss, but he’ll recognize some of the elements.
Panini, which maintained the rights to use the name when it purchased Donruss-Playoff several years ago, doesn’t have a Major League Baseball license and isn’t likely to get one anytime soon, but that hasn’t stopped them from producing cards utilizing their agreement with the MLB Players Association. Its higher end National Treasures line was a hit in 2012 but some lower priced products haven’t done well.
Once again, team nicknames, logos and trademarks are taboo, but Panini will try to find some creative ways around that as they launch Donruss about the time Topps is pushing its first baseball issue of 2014.
Donruss won’t be a comprehensive set. Just 200 base cards are planned with a storage box full of inserts making up the 24-pack boxes. Each pack will contain eight cards including two autographs, which could be a selling point over Topps’ promise of (maybe) one. There will also be one game-used memorabilia card.
Old school Donruss favorites ‘Diamond Kings’ and ‘Rated Rookies’ return with the two making up the first 45 cards of the base set. “The Rookies” (remember the boxed sets from the late 80s and early 90s?) is now an insert with two per box and the same goes for Studio, the much-maligned portrait brand from the early 90’s. Elite Series and Elite Dominators also rise like a phoenix from the ashes, with cards numbered to 999 and autographed versions numbered to just 10.
One other potentially cool pull will be the 5×7 Diamond King versions, packed one to a box and some of which will be autographed.
There will be four Diamond Kings and four Rated Rookies Per box along with one Silver Press Proof and a host of other insert cards.
- Putting this product out early in the year is a smart marketing move. If it’s well done and well- received, Topps could feel a bit of a pinch. For new collectors, it could blur the licensing line.
- Two autographs per box won’t hurt although the higher price point could, especially if collectors again say no to an issue that isn’t full licensed.
- Panini had a chance to make a quality, larger base set that would appeal to its original fan base but opted instead to play the insert game. 200 cards just doesn’t seem like a Donruss branded issue but more like an Archives product.
- The Hall Worthy cards look really unique but selections could make or break it
- If Donruss can land some quality autograph signers for the Resurrection Collection, it would help. Older collectors still have a fondness for big name players and some of the Donruss designs from the 80’s.
You can check out Donruss baseball cards on eBay here.