Sports Cards Products and Singles of the Year for 2021

Sports Cards Products and Singles of the Year for 2021

A rollercoaster ride if there ever was one, 2021 was quite a year for the hobby.  From weekly record sales to one of the most incredible Nationals that we've ever seen, the year was anything but quiet.  2021 also gave us some of the best products and cards we have seen in quite some time. With the hobby on fire, card companies knew they had to produce, and boy did they.  As we head into 2022, let's take a look back at the Products and Inserts that stole the show in 2021.

Welcome to Pulse of The Hobby, a new column by yours truly, Drew, from {{cta('df0917f9-6925-401e-a24b-d48c9b4e7e5b')}}.  I hope to give you the inside scoop from all things in the hobby we love much like I do in my daily show The Hobby in 60. Today we'll go over the 2021 Products and Cards of the year as we gear up for New Year's Eve and ring in a great 2022.


2020-21 Select Basketball


Prizm and Optic may garner the majority of collectors' attention, but year after year Select has been a diamond in the rough.  With a retail format added to the mix in '21, Select took center stage (especially with the delays of Prizm and Optic) and became the favorite of many collectors.  

What truly sets Select apart is its tiered base set.  Collectors are given three different cards of each player to chase, with each design providing a unique perspective of the action (especially Courtside, one of the nicest looking cards of the year).  Whether it's the gorgeous Tiger Stripe, Elephant, or classic Tie-Dye and Gold Prizms, the parallels accentuate the designs perfectly, creating one of the nicest looking sets of the year.  With so many sets focused on Autographs and Memorabilia, it's always nice to see the base set take over as the true chase.

You can get into our Select basketball card breaks here:



2021 XR Football

This one was the surprise of the year to me.  A relatively new brand for Panini, XR has spent the last few releases trying to figure out exactly what it was.  Whether Panini feels they are there or not, they absolutely knocked it out of the park with 2021 XR Football.

Gorgeous foilboard designs, one of the coolest case hits of the year (the debuting SSP "X" Parallel), and amazing auto & memorabilia options combine to make XR the absolute surprise release of the year. The "Gamers" Auto/Relic line in particular is excellent, as the card highlights the actual game the jersey included on the card is from.  Paired with an auto and the excellent XR designs, these are some of the best Auto/memorabilia cards of the year, and a rarity in an era of player worn memorabilia. Adding Brady to the checklist is just icing on the cake.  Far and away the surprise product of 2021, and one of the best.

2021 Skybox Metal Hockey


One of the most iconic releases of all time returned in 2021, as Upper Deck brought the legendary Metal brand back for the 2021 NHL season, and the results were phenomenal.  

From the card stock to the gorgeous shine that only PMG's can deliver, Metal was a hit all around.  Bringing in the iconic SSP Jambalaya insert set along with the debuting Platinum Portraits set help round out an amazing checklist, one that pays a heavy tribute to the origins of the product, with some modern updates (PMG Autos, anyone!?).

The new designs feel like a natural evolution for the metal brand, and the retro parallels show that the original designs still stand the test of time.  The decision to stick to the classics that made Metal the legendary brand it is, and not try and tweak the formula was brilliant, and led to one of the best releases of 2021.

You can get into our Skybox Metal Hockey card breaks here:




Timeless Moments (from One and One NBA)

Photography takes center stage in this gorgeous Autograph set from One & One, showcasing rarely seen images from some of the NBA's most iconic moments.  

The canvas stock & beautiful gold autographs combined with a subtle yet classic frame provide a brilliant layout for some truly incredible cards. The checklist is loaded with a great mix of vets and rookies, with no two cards feeling the same.  An absolute masterpiece by Panini in 2021.

HERE is a great example of a Luka Doncic Timeliness Moments.

Night Moves (from Donruss Football)

SSP's and Case Hits have seen a major resurgence in recent years, with cards like the Color Blast or Kaboom!'s proving you don't need ink and a swatch to grab collectors attention.  You can now add Night Moves to the list.

Making its debut in this year's Donruss, Night Moves instantly became a massive chase card for collectors.  The unique cosmic-styled design on an all-black background really makes the players pop, especially with the beautiful foilboard coating.  A clean and simple design that produced incredible results, expect Night Moves to be a staple in the SSP arena for quite some time.

HERE is a great example of a Tom Brady Night Movies.

You can get in on 2020 Donruss football card breaks here with us here:


Downtown (Optic Football)


Photo Credit to eBay Seller gibby1_13

When it comes to insert sets, there's nothing like the Downtown cards.  While they are also released on regular stock in Donruss, it's when the optichrome comes in that the cards really pop.

What makes the Downtown set so unique is its emphasis on the city/team just as much as the player.  While the player may be highlighted, the design and background of each card is customized to the team and the city that player represents.  

While the designs can get quite detailed, having a clean silver border encase the design keeps it from feeling cluttered or "over the top".  Add in some beautiful optichrome parallels, and the result is one of the nicest looking set's in the modern era.

You can get in on 2020 Donruss Optic football card breaks here with us here:



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Don't forget about our big EVENT!  We're giving away over 15,000 in prizes including a T206 Ty Cobb, a 2020 Prizm Football Box, thousands of dollars in break credit and more!  For details, just click:



Vintage Breaks offers THE BEST VALUE IN BREAKING.

When you check out for a spot on the site, the price you see is the price you pay. Taxes and shipping are included!  Your cards always come protected in holders.  The last time you mailed a package out had to have set you back more than three bucks, right?  If you buy a $3.00 spot, you get your card holdered and shipped for that price.

Lack of product in stores has been a problem; we see the same empty shelves that you do.  If you can't find cards, Vintage Breaks is your solution.

FUN!  Cards are our passion!  Isn't is just more fun to chat with other collectors? Come hang with us and other collectors just like you during our breaks!  

A Vintage Breaks, we have our main breaking show in New Jersey (The North), to go with our night owls in the South (Georgia), and the West (Arizona).  You can always check our CALENDAR to see when we're breaking.


If you have sealed wax, vintage or modern, that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer.  We're always interested in both sealed product of both sport and non-sport.  Whether you have that rare 1955 Bowman cello pack, a wax box of 1984 Topps football, 1977 Topps Star Wars, Pokémon, or 2019 Panini National Treasures basketball you'd like to sell, we'd love to hear from you!


If you have any questions about a product, break, shipping, or even if you're interested in SELLING a collection, reach out any time!

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