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Panini Basketball Set Rankings

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Tier One

1. Flawless

Set Summary:

Flawless is an all-numbered set that features rookie patch autographs with game-used patches and base cards with gems inserted. All cards from the set are limited to 25 or less. Flawless is the only set that perennially produces game-used RPA cards, making it a clear choice as the number one set to collect.

Recommended Cards to Buy: 

Vertical RPA /25 OR Any Gold Parallel RPA /10 OR Any Team Color RPA

2. National Treasures

Set Summary:

National Treasures (or NT) is another set that features all-numbered cards and high-end rookie patch autographs. This product is not as limited as Flawless and does not feature game-used patches, but is historically viewed as the gold standard for collectors. The NT 1/1 Logoman Rookie Autograph card is widely regarded as a player's first or second best rookie card.

Recommended Cards to Buy: 

Base RPA /99 OR Any Vertical Gold Parallel RPA /10 OR Any Vertical Team Color RPA

3. Eminence

Set Summary:

Perhaps the most premium basketball set manufactured during the Panini era. All cards from this set are numbered to ten or less and all patches are game-used. This set is only third because it is a non-annual release. In Panini's decade-plus of producing basketball cards, this set has just three releases (2014, 2019, 2021).

Recommended Cards to Buy: 

Base RPA /10 OR 1/1 Autographs

4. Prizm

Set Summary:

While Prizm may be different from the other sets in Tier One given its biggest hits feature neither patches nor autographs, it undoubtedly deserves the ranking. Many cards that come out of Prizm do not provide long-term value (Silver, Green, Ruby Wave), but can help indicate the direction of a player's market. The main reason Prizm is in Tier One are the low-numbered parallels collectors go crazy for each year (more specifically the Gold /10 and the Black 1/1). These cards are widely regarded as some of the best cards you can buy of a modern player. For players with exclusive autograph deals outside of Panini, this is even more true since none of their autographs or RPAs will be licensed (Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller, Darius Garland). 

Recommended Cards to Buy: 

True Team Color Match OR True Gold /10 

5. Immaculate

Set Summary:

A set reminiscent of the beloved Exquisite basketball products of the 2000s. Every card from Immaculate is numbered, but RPAs from the set are not game-worn. While still highly regarded by collectors, the best cards from Immaculate don't command the same prices as the four above sets.

Recommended Cards to Buy: 

Premium Patch Autographs /50 OR Gold Parallel /10

Tier Two

6. Contenders

Set Summary:

Contenders is a historic set in the hobby, but its story doesn't start in basketball. Contenders made its basketball debut in 2009 to kick off Panini's license, but the brand has existed in football since 1998. Base cards in Contenders are not numbered and neither are the base Rookie Ticket Autographs.  The reason this set makes is the top set in tier two is brand and hobby recognition. The rarer parallels from Contenders (Cracked Ice, Gold, Finals, etc.) command ultra-high dollar amounts and all of the autographs are on-card. 

Recommended Cards To Buy:

Cracked Ice Autograph /25 OR Gold Autograph /10

 

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