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2021 Panini Zenith Football Review

The new boxes aren't available yet, but you can get the 2020 ones on eBay.

Panini is once again bringing back a 20-year-old discontinued brand. So say welcome back to Panini Zenith! To celebrate the imminent release, we give you the 2021 Panini Zenith Football review.

Zenith was rebooted in 2020, paying homage to its former edition, highly popular in the 1990s.

Here’s all you need to know about 2021 Zenith Football.

Latest release: 2023 Panini Zenith Football

What Is 2021 Panini Zenith Football

Zenith was a noteworthy release because it was the high-end of sports card collecting during its peak years. Now it’s back as a high-end product. However, the scope of high-end products has changed.

It’s a more refined release than before, with limited print runs and the same classy, retro art that we’ve come to expect from the brand. Zenith returns with an 80-card base set that focuses on superstars, top rookies, and some retired legends this year.

The new boxes aren’t available yet, but you can get the 2020 ones on eBay.

2021 Panini Zenith Football Review Of Release Formats

2021 Panini Zenith has a straightforward release. It’s hobby-only, and the hobby boxes contain 6 cards. Of those six cards, here’s what to expect:

Hobby Box

  • Rookie Patch Autographs – 1
  • Additional Autographs – 1
  • Memorabilia Cards – 1
  • Inserts or Parallels – 1 Total
  • Base Cards – 2 (one is a rookie)

We don’t have official pricing for the 2021 edition yet. However, last year’s boxes sell for around $500. At about $80/card, that’s a big risk/reward.

The 2021 Panini Zenith Football Checklist Review

There are only 80 cards on the base set checklist. However, Zenith still has a lot of flavor and provides many reasons to get excited.

The cards will feature the iconic Artist Proofs, including auto versions.

The parallels bring a unique take to RPA’s: each parallel tier adds an extra piece of memorabilia to the card. The Platinum one-of-one with 5 jersey swatches is as high as this goes.

Another popular auto set is the High Point signatures, featuring stars and Hall of Famers.

The jersey and patch cards bring some variety, too. A popular set will be Team Summit, which has swatches from three different players on the same team.

2021 Zenith will also continue the Team Pinnacle set that started 30 years ago, including two-sided cards of star players and rookies.

Want more rookies? The insert sets Epix, Rookie Rising Redux, and Aerial will provide more chances at an additional rookie pull.

Zenith has a wide selection of rookies (picture taken from Panini).

2021 Panini Zenith Football Review Of Value

Zenith 2021 will undoubtedly have an expensive price tag. Nonetheless, that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad investment. Here’s the scoop:

Sealed Wax

Two thousand twenty hobby boxes are now selling for about $400 after releasing at $600 last year. So yes, the market has marginally cooled down since the 2020 release. However, a 33% drop in selling price raises eyebrows.

It remains to be seen whether Panini will release this year’s set for around $600 per box. If they do, I will stay away. Nothing in this rookie class has proven any better than the 2020 class – both have some high notes and question marks. So there is no reason to think this box will be worth significantly more than the 2020 version long-term.


Given the selling price of some of the 2020 Zenith cards, there’s a case to be made for buying single cards. For example, a Justin Herbert RPA /50 recently sold for $435. That doesn’t seem like a bad price for a low-numbered Herbert rookie to add to your investment

But think of it this way: say you bought a box for $600 and pulled one of the most desirable cards. How would you feel if it sold for $435? Probably not great.

The best Zenith cards have good resale value, but they may be hard to pull (look for Zenith Justin Herbert cards on eBay)

Bottomline Of The 2021 Panini Zenith Football Review

Zenith 2021 football has the potential for massive hits, but the high ceiling also has a very low floor. If you pay $500 to $600 at release, don’t be surprised if you unwrap $150 – $200 of cards or so. That’s the risk of opening cards, yes, but it’s even riskier with this product compared to one that has more cards and parallels.

The best approach is probably this: don’t buy boxes at release. If you really want some Zenith, wait on the product to get past the new release honeymoon phase. Then pick up a box once the price dips. It almost certainly will – at least short-term.

Remember that Zenith is a pretty short-printed product that doesn’t have enough supply for a considerable following. Therefore, it’s most likely never going to have a massive resell value. But, on the other hand, if you hold it for a decade and Trevor Lawrence is the face of the league, it will be worth more than you paid for it. Nonetheless, it still wouldn’t be like having a box of Prizm or Select.

If you’re willing to risk striking out, opening the box will be your best bet at a huge return – but only assume as much risk as you’re comfortable!

The same investment logic applies to singles, too. Figure out who your favorite investment is for the 2021 rookie class, then scoop up a few singles once the initial release prices begin to drop. Whether you’re after a pricey Mac Jones or a speculative Kyle Trask, being able to hand-pick your cards from this 2021 product is a significant advantage.

Final verdict: don’t rip, hold, or even invest unless you can get this product for below release day pricing.

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes is the co-founder of Solaro Shades, an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist, and a lifelong sports card collector. His nonfiction work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., MarketWatch and more. At CardLines, Jesse’s specialties are basketball and football cards, not to mention making informative video and Instagram content.
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