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The Best Sports Cards Releases in August

August, as far as sports cards go, will be heavily dominated by football and basketball releases.  Football, in particular, is poised for a strong month, including the final products from 2021’s season and the introduction of some 2022 products. 

There’s not a major licensed baseball release scheduled (shoutout to Topps for being timely), so baseball fans might have to look to Panini releases if they want to unwrap a new product, unlicensed or not.  

Here are the Cardlines picks for releases to watch in August. But please note: the release schedules are very fluid and move frequently. These dates are not guaranteed.  

Noteworthy Sports Card Releases for August

2021 Panini Eminence Football (08/01)

Eminence Football 2022

Eminence is a heavy-hitter in the uber-high-end category, surpassing even Flawless in exclusivity. Each box has 10 cards, and each card comes in a magnetic one-touch (there’s not much “unwrapping” here). All cards are either signed on-card, feature diamonds, precious metal, or a cust signature from iconic figures.

According to Panini, “Eminence comes loaded with prestigious autographs from the games past and present that include the likes of Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, Justin Fields, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Emmitt Smith, and many more!” 

You should also be on the lookout for one-ounce silver, gold, and platinum bars, many featuring autographs from the game’s all-time greats, and current stars! Of the 10 cards per box, 9 will be autographs. These boxes will cost roughly $25,000, so be prepared to pick between this and a mid-sized sedan.

2021/22 Panini Obsidian Basketball (08/03)

Obsidian is a dark product. Literally. It plays on the idea of, well, obsidian, and infuses dark, breathtaking designs into its cards. It’s been around for several seasons and never proved tremendously popular, but it’s consistent and has a decent following of enthusiastic collectors.

Each box has 1 pack with 7 cards, including 2 autographs and 2 inserts or parallels. These boxes will release for around $350, so it’s a fairly cheap basketball rip – but you’re also taking a big risk when you only get a single-digit number of cards.

Fun note: last year’s Obsidian Basketball boxes are selling for $470 and this year’s class is just as good if not better, so that alone makes this product intriguing. Also: shoutout to Panini for putting Josh Giddey on the Obsidian artwork. He’s very good and often overlooked. 

2021/22 Panini Recon Basketball (08/05)

Recon is a perfect example of a “nobody asked for this nor does anybody really want it,” product. It debuted last year, which is also a signifier that it’s a Panini cash-grab, but it’s only $250 for a 60-card box, so I decided I’d write about it either way. Good rip for the kids. 

Recon hobby boxes contain two autographs, including Draft Night Acetate signatures (assuming we can remember draft night for the 2021-22 rookies at this point) and Rookie Jersey Autographs (a poor man’s RPA).

There are some cool parallels in the product: from unnumbered “Holo” all the way down to Holo Platinum, a 1-of-1.  Each box has 2 autographs and 20 inserts/parallels, so it really could be a fun rip for new collectors or young basketball fans. Come in with low expectations and hope to have some fun!

2022 Panini Luminance Football (08/10)

Luminance, visually, is about as opposite Obsidian as you can get. It’s another set that plays on the idea of light, but it shades brighter and more minimalist. Its logo also looks a lot like the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows symbol, so don’t let it put a spell on you. 

The boxes are pre-ordering for $300 and each box has 4 packs of 10 cards. From that, you can expect to find 3 autographs, 1 memorabilia card, 5 parallels, 4 inserts, and 12 rookies.  This is the 2022 class, as a reminder, so the rookies are not nearly as strong as the previous two seasons (I could eat those words but we’ll see).

We haven’t gotten previews of the cards yet, but in the past the rookies have been in their college jerseys, and that really brings down the value in the long run. If that’s the case once again, we’d recommend this product as a stay-away. 

2021 Panini Select Football (08/10)

2021 Select Football will finally be rounding out the optichrome big three (joining Prizm and Optic) in August.  It’s a product known for its three tiers of scarcity, making it something that requires a bit of inside info to properly collect. The $1,200 boxes include 2 autographs, 1 memorabilia, 10 silvers, 5 other prizms, and 6 inserts.

One of the product’s most noteworthy cards is the “mystery XRC redemptions,” which can be exchanged for a draft pick based on position (for example, “Wide Reciever #3”). These make draft night a lot of fun under normal circumstances, but given the lateness of the release, some of the appeal is gone for the XRC set. Still, Select promises to be incredibly popular yet again.


2022 Panini Donruss Elite Football (08/17)

Elite has been around for over a decade, so it has some history at this point. That does not, however, make it an appealing product. While it might be Donruss “Elite,” the vast majority of collectors would still prefer standard Donruss and its Rated Rookies.

Elite has a $350 price tag for 20 packs per box with 5 cards per pack, and you can expect to pull 2 autos, 1 memorabilia card, 3 rookies, 6 parallels, and 11 inserts among the 100 cards. Limiting the number of rookies per box seems like a good idea because of scarcity, but Elite did the same thing last year and most of the rookies didn’t retain much value (probably because they’re in their college uniforms).

There are three new case hits to chase this year, too: A-List, Star Watch and Whiz Kids! While it might seem nice to see three different case hits, Prestige did the same thing last year, and none of them really took off. 

2022 Panini Gold Standard Football  (08/24)

Gold Standard is probably the best 2022 football product releasing in August, but that’s a pretty low bar to clear. The best thing about Gold Standard, at least in the past, is that it’s the first product to feature rookies in their NFL uniforms, so if that’s once again the case, it’s a product that could hold more long-term value. 

The boxes are pre-ordering for $500 and each box has 7 cards: 5 autos or memorabilia and 2 base/parallels. It’s a nice number of hits, but also the most expensive, risky 2022 football product slated to release through August. As Panini notes, “Look for Rookie Jersey Autographs of all the top drafted 2022 Rookies!

Also, find the short-printed Rookie Jersey Autographs Double and Rookie Jersey Autographs Triple, which feature multiple swatches and parallel to Prime (max #’d /49) and Tag (#’d 1/1)!” While there isn’t a ton of hype about the ‘22 rookie class, this could be the product that finally gets everybody excited. 

2022 Panini Chronicles Racing (08/26)

Chronicles Racing releases at just $150 and contains 3 autographs and a memorabilia card in its 48 card format. If you’re into racing, that’s a pretty nice price-to-hit ratio (I just made that term up so don’t overthink it).

In Chronicles fashion, it blends together a lot of popular Panini brands under one brand umbrella, giving some variety in every single pack. You’ll find a blend of brands and cards, from C2S, optichrome, holographics, and PETG substrates in every box. 

2021/22 Panini Donruss Optic Basketball (08/31)

Donruss Optic basketball is one of the best basketball products on the market and it has been since 2015-16, its release year. The drawback is that boxes cost $750 as a preorder. They do, at least, have a lot of cards.

Expect 20 packs of 4 cards per box, with 1 autograph and 20 inserts/parallels. If that sounds familiar to you, that’s because Optic hasn’t changed its formula since its release, but that keeps it feelings classic and consistent. The rainbow is back and as strong as ever, too.

Per Panini, “Chase after Base and Rated Rookie Hobby exclusive parallels such as Photon, Orange (#’d/199), Lime Green (#’d/149), Red (#’d/99), Pink Velocity (#’d/79), Blue (#’d/59), Black Velocity (#’d/39), Gold (#’d/10), Green (#’d/5) and one of one Gold Vinyl.” This is a very popular product that serious basketball fans and collectors should consider. 

Other August releases

While they may not be the cream of the crop, other products released during August as well:

Previous Month Releases

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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