A Guide To The Best January Sports Card Releases

December 27, 2022

After a decently quiet December, January is loaded with a lot of big releases in football, basketball, baseball, and a soccer drop. Get the new year off on the right foot with some of these great products. 

As always, here are the CardLines picks for cards to watch in January 2023. And, as always, a feature on this list doesn’t mean it’s a must-buy. We’re sharing honest thoughts on all products. 

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

Noteworthy sports card releases for January

2022 Panini XR Football (1/04) (Moved from December)

XR Football is a good product and has a lot of 1/1s. It’s releasing for $249.95 and comes with 2 autos, 1 memorabilia, 1 insert, 4 parallels, and a 1/1 auto in every case. As Panini notes, this product features some of the best rookies the league has to offer. As Jesse notes, that would be even better if 2022 actually offered some good rookies.

This year brings some new case hits to the product. And if four new case hits weren’t confusing enough, they will be called, “Rated R, Rated XR, X-Clusive, and X-Ploits.” Good luck keeping those straight. 

As usual, XR is getting creative with memorabilia, too. The autographs can feature NFL Shields, Nike patches, team logos, draft hats, shoes, gloves, footballs and more! The word on the street is that the helmet cards are actually bulletproof. If you test this, please let us know on Twitter. 

Shop for 2022 Panini XR Football hobby boxes on eBay

2022 Panini Mosaic Football (1/6)

Mosaic is the stepbrother of Panini’s opti-chrome Big 3 which includes Select, Optic and Prizm. It debuted in 2019-20, at least as a standalone basketball product (It was “Prizm Mosaic” before then) and has been a consistent release ever since. It’s not a bad product – just one we didn’t really need or want. 

That said, 2022 football looks a lot like previous years. It has 10 packs of 15 cards per pack for $325 at the time of writing, but that could drop as release day nears.

Each box contains 2 autographs, 45 silvers, 15 mosaic parallels, and 20 inserts. The colored mosaics include Red, Blue (#’d /99), Purple (#’d /49), White (#’d /25), Tesselation (#’d /15), Gold (#’d /10) and Black (#’d /1). You can also look for the new case hit, Razzle Dazzle.

Shop for 2022 Panini Mosaic Football hobby boxes

2022/23 Panini NBA Hoops Basketball (1/11)

Hoops Basketball is the annual low-end release of NBA cards, but it is also a classic for one reason: it’s the first release every year to feature the players in their NBA jerseys. 

The boxes are affordable, pre-ordering for $120, and for that price you get 24 packs with 8 cards per pack. Each box has 24 inserts/parallels and 1 autograph.

Although the cards are a paper base, they have a wide variety of base parallels that look better every year: Hobby-exclusive Silver (#’d/199), Green (#’d/99), Gravity (#’d/75), Artist Proof (#’d/25), Artist Proof Gold (#’d/10), and Artist Proof Black (#’d/1). 

Shop for 2022-23 NBA Hoops basketball boxes on eBay

2022 Panini Spectra Football (1/13)

Spectra Football is an unusual product. It has the same color and parallel flair of the most popular opti-chrome products like Prizm, Optic, Mosaic, and Select, but it’s never had the wide-reaching appeal.

Why? The best guess is that the sixteen-card boxes don’t have the same following as the more widespread releases with more cards to collect and more (affordable) ways to do so. 

Spectra 2022 will not disappoint, however, for the collectors who do buy into the release. Each box includes 4 autographs, 4 memorabilia cards, 7 base/parallels/variations, and 1 insert per box on average. There’s also a slew of new inserts, so keep your eyes peeled. 

As far as pricing goes, this year’s release is preordering for $900, as opposed to $1400 last year. Considering the overall dip in the market and the strength of the 2022 class compared to the 2021 class, however, this still feels pricy for the 16-card box.

Shop for 2022 Panini Spectra football hobby boxes on eBay

2021/22 Panini Immaculate Basketball (1/18)

Immaculate is a high-end product that has never had the popularity of other high-end products. It’s… a thing. That exists. And sure, there are nice Immaculate cards, but I’ve never met a collector who was drooling in anticipation of an Immaculate rip.

In an Immaculate hobby box, you’ll find 1 pack of 6 cards. Collectors will pull 3 autographs and 2 memorabilia cards, plus a base. Some of the best cards in the product are various logo cards. Collectors can find a variety of memorabilia content from Sneaker soles to Sneaker laces, Team Logos to Brand Logos, and Championship tags to Logomans.  

These boxes are pre-ordering for about $2,000.

Shop for 2021-22 Panini Immaculate Basketball hobby boxes on eBay

2022 Topps Finest Baseball (1/18)

Finest Baseball is a long-running baseball tradition. The $250 boxes come with 12 packs of 5 cards each. They’re broken down into two mini-boxes, both of which have an autograph (two per master box).

There’s a 100-card base set and a limited 25-card extended base set, and Topps says you can “look out for rare Finest Rookies Design Variations.” This isn’t the most popular rookie card of any player, but it’s a great release that always demands money. 

Shop for 2022 Topps Finest Baseball boxes on eBay

2022-23 Panini Donruss Soccer (1/25)

Donruss Soccer will ride the wave of popularity from the World Cup into 2023. The boxes are affordable, with $200 pre-order pricing, and they include 12 packs of 30 cards per pack.

You get 1 autograph, 1 memorabilia, an impressive 60 parallels, and 48 inserts or insert parallels per box. Looking for a fun chase? The Kaboom! insert is back, with a new ultra-rare card called “Night Moves.” 

You can also find a 200-card base set, including 25 of the iconic Rated Rookies, featuring some of the best young players on one of their first certified trading cards.

Shop for 2022-23 Donruss Soccer hobby boxes on eBay

2022 Panini Illusions Football (1/25)

Illusions is a good-looking product that hopefully, will get discontinued soon. Harsh? Probably. But I’d call it a decent, mid-tier product that still falls below the rest of the mid-tier products, and only waters down the overall card market value by offering cards that nobody really wants.

Each box comes with 3 autographs, 2 memorabilia, 5 numbered Trophy Collection parallels, and 10 acetate or micro-etched cards. Again, this is a decent product, but I can’t call it anything more than that. 

Shop for 2022 Panini Illusions Football hobby boxes on eBay

What are you looking forward to ripping or holding? 

There are some big releases dropping in January, and we’ve got our eye on several. Let us know what you’re most excited about on Twitter @card_lines, and subscribe to our free newsletter right here. Twice a week, we’re bringing exclusive hobby news, offers and tips straight to your inbox. 

More January 2023 releases

Other recent releases