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The Pros And Cons of 2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Release

It feels like the World Cup just ended, and we already have the next big tournament, Euro 2024, on the horizon. And it isn’t just our imagination making it seem like that tournament was recent.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup was held late, so it has only been a year and a half. But is that going to stop us from being pumped about this tournament?

No! We are ready for the inevitable stream of releases for this competition. Starting with the unique and highly anticipated 2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer cards.

Of course, soccer fans will get cards for this fantastic event. That isn’t even a question. But is this the one to buy into? A rival product in 2023, Topps Finest Road to UEFA EURO 2024, already exists. Is this a better option?

We have the answers in our 2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer review.

History of Topps Pristine Soccer

Panini is the traditional publisher of cards for major tournaments, such as the World Cup, Euro, and Copa America. However, the landscape of card publishing has undergone a significant transformation since Fanatics assumed control of Topps.

They have not only taken over the rights to football and basketball but are also making substantial inroads into soccer, which was Panini’s stronghold. This shift started before Fanatics took over, with the acquisition of the rights to the European Champions League, and has continued with the rights to the 2024 and 2028 Euro competitions.

This context is crucial to understanding the importance of the 2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer cards in the current market.

We do not doubt that there will be several releases for this, and most will be waiting for the Prizm products. However, Topps has chosen to launch its card release schedule for the tournament with a Topps Pristine release. That is a somewhat surprising decision.

Topps Pristine was a discontinued release from the early 2000s. It first surfaced in 2001 with Topps Pristine Basketball and enjoyed modest success in various sports before being discontinued.

Pristine makes its return

The company brought back the Topps Pristine release in 2022, and it comes with a unique feature: a “pack with a pack.”

Every pack in a box contains a smaller pack (or more) with the hit (or hits): an encased autograph or a parallel. This innovative packaging not only adds an element of surprise and anticipation to the card opening experience but also makes it more exciting for collectors.

This feature sets the Topps Pristine release apart from other products, making it a compelling choice for soccer card collectors and enthusiasts.

The idea was likely to bring in a brand that could replace rough Panini equivalents like Impeccable or Exquisite. The release of successful basketball Pristine products in the past was also a part of this.

We assume that releasing these cards among the first for this event is an attempt to raise the profile of this line before it starts producing basketball and football versions.

2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer release date

The release date nicely predates the tournament in question. Euro 2024 kicks off in Munich on June 14, 2024. Meanwhile, these boxes dropped on April 26, 2024. But there is a caveat here.

The product is billed as the “Road to” rather than the Euro 2024 product. That means it is technically focused on the qualifiers leading to the tournament rather than the competition itself.

The qualifiers ended on March 24, 2024, so they are significantly late for that. And by releasing the 2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 product so close to the tournament, they are sure to steal its thunder with other releases. Therefore, the release date is far from ideal.

2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer Review Of Release Formats

The original Topps Pristine releases had all sorts of formats, most notably “blaster packs,” which you can still find on eBay and some big sports card sellers. However, the renewed release is designed to be a higher-end product. Therefore, it is (at least so far) a hobby box-only release.

Hobby Box

2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer pros

The most significant advantage here is all the hits. There aren’t too many boxes with three guaranteed autos. And while the boxes aren’t cheap, that isn’t too bad a haul for a $550 box.

In addition, 2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer has many parallels. It is filled with color and variety and doesn’t have that dour base card-heavy feel, so many Topps releases retain.

The pack-within-a-pack thing is excellent, and I imagine that most collectors would agree. It doubles the excitement of ripping. The fun is even more significant the second time because you know the best hit is still waiting for you. I love it.

We think you will also agree that these cards are beautiful. They are an excellent take on chrome cards. Topps has a unique design concept for this brand, and it seems pretty likely that Pristine will earn a following in the long term.

The encased cards are also beautiful. I will not lie; looking at the breaks has made me want to buy a box, which is a good sign for this product.

Because this isn’t a well-established product yet, and since it is designed to be high-end (probably the lower end of high, but still), the print run is pretty low. That means these cards and boxes could eventually be pretty valuable, even if they aren’t popular right now.

We will discuss the problem with “Road To” products more. However, the advantage is that they include great players who will not appear in the tournament, particularly Erling Haaland and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer cons

The worst thing about these cards is that the three most prominent teams, England, France, and Germany, are unlicensed for Topps. Therefore, they have that cheap Leaf, unlicensed look.  

Because Pristine hasn’t established itself yet as a favorite among collectors, the resale value for boxes and singles isn’t guaranteed. That is doubly true for the soccer release.

After all, it is brand new to the sport, and it is therefore impossible to know how long it will take. I guess that it will. Pristine has enough of a recognizable design and gimmick to stick.

Especially since Fanatics has the resources to make it stick, until that happens, this is just a theory, and you can’t make money on it. We need raw data before we have an accurate idea.

However, the biggest drawback is this late arrival in the “Road To” category. These releases are suspect, to begin with. Soccer collectors will remember the disastrous 2021-22 Panini Donruss Road to Qatar release.

Part of the reason it did far worse than other Donruss soccer products was the weak rookie class. However, being a “Road to” release, rather than one for a big tournament, was one of the main problems.

Since it came out in December 2021, it had a year before the game. That is an advantage, but it still didn’t take off. In addition, the World Cup is a much bigger tournament than the Euro. So, the failure of that product is a warning sign for this one.

Finally, while the baseball version of Pristine has on-card autos, this one has sticker ones. And with this price tag, that is not cool.

Rookie class of 2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024

The key to the value of most products is their rookie class. To some extent, that is less relevant for big tournament releases, but it still matters.

Fans will be disappointed to see that Florian Wirtz is not on the checklist when the German may well be the revelation of the tournament. Others missing include Benjamin Sesko, the Slovenian forward, and the Turkish Kenan Yildiz.

But other potential breakout stars will be. Most notably, Dutch midfielder Xavi Simons is the kind of freewheeling, creative player the Dutch employ so well.

His rookie cards are worth watching for. Sadly, the rookie list is more notable for those missing than the players present.

2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer checklist

The checklist has some fantastic elements, like teams not included in the Finest Road To Euro release: Hungary, Iceland, Scotland, Slovenia, and Wales.

As a Scotland fan, I am delighted. But it also misses some of the biggest stars from the most beloved teams. For example, Kylian Mbappe, Jude Bellingham, and Bukayo Saka are unavailable here.

Fans will be unhappy to see that while those current stars are missing, many past superstars like Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen are present. Seems like a needless poke in the eye for fans.

The biggest card here is probably the Cristiano Ronaldo-Erling Haaland dual auto. That could be worth a ton.  

Parallels

  • Refractors – (1 per pack)
  • Green Refractors – /125
  • Purple Refractors – /99
  • Blue Refractors – /75
  • Blue Pristine Refractors – /75
  • Gold Refractors – /50
  • Gold Pristine Refractors – /50
  • Orange Refractors – /25
  • Orange Pristine Refractors – /25
  • Red Refractors – /5
  • Red Pristine Refractors – /5
  • Black Pristine Refractors – 1/1
  • Superfractors – 1/1

Inserts

The inserts do not look like afterthoughts and are pretty attractive. In particular, I like the Pristine Borders insert. Of course, with so many territorial wars going on in the world (and in Europe) right now, it may be bad timing.

Pristine Prodigies has a nice look and focuses on those making their debuts.

Autos

The greatest advantage of these boxes is the large amount of autos they include. With three in each box, that is a pretty generous amount. But how good are these autographed cards?

Pristine Autographs

Most of the good autos fall under the rubric of this auto set. They look a bit too much like the base set. But they look good nonetheless. You can get the following parallels for them:

  • Pristine (/99)
  • Gold Pristine (/50)
  • Orange Pristine (/25)
  • Black Pristine (1/1).

You can also get dual ones, which include some of the best cards in this release. Those are limited to 25 copies each, or the more exclusive Red Refractors (/5) and Superfractors (1/1).

Memorabilia Cards

The selection of memorabilia cards is limited, but they look great. One option are the Pristine Borders Autograph Relics. They come in the following:

  • Pristine (/99)
  • Gold (/50)
  • Orange (/25)
  • Red (/5)
  • Superfractor (1/1) versions.

Meanwhile, the Popular Demand Autograph Relics come in:

  • Orange (/25)
  • Pink (/15)
  • Red (/5)
  • Superfractors (1/1).

2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Soccer value

We don’t have enough information to tell you what Pristine Soccer products do in terms of value. But because of the various problems of this release, it seems unlikely that they will gain value over the $550 or so price tag.

That doesn’t necessarily reflect future Pristine Soccer releases. However, it seems like a good bet for the 2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 boxes.

Final Word Of The 2023 Topps Pristine Road To Euro 2024 Review

The product is beautiful and has a lot going for it. Especially the three autos it offers. Nonetheless, it is unlikely to age well or be a good buy. There are two reasons for that.

First, the “Road To” designation is unpopular and will be superseded by the major tournament cards when they arrive. Second, Pristine hasn’t taken off yet and may never do so. The first problem seems more serious since Pristine looks promising to me as a product, at least in the long term.

More minor is the lack of some of the bigger prospects from the checklist. Although that could turn into a more major problem if the missing prospects end up being the ones to steal the show in Euro 2024.

Either way, with all these flaws, it is hard to recommend this product — even though these cards are very attractive and have a bunch of autos.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.
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