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A Guide To European Champions League Sports Card Products

The European Champions League is easily the most popular and prestigious event for soccer clubs worldwide.

It brings together the most prestigious teams and best players to determine the best team in Europe and, therefore, arguably, the world. Since its inception, it has been dedicated to various card releases.

However, the Topps releases in recent years have been significant to the hobby. But which products are your best bet for an investment, and what are they worth?

We have all the details in our guide to European Champions League sports card products.

What is the European Champions League?

Many American collectors have a hard time keeping soccer tournaments apart. This is understandable. While there is one major league in the US for every sport, soccer is a truly global game with a dizzying array of competitions.

The first thing to understand is that soccer tournaments are divided into three levels: international, transnational club competitions, and national club competitions. The first involves national teams playing against each other, like the United States versus Brazil.

The second involves clubs from different countries playing one another, like Real Madrid versus Manchester City. Meanwhile, the third involves clubs from the same nation pitted against one another.

The ECL falls in that second category. The league was established in 1992. However, before that, the competition was known as the European Cup. Established in 1955, it was initially a knock-out competition featuring only teams that had won the title in their respective nations.

There were two legs in each round, and the team with more goals in the aggregate advanced until reaching a one-game final to determine the winner.

In 1992, the competition was reimagined as a league, featuring the champions alongside other big teams that had finished close to the top of their leagues. The best teams (after some qualifying rounds) would play each other in a league to determine who makes it to the knockout round.

The idea was to have more big teams participate and play with each other more often, thus creating more significant revenue opportunities. It worked—big time. On average, four hundred million people watched the final.

The history of European Champions League Sports Card Products

It took Panini a surprisingly long time to start producing ECL stickers. Probably because the Champions Cup that preceded it had a lower profile, they did not understand the potential immediately. But in 1995-96, the first set of albums and stickers appeared.

In 2017-18, Topps managed to get the rights to the European Champions League. This was quite a coup since Panini had owned the rights to all the big soccer competitions until then. Over the years, they launched a wide array of ECL products. Topps Chrome is probably the biggest, most beloved, and dropped in that inaugural season. The ritzier Topps Museum Collection also came out that year as an alternative.

Topps UEFA Champions League products

Since then, Topps has dramatically expanded its offerings in this realm. We will go over each product for you. It is worth noting that in the last couple of years, Topps has changed the name of some of the relevant products from Champions League to UEFA Competition cards.

The difference is meaningful. There are other UEFA club competitions, such as the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Europa Conference League.

The UEFA Competition format allows Topps to include players from teams not qualifying for the Champions League. This can be useful in adding desirable rookies who would not otherwise make it.

For example, Manchester United didn’t qualify last year but feared some of the highest-rated rookies in the sport.

Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League Soccer

Topps Chrome is a top-rated product with a pedigree in the hobby. Indeed, before Prizm took over, it was the premier basketball card in the business.

Therefore, when Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League Soccer was launched in 2017/18, it immediately took the pole position for collectors. It remains the outstanding ECL release today.

2018-19 Topps Chrome UEFA Club Competitions Soccer Hobby Box  $224.95
2019-20 Topps Chrome UEFA Club Competitions Soccer Hobby Box  $749.95
2020-21 Topps Chrome UEFA Club Competitions Soccer Hobby Box  $249.95
2021-22 Topps Chrome UEFA Club Competitions Soccer Hobby Box  $145
2022-23 Topps Chrome UEFA Club Competitions Soccer Hobby Box  $224.95

You could pick one up for $119.99 when these boxes were new last year. As you can see, these items tend to be worth about double that a year or two later unless the rookie class is fragile. There is a reason Topps Chrome is considered the best among these releases.

Santiago Gimenez 2022-23 Topps Chrome 1/1 Sapphire UCC Red Ice RC -DD66 (PSA 10)  $8,200
2019-20 Topps Chrome UCL Autographs #EH Erling Haaland Autograph Auto (PSA 10)  $7,990
  2021 Topps Chrome Paris Saint-Germain Kylian Mbappe Auto Wave Refractor (PSA 10)  $5,600

For a relatively modestly prized box, there is no question that there are excellent cards in this box. You really can’t go wrong with this product.

Topps Chrome UEFA Women’s Champions League soccer cards

The Women’s Champions League has been around for quite a while, since 2001, to be precise. However, the profile of women’s sports has increased recently, so it was no surprise that Topps released its first edition of this product for 2022-23.

So far, the market for this is not great, and the boxes sell for $89. But considering how rapidly women’s sports are growing, the odds are good that future boxes will be worth more.

Topps Stadium Club UEFA Soccer

The beautiful game deserves the most gorgeous photography; that is where Stadium Club comes in. It was natural to bring this release to the Champions League. But as we know, Stadium Club doesn’t usually have much value. Does that hold for this release?

2020-21 Topps Stadium Club UEFA Soccer Hobby Box  $325
2021-22 Topps Stadium Club UEFA Soccer Hobby Box  $189.95
2022-23 Topps Stadium Club UEFA Soccer Hobby Box  $214.95

We have to admit, these Stadium Club boxes hold value far better than I ever expected. If you like the glorious action pictures in these boxes, you can be comforted in knowing they have some value.

Topps Finest UEFA Club Competitions

The Finest brand currently has two iterations of its Champions League products. The regular one is a nostalgia-oriented Flashbacks product. We will focus here on the more popular garden variety format.

The Finest brand debuted for the Champions League in 2017-18 and has since been a mainstay of the Topps soccer offerings.

2019-20 Topps Finest UEFA Club Competitions Hobby Box$971.95
2020-21 Topps Finest UEFA Club Competitions Hobby Box$320
2021-22 Topps Finest UEFA Club Competitions Hobby Box$169.99
2022-23 Topps Finest UEFA Club Competitions Hobby Box$254

You can usually get these for around $200 when new. So you will likely get your money’s worth by holding these boxes. Here is how single cards perform.

  2019-20 Topps Finest UEFA #91 – Erling Haaland – Rookie RC Green # /99 (SGC 9)  $1,476
2023 Topps Finest UEFA Champions League Roony Bardghji Gold Vinyl 1/1 (Raw)  $1,200
2022-23 Topps Finest UEFA Ronaldinho The Man Autographs Auto SSP Redemption  $1,111
2020-21 Topps Finest UEFA Pedri Gold Refractor Rookie Auto RC #P (PSA 10)  $806

The value of the highest Finest cards is surprisingly low. I would expect these cards to go for much higher, sometimes for several thousand. It looks like Finest does not have an excellent reputation among soccer collectors.

Topps NOW UEFA Champions League

We weren’t sure what to make of Topps Now when it first hit the market. But it has lasted and carved out an essential niche in the hobby. You can get these for the women’s or the men’s competition. Like any Topps Now product, the key is ordering cards for the right moment. There is a balance here.

On the one hand, you want to order something big and of historical importance. On the other hand, you don’t want to order the same card everyone else does.

The lower the print count, the higher the value. Luckily, that is less of a problem with soccer cards. Fewer people are getting Topps NOW for this sport, which is good.

Let’s look at some of the most valuable cards:

2021-22 TOPPS NOW UEFA CL #147 PHIL FODEN EXCEEDINGLY RARE!! 1/1 BGS MINT 9  $795
CRISTIANO RONALDO – BAS WITNESS AUTO – 21/22 TOPPS NOW UEFA (BGS 10)  $599.99
2023 TOPPS NOW UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAMINE YAMAL RC ROOKIE PURPLE /99 PSA 10.  $500
2019 Topps Now UCL UEFA Champions League #24 Kylian Mbappe PSA 10 (PR-175)  $449.99

It seems hard to hit the jackpot with Topps Now cards. But I am not sure that things will stay that way. As the hobby gets used to the format, the low-numbered cards will likely do better on the market. There is no reason for them not to.

Topps Merlin Chrome UEFA Champions League Soccer

Merlin was a British company that released awesome soccer stickers in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1995, Topps bought the company after it fell on hard times. That was just in time for the explosion of Premier League popularity.

Until 2008, Topps marketed stickers under the product before discontinuing and bringing it back. Topps lost the rights to the Premier League in 2019 and moved the brand over to Champions League cards for the 2020-21 season. It has proved immensely popular.

Here are the values for recent boxes:

2020-21 Topps Merlin Chrome UEFA Hobby Box$344.95
2021-22 Topps Merlin Chrome UEFA Hobby Box$199.95
2022-23 Topps Merlin Chrome UEFA Hobby Box$179.99
2023-24 Topps Merlin Chrome UEFA Hobby Box$189.95

As you can see, the boxes tend to maintain their value. It is unlikely any will rise to the value of the inaugural release soon. However, there is always a chance a big rookie comes along and changes the calculation.

Topps Museum Collection UEFA Champions League Soccer

The one-pack-per-box product was one of the earliest to enter the Champions League card market. However, as other products entered this space, their importance somewhat faded. Still, it has arguably the best-looking Champions League cards.

2019-20 Topps Museum Collection UEFA Champions League Soccer Hobby Box$829.99
2020-21 Topps Museum Collection UEFA Champions League Soccer Hobby Box$399.95
2021-22 Topps Museum Collection UEFA Champions League Soccer Hobby Box$274.95
2022-23 Topps Museum Collection UEFA Champions League Soccer Hobby Box$299.95

Like many Champions League products, the Museum Collection cards retain their value. Their heir beautiful designs will help with that in the long term. The two-year-old boxes have already yielded a nice profit.

What about singles?

2022-2023 Topps UEFA Museum Autograph Relics Dushan Vlahovic Emerald Auto 1/1 (Raw)  $1,500
2017 Topps Museum Kylian Mbappe UEFA Champion League Ruby /25 RC (PSA 9)  $925
Franz Beckenbauer Bayern Munich, 2022-23 Topps UEFA Museum Gold Frame Auto/25 (Raw)  $599

The singles here do shockingly severely. The market doesn’t appreciate these attractive cards.

Topps Match Attax UEFA Soccer Cards

Match Attax is a simple yet entertaining soccer card game designed by Topps. Every player has a rating, offensive and defensive, and you calculate who scores and how many goals.

The games are a lot of fun, though too simple for advanced gamers. Of course, as a game, it is generally worth less than collecting cards. Of course, classic game cards can have some value. But I don’t think Match Attax has that kind of cultural importance.

Final word on the guide to European Champions League sports card products

There haven’t been any earth-shattering rookies in recent iterations of Champions League cards. However, they still yielded a strong return, especially for unopened wax.

That is pretty much true across the board. Chrome has far and away the most valuable singles. That is excellent news because its wax boxes are not that expensive.

Meanwhile, Finest and Stadium Club performed better than expected as well. Meanwhile, the museum’s product does very badly for single cards.

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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