Collectors seem to fall under two camps when it comes to Panini products, especially Donruss. One group is nostalgic for the 80s and 90s and love the “retro” feel the Donruss brand brings. They appreciate the value found in a relatively inexpensive box. The other group hates all things Panini and don’t see cards without MLB logos as legitimate.
I find myself falling somewhere in the middle. I prefer logos, and I rarely purchase boxes of Panini baseball products. For sure I don’t buy any high dollar Panini cards. However, I make an exception for Donruss, and I have tried to put together a base set or track down the singles of my favorite players over these last few years as I’ve gotten back into the hobby.
In 2019, Donruss delivers a 250 card base set with a combination of the traditional Diamond Kings, Rated Rookies, and retro ‘85s as subsets. 50 variations can be found to go along with countless parallels having varying levels of scarcity.
Insert sets are another popular feature of Donruss, and this year collectors will have nine different sets to chase providing a total of 120 cards. The Whammy Set is back as a rare insert, and most people don’t consider it a traditional insert. While the base set primarily focuses on Rookies and Veterans, the inserts sets add the opportunity to chase some prospects.
For the first time in the last several years there are no retired superstars on the base set checklist, but there are a few in the auto checklist. I anticipate this being another point of contention amongst collectors. Some enjoy another opportunity to chase a new card of the favorite players of the past, however, others seem to be growing tired of more and more cards of these guys being printed year after year.
Each hobby box will also average three hits derived from a combination of autos and relics. Cards of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. are hot as the 2019 season is getting underway, and they both have autos and relics in this product.
I purchased three boxes, and in addition to the picture you saw above I also got a few more that I really liked. An Acuna relic and several Cubs make the cut of the cards I’ll be keeping for my PC! I was able to put together a complete base set with the 50 additional variations, and I’ll have several doubles to sell on Sportlots.
Wrapping It Up
The Retro aspect of the Donruss name brings me back year after year. The use of the old designs as insert/subsets only adds to the throwback feel. Some of the logoless images and altered color schemes detract from the appeal of some cards, but others are barely noticeable. My biggest complaint is what seems like an infinite number of parallels. I’m just not a “rainbow” guy, so when every base, insert, and variation has multiple parallels, I grow tired real quick.
Overall, I think Donruss provides a good bang for the buck. It probably doesn’t have the same staying power as the Topps flagship line, but it gives set collectors a nice alternative and a little lower price point when you account for the three hits per box.
What do you think? Does the lack of logos keep you from collecting Donruss? Let me know in the comments below!