Each year, I try to select one set to complete for football and one for baseball. I would like to hunt down more complete sets, but storage becomes an issue for me. My selection process is pretty simple: I base my decision on the design that I like and the obtainability of the rookies. I’m not one to chase down the hot rookies each year, but part of my reason for wanting one set completion for every year is to keep as a sort of historical record. So I need the rookies. Some sets I love, but the rookies are all SPs or autos, and that will prevent me from pursuing them.
This year, I settled on Absolute. I loved the design with the laces on the side. Plus, the set was a good size, with 200 vets and 100 rookies. When I bought a pack to sample it, I found a good mix of veterans and rookies and thought I could feasibly finish it off.
Since I was only interested in the base set, I took a kind of unconventional route: Dollar Tree packs. Each pack contained two vets, two rookies, and one Yellow (but, really, gold foil) parallel. No inserts, no frills. And it was obviously $1 per pack. Using this method, I was able to put together about 60% of the set--including rookies like Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa, and Daniel Jones—with relatively few duplicates. Not too bad.
But then my eBay browsings brought me to a listing for 7 complete base sets from 2019. The seller was asking $70, with a Make an Offer option. I ran a $50 offer up the flagpole, just to see. Within the hour, my offer was accepted. Most of the sets didn’t contain the rookies, but for $50 I had at the very least obtained the veteran base sets of 2019 Absolute, Unparalleled, Playoff, Prestige, Donruss, Elite, and Prizm.
When the package arrived I looked through the sets, most of which I had yet to see in hand before. I already knew I wanted the Absolute, but I wasn’t sure how much of the rest I would be keeping and how much would become trade fodder. The boxes came organized like this:
Which is strange, because after taking a look through them, it seemed that the seller had pre-organized them according to my wishes. Absolute and Unparalleled came in a box together, and they are definite keepers. Prizm came on its own, and I will be keeping that one as well. Prestige and Donruss were packaged together, and I decided that I didn’t want to keep either of those two sets fully intact. I’m still on the fence about Elite and Playoff, and wouldn’t you know, they came in the same box. They were pre-sorted!
In an effort to keep this post from running too long, I’ll just talk about one of the absolute keepers, Absolute. Absolute was the only set here that included all rookies, minus the autos. However, every rookie auto was the second card of the rookie in the set, meaning that they all had a regular base card, too. I won’t be missing out on any rookie names with this set, even though I don’t plan on picking up any of the autos.
The rookies and the vets share the same border design, but the rookies are a shiny silver foil, which sets them apart nicely. As I mentioned before, I like the look of the football laces. The design didn’t remain consistent through the set, though. Take a look at these cards below. Do you notice any irregularities?
The team logo in the corner is part of the background. It’s large enough to be covered by the border and the box with the player name. Except for the Raiders. All the Raiders cards have just a little Raiders logo superimposed on the background.
The Raider rookies didn’t get any better treatment. In fact, they got it worse, as there is no team logo whatsoever on the rookies. Every Raider is different from the rest of the set. No other player or team has a logo like the Raiders, or is missing one. I don’t know why. I’m wondering if it has something to do with the Raiders gearing up for relocation. Was there talk of changing the logo for the final year in Oakland, so Panini waited to put it on there? Or were the Raiders hiding at the bottom of the spreadsheet and whoever was putting the graphics on the cards missed them? I have no idea.
Whatever the reason, this is my first complete set of 2020, and since I had most of it before, this purchase, I have plenty of extras if anybody would like to swing a trade. You can see exactly what I have here.