Panini Baseball Cards

This article focuses on Panini baseball cards. Panini has a shorter history in the American market than other brands, but they have a rich history in the collectibles world.

Panini Group was founded in 1961 by Benito and Giuseppe Panini. The brothers were able to sell figurines that were considered unsellable. Based out of Modena, Italy, the company continued to grow due to the acumen of the brothers.

In 1970 the company had its big break. The Panini brothers received a license to sell sticker albums during the World Cup. The sticker sets were wildly popular, and they continue to sell well.

The company has since expanded into over a thousand employees creating 750 million euros in revenue in 2014. Panini produces and sells books, comics, magazines, stickers, and other collectibles.

Panini traditionally focused on soccer. Today, they hold the licensing to major teams, leagues, and tournaments, such as the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, UEFA Champions, and the FIFA World Cup.

Evidenced by the sale of 10 million sticker packets in the United States during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the American market had been increasingly enticing, given the American infatuation with collectibles. Panini made the move in 2009 when it purchased the Donruss assets. The NBA, NHL, NFL, and their players association licensed Panini soon after.

Topps has maintained an exclusive license with MLB since 2009, and the contract has been extended until 2025. Panini has a license with the MLB Players Association, but the company does not have a license with MLB itself. Panini can still produce some great cards, but they are obligated to remove any MLB logos or team names.

Panini has a tough sell with baseball cards. They do not have an official license, they must compete with Donruss (known as “The Home of the Rookie”) over unlicensed prospect cards, and Topps has the history and weight of seventy years as the most important baseball card distributor ever.

However, Panini has a large company’s support in order to produce some solid cards. There are some great modern cards and sets within Panini baseball. This article will show a few of them. The Panini sets come in a wide variety, and many types of sets are described here.

2011 Panini Limited

Panini began their delve into the baseball market by releasing the Limited brand which had started under Leaf in 1994. Limited was a well received brand by being a more cost effective to receive higher end products. There were seven cards in each box with two autographs guaranteed and another autograph or memorabilia card.

There were autographs from prospects such as Anthony Rendon, veterans like Josh Hamilton, and retired All-Stars like Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken, and Pete Rose.

2012 Panini Signature Series

The Signature Series, another legacy of Leaf, was the first brand to guarantee an autograph in every pack in 1996. The series’ promise of autographs continued with this set. The brand released three autographs per box.

Signatures has on card autographs; Rated Rookie Patches are first year players with signatures on patches; Lumber Cuts has signatures on wood; and Game Ball Signatures are signed on baseball leather. Signature Stats, Hitters Ink Autographs, and Diamond cuts are other subsets. The highest numbered cards are the base cards at 499.

2013 Panini America’s Pastime

The idea behind this set was to foreshadow the National Treasures set which is one of the most important brands in modern cards. There were 10 cards per box with one Book Card, three autographs, one memorabilia cards, one insert, and two base cards.

The set features cards from the history of baseball: pre war, post war, modern greats, and prospects. Players ranged from Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle, to Mike Trout.

2014 National Treasures

The ultra high end set had four guaranteed autographs, one Book Card, and three more autographs or memorabilia. Every card was something special.

Made in the USA was a notable subset. Numbered to 99 or less, the set had a flag with the player’s country of origin.

2015 Panini Elite Extra Edition

A more affordable box came with the 2015 Panini Elite Extra Edition. The set focused on a number of prospects. This is a set to compete with Donruss rather than the baseball card giant Topps. There are 100 cards per box with six autographs, a USA jersey card, five inserts, and four numbered die-cut parallels.

Major rookie cards include Yoan Moncada, Dansby Swanson, Andrew Benintendi, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., and Gleyber Torres. Some of the cards came with autographs, are offered at different scarcities, or are a part of certain subsets, which can sharply increase their value.

2015 Panini National Treasures

Eight cards and eight autographs are the promises of the 2015 Panini National Treasures. There are 150 cards in the set. There are old and new players, game worn patches, and Rookie Material Signatures dives into the rookie class.

Some major players include Kris Bryant (R), Francisco Lindor (R), Noah Syndergaard (R), and Aaron Judge (Prospect). Their autographed cards are rather popular, and they sell for over a hundred dollars in high grade.

2016 Panini Diamond Kings

There are 96 cards per box in this more affordable set. If you were to buy a box today, it would cost around $100, factory sealed. There are two autographs or memorabilia cards, 18 inserts, two short prints, and two framed parallels per box. Base rookies average about two per pack. There are historical names in the relic section such as Babe Ruth, Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, and Lou Gehrig.

2017 Panini Chronicles

While the 2017 Panini Chronicle holds the Chronicle brand, the set contains cards from other Panini lines such as Absolute, Spectra, and Gold Standard to name a few. This set is also the debut of the set from the MLBPA.

Panini has had to focus on artwork throughout the years due to the lack of logos, and this set reflects that. The cards depict games in detail. There is plenty of text on the front and back. The text will depict a particular at bat, game, or similar event.

There are many autographed rookie cards in the set. Each box has four autographs or memorabilia cards.

2018 Panini Chronicles

The Chronicles brand was a success, and its sophomore year was no slump. Again, Chronicles included cards from several brands, and the brand Score was able to make a return. There are 60 cards in the base set, and there are 48 cards with three autographed cards in every box.

2019 Panini Prizm

The base set has 300 cards, and every card glistens from the Opti-chrome stock. The base has three Tiers of one hundred cards.

Prizm is a well known Panini set that crosses sports. There is a true rainbow of Prizms such as Lime Green, Power Plaid, Blue Kaleidoscope, Forest Green Flash, and Zebra Stripes.


Panini has been a notable addition to the baseball trading card hobby. Even though the cards are hurt by the lack of logos, the Panini cards are well enjoyed. Panini does a fine job at finding a niche between Donruss and Topps, and overall, Panini has continued to enrich the hobby.