My mind is officially blown! I have studied many sets over my collecting life but this one has me struggling for the words to explain. I’m going to try my best but will certainly let the pictures speak more about the set than what I am able to convey. Topps Heritage Baseball is always a challenge when trying to keep up with variations and parallels. Gypsy Queen is another. I am even working on a master set of 1991 Topps Baseball that is going to take a couple of years to approach completion. Those feel like a walk in the park as I finish my first box break of 2017 Panini Unparalleled Football.
The base set is 340 players, which, is only half of the size of the ’91 Topps set I referenced. Of the 340 players, 100 are rookies and 60 are veteran players that have never had football cards before. If you are looking for Wil Lutz and Cody Davis, you have come to the right place. The set also has Rookie Jersey Autographs, Rookie NFL Shield Autographs, Rookie Patch Autographs, Rookie Tag Size Autographs, Perfect Pairs Memorabilia, Rookie Stitches Jersey, Rookie Stitches Brand Logo, Rookie Stitches NFL Shield, Rookie Stitches Nike Laundry Tags, Dual Jerseys, Dual Shields, Zoned In Memorabilia and a solid list of inserts.
Still, all of those autographs and memorabilia cards aren’t what make this set so overwhelming. Here goes. The set is broken up into four sections (1-100, 101-200, 201-300 and 301-340) and each of these sections has at least 8 parallels per card. The three main base sections of the checklist have 11 parallels! The one section with 8 parallels is 301-340, which are actually Rookie Jersey Autographs. Let’s break the base set (non-auto) down into simple terms.
• Cards 1-100 x 11 parallels = 1,100 cards
• Cards 101-200 x 11 parallels = 1,100 cards
• Cards 201-300 x 11 parallels = 1,100 cards
• Total Base Set Including Parallels = 3,300 Cards
I fancy myself an old-school set builder and I’m telling you, my head is spinning. The box has 8 packs and each pack has 8 cards. I don’t even have to get the calculator out on this one to tell you that is a total of 64 cards per box. The box includes an average of 2 autographs, 1 memorabilia, and 16 rookie cards. We are talking about a lot of cardboard my friends. I don’t envision that this set was produced with set collectors in mind. This set is more aimed at the collectors who love parallels and shiny products. The set does not disappoint in that regard.
My desire to build sets doesn’t steer me away from collecting all types of products. I usually focus my set building on retro sets and one or two from the current season. I do like to purchase some of everything during the year to get a feel for what is going on with the different products. Overall, I like this product and the designs that can be found on the card. It was an affordable box by current standards at $99 and does promise to hold something you have likely never seen before. Let’s see what this box has in store for us.
Cards #1-100 – Base Card Black Mega Moon Lava
David Andrews – Base Black Moon Lava – Not Numbered – Andrews is a particular favorite of mine because he was “Boss” Andrews at the University of Georgia.
Reshad Jones – Pink Swirlorama – Not numbered but is a parallel – I promise this won’t be a UGA themed post but my first parallel happened to be another Bulldog!
Jermon Bushrod – Lime Green Wind Chimes – Not numbered but is a parallel – Aside from a possible rookie card, this is the first time I’ve seen Bushrod in a set.
Myles Jack – Yellow Small Hyperplaid – #’d 13/199 – This was the first serial numbered parallel in the box. I have high hopes for Myles Jack and his NFL career. If he could only play QB in Jacksonville. Am I right?
Cards #101-200 – Base Card Black Rainbow Spokes
Jason Kelce – Yellow Diamond Awe – #’d 125/199 – Maybe I’m the only one but I like cards with the big linemen on them!
MVP Matt Ryan – Black Rainbow Spokes – Not Numbered – Matty Ice had quite the season last year but was undone by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the final 30 minutes of the season.
Julio Jones – Green Escher Squares – Not Numbered – This was one of my favorite designs in the set. There is a Pink Escher Square coming up that is probably my favorite card!
Cards #201-300 – Base Card Black Rookie
Jerod Evans – Pink Escher Squares – Numbered 8/299 – This really is a beautiful card to me and the photo doesn’t quite do it justice.
Michael Thomas – Year 2 Future Frame – I pulled 3 of these including Thomas, DeAndre Washington and Kenyan Drake.
LeVeon Bell – Star Factor Future Frame – I pulled two of these inserts; Bell and Adrian Peterson.
Dak Prescott/Ezekiel Elliott – Perfect Pairs Future Frame – This was a particularly shiny card!
Vic Beasley – Zoned In Future Frame – This guy is going to be a beast for a long time in the NFL!
Reggie Wayne – High Flyers – This guy WAS a beast for a long time in the NFL!
James Conner – Rookie Jersey Wedges – #84/99 – James Conner is a rookie darling in the hobby right now. I was pleased to pull this jersey card!
Jonathan Allen – Rookie Design – Not Numbered – Allen was the #17 overall pick out of the University of Alabama and a solid autograph to pull!
Noah Brown – Yellow Wind Chimes – #34/49 – Brown was drafted in the 7th Round of the Draft and hails from Ohio State University. He is currently on the roster bubble so we’ll have to wait and see on whether this was a good pull or not.
All in all, I do like the designs even though they are somewhat reminiscent of another Panini set, Elite. Elite doesn’t have the same pizzazz but the cards are similar. Panini produces a ton of NFL products so I know that the designs can start to look the same after a couple of years of production. Unparalleled does have its differences but may not be the set for everyone. I like it enough to buy another few packs throughout the season but this won’t be on my list of heavy investments this year. What say you?