Cardbored #2: Best Modern Sets

Greetings! If anyone checked out last week’s blog post, you are in my good graces and I appreciate your support.  I’m choosing another rudimentary topic for this week’s post in hopes to spark some conversation about your favorite modern set.  For time purposes and the sake of not boring the reader, I’m going to talk about three card designs of the last decade or so that really appeals to my eye as a collector. 


Panini Origins may not be the most iconic set of recent years nor do its boxes always produce the best results.  But the sheer eye appeal of these cards trump all doubts a collector may have.  The intriguing smoke and vapors encapsulated in the card make me feel as if I’m staring into a crystal ball, and the players themselves are presented as some sort of Greek mythological hero.  The aesthetic makes everyone look like Hercules, so having an autograph from this set almost feels like owning a piece of ancient history.  Even a mere base card feels more important than it actually is.  
Products like Origins are the innovation and creativity that the hobby needs more of.  These cards are a fuse between memorabilia and art, which perhaps explains how many of the on-card star autographs bring such a pretty penny.  Origins may not be the quintessential set in basketball or football collecting, but it will always impress me and continue to empty my wallet

Donruss Optic

Donruss Optic, which we hobby enthusiasts tend to shorten to just “Optic,” is the perfect marriage of simplicity and modernity.  Obviously, the design stems from the classic Donruss brand whose influence on these cards is well documented.  Namely, Optic uses the classic Rated Rookie logo to signify the hottest newcomers in major sports.  Even to this day, Donruss products are still released using the same designs as we see in Optic, but the chrome finish of the cards shown above is what takes the cake.
My favorite design of Optic (which released its inaugural product in 2016) would have to be 2018, which seems to be a magical year in card collecting.  I mean, just look at Josh Allen.  The poses pay homage to the stern yet classy images seen in 1960s Topps sets, but the sharp outlines created by this new optichrome technology make the player pop even more.  Optic is a steady juxtaposition to its Prizm counterpart, and I believe it has a permanent place in the future of the hobby


I feel like a higher-end product like National Treasures or Flawless should take this spot, and they have every right to. But there is a certain connotation with the Contenders set that prevents me from putting anything over it.  Maybe it’s my instant visual association with the Tom Brady Rookie Ticket, which exemplifies greatness and what it means to be a flagship product.  Or maybe it is just the sheer iconic look.  Playoff Contenders originated as a football set, but it expanded into the basketball realm in 2009.  Since Brady’s rookie year, we’ve seen many stars get the honor of having an esteemed rookie ticket, such as Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Stephen Curry, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and, of course, Patrick Mahomes.

My list is most definitely subjective and I would love to hear your case for why some products should rank higher than others.  Feel free to leave a comment on our website or on our Instagram, and I will see you all next week!

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