This will be a top 5 ranking list that is updated monthly on the design of card sets! Please send any thoughts or card sets you love to @HostsCards on twitter and I’ll do my best to work them in! While there are many vintage sets that deserve a spot on this list, this list will be focused on modern day & current sets!
1. Topps Stadium Club Chrome
My favorite set each year and currently working on two new rainbows for my PC (Lars Nootbaar and a new one, pitcher Joe Ryan) The photography used in these sets is next level and the different variations and parallels really stand out. Some of the inserts like “Beam Team” aren’t really that exciting to me, but the awesome photography and design of these cards will make this hard to knock off the top step. Just look at this example below, beautiful!
2. Panini Contenders Optic Football/Basketball
The colors are vibrant, the autographs are typically on card, and the design is simple, but unique! The “ticket” on each card is a cool little touch that doesn’t take away from the rest of the card design. The example below is a prime example – the blue color match on Herbert’s jersey is slick, but the orange behind it pops so brilliantly!
3. Upper Deck The Cup Hockey
I wanted to put the young guns hockey cards in here somewhere, but since it’s not an entire set we’ll have to save it for another list. The cup is the premium NHL card from Upper Deck. The graphics are simple, yet elegant & the patches often found on the cards are incredible. Almost everyone will be happy to know that the autographs are on card as well.
4. Topps Inception
Unique in a sense that other than the athlete on the card, the background typically is some sort of color, almost painting so you cannot tell where an athlete is playing. In other words, it looks like the player is photoshopped onto a painting. However, Topps does it right every year and it is not over the top or obnoxiously done. It is simple, unique, and yes, on card autos (Are you guys sensing a theme here?) I don’t love all of the background variations, but some of them are so well done that it keeps this set on the list!
5. Panini National Treasures (Football/Basketball
NT also has NASCAR as well, although those aren’t as highly sought after and the NFL and NBA versions. The NBA version has the world famous “logoman” cards everyone goes wild for & NFL has some of the nicest patch + auto combos in the hobby! A unique color/patch/card combo makes this stand out. This is another set with on card autos and while the price is premium amongst most card sets, the value is long lasting! This is an early contender to move up the rankings already.