Panini Chronicles may be the most unique product in the hobby. When you open a pack, you are not chasing just Chronicles, you are chasing up to 20 brands from the Panini family. Look for the following: Absolute, America’s Pastime, Ascension, Certified, Contenders, Contenders Optic, Cornerstones, Crusade, Donruss, Hometown Heroes, Limited, Obsidian, Playoff, Prime, Rookies and Stars, Score, Spectra, Timeless Treasures, and TitanOne. This means a smorgasbord of card designs from chromium to holographic and everything in between. I want to take a look at the Chronicles base set and its card design. It has two triangle backdrops from the left and right side that feature a headshot and an action shot of the player. These are colored to match the player’s team colors. The player name and team name are at the top and the Chronicles logo is at the bottom. Each card features a three- or four-word slogan describing the player. This has some similarities to last year’s release. Each title in Chronicles has a unique design and some are top-notch and would serve well as sets on their own.
Looking at the checklist for the Base product, it consists of 50 cards with a good mix of young stars and veterans. Beyond the products within Chronicles that are concentrated in Autographs and Memorabilia, there are other titles that have base cards. Ascension has a checklist of 20 cards focused more on younger players. Certified comes in with a 35-card checklist. Classics has 20 cards on its checklist while Contenders Optic has 25 cards that focus on Panini’s popular “Season Ticket’ design. Crusades also has 25 cards listed. A popular focus of Chronicles will be Donruss Rated Rookies which consists of 10 cards of all of the top rookies and particularly those that were not featured in the regular Donruss release. Limited has 20 cards while Obsidian is one of the larger subsets with 60 cards featuring veterans and rookies. The checklist for Phoenix consists of 25 cards and Playoff adds another 20. Rookies & Stars and Score both have 20 cards with the latter as very enjoyable with its overblown artwork of players. Spectra has the largest checklist with a Base of 100 cards. Look for Status (35 cards), Timeless Treasures (20 cards), Titan (25) and Unparalleled (30 cards). There is no rhyme or reason as to the card count for each title, but each star of the game is covered in multiple instances. From a player perspective, the checklist can be considered solid based on the players selected but the multitude of players over and over again can be maddening for a player or team collectors.
This may be the most unique aspect of Chronicles and for some, the most frustrating. Because of the broad spectrum of titles built into this product, a multitude of collectors can jump into Chronicles. If you are a set builder like me and want to venture into trying to put together the set, it would be extremely costly and near impossible. You might want to collect a segment of the product such as Spectra or Obsidian. Or even if you collect a particular player or team, you can venture into each title and chase what you PC. In fact, not counting parallels, there are 23 different Vladimir Guerrero cards if that is your flavor. That large assortment tends to make this more of a hit based product than one that brings in the true collectors.
Favorite Parallel/Insert Set
Parallels are abundant in Chronicles in Red, Blue, Pink, Light Blue, Green, Black and Printing Plates. The sharpest title in Chronicles, in my opinion, is Obsidian. It is a sharp black card background that has some similarities in Panini’s football and basketball titles. Obsidian has parallels in “Electric Etchs” that are Purple numbered to 99, Orange numbered to 50, Red numbered to 25, Yellow numbered to 10, Green numbered to 5 and White numbered to 1.
Like most Panini products, Chronicles is going to have the hits, both Autos, and Relics. The base set has Chronicles Swatches in all of the aforementioned parallels. Absolute has Memorabilia and Rookie Autos (this set has 48 second-tier rookies that are a great place for the prospectors to hang out). America’s Pastime has Autos, Material Signatures, and Boys of Summer Autos. Contenders has Season Ticket Autos with parallels. Cornerstones has Autos and Prospect Cornerstone Autos featuring Bo Bichette and Yordan Alvarez. Hometown Heroes has Memorabilia in parallels. Look for more Autos in Obsidian, Panini Signatures and Prestige. Finally, Prime has swatches with parallels.
Panini Chronicles is a product that can pique your interest or totally turn you away. There are some sharp cards to chase but it is such a grab bag of titles, it can be hard to open and collect. Chronicles has appeal to breakers because if you buy into a team, you would be set with one card from one of the titles as opposed to trying to collect cards from multiple titles. Good individual cards here but the conglomeration is hard to swallow.
Overall Score 3.5/5.0