26 July 2019

Hobby Box of 2019 Panini Donruss WNBA Basketball

For a long time the WNBA license has resided with Rittenhouse Archives, where the annual trading card set was released in a factory set format, usually with some kind of autograph content inserted randomly. It was kind of surprising to see that Panini grabbed the license to make WNBA trading cards, so I ordered up a box of their first WNBA product, 2019 WNBA Donruss.

Each box has 4 packs in it, with 30 cards per pack. There are 2 autographs in each box. Seattle Storm player Breanna Stewart appears on the packaging.

There is a big list of inserts and parallels, although surprisingly there are a relatively small number of parallels. with print runs of 199, 99, 10, and 1. I would have expected to see more mid-level parallels in that gap between the /99 cards and the /10 cards.

The branding on the packs matches pretty closely with the branding on the box.

Here's a look at some of the base card fronts. The last dozen cards or so are Rated Rookies. Out of a 100-card base set I pulled 89 cards with no duplicates, so it will take a couple of boxes to complete a set.

The card backs look like a Panini Donruss product. You get one year of stats, a career stat line, some biographical information, and a paragraph about the player.

I got six Optic cards in the box, with four regular Optic cards and two Holo cards (I guess you get Holo cards in Optic now instead of Prizms). 

I also pulled a few of the less-shiny parallels, a couple of the /199 variety and one /99 card.

I like the look of most of the inserts. I think you will either like them or hate them based on how much nostalgia you have for the insert sets of the 1990's. I pulled 5 All-Stars inserts.

I got 3 Express Lane inserts in the box. I was happy to get some Houston Comets content with that Sheryl Swoopes card. I haven't picked a favorite team in the current WNBA. The Comets were my favorite team, but they folded a long time ago.

I got two Franchise Features cards in the box. I'm glad that I recognized a lot of the names in the set. I haven't followed the WNBA very closely for a while, so I was worried that I wouldn't know anyone, but I knew more players than I thought I would.

A couple more inserts are League Leaders and Retro Series. I pulled a Retro Series Press Proof parallel of Lindsay Whalen. I think most of the inserts have parallel versions.

The Rookies inserts appeared 4 times in the bow, with two base inserts, a Press Proof parallel of Katie Lou Samuelson, and a Purple parallel of Asia Durr.

The last insert set is Swishful Thinking, and I got three of them. Elena Delle Donne makes another appearance here. I think I pulled more cards featuring her than I did any other player.

My two autographs were of the base variety, with one being rookie Asia Durr and the other being Seimone Augustus, who was the #1 pick in 2006 and has won 4 championships with the Minnesota Lynx along with 3 Olympic Gold medals.

Overall this was a pretty fun box to break. It might be fun to work on building a full set of base and inserts, although I have to believe the price point on this product will come down a bit from the $80 or so per box that most vendors are asking now. If you could get boxes in the $45-50 range this would feel like a better value, and I would imagine that by Black Friday they might get there unless the print run turns out to be very small or demand is higher than I imagine it is.


  1. Hey Raz, welcome back to blogging after the break. That is cool that WNBA is back...at least temporarily....and the collation looks great.

    1. I'm trying to get back into blogging and enjoying this part of my collecting hobby. I do wonder how many WNBA sets Panini will push out. They have a tendency to overdo things a little.

  2. Don't follow men's or women's basketball anymore. But Sheryl Swoopes. Now that's a name I recognize.

    1. I was glad to see some names from the history of the WNBA in the product, although they seem to be limited to inserts and autographs.

  3. Those inserts are quite awesome. Although seeing "Mayo Clinic" on the uniforms kind of kills the effect.

    1. I guess the need for sponsorship dollars is greater than the need for aesthetically pleasing uniforms. I think it would be fun to build all of the insert sets for this product.