Types and Styles of Digital Sports Cards

There are a lot of different styles of sports cards. The sports cards in both the Panini Blitz and Dunk apps are the same or extremely similar to the physical cards.  If you are physical card collector than most of this won't be new.

But if you are new to sports cards then this post might be useful to understand:

  1. What kind of cards you can find in these apps
  2. If any of these cards are styles you want to collect
  3. What other people are talking about when they mention different types of cards.
  4. How someone might value a certain type or style of card.

There is no question that #4 is important. People will definitely put more value on certain cards.

Card Style Examples

Collectors throw out a lot of phrases to describe cards.  The standard term for any kind of patch card is usually just "patch" or "mem" or "material" card but I tried to be as specific as possible below.

example-1color
One Color Patch

Standard patch or jersey card is just a piece of the jersey with only 1 color. No autograph on this card.

example-2color
Two Color Patch

Uses a piece of jersey that has 2 colors. This example is a patch auto that is more desirable than patch only.

example-3color
Three Color Patch

Just like other patch cards but uses a piece of jersey with 3 colors, often part of the jersey edge.

example-auto
Autograph Card

While autographs aren't the same on digital cards, most collectors prefer a card with a signature

example-teamlogo2
Team Logo Patch

With this type of patch card, they cut out a recognizable piece of a team logo.

example-teamlogo
Team Patch Name

This version of a team patch includes the team name spelled out.

example-nameplate
Team Letters or Nameplate

Part of the team name from the front. You will also see cards with players nameplate from the back of the jersey.

example-conference-logo
Conference Patch

Some teams have patches like Chiefs AFL and also have patches to honor owners (Patriots MHK, Bears GSH).

example-logoman
Logoman Patch

The NBA logo silhouette. This example is part of the front jersey size tag. Also found on some upper jerseys.

example-shield
NFL Shield Patch

Patch taken from NFL shield on NFL jerseys are high demand for football collectors.

example-nike2
Brand Patch

NBA and NFL have several Nike patches. Older uniforms have other brands such as Wilson or Adidas.

example-laundry
Laundry Tag Patch

Inside collar tag that says "Engineered to the Exact Specifications of Championship Athletes."

example-tag-front
Front Laundry Tag Multiple

NFL laundry patch on the front of NFL jerseys has small Nike logo and NFL Shield logo.

example-nike
Logoman Brand Variation

A version of a laundry tag patch that has the logoman in color with a Nike patch in white.

example-nflpa-multi
NFLPA Multi Tag

Quad patches with 4 different logos.  This one includes NFLPA tag that is sometimes found on its own.

example-retropatch
Retro Tags

Unique tags that are no longer worn. This patch was worn by the best team in NBA history.

example-material
Material or Mem Tag

Some cards have other memorabilia (mem) or material such as this one that has a piece of a basketball.

example-sneaker
Iconic Styles

Some card styles are in high demand. The Noir sneaker spotlight cards are extremely popular.

example-metal
Metal Cards

Physical cards use real metal but these are still a classic style that are sought after by collectors.

example-helmet-button
Helmet Buttons

In the NFL, they have cards with the button from the helmet where players snap their chinstrap.

example-printing-plate
Printing Plates

Plates that are used to print physical cards.  Usually come in different colors and part of FOTL for many sets.

Rare Styles are in Demand

Rare patch cards are sought after by collectors. People will usually pay a lot more for a 1 of 1 logoman than a 1 of 1 base card with no patch, auto or anything else.

There are also very specific, iconic styles that can only be found in certain sets. A good example is Noir Sneaker Spotlight listed above. Even though those are all numbered to /99, they sell like they are numbered to /10. The physical versions also sell extremely well.  Basketball fans like shoes. Go figure.

In the NBA and NFL, people really like the National Treasures rookie patch autos (RPA).  They are sometimes called "True RPA" because they use numbers on the back.  The Christian McCaffrey card above is an example of a typical true RPA. These cards are usually numbered to /99 or /75 and often have more value than other cards of the same limited number.

But not All Rare Styles are in Demand

Panini puts out a lot of printing plates in physical packs. They are often a 1 of 1 as they unique to physical cards.  They are highly collectible in the physical card market.

Panini has made printing plates the rare FOTL card in many different sets, but these cards really don't have great demand considering they are usually 1 of 1. Of all the low number CC styles, I'd believe printing plates have the lowest demand.

By nature, you can't see the player or read their name. In digital format it doesn't work  well.  I hope they realize this and stop putting printing plates out in digital collections.

Not All Unique Patches are Low CC

With physical cards, many of the tags are rare, often only seen on 1 of 1 cards but usually only seen on CC less than 5.

In digital cards they can duplicate the patches as it is simply a photograph. In recent years, Panini has done a good job of limiting rare patch cards such as the logoman NBA cards and NFL shield cards. For most sets, these are reserved for the really low card counts.

Its important to note that there are some old packs that have NFL Shields with high numbers . And there are some sets with Shields that are not numbered.

The one that comes to mind is 2017 Phoenix rookie prime blue inserts that can be seen here. This was a sub categoy of this collection and none of the cards are numbered. They also had parallels with NFLPA patches.

There are more cards like this that are non-numbered or low numbers. I recall NBA logomans from a few years ago that were numbered to 50 but can't seem to find it now.

Just make sure you double check card counts before spending a lot of coins on these cards.  Even though they are not numbered, I still like collecting these cards if I can trade them or get them in auction at a good price.

NFL Shield Non Numbered

Collect Your Favorite Types

That should cover it for styles. I'm sure I missed  a few and I will try to come back and add in any that I missed.

I prefer to collect patch autos and I'm a big fan of the National Treasures (for both physical and digital).  So find card styles you like and go after them!

You can use this page as reference. But if you see something you haven't heard before that isn't on this page, you can always send me a message or ask the community.

Happy Collecting,

RZ