I've been a fan of Donruss since the 80's. My all-time favorite Donruss set is '86 Donruss because of the Jose Canseco rookie card. It is a card that I've always wanted since I was a kid and now thankfully own it in a PSA 10! 2020 Donruss features the '86 design as part of the main set, so naturally it's already on my good side!
Though I really love the Donruss brand, I am not a fan of the standard base card. The design is neither here nor there and has not excitement to it. It's boring. If I could talk to the designers at Panini, I'd tell them to make it so that each year Donruss would have borders that really stand out - like they did in the 80's and early 90's. These are the most popular and most recognizable Donruss sets ever made. If they just came up with refreshed border looks each year, I think it'd be a huge plus.
The rookies and veteran cards come with the '86 style design. These cards aren't exactly like their true '86 counterparts, but they get the job done. The original '86 cards had a darker color of blue. This lighter shade doesn't really do the cards justice. Still, I enjoy pulling these cards out of the packs a lot as the nostalgia factor hits high for me with these.
What's Donruss without the Rated Rookies and Diamond Kings? These Donruss staples are back and look good. The Diamond Kings use a darker blue for the borders, and that in-and-of-itself makes these cards look better than the regular '86 tributes. The Diamond Kings also take their design straight out of the 80's which is a great choice by Panini. My only suggestion for the Diamond Kings would be to make them short prints. As they are, they come too often in packs which makes getting them nothing special. If they were hard to get with varying unannounced print-runs, I'd see collectors trying hard to put the set together.
Panini has put tons of variations in their previous Donruss sets. Some have been subtle changes of wording on cards while others are obvious - like changing a player's name to their nickname. This year Panini makes it clear which cards are variations by replacing the black Donruss logo in the upper left corner with a red retro logo. If you see the red logo there you'll know it's a variant. For the retro '86 cards, the variants have their numbers shaded black with a reversed back. I'm glad Panini did this so that these cards could be easily identified.
One of my favorite things about Panini is their approach to retail products. Panini goes all in! You'll find a ton of special colored foil cards when you purchase mega boxes, blasters, and hangers. Panini gives collectors a ton of choice and many variations. Putting a rainbow together would probably be very difficult, but it'd look great in the end if you're able to pull it off.
Hobby boxes of Donruss typically come with 2 hits per box, but you'll also be able to find hits at the retail level as well. Mega boxes state that collectors should find an autograph in every one, and I've pulled hits out of blasters as well. Donruss isn't the highest-end product, but I really think it's one of the most fun products to purchase from any company. I just wished it had the Major League license. That'd put Donruss really back in the game with all collectors!
- Great at both the retail and hobby levels.
- Hits are readily available in all forms of the product.
- Has a nice callback to '86 Donruss.
- No MLB license.
- Does not hold a huge amount of value.
- Forgettable base design.