Review: 2012 Panini Americana Heroes & Legends

When I was given the opportunity to break and review 2012 Panini Americana trading cards, I was excited. I’ve always wanted to try the product, but sports cards always take the cake for me compared to a product based around history. Now don’t get me wrong, I love history. But finally being able to open this product was a nice change of a pace for a (mostly) sports card collector like myself.

Each box has 3 hits consisting of autographs and memorabilia cards. You’ll also find a few parallels and a couple different insert cards showcasing some of those American Heroes and Legends. Let’s see what we pulled from this product, after the review:


The base set features a black and white photo, with a very subtle waving American flag in the bottom. The full bleed, borderless, design is actually really nice looking with a great big photo of the subject. The cards are intentionally black and white, with parallels in full color or with a Artist’s Proof logo on them. The use of black and white photos is interesting, but allows for the parallels in full color which I like. But I’m not a huge fan of the complete black and white base set. I see why they did it, and it makes sense with the parallels too, but it’s not that appealing to me. The US flag at the bottom in color looks good in contrast with the black and white though too. Maybe it’s the execution I don’t like more than the idea. What do you think?


The checklist features all 44 Presidents of the United States, which is awesome. As I was opening the cards I was putting together the whole set of Presidents and was excited for each one pulled. However, less excited I was for the large number of US Women’s Soccer cards and medium excitement for the war heroes, astronauts and Olympians. It’s purely a personal thing, and there are a TON of collectors who would enjoy those, but I was expecting a wider variety. Basically the base set boils down to Presidents, war heroes, astronauts, Olympians, and US Women’s Soccer. Maybe it’s my unfamiliarity with opening the product showing or in my head I compare it with something like Goodwin Champions. I just wish there was a little more.


When I saw that this product was $100, I was bit skeptical when it came to value. However, the autographs actually sell for a decent coin, as well as the parallels. I was a little surprised, but not really. Collectors really do enjoy Americana and it shows with the secondary sales. It also looks like a fun set to put together, so that would add into it as well. Even the plain jersey from the US Women’s Soccer player Heather Mitts isn’t that bad on the secondary market either. So yeah, definitely pleasantly surprised by the value in the box despite a price tag that reaches $100. I’m just not sure what huge hits are in the boxes, but the checklist does show some rare collectibles that I’m sure sell very well.


Overall, I’m inexperienced when it comes to a product like this and it shows a little bit. However, it’s exciting to get to review a product that you aren’t used to and showcase the cards to the world. It also gives a different view, not really knowing what to expect from the product. The design is pretty good, but I have a love/hate relationship with the black and white photos for the base set. Panini does do a good job with the colored parallels and the color they do use in the product. The checklist has a decent variety of Heroes & Legends, but I was expecting a bit more. Surprisingly, there is some value to be had in this product, and Panini keeps some of the more popular people more rare, which means you can actually hit it big in a product like this.

A big thanks to Panini for providing a product like this to me for review. I wasn’t expecting the opportunity to open this, but it was definitely a fun break. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Twitter, or Facebook accounts.

You can find a full checklist of this product on the Cardboard Connection product information page.