Panini Prizm Silver vs. Base Cards & Color Guide—How to Tell the Difference

streak of silver paint on blue background
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On one hand, picking up on the subtle differences between cards can be the most difficult thing for new collectors to figure out, while on the other, it’s the identification process and “sleuthing” that is actually the most enjoyable for some.

Either way, one big area of confusion is telling the difference between the silver prizm and base prizm card from Panini. Even worse, if you were to go to eBay right now and search “silver prizm” you’d probably come across a number of listings that weren’t actually silvers.

And not knowing can be a costly mistake—just look at the difference in prices between a base prizm rc and its silver counterpart.

How to tell the difference between silver Prizm and base?

One way to identify a silver prizm is to look on the back of the card for the bold, italicized “PRIZM” in all caps. Another way is to look for the “refractor” rainbow-like lighting on the front of the card.

(Learn more about refractor cards or continue reading below for silver prizm vs. base details and examples.)

For example, take a look at the back of this 2019-20 Panini Silver Prizm Keldon Johnson card from COMC compared to the base version of the card. Notice the “PRIZM” printed just below the right-hand side of his “NCAA totals” stat line.

2019-20 Panini Prizm - [Base] #273 - Keldon Johnson - Courtesy of COMC.com 2019-20 Panini Prizm - [Base] - Silver Prizm #273 - Keldon Johnson - Courtesy of COMC.com

Important points to know

Now, if only it were that easy, right? While the above instruction is fairly straightforward, it’s not an end all, be all determination. Meaning, there are a number of additional factors and points to know.

Prizm Color Guide (Which are the Best?)

First, here is a breakdown of the different colors available in 2021 Prizm football and basketball. The table guide is searchable and sortable for your viewing pleasure.

YearSportTypeColorSN
2021BasketballFast BreakBlue150
2021BasketballFast BreakRed100
2021BasketballFast BreakPurple75
2021BasketballFast BreakPink50
2021BasketballFast BreakBronze20
2021BasketballFast BreakNeon Green5
2021BasketballWaveBlueNA
2021BasketballFactory SetBlue HyperNA
2021BasketballChoiceBlue Yellow GreenNA
2021BasketballNAGreenNA
2021BasketballFactory SetGreen HyperNA
2021BasketballIceGreenNA
2021BasketballIceOrangeNA
2021BasketballFactory SetOrange HyperNA
2021BasketballIcePinkNA
2021BasketballFactory SetPurple HyperNA
2021BasketballWavePurpleNA
2021BasketballFactory SetRed HyperNA
2021BasketballWaveRed/GoldNA
2021BasketballIceRedNA
2021BasketballNARed White BlueNA
2021BasketballWaveRubyNA
2021BasketballWaveGreenNA
2021BasketballSparkleWhiteNA
2021BasketballNASilver PrizmNA
2021BasketballNATiger StripeNA
2021BasketballNABlue199
2021BasketballIcePurple149
2021BasketballIceBlue125
2021BasketballNAPurple99
2021BasketballNARed99
2021BasketballChoiceRed88
2021Basketball75th AnniversaryDiamond75
2021BasketballWaveOrange60
2021BasketballNAOrange49
2021BasketballPulsarPink42
2021BasketballChoiceBlue39
2021BasketballPulsarPurple35
2021BasketballShimmerBlue30
2021BasketballPulsarGreen25
2021BasketballNAMojo25
2021BasketballChoiceRed Blue Purple15
2021BasketballNAGold10
2021BasketballShimmerGold10
2021BasketballWaveGold10
2021BasketballChoiceGreen8
2021BasketballNABlack Gold5
2021BasketballShimmerBlack1
2021FootballCheckerBlack RedNA
2021FootballCheckerBlack WhiteNA
2021FootballNABlueNA
2021FootballNAGreenNA
2021FootballIceGreenNA
2021FootballNALight BlueNA
2021FootballPulsarNeon GreenNA
2021FootballIceOrangeNA
2021FootballNAPinkNA
2021FootballPulsarPurpleNA
2021FootballNARedNA
2021FootballIceRedNA
2021FootballNARed White BlueNA
2021FootballNASilver PrizmNA
2021FootballSparkleWhiteNA
2021FootballNAOrange249
2021FootballIcePurple225
2021FootballWaveBlue199
2021FootballNAHyper175
2021FootballWaveRed149
2021FootballNAPurple125
2021FootballIceBlue99
2021FootballNo HuddleBlue79
2021FootballScopeGreen75
2021FootballWaveOrange60
2021FootballNo HuddleRed50
2021FootballPowerPurple49
2021FootballNo HuddlePurple35
2021FootballShimmerRed35
2021FootballShimmerBlue25
2021FootballCamoNavy25
2021FootballCamoForest15
2021FootballNo HuddlePink15
2021FootballNAGold10
2021FootballShimmerGold10
2021FootballVinylGold10
2021FootballShimmerGreen5
2021FootballNo HuddleNeon Green5
2021FootballFiniteBlack1

PRIZM isn’t always located in the same place

One important thing to note is that this “PRIZM” will not always be found in this exact space on every card. It can sometimes be found at the very top right of the card, near the top and in the middle, on the bottom, etc. It all depends on the particular set and its design.

Here are a few additional examples across different years, sports, and sets:

2020-21 Panini Select - [Base] - Silver Prizm #2 - Concourse - Trae Young - Courtesy of COMC.com 2021 Panini Prizm Draft Picks - [Base] - Silver Prizm #6 - Tom Brady - Courtesy of COMC.com 2019-20 Panini Prizm Premier League - Fireworks - Silver Prizm #FI-16 - James Maddison - Courtesy of COMC.com

Read More: Select Football Card Levels

See how they all have PRIZM yet it’s printed in different areas of the card? These are all silvers.

One other thing to note here is that some cards even say PRIZM twice. For instance, and for whatever reason, these 2021 Prizm baseball inserts (Lumber Company and Rookie Class) print PRIZM twice along the top of their cards.

2021 Panini Prizm - Lumber Inc. - Silver Prizm #LI9 - Juan Soto - Courtesy of COMC.com 2021 Panini Prizm - Rookie Class - Silver Prizm #RC25 - Deivi Garcia - Courtesy of COMC.com

Could it be a printing error? I’m not sure, but I haven’t seen an example from either of these sets that didn’t have the PRIZM printed twice.

The bottom “set” text is not the same

Also worth noting—we are not talking about the mention of “PRIZM” at the very bottom of the card. Meaning, if you look at the bottom of Panini cards, you’ll see a mention of the set and set year. So, if you happen to be looking at the actual Prizm set (more on this below) there is going to be a mention of PRIZM (as in “2020 PANINI—PRIZM FOOTBALL”).

Silvers can be found in Select, too

As the above point alludes to, there is a set from Panini actually called Prizm, however, silver prizms can be found in other Panini products, like Select. The identification process is the same, and you’ll still be looking for PRIZM but just a note to not let the fact that the card is from Select throw you off from thinking you have a silver.

Optic is a little different

Not to make matters more confusing, but Optic also has silvers, however, they are generally referred to as “holos” and not prizms. So, you can say “silver” generally refers to silvers in either Prizm, Select, or Optic, but “silver prizm” is generally reserved fro Prizm and Select while “holo” is reserved for Optic.

And again, there are differing opinions on this, and one person might say one thing while the next says something different.

PRIZM doesn’t always mean silver

Last, the presence of PRIZM on the back of the card identifies that the card is a prizm, but it doesn’t 100% mean that the card is a silver prizm. Meaning, there are a number of different prizm variations. The silver is closest to the base version which is why we are detailing it here in this post, but it’s also worth mentioning that identifying a silver by the PRIZM ont he back of the card is only one piece of the puzzle.

The other piece is what the card actually looks like. Again, if it has the refractor finish on the front – and is not a different color like red or purple, and doesn’t have any of the other design elements like pulsar, disco, etc. – then it most likely a silver.

About Ryan from Ballcard Genius 207 Articles
Ryan is a lifelong member of the hobby and sports card expert. Specializing in baseball cards, and showcasing a love for flashy 90s inserts and all things A's, Ryan enjoys sharing the ins and outs of collecting, while highlighting the best cardboard options to add to your collections. Last Time Ago LLC dba Ballcard Genius.