The Sealed Report is a bi-monthly overview of the market for unopened sports packs and boxes. Long-time industry pro Leighton Sheldon of Vintage Breaks and Just Collect will provide insight on what’s hot and what’s not, highlight recent sales of unopened product and tips on participating in one of the hobby’s hottest and most popular realms.
With a fascinating season now well underway and some rookies starting to shake out, current football wax is heating up. I’ll run down a few pigskin products making waves, and you’ll also get a look at a hot NBA release as we creep up on the tipoff of the 2021-22 season.
The COLD part of The Sealed Report is probably going to be a big surprise to you. It’s not often you see this player’s name anywhere on the cold reports.
2021 Panini Elements Football was released on August 20h and a sealed hobby box is currently up to around $425. Each box has one pack with five cards that consist of one on-card metal autograph, one additional autograph, one memorabilia card, and one base or rookie metal parallel. That’s a higher count than what was inside the same product last season and the extra card is the base or rookie metal parallel.
The metals (think of a periodic table back in your high school Chemistry days) range from Gold (# to 250) for base veterans to 99 for rookies and on down to the Hydrogen parallel which is a 1/1.
The SSP Nuclear inserts are big hits – a Trevor Lawrence sold for $671. There are Hall of Fame player autos in the product, too. The Metal Moments auto insets showcase names like Joe Montana, Barry Sanders, and Roger Staubach. A box with SSP rookies and legendary autos has kept the market for Elements boxes hot.
2021 Panini Black Football came out back on September 3 and is currently commanding around $575 per box. Another higher-end product, Panini Black has just five cards per box. Each box has one RPA, one additional autograph, one memorabilia card, one parallel, and one base card.
Much like Elements, boxes (currently $550-$600) a chance at low-numbered inserts of rookies and autographs of Hall of Fame players like Steve Young, Peyton Manning, and Troy Aikman. What’s interesting about this product is the box having just one base card. There are 200 base cards in the set – 100 veterans and 100 rookies. Base rookie cards often sell well, so if you’re hunting for the top rookies, you’d have to buy a lot of boxes, which is another reason why Black has done so well.
2021 Donruss Football came out the same day as Panini Black. What’s great about Donruss is that even in this crazy market, it’s fairly affordable. You don’t need to spend a fortune to chase rookies, build sets, or hope to hit the SSP Downtown cards. A Trevor Lawrence Downtown sold for $1,380.
A retail blaster box will set you back around $40 for a set that has 400 cards; an inexpensive way to get rookie cards or just have fun ripping packs open. In a world where some five-card boxes may cost $500, Donruss is a fun buy at a low cost and collectors have been eating it up.
1974-75 Topps Basketball The NBA regular season opens up (already?!) on October 19. We told you that current NBA products have been cold, and that won’t change just yet. What is HOT right now are vintage Topps hoops packs.
1974 Topps basketball holds rookie cards of George Gervin and Bill Walton. A PSA 9 copy of Walton’s rookie sold for $3,499.99 in July. There are currently 97 PSA 9’s on the pop report. A Gervin in a PSA 9 sold for $2,827 in August, and there are just 65 PSA 9’s on the pop report.
While there is never a guarantee, a pack-fresh rookie often stands a better chance at getting those high grades, making collectors chase the vintage packs.
In 2003, a full wax box sold for $986.04 and in 2016 a box sold for $4,469. Last year a box sold at Mile High for $14,044.80. The original sticker price of 15 CENTS (yes, cents) per pack has gone up a tad… even a PSA 6 pack will run you $399.
The great thing about vintage is a player’s career is already defined. We know the value of each star will almost undoubtedly rise over time and the ’74-75 set not only has a few solid rookie cards, it’s jammed with Hall of Famers.
2011 Topps Update baseball. Mike Trout rookie-year wax. Wait – what?! Trout? Yep.
The former MVP’s season has been over for months and the Angels are once again missing the playoffs. All eyes are on his teammate, Shohei Ohtani, as he looks to secure the MVP award over Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
The Trout rookie card most collectors desire is the 2011 Topps Update. A pack graded PSA 9 sold for $175.50 on September 19. That’s down from months past. Box prices are certainly worth monitoring as we head toward the off-season. I think buying the dip might be a good option in this case. Mike Trout is Mike Trout, and is when the value of a future Hall of Famer is down, I like to stock up on the wax.
DID YOU KNOW?
Even vintage wrappers can be valuable. A 1971 Topps baseball wrapper in nice condition is worth around $30. From Michael Jordan’s rookie card product, 1986-87 Fleer, a respectable copy is around $25. Save your vintage wrappers if you do decide to break the box and packs.
While 1986 Topps Football wrappers are cheap by themselves, a group of wrappers from an opened box can bring around $100.
On the previous Sealed Report I mentioned that I own a sealed 1952 Bowman wax pack – a penny wrapper is currently being offered for $250. There are plenty of folks out there who collect vintage wrappers to go with their sets and the supply of 1950s and 60s wrappers is truly limited because the vast majority were immediately tossed in the garbage. They’re works of art on their own.
RECENT AUCTION RESULTS
Here’s a sampling of some recent auction results for unopened boxes:
*2000 Playoff Contenders hobby box $47,970 (Goldin)
*1979-80 Topps Hockey box $40,201 (Lelands)
*1985-86 OPC Hockey box $27,060
*1980-81 Topps Basketball box $32,497 (Lelands)
*1980-81 Topps Basketball pack w/ Bird-Johnson RC on back PSA 8 $9,101 (Lelands)
*1972-73 Topps Basketball box $23,432 (Lelands)
*2004-05 Upper Deck Exquisite box $16,414 (Lelands)
*1986 Topps Football box $6,150 (Goldin)
*1979 Topps Baseball wax box $4,305 (Goldin)