Much like when Topps dominated the landscape in the 1970s, there is only one choice for current basketball card releases. Panini has the NBA exclusive and churns out numerous different issues at various price points during the year. While much of the discussion is about their ultra high-end brands, like Flawless and Immaculate, collectors with less disposable income have plenty of options. Which cheap basketball card boxes and packs will present the best value for collectors is something that might have a different answer for every collector.
The age of the collector might also determine the box that presents the best value. A youngster likely will want as many packs and cards as they can get, an older collector who buys for the autograph content will want a box with more signed cards, and an adult collector who grew up buying the original Hoops packs might like to go back to that brand or pick one with the best inserts.
Read Those Labels
Panini usually indicates the number of autograph and memorabilia cards that are expected to be inside each box. Collectors can compare how many of these cards, and low-numbered parallel cards, will be in various releases to find out which could provide better value. Another important item to look at is the checklist for the autograph set, and the ratio of superstars who’ve signed for the product in relation to role players. The mix of retired players to active ones is also important to note. While some may like pulling Hall of Famers, others prefer rookies with an eye toward the future.
There is also the consideration of which of the lower priced boxes could produce the most valuable card. While a long shot to actually happen, someone has to find the 1 of 1 Black parallel LeBron or the low-numbered autograph of a star rookie. Hoops is the first product released every season, and therefore has the first NBA autographs of rookies. They are sticker autographs but it is still possible to find a card of Karl-Anthony Towns that could be worth more than four boxes of Hoops. The Prizm packs do have a huge amount of parallels, and the gold versions numbered to 10 are always popular with collectors.
When a new car sits at a dealership and doesn’t sell for a few months, the price usually drops. The same thing can happen with basketball cards. While there have been times that box prices have risen after a product’s release it is more likely to slide a bit in price after the initial hype wears off and is replaced by the next one to enter the pipeline.
Price Drops After Release
When to buy the cheaper basketball card box for the players in it and what they are wearing is another question. At the start of the basketball card season, before any real regular season games have been played, card companies have posed shots, draft night pictures and summer league photographs to use for the rookie players. Later in the season, they can use pictures from NBA games, and these sets will also have traded players pictured in their new uniforms too.
The sealed box, from a reputable online dealer or local shop who sells a lot of product, should give a collector a lower cost per pack which makes it a better choice.
Panini products at the cheap end of their price range are becoming very similar. Lots of parallel cards plus a memorabilia and autograph card, or two, in each box is usually what you can expect so what collectors need to do is to pick the card design and the card checklist they like the best, then check the price.
Click here for a list of basketball card boxes priced under $50.