Thursday, April 7, 2011

Box Break: 2010-2011 Donruss Basketball


I had put off purchasing a box of Donruss basketball because I thought the price was too high and that Panini overvalued the jersey cards that make up the majority of the hits in their boxes. They’ll argue with you on their blog that one sticker auto and two plain jersey cards for $75 is an amazing value.

That being said, boxes are now down to around $60 online and when I saw a box for $65 at the card show, I decided to snatch it up. What I really wanted to open was a box of Crown Royale, but there wasn’t a box to be found. Then again, it was the final day of a three day show.

I really like the base cards. You can’t beat the retro design and this will be one of the few sets that Panini released that don’t have the background Photoshopped out. All of the blank background start to look alike after a while.


I’m not entirely sure that Panini knows how to do low end basketball sets. While the fact that the green parallel base cards don’t have a serial number makes sense, that logic will unravel as you examine the set more closely.

Another thing that I can’t believe about this set is that Panini chose to make cards of Nate Robinson and Jermaine O’Neal over Big Baby. Yes, I collect Davis’ cards, but he’s also a much better player than both of those guys. Such a questionable decision. It makes me wonder if the person putting the checklist together really knows anything about the sport.


Here’s the three Production Line inserts that were in my box. These cards are numbered to 999 and have a nice big blank space for a jersey card. These cards do have team colors which earns them a few points from me, but it would have been nice if the background image were in a team color as well.


Here are the green parallel Production Line cards. While it makes sense for the green versions of the base cards not to have a serial number, a parallel of card numbered to 999 should also be numbered. What’s up with that? Are the green parallels actually easier to pull? I doubt it, but you can’t prove it either way. My box would support the thought that the green parallels are rarer.


This was the lowest numbered card that I pulled out of the box. This is a blue parallel and it is numbered to 49. Is there a huge demand for these low numbered parallels? It seems to me to be a niche. Not all player collectors chase them, but when you get a low enough numbered card or a popular player, sometimes you can benefit from a bidding war breaking out. There’s also the artificial value that gets added to cards with significant numbers. I did very well in my Masterpieces case break by selling a Cal Ripken that was numbered 50/50. I think it went for three times the card numbered 49/50 did.


Now how much would you pay? It' will be interesting to see what happens with a card numbered to Wade’s jersey number. I will most likely throw this up on eBay this weekend if I have the time. This weekend is jam packed with some great seats for the Sox/Yankees, Chris Hardwick stand-up and work. Most likely the card will get listed on Monday.

I was a much bigger Wade fan before he became part of the circus in Miami. I don’t think that anyone’s going to forget his idiotic 9/11 comment. The team might eventually gel once they surround the talent with some role players. I think they’d be best served trading away Chris Bosh for a point guard and another player that compliments the games of James and Wade.


Here’s the Gamers insert set. The Lopez is numbered to 999 while the rarer (?) green parallel isn’t numbered at all. Not sure if you can tell from the scan, but the parallel is die cut around the Gamers logo. Click on the image for a larger version.


I pulled one of these Masters cards out of the box and it was of Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. Like all of the other parallels, this is numbered to 999. Panini doesn’t print odds on their packs for pulling certain cards so you don’t really know what to expect out of each box.


Next up is a Jersey Kings card of Ben Gordon. This is a unnumbered green parallel. I actually think that the base insert cards numbered to 999 will be more desirable to collectors than the green parallels in the long term. 999 is a pretty high print run though so both the regular and green versions will probably sell for around the same amount. How’s that for value?

The die cut sleeves on this card are cool, but it is something that Panini has gone to the well once too often with. I preferred the cards that looked like actual jerseys to these.


This stuff has way too many insert sets in it especially when you only get one card from most of the insert sets. Why is anyone going to chase a set when they’ve only got one card from it? This Chris Paul Magicians card is also numbered to 999.


This card also fell at a rate of 1-per-box, but this isn’t numbered. It’s probably due to the fact that this is a smaller set so they probably printed 2,000 copies of each card.

In a way I’m glad that I bought this box of Donruss basketball even though I hated almost every moment of opening it. It reminded me why I’ve grown to dislike Panini’s products so much. Panini values their numerous inserts, cheaply made parallels and bland jersey cards way too much when determining their MSRP. This is the main reason why their new policies are going to be terrible for collectors. Every Panini product is overpriced at release. Some of them even have troubles selling at half of the MSRP.


Here’s one of those bland jersey cards that I was talking about. While it is cool that this is a piece of the alternate road jersey for the Bucks, it’s not a very exciting card. I don’t enjoy these parallel jersey cards. Panini also does whatever they can to kill any potential value in these cards. There are 399 copies of this card out there and then another 399 copies of this card with the window cut in the shape of Jennings’ jersey number. So, that’s basically 798 copies of the same card. If you do happen to like the card then just head on over to eBay where you can get plenty of copies of .99¢.


I just dislike looking at these jersey cards. The swatch feels like it should be lower on the card so that it’s centered top-to-bottom in the blank space left for it. Why isn’t it? I have no idea.

Normally you’d be pretty excited about puling jersey cards of Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry, but between collectors tiring of plain jersey cards and the almost 800 copies of each of these cards available. The problem is what acquiring these jerseys adds to the cost of producing a product. I think it’s time to retire tiny, little, single colored swatches. Make the swatches larger, put autographs on them or even pack our redemption cards for a nice framed piece with a large jersey swatch another type of memorabilia and the player’s auto.

HarangodyAutoTo finish things off, here’s the one autograph that you’ll find in 90% of the boxes produced. It’s a sticker auto, but that’s a little more understandable in the first set released in a season. Compare this box and its one rookie sticker autograph per box that was released for around $80 a box to Topps ‘48 Bowman and its three star sticker autographs released right around $80 a box as well. The autographs that I pulled from my box of ‘48 Bowman? O.J. Mayo, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. Bowman had one parallel set and no inserts. Which box seems like the better value?

It might seem like I’m being harsh on Panini, but it’s mostly because they stick with their flawed business models and NBA fans are stuck with only one option when it comes to licensed trading cards. I picked up this box because I really like the base cards, but I would have been much better off just buying a complete set online. If anyone wants to trade for any of these inserts, please let me know.


The Donruss box didn’t have any duplicates and gave me 216 cards from the 300 card set. That’s too far from the complete set for my taste. Once I added some cards that I had from a rack pack and contest winnings, what I still need can be found over to the right. If you have any Donruss to trade, please let me know since I really don’t want to spend any more on putting this set together.

The base cards are the only redeeming thing from this box and sadly you don’t get enough of them. I still don’t think that you get enough value from these boxes at $60 a box. This is more along the lines of a $50 box.




Lonestarr said...

I've picked up three or four rack packs, so I'll see if I have any to add to your trade stack and will hopefully be able to send them soon.

I'd say the rack packs are probably the way to go, since you get 35 base cards per $5 pack, but collation can be also pretty buggy in them, so I dunno. It's just a shame when a product with such great potential isn't as good as it should be.

Offy said...

This is definitely a product where there's a bit of an advantage in the retail versions because you aren't paying for the terrible hits.

Lonestarr said...

I have 33, 36, 46, 48, 88, 90, 93, 204, 207, 210, 211, 215, 223, 226, 249, 275, 280, 281, 283, 289, 292, and 294.

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