Basketball card


I took a leap of faith and bid on and won my first team specific box break last month and wanted to share the results to give other collectors a look at what I got. Spoiler alert – my first experience wasn’t great, but I’ll probably give it one or two more tries before giving up on it as a way to pursue collecting in a more affordable way.

I just want to say I miss the days when you could get a decent box for between $100-$150. The prices for some boxes now are outrageous – when Walmart (yes, WALMART) is selling a Donruss Elite box for $850 you know prices are way out of wack. I don’t think I would every pay more than $200 for a box, but maybe I’m just too cheap and too old school.

Anyway – like it says in the title of this post, I paid for all Celtics cards from one eBayer’s 10 blaster boxes of 2019-20 Panini Illusions basketball cards. Other than the extremely slow shipping from the person I purchased from, it was an otherwise decent experience. I paid $21.50 for the privilege of receiving all Celtic player cards, so with shipping ($3) and tax, it came to just under $26.

What’d I Pull?

Across the 10 blaster boxes, I got 19 cards altogether. I have nothing to compare that to so I’m not sure if that is a good, bad, or an average quantity of cards. But far more important than quantity is quality, and from a general card design perspective, I’m really happy with how these cards look. The 17 base cards I received all have a nice high gloss refractor-like finish, featuring an action image of each player in the center and a secondary black and white image off to the side.

Among those 19 total cards were 17 base cards, and among those base cards were 10 rookie cards. There was also a base card of Jaylen Brown (card #141) that had a different background to it; in addition to the normal background there were refractor-like stars scattered about and I was happy to see the seller put that card in a hard plastic before shipping it. After a little research, I learned this was the Starlight parallel.

2019-2020 Panini Illusions Jaylen Brown Starlight (#141)

My excitement for this card faded slightly when I saw the selling prices on eBay. The prices for this card were all over the map, with one seller listing it for $10, two for $40, and one ambitious seller listing it for $80. So while it looks nice I can’t easily value it right now – maybe it is the hit I was hoping far. So just based on that card alone, its its possible im in the hole $15 or so or maybe I’ve broken even. Either way, its a nice looking card.

The simplest way to recap the other base cards is in a table, so the table below does just that:

Player Name & Card #Quantity
Gordon Hayward (#86)2
Jayson Tatum (#98)1
Marcus Smart (#128)2
Jaylen Brown (#141)2
Carsen Edwards RC (#152)2
Tremont Waters RC (#156)1
Grant Williams RC (#159)3
Romeo Langford RC (#185)1
Tacko Fall RC (#196)3
Base Cards Pulled from 2019-2020 Panini Illusions Celtics Break

As you can see, the rookies were plentiful, but unfortunately the rookie class for the C’s isn’t all that strong. Tacko Fall appears to be a bit of a fan favorite at the moment (the same type of love Scal got as a Celtic), but none of the rookies listed above goes for anything over $1 on eBay. I’d say even one dollar would be too much to pay for any one of those rookies, but maybe the lot of ten would fetch $5… that may even be too generous but it keeps the math simple.

The first of the two non-base cards is a Kemba Walker Shining Stars acetate card (#4). This card is easy to find on eBay for around $1, so I’m going to toss it in with the heap of rookies and figure out what to do with it at a later date.

The last card is a Romeo Langford Instant Impact rookie (#15). Its a decent looking card, but it isn’t a numbered short print so it is also easy to find on eBay for about $1.

2019-2020 Panini Illusions Romeo Langford Instant Impact Rookie (#15)

Overall, it really comes down to the Jaylen Brown card I first talked about. If that card is truly worth $20 or higher, I’ll label this first team-specific box break a success. In short, what I spent and what I received probably nets out.

However, a big part of the thrill for me of collecting – especially when you go the pack/box route – is the excitement around opening up each pack, the smell of the cards, and the careful sorting with the hopes of finding something incredible. I’d also say I’m more a fan of the game then I am of only Celtics players, so another drawback to this box break methodology is only getting players from a specific team.

I may try my hand one or two more times at case breaks, especially with a few people on eBay that offer access to multiple different boxes, but I’d give this experience a B-/C+, but that is compared to opening up packs and boxes the old school way that I’m used to.

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