The Best Basketball Card Hobby Box Rankings 2020
THE BEST BASKETBALL CARD BOXES, SETS & BRANDS TO BUY EACH YEAR
Hit Parade isn't a hobby box, but it is by far the best when it comes to pulling big hits. They come in tiers, with Sapphire being the most exclusive, followed by Platinum and then Limited Edition.
The premium version (Sapphire) costs $499 whereas some of the Limited Versions are usually $199-$225. You only receive 1 card in the box, but unlike many of the other Premium 1 card boxes, Hit Parade actually does a great job of including big hits and not repackaged garbage like 99% of the others.
Many of my biggest hits have been through Hit Parade Basketball boxes. These include Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Zion Williams and Luka Doncic autographed rare, low-numbered cards. If it's within your means and you're after the most valuable big hits, rather than collecting a full set, then Hit Parade is the way to go.
Exclusive to dacardworld.com, Hit Parade is the premier memorabilia, trading card, comic, and pop culture hobby box manufacturer in the country! These products are put together by some of the most experienced and knowledgeable minds in the collectibles world! All items are 100% authenticated by some of the leaders in the industry including Dave & Adam’s, Beckett, Upper Deck, Steiner, TriStar, Fanatics, PSA/DNA, and JSA among others.
Hit Parade takes part in hundreds of autograph signings every year. Hit Parade offers you real sealed products that are loaded with valuable and unique hits in every series. If you want the best...you have to buy the best.
These are the hobby boxes that are out of pretty much everyone's budget. If you can afford to add these yearly congratulations you're doing much better than most of us! These premium hobby boxes are out of the reach of most card collectors and pretty much anyone who's married and plans to stay that way. But, if you have a few thousand laying around and you can afford to spend it on a handful of cards.. these are the upper echelon.
Hobby boxes are crazy expensive but include more parallels/rare inserts and low numbered autograph cards from some of the sports best. It costs an arm and a leg, but you could end up with a pull that's worth more than your car.
1. NATIONAL TREASURES
Each Box contains Eight Autographs or Memorabilia Cards, One Base or Parallel Card, or One Printing Plate, on average!
Look for One Rookie Patch Autograph numbered to 20 or less in every FOTL box!
1st Off The Line features all of the original content of the national product release - but features exclusive content only found in the limited quantities available for those products that are part of the 1st Off The Line program.
Look for Luka Doncic RC's and Jumbo Rookie Patch Autographs!
National Treasures is the only place to find Jumbo Rookie Patch Autographs!
Look for Logoman Autographs and Treasured Tags Autographs, featuring current players and retired legends such as Kobe Bryant, Reggie Miller, and Charles Barkley!
Personalized autographs are back, and feature one-of-a-kind inscriptions!
Collect the International Treasures autographs and pay homage to the global reach of the NBA game!
Look for Rookie Cards of Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr., Trae Young, Mohamed Bamba, Collin Sexton, Kevin Knox, Michael Porter Jr., Mikal Bridges, Wendell Carter Jr., Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Jerome Robinson!
2. PANINI FLAWLESS
Each Box contains Eight Autographs, One Memorabilia Card, and One Diamond Card, on average!
Flawless Basketball is the premiere high-end set of the 2018-19 release year!
Collect the top rookie cards of the 2018-19 NBA rookie class! Base rookies are sequentially numbered to 20, and each features an actual diamond embedded in the card!
Look for the first game worn jerseys from the 2018-19 rookie class!
Find jumbo prime memorabilia swatch autographs in Star Swatch Signatures, Flawless Patch Autographs, Signature Prime Materials, and more!
Chase Championship Tags Autographs, Laundry Tags Autographs, and Logoman Autographs!
- Eight Autographs Per Box!
- One Memorabilia Card Per Box!
- One Diamond Card Per Box!
- Find Logoman Autographs!
- Collect Distinguished Autos!
Each Box contains Three Autographs and Two Memorabilia Cards!
Immaculate Basketball features Rookie Cards of Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Collin Sexton, and Kevin Knox!
New in 2018-19: All Rookie Patch Autographs, Patch Autographs and Premium Patch Autographs are printed on premium acetate technology!
Look for loads of patch content in Jumbo Patches, Team Slogans, Brand Logos, Sneak Peek and Sole of the Game!
Find the return of Dual, Triple and Quad Autographs, which feature some of the NBA's most iconic groupings of stars!
Chase Logoman Autographs and Rookie Logoman Autographs of the league's top rookies, stars and legends!
- Three Autographs Per Box!
- Two Memorabilia Cards Per Box!
- Look for Rookie Patch Autographs!
- Find Logoman and Rookie Logoman Autographs!
- Luka Doncic
- Trae Young
- Deandre Ayton
- Marvin Bagley III
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- Collin Sexton
- Kevin Knox
- Mo Bamba
Impeccable returns with five autographs per box, plus one Silver NBA Logo, Gold NBA Logo, Silver Draft Logo, Silver HOF Logo or Stainless Stars card per box, on average!
Pull Elegance Rookie Jersey Autographs that feature an on-card autograph and prime memorabilia swatch!
Look for rare, unique cards sequentially numbered to a player’s jersey number, All-Star appearances and various statistics!
Chase new autograph inserts in Canvas Creations and Extravagance Autographs!
- Panini Impeccable Basketball returns with five autographs per hobby box, plus one Silver NBA Logo, Gold NBA Logo, Silver Draft Logo, Silver HOF Logo or Stainless Stars card per box, on average!
- Pull Elegance Rookie Jersey Autographs that feature an on-card autograph and prime memorabilia swatch!
- Look for rare, unique cards sequentially numbered to a player’s jersey number, All-Star appearances and various statistics!
- Chase new autograph inserts in Canvas Creations and Extravagance Autographs!
- Find new inserts that feature the NBA Draft and Basketball Hall of Fame logos emblazoned on an ounce of .999 pure silver!
- 5 Autographs
- 1 Silver Insert, Gold Insert or Stainless Stars
ELEGANCE ROOKIE JERSEY AUTOGRAPHS
Look for Elegance Rookie Jersey Autographs that feature some of the best and brightest stars of the 2019 NBA Draft!
Chase lots of short-printed autographs sequentially numbered to an assortment of unique quantities!
Look for an artistic flair in this new autograph insert!
IMPECCABLE VICTORY SIGNATURES
Relive some of the NBA’s top game-winning shots in this buzzer-beater autograph set!
Pull Stainless Stars inserts of the best present and future legends the NBA has to offer!
GREAT ADDITIONS TO ADD EACH YEAR
The best Hobby boxes that aren't elite level and priced out of most of our budgets, but still offer a good chance of big hits and rare inserts.
5. PANINI PRIZM BASKETBALL HOBBY BOX
Every Box of 2019/20 Prizm Hobby Basketball contains Two Autographs and 22 Prizms!
Collect the highly coveted Silver Prizms of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, JA Morant, Cam Reddish, Coby White, Rui Hachimura, Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver, and De'Andre Hunter!
Look for Prizms of your favorite NBA players, from rookies to all-time greats! Prizm features a 300-card base set, making that special Prizm pull, that much more special! Look for numbered versions from 299 all the way down to one-of-one!
Look for autographs from rookies, veterans, and all-time NBA Greats in Signatures, Rookie Signatures, and Sensational Signatures. Each has a Prizms Gold version #'d/10 and a Black version #'d one-of-one.
Collect incredibly colorful opti-chrome inserts - several of which feature dramatic in-game photography! Collect the three new insert sets Fearless, Far Out!, and Widescreen, which feature a very strong lineup of the games best players.
- Two Autographs Per Box!
- 22 Prizms Per Box!
- Collect Silver Prizms of the 19/20 Rookies!
- Look for Rookie Signatures Prizms Mojo!
- Collect Zion Williamson Silver Prizm Rookies!
- More Details...
- Zion Williamson
- Ja Morant
- R.J. Barrett
- Cam Reddish
- Rui Hachimura
- D'Andre Hunter
- Darius Garland
- Jarrett Culver
- P.J. Washington
6. PANINI NOIR BASKETBALL HOBBY BOX
2019-20 Panini Noir Basketball Base / Inserts
While the base set details are sparse, 2019-20 Panini Noir Basketball should feature a standard lineup to fill out the non-hit selection.
Metal Frame cards come with Feature Length, Split Screen, Statement Edition and Vintage Art themes. Going by last year, these are likely treated as a base subset.
Estimated Release Date: March 18, 2020
Product Configuration: 10 cards per pack, 1 pack per box, 4 boxes per case
2019-20 Panini Noir Basketball Hobby Box Break Average
- 7 Autographs or Relics
2019-20 Panini Noir Basketball FOTL Box Break Average
7 Autographs or Relics
1 Exclusive Metal Framed Card (#/11)
7. PANINI OPULENCE BASKETBALL HOBBY BOX
First off the line (FOTL) Hobby Box
Each Box contains Seven Autographs or Memorabilia Cards Per Box!
FOTL Exclusive: 1 Guaranteed Rookie Patch Autograph #'d to 79 and 1 Ruby Parallel #'d to 3 per box!
Opulence delivers the only Premium Memorabilia Booklets of the release year! Look for Rookie Patch Autograph Booklets, including Nameplates, Brand Logo and Sponsor Logos, and NBA Finals Booklets, including Brand Logos, Sponsor Logos, and the NBA Finals Logoman!
Find the super-rare Rookie Octo Signature Booklet, featuring autographs from the most-collectible rookies from the 2018-19 Rookie Class!
Look for Base Rookie Patch Autographs--including Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Deandre Ayton and more, all limited to 79 or fewer copies!
Opulence presents a wide array of uniquely themed autograph and memorabilia cards, including Team USA Champions, Rookie Jerseys and Autographs, Veteran Patch Autographs, and Retired NBA Legends!
- Seven Autographs or Memorabilia Cards Per Box!
- Look for Rookie Patch Autographs!
- Find NBA Finals Booklet Logoman!
- Collect City of Gold Signatures!
- Find Luka Doncic and Trae Young Rookie Autos!
- Luka Doncic
- Trae Young
- Deandre Ayton
- Marvin Bagley
- Jaren Jackson Jr.
Each Box contains Three Autographs or Memorabilia Cards, Twelve Prizms, Ten Premier Level, and Two Courtside!
Look for Luka Doncic Rookie Cards!
Select Basketball delivers some of the most unique Prizms of the year, including Tie-Dye, Tri Color, and Zebra!
Collect all three tiers of the base set and the Prizms of each--Concourse, Premier Level, and Courtside! Each box will contain 10 Premier Level cards and two Courtside cards!
Chase the Rookie Jersey Autographs in the following formats- Base (#'d/199), Purple (#'d/99), Tie-Dye (#'d/25), Gold (#'d/10), and Black (one-of-one). Tie-Dye, Gold, and Black all feature prime swatches of jersey!
Look for some of the best-designed opti-chrome inserts of the year in Global Icons, showcasing the NBA's global talent, Phenomenon, displaying the brightest young players in the game, and Top Selections, highlighting number one draft selections!
Find the highly sought-after In Flight Signatures, boasting on-card autographs, and four memorabilia sets, including the incredibly colorful Sparks cards!
CONCOURSE TIE-DYE PRIZMS: Look for the following Concourse Prizms: Silver, Scope, Tri-Color, Zebra SP, Light Blue (#'d/299), Red (#'d/199), White (#'d/149), Neon Green (#'d/75), Tie-Dye (#'d/25), Gold (#'d/10), and Black (one-of-one)!
PREMIER LEVEL TRI-COLOR PRIZMS: Chase the following Premier Level Prizms: Silver, Scope, Tri-Color, Zebra SP, Blue Die Cut (#'d/185), Maroon Die Cut (#'d/135), Purple Die Cut (#'d/99), Orange Die Cut (#'d/65), Tie-Dye Die Cut (#'d/25), Gold Die Cut (#'d/10), Green Die Cut (#'d/5), and Black (one-of-one)!
COURTSIDE ZEBRA PRIZMS: Collect the following Courtside Prizms: Silver, Zebra SP, Copper (#'d/60), Tie-Dye (#'d/25), Gold (#'d/10), Green (#'d/5), Black (one-of-one)!
ROOKIE JERSEY AUTOGRAPHS/ROOKIE JERSEY AUTOGRAPHS GOLD/ROOKIE JERSEY AUTOGRAPHS BLACK: Collect the top rookies from the 2018 NBA Draft Class! Look for the following tiers: Base (#'d/199), Purple (#'d/99), Tie-Dye (#'d/25), Gold (#'d/10), and Black (one-of-one). Tie-Dye, Gold, and Black all feature prime swatches of jersey!
IN FLIGHT SIGNATURES: In Flight Signatures is one of the most popular Autograph sets in Select every year! Each card features an on-card autograph!
GLOBAL ICONS: The popularity of country-themed cards continues to grow each year, along with the diversity and global reach of the NBA game!
SPARKS: Sparks epitomizes the beauty of opti-chrome by utilizing a wide array vibrant colors paired with a swatch of jersey!
12 Packs Per Box, 5 Cards Per Pack
Each Box of Dominion contains Three Autographs and One Memorabilia Card!
Look for Luka Doncic Rookie Cards!
Collect the first on-card Rookie Jersey Autographs of the year! Look for base Rookie Jersey Autographs and Prime versions, numbered from 15 all the way down to one-of-one!
Chase Rookie Dual, Triple, and Quad combination autographs calling out players from the same team, college, position, and much more!
NBA Champions Dual Signatures showcases the biggest and brightest stars from yesterday and today!
Main Exhibit Rookie Autographs features the strong 2018 NBA Draft Class with floating autographs on acetate over a shadowbox background!
Find huge memorabilia swatches in Mammoth Materials, including Gold Prime (#'d/10) and Platinum Prime (#'d one-of-one)!
2018/19 Dominion features Rookie Cards of Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr., Trae Young, Mohamed Bamba, Collin Sexton, Kevin Knox, Michael Porter Jr., Mikal Bridges, Wendell Carter Jr., Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Jerome Robinson!
ROOKIE JERSEY AUTOGRAPHS/ROOKIE JERSEY AUTOGRAPHS GOLD/ROOKIE JERSEY AUTOGRAPHS PLATINUM: Dominion Basketball delivers the first on-card Rookie Jersey Autographs of the year! Look for Base (#'d/199), and Gold Prime and Platinum Prime versions (#'d/10 and one-of-one)!
NBA CHAMPIONS DUAL SIGNATURES/ROOKIE QUAD SIGNATURES/FRANCHISE FAVORITES DUAL SIGNATURES: Choose how you want to collect! Dominion offers single, dual, triple, and quad autographs, featuring seemingly endless ways to collect your favorite players, teams, positions, era, and countless others!
PEERLESS JERSEY AUTOGRAPHS GOLD/MAIN EXHIBIT AUTOGRAPHS/REGAL ROOKIE SIGNATURES: Dominion boasts a comprehensive autograph roster, that showcases rookies, veteran players, and NBA legends! Look for eye-catching designs in Main Exhibit, hard-to-find jersey swatches in Peerless Jersey Autographs, and the top names, and future NBA stars in Regal Rookie Signatures!
1 Pack Per Box, 6 Cards Per Pack
Each Box of 2019/20 Absolute Basketball contains Two Autographs and Two Memorabilia Cards, on average!
Absolute Memorabilia is back again this year with an incredible selection of memorabilia and autographed cards. Look for a unique selection of autographed memorabilia cards of your favorite rookies!
Chase the Tools of the Trade Three, Four, and Six Swatch Signatures set, featuring 33 of the top Rookies of the 2019-20 NBA rookie class.
Look for a new base card format this year, featuring veterans of the league as well as the top rookies. Look for parallel versions that are numbered from 199 all the way to 1.
Back again are the rare Glass cards, which feature 25 of the top NBA players and newest additions to the league.
Collect Rookie Cards of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Rui Hachimura, D'Andre Hunter, Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver, Coby White, and Jaxson Hayes!
TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Collect Tools of the Trade Signatures three ways! Each card showcases an autograph and either three, four, or six swatches of memorabilia! Each card features combinations of jerseys, hats, and basketballs!
ROOKIE AUTOGRAPHS/LIMITLESS SIGNATURES: Look for On Card Autographs from past and present NBA stars this year in Limitless Signatures, Rookie Autographs, and Rookie Autographs Variation. Each autograph set will have 5 different Levels.
JUMBO BASKETBALL NBA LOGO/JUMBO HAT TEAM LOGO/VETERAN TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Get a feel of the game with the very unique memorabilia cards in the Jumbo Basketball and Jumbo Hat sets. Look for oversized NBA Basketball pieces and oversized NBA Hat pieces featuring the top rookies. Also look for jersey and patch cards of current and retired stars in the Veteran Tools of the Trade set, featuring 5 different levels.
2 Packs Per Box, 5 Cards Per Pack
11. PANINI CROWN ROYAL BASKETBALL HOBBY BOX
Every Box of 2019/20 Contenders Basketball contains Two Autographs!
Contenders is back with the highly anticipated on-card Rookie Ticket Autographs! Chase this year's top rookies in one of the most popular rookie autograph sets.
Collect Rookie Ticket Autographs from the 2019/20 NBA Draft Class, Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Rui Hachimura, D'Andre Hunter, Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver, Coby White, and Jaxson Hayes!
Chase rare parallels in Rookie Season Tickets Cracked Ice (numbered to 25), Optichrome Rookie Season Tickets Premium Edition Gold (numbered to 10), Rookie Season Tickets Championship Tickets 1/1s, Rookie Season Tickets Premium Edition Gold Vinyl 1/1 and more!
Look for Veteran Season Tickets, which feature current and retired NBA stars with on-card autographs!
New to Contenders, the super-short-printed License to Dominate and Permit to Dominate cards!
Collect league MVPs in multiple sets as well as possible future league MVPs in the MVP Contenders Autographs and Sophomore Contenders Autographs.
ROOKIE SEASON TICKET: Chase multiple versions of the Rookie Season Ticket Autographs, which showcase the top picks from the 2019 NBA Draft Class!
- Rookie Season Ticket Premium Edition Gold Vinyl
- Rookie Variation Season Ticket
VETERAN SEASON TICKET/MVP CONTENDERS AUTOGRAPHS/SOPHOMORE CONTENDERS AUTOGRAPHS: Collect league MVPs in multiple sets--and possible future league MVPs in the MVP Contenders Autographs and Sophomore Contenders Autographs sets!
PERMIT TO DOMINATE/LICENSE TO DOMINATE/LOTTERY TICKET: Collect a wide array of eye-catching inserts this year! Find License to Dominate and Permit to Dominate this year! Look for a very strong lineup of players throughout all insert sets! Collect the top rookies and superstars of the NBA!
12 Packs Per Box, 10 Cards Per Pack
13. CORNERSTONES BASKETBALL HOBBY BOX
Each Box contains Two Autographs, One Memorabilia Card, and One PVC Insert!!
Look for Luka Doncic Rookie Cards!
Look for the popular Rookie Cornerstones cards with four jersey swatches and an on-card autograph! Base #'d/199, Crystal #'d/75, Quartz #'d/49, Marble #'d/10 and Onyx #'d1/1!
Chase the Franchise Pillars autograph cards in the following formats - Base #'d/129, Crystals #'d/49, Quartz #'d/25, Marble #'d/10 and Onyx #'d/1!
Locate the elusive Memorabilia Super Prime containing hard-to-find game-worn jersey tags from the NBA's top players all #'d/1!
Find the highly sought-after Downtown insert cards, boasting great graphics from the players' cities!
Cornerstones features Rookie Cards of Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr., Trae Young, Mohamed Bamba, Collin Sexton, Kevin Knox, Michael Porter Jr., Mikal Bridges, Wendell Carter Jr., Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Jerome Robinson!
DOWNTOWN/STARTUPS/UNBREAKABLES: Chase these highly collectible inserts in 2018-19 Cornerstones BK! Printed on Holographic Film Board with a PVC Vinyl back, look for the top players in the league! Find one of the three inserts in each box.
ROOKIE CORNERSTONES/ROOKIE CORNERSTONES QUARTZ
/ROOKIE CORNERSTONES ONYX: Collect the top rookies from the 2018 NBA Draft Class! Look for the following tiers: Base (#'d/199), Crystal (#'d/75), Quartz (#'d/49), Marble (#'d/10), and Onyx (one-of-one). Quartz, Marble, and Onyx all feature prime swatches of jersey!
FRANCHISE PILLARS: Look for the new Franchise Pillars autograph set in 2018-19 Cornerstones BK! Find base autographs #'d to a max of 129, Crystal autographs #'d to a max of 49, Quartz autographs #'d to a max of 25, Marble autographs #'d to a max of 10 and Onyx autographs #'d/1!
ELEMENTAL SIGNATURES: Elemental Signatures features the game's top performers! Base cards #'d to a max of 129, Crystal #'d to a max of 49, Quartz #'d to a max of 25, Marble #'d to a max of 10 and Onyx #'d/1!
LEGENDARY CORNERSTONES ONYX: Chase the legends of the game in this four swatch, on-card autographed card! Find the following tiers to collect: base #'d to a max of 129, Crystal #'d to a max of 49, Quartz #'d to a max of 25, Marble #'d to a max of 10 and Onyx #'d/1! Look for prime swatches in Quartz, Marble and Onyx versions!
1 Pack Per Box, 6 Cards Per Pack
14. PANINI CONTENDERS OPTIC BASKETBALL HOBBY BOX
- One Autograph Per Box!
- Two Parallels Per Box!
- Two Inserts/Insert Parallels Per Box!
- Collect Rookie Season Ticket!
- Find 1998 Contenders Tribute Autographs!
- More Details...
- Luka Doncic
- Trae Young
- Deandre Ayton
- Marvin Bagley
- Jaren Jackson Jr
BEST VALUE BUYS (BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK)
Five Autographs Per Box! 15 Base Parallels Per Box! 20 Base Cards Per Box!
Look for One Green Ice Autograph Parallel and One Green Ice Parallel Numbered to 18 or Less in Every FOTL Box!
Debuting in 2019, Prizm Draft Picks Basketball will feature some of the NCAA's greatest prospects on our highly sought-after Opti-chrome cards!
Look for numerous hobby-exclusive parallels like Gold, Gold Vinyl, Black Mosaic, and more!
In Draft Picks, you'll find a checklist bursting with star potential from the 2019 NBA draft class!
Featuring Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, JA Morant, Cam Reddish, Coby White, Rui Hachimura, Jarrett Culver, P.J. Washington, and many more!
2. 2017/18 PANINI CHRONICLES BASKETBALL HOBBY BOX
- Three Autographs or Memorabilia Cards Per Box!
- Nine Rookie Cards Per Box!
- Nine Inserts/Parallels Per Box!
- Find RC's from Gala, Marquee, Brilliance, Limited!
- Ball, Fultz, Tatum, Fox, Markkanen, Kuzma RC's!
HOBBY BOX OR RETAIL?
One of the questions a lot of new collectors have (and some veteran collectors, too) is whether they should buy hobby boxes or retail boxes when it comes to sports cards. Beckett does a great job in explaining the differences between the two as well as covering the upsides and downsides to each.
More Autographs and Memorabilia — Usually
While all cards are geared at collectors, hobby configurations are aimed more at the hardcore collector. That means they generally focus on the premium aspects of a product like autographs and memorabilia cards. Odds of finding them are usually easier as well.
Most hobby products today promise, at minimum, one signature or relic per box. On the other hand, a retail blaster box might give you a manufactured patch card or somewhat generic swatch. Or it might just give you a handful of packs. Even if you’re ripping loose packs, dozens of retail packs might not give a whiff of any ink or premium content.
Levels vary, but if you simply break it down to how much you spend for a hit, it’s likely to be less with hobby. It’s important to note that’s across a span of time. Sure, there are instances when that single hanger pack from Target yields something huge. But that’s the exception.
Premium Exclusives and Products
Not only are high-end cards usually more plentiful in hobby configurations, often it’s the only place you’re going to find them. And it’s not always autographs and relics. Sometimes it’s parallels or scarce inserts.
For a lot of products, everything is a hobby exclusive. That’s because it’s the only configuration. High-end releases usually go this way. You’re not going to find a retail version of National Treasures or Transcendent. Even a lot of mid-range products like Finest are hobby-only.
You’re going to get more premium content from hobby boxes, but it comes at a price. A lot of hobby products today start at $100 per box and go up from there. Even the accessible products are generally $50 or more. Compare that to the average retail box that is less than $30.
So if you’re casually interested in sampling a product, hobby can be an expensive way to go. This is particularly true if your expectations are low as far as hits go. For many, it’s a lot easier to make a spontaneous $20 purchase than a $50 one.
The days of a card shop in every town are gone. Some large cities might have just one — and it’s probably a long drive away. For most collectors, heading down to the store for a handful of packs or box isn’t easy anymore. As a result, hobby products might not be a direct option.
There aren’t a lot of retail boxes that would be considered expensive. Even with card makers experimenting with a few different configurations, including some that are similar to hobby, the average retail blaster box is going to be somewhere between $20 and $30. Hanger packs are generally in the $10-$15 range. Single packs can be found for $3 or less.
While the content is going to be different, retail often an affordable option for many. It might also be a way to try something out to see if you want to delve deeper into a more expensive hobby box afterwards.
Retail is a place where you can find some solid value or just plain cool cards that, in the long run can be coveted due to their perceived rarity. Part of that is because a lot of retail buyers are collectors who aren’t necessarily selling on the side — at least as much. These retail cards are just as likely to be filed away in a box or tucked in a binder.
Less of the Big Stuff
One of the big pros on the hobby side is one of retail’s weaknesses. Autographs can be scarce. In a lot of products, regular memorabilia can be too. Take something like Topps Baseball that’s plentiful on both fronts. A regular hobby box will give you one signature or relic. A retail blaster usually yields a manufactured relic. But if you want an autograph or a swatch from a game-used relic, they might not even be available. And, as already mentioned, if they are, the odds can be long.