2020-21 Donruss Optic Premium Box Set Basketball Review

November 1, 2021

The Optic Premium Box Set was sold on October 15 through Panini’s website and is limited to only 249 boxes – each of which is serial numbered on the outside of the box. This release is a very exclusive set for high-end collectors and something that could age very well given its exclusivity. But is it worth the high price tag? To find out, here is our 2020-21 Donruss Optic Premium Box Set Basketball review.

Unlike say, the 2021 Panini Donruss Football Factory Set or the 2021 Topps Complete Baseball Factory Set, this is a high-end release. But, before jumping to conclusions, we need to look at the set and answer the biggest question of all: is the 2020-21 Donruss Optic Premium Box Set a rip, hold, or pass?

Do you like the design? (get other cards from this release on eBay)

Overview Of The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Premium Box Set

2021 was the second year Panini created a /249 Premium version of the Optic Basketball set.

The rules have been the same both years: the set is online-exclusive and sells as a dutch auction until all 249 sell out.

This year, it didn’t take the boxes long to hit the resell market. The premium boxes that have sold on eBay thus far have all sold for around $2,400. Meanwhile, the single cards are bringing quite a bit of money, too. The LaMelo recently sold for $300, and the Anthony Edwards did almost as much while the LeBron has sold from $50-80.

The Kaleidoscope Finish

The cards in this set are printed on premium stock and have what Panini calls an “exclusive Kaleidoscope finish.” The collection includes 200 base cards: 150 veterans and 50 rated rookies. There are no inserts here, as with many box sets.

Perhaps most exciting is that the boxes each contain one Rated Rookie autograph numbered to 10. There are 25 rookies on the checklist, including all the big names you could hope to pull. (But, yes, apparently, there are 250 total autographs and 249 boxes. You’re not the only one thinking it.)

Here is one of those 249 from the 2018-2019 set (picture taken from Panini)

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Premium Box Set Basketball Review: The Case For

The easiest way to justify this case as a good investment is last year’s version has an asking price of over $12,000 on eBay with over a dozen watchers. So while it might not sell for $12,000, odds are it will sell for significantly more than the current $2,500 mark.

These sets are tempting to open because of the /10 Rated Rookie auto lurking within. However, by opening the shrink wrap, you decrease its long-term value. So think long and hard before ripping.

Also, study the checklist of autographs and talk yourself through how many of the players would be valuable enough to justify opening the set – what do the numbers tell you?

But whether you decide to open the set and invest in the individual rookies and auto or invest in the set sealed in its entirely, the exclusivity will always make it rare and valuable. There will only be 249 of these sets out there and fewer intact!

On top of that, last year’s rookie class is looking more and more promising for long-term potential.

How many of the autos are worth the price of entry? (look for Cole Anthony autos on eBay)

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Premium Box Set Basketball Review: The Case Against

The primary red flag is that this set is the price t sells for over $2,500. If you’re interested in investing in this set, it will presumably be a long-term hold, so that brings “time” in as another factor that could harm the investment.

For one, will you have $2,500 to sit on comfortably for several years? As always, only make an investment that makes sense with your budget.

Additionally, because this could be a long-term hold, we don’t know for sure how the market for Panini cards will change after Fanatics takes over basketball cards several years from now. If anything, I’d imagine that the Panini cards will increase in price over time. After all, they’re the only licensed cards out there: for now.

Best Cards In The Set

Box sets aren’t as exciting to open because you know what you’re going to pull. But the predictability also prevents nasty surprises.

The most desirable cards are the standout rookies, of course. These include: LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, and other members of an impressively deep rookie class. But limited-print cards of LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, and Zion Williamson (2nd year) are never bad investments.

Complete Sets As Investments

If recent years are any indication, sealed sets can be quite a good investment. Almost any set bought last year has increased in value.

And many of the sets age well, too – particularly those with a “chase factor” and remain factory sealed. So investing today could generate a rate of return that is as good, if not better, than an index fund.

Here is the box (look for it on eBay)

The Bottomline Of The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Premium Box Set Basketball Review

Because of the short-printed nature of this box set, it could be an excellent buy if you have the funds. For that reason, it is not a pass. So should you rip or hold? Or perhaps both?

For me, there are only 2 rookie autographs worth the rip.  Those two are Ball and Edwards, obviously. There are also about three I’d be mildly excited to pull and 20 that would leave me regretful. In other words, there’s a 2 out of 25 chance (8 percent) of pulling a big card is not enough for me to bother opening the set.

That said, if you want to roll the dice, it’s not like the set will be worthless if you open it. On the contrary, if you do that and keep the cards together and well-preserved, odds are they could be worth more than $2,500 within a few years, even if you pull one of the worst autographs.

The one thing I’d advise against is buying the set, opening it, and then selling the individual best cards. In that case, you will be left with worthless veterans.  That would be a lot of work, and you wouldn’t make your money back unless you hit a monster autograph.

For the reason’s outlined, I’ll call this set a confident hold. It is also a borderline rip because of the relatively good odds of pulling a valuable auto. It is a pass if you can’t afford it!

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