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2022-23 Optic Basketball Review And Investment Tips

2022-23 donruss optic basketball

Optic Basketball 2022-23 is set to release on May 10, 2023, and here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming release. 

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What makes Optic Basketball special?

Behind perhaps only Prizm, no other brand has been more widely collectible and a better long-term investment than Optic since it was released in 2016 as a football and basketball product.  

When collectors think of mass-market cards (cards that have both a retail and hobby release), it’s widely considered in the top tier of mass-market sports card royalty.

This puts the release along Prizm and Select, which is why we’ve called Optic the second-best overall brand for investing in our popular CardLines newsletter, which you can fo join for free right here.

Just like Prizm, Optic features chromium cards and Prizm-based inserts and parallels, giving layers of scarcity and different eye appeal for collectors to pursue enthusiastically.

And, just like Prizm, the hobby boxes are expensive, but not uber-expensive like National Treasure, Flawless, and other high-end brands. The combination of popularity and accessibility makes this a strong brand.

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More about Optic Basketball: Rated Rookies and history

Please note that although this product is technically Donruss Optic, most collectors just call it “Optic” for short. This means it’s the chromium version of the Donruss cards, and it’s important to note the difference because there’s also a Contenders Optic that brings chromium and rainbows to Contenders.

Optic basketball is best known for its Rated Rookie cards and on-card rookie autos, which are some of the most iconic rookie cards every season. Much like Silver Prizm rookies, Optic has a Silver parallel as well (which is called the “holo,” to add an extra layer of confusion.).

The Optic holos are rare, valuable, and amazing looking and always have a lower population than Silver Prizms on the PSA pop reports. 

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What to expect from 2022-23 Optic

Optic is a great product for people who are more into traditional hobby boxes: more packs, more cards, and 1 autograph. It’s a model that’s worked for Topps for a long time, but more and more Panini products have fewer cards and more hits. 

This year’s hobby product mirrors the previous iterations of Optic: a box consisting of 20 packs with 4 cards per pack. Each box averages 1 autograph, 20 rated rookies, and 20 inserts/parallels.

Last year guaranteed 10 parallels and 4 inserts instead of 20 combined, so this is a different approach but could be more favorable. We’ll have to watch some rips to see. 

The boxes can be preordered for $375, exactly half of the $750 release day price from last year. Those boxes are now selling for about $300 – but don’t worry, we dubbed it a risky investment.

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2022-23 Optic Checklist Information 

Optic 2022-23 doesn’t issue a lot of major changes to the product, but that’s a good thing. It works well for a reason: the recipe is already a hit.  

The Photon SSP is back, along with a pretty consistent lineup of hobby parallels:

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  • Photon
  • Basketball
  • Orange – /199
  • Lime Green – /149
  • Red – /99
  • Pink Velocity – /79
  • Blue – /49
  • Black Velocity – /39
  • Gold – /10
  • Green – /5
  • Gold Vinyl – 1/1

There are also a handful of Hobby-exclusive inserts, including All-Stars, Elite Dominators, Lights Out, Raining 3s, Star Gazing, and The Rookies.

With very minimal changes except for the design, Optic 2022-23 keeps the same formula that collectors love with new rookies and just enough tweaking to keep it feeling fresh and interesting. 

Investing in 2022 Optic Basketball

With a pre-order price of $375, Optic 2022-23 has the lowest release price of any interaction from the last four seasons, but does that make it a sure-fire buy? To help, we’ve done some of the research for you.

One good thing about Optic and the rest of the opti-chrome brands is that you at least get quite a few cards. With a product like Optic that has 80 cards, at least you’ll get something.

So let’s look at Optic as an investment, but first, I want to dust off something I wrote last year: here’s why Optic could be a better long-term investment than the current golden boy, Prizm.

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3 reasons to invest in Optic over Prizm

While Prizm is the favorite child in both basketball and football cards, Optic is the next best bet for a long-term investment… and many collectors think it can overtake Prizm. 

Here are three reasons to choose it: 

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The populations 

Silver Prizms are significantly more common than Optic’s Holo. For example, Luka Doncic has 2,142 Silver Prizms in a PSA 10 and only 296 Optic holos. That’s nearly 8X more silvers than holos. Collectors will eventually become more perceptive of this large discrepancy. 

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The design

Again, this is subjective, but many collectors (including members of the CardLines team) will argue that the Rated Rookies and optic design look far superior to Prizm’s design. In a hobby based on eye appeal, this will have long-term impacts. 

Optic is less complicated than Select 

The other Prizm rival is Select, but with three different tiers of cards (Concourse, Premier, Courtside), Select takes a bit of work to understand year-to-year. For busy collectors who work and have families, it’s too much trouble to mess with. Optic’s checklist is a lot cleaner and simpler.

Investing in sealed boxes of Optic

If you’re investing in sealed boxes with the intent of holding them, here are some numbers to consider.

  • Current resell of 2021-22 hobby: $300
  • Current resell of 2020-21 hobby: $315
  • Current resell of 2019-20 hobby: $500
  • Current resell of 2018-19 hobby: $1,200
  • Current resell of 2017-18 hobby: $450

What can we learn from this?

Most importantly, it looks like, based on the assumed release cost of $375, that investment cost will be very hard to recoup — especially if the price settles like that of the last couple years.

The older boxes sell for more, but the rookies are more established from those seasons, including Luka, Shai, Trae, Tatum, Ja, Zion and more.

As we’ve written before, the rookie class always matters when investing in sealed boxes. Yeah, this might sound like a no-brainer, but when you’re investing in a product to hold, it has to be said. 

And this hasn’t been verified by Panini, but there are definitely more boxes with a big surge in printing since 2019. This alone will help cap the potential if you are buying this product sealed with the hope to flip in 5 – 10 years.

So, should you invest? 

The verdict: Optic 2021-22 is a risky investment at $375/box. See if the price drops, and then pounce, especially if you believe in Paolo and the other 2022-23 rookies. 

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Investing in 2022 Optic Donruss rookies

Optic rookie cards are one of the blue-chip investments of modern Panini rookies – perhaps second to only Prizm. If you’re going to invest in just one card of anybody, Optic is a great way to go.

Your best bet for making a guaranteed profit on this product is finding a few holos of players you believe in, buying them raw (after asking the seller for more pictures), then getting them graded. Optic Holos are particularly strong since they can have 6x – 10x as low of a population as silver Prizms. 

If you can scoop up silvers of the rookies you like and grade, then you’ll be set for a long-term hold. Collectors go nuts for Optic PSA 10s.

But caution: as with all new releases, don’t buy the first Optic cards that appear on eBay for this year. The price will inevitably drop as the supply meets the demand.

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Bottom line of 2022-23 Donruss Optic basketball: Rip, Hold or Pass?

Optic is my personal favorite brand (particularly basketball), and it keeps getting even better year after year while still capturing the magic of what makes the product special. While this year doesn’t change much, that’s not a complaint. 

With more scarcity than Prizm and still strong appeal, it has good investment potential or could make a fun rip. But, as noted, buying sealed Optic to hold could be risky at release-day pricing. 

What do you think of this product? What will it be worth in 5 years? Let us know on Twitter @card_lines.

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Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes is the co-founder of Solaro Shades, an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist, and a lifelong sports card collector. His nonfiction work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., MarketWatch and more. At CardLines, Jesse’s specialties are basketball and football cards, not to mention making informative video and Instagram content.

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