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Why You Should Probably Avoid 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball

2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball

Though not necessarily the jewel in the Panini high-end crown, Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball has earned a permanent place in the release schedule.

It has a nice balance of quantity and quality. If you don’t like those two card-type products but don’t want a bunch of useless bases around the house, this product provides you with six cards, five of which are hits.

But how does this year’s release measure up? Read the 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball review to find out.

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History of Panini Immaculate Basketball

The product first appeared in 2012-13, a few years after Panini got the exclusive rights for basketball cards and was trying various new configurations.

At that time, high-end products were relatively new, and card companies were still trying to figure out how to market them. The new product had a couple of things set apart.

First, it took the growing trend of memorabilia cards and crafted its own spin on them. The swatches in the cards were far more significant than in most products, creating a very memorable look.

It also had a very low card count, especially for those days. Each box came with a mere five cards (today, there are six). They were:

  • 1 Autograph or Autographed Patch Card
  • 1 Memorabilia Card
  • 1 Additional Autograph or Memorabilia Card
  • 1 Numbered Autograph Patch Rookie Card
  • 1 Base Card

The main attraction was the Rookie Patch Autos (RPA) cards, numbered to /99. Their unique large swatch look made them one of the more popular of their kind.

The set was a hit, earning strong support across the board. Cards like this were a new and exciting development in those simpler times. In its second release, Panini added the Logoman Autographs, which featured veterans and rookies, as well as the Rookie Logoman Autographs Booklets.  

They also added a card, bringing the number of items in the release to six. Five of the cards were not memorabilia or auto, and they still featured a single base card.

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luka doncic 2018-2019 Immaculate Collection Rookie Patch auto

The swatch and auto offerings in this release kept expanding over the years. 2015-16, Panini introduced the Premium Patch Autographs, Dual Autographs, Triple Autographs, and Quad Autographs.

In 2017-18, we also saw the introduction of the Brand’s patch cards, which come with the logos of brands like Nike. They have proven very valuable and desirable.

Growing Pains for Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball

However, over the years, concerns have been raised over the direction of this release. When the 2017-18 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball came out, people noticed they were getting fewer top-notch RPAs than in the past.

These were also when concerns were raised about Panini’s quality control. Issues with card surface and dinged corners seemed to plague Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball cards more than most other products.

That wasn’t comforting because these are high-end boxes and cost significant money, even back then.

That was one of the reasons that Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball, despite its considerable potential, never became the most sought-after high-end product. National Treasures and, more recently, Flawless have taken the forefront.

2022-23 Panini Immaculate Basketball release date

The release date for this product is January 12, 2023 and is one of the top releases of the month. As any basketball fan has noticed, the new season tipped off in late October and is now in full swing. Indeed, every basketball fan eagerly awaits the Victor Wembanyama rookie cards.

Panini is way behind in its schedule. This is a problem that we saw even before the COVID-19 supply chain era.

Since then, it seems to have been even worse. However, in the case of this product, it has improved by a month.

The 2021-22 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball box was released in January, which is a bit better. And, of course, with the clock running out on Panini’s NBA license, there is no chance they will rush things and will try to milk every release for all its worth.

After all, they don’t have to worry about the long-term health of this and other brands. Therefore, we doubt this problem will be fixed any time soon.

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2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball release formats

Like most high-end products, the Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball release is a hobby box-only affair.

Of course, there has been an FOTL version in the past. But if there is one for this year, I haven’t seen any info on it. Let’s look at the specs.

Hobby box

  • 6 cards per pack.
  • 1 pack per box.
  • 5 boxes per case
  • 3 autographs and 2 memorabilia cards per box on average. One base card per box.
  • Preselling for $2,149.69
  • Preselling at $9,999.95 per case

Panini Immaculate Basketball pros

The pros, as always, are the attractive big swatch cards, which look great just about every year. The 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball is no exception. It has a blue wave effect.

I am assuming that is not an endorsement of the Democrats in time for an election year. It achieved what Immaculate has always done, looking high-end without embracing the snootiness of Flawless.

The good cards from this product tend to be wonderful. The RPAs from Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball are among any product’s most attractive and valuable.

Not everyone likes the extensive swatch look. But I think it’s marvelous, and Panini has managed the rugged achievement of making their more giant swatches look classy and spectacular.

We have all seen too many other cards where the big swatches look cheap and tacky. This is an aesthetically successful product and always has been.

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Panini Immaculate Basketball cons

The flaws are the high price and the release being way out of date. One can be forgiven, but together, it’s tough to swallow.

Collectors will not want to pay more than $2,000 for cards for last year, especially when everyone is waiting for those Wemby rookie cards to drop. Therefore, even fans of the release are looking at this askance.

As for the price, it has gotten incredibly high. A box of Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball was about $400 in 2000. Last year, collectors were shocked to see that the price had gone up to $800.

Now, those seem like the good old days, as a new box sells for over $2,000. And there is no evidence that the value of the cards has risen to even remotely reflect these new prices.

Therefore, collectors feel like they are getting gouged. And making it worse, as we said, the cards are late, and fans are not particularly excited about this crop of rookies.

There have been no breaks for 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball because the product hasn’t been released yet. But Immaculate Collection has been unable to shake its reputation for being low on worthwhile hits.

One user on the Blowout Forums said what many of us think:

“It was one in five or one in six chance of hitting the case hit; the rest of the boxes would yield about $200 worth of cards in each box. Sometimes, the case hit wouldn’t even cover the price of a single box.”

Another agreed, noting, “I never bought it myself, but watched some breaks and would rarely see a case that yielded cards worth more than $1k.” That is a very damning statement for a product which is currently selling for over $2,000 per box and $10,000 per case.

2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball checklist

The checklist for this product has not been released yet and can be expected closer to December 13, 2023. But we can assume it will be similar to previous years.

That means the base card list will be 100 cards long and be numbered /99. However, no one buys these cards for the base items. Indeed, many of us wonder why they even exist in the first place.

The cards to look for in 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball are, as always, the memorabilia and auto cards. Especially the RPAs.

And if there is one thing this product has always excelled in, it’s providing a deep selection of those. We will look into that more below.

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The rookie class of 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Basketball

The main problem with the checklist, as far as most collectors are concerned, is that it doesn’t have Wemby. The 2022-23 season is well underway, and everyone is talking about this crop of rookies. Because Wembanyama is such a highly hyped player, he sucks up all the oxygen in the room when discussing young NBA players.

However, there is a saving grace for the product. Namely, Chet Holmgren is the Oklahoma City Thunder’s young big man. Chet was selected 2nd overall in the 2022 NBA Draft and was slated to become one of the most talked about rookies in the 2022-23 season.

But in June 2022, Chet sustained a Lisfranc foot injury during a Pro-am game and missed the entire season. The good news is that he returned in time for this year and is killing it in the pros.

He has almost 17 points and 8 rebounds per game and is topping the Kia Rookie Ladder ahead of Wembley. That means this release has a premier rookie, even if he isn’t getting as many headlines as his French rival for Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile, Paolo Banchero is already averaging over 20 points in his second season. Banchero projects to be an elite scorer because of his skills, smarts, and 6-foot-10, 250-pound frame, which should not come with that much subtlety and finesse.

So, in summary, the 2022-23 NBA rookie class is not a whole of household names yet. But there is a significant amount of talent and depth in it.

The two top guys look like potential superstars. But that will not satisfy collectors who are sold on the hype and upside of Wemby. They want his rookie cards now, and who can blame them?

Parallels

We don’t have the list of parallels for this release yet. The lineup for the base cards last year was as follows:

  • Red #/49
  • Blue #/25
  • Gold #/10
  • Green #/5
  • Platinum 1/1

Meanwhile, for the RPAs, the parallels were:

  • Jersey Number #/55 or less
  • Red #/49
  • Gold #/10
  • Tag #/5
  • Logoman 1/1

Panini usually shakes things up by adding a new parallel or two.

Autos

The path autos are easily the biggest draw in this release. As always, there is a deep bench for these cards. There are three of them in each box.

Rookie Patch Autos

In this year’s release, the Rookie Patch Autos do not have that typical Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball feel.

The swatch is small and understated. Meanwhile, the gold trimmings give them a bit more Flawless/National Treasure than we would expect.

Still, they are great-looking RPAs and usually have a strong market value, not far below their National Treasures counterparts. The Chet Holmgren will, of course, be the card to chase in this release.

One-of-One Logoman Autographs

The giant cards among the RPA are the one-of-one Logoman Autographs. Here, the patch is somewhat bigger than the standard RPAs. But as always, Panini manages to carry the more oversized style with elegance.

That is always the best thing about these cards. The Logoman here may end up being one of the definitive rookie cards for Chet and Paolo.

Premium Patch Autographs

The Premium Patch Autographs is a great series that always includes a unique and distinctive part of the jersey.

So you never get one of those indistinct one-color pieces that are always a letdown on your patch. These cards had very small swatches in the 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball release.

Therefore, we are grateful to see the increase in size to fit more with the theme of this line.  

Clutch Time Signatures

The Clutch Time Signatures autos have a unique design that stands out. While the standard Immaculate has the players placed on a pattern design, these are action shots that include much of the background enveloped by a design.

The concept creates a beautiful contrast. This is the first time these cards appear in the basketball release, though we have seen them in 2022 Panini Immaculate Football.

Memorabilia

Though the most significant cards in Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball are usually the autos, the patch style sets this brand apart from its rivals.

Therefore, the pure memorabilia cards in this release are often excellent. Luckily, they come in two per box, and there is traditionally a deep bench of these in the release.

2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball value

The value of Panini Immaculate Basketball has always been about a single tier below National Treasures. That means that when you hit a strong card in this release, you usually get an excellent return for it on the market.

There has been crazy inflation that has occurred with basketball cards in general, but with this release in particular, the viability of this product from a financial standpoint is now in doubt.

What was a good return for a $400 box is not necessarily a good one for one going for over $2,000. So, everything we used to think about the value of Immaculate is basically out the window at this point.

Let’s look at how the highly-priced 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball boxes do on the market.

Wax

The prices of a box of Immaculate have gone up by more than 400% over the last three years. That has not occurred in a vacuum. Basketball boxes went up a good deal during the pandemic boom.

At the same time, there have been some downward adjustments since everyone was waiting for the big crash never to materialize. Therefore, hobby boxes remain highly valued.

But do the values of previous years justify the massive price increase? Let’s look at data from last year’s releases and see.

2017-18 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball Hobby Box$2,899.95
2018-19 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball Hobby Box$4,249.95
2019-20 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball Hobby Box$1,999.95
2020-21 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball Hobby Box$1,899.95
2021-22 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball Hobby Box$2,299.95

At first glance, Panini Immaculate Collection boxes are worth quite a bit. But the trouble is that Panini is setting the bar very high for profitability by selecting the entry price at over $2,100.

Only last year’s offering clears that bar among the post-pandemic boom boxes, not by much. Even the 2017-18 box, which is very hard to get, isn’t worth much more when you consider how much time has elapsed in the interim.

2023 Panini Immaculate Collection

Of course, the 2018-19 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball Hobby Box is worth double the price of a new box, and that is great. But it’s a unicorn. We are talking about a pre-pandemic boom box (no, not the 1980s kind of boom box) with a chance to pull a freaking Luka Doncic RPA.

Unless Chet Homgren becomes the next Luka, we will unlikely see anything like that from 2022-23. So basically, your chances of making anything from stashing one of these boxes at the current price are meager. This is not a particularly good hold.

Singles

If the new boxes of Immaculate are not a good hold, what can we expect with rips? Well, it certainly isn’t a very good sign. Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball has a reputation for being a fairly weak rip.

The 2022-23 release may hold up better than most. After all, we think that Holmgren and Banchero will have fine careers. But that is unlikely to overcome the problem that there are, at least usually, not enough hits in this release.

But ok, lets say you did get a crazy hit from a Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball box? What kind of profit are you likely to pull? Let’s take a look at some outstanding recent sales.

2018-19 Immaculate Collection Luka Doncic /77 RC Rookie 2-Color Patch Auto (Raw)  $7,100
2021-22 Panini Immaculate Collection Logoman Bam Adebayo Relic Card 1/1  $3,333
  2022 Panini Immaculate Collection Josh Giddey 2/3 Color Rookie Patch Auto Logo champion (Raw)  $2,200
2021 Panini Immaculate Collection Luka Doncic 7/10 Auto Autograph Patch Jersey  $1,376
2021-22 Panini Immaculate Collection Scottie Barnes RPA 3-Color Patch /10 (RPA)  $1,250

One thing becomes abundantly clear when you go over the prices of Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball cards. The truly big cards are almost all from the pre-Covid boom period.

And a disproportionate number of them feature Luka Doncic. Once you move past those early years and Luka cards, you find some more later-year Luka cards (at lower prices). But seriously, you find almost no recent cards that clear the value of a box.

Some unflattering comparisons

 The difference is straightforward if you compare that to Panini National Treasures Basketball. Several cards from that release, recent years included, sell for over $20,000. And you can get a hobby box of that for just $1,000 more. So, it’s an infinitely better rip than Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball.

But that isn’t all. A box of 2022-23 Panini Prizm Basketball sells for $709. That is a third of the price of a new Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball box. The most giant cards from Prizm also easily cleared the $20,000 threshold in recent sales.

Meanwhile, the best Immaculate cards don’t come anywhere near $10,000 in value. The more recent ones don’t come close to $5,000, either. And we are talking about a box worth $2,000. That is kind of shameful. Despite this product’s fabulous designs and apparent prestige, it is not good.

Final word of the 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball review

I know this review has come off as a bit harsh. Look, there are some things to recommend for the 2022-23 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball. I think Immaculate cards look great. I’ve always been a fan, and so are many others in the hobby.

Furthermore, the rookie class for 2022-23 has long been underrated, and people are coming to understand that now. Chet Holmgren is legit, and Banchero is an incredible scorer. The product always has a deep checklist of RPAs and logoman cards. It has a notable upside.

Having said that, there are better products out there. That was true when these boxes cost half this much. It is doubly true (metaphorically and mathematically) now that the price is over $2,100. It performs worse than “less prestigious” brands.

Meanwhile, Immaculate can’t even begin to hold a candle to National Treasures and Flawless. It doesn’t help that these cards are coming out late. However, that is not the main problem here. Whether you want to stash wax or rip, look elsewhere.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.
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