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2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball Checklist Review: Why This Low-End Release Doesn’t Reach Its Potential

There are a lot of Panini basketball and football releases. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the point of some of these releases. Panini Revolution Basketball is one of those releases has struggled to find its niche in the hobby.

One thing that makes it stand out is that it does not feature guaranteed autos or memorabilia cards. Is that a good thing? Well, if you hate autos? Of course, that means the boxes are cheaper than most of the others issued by Panini.

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So, if you want more cards and fewer frills, this release may interest you. The Revolution cards also have a highly distinctive foil-centric look. The backgrounds are almost psychedelic in the look, which can really pop on the suitable foil material.

So, with a lower price point but fewer hits, is the newest release of Revolution worth your while? Read our 2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball review to find out.

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History of Panini Revolution Basketball

Panini debuted the Revolution Basketball line in 2015, so a bit before their annual release, the calendar was packed. The product featured distinctive and colorful designs, which stood out among the company’s more restrained selections.

There have always been autos in the Revolution release. However, they were never an essential part of the release. The original 2015-16 Panini Revolution Basketball release featured one auto in every four hobby boxes. About as low a rate as any Panini product ever.

But to make up for that, the autos you did get were on the card, which is very cool and probably not something the company would do today. In addition, the release guaranteed a certain number of rookies in each hobby box. Usually, four of them or something along those lines.

One of the focuses of the early releases was the inserts. The inaugural edition included New Wave, Showstoppers, and Rookie Revolution. Later, they would add others like the By The Numbers and Star-Gazing inserts.

Over the years, inserts have become increasingly important in the release. It seems that there are always new ones. That is necessary to compensate for the lack of big hits in most boxes.

Some of the inserts in this product even became valuable. In particular, the Galactic insert became a favorite for its design, even though it was not numbered. It was a sign of the strength of the inserts in Revolution Basketball.

Sophomore improvements

In the second year of the release, 2016-17 Panini Revolution Basketball, Panini increased the number of parallels. Each card now had seven parallels. The holographic designs and fabulous psychedelic ribbons made them stand out. To compensate for the low number of autos, you got eight parallels in those hobby boxes, including one numbered 100 or less.

Perhaps feeling the pressure from auto seekers, Panini increased the number of autos in boxes from 1 in 4 to 3 in 8 in 2017-18. Better than nothing, right?

Changes over the years to Panini Revolution Basketball

The release became very popular as a low-cost product in its early years. But during the COVID boom and the ensuing supply chain crisis, the prices for Revolution and everything else went up.

That was not a big deal for some products because demand had also skyrocketed. For example, it seemed that you couldn’t keep Prizm in stock, no matter what price you put on it. However, for a cost-effective product like Revolution, raising the price first to over $100 and then over $200 soured many fans on the product.

It just seemed weird to spend this much on such a low-end product. Therefore, by 2022, the cache and desirability of the release had taken a severe hit.

But that wasn’t the only setback for the set. Since then, many design-oriented products have debuted, such as Obsidian. Many of them have fared better, dulling the Revolution release’s allure. It also doesn’t help that the aesthetic of the release seems particularly dated now.

The 1960s inspire the foil and designs. However, the look is pure 1990s. It seemed quaint but fun in 2015. Now, it looks sad.

Then, the most dramatic change of all came with the 2020-21 release. That year, Revolution switched from on-card to sticker auto. Sure, that was always going to happen. Having Revolution autos on the card was a weird and untenable decision.

But that removed one of the most beloved elements of the release. The fact that this change was made just when the prices of boxes began to skyrocket added insult to injury.

Now, Revolution collectors had to spend more money to get an inferior product. That has removed much of the luster this product once had.

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2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball release date

The 2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball release date is April 5, 2024. That is, of course, very late in the basketball season. The play-in tournament starts a mere 11 days later. Therefore, this is not an optimal time to release any 2023-24 NBA products.

Still, so many of these were coming after the end of the season in 2022-23. Therefore, things could be worse.

How does this compare to the dates of previous releases? The last release was around the same time of year, dropping on April 19, 2023. The 2021-22 was later in April, arriving on the 27th.

You have to go back to 2021 to find releases that dropped in March and to 2019-20 for a January release date. This product is following the general trend of Panini releases. The dates got horrendously bad during the supply chain crisis, and there has been some pullback since.

However, it has not returned to the pre-pandemic time frame.

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2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball release formats

The Revolution release is generally a hobby one—that is one of the weird things about this low-end release. But there have been alternative releases here and there.

A Chinese New Year box is a kind of Mega Box for the release. Meanwhile, there have also been T-Mall releases for Revolution, but as we know, those tend to be uneven in release.

So far, we only have information on the regular hobby box. However, since the Chinese New Year format was released last year, we assume it will be back again this year. We will use the numbers from the previous year and update if there are changes. Here are the specs for the two formats.

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Hobby Box

Chinese New Year Box

  • 12 Packs per Box
  • 5 Cards per Pack
  • 12 Exclusive Parallels per box, on average, in exclusive parallels such as Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year Emerald (#’d/88), and Chinese New Year Holo Gold (#’d/8)
  • A 2022-23 box resells for $59.95

2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball Review Of The Pros

It’s easy to laugh at Revolution because of its relative lack of autos. But it offers one of the few avenues in basketball for set completion enthusiasts to get their groove on.

So many of the basketball releases are incredibly expensive. Much of that value comes from the chance of getting highly sought-after RPAs and other mega hits. The great thing about Revolution is the low price and manageable checklist.

That allows you to complete sets and even parallel rainbows for a relatively low price. Even though traditionally cost-effective sets like Donruss Basketball can cost over $300, there is a need for a set like this.

A traditional pro for this release has always been its relatively shallow checklist. That helped completists get the entire collection. But more importantly, it meant you were more likely to get a decent rookie variation or (if you are fortunate) auto.

That remains true. But in 2022-23, Panini added more veterans to the list, diluting this advantage. As we will see, that is a general trend for this release.

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2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball cons

Aesthetics is a purely subjective field. There is no question about that. While the Revolution cards certainly have a distinctive look, at their worst, they appear cheap.

The designs are not always the most thought out, and somehow, when things don’t work out, the foil in Revolution cards makes the items look even worse than they would otherwise. While it’s great that this product offers a more affordable take on set completion, not everyone wants sets with these sorts of designs.

The fact that Revolution is a hobby-only release has always confused me. It seems like a classic retail-style release designed for set completists with a taste for psychedelic designs.

Revolution should be a fixture on the shelves of Target and Walmart, where plenty of people would pick it up after Donruss and Prizm disappeared. But instead, you can only get it as a hobby box.

That seems like a strange avenue for a product that does not have good hits. If you are going to get a cheaper hobby box, you will probably go for Donruss Basketball, which offers a much greater chance of landing a severe hit.

In short, the lack of retail for Revolution seems like a missed opportunity. The combination of having seriously overpriced boxes for a non-premium product and no retail options has hit this product hard. It really doesn’t fit anywhere.

Panini Revolution goes downhill

The product suffered a severe decline in desirability with the 2020-21 release. That year, the autos switched from on-cards to stickers. That was a shame because Revolution was that unicorn release, giving you beautiful on-card autos for a reasonable price.

Since this product always had very few autos compared to others, the quality of the ones you found was an excellent way of making up for that. However, removing that took away one of the best selling points of this product. For many collectors, it has never recovered since.

Indeed, collectors seem particularly disappointed in that aspect. Look at the thread on Blowout forums right before the release of 2022-23 Panini Revolution Basketball.

The folks there were hoping that the release would not have stickers and saw mockups indicating the autos were on board. But once they saw it was stickers again, there was broad disappointment in the forums.

To make matters worse, it’s one of those abandoned children of Panini—or, to use another disturbing metaphor, a sort of Zombie release. It still exists, but the company has stopped updating its designs. They certainly do not seem materially different from what they were in 2015.

What is the rookie class of 2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball like?

The presence of the great Victor Wembanyama sucks the air out of the room when it comes to discussions of the 2023-24 rookie class.

The hype surrounding the French player was so enormous that there was bound to be some disappointment when it met with reality. But in the real world, you can’t really expect a rookie to do better than averaging over 20 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.

And his defense? Over the last 15 games (at the time of writing), the Spurs, with Victor, had the best defensive numbers of any team in the NBA. Meanwhile, when he is absent, they are 29th. Wemby is the real thing.

A genuinely dominant center that fits perfectly into the fast and-furious modern game. Therefore, his presence makes the rookie class an elite one. There is no question about it.

However, Wemby is not alone in making this a strong cohort of rookies. With Chet Holmgren still considered a rookie everywhere, but in card releases and Wemby’s presence, it is easy to overlook Brandon Miller.

But in most other years, he would be the talk of the league. He has the potential to be an elite scorer and is a remarkably consistent three-point shooter for a rookie.

It won’t be long before Miller averages over 20 points a game. Collectors see his potential, and there is a pretty good market for his early rookie cards and Bowman 1sts.

There are no prominent stars in the rest of the class, but he will probably not be the player who commands massive value in the hobby.

2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball checklist

The product checklist has not yet been released. We expect to see it out a few days before the release. Nonetheless, we have some idea of what to expect.

The base checklist ballooned from 100 to 150 a couple of years ago. Panini added veterans, making them two-thirds of the checklist.

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Parallels

These were the parallels in the 2022-23 release. The parallel selection in Revolution is not as deep as some other products. But it usually has a pretty attractive variety that makes up for that defect.

Hobby Box

  • Astro
  • Fractal
  • Galactic
  • Groove
  • Impact #/149
  • Cosmic #/99
  • Sunburst #/75
  • Future Frame #/60
  • Cubic #/50
  • Lava #/10.

Chinese New Year

  • Base Chinese New Year
  • Emerald #/88
  • Holo Gold #/8

This year, some new parallels will be included for select cards. The most notable among them are the SSP Rookie Variations, which will be available for choosing rookie cards. Meanwhile, the Galactic return as they always have.

They are particularly beloved and are one of the main things keeping this product afloat. Despite not being numbered, Galactic parallels are rare and get reasonable prices. We will analyze them more in the value section.

Inserts

The inserts have always been among the best things about the Revolution release. Now that it has lost some of its other selling points, like on-card autos and the low price, it is perhaps the main thing to consider when considering an investment in the product.

Since we don’t have the checklist yet, we don’t have the complete list of inserts in this release. But here are the ones we know will appear.

Revolutionary

The concept of the Revolutionaries insert is, uh. A bunch of colors and the word Revolutionary or Revolutionaries printed on it. Ok, so this isn’t much of a theme, but these cards look pretty good and have been a mainstay of the release since its early days.

They are almost worthless unless you have a Kobe Bryant version from 2017. I still like them, though!

Prime Time Performers 

This insert looks a bit different than your average Revolution release card. It has straighter lines and simpler designs than the usual overly busy swirls, but it works great.

The back of the card tells us that the focus is on high performance in a particularly important game. The best of these can be worth $300-400 in PSA 10 condition, so treat them with respect!

Liftoff!

The Liftoff! Insert is the traditional die-cut card, which seems obligatory in every set. Like most die-cut items, some are attractive, and some look atrocious, like when your 7-year-old nephew got at your basketball cards with the scissors.

The theme is great dunkers. Usually, these look pretty cool. They aren’t particularly sought after, but occasionally, one sells for over $100.

Shock Wave

The Shock Wave inserts are classic Revolution stuff. They’re super colorful, displaying lightning bolts and electricity fields with attractive action shots.

It’s familiar but well-executed. The cards are numbered, which helps with the value. Therefore, a promising rookie or established star with a low number could go for $100-200. Not bad for this product.

Supernova

I haven’t done a scientific study yet, but I feel like about half of the inserts in the hobby are based on astronomy in one way or another. That means the Supernova concept is highly familiar.

Perhaps too much so. The designs are also not the best that Revolution has to offer. It goes more into the literal space picture realm than the mess of colors that the brand is known for, and that doesn’t work great in Revolution. The numbered copies go for decent prices.

Vortex

The Vortex cards look exactly like you would expect. A swirling vortex of colors behind our favorite players. However, these inserts stand out among the other Revolution cards for their poor design and execution.

At least they are a reminder that the other inserts are pretty good. They have the same value as the other Revolution inserts, though they should have less.

Autos

As we have discussed ad nausea, the two main characteristics of the autos in Revolution used to be that they did not come in most hobby boxes, but when they did, they were on-card.

Now, we long for those days. The autos are now rare and on stickers, so it’s not particularly enticing. They also don’t come in any particular sets, just as general autos.

2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball value

What we have here is a low end set, that has increased in price recently. While doing so, it has also deteriorated in quality in several ways. None of that is, on the face of it, a recipe for high value.

Nonetheless, Revolution does have its fans and some of its cards, like Galactic, have carved out a market. So lets see how it does on the market.

Wax

As you may recall, boxes of 2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball presell for $250. More than double what it cost just three years ago. How does that compare to current prices for wax sitting on the shelves?

ReleasePrice
2017-18 Panini Revolution Basketball Hobby Box$263
2018-19 Panini Revolution Basketball Hobby Box$448
2019-20 Panini Revolution Basketball Hobby Box$183.94
2020-21 Panini Revolution Basketball Hobby Box$114.95
2021-22 Panini Revolution Basketball Hobby Box$97.95
2022-23 Panini Revolution Basketball Hobby Box$85

The last time a box of Revolution was worth enough to cover a new box was back in 2018. That is a long time ago, folks. None of the recet boxes are worth even half of the current $250 price tag.

That is about as bad a situation as I have seen for wax products. Saving these boxes is literally a waste of money and shelf space. Don’t do it.

Singles

I don’t think I shocked anyone with the data above. Revolution always seems more like a product for picking up the occasional good looking single, rather than stashing away wax.

We have already seen that some of the inserts can have a bit of value if they are numbered. Let’s see what the strongest cards in Revolution can fetch on the market.

SingleCard
2018-19 PANINI REVOLUTION LUKA DONCIC #128 GALACTIC ROOKIE RC SSP MAVS (BGS 9.5)$4,800
2019-20 Panini Revolution Autographs Kobe Bryant ON CARD AUTO PRISTINE (BGS 10)$4,100
2020-21 Panini Revolution Galactic #125 Anthony Edwards RC Rookie SSP (PSA 10)$2,311.00
2022-23 Panini Revolution Fractial Luka Doncic AUTO/100 (Raw)$953.00
2022-2023 JEREMY SOCHAN **ROOKIE REVOLUTION AUTO KALIEDO 1/1 (Raw)$418.00
2022 Panini Revolution Chet Holmgren Fractal Rookie Auto SP /100$305

First, its amazing to see the fantastic prices that people are trying to sell Revolution cards for on eBay. Granted, there are always people trying to sell cards for far more than they are worth. But in this case, the fantasies are on a whole other level.

Now to address the values of the actual sales. I knew Galactic inserts are popular. But they actually go for far more than most “case hits.”

These cards really save the Revolution franchise from irrelevance. No one will be surprised that all the top sales for Revolution are from the olden days when they had on-card autos.

So when you have a beautiful on-card Kobe or Luka, those will get nice prices. Unfortunately, that is not relevant for the newer releases. You have to go way way down the list to find cards from recent releases.

There are a bunch of Luka sticker autos from 2022-23 sales that are around the $600-800 mark. Then it drops significantly again.

Final word of the 2023-24 Panini Revolution Basketball review

Revolution was conceived as a low-end product on the Panini totem pole. The idea was that autos and big fancy RPAs aren’t driving the price up.

You just get the bare essentials. By the standards of other products it remains inexpensive. However, it is now beyond the price of buying to “rip with the kids.” It is shame that Panini doesn’t have any equivalent of Heritage or even Opening Day for that.

Among its products, Revolution might be the natural one for that. We hope that when Topps will take over, they will also bring their better record of producing low-end products to the fore when producing basketball and football cards.

It is tough to ignore the general deterioration of the Panini Revolution Basketball brand over the last few years.

The designs haven’t evolved meaningfully over almost a decade of existence. Meanwhile, the autos have moved from being on the card to a sticker. The prices have risen, and the checklist is padded with more veterans than before.

None of these developments are good, which is at least part of why the Revolution is an afterthought in the annual calendar nowadays.

Nonetheless, the high value of the Galactic inserts is a saving grace for this franchise. They do mean you can get a top-notch card out of a relatively low cost box. So while Revolution is not a hold (its actually about as bad as it can be in that regard), there is a good excuse to rip it.

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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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