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2023 Optic Football Checklist: The Best Investment Of The Season?

2023 donruss optic

Optic Football 2023 is set to release on May 24, 2024, and here’s everything you need to know about the last major optichrome release for the 2024 season. 

2023 Optic Football product introduction

Since its debut in 2016, Optic has garnered a dedicated following among collectors, particularly with football and basketball. Regarded as one of the premier mass-market sports card collections, it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with brands such as Prizm and Select.

These sets share features such as chromium cards and Prizm-based inserts and parallels, adding layers of scarcity and visual intrigue that captivate enthusiasts. 

Shop for boxes of 2023 Optic Football boxes on eBay

CJ Stroud Donruss Optic rookie card

Optic football boasts its acclaimed Rated Rookie cards, consistently counted among the most iconic rookie cards annually. In a similar vein to Silver Prizm rookies, Optic introduces its Silver parallel, colloquially known as the “holo,” though this nomenclature can sometimes befuddle.

Nevertheless, Optic holos are prized for their rarity, value, and striking aesthetics, consistently boasting lower population numbers on PSA pop reports than Silver Prizms.

Shop for boxes of 2023 Optic Football boxes on eBay

Jalen Hurts donruss optic rookie card

What to expect from 2023 Optic

Optic 2023 brings a blend of tradition and innovation, offering collectors both familiar elements and exciting new features. Designed for those who like ripping packs, this year’s edition maintains the format of 20 packs per box, each containing 4 cards. 

Inside, collectors can expect to find 1 autograph, 20 rated rookies, 12 parallels (with 9 numbered), and 4 inserts, ensuring ample excitement with every box. Preorders are currently available at $850, up from last year’s price of $575

This set does not include autographs of CJ Stroud, Bryce Young or Will Levis, but one nice thing about Optic — unlike several of the autograph-driven products that have released lately – the biggest cards in Optic are the rookie holo parallels.

That means you don’t need to rely on pulling autographs to make money, and it means that this product better capitalizes on the value of CJ Stroud and the other rookie non-signers. 

Building on the foundation of Donruss Football, Optic 2023 introduces Optichrome technology, seamlessly blending signature elements such as Rated Rookies, My House!, and Downtown with cutting-edge innovation.

Among the highlights are on-card autographs from standout rookies, an enticing array of parallel versions including Flex, Electricity, Jazz, and Black Pandora, and the expansion of the popular Downtown insert to include both Super Bowl and International variants.

With its dynamic offerings and investment potential, Optic 2023 continues to captivate collectors and enthusiasts alike.

2023 Optic Football checklist information

What’s changing for Optic in 2023? Well, to put it succinctly, not much has changed

If you cracked open a box of Optic football over the last few years, you’re essentially up to speed with what to expect, albeit with a slightly less enticing lineup of rookies in 2023.

Speaking of rookies, one of the standout features of the product is the abundance of on-card autographs. As is customary, Optic introduces new parallel colors this year, with Electricity (/65) and Jazz parallels adding to the mix. 

On top of that, if you’re chasing after big-ticket items, keep your eyes peeled for the Downtown cards, which are already highly sought after and will now feature parallels from fairly common down to the ultra-rare Gold Vinyl 1/1. And for those who adore parallels, here’s a glimpse at the Optic rainbow for 2023 football.

Shop for boxes of 2023 Optic Football boxes on eBay

Love parallels? Here’s a look at the Optic rainbow for 2022 football, which will presumably be close to the 2023 set (we’ll update after more information releases).

  • Holo
  • Jazz
  • Rocket
  • Aqua – #/299
  • Orange – #/199
  • Blue – #/179
  • Silver Circles – #/125
  • Red – #/99
  • Pink Velocity – #/79
  • Electricity – #/65
  • Purple – #/50
  • Lime Green – #/35
  • Black Pandora – #/25
  • Ice – #/15
  • Gold – #/10
  • Green – #/5
  • Gold Vinyl – 1/1

Collectors should also keep their eyes peeled for Rookie Patch Autographs, which are all numbered to 25 or less. There are also “Legendary” versions that feature veteran patch autographs, also to 25.

In short, 2023 Optic is the same ol’ formula that collectors love with new rookies and just enough tweaking to keep it feeling fresh and interesting. 

Investing in Donruss Optic Football 

With a pre-order price of $850, buying a box of Optic is not an impulse buy. But don’t worry – we’ve done the work for you. 

The nice thing about Optic and the rest of the opti-chrome brands is that you at least get quite a few cards. I’m personally scared of a $800 box that only has 8 or so cards because that’s truly a roll of the dice. With a product like Optic that has 80 cards, at least you’re going to get something, you know? 

Still, it’s a major investment and something you must think about before pulling the trigger. Here are a few different ways to think about investing in Optic. 

Shop for boxes of 2023 Optic Football boxes on eBay

Investing in sealed boxes of Optic football

If you’re investing in sealed boxes with the intent of holding them, here are some current resell numbers to consider for hobby boxes (as of 3/28/24).

  • 2023: $850
  • 2022: $660
  • 2021: $640
  • 2020: $1,100
  • 2019: $425
  • 2018: $950
  • 2017: $3,000

What can we learn from this?

The bottom line is that the rookie class always matters. 2017 and 2020 are strong classes while 2019 is a very poor one. 2023 will be upper-middle, most likely. 

If you are buying a sealed box to sit on, Optic isn’t a bad option – especially if you like the 2023 rookie class. And are unphased by the notably absent rookie signers. 

Investing in Optic Football 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 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. 

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 10 parallels, especially if you can get cards in one of the two rarest tiers.

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.

Bottom line: rip hold or pass on 2023 Donruss Optic Football?

Optic is my personal favorite brand, and it keeps getting even better year after year while still capturing the magic of what makes the product special. It’s a good potential investment that’s more affordable than Prizm while also staying rarer.

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

Shop for boxes of 2023 Optic Football boxes on eBay

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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