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The Night Moves Case Hit And Why They Are Criminally Undervalued

night moves insert

The Night Moves insert hasn’t been around for too long. However, it has already surpassed several more veteran inserts to join the top ranks of the genre.

What does it look like? Well, it has players with backgrounds in various impressive interstellar formations.

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However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is an entire Reddit thread on the fact that the background, in this case the black hole in a Cason Wallace rookie card, looks like “some sort of galactic asshole.”

However, there are no incidental similarities to body cavities against this insert. It is one of the best on the market.

But you have questions. No, not about galactic assholes. Important ones: How does it stack up to other awesome inserts? Where can I pull one of these magnificent items?

And finally, what are the best Night Moves cards ever? We will answer all that and more in our complete guide to the Night Moves insert.

The history of Night Moves inserts

We must assume that this wonderful insert was inspired by the classic Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band single of the same name from 1976. The song reached number 4 on the Billboard charts and was described by Rolling Stone as “one of rock’s most moving exercises in elegy.” Whatever that means, we say it’s a great tune.

The card version of Night Moves first appeared in the 2020 Donruss Football release. Panini knew they had a winner and put it front and center in all their advertising materials for the release.

It also helped that the product had an excellent lineup for these inserts. You can find ones for Christian McCaffrey, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jordan Love.

Tom Brady 2020 Panini Donruss Night Moves

Since then, it has appeared in every Donruss product, whether football, basketball, or soccer. It instantly became one of the best and most beloved inserts in a product that (in my opinion anyway) has the most robust lineup of any product in the hobby. Sorry, not sorry.

The price for Night Moves cards peaked about a year and a half ago and has since gone down somewhat. But that is true for so many cards.

It doesn’t mean much for the general popularity of this insert. We will make a more careful and well-founded comparison between this insert and others later in this article.

What makes Night Moves a unique insert

There is no question that Night Moves is a gorgeous insert. They all look pretty much the same, featuring an exceptionally bright combination of colors in a spatial arrangement made stark by the pitch-black background.

The players are always pictured driving towards the rim, ball in hand. It is doubtless a successful exercise in iconography.

But honestly, as attractive as this card may be, it is not unique. Panini is filled to the brim with space-themed inserts (as is Topps). I can mention Galactic, Zero Gravity, Aurora, Shining Stars, Supernova and Vortex.

Meanwhile, the black background is very Noir or Obsidian, and the explosion of color reminds me (and everyone else) of Colorblast on a black background. Indeed, the comparison became even more apparent when Panini released a dark background version called Colorblast Black for Obsidian.

Therefore, this card is not particularly original or trailblazing. But who cares? It’s gorgeous, and we all love it.

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2022 Court Kings Cade Cunningham Night Moves

Are there other cards like The Night Moves Insert?

Night Moves is a case hit and, therefore, is best compared to other cards.

The two best-known (by a mile) are Downtown and Kaboom! We will compare Night Moves to those two inserts regarding scarcity and value below.

Recently, the Color Blast insert has begun to rival them as one of the premier case hits in the hobby. Of course, the latter is the most similar to Night Moves from an aesthetic perspective.

However, those are not the only Panini case hits on the market. Here is a list of the most remarkable case hits to look for if you like Night Moves:

  • Kaboom!
  • Downtown
  • Color Blast
  • Stained Glass
  • Home Field Advantage
  • En Fuego
  • Aurora
  • Intergalactic
  • Unparalleled Star Factor Die-Cuts
  • Vitreous
  • Gems
  • The Mighty
  • Superstar
  • Historic Rookie Season Ticket Premium
  • Gallery of Stars
  • Le Cinque piu Belle
  • Rookie Lvl IV
  • Pacific Marquee
  • White Sparkle
  • Headliners
  • Pursuit
  • Swingmen

As you can see, case hits are associated with Panini rather than Topps. However, Topps has been trying to create its own, such as Home Field Advantage. For more, you can check out our complete guide to case hits.

How rare is the Night Moves insert?

Several elements determine the value of a card. One of the main ones (perhaps the most important these days) is the relative rarity of the card.

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When a card is new, it is sometimes unclear how many have been printed. Unfortunately, the odds aren’t always printed. Even when they are, they haven’t always been accurate.

Yes, I am looking at your Topps Chrome Planetary Pursuit cards. But we have learned that eventually, the market adjusts once the population count is stable and people understand how common they are.

What do we know about Night Moves and their scarcity? Well, Panini doesn’t print the odds. We know it’s a case hit, so it can’t come more often than one per 6-18 hobby boxes (depending on the product).

So we have to try to figure it out from population counts. The good thing about these cards is that most people will grade them. It’s not a card you leave lying around in a top loader somewhere.

But of course, your best bet is to look at the guys who everyone will want to grade. Because if you get a pointless one, you still might be too lazy to grade it.

So let’s see how many copies we find of these and compare them to other case hit inserts.

CardNumber graded by PSA
2022 Donruss Basketball Chet Holmgren Night Moves12
2022 Donruss Basketball Paolo Banchero Night Moves17
2022 Donruss Football Patrick Mahomes II Night Moves28
2021 Donruss Football Josh Allen Night Moves25
2021 Donruss Football Tom Brady Night Moves33

The results show there are more football Night Moves cards than basketball ones. I would estimate there will be about 25 basketball Night Moves cards each and about 40 football cards each. That is fairly scarce.

Comparison to Kaboom!

Let’s see how that compares to other beloved inserts, like Downtown and Kaboom!

2021 Panini Absolute Tom Brady Kaboom!144
2020 Panini Absolute Justin Herbert Kaboom!114
2020 Panini Crown Royale Anthony Edwards Kaboom!103
2022 Panini Crown Royale Chet Holmgren Kaboom!77

Again, there are more football items than basketball. It also seems the number of Kaboom! Cards in Crown Royale Basketball went down significantly from 2020 to 2022.

But that is neither here nor there. More important for our purposes is how rare the Night Moves cards are compared to Kaboom! I crunched the numbers, and assuming the numbers graded are roughly representative, I found that there are more than four times as many.

We will look at value later on. But certainly, the market is overrating the value of Kaboom! and underrating the scarcity of Night Moves.

Justin Herbert Kaboom

Comparison to Downtown

We saw that Kaboom! is far more common than Night Moves. What about the closest competitor to Kabbom! in the insert space, the beloved Downtown? We looked at the population count for some outstanding cards of this type.

2022 Panini One and One Paolo Banchero Downtown26
2022 Panini One and One Chet Holmgren Downtown14
2022 Panini Donruss Optic Brock Purdy Downtown  256
2021 Panini Donruss Optic Tom Brady Downtown  205

With these cards, there is a massive difference between the Donruss and the One and One versions of Downtown. The One and One cards seem about as common, perhaps even more scarce, than their Night Moves counterparts.

Meanwhile, in Donruss, they are ubiquitous by case-hit standards. Maybe 50% or 60% more common than the Kaboom! cards.

We can see that Night Moves compares very favorably to the top-shelf case hits in the Panini catalog.

How valuable is the Night Moves insert?

The scarcity metric favors Night Moves, which is harder to hit than all Kaboom! Cards and most Downtown cards as well. But, of course, value doesn’t quite work that way.

There are two other elements as well. Eye appeal and reputation can also influence the value. So, very often, uglier cards will be worth less, even if they are scarce.

Meanwhile, Kaboom! (for example) is a more veteran insert and enjoys more cache. Finally, it can take a while for the hobby to figure out the actual scarcity of cards, especially when the odds do not appear on packs.

So, what are the actual values? Let’s compare the same player in the same year to find out.

CardValue of last PSA 10 Sale (or PSA 9 if no higher grade is available)
2021 Panini Donruss Aaron Rodgers Night Moves$150
2021 Panini Donruss Aaron Rodgers Downtown$383
2021 Panini Absolute Aaron Rodgers Kaboom!$340 (for a PSA 9)

In this case, the Downtown and Kaboom! Sell for more than double the Night Moves, at least in this case, despite the generally lower population count of the Night Moves cards.

More comparisons

Let’s look at another player in all three: Tom Brady. Will we see a similar pattern?

CardValue of last PSA 10 Sale (or PSA 9 if no higher grade is available)
2021 Panini Donruss Tom Brady Night Moves$603
2021 Panini Donruss Tom Brady Downtown$800
2021 Panini Absolute Tom Brady Kaboom!$925

Comparing basketball

We see a very similar trend with the great Tom Brady as well. The differences aren’t as stark, but there is still a significant difference. Does that hold for basketball, too? Let’s look at a few examples.

CardValue of last PSA 10 Sale (or lower if no higher grade is available)
2022 Panini Crown Royale LeBron James Kaboom!$3,390
2022 Panini One and One LeBron James Downtown$3,189
2022 Panini Donruss LeBron James Night Moves$149 (PSA 8)
2021 Panini Donruss Steph Curry Night Moves$260 (PSA 9)
2021 Panini One and One Steph Curry Downtown$1,755 (PSA 9)
2021 Panini Crown Royale Steph Curry Kaboom!$1,500 (PSA 9)

The LeBron isn’t a fair comparison because the Night Moves here is a PSA 8. Nonetheless, the massive differential is indicative of more than just a grade. It also shows the gap between the inserts. So, with Steph, I compared the PSA 9s.

As you can see, the difference is significant. The Downtown and Kaboom! cards are about six or seven times more valuable.

Lebron James Downtown

However, as we have seen, scarcity tells an entirely different story. The Night Moves is more scarce than any Kaboom! release, which is far less common than Downtown in Dornuss and about the same as the One and One product.

That means the Night Moves cards are almost criminally undervalued right now, which means there is much room for growth for these cards.

Where can you pull a Night Moves Insert?

We have seen that Night Moves cards are undervalued. That means getting them is a pretty good idea. But where can you pull one of these?

The Night Moves case hit is primarily a Donruss one, and you can get it in recent products from that line. But it has also appeared in Certified products. Here is a list of releases that contain Night Moves case hits.

Basketball:

Football:

  • 2020 Panini Donruss Football
  • 2021 Panini Donruss Football
  • 2022 Panini Donruss Football
  • 2023 Panini Donruss Football
  • 2023 Panini Certified Football
  • 2021 Panini Clearly Donruss Football

Soccer:

Top Ten Night Moves inserts

The Night Moves cards are fantastic, but a few aren’t excellent-looking. Of course, we all tend to gravitate toward the more prominent stars.

So we have looked at all the Night Moves cards to pick out the ten that stand out in value, eye appeal, historical significance, and anything else I felt like including in my calculations. But there are many more that are worth chasing.

Indeed, considering these inserts have only been around for 4 years; there is a significant amount of depth to be found. Here they are, the Top Ten Night Moves inserts.

2023-24 Panini Donruss Basketball Victor Wembanyama Night Moves

I can’t say I am the biggest fan of this card’s appearance. It is a fairly lackluster action shot of Wemby, which looks disconnected from the spatial formations behind him. I

In addition, it is a classic case of what our friends on Reddit called “a galactic asshole.” Nonetheless, we are talking about a case-hit rookie card of the most excited (possibly best) since LeBron James.

Victor Wembanyama Night Moves

2020 Panini Donruss Football Tyreek Hill Night Moves

The Hill card from the first product to feature Night Moves is possibly the most attractive card of the series ever printed.

Most cards look like the picture of the athlete was randomly superimposed in the background. But this card blends the two, making it seem like Hill is playing in space.

The card has fetched great prices due to the glorious look, and Hill is an outstanding wide receiver, making All-Pro an incredible five times.

tyreek hill night moves insert

2022 Panini Donruss Football Joe Burrow Night Moves

What a gorgeous card featuring a swirling rainbow surrounding Burrow as he prepares to launch one of his pinpoint passes. Because of the quarterback’s quality and the card’s eye appeal, PSA 10s can go for over $600.

That is a very good price for this case hit. We think it can go significantly higher if Burrow has the career his trajectory suggests.

2022 Donruss Joe Burrow Night Moves

2023 Panini Donruss Football CeeDee Lamb Night Moves

What a raving beauty. From an aesthetic point of view, the best of these cards integrate the player into the evocative space landscape behind them. But few of these do that properly.

The CeeDee Lamb is one of the most successful, engaging the Cowboys wide receiver in some galactic force field. When done right, these Night Moves are beautiful cards.

2023 Certified CJ Stroud Night Moves

2023 Panini Certified Football C.J Stroud Night Moves

In recent months, CJ Stroud has become an absolute sensation for collectors. While everyone has been discussing Wemby and Connor Bedard as the hobby’s future, Stroud’s surprisingly good performance in the 2023 season has made his cards far more popular than either, at least for now.

We aren’t 100% sure that Stroud is the real thing. Nonetheless, he has great potential and is a rookie case hit for a legend (if he turns out to be one). As for this card, it is very minimalist by the standards of this insert. But it works in this case.

2022 Donruss Soccer Lionel Messi Night Moves

Lionel Messi is the greatest soccer player of all time. That is no longer a question after that incredible World Cup win. This card finds the legend in the uniform of his country in the year of his great triumph.

That makes this insert historic. Just as importantly, the colors of the uniform contrast beautifully with the trademark Night Moves background, creating an excellent image. This card is a real keeper.

2023-24 Donruss Basketball LeBron James Night Moves

The reason for this selection is apparent. It’s freaking LeBron. There is a robust market for case hits of all-time greats, even when the cards come late (or very late) in their careers. Does this card include the anus effect prominently?

Sure. But we are far too mature to be concerned about such matters. We are eating Grey Poupon as we speak. Also, this is one of the best James action shots I have seen- a great looking card.

Erling Haalang Night Moves

2023 Donruss Soccer Erling Haaland Night Moves

Haaland has become one of the greatest goal-scorers in the game’s history. And the dude is just 23 years old. The sky is the limit for him. The card captures his trademark goal celebration move. He has made it well over 100 times and will indeed execute on countless occasions in the future.

Trevor Lawrence Night Moves 2021 Panini Donruss

2023 Panini Donruss Football Trevor Lawrence Night Moves

Trevor Lawrence’s stock has gone up and down quite a bit since entering the league. It has been a true rollercoaster. But his ability to overcome some adversity and criticism only adds to the sense that he is the real thing.

Visually, this is one of his most stunning cards. That is why I chose this beauty instead of a rookie, but either would make a great choice.

2022 Donruss Chet Holmgren

2022 Panini Donruss Basketball Chet Holmgren Night Moves

There was so much fuss surrounding Wemby (most of it justified) that people haven’t noticed how excellent Chet Holmgren has been.

Often eclipsing Wemby on rookie ladders and doing it while playing for a legit contender. There is a good chance that Wemby and Holmgren become the next incarnation of center rivals along the lines of Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell and Patrick Ewing vs. Hakeem Olajuwon.

It is excellent to get in on Chet; this beauty is a great way to do it.

Final word on Night Moves insert case hits

The Night Moves insert is not particularly original. In some cases, it looks like an intergalactic anus. But these are also beautiful cards. Yes, many things can be true at once. The universe is complex, ok?  See what I did there?

But what is surprising about these cards isn’t the design. It’s a relatively low value compared to more popular case hits like Downtown and Kaboom! That is almost certainly going to change. No, I don’t think Night Moves will become more popular or more valuable than either.

Both are better and more popular inserts. But the Night Moves cards are beautiful and highly scarce. Therefore, I don’t believe they will be selling at a fraction of the price of their rivals for long.

Buying the more giant Night Moves cards at current prices of a few hundred dollars is an excellent idea. With population counts as low as these cards have, I can see many selling for thousands eventually.

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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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