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How to Find the Best and Cheapest Basketball Card Boxes

How to Find the Best and Cheapest Basketball Card Boxes

Market research shows the Global Sports Trading Card Market was valued at $13.82 billion. By 2027, it's expected to reach $98.75 billion. That's an increase of 23.01% from 2020 to 2027!

This was largely in part due to the pandemic and the increase of homebound workers looking for a hobby to keep them occupied during shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. Sports trading cards saw a boost in market value as well as novelty value. 

Learn how to find your own treasure trove of basketball card boxes by reading the following tips and tricks for How to Find the Best and Cheapest Basketball Card Boxes.

Pandemic Boom

Families staying at home during the height of the pandemic began going through old boxes in the garage or attic and finding sports cards passed onto them by relatives or re-discovering collections from their youth. With more free time at home, sports card enthusiasts flocked to stores or online sites to buy more boxes in order to expand their collections or to have some activity to bond with their children.

This also caused a boom for people looking to capitalize on the increase in value by buying large quantities of sports card boxes online and in-store. The hope was that they could stumble upon rare and valuable cards in boxes that could be quickly flipped for a tidy profit on online marketplaces such as eBay.

Retailers like Target and Walmart couldn't keep any product on the shelf and had to impose a limit on boxes per customer transaction per day. Even fighting and attacks occurred amongst consumers in store parking lots over the demand for sports trading card boxes.

It became less about the enjoyment of the hobby and collecting in itself and more about the potential to hit sports trading card gold and score a big payday. 

It is a hobby. Buy for fun first and if you make anything, you are lucky. Boxes are best to be bought for fun.

How to Find the Best and Cheapest Basketball Card Boxes

There are a number of places where sports trading card boxes can be obtained. The top 4 places include:

  • Online marketplaces 
  • Local Sports Card/Trading Card Stores
  • Larger retail stores like Walmart or Target
  • Specialty Sports Card Retail websites

We're going to talk a little bit about each one and its offerings, benefits, and drawbacks when it comes to product availability and quality.

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplace websites such as eBay can be a great source for a wealth of products, especially hard-to-find or limited-edition merchandise. eBay reported a boom of 142% in card sales for 2020, with basketball cards experiencing a nearly 375% increase.

The site does go by a great number of supply and demand analytics allowing sellers to change their prices at will in order to capitalize on the highest price possible for a popular item's value that could far exceed its original value.

The standard auction bidding platform of most listings can also drive up the cost if multiple people are bidding on a single item and increasing its base value. This can make obtaining some items more difficult if it is out of a consumer's budget. 

Local Sports Card/Trading Card Stores

Local sports card/trading card stores, sometimes referred to as hobby shops, can be a great resource for finding basketball card boxes for sale. Their stock can vary based on geographical locations due to the different popularities of certain sports in certain regions over others.

Hockey boxes are not as popular in Southern California due to the popularity of the Dodgers and the Lakers, so baseball and basketball are more the norms.

Sports card/trading card stores may be able to get access to the boxes and products that aren't available elsewhere. Hobby shops want to know what their customers are looking for so that they can stock it specifically for their clientele, so never be afraid to vocalize what it is you're looking for.

Local sports card stores may also have older products in stock that have been discontinued in larger retail stores, so a 2016 box that has been sitting on the shelf for a while might contain a rare card but frequently be overlooked because it's not the current 2021 box. 

You'll also run into a great deal of knowledge with product selection as the whole purpose of this niche business is to live and breathe sports cards. The owners and workers are often sports cards enthusiasts themselves who can tell you exactly what's hot and what's not. They'll explain what's worth it and what to not waste your money on. 

Hobby shop boxes have a better likelihood of hitting a rarer card, versus retail boxes, and have guaranteed autograph/memorabilia cards, Hobby shops are limited though sometimes with the stock they can have in-store and on the shelves.

Larger Retail Stores

Larger retail stores such as Walmart or Target stock sports cards, like basketball card boxes, but their stock is often limited by the demand and availability of sports card products.

They were the most frequented locations during the 2020 boom and because of this, their stock is the most depleted. The shortage of stockers and delivery drivers means the stock is not getting refreshed as often as it used to be, resulting in bare shelves.

Once in a while at a location less frequented, you may be able to stumble upon some lone product sitting on the shelf, but what was once an ample place to find sports cards in stock is now empty and ransacked. 

Target and Walmart sell a midrange box called a mega box. This is not for every product, but Select and Prizm have one. If you are lucky enough to find these boxes and Target or Walmart, they range from $50 to $100 but even on the secondary market, they are usually less than half of what the hobby boxes go for.

As a reminder, the beauty with the basketball market currently is that the rookies are holding value. These mega boxes usually offer some kind of parallel exclusive so you are almost guaranteed to get some great rookie parallels out of those boxes.

If you are new to this and looking for a start that will get you a lot of cards but not overwhelm you, a mega box is one of the best basketball card boxes to buy.

Specialty Sports Card Retail Websites

There are numerous online specialty sports card retail websites, so it can be daunting to pick the right one. Online sites have the possibility for an infinite number of stock options available, whereas larger retail stores and local sports card stores have a finite amount of shelf room and ordering capacity. 

Online retailers sometimes commit case hits, where a case containing 3 to 12 boxes is opened until a coveted card is found inside. Knowing they have found the best card, they see no reason to keep the remaining boxes and sell them on the website, making it less likely that a customer will find anything of worth because it has already been cherry-picked.

A case hit being cherrypicked, for example, is something like a Zebra parallel, which is usually one per case, and is a reason to not buy boxes online. However, given that you don't know what you are getting in a box, and that it is in the interest of most sellers to be ethical, the majority of well known retailers don't use this business practice.

Most Affordable Basketball Card Boxes

There are three levels of basketball card boxes based on overall quality and price. High-end, mid-end, and low-end. High-end cards are the best quality but also the most costly.

The best basketball card boxes to buy depending on the price range that you are willing to spend. Blasters are more affordable. Mega boxes have already been covered, hobby boxes range from hundreds of dollars to thousands, and cases are bigger versions of boxes.

Every NBA basketball cards box within the past few years is a Panini basketball cards box due to their exclusive license. Panini is the only company that can feature NBA logos on their product since 2008. Upper Deck, Fleer, and Topps are the most common brands for vintage cards.

2020/21 Prizm Retail Box

Prizm cards hold value over time. LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards, are the top Prizm rookie cards to chase in the 2020/21 Panini Prizm Retail Box. This box is the best combination of value and affordability. 

This guarantees one autograph but the steal here is it guarantees 12 silver Prizms. If you hit a silver of a hot rookie, you'll really up your collector's game. 

2020/21 Recon

Currently, a great product that was recently released is Recon. Recon is an amazing product.

It guarantees two autographs for under $300. For a basketball box, that is a steal. You can get a LaMelo Ball autographed out of that product. It is full of numbered rookies.

The autograph checklist features Shaquille O'Neal and Anthony Davis. Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball's rookie autographs can also be found.

People are hesitating now on Recon because it is a new product. Recon only came about because it was a Chronicles exclusive and people liked it.

2020/21 Onyx Vintage Collection Basketball Hobby Box

The Onyx Vintage Collection Basketball Hobby Box is an inexpensive way to collect some big name autographs like Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Damian Lillard. It's around $90 for a box with a pack of 4 cards. It contains the possibility of hot prospects, rookies, phenoms, pros, and retired players, with limited inscription cards and all on-card autographs.

Low-Priced Boxes with Autographed Rookies

People make a lot of mistakes not buying Prizm Draft. There is a huge market inefficiency with collectors not liking players in their college or international uniforms. Historically, these are the first cards made of these players.

For college collectors, this is a great way to collect on the cheap. When other products come out, these boxes historically take a huge plummet and that is a huge shame. It takes a lot to be the best player on your college team. It takes a lot to even have an autograph on a checklist.

Draft Picks based products like Prizm Draft and Contenders Draft, which wasn't released this year but has been in the past, are usually put together well before the draft. Panini does a great job hitting the mark and getting as many people as they can on the list.

Unfortunately, people don't like that of the autographs you get in the product, you don't always get a true star. 

Draft Picks based boxes are a great way to try to hit big-name rookie autographs for a small price. Currently, you can get four hits in the 2021/22 Panini Chronicles Hobby Box and as of the writing of this article, it is one of the only products to feature this year's crop of rookies.

Protect Your Collection

Protection is key. You will need penny sleeves and toploaders. With Prizm, Select, and Mosaic cards, 55 point ultra pro toploaders are recommended.

Getting the correctly sized toploader for your card is important to prevent scratches and damage. With grading now being an industry standard, protect your assets.

Parting Words of Advice

If you want advice about how to succeed in the sports card community, it is this: when everyone zigs, you zag. You don't always have to follow the crowd because the popularity fluctuates over time. Buy what you like and don't worry so much about the profit aspect or it takes the novelty away from the hobby.

It took about five years for the product of the 2013/14 draft class, which was the Giannis Antetokounmpo rookie year. You could buy Prizm boxes for under a hundred dollars for years before his finals appearance. So you never know where the hidden gems may lie.

Basketball Cards for Every Budget

The sports card trading industry had been a part of collector culture for well over 100 years and it only seems to be going up from here. Basketball card boxes are among the most popular card product. 

At Breaking Bangers, you can find all the best basketball card box products, in stock, at low prices. Whether you are just starting out or are a pro in this industry, we're here for you with basketball boxes for every budget. 

With Breaking Bangers, it's always a slam-dunk. Check out our website for all your sports card collecting and trading needs today!

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