Picking the right products is a tough and expensive decision. Here’s seven can’t-miss releases you need on your radar before the end of 2023.
By: Paul Hickey
We write a monthly feature on every sports card release that hits the market, but it can still be difficult to keep track of the plethora of products coming out — not to mention we don’t all have unlimited funds to buy everything.
Since there are so many drops that collectors and flippers alike should keep an eye on, we’ve narrowed things down to our top seven picks for the best releases expected to close out 2023.
1. 2023 Bowman Draft Baseball
Typically released in December, Bowman Draft Baseball has to be No. 1. It will feature Bowman Chrome 1st Prospect cards of top picks — Paul Skenes, Max Clark, Wyatt Langford and more are anticipated to be available in this release, in pro uniforms with autos. What about Dylan Crews? Well, traditionally Topps has held the No. 2 pick in the draft out of this release in order to give some juice to 2024 Bowman Baseball. While we could see Crews in Draft, it’s more likely we’ll have to wait until Bowman Baseball. Draft is still a release for investors to monitor in 2023.
Our second can’t-miss release is the Panini Contenders Optic Basketball drop. Hitting the market on September 20, Contenders Optic Basketball will include Optic Contenders Rookie Ticket Autos, giving sports card investors an appealing mix of desirability at an affordable price point.
For those that opt for the hobby boxes, an autograph will be included, and a short-printed Black Pandora parallel is available for the luckiest collectors.
Next on our list is Panini’s National Treasures Basketball, releasing in early November. Sitting high on the initial investment spectrum, this release will include official Rookie Patch Autos from last year’s class. If you’re able to dish out the funds, this release actually brings several different opportunities for investors and collectors, as sealed hobby boxes from previous years have appreciated at an exponential rate.
Another release hobbyists should be sure to catch is 2023 Donruss Elite Football. This set drops September 1, and includes a flurry of base parallels with different print runs. Collectors should be intrigued by a number of player autos, such as the highly-desired Moxie variants, as well as inserts included in hobby boxes.
This release features the 2003 Elite Rookies inserts, which uses designs based on cards dropped two decades ago. Ultimately this release gives enthusiasts a wide variety of highly-desirable cards to pull that feature elite NFL stars, as well as exciting first-year players.
5. 2023 Bowman Chrome Baseball
2023 Bowman Chrome Baseball releases September 13, and for card flippers is a highly-anticipated release as the MLB’s upcoming prospects offer high profit potential. The release has a base set totaling 100 cards, with 10 different refractor parallels included for each base card. This drop is stacked with a number of autographs and intriguing inserts.
This year’s Bowman Chrome includes a new Base Rookie Color Run variation that will be important to keep an eye on.
This year’s Panini Black Football provides NFL enthusiasts with another release that offers deep variety in regards to parallels, autos, and inserts. Boxes start at $450, and while this may seem on the expensive side, the contents make this purchase one that holds lots of value. This release comes on September 27, strategically placed towards the beginning of the NFL season.
Base options have a number of parallels, including a 1/1 platinum variant. There are also four different short-printed options: Prolific, Forcefield, White Night, and Vanata. The 2023 Shadow Ink Autograph brings a luminated Josh Allen, which will potentially be one of the most sought after cards in the entire drop.
Released on September 1, Panini Mosaic Basketball hits the scene just under two months before the NBA season begins, giving investors the chance to pick up new prints before the hype kicks in. The drop features a wide variety of options through four different configurations. Packs will continue to follow Panini’s historical trend of including a high amount of parallel prints to pull. Both rookies and veterans can be secured in Autographed Mosaics, and hobby boxes add a total of 40 parallels and inserts.
Honorable Mention: 2023 Donruss Football
This year’s 2023 Donruss Football release carries a bit of extra weight. While Donruss Football typically includes Rated Rookies and autos of the most desirable first-year players, with the recent drama surrounding the NFLPA, Fanatics, and Panini regarding licensing rulings, there is a potential for this year’s drop to be mixed up in comparison to what collectors are used to.
With the Sports Card Investor app, you can profit from the hobby you love by keeping up with trending cards, tracking real-time prices with Market Movers and buying items on eBay.
Paul Hickey is a regular contributor to Sports Card Investor, the creator of the Sports Card Investment Report at NoOffseason.com, and the host of the Sports Card Strategy Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube. He can be found on Instagram at @sportscardstrategy and on Twitter @nooffseasoncard.
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