The Panini White Box is an elusive sports card product used by Panini to pacify customers who failed to receive redemptions. Thus, the White Box can only be obtained directly from Panini or purchased on the secondary market. The big draw of the White Box is that any card pulled is guaranteed to be a 1/1 auto.
That said – and more on this bit below – the “1/1” is considered to be a bit watered down given the cards aren’t true stamped 1/1s, but rather cards that Panini “transformed” into 1/1s after the fact by having them signed and then stickered with “1/1″ designation.” So, you’ll often see or hear these referred to as “White Box 1/1s.”
When you have the ability to print cards at will and throw a sticker auto on it and people still eat them up then why not? Panini was handing the white box 1/1s out to people at nationals like they were lollipops— OnlyGems (@OnlyGems_NFT) October 22, 2022
This does not mean that cards pulled from White Boxes don’t have value, as we will soon dive into below.
How to Get a Panini White Box
As mentioned, the only way for a collector to get a White Box directly from Panini is relatively complex; that is if you were to compare the method to the traditional way of purchasing cards.
Read More: What are Redemption Cards
The best way to think about it is that the White Box is a bit of a “make good” replacement from Panini for those who aren’t able to have their redemptions fulfilled. Of course, there are special circumstances, and it is suggested that the price of the redemption must exceed $100.
Here is a great video that talks about the White Box, specifically Luka and Lamelo Obsidian redemptions were “traded” for a White Box, and it worked out quite well…(starts around the 6:00 mark).
As you can see and as mentioned, every card in a White Box is a 1/1 auto. That said, some could be rookie autos and others non-rookies. Some could also be stars while others not so much. And, because there are “buyback cards,” there is a feeling among collectors that a 1/1 from a White Box isn’t on the same level as a similar card pulled from a hobby box. (Think about it like Archives Signature Series 1/1 autos and how they’re often worth less than their “normal” counterparts.)
Also, if a White Box is sent, it is also not guaranteed to match the value of the initial redemption card or cards. Likewise, the year of the product is not guaranteed to match the year of the product. For example, a 2021-22 NBA product will not mean that the white box contains the same year. That’s also part of the draw, though, as people has pulled older rookies from years back, who are now established stars in their respective leagues.
Another way to obtain a Panini White Box is through secondary markets, most notably eBay…
A Gamble within a Gamble
Like all things cards, White Box cards are a gamble. That said, some of the recently sold listings on eBay of Panini White Box cards are incredible.
A Jayson Tatum 2018-19 Panini Opulence 1/1 is one of the most recent, with another being a Ja Morant 2019-20 Panini Eminence. While these examples show the range of pricing – the Tatum a solid $861 while the Morant fetched $4,550 on 52 bids – do not let these be the only examples you look at when it comes to deciding whether or not to chase a box.
For instance, eBay also has a Kristaps Porzingis 2015-16 Crown Royal for $400 from a Panini White Box. There is a 2018 Panini Flawless Baker Mayfield that is listed at $342 or best offer. A simple search on eBay pulls a range of products listed as “Panini White Box.”
Now, we are still talking hundreds of dollars for a card, but it begs the question: is the redemption that is being surrendered worth that gamble? And, is the product worth opening or selling as sealed?
Going back to Porzingis and Mayfield examples, these are nice cards, sure, but either may not be as valuable as the redemption initially received in the product. If one buys a box through a secondary market for any of the mentioned prices, these two cards do not cover the cost. If the box is left sealed, the secondary market is almost guaranteeing $1,000 return. Not to mention that right now, the lowest-priced option is at $1,999 OBO.
Ultimately it is a gamble, and in the card hobby, nothing new to seasoned collectors.
What to do?
The Panini White Box is an interesting, unique product from a flagship brand. Most collectors would love to experience the lure of the product at least one time in collecting, right? Easy for me to say, as someone who could never stomach the risk!
But, it is the mystery and thrill of collecting that make the hobby worth it. The hunt for a card you wanted and hitting it; the thrill of pulling a great player or someone you personally collect.