My big Black Friday purchase was an 8-box case of 2015-16 Panini Clear Vision basketball cards. Blowout had them on sale at a pretty big discount, and I thought it might be worth the gamble. I experienced buyer's remorse pretty much as soon as I completed the purchase, but at that point I was pretty much stuck with it. The price seemed pretty good.
Here are a couple sides of a box. The boxes are made of clear plastic, the kind of packaging material that will slice your finger if you handle it wrong. Each box has 20 cards in it, and you are promised two rookie cards per box, two parallels, and one insert. Outside of that I don't think there were many other guarantees.
Here's what a pack looks like. Pretty standard shiny fare. Each box has five of these, with four cards each. In reality, a few of my packs had an extra card in them, so I wound up with three cards more than expected out of 8 boxes.
The cards are made of acetate and cardboard in layers. The player silhouette and that grey area in the center are a layer of cardboard that's been glued to the acetate background. Quality control was an issue with these cards, as most of the cards had gouges and scrapes on the plastic, and some had glue residue on them. Kind of disappointing, really.
Here are some more of the base cards. In all I got 93/141 (65.96%) of a base set, with 34 doubles, 11 triples, and 4 quadruples. I thought about posting about this break box by box, but I don't think that would have been very interesting.
There are a couple of subsets in the base set. Frank Kaminsky and Kristaps Porzingis are examples from the Rookie Card subset. They are distinguished by the RC logo and a different background. The other subset is called Rookie Revision and takes a look at what some star players' rookie cards might have looked like in this design. In the case of Rookie Revision, the cardboard section runs north-south instead of east-west like on the base cards.
These Blue parallels are the most common parallels. I got eight of them in this break. None of these first four guys are huge names. I saw Kenneth Faried play during the Jazz - Nuggets game I went to earlier this month. He struck me as kind of a cheap player. I saw at least one egregious flop from him. Maybe it was just a one-game sample and my assessment was off, but it seemed like he was pretty well-practiced in taking little cheap shots at guys, tripping people, and flopping when he could get away with it.
This group is better than the first group. The Blue parallels are all numbered # / 149. I guess my favorite card out of my Blue parallels is the Jason Kidd Rookie Revision.
I pulled four Red parallels from the base set. These are numbered out of # / 99, and that Grant Hill is easily my favorite of the bunch. There is plenty of star power here, with Russell Westbrook churning out triple-doubles seemingly at-will this season. I've never liked Pau Gasol.
I also got one Purple parallel, which is a Christmas card with the serial number # 12 / 25. Unfortunately it pictures DeMarcus Cousins, who has been in the news lately mostly for things like a profanity-laced tirade against a reporter and for being involved in a nightclub fight where he and Matt Barnes are accused of doing things like choking a woman and stomping on a guy who was knocked to the ground. Classy stuff. They are innocent until proven guilty, I guess, but this isn't the first time that these players have been involved in this kind of story.
I got two cards from the Standouts insert set, a base insert of LeBron James and a Red parallel of Kevin Garnett. The Garnett is numbered # 30 / 99. These are all right. I guess my one complaint is that the inserts look like just another subset of the base set. There isn't really anything that sets them apart.
I pulled four cards from the Visionaries insert, with a base card of Clyde Drexler, Blue parallels of Gary Payton and Karl Malone, and a Gold parallel of David Robinson. This is probably my favorite group from the break, as it features the players who were stars during the peak of my NBA fandom. The Payton and Malone cards are numbered # / 149, and The Admiral is numbered # 10 /10. The David Robinson is probably my favorite card of the break.
I beat the odds a little bit on the autograph front. I think autographs are supposed to average one per 8-box case, so I got double the expected number. That probably means that someone out there busted 8 boxes and didn't get anything. Both cards are from the Clear Vision Signatures set, and feature (partially-obscured) autographs on a layer of acetate embedded in a thick cardboard sandwich. The D'Angelo Russell card is numbered # 68 /94 and Marcus Smart is numbered # 007 / 117. The Russell card is actually a pretty strong seller, so I should really put it up on eBay real fast and get back half of what I paid for this case.
My impressions from this break were that even at about $21.75 per box, this product feels like a bit of a letdown. I can't even imagine busting this stuff at full MSRP. Panini's online store has this at $75/box, and that's ridiculous for a box that usually turns out to be something like 15 base cards, two rookies, a parallel # / 149, a parallel # / 99, an insert that averages about # / 149, with an outside shot at an autograph replacing your insert card.
Clear Vision seems to me like someone took Topps High Tek and removed the variety, parallels, and hits that make that product fun, then tried to sell what was left at the same price. The damaged cards throughout the case made it even worse. It was exciting to have a whole case of cards to bust open, but in the future I would probably choose a different product.
I am glad that I pulled the Gold David Robinson parallel and the D'Angelo Russell autograph, because without those two cards this case would have been miserable. Those two cards really made the break. I think the three extra cards in the case came from the packs with the autographs and the David Robinson pack, so I guess you can determine packs with what you would call hits will have an extra card.