Donruss and Hoops are similar, but Donruss is clearly the better product when comparing the two. The card stock is a little nicer and there is just a higher quality when it comes to the cards you find here. Like Hoops, Donruss is typically readily available at the retail level. The cards feature a white border giving them a clean, but relatively boring look. At the hobby level, boxes have traditionally been well under $100, but this year at release, they are going for about $180 or so. The hype is just so great right now! Thankfully, prices remain steadily low at retail stores - if you are able to find them on the shelves.
As the NBA season is in full swing now, Donruss features the new players in their NBA uniforms. Sadly, it looks like Panini wasn't able to get much in the way of action shots. The Rated Rookies are up against a black backdrop. The images have come from photo sessions the players do before the season begins. It's a nice look, but collectors are wanting to get some action shots on their cards now that basketball is in full swing.
Donruss brings a lot of colorful and fun insert sets to collectors. This Net Marvels insert of Lebron James mimics the look of a comic book. Another insert called Crunch Time looks like a cereal box. The designers seem to have had a lot of fun creating the inserts here in Donruss. The inserts really pop and are a joy to look at. It's sweet to find cards that include a bit of uniqueness to liven up breaks.
The parallels in Donruss are the Press Proofs. There are a number of Press Proofs variations that permeate not just the base set, but the the inserts as well. Press Proofs have the word "PRESS PROOF" printed right on the card. Press Proof inserts can be differentiated by gold foil along with the inscription. For the base set, press proofs are numbered at different tiers. Red foil Press Proof cards like the Darius Bazley above is numbered to 99. Different colors feature different print runs. Rookies are the name of the game when it comes to press proofs as desirable serial numbered rookies can be worth quite a bit on the secondary market.
Hobby boxes of Donruss state that collectors can find one autograph and one jersey card per box. That sounds nice except that last year it was 2 autographs guaranteed rather than getting a jersey. Lucky for me I at least found a rookie patch card limited to just 25. Most boxes, however, will feature a plain jersey swatch from a photo event.
Standard autographed content like this Daniel Gafford aren't too exciting. The sticker on the highlighted area of the card isn't exactly an inspiring pull. What collectors really are looking for are the Next Day Autographs of the draft picks. These case level hits can be worth in the thousands of dollars. They are some of the most sought after autographs in the hobby. These alone make chasing Donruss meaningful!
- Excellent looking insert designs.
- Relatively inexpensive compared to other products.
- Next Day autographs are very valuable.
- The price is much higher than last year at the hobby level.
- Mundane design at the base card level.
- No longer guaranteed 2 autographs per box.