I’ve never revisited a set before. I have such a long backlog that it feels wrong to write 2 posts about 1 set. However, with Star Wars PreRelease I have to admit I was wrong the first time. Very wrong. That was one of the first reviews I ever wrote and back then I hadn’t really calibrated things correctly. I had been looking at mostly 1 and 2 yuan boxes which cost ~15$ and come with 30+ packs of cards. So when I looked at Step Inn Games now famous 2023 Star Wars PreRelease set, at 30$ and with only 12 packs, well I though I was being ripped off. Quite the opposite.
Table of Contents
This was my primary complaint in the last post on this product so let’s discuss that first. My first box cost me 30$, but that was mostly because it was very new and I bought it from the most reliable – but also most expensive vendor: C1LUXURYACC Store. The truth is that at 30$ this is still a steal for this product, westerners sell it for much more. I’ve seen boxes sell at 60$+ and I’ve watched people pay 10$ for 1 pack at card shows.
Still, back then I hadn’t seen enough products to understand that 30$ is actually pretty standard markup for these premium boxes. At wholesale, cases of this cost around 650$ – although I can’t find anybody selling those at the moment. A case has 36 boxes for a wholesale price of 18$. So for a vendor to sell single boxes for 25-30$ isn’t that bad.
Competition has made it so some vendors now sell this closer to wholesale. They take less margin in exchange for volume and new customers. In fact, I’ve paid only 19$ for the 4 other Star Wars PreRelease boxes I’ve bought. That is just 1$ over wholesale and about what you’d pay for the average 2-yuan box. This is no 2-yuan set though.
Quality of Star Wars PreRelease
This is a confusingly high quality set, we’ll talk about the confusing part soon – for now know it’s high quality. That goes for every aspect, the packaging is top notch – this Star Wars PreRelease box is now what I judge everything else against. The cards are on great 55pt stock, no weird cutting or size issues like we see in some garage sets like Chainsaw Man 8-Pack.
The stock here rivals even something like Topps Chrome, which costs much more. I also collect Star Wars Chrome 2023. I have 3 hobby boxes and 4 blasters. I buy mine for less than retail at around 140$ for the hobby. Still that’s a per-card cost of 1.46$. My Star Wars PreRelease is only 0.80$ a card – basically half. These cards are not curved the way chrome is, the 55pt stock keeps them nice and level despite many layers of foil pulling at them.
The character mix and insert mix is also much better in Star Wars PreRelease. With chrome you’ll see 100 base cards, featuring most of the main characters from all the movies and shows. They are all photos though, not drawings or artwork. There are Manga Madness, Journey of Grogu, Monikers and 40th Anniversary ROTJ insert sets. Then some chase sets like first appearances and of course autographs. But that’s it, from there you are chasing higher level parallels of the same cards.
With Star Wars PreRelease, every rarity level is something different, with only the UR level being plain movie stills. The base set are all mini encyclopedia entries on various vehicles and star ships. Further rarity levels include cute Chibi character art, or ship blueprints – even wonderful artistic versions of the characters at the GP level.
The idea of a secondary market doesn’t matter so much to the Archives. We don’t usually sell our pulls, but that doesn’t mean we never will. Topps Chrome of course has a booming market, but only really for the short prints and top auto cards. 1/1 cards can sell for over $5,000 – and there is an active $15,000 bounty to find Cassian’s autograph.
Star Wars PreRelease does not reach those levels – and likely never will. Here the ceiling is more like $500, and only the secret medallion cards go for that. The numbered SSP’s like my Darth Maul go for more like $200, same for the unnumbered Darth Vader GP. There are just way fewer people collecting it vs the juggernaught of Topps Chrome.
There is a point about odds and distribution. Topps carefully plans their sets and print runs to meet published odds. They also plan their sheet and how they combine into packs. That’s why they make a guarantee like “1 Auto per hobby box”. While the odds of a base auto are 1/34 packs, there are so many types of autos and parallel autos – that combined their usually will be one in each box.
Star Wars PreRelease doesn’t make any guarantee like that. I haven’t opened enough packs yet to be swimming in dupes, but I’ve spoken with people who have opened at least a case. They say that while the chase cards are quite rare, with GP being maybe 1 per case, it’s the UR level that is a problem. There are so many URs and seemingly poor distribution. You can open 36 boxes and get 10 copies of one UR and none of another.
Legitimacy: Is it real?
Yeah, I’m pretty sure Topps Chrome is really legit. Oh you meant Star Wars Pre-Release? The truth is we don’t know yet. Unless somebody reading has proof one way or the other – we just don’t know. It’s easy assume that PreRelease isn’t legit. By “Legit” we mean officially licensed by Disney. While we don’t know for sure, there are some good reasons to assume that it is not:
- There are mistakes on some of the tickets, like debut dates.
- It is missing the typical labeling we see on official products.
- Kayou would have had a relationship with Disney and so would be more likely to get this license.
- The Base cards appear to be literally using pages from the Vehicle encyclopedia books.
So it’s probably safest to treat this as un-licensed. Still, people are selling it on Ebay right now, and nobody seems to be trying to stop them.
So yeah I was wrong about Star Wars PreRelease, it’s actually kind of great! I’ve bought a lot more of it since that first article so I’m ok admitting I was wrong. Still hoping to pull a rogue one ticket someday!