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Collecting The Chronology of Top Shot: Seeing Stars

Seeing Stars. Arguably the most polarizing and talked about common set of NBA Top Shot besides Cool Cats. A huge part of that was this was really one of the last common sets people spent a decent amount of cash on for a high mint common that today you can likely complete the set for about the cost of what you paid for one or two of the moments back in the day. Another big part of that though is what the set represents, which is a collection of 27 moments from some of the best players in the league of the past few years.


Taking a page from the two posts on Collecting The Chronology of Top Shot (and part 2), I thought it would be a fun and interesting series to break down the different aspects of some of the sets through the various seasons of Top Shot, starting with the cult classic, Seeing Stars.


The Rundown If you're new to Top Shot since S2 or never paid attention to Seeing Stars, here is the quick lay of the land. It is a 27 moment common set, with 3 set rewards (LeBron, Durant and Conley). The original mint count was /10,000 (except the challenge rewards), with the KD reward being the current bottleneck, but the LeBron actually being the floor price bottleneck to complete the set. We've got 2328 set completions, which is ~55.8% of the possible total completions. The set was from Series 2 and saw its peak pricing action / volume between March and April of 2021.


The Biggest and the Best This subset was designed somewhat seemingly in tandem with with the Series 2 Rising Stars set to provide a collective overall set of the best young players and best veteran players the NBA had to offer in one set that would stand the test of time. I'd argue that of all these common subsets or "insert" sets, Seeing Stars is the most collectible of any of them long term, with the exception of Cool Cats. We still have collectors today (myself included) working on Seeing Stars or considering putting together the Seeing Stars set, because as a whole it is an incredible collection of players and moments you can always come back to.


If I bring in a connection to physical cardboard, Seeing Stars conceptually was designed to be like a Kaboom, Downtown or Homefield Advantage set in my opinion - the best players only, on a featured set that will stand the test of time above all other insert sets. This is superstars only. The problem is - we have relative scarcity of that of a basic insert set that comes and goes year in and year out, like some random "Best of 2023" insert set or "Global Impact" insert. We have the concept that should have driven more than a 33% reduction in mint count compared to the base set (which was /15k at the time). People wanted to chase this set (and did), however, the relative scarcity didn't match the relative importance of the set, which has largely led us to where we landed today.


The Bags & The FUDslide I am officially coining a new term - FUDslide, which is going to be whenever things plummet with a large part of FUD attached (I should trademark this asap). In all seriousness though, a lot of people took a real bath on Seeing Stars. People paid hundreds or in some cases thousands of dollars for the moments and low numbered / special serials. Even largely after the set's original FUDslide, it still commanded prices between $40-$80 for a lot of the star players, which was very strong for a common mint moment. If we take a look at some of the high sales on the LeBron challenge reward, we have numbers up in the five figure range, and not just for the #1 or the jersey serial.


Let's get out of the LeBron effect though. LeBron will always command solid pricing action. I am the proud owner of serial number #1260 of the Devin Booker Seeing Stars moment for example. During the initial push, someone paid $142 for a low 4 digit serial and basically 2 months later sold it to me at half off. Of course, today if I go to sell it, someone is going to get it for a significant discount than the $65 I paid.

There is not a nice way to sugarcoat this - a lot of people, whether collecting or investing, have either lost a decent amount of money or are sitting on a set they have a huge bag on. If you already completed this set long ago, it makes little to no sense to break it up, unless you are fully exiting Top Shot. In my opinion, when we started to see the price crash on Top Shot, the amount of bags being lost on this set and Cool Cats in particular really spawned a lot of people souring on the platform, which they carried into other aspects.


Why Do We Care in 2024? If we take away the pricing decline on this and look at it from a chronology perspective in the collection of Top Shot sets for a minute, Seeing Stars did achieve what it set out to do. Even today in Series 5 (2023-2024), we do not have another common subset built so well. I'd say only Game Recognize Game is even close (hint at a future post there). I talked a lot in the previous Chronology of Top Shot blog posts about early S2 becoming a nostalgia hit for collectors and I still believe that. Seeing Stars is going to be that set for a lot of people that they couldn't afford at the time or gave up on completing. Right now you can complete this set for around ~$100, which is wild to type given what we just read in the last paragraph. People who already have the set really have no reason to sell it at this point, so we already have a large established community of a lot of seasoned collectors holding it to jump into as well. While it may never see 2021 price levels (as with most of S2), it could ascend to iconic status within the Top Shot chronology due to its roster full of star power and low barrier to entry for existing and new collectors.


This set at any given time makes sense to complete at this point (NFA), which I think gives it longevity and a certain shine other sets may fade on. Not to knock any of the other subsets or new subsets, which are all great in their own right and have their place, but this set does not contain a single player who could be out of the league within 2-3 years of its minting. There's no bench players or role players or guys you wouldn't want in your collection (even Ben Simmons). The collection gives you moments that it says it does - Seeing Stars.

The Moments As always here on the blog - we are firmly believers in the Watch Your Moments Movement. We've talked about how great the names are in the set, but do the moments hold up over time as well? This was a dunk heavy set it felt like, with a lot of the moments, being dunks. You have several posters in here, but something interesting to watch is Julius Randle and Anthony Davis having almost the identical play, with a low post, spin move dunk. For the record, the LBJ reward narrowly edges out the Giannis dunk for my favorite in the set. Two of my favorite moments that really shine though are the handles plays from Donovan Mitchell and James Harden. Go take a look at those and enjoy them on repeat. My personal favorite moment overall from the set though is the Steph Curry 3 pointer. It is just a complete vintage Curry moment with some quick handles that could have categorized it as such, but masked with a sweet step back 3.


There is also some sneaky history in this set, beyond the COVID era empty arena backdrops. The Mike Conley challenge reward was the first Top Shot moment ever to feature audio besides the generic Top Shot background music. In what would ultimately set the stage for the Game Recognize Game style set with the player commentary on the moment, Conley first congratulates you on owning the moment, then goes into a breakdown of the play; which at the time was really ground breaking. I remember the hype on this moment when it dropped and how cool this added commentary was to put on the moment itself. Still to this day, that feature is not used enough!

Seeing Stars was a set riding the Top Shot boom when it launched and ultimately was one of the biggest gashes when we took a pricing downturn. The set still stands strong today as a great set to collect and one you can keep in the collection for years to come and always look back on it as a premier subset on Top Shot. The best of the best at the time and nothing but, all rolled into one capsule of digital collectible history. If you ever get into a Top Shot collecting rut, this could be a great set to chip away at. This could also be a fun concept for Top Shot to revisit next season with a fresh crop of faces since the talent pool has really evolved since early 2021 with respect of who are the current stars we pay to see. Until we get that though, enjoy this one and hopefully this post helps raise your appreciation for one of the best common subsets on Top Shot.


Until next time, tell more stories, watch more moments and we ride at dawn!

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Misafir
18 Mar

Still have rug burns from this set but I love it!

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