Blowout Cards vs. Dave & Adam’s Card World

Recently many of you have been reading and viewing my card reviews on YouTube and on this very blog. Since I have not been in contact with the sports card companies yet as far as helping review products, I have purchased those boxes in which I have reviewed. The exception being 2010 SP Authentic football and 2010 World of Sports as I won a contest on Upper Deck’s Facebook and those were my prizes.

When I purchased the 3 recent boxes, I used two different companies online in order to kind of rate and review each company on customer service, price, and shipping methods. Basically each of those things is something important when you are purchasing your cards online. After this post, you will have the information you need to make the best decision if you are choosing between these two online dealers.

Customer Service – Edge DA Card World

DA Card World has a premier buyer program which I qualified for the last time I made a purchase from them in which they will give you even lower prices then they have on their website. Having a little reward program for being a customer who has bought from them before is definitely an incentive when choosing to buy from a store. Including these incentives is the free product they give out for purchases. Now the products they choose aren’t great and aren’t worth a lot, but it’s nice to get free things just for ordering from them. Lower prices + free stuff is always nice for being a repeat customer. Blowout has never contacted me for anything after I have bought cases of product from them in the past.

Price – Edge Blowout Cards

Blowout Cards name exemplifies the types of prices they sell their products for. Blowout prices. I would guesstimate that 85% of their products are the lowest prices on the internet, or anywhere for that matter. Every product I purchased in total was cheaper on Blowout then anywhere else online. Not only did they beat DA Card World in price, they beat all the competitors in price. If you include the free stuff I received from DA Card World, you could buy that amount at Blowout Cards and still save money. That’s how low Blowout Cards prices are. Plus, the box I pre-ordered from Blowout Cards didn’t even have a price on DA Card World. Obviously I’m going to choose the store that has an item up for sale and the price.

Shipping – Edge Blowout Cards

Both companies provide free shipping for orders over $150 which is great. There is nothing I like better then free shipping. But free shipping often is the slowest shipping available. Blowout Cards leaves this open for their choice of shipping at the cheapest rate. Here is the skinny on my shipping experience:

Ordered on Monday.  I ordered 2 boxes from Blowout and 1 box from DA Card World. But this is the most important part, one of the boxes I ordered from Blowout Cards was a pre-order on an item that didn’t come out until Wednesday. DA Card World shipped that Monday. Blowout Cards shipped the Wednesday the product came out.

First package arrived on Friday. Which one do you think it was? Definitely not what I expected. Blowout Cards’ package actually arrived in 2 days via USPS. I had to wait a full week for the DA Card World package to arrive via UPS. Both companies shipped from the east coast to the west coast. I was very impressed by the speed and choice of shipping by Blowout Cards in this transaction.

Overall – Edge Blowout Cards

Overall with these transactions I would go with Blowout Cards. The fast shipping and lower prices are definitely the more important things then customer service. The only thing that makes me sad is that DA Card World is an authorized Upper Deck dealer and Blowout Cards isn’t. I don’t know why Upper Deck ruled them out, but I’m sure it had something to do with politicking and all that mumbo jumbo. I will continue to use both companies as I see fit. If you can find a lower price on DA Card World, by all means, go for it. They are still a great company and their services are top notch. I will still use both companies as I see fit per transaction. But this time around Blowout Cards took the cake, and that cake is not a lie.

You can go to their respective sites by these links. Blowout Cards & DA Card World

Acetate Card of the Day – 2005 Donruss Studio Jason Varitek

Last week I wrote about my love for acetate sports cards and my experiences collecting them. I figured I would start a post every week or so about an acetate card in my collection. I will be discussing the design, set, and anything else I feel is pertinent to the discussion. And with 2010-11 Panini Contenders hockey coming out today with their acetate insert set, I figured it would be a good day to start. My box is probably being sent out today, but I have plenty of other acetate cards laying around.

Featured acetate card of the day:

2005 Donruss Studio – Studio Stars – Jason Varitek

2005 Donruss Studio was one of the first sets I worked on in my return to the hobby in 2005. Studio Stars was one of the first insert sets I completed as well. Sadly, when I moved a bunch of my cards left over in Connecticut out to Oregon, a box with this insert set in it went missing. Luckily, I keep all my Red Sox cards separate from the others and they survived.

2005 Donruss Studio was fun because of the city scape in the background. I know it’s been done for years before that but I enjoyed the player on the front with the city in the background. There was also a bunch of nice insert sets with some pretty nice patch or autograph hits. The highlight of my several boxes of 2005 Studio was a Masterstrokes Auto/Jersey/Bat of Miguel Cabrera numbered out of 25. But I always loved the acetate insert set.

The design of this card is definitely top notch. The player is featured in the middle of the card with a fiery background which makes the player pop out from the card. The lettering on the top and bottom is bold with team colors on top of the clear area making it pop out even more and easily readable, even if shown through my back window. The foil area on the top left changes according to the parallel, this time being blue as this card is numbered out of 50. Overall, absolutely beautiful looking card.

Jason Varitek is currently the backup catcher for the Boston Red Sox. He has spent his entire Major League career with the Red Sox after he was traded as a prospect from the Seattle Mariners in one of the best deals in Red Sox history. The Red Sox traded Heathcliff Slocumb to the Seattle Mariners for prospects Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Needless to say, this deal would reap great benefits for the Red Sox. Derek Lowe would throw a no-hitter and become a central piece to the 2004 World Championship team. Jason Varitek would become one of the best defensive and offensive catchers in the league as well as the best caller of a game in the league. He went on to catch no hitters from Hideo Nomo, Derek Lowe, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz which is a Major League record. He may have had another when Devern Hansack had a no hitter through 7 innings, but the game was called due to rain. He was the first Red Sox captain since Jim Rice and in my eyes should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame someday.

The Ethics of Pack Searching

Today I went to Fred Meyer to search for a blaster of 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen or 2011 Bowman. Freddy’s had neither but I saw an open retail box of Gypsy, loosys as many people know them as. They were all mixed up, turned around, sideways, obviously rifled through. When purchasing loose packs you always run the chance that someone had come by and tried to search them for the “hits”, game used or autographs. Needless to say, I opened 5 of the remaining 15 packs and didn’t get much.

Were these packs searched? I don’t know, I couldn’t tell.

Pack searching is the act in which someone goes to a retail or hobby store and molests the packs of cards with their hands or other devices in which to try and find the hits. I would estimate about 10-15% of collectors are known to do this in one form or another whether they admit it or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if that number was higher. But why do they do it? Greed is probably the most common reason. Self-esteem issues because their collections may not match that of others they know online or in person is another. Finally, maybe they don’t know what they are doing is wrong. Ethically, searching packs is wrong.

Hits are put into boxes according to odds, it says so on the back of packs and boxes. These searchers are the ones who try and defy these odds, therefore taking what is supposed to be random out of the equation. If some little kid or myself wants to go to the store and buy a pack of cards and receive the same odds as everyone else, we usually end up just buying a blaster or hobby box because we don’t know what has been done to those packs. The searchers create an atmosphere in which nobody is getting the same odds and is in effect, unfair to those who come later. Sure, you may say those odds will change by those who pick randoms themselves but those people are not trying to get 1:1 instead of 1:3500.

Also, the pack searchers often damage the cards in itself causing the monetary value of what is purchased to be lower. Now not only are the random odds being taken away, the money being spent is now going to a complete waste. Do you want to be the victim of such practices?

I avoid all cases in which I could possibly be a victim, except for last night. I should of known better, but every once and awhile I just like to open new packs for fun and just see what’s inside without worrying about what is actually inside. But how can one protect themselves?

  • Buy from newly opened boxes
  • Save your money and stick to just buying boxes from reputable dealers
  • Go to a dealer who is honest in themselves (shop owners are known to do this as well)
  • Buy loose packs from dealers who keep them behind counters

All of those points are ways to protect yourself to make sure you are getting the same odds as everyone else when buying packs. Why would you not want to get what you are paying for?

In all fairness, pack searchers are the bottom feeders of the hobby. They ruin the pack opening experience for both the young and the old, the newbies and the veterans. The card companies have taken some measures to counter their actions, but it seems like the searchers always find ways around it. The best stride I have seen companies take is just to put single packs inside clam shell packaging so people can’t molest the packs. This is not cost effective so it doesn’t happen as much as it is really needed.

In the end, the only protection you will get is the protection you will give yourself. You can help others too. Report pack searchers to the store employees as they are most likely damaging products. The stores won’t take too kindly to that.

Finally, I leave you with some words of wisdom. Wheaton’s Law states, “Don’t be a dick.” You should live your life by that motto, it may come back to…mess with you.

My Acetate Problem

If you say the title, My Acetate Problem, really slow it sounds like I need some Preparation H. As Austin Powers said, “Preparation H is good on the whole.” But my problem is more of the sports card variety. For some strange reason, I love acetate cards.

I remember the first time I ever received an acetate card. I was in a horribly over priced card shop in 1999. I had just moved practically right next door to Grand Slam Sports Cards in Vernon, CT. I doubt you can find anything about that shop nowadays as it’s been out of business for probably 10 years now.

I was buying a couple packs of cards with some left over lunch money I had saved and decided to buy some football since football season had just started. I saw a product that the packaging looked cool and bought a pack of it. It was 1999 Fleer E-X football. I opened it up and found two cards, great design and I could see right through them. I was bewildered, bemused, and befuddled at the same time.

What kind of alien technology is this? I never thought I could see through Jerome Bettis. I put that card and the other from the pack in my favorite pile when I got home. I did it not because they were valuable, but because I had thought they looked so cool.

A few months later I took a hiatus from the hobby. When I came back 6 years later, I had completely forgot about acetate cards until a friend sent me a gift. A Cam Ward Upper Deck ICE Glacialgraph. THE ACETATE! I was instantly brought back to 1999 in this card shop with my friend Eric when I caught my first glimpse of clear cardboard. I peered through my new Cam Ward card looking through to the other side, moving my hand back and forth, and admiring the card as well as showing how easily amused I am.

Since then, I’ve been loving every set that comes out with acetate or clear cards in it. UD Glass, Trilogy, and everything I could find had to be in my collection. I hated when I heard that Upper Deck would not be coming out with ICE again this year. But then, redemption! The good kind. Panini’s new product Contenders hockey will have some of this acetate-sty goodness in it. The best part is their featured card on their blog has another Carolina Hurricane on it, Tuomo Ruutu. The guy who usually puts other player’s faces through the glass.

So I ask, if anyone has any acetate-sty cards to trade me of teams I collect, please send them this way. Just like I’ll be hunting down this Tuomo Ruutu autograph.

Note: You do not want to be between the glass and this guy. You might go through it.

Tuomo Ruutu will kill you

No Hobby Love – Trailblazers Edition

What is love?

The Portland Trailblazers were a playoff team the past few years and have a number of very good players on their team. Sure they are in a small market, but the fans here are rabid. I love picking up new Trailblazers autographs, especially of my favorite Blazer Nicolas Batum. But it seems as though the Blazers get no love in the hobby.

It’s hard finding sports cards featuring some of the smaller market teams in every sport. But due to economics, a lot of those teams don’t have much talent. The Trailblazers have a ton of talent but barely any higher end autographs or game-used cards on the market.

Everyone reading this is thinking about all the great Brandon Roy cards out there. I know, I understand, but Brandon Roy isn’t the whole team. This year I was lucky enough to see a Marcus Camby patch from Absolute on eBay but missed my chance at it. But I never see anyone other then Brandon Roy and the occasion LaMarcus Aldridge autographs floating around. What is it about the players that the card companies don’t like?

I understand Brandon Roy is a super star despite his injuries. Who else besides LeBron or Kobe could of taken over that playoff Game 3 against the Mavericks? But where is more LaMarcus, Batum, Wes Matthews, or Andre Miller? Nicolas hasn’t had an autograph in a product since Upper Deck was dropping inventory for 09-10 Upper Deck. Wes Matthews only has rookie autographs and he is probably one of the best sophomores in the league this last year. Andre Miller is probably the smartest and deceptive point guards in the league and has been around for years bringing great success. Hell, Andre Miller dropped 52 against Dallas 2 years ago. It was kind of a fluke but which point guards in the NBA can say they dropped 52 in a game?

The Lakers are a more popular team but a simple search of eBay shows several different current Lakers autographs. Lamar Odom autographs? I’m sorry, but isn’t he a backup? Sasha Vujacic? Who? Luke Walton? Does he even play anymore? Derek Fisher? Any other team and he wouldn’t have the same minutes because Kobe has a man crush on him. And finally, headcase Ron Artest?

Blazers on eBay? Roy, Aldridge, and rookie autos. Will I ever see an Andre Miller auto with a Blazers uniform on? A Wes Matthews? Marcus Camby? If I can get an autograph of Ron Artest I should be able to get an autograph of at least Wes Matthews.

Panini, I think it’s time to expand the autograph checklists a bit. Bring us closer to the game and the players and teams we love. Sure, everyone would love to pull a Kobe auto, but I’m sure others would love to pull a Nicolas Batum just as much.

Panini don’t hurt me, no more.