Hobby vs. Retail Packs and Boxes

So you’re new to collecting and are ready to start buying some product directly from the stores. Wonderful, welcome to the hobby. But before you go, do you understand the difference between hobby and retail packs or boxes? Sports Card Blog is here to help you.

Manufacturers bring out to separate types of boxes to broaden the spectrum of who and where they sell their products. Retail products are often sold at places like Wal-Mart, Target, Fred Meyer, or Winners (for you Canadians out there). These products usually cost less then hobby products and are good for collecting if you are on a low budget or you want to collect a brand’s set. Hobby products are almost exclusively sold at hobby shops and can get quite expensive depending on what you are buying. Yes, you will receive pretty much the same cards from both retail or hobby. The difference is the odds.

Hobby product odds are usually significantly better to pull something of value in your packs or box. Just take a look at the back of a pack of cards from a hobby box and then from a retail box and you can see the differences in what the odds are to pull something nice. On rare occasions, the odds are exactly the same. In this case, you may find the product cheaper at retail stores, so go for it! But the vast majority of the time, your odds are much better in hobby boxes to get a game used or autographed card as well as those harder to get inserts or rookies. However, one of the newer trends by the companies is to insert special “retail only” inserts to get you to buy retail boxes, so there are benefits to buying retail if you are looking for more then just set building or you are on a lower budget.

But Sports Card Blog, what should I buy?

Buy retail if:

  • You plan on just building base sets
  • Have a lower budget to spend on cards
  • Low priced gifts to fellow collectors
  • Better for little kids who are new to collecting
  • Want to open packs just for fun
  • You don’t have a hobby shop around and are too impatient to wait for online hobby shops to send to you (me!)

Buy hobby if:

  • You want to get better, more valuable hits more often
  • Have a higher budget to spend on cards
  • Want to build a full set (including autographs, game used, and inserts)
  • Want more variety. There are a ton more sets available as hobby only

I hope this helps any new collectors who come across this blog and want to know what is best for them.

Whether it be retail or hobby, may the mojo be with you.