Collecting Card-bored?

Every once and awhile someone will get bored of collecting sports card. Even yours truly has gone through the points where it just feels boring. I mean, in the end, it’s usually the same thing across the board. Sports players on cardboard.

Sure you’ll have your refactors, inserts, sets to complete, game used, and autographs, but those kind of get boring after awhile as it’s the same thing repeatedly. Some people even go to the point where they get bored of their personal collections and sell everything off.

When I get bored at sports cards, I like to change things up a little bit. I may switch my sports focus for a little bit. Right before I started the blog, I went through a phase of boredom in the hobby. I ended up going to a hobby shop, Wayne’s Sports Cards in Edmonton, and decided to open my first hobby box of NHL hockey cards. Well, it turned into my first three boxes. This opened up a brand new collecting door that I had never tried to open and boy, it got me going. I have always loved hockey and hockey cards rekindled the fire once again.

It just goes in spurts. The previous lull in my sports card collecting journey I started opening Benchwarmer products. Who doesn’t like hot chicks on cardboard? The fresh designs and faces again rekindled the collecting fire.

I’ve never been to the point where I just sold everything I have, but I’ve gotten to the point where I just sold off all of my trade bait just so I could go out and open some more boxes or get some personal cards for my collection. Lately, I’ve been thinking of selling off some of my personal collection that I don’t display and get cards worthy of displaying. I have countless autographs and game used cards that I don’t display or ever see and would like to put their combined value into something really nice. But I don’t think I could get rid of them as they are all teams I love.

What do you do to change up your collection or rekindle the fire inside you for collecting?

Review: 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite Hockey

Happy Canada Day to all you Canadians who read this blog. I know there are a ton of you and have I got a great break for you guys. Being a quarter Canadian myself and having a fiancee who is 100% authentic Canadian, we celebrate Canada Day in our household in the States. I am celebrating it this year by opening and reviewing a box of 2010-11 Panini Luxury Suite hockey!

Luxury Suite hockey is in it’s first year of production. What makes this product interesting is that it features a checklist of zero base cards. Every card is either a rookie, game used memorabilia, or autograph. Pretty cool concept if you ask me to have a product with no base cards. So with 4 packs a box and 3 or 4 cards in a pack (it seems like it couldn’t decide) and 8 total game used/autographs per box, I bring you my break and review of this product from Panini.

Rookies:

Game Used:

Autographs:

Design:

As I have stated in my preview on this product and on the official Panini America blog, I think this is one of Panini’s best designs of the year. While we weren’t able to see the beautiful rookie patch autographs in this break, you can see the good designing in these other cards. I would compare it to the design quality of SP Authentic mixed with Pinnacle. It shares very common characteristics and I think overall it’s a good design. On card autographs galore, great use of memorabilia, and I absolutely love the Private Signings set with the gold foil lettering. That looks great.

Checklist:

Everyone loves rookies, we get that. This product is full of a billion of them. Okay, not a billion but 125 rookies are in this product. There are a ton of star common jersey cards which is great too so you can pull some of the games best current players there. I’ll even say that the retired signatures checklist is okay with names like Gilmour, Roenick, and Dionne. The only thing lacking is the quality of star autographs in the Private Signings set. This is considered to be a high end product by most people. You can find this product at most places for about $170 right now. With a price point this high you should expect at least a few huge names in that list. Johnny T is the biggest name on that list. No Crosby, no Ovechkin, no Brodeur or Thomas…the star power on that portion is really lacking. Sure you have a chance to pull some absolutely awesome rookies in this product, but there should be at least a little bit of star power in your veteran players checklist at this price. If there were a chance for a Sidney and maybe Brodeur that subset would have been easier to swallow.

Value:

So the odds state you should get 8 autographs or memorabilia cards in your box. I received 9 so that is a good start. Including the rookies that breaks down to about $10 per card in this box. At the same price point as something like Absolute Memorabilia, you get a lot more hits for your money. The plain jerseys are high numbered and nothing special but the patches, sticks (which I didn’t pull), and autographs you can pull definitely make up for that. If there was a little more star power in these boxes as far as veteran players went, I think we could of moved closer to a 5 here. This is closer to 3 stars than it is to 5 stars as it stands. I didn’t receive a redemption which is nice and the autographs I pulled were on card autographs as well. Include the multi-colored swatches you can pull and the multi-colored stick pieces and this product definitely has value. But it’s hit or miss for the most part. Still, pretty solid.

Overall:

The design is one of Panini’s best in the hockey arena this year. I think the only product that can outdo it will be Dominion later this month. The swatches and sticks are very nice and the autographs are on card so that makes these cards look even better. While the veterans names on the checklist for autographs are kinda so-so, the rookies you have the possibility to pull amazing cards of are endless and rare so they hold great value. You get a ton of hits, including rookies, for your money and that beats other Panini products and even Upper Deck products at a similar price point. Just some of the selection could be improved in the veteran area. Overall, it is hit or miss but definitely a fun box to open as you know you are getting a couple of hits per pack.

I’d like to thank Panini America for providing this box for me to sponsor, please check out the various links I have posted around the site and visit them. I will be giving away a few cards from this break. Not sure which ones yet but I will give some away nonetheless. View the video below to find out how.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w32u0w-0KN0]

Okay, I’ll be nice for all those who don’t want to see my ugly mug. I’ll be giving away something to a random viewer who posts their comments on Luxury Suite in the comment area. Leave a comment about Luxury Suite, get your chance to win a random card or two from the break. Simple as that.

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.