Being a box breaker isn’t for everyone…

My first introduction into box breaking was at a local card shop (LCS). I was there with my wife and daughter at a monthly trade night. I was just getting back into the hobby (2010) after an almost 20 year hiatus. I was also learning about all of the additions that cards companies had made.

What was a relic?
An auto card was pretty self-explanatory!
What were refractors and parallels?
Some cards were numbered…
Some were chrome…
Some were retailer variations…
Some were worth more just based on the product in which they came out of…

Whew! That was a lot to learn! The hobby was no longer just about buying a $0.50 pack and hoping for a player from your favorite team! So the idea of box breaking was a whole new aspect. Fellow collectors would pool their money together to open a pre-set number of boxes. Each buying a specific amount of teams as their budgets and level of risk taking would allow.

My wife and I tried buying into a box break and were hooked. The gamble was fun. The adrenaline was intoxicating. Could we be going home with a case hit worth multiple times our small investment? Or would we strike out and go home with nothing more than base cards/inserts? It was time to double down!

However after a few months of this, we tired on the prospect of those big chase hits. We were spending $60 and more to come home with stacks of base cards from the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. With that, we retired from box breaking at the LCS.

Somewhere along the line, I discovered Twitter and found a vast community of fellow card collectors and hobby enthusiasts. I also found an entire online community of box/case breakers. Some of these breakers were much more reliable and trust worthy than others. Some were fly-by-night breakers, selling their spots on eBay and through Pay Pal invoices.

I found a few really great box breakers. I made good friends with the Layton’s of Rich and Sara Layton have always treated me well and I always have fun in their breaks. They are fair, fun and reasonably priced. They have superior customer service and I always feel welcome in their box breaks.

However, the box/case breaking business is not for everyone. It’s not as easy as being able to buy some product and being able to sell the slots to customers. As the months have passed, more and more box/case breakers have popped up. As the days go by, it seems there are more people trying to break than there are customers to fill those breaks.

I have had the pleasure of guest breaking for I had a lot of fun being on the other of the table. Ripping packs and sharing in the excitement of the awesome cards being pulled is more than a thrill for this collector! I hope to be invited back in the future!

However, there is a lot of time and effort that goes into this aspect of the hobby. I have seen first hand a small glimpse of what it takes to execute a successful box break. It’s a tough business and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It definitely isn’t a business just “anyone” can do. I do believe, it helps to have a reputable brick and mortar store behind your breaking business.

These are just a few of my thoughts on a rapidly growing addition to the hobby of card collecting. In summation, box/case breaking should be left to the professionals. It’s not an easy gig and I don’t envy anyone for doing what they do. Personally, I just don’t think it’s a good way for everyone to make money. It’s long hours with a very small profit margin and a tight window for mistakes.

Just because you can get a case of cards, doesn’t mean you should venture into this highly competitive side of sports card collecting. Sometimes it’s okay just to sit on the collector’s side of the table!


One comment

  1. Andy

    Reblogged this on The Wax Fantastic and commented:
    Just wanted to share this post from Ben over at ‘ourtradingcards’… Organised box breaks have risen to prominence over the last couple of years and nowadays it seems like everyone and their uncle is doing them. You can find slots in box breaks available to purchase on eBay or if you look hard enough there are loads of other dealers that offer this type of service! I’ve only ever done one before – it was a single box break of 2012 A&G off eBay and it took place last July, I purchased two slots and ended up with the Blue Jays and the Rockies. I watched the video (didn’t get a great deal out of the break) and then waited for my cards to arrive… and waited… and waited…

    They never did turn up, so I’ve not done another break since! I’m not saying I wouldn’t… I’d just have to be a bit more selective about it!!

    Enjoy reading about Ben’s experiences!

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