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!


Value vs Worth (Sports Card verison)

Originally posted 9/13/12 on our website:

What is value?

“Value”: relative worth, merit, or importance.

What is worth?

“Worth”: having a value of, or equal in value to, as in money.

As a follow up to my “Jersey Gate” blog, I wanted to explain what I think the definition of these two words are and how they relate to the sports card hobby.

As we have learned that all of our “relic” and “cloth” cards, may/may not be 100% authentic, it brings up the question:

If the cloth is not real, does it “devalue” the card any?

In my opinion, it does not. I laid out my thoughts in my previous blog. Many fellow collectors were quick to point out that the Beckett value of the card has dropped. I contend, again, that it has not. Beckett is not a “value” guide. It is a “price” guide. The word “guide” reflects it’s sole purpose. To give someone an idea of what something is “worth” in today’s free trade market.

If asked what my most expensive card is… I will quickly answer my 1933 Goudey, Lou Gehrig RC. We can all turn to page 32 of the Beckett Price Guide and see how much the market dictates it should be “worth”.

If asked what my higest valued card is… I will quickly answer my 1986 Topps Eric Davis. It is now listed as a common card in the Beckett Price Guide.

So why is it my most “valued” card?

In 1986, as a 7 year old, I went to my cousin’s birthday party. He was a few years older then me and I always wanted to be like him. He started collecting baseball cards that year. At his party, each kid received 2 packs of 1986 Topps cards. That was the night I got my first taste of the madness. I opened my packs and stuck them in my pocket. It wasn’t until later that week that my dad brought home my first Beckett Price Guide. In one of my packs, was the Eric Davis card. When I looked it up it was “worth” $1.25!!! I was 7 years old with a card that was worth more than a dollar!!! I was rich! I figured I would sell it, put the money in the bank… Possibly buy a car or a nice house someday with the profits… It didn’t matter, I was on my way to the big life!

Speed up 26 years and the same card is now “worth” a penny. However to me, it is invaluable. No card, not a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle or a 1911/1912 Tobacco Honus Wagner is “valued” at more money! That is my most prized card.

So does the authenticity of the cloth in the new cards devalue a card? No. It may make their “market worth” less. It, however, does not make it less valuable if you enjoyed collecting the card for your PC. I enjoy all the A’s cards that I have added to my PC throughout the last few years. They don’t need to have authentic game worn gear in them to make them “valuable” to me. I just enjoy collecting, sorting and looking at them.

Why can’t we all just be the 7 yr old kid again opening their first pack of cards… Why can’t we all just feel “rich” again, when holding our favorite player’s rookie card… Why can’t we get excited when we pull a card with a relic or auto on it? Why does it have to be all about eBay? Why does it all have to be about “Beckett’s Price Guide worth”???

Shame on us. I “value” my hobby as more than it’s “worth”.

Jersey Gate

Originally posted 9/13/12 on our website:

This week something came to light in the sports card world that could disrupt it’s integrity for year’s to come. It appears that at least one, if not more, 3rd parties sold fraudelent jersey’s to the major card companies (MCC). They sold them with the intent to profit off of jersey’s that were in fact not ever game worn.

So how does this affect the sports card hobby? Well it depends on how you view this revelation. This coming to light. means that it is quite possible that the cards that the MCC’s placed into packs were in fact not 100% authentic. Now, I personally don’t believe that Topps, Panini, Upper Deck or any other company that purchased fraudulent material, placed these “cloth” pieces into cards with the intent to profit with fraudulent intent or malice. That legalese would be for those MCC’s, their lawyers and the Honorable Judges to sort through.

Where my opinion came into play this week was both on twitter and again on Card Board Radio’s Wednesday evening (9/12/12) blog radiocast. I told some friends and other tweeps, that I didn’t personally care if the cloth in these cards were real or not. I purchased the card, for the card itself. The design, the rarity, the player, the team, etc. It didn’t matter if the tiny sliver of cloth was real or not. If “said player” “wore” this item, did it even really touch his DNA? Was it game worn, or just on his body for a few seconds? Does it really truly matter? If I removed the piece of cloth from the card and had it DNA tested vs the player’s actual DNA, would the scientists even find a match? Probably not.

To me the integrity of the card, does not lie in the accuracy and authenticity of the cloth, bat, seat or base that has been inserted in the card to raise it’s rarity and value. The integrity of the card lies with the fact that Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, etc actually made this card.

In my aforementioned disussions (or disagreements), I was told by a few people that if the authenticity of the cloth within the card is in question, then the card itself is in fact, “not real”. I am sorry, but I have to disagree. I look at the bottom of the card and I see “TM, (R), (C), 2010 The Topps Company Inc”. In my opinion that means to me that the card in fact is real. If Lou Gehrig, did not in fact touch the bat in which the relic came from, then so be it. This is a sweet card, that I felt was worth my hard earned money. I have enjoyed looking at it for 2 years on my desk. I believe I got my money’s worth.

Using the word “worth” brings up my next point, which I will save for my next blog. In short, I don’t mind if something was actually worn or touched by my favorite player. Just keep giving me good looking cards that are affordable and would be nice additions to my PC. After all, we do this as a fun hobby and not to make money.

And if you are in to make money… You are in the wrong line of work! And you may also want to google what the word hobby means. For heaven’s sake, they are only baseball cards!

2012 Panini Prime Hockey

Originally posted 9/11/12 on our website:

Let me first start off by saying that I do not (yet) collect Hockey cards. I am an old school Baseball card collector. I prefer to collect sets as opposed to chasing the box/case hits. However, since Topps has the exclusive rights to the MLB license, it limits the products and designs available to baseball card collectors. That is frustrating as a collector when I see much better quality in the NFL, NBA and NHL cards.

I recently watched a live box break of the 2012 Panini Prime Hockey, brought to you be my twitter friends Card Board Radio ( I was fascinated by the quality of the product. It was bold with bright colors. The Autos jumped off the cards. The base cards were all numbered. It offered a variety of rookies and veterans. The patches were very colorful with team colors.

Having team colors on a card, to me, is very important. I am an Oakland A’s fan and I just LOVE spending big money to get a patch that is white. I hope you caught the sarcasm there. If not, I will wait for it to catch up. White? Really, Topps?

Now, I will not pass myself off as an expert on hockey. I have not broken a box or even opened a pack. I am just a casual observer who admires the product. I must say, however, that I am intrigued enough to consider buying a pack/box. I give credit to Panini for developing a product that is so good, that a non-collector of the sport is considering using “baseball card money” to purchase a hockey product. That means that have went above and beyond their call of duty to offer a solid product to their customers.

Credit to Panini! I have always admired Panini since 1988 when I bought my first Panini book to fill with stickers! I am envious of the work that they do and wish I had a chance to buy their product with a MLB license attached!

And a special thanks to Doug at (@cardboardradio) for sharing his video and offering his insight! ( Doug hosts a Wednesday and Friday evening radio show. I highly recommend checking them out! It’s a great listen and well worth the time!

Till next time,


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Topps Redemptions are a joke

Originally posted 9/5/12 on our website:

We ventured into one of four local card shops (LCS) this morning. Our mission was to redeem the 2012 NFL Kickoff redemption cards inserted into random 2012 Topps football packs. It is said that a Jumbo box will have approx. 4 redemption cards per box, while the hobby boxes will have 1-2.

Due to supply and demand, all local card shops set limits on how many packs can be redeemed. Some set the limit of 1-2 packs per day. Others, said 5 per person for the ENTIRE promotion! How is that fair to that one person that bought 2 Jumbo boxes?? That person has to now become creative in redeeming their 8 cards!

According to the information that we, the collectors/patrons, have received… Each LCS, received only enough packs to redeem the cards that would’ve come from the products that they sold. Which makes perfect sense Topps! If I bought my product from a store that is further from my house a few weeks ago, when the product dropped… Or if I bought mine through the internet or private distrubutor… Then that would penalize the LCS that I went to, to redeem my packs!

Two friends of mine each bought enough product that they ended up with a large quantity of the redemption cards. One friend had 66, while the other had 30. The LCS that we went to this morning, only received 125 packs. So as we do the math, we will see that my two friends would have redeemed the majority of the packs amongst themselves (had they been allowed to).

I don’t believe there should be limits. Allow us to redeem ALL of our cards with our LCS during a preset time on the calender! And then have the LCS, redeem them with Topps on our behalf. And we can come in a few weeks later to receive our packs in hand! That way EVERYONE will get EVERY pack that they have PAID FOR!

It’s only fair Topps. I know I am but one cosumer. But I believe I speak for quite a few of your loyal paid customers. Please help us get what we have paid for!

(And don’t get me started on in pack auto redemptions! Or your first 10,000 pack redemptions from the 2012 Bowman product! I am still waiting, Topps, for my free pack)!