Sports Cards Mania

NJ_Sox_Fan

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I suppose there is one amendment I’d make to what I was saying, as I obviously don’t know everyone’s situation, so if you’re someone that has a great salary and has plenty of disposable income, buying a case of Bowman as a fun gamble can still make sense and seem like a hobby.
I genuinely hope that is the case for many breaking, but I’m sure there’s also just as many (if not more) maxing out credit cards because they talk themselves into the fact that they’ll get an amazing hit.
Bowman is a great rip, IF you enjoy prospecting and can lay out the cost of the case(s) and hold the cards for a bit. Though there are some exceptions that sell very well out of the gate - especially now (see Jasson Dominguez to name one of a few)
 

LogansDad

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I suppose there is one amendment I’d make to what I was saying, as I obviously don’t know everyone’s situation, so if you’re someone that has a great salary and has plenty of disposable income, buying a case of Bowman as a fun gamble can still make sense and seem like a hobby.
I genuinely hope that is the case for many breaking, but I’m sure there’s also just as many (if not more) maxing out credit cards because they talk themselves into the fact that they’ll get an amazing hit.
This is definitely something to be wary of, as there is definitely a dopamine rush when you nail a solid hit (it was hard not to go right out and buy a couple more boxes when I realized the Soto I got was going for $1,000+ on EBay). I am in a pretty lucky situation in life where I can buy within reason, without guilt, but there is definitely a cost of entry into the hobby.

Bowman Chrome is fantastic, but not terribly cheap, and Topps Chrome is pretty awesome, too. I got hooked on this year's Topps update for a while and have a ton of extra cards on top of my two full sets, they are fun for bulk. I opened some Bowman Platinum, which I didn't like as much, as they seem flimsier and more cardboardy than the Chrome, but that's where I got my Bobby Witt Jr #/50 auto refractor, so I enjoyed it (and will be getting it graded). It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to buy, for sure.

One other thing to keep in mind if baseball is your focus is that Topps (and by extension, Bowman) are the only ones that you will see team logo's on, as they are the only ones with the rights to print them (I think they are only two, but if someone knows of another feel free to correct me).
 

luckiestman

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The one exception and where there is actual “value” is retail. But like everything else in the hobby, that’s currently a shit show as well. It’s likely there are people in your area that stalk distributors and buy the entire supply as soon as it hits shelves, but if you can find retail cards purchase it.

I’m glad you said this because I was the dummy. I went shopping the week before Christmas to Target and Walmart. I spoke to a young guy working at Walmart about where the football cards are and he told me “people come in and scoop those up the morning they get delivered”. I was really surprised.
 

Ale Xander

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I’m glad you said this because I was the dummy. I went shopping the week before Christmas to Target and Walmart. I spoke to a young guy working at Walmart about where the football cards are and he told me “people come in and scoop those up the morning they get delivered”. I was really surprised.
Did you find out when they were delivered?
 

luckiestman

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Did you find out when they were delivered?
No, Maybe I should have. I didn’t even know this was like this. It’s so funny, my nickname used to be Becket because I would hang out in the card shop all the time when I was in middle school and I had the price guides memorized. But I haven’t collected since ...Shaq LP1 is the last good card I remember pulling.

For some reason I liked upper deck hockey cards. I thought the baseball cards were kind of shit back then. I think I liked some dream team basketball cards. I really liked talking to the “old” guys who were trying to put together complete sets of stuff from the 50s.

Score Lindros and Jagr rookie cards I had a lot of and they had some value at the time.
 

santadevil

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Singles on EBay.
Although my actual advice would be to run far, far away from anything currently occurring in the “hobby”.

I’ve collected/sold cards for the majority of my life and nothing that’s happened the last year is logical. Crap I had sitting online for years at dollars was now selling for hundreds seemingly overnight. The same products that were a gamble and sat until discounted by major retailers are now coming out at like x3-4 retail. Fueled by speculators reading articles about cards like the 1/1 Trout and Lebron Exquisite.
It seems that card investing has met at the cross section of nostalgia and hope and provided comfort for a lot of people during uncertain times.
If there seems to be a million different Bowman variants is because Topps, and especially Panini are currently milking the market for every cent they can get.

i can go on and on, but I’ll keep this from turning into a dissertation.
The advice I’d give anyone at this point is a reminder that no one referred to it as the “junk wax” age as it was occurring. At that time people were purchasing cards thinking they’d put their children through college.

The one exception and where there is actual “value” is retail. But like everything else in the hobby, that’s currently a shit show as well. It’s likely there are people in your area that stalk distributors and buy the entire supply as soon as it hits shelves, but if you can find retail cards purchase it. Sadly, that’s really the only cards I get to open at this point, because I can’t justify the insane prices. A lot of these products you can hit a top auto and still have it not be worth the box. I guess collecting favorite players/teams is never an awful idea either, but most stuff right now is at a premium.

Sorry if I’m a buzzkill, but I don’t see how you can’t be skeptical of how things got to where they currently are. If someone’s going to jump in I think you’ve got to treat it like the stock market, really become extremely knowledgeable and make investments meant to cash in as soon as possible, before the bubble bursts.
I keep wondering this as well. Just seems like too many variants and even with the forced scarcity and the numbering (which I like), but it feels like a bubble to me as well

But I kind of fell off the collecting bandwagon a bit after I pulled that Trout auto a couple years ago. I realized in the moment that I had hit the top of my mountain and anything I would likely ever pull wouldn't be the same

There are still individual cards I would buy, but my desire to buy a box quickly gets tamped down when I look at the price
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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While I do like the colored parallel cards in bowman and topps chrome, there are times when the forced scarcity gets annoying. Like, yeah, there are only 50 of the gold Betts auto, but there are 150 blue ones, and 500 refractor ones, and probably 1000+ base ones, and so on.
 

DanoooME

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One other thing to keep in mind if baseball is your focus is that Topps (and by extension, Bowman) are the only ones that you will see team logo's on, as they are the only ones with the rights to print them (I think they are only two, but if someone knows of another feel free to correct me).
Yes, Topps is the only company fully licensed by MLB and the MLBPA, so they can use team logos in their products (Bowman is part of Topps). It's been that way since about 2006 when MLB went to one company with an exclusive contract, presumably to keep the volume of cards being made lower (granted, that really hasn't changed much as every company put out 10 sets or so a year and now Topps alone puts out 20+). Panini has a deal with the MLBPA for player likenesses, so they can print cards, but have to eliminate any team logos, which makes them less desirable.

3 of the big 4 leagues have one card manufacturer (Panini does NBA and NFL). NHL has Upper Deck and Panini, and I think Topps was getting back into those as well. All of the international soccer leagues make their own deals with either Topps or Panini.

The major issue now is that there just isn't much product out there and it dries up quickly, which leads to people buying Wal-Mart and Target out of cards because boxes that go for $20 there can go for $50-$100 on the secondary market because of the scarcity. And single card prices don't reflect that premium for some reason.
 

rymflaherty

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I’m looking on Dave & Adams and baseball actually isn’t that bad, outside of Bowman.
Many of the Topps products aren’t too insane comparative to a year or two ago.
I suppose it’s because they appeal more toward collectors than investors, but the irony is I’ve always done better with something like a base Topps or Allen & Ginter than a comparative Panini football or basketball product where you need a huge hit to avoid disaster.

Speaking of which, I think it was the recent release of Panini Playbook that had me extra cynical. Watching breaks of that is what had me questioning how the hobby can sustain itself...it just makes no sense to me.
People are paying $400 + for 4 cards. One which is a small single color Jersey swatch, one a late round rookie auto, so you’re basically paying for two cards. And the big selling point is the playbook rc, which isn’t even a necessarily desirable rookie card.
People are paying $400+ and a base Herbert auto sold for under $200. The Gold /99 Burrow sells for less than a box.
it’s like a whole wave of collectors came in and have no idea that the gamble was already priced in to the msrp. Playbook was a crap break when it was $160, now it’s a perfect illustration of why I was saying that things currently don’t make sense to me.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Football never sells that well compared to Baseball and Basketball. Hockey doesn’t sell well either.

The incredible thing to me is people willing to pay literally thousands of dollars on guys like Jasson Dominguez who have not even sniffed a minor league at bat.
 

brandonchristensen

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I looked into it more. Pretty cool. I might be interested.

I just fell down a YouTube rabbit hole of Definitive Box opens. Those fuckin gold briefcases. Absurd
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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I looked into it more. Pretty cool. I might be interested.

I just fell down a YouTube rabbit hole of Definitive Box opens. Those fuckin gold briefcases. Absurd
Back years ago I used to run a number of them for members on blowout cards forums, before there were people doing 50 and 100 cases of Bowman, etc. I just did not have that kind of time (nor do I know). Houdini on blowout runs great breaks though.

For those who do not know, there are a number of ways to do them but essentially you buy a case of topps chrome for example and then divide the cost by each participant having a certain team, or player, or division, or subset, etc.

For most, it is a losing proposition, but for some, they hit big for the much smaller investment of the cost of a case
 

brandonchristensen

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Back years ago I used to run a number of them for members on blowout cards forums, before there were people doing 50 and 100 cases of Bowman, etc. I just did not have that kind of time (nor do I know). Houdini on blowout runs great breaks though.

For those who do not know, there are a number of ways to do them but essentially you buy a case of topps chrome for example and then divide the cost by each participant having a certain team, or player, or division, or subset, etc.

For most, it is a losing proposition, but for some, they hit big for the much smaller investment of the cost of a case
Yeah that’s cool. The time commitment for it is probably massive. Especially with how they live stream and hide the spoilers and stuff.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Yeah that’s cool. The time commitment for it is probably massive. Especially with how they live stream and hide the spoilers and stuff.
The largest I ever did was 5 cases, and the sorting and shipping on that was a bear, so I cannot fathom doing it for 50-100 cases
 

brandonchristensen

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The largest I ever did was 5 cases, and the sorting and shipping on that was a bear, so I cannot fathom doing it for 50-100 cases
That’s crazy.

I watched some group breaks last night and it seemed like they just randomized packs. Like 10 people buy a high priced box with 10 packs for example and he gives them all a number and then used Random.org on the list of names to assign them a pack. The team thing seems less interesting to me then just having your alotted pack.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Question

I saw a Stan Musial auto get pulled from a pack.
How does that exist? He’s been dead for years.
Topps, etc are holding multiple sheets of sticker autos for these guys. I would guess in 2021 you will see a lot of autos of some of the recently deceased players from 2020/21.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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That’s crazy.

I watched some group breaks last night and it seemed like they just randomized packs. Like 10 people buy a high priced box with 10 packs for example and he gives them all a number and then used Random.org on the list of names to assign them a pack. The team thing seems less interesting to me then just having your alotted pack.
Yeah, many ways to do a break. A lot of breaks you can buy into that are random teams/players and in higher end boxes where its a few cards or one pack/box type product, you can do random packs or randomize the order of the participants and then "draft" the hits after the break is done.
 

brandonchristensen

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Yeah, many ways to do a break. A lot of breaks you can buy into that are random teams/players and in higher end boxes where its a few cards or one pack/box type product, you can do random packs or randomize the order of the participants and then "draft" the hits after the break is done.
Wild. I feel like the only fair way in the case of packs is for each to be given a pack. Maintains the integrity of the random process of opening a pack of cards.

I feel like other methods add in more elements that could piss you off.

It’s so complicated now, just how many types there are - the forced scarcity is super lame too. I want to get a rookie card of some players, but now there’s like 30.

I miss the days of acknowledging that the 84 Fleer Update Clemens was the best one and most coveted. But there were a couple others from 85(Topps especially) that were decent alternatives.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Essentially now it is whether you prefer the true RC (which I do) or if you want the first card. Topps/Topps Update are where the RC are at. Bowman has all the first cards of these guys but in general, only the autos from Bowman hold value. Usually the RC non-auto is far more sought after for guys like Soto, etc versus their non-auto bowman first card. In some cases, both sell really well.

I prefer the RC, because it is more like collecting in the 80's which is when I was a kid collecting. But it is all preference.
 

brandonchristensen

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Essentially now it is whether you prefer the true RC (which I do) or if you want the first card. Topps/Topps Update are where the RC are at. Bowman has all the first cards of these guys but in general, only the autos from Bowman hold value. Usually the RC non-auto is far more sought after for guys like Soto, etc versus their non-auto bowman first card. In some cases, both sell really well.

I prefer the RC, because it is more like collecting in the 80's which is when I was a kid collecting. But it is all preference.
Yeah for sure. The gimmicks are less pure IMO.

Just give me a random chance at getting a card.
 

Green (Tongued) Monster

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I have been getting more and more into collecting over the past few years, mostly because it was a huge part of my childhood and I missed the thrill of ripping packs. I have been buying mainly Topps and Bowman retail and have had some success. I am thinking about putting up the $200+ to buy a jumbo box of 2021 Series 1 once it is released in 2 weeks. I have also contemplated going the group break route since you still get the surprise through the video, and there is still a smaller element of risk/reward for those not wanting to invest in a case. Therefore, if someone is willing to host a random break with Topps or Bowman baseball, I would be interested. I really enjoyed the 2019 Bowman and 2020 Topps base products.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Well, a case of 2020 Topps Chrome can be had for the bargain price of $4,149.95 right now, so ...
 

Batman Likes The Sox

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This has been a helpful thread to read through. As I mentioned in the TBLTS thread, my kids are just getting into this, and I enjoyed baseball and basketball cards in the 80's and 90's like many.

I preordered some baseball boxes for my youngest son's summer birthday from Dave and Adams. Based on things said in these threads I went with 2021 Topps Inception Hobby Box. My kids are very much into opening packs and seeing if they get rare or exciting cards, and if I understand correctly, this is probably the right box for that.

My youngest is also into collections that he can handle and display in his room, so I saw that they were selling 2021 Topps Baseball MLB Sticker Collection Boxes (and albums) so I got those that he can open and put in the album, which is an activity I think he'll be into. I'm definitely in this for nostalgia but also so the kids can have fun (and if we happen to get lucky with a very cool Inception card, I can talk to them about whether they want to sell or hold, which is also fun and teaches them a little something perhaps).

I'd like to do this also for basketball, at least something similar to Inception. Any suggestion for boxes and when they come out? Other baseball suggestions that might be cool are welcome too. As are any websites or whatever that describe upcoming releases for casually interested people.
 

Ed Hillel

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I'm not sure this is the kind of card that stays in the bubble, honestly. It'll be the highest population stuff like Jordan PSA 10s going for 60k that'll crash hard.

Please note, I say this is someone with a PSA 10 Brady Season Ticket rookie (known pop 13), who is holding and desperately hoping this is the case...I go back and forth every month on whether to dump or keep, but I'm pretty firmly in keep right now. It's basically the only sports card I own, outside a Montana I pulled from a $20 pack 20 years ago.

Yup, and then usually they continue to slingshot forward once the economy picks back up, because so much money is already in, people are addicted, and people are more confident in the collectible market and their own economic circumstances. In 2008, it was vintage cars and comics, this go-round it's sports cards, vintage video games (a new market, really), and Pokemon. Sports cards I think is at fairly high risk of a bubble, retro games is just getting started and have far, far lower populations, so should be good for a long while, maybe life. Pokemon, I have no clue. It actually appears a significant number of card collectors are looking to move into retro games, from what I'm seeing.
You're probably right that this isn't as prone to the burst, I just think the price itself is so absurd for something that has so many other alternatives that it is baking in hope for the hobby with it. A 1/1 RC Trout Superfactor is still a once-in-a-generation card of course I think unlike Wagner there are cheaper alternatives of the card for high end collectors that aren't the super. I'd probably but your Brady Season Ticket in the same category - maybe even moreso since Brady doesn't sign a ton and as a 6th round rookie even his rookie cards are sparse nevermind the signed items. I just think when I say eating money, I mean it in more gross terms. I wonder 10, 20, 30 years down the line after Trout is retired and possibly signing on the legends circuit how much appeal a card will have at the premium when he has thousands of signed cards out there and even a decent number of signed rookies.

And yeah, to add on, we're also seeing this in smaller scales in other collectibles. My moderately sized/low end Funko collection has seen a marked increase when it seemed to be dwindling last year (very few are losing value, some holding steady, some stark increases). Vinyl is absolutely booming as some records that recently went out of print are seeing 2-3x price spikes in short timeframes. People are both really diving into collecting in the environment they're in and I feel like as Ed suggests we're not at the peak of this yet. I think Funko is very bubble-y, vinyl a little less so given the utlity involved and advent of streaming leaving the phyiscal, emotional gap. The main point remains though, it's psychologically a lot easier for someone with a moderate amount of cash to invest $100 in something tangible that they can re-sell later without huge effort, hopefully for a profit, and have something to enjoy in the interim.

Edit: I also think we're seeing a lot of the Sneakerverse sneak into other hobbies now driving up demand and prices as well as some fraudulent bumps to artificially raise value. Anecdotally, the 2020 Funko comic-con process was a night mare and I've been seeing some...suspicious price-spikes on items that I think are linked to buyer's clubs.
This conversation was FIVE MONTHS AGO...and looks where we are now:

View: https://www.npr.org/2021/01/27/961063748/tom-bradys-rookie-card-sold-at-auction-for-555-988

This one makes sense to me, though. What’s insane are pop 312 Jordans are hitting 250k! I think future generations will be shunning the stock market in favor of collectibles. It’s way more fun and profitable, particularly in the age of social media.
 
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Marbleheader

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As I mentioned in the other thread, I have been in the card market as a side business for about 20 years, consignments and my own cards. We did do a few breaks here, held it over video and it was fun. The pain in the ass was shipping all of it out and managing the financial part. I prefer vintage cards and dabble in modern. To me, it's much cooler to have something from 100 years ago then a rare new card. I think baseball cards will always have a market, but I think NBA and NFL cards are the future.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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As I mentioned in the other thread, I have been in the card market as a side business for about 20 years, consignments and my own cards. We did do a few breaks here, held it over video and it was fun. The pain in the ass was shipping all of it out and managing the financial part. I prefer vintage cards and dabble in modern. To me, it's much cooler to have something from 100 years ago then a rare new card. I think baseball cards will always have a market, but I think NBA and NFL cards are the future.
Don't disagree on NBA because of the world market. I think soccer cards are really where there is value in the future. Curious why you think NFL cards though? NFL/NHL sell for a fraction of the money compared to baseball and basketball.

As for shipping, it isn't bad if you have everyone pay you via paypal, and then just go in and ship - has to be regular, not friends and family or I do not think you can ship from that. Just charge a flat $5 or $7 (whatever priority is now) and you are good to go.
 

Marbleheader

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It's more about the popularity of the sport. Card collecting is largely nostalgic in nature. Younger generations are going to focus on basketball and football, baseball is not nearly as popular after Gen X. There will always be a market for baseball cards, especially elite players, but it's going to shrink.
 

Ed Hillel

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It's more about the popularity of the sport. Card collecting is largely nostalgic in nature. Younger generations are going to focus on basketball and football, baseball is not nearly as popular after Gen X. There will always be a market for baseball cards, especially elite players, but it's going to shrink.
Yes, sports games are essentially becoming daily quarterly reports. The value of cards are living and dying by performance.

Want an example? That Brady card that hit 556k probably would have sold in the 325ish range had he lost to Washington in the first round. And this is Tom Brady, his record is already pretty decent...

If he wins Sunday, it probably hits a mil by next year, maybe sooner!
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Yes, sports games are essentially becoming daily quarterly reports. The value of cards are living and dying by performance.

Want an example? That Brady card that hit 556k probably would have sold in the 325ish range had he lost to Washington in the first round. And this is Tom Brady, his record is already pretty decent...

If he wins Sunday, it probably hits a mil by next year, maybe sooner!
True but a lot of the real volatility is with the up and coming players who have a great MLB or even MiLB debut, or a great game, week etc.
 

Ed Hillel

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True but a lot of the real volatility is with the up and coming players who have a great MLB or even MiLB debut, or a great game, week etc.
Yeah, it’s a tough call. Traditionally, sports cards investors have been stats nerds, so baseball is more of a fit. But I’m seeing a shift with market growth of more towards popularity, so I could easily see football taking over. Baseball and basketball have the advantage of being more global, though.

One thing seems fairly clear at this point, and that’s that the younger gen is moving towards physical collectibles as assets...unless they can keep railing over hedge funds with stocks lol.

I’ve mentioned it before, but video games and Pokemon cards are also exploding. Pokemon had probably went too big too fast because Logan Paul blew it up, but it’s here to stay. Video games have shot up, too, but have much further to go.
 

Green (Tongued) Monster

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Ordered a 2021 Topps Series 1 Jumbo box today for $215. Yes, I know I am a fool but I couldn’t resist. Really hoping to hit a nice auto since it looks like more variety this year. Also they are up to 1986 topps for the 35th anniversary cards. That was an ugly year, but helps to bring back the memories. I will let you guys know how I make out in about a week!
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Ordered a 2021 Topps Series 1 Jumbo box today for $215. Yes, I know I am a fool but I couldn’t resist. Really hoping to hit a nice auto since it looks like more variety this year. Also they are up to 1986 topps for the 35th anniversary cards. That was an ugly year, but helps to bring back the memories. I will let you guys know how I make out in about a week!
I can’t wait to open some, though I’ll probably stick to retail IF I can find any. Just cannot bring myself to pay the current prices on boxes/cases. Flagship was always like a $600 case.

I loved 86 Topps though so I, excited for that
 

brandonchristensen

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I bought a couple of mystery packs on eBay, one came already and one comes today. I also bought a Pedro Bowman rookie because it was dirt cheap and I figured who better to start a collection with.

My 'hits' on the first mystery pack was a 2019 Topps Chrome Jacob Nix RC Auto (not numbered), and a 2020 Topps Eric Thames relic (jersey material). Lame, but that's the luck of the draw. They asked for a specific player when I bought so they would throw in a card, and I said Clemens or Pedro and they threw in an 88 Topps Roger. Nice looking card.

This one was the one I already received: https://www.ebay.com/itm/BASEBALL-CARD-Mystery-GOLD-PACK-10-cards-Auto-Relic-as-seen-on-YouTube-HOT/143920295795?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

And this one I'm waiting on:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/RR-Mystery-Baseball-Pack-Guaranteed-2-Hits-30-Cards-15-Rookies-d-Stars/393096412893?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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I would suggest in the future not buying these. Just my opinion, but you are 99% of the time not going to get anything of value for your money.

Which Bowman did you pick up of Pedro? 1992 Bowman? PSA10's of that card go for double or more what his 91 UD card go for now.
 

brandonchristensen

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I would suggest in the future not buying these. Just my opinion, but you are 99% of the time not going to get anything of value for your money.

Which Bowman did you pick up of Pedro? 1992 Bowman? PSA10's of that card go for double or more what his 91 UD card go for now.
Yeah I watched Jabs and said fuck it.

92 Bowman yeah
 

LogansDad

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Yeah I watched Jabs and said fuck it.

92 Bowman yeah
Nice! That's as good a way to start a collection as I can think of.

Buying singles really is the way to go, I just enjoy opening packs too much to do that, but I am at a point in my life where I can waste a little bit of my money and be okay (not so much that I can blow it all, mind you).

I've been buying all the affordable, numbered Trent Frederic cards I can find lately, though. I'm smitten.
 

Bongorific

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Is there a reliable source that has what the retail price for boxes of cards should be? I know older sealed wax can go dor more and the market dictates that price but I can’t find anywhere what the price is for different box types of 2021 Topps or what the retail price originally was on older boxes.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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SoSH Member
Jan 2, 2006
11,428
NJ
All the blaster boxes you see in retail are originally $19.99, but for example, a 2018 Topps Update blaster will cost you $250 or so now.

There is no official MSRP on hobby boxes (non-retail) that I know of. Just what it costs pre-release, on release, etc.