Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Topps Update Baseball: Chris Sale All-Star Stitches Relic

You know, before I started pack searching there was a time when I told myself how cool it would be if I could somehow tell which packs had the hits in them and so I could always just pull hit after hit.  For a while when I first started having success at pack searching it was really cool!  But now, in a way, it's almost not cool any more.  At least, when it comes to pulling relic cards since those are so god-awfully easy to find in probably more than 90% of products.

Chris Sale
2012 Topps Update Baseball
All-Star Stitches Relic
Odds:  1:103

A few weeks ago I pulled this Chris Sale All-Star Stitches Relic.  A fine card.  There was a time when I'd kill to pull one of these cards when I wasn't pack searching.  Now, I'm kinda like "eh."  I must sound so ungrateful.  Remember the days when relics were just being put into sports cards?  Getting a relic was crazy!  Now though, it seems the novelty has severely worn off and most relics are worth no more than $10 unless the relic belongs to a really famous player or the relic is of something other than your typical jersey swatch.

Pulling relics out of 2012 Topps Update Baseball is ridiculously easy.  I mean, it is the easiest of easiest when it comes to pack searching.  It's so easy it's almost disgusting.  I feel embarrassed in a way for even buying these packs.

Still not going to stop buying these packs though.  You never know when that pack which feels like your basic relic card is instead either an autographed relic card, or perhaps a bat relic of Mickey Mantle.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 Topps Chrome Football Blaster Box Break #3: Bernard Pierce Autographed Rookie Card

Hah!  So, because I like 2012 Topps Chrome Football so much, I actually buy packs of cards without searching them!  Yes, I know!  Crazy.  But it's true.  And a few weeks ago I picked up a blaster box of the product from Target.  Lo and behold...

Bernard Pierce
2012 Topps Chrome
Rookie Autograph
Odds: 1:262

To my great surprise, I pulled a Bernard Pierce autograph!  Autographs in Topps Chrome Football are pretty rare.  The odds are 1:262 to be exact.  So I was definitely pleasantly surprised to pull this card.  Perhaps good karma for not pack searching for once???  Haha.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Panini Gridiron Football: Cameron Jordan Autograph

Okay, finally found an autograph card in 2012 Panini Gridiron Football.  I had a little help doing it.  I'll be honest, I didn't really crack the set on my own.  So, while I am happy to get an autograph card, I'm not quite as happy to get one when I find one myself. 

Cameron Jordan
2012 Panini Gridiron Football
Authentic Autograph
Odds: Not Stated

Anyway, it was a Cameron Jordan autograph card.  Is that the laziest autograph or what???  That's just a scribble of a "C" and "J".  Ugh.  I mean, I know these guys probably sign hundreds of stickers for sports cards, but come on!  Can't we get a little bit of effort on this signature!

Even though I've had limited success pack searching this set prior to this autograph hit, I didn't really mind buying packs and rack packs since the base cards look so nice. 

Drew Brees
2012 Panini Gridiron Football
Base Card

I mean, check out this Drew Brees base card.  Is that not one of the most sick base card photos you've seen in a while?  Panini seems to have focused more on lively action shots in 2012 Panini Gridiron Football and it definitely gives this set a very pow-wham-bam "football" sort of feel to the set.  It's cool.  I like it.  I also like the use of HDR photography to give the card a semi-artificial and modern look. 

Drew Brees
2012 Panini Gridiron Football
Base Card (back)

Okay, so the backs of the card recycle the front picture, but I don't care.  The backs of the cards are pretty sweet too.  Well, maybe they aren't quite as easy to read and natural to read for the eye, but they look good to me.  I'm actually thinking about trying to put together a complete base set for this product.  Crazy, I know.  It might actually require me to buy a hobby box!

Mychael Kendricks
2012 Panini Gridiron Football
Rookie Card

Rookie cards from this set look pretty sweet too.  Very classic and clean cut looking.  Perhaps a bit on the plain side, but I'd rather take plain and nice looking than busy and ugly looking.  Anyway, nice set of card by Panini.  I'm diggin' their football products more and more!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pack Searching

A thread on caught my eye.  It's a thread about pack searching.  As usual, it has pretty much turned into a big pack searcher bash-fest.  Surprisingly though, there is one person there who seems to be on the pack searchers' side.

"I never understood why people DON'T pack search. Open box, you get to pick a pack that YOU'RE buying. Why wouldn't you pick one you thought had the best chance of a good card? I don't buy packs or boxes (only singles), but always wonder why everyone is so against feeling up a few packs. Maybe it's the stigma of doing it in public. If no one was watching every single one of you would do the same thing." -- pejc300

I would have to be in agreement with what pejc300 says.  I too wonder why more people don't pack search.  When you buy a pack of cards, you get to pick it.  That is sometimes the most fun part of the process.  Some people may just grab the top pack and leave their fortune up to lady luck, but I'd rather try and improve my chances with lady luck by buying only packs which I think may have something good in them.  For me, the search for finding that hot pack is what makes it all so fun (aside from the actual opening of the pack too). 

I do admit there is a bit of stigma to pack search in public.  While I do like pack searching because I get hits, I don't particularly like the idea of having to watch my back to see who rolls up on me, or having somebody try to get me kicked out of a store.  I do wonder if all these people who say they don't pack search would actually give it a shot if they didn't have anyone watching them.  I'm willing to bet, like pejc300 said, that a decent amount of them would.

Without surprise, pejc300's comments have garnered some anti-pack searcher responses.

"Bc people it ruins it for the kids that cannot afford hobby boxes. You obviously aren't a upstanding person."  -- nickha2

Okay.  This response, except for the ad hominem attack, is worth addressing.  Can most kids afford hobby boxes?  I don't know.  Maybe, maybe not.  I've seen some youtube videos of some pretty young kids doing tons of hobby box breaks.  I'm older than them, with a job, and shit, I don't think I could afford to break as many hobby boxes as some of those kids. 

But let's assume most kids can't afford hobby boxes.  Does pack searching ruin card collecting for kids?  Well, I guess it would make things tougher for them to get a hit.  I do have to admit that.  Yet, despite making that acknowledgment, I still don't really have a problem with pack searching for a few reasons. 

First, kids pack search too. 

Second, I've rarely seen kids buying packs of cards.  Honestly.  In the five months that I've been back in this hobby, I would say that 90% of my encounters with other people in the card aisle have been adults.  I've only seen about four kids in the past five months go into the card aisle to look at packs and buy a few.  In my opinion, this hobby is mostly an adult hobby.

Third, to me it all comes down to the buying-fruit-at-the-supermarket analogy.  In case you're not familiar with that analogy, it's basically just saying that buying retail packs of cards is like picking fruit at a grocery store.  If you were buying some pears or apples or bananas at the supermarket, you'd probably sniff it, touch it, squeeze it, whatever.  Nobody would ridicule you for doing that.  And doing that to cards really is no different.  People who oppose pack searching would have you believe that when you go to buy cards you should only take the top pack or you have to pick your packs randomly.  Thus, you can't bend, squeeze, or feel up the packs.  Are there any rules saying you can't bend, squeeze, or feel up the packs?  No.  But for some reason opponents of pack searching claim there are.  And they also claim, like nickha2, that if you fail to abide by those rules that you "aren't an upstanding person."  I'm sorry, but it's hard to abide by rules which are fictitious. 

"[I]t is manipulating the odds, but most importantly damaging the cards inside."  -- TheBurg

I'll address this comment too.  I personally don't see the connection between pack searching and "manipulating odds."  First of all, the odds are set by the card company, not by pack searchers.  Pack searchers don't manipulate odds.  What I think TheBurg really means to say is that when a pack searcher finds a hit, he has ruined the odds for anyone else.  But how is this any different from a non-pack searcher who just randomly picked a pack, and happened to pick the hot pack?  It's not!  If TheBurg really wants to make the argument that a pack searcher is manipulating odds when they hit a hot pack then that same rationale applies to those who don't pack search and hit a hot pack.  Ideally, and I think this is what TheBurg is also saying, is that when everyone buys a pack of cards they should face the same odds for getting the hit or inserts.  This is the ideal scenario.  The fact of the matter is that there is a limited amount of packs in any box.  Those odds are instantly destroyed, unbalanced, and "manipulated" when everyone buys a pack of cards.  If a person buys a pack of cards and it doesn't contain a hit, the odds of the rest of the packs containing a hit just went up.  To the contrary, if a person buys a pack of cards and it does contain a hit, the odds of the rest of the packs containing a hit just went down.  That's what happens to everyone regardless of whether the person buying the packs is a pack searcher or not.  So really, pack searchers are not "manipulating the odds" any more than anyone else who randomly buys packs of cards. 

Now, as for the whole damaging the cards inside argument, there is some merit to that statement.  Pack searching can ruin it for everyone if the pack searcher damages the cards.  I am in 100% agreement there.  I personally try my very best to NOT damage the cards when I search and I believe I do not damage the cards.  I think a lot of people who are new to pack searching probably man-handle the cards and damage them mostly because they lack the experience to realize how it doesn't take a lot of power to manipulate the cards within the pack or that it doesn't really take much touching of the pack at all to find the hits.  I've seen the marks of some other pack searchers who have literally gouged the packs' wrappers from searching the packs.  Such excessive force is not necessary to search packs.  Although I am not against pack searching, I advise those who do it to please not damage the cards.  Seriously, you do not need to bend the pack of cards at a 90 degree angle when doing the flex test.  (Sadly, I've seen some packs literally bent this far.)  So while I do admit that pack searchers who damage packs of cards are bad, I don't have a problem with pack searchers who don't damage packs.  Being that I consider myself a person who doesn't damage cards when I pack search, I don't have any problems with me pack searching. 

"Oh...I guess I just thought pack searching was feeling how thick/thin the packs are, not damaging the cards. Manipulating the odds? So I guess everyone here just takes the first pack on the top of the box when they buy packs, because it's next in line, lol. Right."  -- pejc300

Pecj300 defends himself a little bit and brings forth a point I already went over but will repeat here: not all pack searching damages cards.  Just buying the thick packs is hardly damaging to the packs of cards.  You don't need to use force on any of the packs to pick out the thick packs.  If this is all some people do (and yes, this is all some people do), then they can't be criticized for damaging cards.

"Now, Packsearchers grab the thicker packs and bend them, push on them to find jersey windows, scratch them to find sticker auto's, etc. That's more than 'whoa, that pack is thick. Probably a good buy!'"--  TheBurg

Again, it's the buying fruit at the grocery store analogy.  What's wrong with feeling up some fruit before you buy it?  You want to make sure you get the best one possible.  Why can't a person feel up a pack of cards before they buy it to see if there something good inside or not?  Someone please point out to me where there are rules which state you can't pack search and you have to buy just the top pack of card in a box.

"I accept that. That certainly isn't cool. So, I think getting to first base with a pack is okay, but anything past second base is probably excessive." -- pejc300

Now, here pejc300 finally relents a little bit and states that basically just picking thicker packs is okay but anything more than that is pack searching.  Well, I would have to disagree there.  Pack searching is pack searching whether you're just buying thick packs or you're going through a fancy list of seven different search techniques.  If pejc300 is okay with someone doing first base with a pack, there is no rationale to say that suddenly going to second base with a pack is now illegal.  Like I said, pack searching is pack searching.  Going to first base with a pack is just as much pack searching as hitting a home run with a pack.

That being said, I totally manipulate the odds, I am not an upstanding person, and I hit home runs with packs all the time. 


2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mickey Mantle Bat Relic

Hah.  Saw another 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mickey Mantle Bat Relic on eBay

I pulled the same card myself doing a little pack searching.  I mean, I pulled the exact same card myself.

Here's the photo of the current Mickey Mantle Bat Relic on eBay:

Looks like a nice card, right?

Here's the picture of my Mickey Mantle bat relic that I pulled:

Looks the same, right?  Because it is the same card.  Note the grain of the wood and how it is exactly the same.  Note how there is a slight gap between the bottom of the mini card and the black frame.  The only difference is that the auction picture is a smaller picture, and a lower resolution picture. 

The eBay seller, flibbleknibble of Madera, California, is clearly using the scan of my Mickey Mantle bat relic for their auction.  Perhaps they just got lazy and they didn't want to scan their own card.  But whomever buys their card might be a little miffed when they get their Mickey Mantle card and it doesn't look like what was in the eBay auction picture -- especially if the card they get is in worse condition that what is shown on the eBay auction picture.

All in all, I'm not really pissed this flibbleknibble person is using a picture of my card for their auction, but it definitely is dishonest for them to be putting up a picture of a card they are purporting to sell when it is in fact NOT the card they are selling.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Panini Absolute Football: Phil Taylor

Hah!  Actually found this autograph on accident.  I was pack searching some 2012 Panini Absolute Football for rookie cards when I ran across this autograph:

Phil Taylor
2012 Panini Absolute Football
Authentic Signature
Odds: Not Stated

It was a Phil Taylor autographed card!  Pretty cool.  Nice card design.  I'm really diggin' Panini's card designs in this set.  Simple, clean, and attractive.  I didn't know who Phil Taylor was, but I guess he's not a bad autograph.  He was a 1st round draft pick last year, selected 21st overall out of Baylor.  He logged 59 total tackles last year and four sacks.  Not too bad for a rookie. 

These autographs aren't terribly hard at all to find if you know what to look for.  Now that I know what to look out for, I hope to find more.  I'm pretty sure autographs in this set are rare though so I'm not getting my hopes up. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Topps Strata 4 Blaster Box Break

2012 Topps Strata is due out in hobby on December 21, 2012, or some time thereabouts, but it's starting to pop up in retail a bit sooner.  Over on they have a preview post with some links to other people's retail box breaks.  Amazingly enough, it looks as if there is about a 50% hit rate from blaster boxes. 

I don't know if this 50% hit rate is because Topps is front-loading the product or if it's just reporting bias, but in case the product is actually front-loaded then I had to go out there and get me some.

So I hit up my local Walmart. 

Sure enough, eight new blaster boxes of 2012 Topps Strata were sitting on the shelves.  No rack packs or retail boxes were anywhere to be seen, but the blaster boxes were good enough for me.  I grabbed four and bought them.

Here are the box breakdowns:


Ryan Tannehill
2012 Topps Strata
Base Rookie Card

Doug Martin
2012 Topps Strata
Base Rookie Card

Robert Griffin III
2012 Topps Strata
Base Rookie Card

Not a bad first box.  I also got a Justin Blackmon rookie card too.  No hits though.  I'm not too thrilled with the overall set though.  I don't like the design of the cards.  The design looks... futuristic and industrial.  Just seems to have lots of random color and designs in the background which sort of detract from the picture of the player.  I'm pretty "eh" about these cards.  Oh, and the retail cards are on thin card stock.  I'm not entirely sure, but I think the hobby version is probably all on thicker card stock.  


Trent Richardson
2012 Topps Strata
Base Rookie Card

Greg Childs
2012 Topps Strata
Autographed Rookie Card

Boom!  Got a hit!  And... Greg Childs?  Talk about a disappointing hit.  Greg Childs apparently blew out both knees in training camp before the season started and has been on the injured reserve ever since.  He hasn't played one down in the NFL yet.  Wow.  No offense to Greg Childs, but as a football card collector, this is one craptacular hit.

A few other semi-notable rookies I picked up: Lamar Miller, Brock Osweiler, Mark Ingram, and Luke Kuechly.


Ryan Tannehill
2012 Topps Strata
Base Rookie Card

Got another Ryan Tannehill rookie card.  While he is a starting QB for the Dolphins, he's not exactly putting up great numbers.  The verdict is still out on whether he will be a good QB or not, but things aren't looking so great right now.

Doug Martin
2012 Topps Strata
Base Rookie Card

Got another Muscle Hamster rookie card.  Hey, I'll take it.  Doug Martin apparently got that nickname because of the fact that he is so strong.  He bench pressed 225 pounds a whopping 28 times at the NFL Combine this year -- best for all RBs.  Yeah, Muscle Hamster sounds about right.

Other notable rookies from this box: Cody Fleener, D'onta Hightower, Justin Blackmon, and Morris Claiborne.


Trent Richardson
2012 Topps Strata
Base Rookie Card

Russell Wilson
2012 Topps Strata
Base Rookie Card

Ryan Lindley
2012 Topps Strata
Autographed Rookie Card

The Russell Wilson rookie card was nice.  So was another Trent Richardson.  And getting a hit is always nice too.  But... Ryan Lindley?  Eh.  Not that exciting.  He's a 6th round pick and a non-starter.  Maybe some day he'll get a start and do well, but as of now, this card is pretty "eh" once again.

Final Thoughts

I spent over $80 on these retail boxes.  For that price I probably could have bought a hobby box and done better.  Would I recommend this product?  I dunno.  It's not that exciting.  You'll get tons of base.  You get two rookie cards per pack, or three if you get an autographed rookie card.  So that's nice.  But other than the rookie cards, what else is there?

I didn't get any inserts.  I didn't get any die cuts.  In fact, I don't think there is much of either inserts or die-cuts in this set.  It's pretty much just base cards, one die cut, and hits.  And let me tell you the good hits in retail are far and few between.  Here are the odds.

1:41 -- Rookie Autograph
1:211 -- Rookie Autograph Bronze
1:282 -- Rookie Autograph Gold
1:327 -- Rookie Autograph Blue
1:490 -- Rookie Autograph Green
1:1,000 -- Rookie Autograph Red
1:24 -- Rookie Die Cut Insert
1:5,527 -- Dual Rookie Autograph
1:445 -- Clear Cut Auto Relic Rookie
1:4,350 -- Clear Cut Auto Relic Rookie Bronze
1:21,850 -- Clear Cut Auto Relic Rookie Gold

And that's it!  So as you can see, it's just base, rookie cards, one die-cut insert, and then hits.  Am I going to buy any more of 2012 Topps Strata?  Probably not.  At least not blaster boxes.  While my hit rate was 50% (2 out of the 4 blasters I bought had autographs), I think I was pretty lucky.  Supposedly, the rookie auto odds are 1:41, which aren't bad, but if Topps isn't front-loading the product then I guess I just beat the odds.  I bought four blaster boxes which each contain eight packs.  That's 32 total packs.  There is one rookie auto per 42 packs (1 + 41 = 42).  That means I should have only pulled 0.76 autographed cards -- I basically should have pulled one autograph card max.

Okay, maybe Topps is front-loading the product.  I don't know.  There should only be one rookie autograph per 5.25 blaster boxes of cards (42 / 8 = 5.25).  You decide for yourself.  Go buy some 2012 Topps Strata if you want, and see what you get.  Let me know too.  I'd be interested to see if others are having about a 50% hit rate with their blaster boxes too or if the 50% hit rate is just reporting bias.

Finally, from a pack searchers standpoint, is this product searchable?  Well, Walmart didn't have rack packs or a retail box.  Target didn't have anything today.  If there are retail boxes -- which I'm hearing there are and which guarantee one rookie autograph per box -- then this product should be super easy to search unless the packs have decoys in them.  Yeah, not gonna say how or why this product may be easy to search, but if the lose retail packs are anything like the packs within a blaster box then this should be easy pickings. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pack Searching: 2012 Topps Platinum Football

One enigma which has been stumping me for a while is 2012 Topps Platinum Football.  It's been an enigma because I haven't pulled a single autograph from this set despite all my best attempts at pack searching it.

2012 Topps Platinum Football started hitting retail stores around September 12, 2012.  When it hit stores, I was promptly there trying to pack search it.  And, somewhat surprisingly, I failed.

Searching a product right when it comes out can be hard because you don't know what to look for.  That was part of the problem.  I didn't know quite what to look for.  I spent a few days checking out breaks on YouTube and doing some research, and I began to learn what to look for.  I went back to retail stores to try and find those autograph cards and I still couldn't find them.  Either other people were beating me to the cards, or, I still wasn't 100% sure on what to look for.

For the longest time -- basically the last three months -- I assumed that others were just beating me to the punch.  By my calculations and research, I theorized that autographs were pretty easy to find.  If I knew what to look for, then I knew other pack searchers would know what to look for too. 

And so I actually gave up on this set.  I figured because the autographs were so easy to find that they must have all been gone.  I concentrated my efforts on other card sets and pretty much just forgot about this set.  Or at least I tried.

In reality, I've been pretty bothered by the fact that I've had zero success pack searching 2012 Topps Platinum Football.  Even if the autographs were easy to find, I couldn't quite accept my conclusion that other people were beating me to the stores and pulling the autographs before me.  I pretty much have the retail stores in a 10 mile radius around me on lock-down.  I'm there once a week checking things out.  If a new product comes out, I make sure to hit up the stores right away to ensure that I'm the first person there to search it.  So it just didn't seem plausible to me that I was getting beat to the autographs.  The only other alternative to explain why I wasn't having any success finding autographs was that I wasn't quite 100% sure what to look for.  That had to be the only explanation.  But that explanation was blasphemous to me because I was pretty darn sure what to look for.  Well, it turns I was sort of right, and sort of wrong.

I went pack searching a few days ago at a local Target and was surprised to see a fresh new retail box of 2012 Topps Platinum Football out for sale.  It was completely untouched.  All 24 packs were there -- including that one autograph card or autographed relic card which is guaranteed per retail box.

Despite the fact that I have had such bad luck finding autographs in this set, I knew this opportunity was too good to pass up.  I knew there was one autograph card in this retail box and I knew I had to find it.  I had to get pull at least one autograph and prove that to myself that I could pack search this product.

So I did my usual search techniques.  One pack stood out.  It was either an autograph relic or one of those thicker red parallel base cards (basically a decoy).  I bought that pack.  Two other packs caught my eye.  They caught my eye because they had some big name rookies in them.  One was a Robert Griffin III rookie card, and the other was a Justin Blackmon rookie card.  I bought those packs too.

I went to my car to open up the packs.  The thicker pack was the red parallel base card.  I was not surprised.  In fact, I was expecting that.  I opened the two other packs too.  They weren't the autograph card but at least I had a nice Robert Griffin III rookie card, and a Justin Blackmon rookie card.  The autograph pack was still in the retail box amongst the remaining 21 packs of cards.

I went back into Target to the same retail box.  There were six packs of cards left which I knew must have the autograph in it.  I was able to rule out the other fifteen packs.  I picked three of the remaining six packs.  There was a fifty-fifty chance I had the autograph pack in my hands.  I bought those three packs and opened them up in the store.  STILL no autograph.

That meant the remaining autograph was in those final three packs which I had narrowed it down to.  Again, I went back to the card display and took the last three packs of cards.  Throughout this entire process I also had forgotten there was a die-cut card in each retail box.  I took a minute to find the pack with the die-cut in it too.

With four packs of cards in my hand I went to the cashier and paid.  Confident enough that I had the autograph card I went back to my car.  I opened up the packs up and sure enough, I finally got the autograph.

T.J. Graham
2012 Topps Platinum Football
Autographed Rookie Refractor
Odds:  1:35

It was a T.J. Graham autographed rookie refractor!  Finally!  I felt a wave of relief that the autograph was there.  If it wasn't in those final three packs then it would be quite clear I either had no idea what to look for in this set.  That would be extremely unsettling to me since I take pride in (generally) being a very efficient and smart pack searcher. 

I don't know anything about T.J. Graham.  And I don't care.  I'm just glad it's an autographed card.  Phew. 

What I did on this day is probably what I really should have done earlier on right when the set came out.  I never bought this many retail packs from one box of cards early on.  I didn't do this because I wanted to wait until I had more information about the set so I could just pluck the autograph card from the box without having to buy tons of packs to gather information.  But pack searching is information gathering.  It requires that you purchase packs of cards to learn information.  Had I done this a lot earlier, I probably would have found more autograph cards at other stores.

So, it wasn't so much that other people were beating me to the stores, it was that I didn't quite know what to look for.  Well, I did know what to look for, but there were a few ... quirks to some of these packs of cards which had thrown me off.  I know that's a very vague statement but I'm doing that purposely.  Today I learned an important lesson about how Topps packages their cards.  This knowledge costed me about $30 (nine retail packs at about $3 per pack plus tax).  But this same knowledge should help me decipher and search other Topps products more successfully.

The good thing about this pack searching shopping trip was that while I did have to buy a lot more packs than normal -- I bought 10 of the 24 retail packs in that box (9 retail packs to find the autograph, and 1 retail pack which contained the die-cut) -- I got a lot of nice cards which I like anyways.  I'm a huge football fan so I don't really mind buying packs of football cards even if I'm not 100% sure what's in them.  And, of course, it's much more enjoyable when you get the good cards too. 

Luke Kuechly
2012 Topps Platinum Football
Chrome Rookie Black Refractor
Odds:  1:24

I did get one black refractor rookie card.  It was a Luke Kuechly chrome black refractor rookie card.  This is actually a really nice card to get.  Luke Kuechly was drafted #9 overall this year by the Carolina Panthers and is a starter as a rookie.  He's accumulated 105 tackles through week 12 already.  That's about nine tackles a game!  Pretty darn good. 

Here are some of the other good cards from this pack searching trip.

Rueben Randle
2012 Topps Platinum Football
Platinum Die-Cut Rookie
Odds: 1:24

The die-cut was Rueben Randle.  Not the greatest player or card right now.  He only has 13 receptions on the season so far for 184 yards and one touchdown. 

But, I did get some pretty good rookie card X-Fractors which might be worth BGS grading.

Doug Martin
2012 Topps Platinum Football
X-Fractor Rookie Card
Odds:  1:4

I got a pretty sweet Doug Martin X-Fractor Rookie Card.  I think I might send this card in for BGS grading just for kicks.

Justin Blackmon
2012 Topps Platinum Football
X-Fractor Rookie Card
Odds:  1:4

Also got a nice Justin Blackmon X-Fractor rookie card.  He's actually been a bit of a disappointment this year for being the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.  He only has 38 receptions for 548 yards and three touchdowns through week 12 of the NFL season.  Hopefully he does better so his rookie cards go up in value.

And finally, I am perhaps the most happy to also have found this card.

Robert Griffin III
2012 Topps Platinum Football
X-Fractor Rookie Card
Odds:  1:4

I'm definitely sending this card in for grading.  I know it's just a simple common parallel base rookie card, but still.  Robert Griffin III is doing REALLY well this season as a rookie and will almost assuredly win rookie of the year honors.  So far through week 12 he's thrown for 2500 yards, at an amazing 67.5% completion rate, for 16 touchdowns and an amazingly low 4 interceptions.  Those stats are sick.  You just don't see rookie QBs putting up those kinds of numbers in their first year.  Even Peyton Manning didn't do this well his rookie year.  Robert Griffin III may very well be the best rookie QB this entire decade. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

2012 Panini Absolute Football

So 2012 Panini Absolute Football hit the streets on December 7, 2012 or thereabouts.  I didn't have a lot of info on the cards so my first attempt at pack searching it was pretty unsuccessful.  Nevertheless, I wasn't bummed.  I really like this set. 

Frank Gore, Peyton Manning
2012 Panini Absolute Football
Base Cards

Check out these base cards.  They are a simple design but very nice and clean cut.  I absolutely LOVE the photograph in this set.  The Panini team chose some really great photos which focus in on the players without the distraction of other players in the foreground, middle ground, or background.  I also really like the slight white fading at the bottom of the picture.  That really makes the players pop and stand out a bit from the background -- aside from the background being out of focus.

I really like the rookie cards in this set too.  They are so freakin' clean looking. 

Shea McClellin
2012 Panini Absolute Football
Rookie Card #/399
The Shea McClellin rookie card I pulled was numbered to 399.  At the time I wasn't sure if all the rookie cards are crash numbered so I thought that was pretty cool.  But now I know that not all the rookies are crash numbered.  I'm not sure what type of rookie parallel this is to warrant it being crash numbered.  Some sort of gold parallel rookie card?  I dunno.  Clean lookin' card though.  Love it.

I pulled a few more more rookie cards too -- which are NOT in every pack but they are super easy to find if you know what to look for. 

Ladarius Green
2012 Panini Absolute Football
Blue Spectrum Rookie Card Parallel #/100

This Ladarius Green rookie card was a blue spectrum parallel that was numbered to 100.  Pretty cool.  Again, pretty easy to find these numbered rookie cards if you know what to look for.  Although, even if I found a non-numbered rookie card I'd probably still buy the pack anyways since I like the look of the rookie cards so much and rookie cards in this set are actually pretty rare!  In a whole gravity box of (about 30) loose retail packs, I think I only found five rookie cards. 

Brandon Boykin
2012 Panini Absolute Football
Red Spectrum Rookie Card Parallel

And... one more rookie card because I love the look of them so much.  This Brandon Boykin rookie card was a red spectrum parallel, but unlike the blue spectrum parallel this one was not numbered.  Oh well.  Still a nice looking card though. 

Anyway, this is a pretty nice set of cards if you ask me.  Hell, I'd even buy these packs of cards without searching them just because I like the set so much. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter: Bob Knight Autograph

FINALLY!  Finally, finally, finally!

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter was the first product which I learned how to pack search on.  I spent a lot of time and money learning how to search it.  There was initially a lot of trial and error -- mostly error.  Over time, I got good at searching this set.  Really good.  Now, when I search it's mostly success.

I've pulled about a dozen framed mini relics from all the searching I've done.  All this time I've never hit a framed mini autograph.  It's been bothering me.  It's been the monkey on my back.  And finally, finally, finally, I hit one.  It's about time. 

Bob Knight
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter
Framed Mini Autograph
Odds:  1:196

The autograph was of Bob Knight.  While it isn't the most desirable or expensive autograph card in the set, it's definitely not one of the worst either.  In fact, I'd probably say the value of this card is above the average for most of the autograph cards in this set.

Anyway, I've finally pulled an autograph card from 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter.  Phew.  I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  Now I sort of feel like I could stop searching this set and concentrate on other products.  I can move on.  I've accomplished my last goal with regards to this set.   

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pack Searching 2012/13 Panini Threads: O.J. Mayo Relic

Well, found another relic from 2012/13 Panini Threads Basketball.  These are pretty easy to find. 

O.J. Mayo
2012/13 Panini Threads
Jersey Relic
Odds: Not Stated

Again, I really like the design of these cards.  Although I'm not a huge basketball fan, the design of these cards alone makes me want to find more of them. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pack Searching 2012/13 Panini Threads: Randy Foye Relic

So, finding rookie autograph cards in 2012/13 Panini Threads Basketball is pretty easy.  I've already found one card.  I know I can find more if I just hit up more stores.

But just out of curiosity, I decided to also look for jersey relic cards.  I wanted to know if they were also easy to find in this set.  The answer?  Yes, they are fairly easy to find too.  

Here's the first relic I found:

Randy Foye
2012/13 Panini Threads
Jersey Relic
Odds: Not Stated

It's a Randy Foye jersey card.  Not bad.  I really like the design of these cards.  They're very simple yet appealing.  I like how the picture of the player is prominent and how the background of the picture is in black and white.  It really makes the player stand out on the card -- as they should. 

Randy Foye
2012/13 Panini Threads
Jersey Relic
Odds: Not Stated

I think the back of the card is pretty nicely designed too.  While Panini does use the same picture that is on the front, this time it's in black and white.  It's a nice touch because it keeps the back of the card classy while ensuring that the color scheme is consistent and matches the rest of the colors on the back of the card.

Nice cards, and really easy to find.  I hope to find more of them.  I don't think I'm going to spend much time or money looking for these cards though since I'm not a huge basketball fan.  I think I'd rather spend the money on football or baseball cards. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oh It's On...

I was swinging by one of my favorite local retail stores to see if any new product had been put out when I saw another pack searcher searching the card display.

I hung back for a moment pondering what to do.  We're both of the same.  We're both pack searchers.  I could probably go right up to the card display and pack search right next time and it would be no big deal.  But I didn't do it.  I like my privacy.  I don't like people knowing who I am.  I don't want to give away some of my pack searching techniques -- this guy didn't seem to have the most advanced searching techniques.  

So I just left.  I was disappointed to leave.  There was some new 2012/13 Panini Threads Basketball out to search, and probably some new 2012 Panini Gridiron Football too.  But I left because I wanted to hit up some other retail stores before this guy.  Perhaps he was making his usual weekly rounds.  I don't know.  But if he was, I was pretty sure he'd hit up two more stores in the area.  So I hopped in the car, and put the pedal to the metal with every intent on beating him to those two other stores.

Eli Manning
2012 Panini Gridiron Football
Arms Race

I think I recognized that guy.  I've seen him once before searching the displays.  Oh, and let me tell you, he looked like the stereotypical grubby packsearcher that all packsearchers are!  He definitely still lived at home in his mom's basement, and he had dirt underneath his fingernails.  Lord knows that as soon as he stops pack searching he will automatically become this refined and clean looking gentleman that all other sports card hobbiests are.

Anyway, seeing this guy there sparked the competitive side of me to beat him.  I was a little pissed he was up in my territory -- my retail stores.  I'll be sure to hit up the local stores even harder the next few weeks just to pick it dry so he can't get shit.  Well, he can have the hockey cards.  I don't really care about those.

I'm sure if any non-pack searchers are reading this they must think I'm a giant asshole and my last paragraph is me basically admitting that pack searchers are taking away the hits for everyone else to get.  Well, I'm not going to deny it.  It's true.  Pack searchers do get hits, reducing the chances that everyone else gets a hit.  But the same effect happens when a non-pack searcher buys some cards and gets a hit too.  My point is that it doesn't matter whether you pack search or not, we all still have the same intent to get hits.  Some people, like me, just take extra care to try and get those hits.  Others don't.  To each their own.  Remember, there are no "rules" which state that when you buy sports cards you're just supposed to randomly pick a pack without searching it.  If you don't want to increase your chances of getting a hit by doing a little searching then that's your prerogative -- and your loss.  But don't blame me if I try to increase my chances of getting a hit by doing some searching. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 Topps Chrome Football Blaster Box Break

I don't know what it is about 2012 Topps Chrome Football but it has me hooked.  It has me more hooked than 2012 Topps Chrome Baseball.  I think it's because I like the inserts better in the football product.

Anyway, I've been dying to pick up a blaster box from Target.  The 2012 Topps Chrome Football blaster boxes at Target have eight retail packs in them.  The 2012 Topps Chrome Football blaster boxes at Walmart have seven retail packs in them, and the exclusive rookie relic cards.  Those exclusive rookie relic cards -- although nice looking -- are worthless so I vowed to never buy another blaster box of 2012 Topps Chrome Football from Walmart again.  Instead, I hit up Target and was lucky enough to find one last remaining blaster box of Topps Chrome Football.

So here's the break.  Unfortunately, the break is pretty short because I didn't get anything that great.  I've only scanned numbered refractors and special inserts.  I don't really care for regular refractors or X-Fractors since those are so common (1:3 packs). 

We'll start from worst to best.

Kevin Zeitler
2012 Topps Chrome Football
Purple Refractor #/499
Odds:  1:15

Got a Kevin Zeitler purple refractor.  The purple refractor part is good, but the Kevin Zeitler part is bad.  I mean, this guy may very well go on to be an all-pro guard but his card will never be worth much since he's a guard.  But I guess I would have rather gotten a colored refractor than a regular refractor or no refractor at all.

Next up...

Reggie Wayne
2012 Topps Chrome Football
Pink Refractor #/399

Got a Reggie Wayne pink refractor.  It's better than a purple refractor, and the player is better too.  But unfortunately the card is only selling for about $1 on Ebay.

Ronnie Hillman
2012 Topps Chrome Football
1984 Rookie Insert

Also pulled a 1984 styled Ronnie Hillman rookie card insert.  I like these cards.  Wish I had more of them.  This card looks to be selling for about $0.75 on Ebay.  Cool card, but again, kinda worthless.

Finally, the best "hit" in the box...

Trent Richardson
2012 Topps Chrome Football
1957 Rookie Insert

A Trent Richardson 1957 styled rookie card insert.  This card looks like it's been selling for about $1 on Ebay.  Lame.  I would have thought it would be selling for a little more.  Apparently the poses on the right side of the card vary.  I don't know if any particular pose is more common or rarer than the others but I'm seeing plenty of these cards on Ebay.

Anyway, this blaster box was a fairly big disappointment.  No huge value cards.  I might have been better off going with two rack packs instead.  I'm always torn on whether to get two rack packs or a blaster box.  The rack packs do have those orange refractors which are sick, but for the price of those two rack packs you could get a blaster box which essentially has two more retail packs than the two rack packs combined.  Getting more sealed retail packs is important too because that improves your chances of hitting something.  Usually I actually go with the rack packs for the orange refractors but this time I didn't and I'm sort of regretting it.

Finally, where the hell are all the Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III rookie base cards?  I've bought the equivalent of like 40 retail packs of this product and I haven't even seen either of those guys yet.  Are they short printed or something?  I'm not even asking for a freakin' refractor of one of them.  I just want a regular base chrome rookie card! 

Blaster Box Breakdown

1  Rookie Reprint card (not pictured above)
1  1957 Rookie Insert
1  1984 Rookie Insert
2  Colored Refractors
5  Total "hits" (not counting regular refractors and X-Fractors)

5 "hits" in 8 packs = 62.5% hit rate

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pack Searching: 2012 Topps Football

I've been trying to get myself to not buy relic hot packs.  Most of the time the relics are pretty low-value.  Despite knowing this sad reality, I can never just leave a hot pack in a store if I find one.  I have to buy it.

A few days ago I found a hot rack pack of 2012 Topps Football.

Mike Wallace
2012 Topps Football
Prolific Playmakers Relic
Odds:  1:340

It was a Mike Wallace relic card.  It's a nice card, but probably pretty worthless.  Still though, I just can't stop myself from buying these packs when I find them. I keep telling myself to just leave them on the displays and let someone else get the hit.  But then I think "what if it's a mojo hit?"  And then I buy the pack. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pack Searching: 2012 Panini Threads Basketball

I'm not a huge basketball collector so I normally don't even touch basketball products.  But when a card company makes their autographs super easy to find, well, I can't help myself.

Jimmy Butler
2012-13 Panini Threads
Odds:  Not Stated

Found a Jimmy Butler autograph.  At first I was all excited when I found it because it was a wood card.  But then I later learned that all the rookie autographs are on wood stock.  The card is still really nice though.  The wood stock is a nice touch for a basketball product.  Surprisingly, the ink of the pen transferred very well to the card without skipping or streaking.  These are pretty nice cards.  I definitely wouldn't mind finding more of them. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

In Rebuttle of "The 'Art' of Pack Searching"

You know, since I've joined the dark side and decided to pack search I find it really funny to read articles about pack searchers and the common misconceptions about pack searchers.  More often than not these articles will either denigrate pack searchers, stereotype them, or proclaim that pack searching can't be done.  Without surprise these articles are mostly written by people who don't pack search.  The fact that they don't pack search is pretty significant in my opinion because it shows their bias and disdain for packsearchers, as well as their lack of understanding why a person would choose to pack search.

Anyway, one such article on caught my attention.  You can read the article here.  It's written by a guy named... actually, I won't list his name.  It's really not important.  What's more important are his thoughts and sentiments which is what I would like to address.  So I'll just call him Author.  Below, I'll quote some choice sections from this guy's article and give my comments after each quote.  Let's get started...

"Many people claim to know the “secrets” and “clues” to knowing when a pack contains more than the boring old base. When they pick up a pack, they can supposedly feel the thickness of a game-used card, or other odd findings. For me, I personally feel that there is a lot wrong with pack searchers. First, they are not in the hobby for the fun of collecting, but rather the hope that they can cash in big. Second, they take the fun [out] of it for the rest of us, as there isn’t the thicker pack that might contain something big. Knowing this, card companies have become smarter in the way that they stuff packs."

I am in the hobby for the fun of collecting.  Just because you pack search doesn't mean you're not in the hobby for fun.  I mean, seriously?  What the fuck kind of reasoning is: if you pack search then you're just hoping to cash in big.  Look, I'm sure some people who do pack search are in it for the money.  But certainly some aren't.  I'm sure some people who do pack search are doing it both for the money and the hobby.  But to generalize and say that every pack searcher is doing it for the money is just flat out ridiculous.

And as for taking the fun out of it because pack searchers will buy only thicker packs, wow, there is so much shit wrong with that statement.  Where do I start?  First of all, hits comes in packs that are both thick and not thick.  I would know.  I've gotten hits from thick packs and thin packs.

Second of all, if you think only "something big" comes from the thick packs, then get your ass out to your local stores ASAP to buy those thick packs.  Are other people supposed to sit around and wait for you to get there so you can buy what packs you want, including the thick packs, before they can buy packs?  No!  Retail purchases are first come first serve.  The Author of that article seems to know (or thinks he knows) that "something big" only comes from thick packs, but he makes no justifications for why the fuck he can't just go out to the stores like any other normal person to buy those thicker packs before someone else does! 

Third, if you're only buying the thicker packs of cards, you're pack searching too!  Whether the author agrees with me or not, if you so much as do anything other than just randomly grabbing a pack of cards without searching it in any way, then you're pack searching.  Feeling up packs is pack searching.  Measuring the thickness of packs even without fancy calipers is pack searching.  (Such as only using your eyes.)  The author of that article just seemed to acknowledge that he buys thicker packs for the very reason that they're likely to contain "something big", yet he thinks he's not a pack searcher!  Haha.  Wow.  That is laughable.  Sorry dude, you're a pack searcher just like me. 

"As retail packs are put on the shelf at Target or Wal-Mart, I have seen some of the same people in the store, knowing the exact time that packs are put on the shelves. The same exact scenario is true at hobby stores I visit. I admit that I do feel packs for a quick second or two, but never as seriously as some other people. One time, I saw a guy with a very small scale that could weigh each pack to the thousandth of an ounce. To me, that is just exceeding the title of a pack searcher; this is an insane pack searcher. There have also been rumors of people who use rulers or similar measuring devices that can measure packs to the tenth of a millimeter. Again, there is a product that will not pay for itself."

The author admits he feels packs for a "quick second or two" but not "as seriously as some other people" and thus he thinks he's not a pack searcher.  I already covered this above but I'll repeat it again here.  Searching packs, whether it be for one second or one hour or with a special instrument, is pack searching.  The author is a pack searcher.  Trying to distinguish someone who feels packs for a second from someone who uses a scale is not a valid argument.  Is someone who commits an assault and battery for one second any less of a criminal than someone who commits an assault and battery for 30 minutes?  No.  Is someone who commits an assault and battery with their bare hands any less of a criminal than someone who commits an assault and battery with a special tool?  No.  The seriousness or severity of the crime may differ, as the Author acknowledges, but a criminal is still a criminal no matter the severity of the crime.  Likewise, a pack searcher is still a pack searcher no matter the severity or the duration of their pack searching.

"You may think why don’t these scales and rulers work? The answer is that companies such as Upper Deck and Topps have figured out that thousands of “collectors” do this process each day. They have started doing things like putting 2 cards in a pack and one of the cards is a game-used card. This is to give the pack about the same thickness of a regular pack. Additionally, companies have started using thick decoys to lure people into thinking that there is some really nice card wrapped up in there, when all that is hiding is some shiny new base."

Thanks for explaining to everyone how to spot hot packs and warning people of decoys.  If you think a few decoys and putting less cards in hot packs to make them the same thickness as a regular pack will fool pack searchers, you're wrong.  Pack searchers aren't that dumb.  In fact, I would even go as far to say that your average pack searcher is probably more intelligent than your average non-pack searcher.  Why do I say this?  Because pack searching actually takes some skill and intelligence.  You have to use your brain.  On the other hand, just going to a store and randomly buying some packs without pack searching it takes absolutely no skill or intelligence at all.  Once again, I would know this because I used to be one of those people who would go into stores and just mindlessly buy some packs.  And then I decided to give pack searching a try.  That's when I learned how much thought, skill, and effort it took to be successful.  And if you're willing to put in the thought and effort, you can out-smart a lot of the card companies' anti-pack searcher measures.

"I also found out first-hand another way that companies may have come up with to fool people. A while ago, I bought 2 packs of Allen & Ginter, and if I recall correctly, I think they are supposed to have 8 cards per pack. I chose these particular packs because they were way thicker than the rest, and I was feeling like a master pack searcher. When I opened both, they had the same exact result. Each pack had 11 base cards and 1 mini. I received 4 extra cards that made the pack feel so thick. If you are one of those people that is serious about pack searching at stores, beware; The card companies are actually smarter than you think!"

Wow.  The Author once again admitted that he pack searches!  Yet there is nothing wrong with him, right?  He's different from all the rest of the pack searchers, right?  No, he's not.

As for card companies putting extra base cards into packs, yeah, it happens.  A pack searcher might get fooled by that trick a few times, but after a while they'll learn, and they'll no longer fall for it again.  The card companies may be smarter than you think, but so are pack searchers. 

"The other way that pack searchers have been spreading is through eBay. Some prefer to share their so called secrets for a price, while others just sell the packs they claim to be a guaranteed GU/Auto. I have had a little experience with buying hot packs on eBay, but there was little success. Most packs gave me no game-used or autograph like promised, while other gave me a plain game-used of a player that nobody could recognize. This allowed me to see that hot packs aren’t real, and if you do pull one of the promised game-used or autos, it will most likely be a GU, as they are more common and are worth less."

Yeah, some people are willing to sell their knowledge for a price.  So what?  Good for them for trying to make a buck.  If you buy a supposed "hot pack" off of eBay and it wasn't a hot pack, then you got scammed.  Go file a complaint against the seller on eBay.  I, personally, have bought a "hot pack" off of eBay and it was an actual hot pack.   I got a game-used relic card!  I think your success of buying hot packs on eBay comes down to two things: (1) the skill of the seller to locate hot packs; and (2) whether the seller is an honest person or not.  Some sellers may have just made an honest mistake and bought a pack they thought was a hot pack but it wasn't.  It even happens to me sometimes still.  Other times, I wouldn't be surprised if some sellers just sell packs that they claim to be hot when they're really not.  Those people are scammers.

"The main problem is that there is no way to be 100% sure that these packs are legit. Listed below are 2 possible issues:
 1. Some people are amazing at opening and resealing packs like original, and would do it if the GU/Auto was of a player worth little value.
 2. A decoy or a bunch of little contest papers could be making up that extra thickness."

I would agree with this.  Buying supposed hot packs off of eBay is a huge gamble.  I wouldn't advise doing it.  In fact, if you're going to buy hot packs off of eBay, I'd just advise you to learn how to pack search yourself so you can save yourself some money.  Would you rather buy a hot pack for $10 on eBay or for $3 from the store?  I think most people whose main interest is to save money would choose to buy a hot pack for $3 from a store.  If that's the your same sentiment, then just go pack search yourself instead of buying hot packs off of eBay.  

I would also just like to point out who ironic it is that the Author of this article slams pack searchers, but yet also admits that he buys hot packs off of eBay.  So he hates pack searchers, but he's willing to buy from them.  That's some irony there.  You would think that if the Author hated pack searching that he wouldn't buy hot packs off of eBay since buying hot packs off of eBay is supporting pack searchers.  Right?  Right.

In brief, do not be fooled and believe all of the hot pack and pack searching hype as this almost always yields nothing of value. There are people out in the world that are smart and crafty, and know how to manipulate somebody into spending their money on worthless packs. Just remember, when in doubt, go with your gut. If your gut says that the pack(s) you are holding has value; then buy it. Don’t just go off thickness. Your money just goes right down that thick hole to the smart people who got you to buy into the thick pack hype.

False false false.  Pack searching does yield something of value.  In fact, in the past 4 months since I've started trying to pack search, I've gotten more hits than I've hit in the past year.  I've gone from hitting a handful of cool cards per year, to probably over 40 hits in the past few months.

And yes, there are "smart and crafty" people out in the world.  Those people will pack search.  Some of those people may sell you worthless packs too.  But not every pack searcher is a scammer or even a bad person.  Pack searchers can be, and are, normal hobby collectors like those who only buy hobby boxes.  We're regular human beings too.  We just choose to spend our money a little more carefully by buying packs of cards which we believe to have a higher probability of containing a hit.  Whether other people choose to be as careful as us is their own prerogative.  But if you choose not to be as careful as us, don't blame us for your bad luck.  You have the power to pack search too.  Nobody is stopping you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What is Pack Searching?

I think it's just hilarious to read all the stuff on the internet from people who hate pack searchers, and claim to not pack search, but unknowingly admit to pack searching.

Their usually shtick goes something like this:

"I don't pack search.  I just buy the thicker packs." 


"Sometimes I'll just feel up the pack for a second or two but I don't stand there for hours feeling up packs."


"I'll just rub the packs a little bit but not a lot."

I hate to break it to all those people who do that stuff, but you pack search whether you'd like to admit it or not.

In an effort to help set the record straight on what exactly is pack searching I've put together this simple questionaire below.  These are simple yes or no questions.

Are You A Pack Searcher?

Do you prefer to buy or only buy only thicker packs of cards?

Do you flex, squeeze, rub, or feel up packs of cards, for even as little as a fraction of one second?

Do you use any special tools or instruments to somehow measure packs of cards before you buy them?  

That's it, folks.  Those are all the questions you need to ask yourself to determine if you're a pack searcher or not.  If you answered "Yes" to any of those three questions above, then you're a pack searcher. 

In regards to buying only thicker packs of cards, if you do that, then you're a pack searcher.  Whether you measure a card's thickness with special calipers or just your naked eye, it doesn't matter.  It's still measuring and it's still pack searching.

In regards to the second question of feeling up packs, many people seem to think that if they only do it for a second or two and not a whole hour, then they're not a pack searcher.  Wrong.  It doesn't matter if you feel up packs for .14 seconds or 14 seconds.  If you do it at all, you're a pack searcher.

Finally, in regards to the third question of using special tools or instruments, that's an easy one.  If you use any sort of machine or tool to aide you in determining what is inside of a pack, then you're clearly pack searching.

Perhaps it might be more helpful to instead do a questionaire to determine if you're NOT a pack searcher.  In fact, I've made a questionaire below.

Are You a Pack Searcher?

Do you do anything other than just randomly grabbing a packs of cards when you go buy cards?  

Again, that's it folks.  That's the only question you need to ask yourself.  If you answered the above question "No" then congratulations!  You're not a pack searcher.  But if you answered the above question "Yes" then you're a pack searcher.

Seriously, doing ANYTHING other than just randomly grabbing a pack of cards is pretty much pack searching.  I've already gone over it before but I'll do it again.  Buying only thicker packs is pack searching.  Using tools to measure packs somehow is pack searching.  Feeling up packs in any way for any period of time is pack searching.

If you walk up to the card display and just randomly grab packs of cards, you're not pack searching.  If you always take the bottom left pack in a retail box, you're not pack searching.  If you always take the second from the top pack on the right side, you're not pack searching.  If you always buy the second rack pack from the front, you're not pack searching.  But as soon as you do something in any way to identify something about that pack of cards which might make it different than the rest of the packs, then you're pack searching.

Finally, I think it might also be helpful to do some questions to determine whether you're a legal pack searcher or a criminal pack searcher.  So here is the questionaire to help you determine if you're a legal pack searcher or a criminal pack searcher.

Are You a Legal Pack Searcher or Criminal Pack Searcher?

Do you outright rip open packs of cards before paying for them to see what's inside of them?

Do you carefully open up a little bit of the top or bottom of a pack before buying it to peek inside of it?

Do you make cuts in the wrappers with a knife to look inside the pack before buying it?

Do you take any cards out of the store without paying for them after you have opened up the pack?

Do you buy packs of cards or blaster boxes, open them up at home, take what cards you like, put shrink wrap back on the blaster box and return it?  

If you answered "Yes" to any of those questions, then you're a criminal.  You're committing theft and/or destroying store property.  For your actions, you could be arrested.  You give the rest of us legal pack searchers (who answered "no" to all of the above questions) a bad rap. 

I know a lot of people don't like pack searchers like me.  They consider me the scum of the Earth.  But if I'm the scum of the Earth, then criminal pack searchers are the scummiest of the scum.  I may pack search cards, but have never ever ripped open a pack before buying it to peek inside, outright stolen cards, or bought cards and then returned them after I've searched them.  There is a difference between what I do and what other people do.  That difference makes all the difference in the world, and it makes those people criminal pack searchers.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Topps Update Baseball: Joey Votto All-Star Stitches Gold Sparkle Relic

And boom!  Found another relic from 2012 Topps Update Series Baseball!

Joey Votto
2012 Topps Update Baseball
All-Star Stitches Gold Sparkle Parallel
Odds:  1:1,015

This time it was a gold sparkle Joey Votto All-Star Stitches relic!   The odds of hitting a relic in 2012 Topps Update are pretty slim to begin with at 1:103.  The odds of hitting a gold sparkle parallel are even more remote at 1:1,015!  Wow.  I really beat the odds on this one.

This was a pretty sweet find.  I just thought it was going to be a regular All-Star Stitches relic card.  It was a nice surprise to see that it was a gold sparkle parallel.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Topps Update Baseball: Andrew McCutchen All-Star Stitches Relic

Did a little 2012 Topps Update Baseball pack searching and found this:

Andrew McCutchen
2012 Topps Update Baseball
All-Star Stitches Relic
Odds:  1:103

... an Andrew McCuthen All-Star Stitches Relic.  Pretty sweet!

I love these All-Star Stitches.  I think they're more interesting to have than just a regular jersey relic from the player's team which was used during the regular baseball season.  Unfortunately, these All-Star Stitches aren't game-used and are just "workout" jerseys, but still... better than your regular run of the mill jersey relic.