Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter: Vernon Wells Framed Mini Relic

I never get tired of 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter.  Here's a Vernon Wells framed mini relic. 

Vernon Wells
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter
Framed Mini Relic
Odds:  1:28

I pulled this one from some more retail packs.  I'm getting pretty good at finding the relics in 2012 Allen & Ginter.  I still haven't pulled an autographed mini from the set though.  That's probably the #1 item I'd like to pull right now -- not so much because those cards are so valuable but only because I can't believe I haven't pulled one by now.  Bad luck, I guess.  I think I've pulled at least eight relics from Allen & Ginter.  You'd think by now that one of those hits would have been an autographed mini.  Oh well.  It must be karma.  Bad karma for pack searching!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball: Gerrit Cole Autographed Jumbo Relic

Here's the third and final autograph that I've pulled from 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball. 

Gerrit Cole
2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball
Autograph Jumbo Relic
Odds:  1:688

I got this Gerrit Cole autographed jumbo relic redemption card at a Target from a retail box hot pack.  Oddly enough, it came from a retail box that only had about half of the packs left in it.  I guess all the other people who had bought some packs from the box were just unlucky and didn't quite pick the right pack.  As for any other pack searchers who searched the box, I guess they didn't think the hit might be a redemption card and instead were just looking for the autograph cards or autograph relic cards.  In fact, I almost didn't even find this card myself because I am so used to just looking for the autographs and autograph relic cards.  Redemption cards are usually harder to find.  In 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball, they can be extremely hard to find or really easy to find depending on the pack searching techniques.

So was it easy or hard for me to find?  It was easy.  But the funny thing is I didn't even know what I had until I had bought the pack and opened it up.  All I knew beforehand was that there was something strange about this pack.  Call it luck, I guess.  I almost didn't even buy the pack because I didn't know what was in it.

Sometimes to be successful at pack searching you have to take risks and buy packs which you're not 100% sure to contain a hit.  I've done that.  And it's paid off.  Sometimes you'll hit hits you weren't expecting.  Other times you'll be wrong.  Just like in baseball, you win some and you lose some. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Bowman Platinum: Michael Choice Autographed Jersey Relic

Here's another nice autograph pull from 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball. 

Michael Choice
2012 Bowman Platinum
Autographed Jumbo Relic
Odds:  1:688

I got this Michael Choice autographed jumbo relic from a rack pack at Target.  It's not a parallel and thus not numbered, but still a nice pull nonetheless considering the odds of an autographed jumbo relic are 1:688. 

Michael Choice
2012 Bowman Platinum
Autographed Jumbo Relic
Odds:  1:688

This is my second autograph that I've pulled from 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball.  This set has been a huge challenge to crack for me.  I haven't been very successful in pack searching it.  I've spent far more money on failed pack search attempts than successful pack search attempts.  However, because I like the set so much I don't mind.  I'm trying to put together a base set and I like the chrome cards so I'm still enjoying the purchases.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Bowman Platinum: Brandon Jacobs Autograph

I think you'll always remember your first autograph hit from pack searching.  I do.  This is my first autograph hit.

I was at a Target.  I had pack searched some 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball.  I had never pulled an autograph out of this set.  I had pack searched this set a ton but I've had little success finding the autograph cards.  I think they're fairly hard to find.  I mean, I can narrow down the retail box to about eight packs which I think might have the autograph card but I can't narrow it down further.  And buying eight retail packs (at $3 each) can get expensive -- especially to get one prospect autograph card which may not be worth a lot.  So often, I'll just pick a few packs of the ones which I think may contain an autograph and just try my luck.

The day I pulled my first autograph hit was just one of those days where I thought I would try my luck.  There was a retail box at this Target.  It had been heavily picked over.  I knew there probably wasn't a hit left in it any more.  But I always tell myself "you never know".  So I searched it and picked out a few packs which I thought contained autographs. 

Lo and behold, I was right for once.  One of the packs I bought did contain an autograph.

Brandon Jacobs
2012 Bowman Platinum
Autograph Prospect Refractor
Odds:  1:33
It was a Brandon Jacobs autograph!  Suhhhweeeettt!  I was totally shocked when I saw this card.  Honestly, I wasn't expecting to get an autograph.  Most of the time all I seem to hit with Bowman Platinum are the chrome cards.  So to see an autograph instead of a chrome card like I was expecting was a very very pleasant surprise!

Brandon Jacobs
2012 Bowman Platinum
Autograph Prospect Refractor
Odds:  1:33

Sweet card.  Nice looking autograph... even though it isn't much of an autograph so much as a scribble of his initials.  But still, I like the card.  It's hard to not like the card since it was my first autograph hit from pack searching.

It took me a couple of months, but the money is off my back.  Finally pulled an autograph card from retail! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Panini Rookies and Stars: Dwayne Allen Rookie Materials Signatures

Pulled a redemption for a Rookie Material Signatures of Dwayne Allen from 2012 Panini Rookies and Stars. 

Funny thing is, I almost missed this hit when I was pack searching. 

Dwayne Allen
2012 Panini Rookies and Stars
Rookie Material Signatures
Odds:  Not Listed.
I was searching at a Target when I spotted a brand new retail box of 2012 Panini Rookies and Stars Football.  There is one autograph or memorabilia card per retail box.  Knowing this, I knew there was a hit in this fresh box.  So I started searching it.  I searched it for ten minutes and I couldn't find the hit.  I was puzzled.  I knew there was one in the box but I just couldn't find it.  I went back and searched the box again.  That's when I realized that I couldn't find the hit because I was looking for an autograph card or a memorabilia card.  I wasn't looking for a redemption.  So I looked for a redemption and sure enough, there it was. 

Awesome hit!  I'm not sure what it will be numbered to, but I think these cards are numbered to 499.  Gotta remember to redeem this before February of 2014!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter: Mickey Mantle Bat Relic!

Here it is.  This is the best hit I've pulled so far from my amateur pack searching career. 

Mickey Mantle
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter
Bat Relic
Framed Mini Relic Odds:  1:28
Odds for this particular card:  SSP
The odds of pulling any sort of framed mini relic is 1:28.  But the odds of pulling a Mickey Mantle bat relic are much slimmer than the general 1:28 odds.  From what I can find on the internet, it seems as if the Mickey Mantle bat relic is one of the rarest relics in 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter.  In this discussion on, it sounds like this card is a super short print (SSP).  In August 2012 only eleven of these cards were listed on Ebay.  I'm not sure how many were listed between the present day and August 2012, but I'm guessing that there weren't many.  Perhaps a lot of people who pull this card don't sell it and thus it seems rarer than it really is.  But then again, I'm sure game-used Mickey Mantle bats are hard to come by and so Topps wouldn't make much more than a hundred of these cards if even that.

Becket lists this card's value as about $150 in mint condition. 

Am I going to sell it or keep it?  I'm keeping this one for sure.  It's definitely the best hit I've had from pack searching.  It was pulled at a Target.  Some Allen & Ginter product had been put out a few weeks ago and it had been left relatively untouched all that time.  In fact, I almost didn't even bother searching the cards because I figured other pack searchers probably got to them already and would have pulled all the hits.  But I figured it was worth checking out just in case.  Lo and behold, there was a hit. 

At first when I opened up the pack I only saw the back of the card.  I didn't read any of the text on the back of the card but I clearly saw that it wasn't an autographed mini and I was immediately disappointed.  I still haven't pulled a framed autographed mini from Allen & Ginter.  But then I flipped the card over and was totally surprised to see that it was a Mickey Mantle bat relic (checklist number AGR-MMA)!  Totally awesome!

Do I feel bad that I pulled this card from pack searching?  Not really.  Actually, not at all.  Like I said, the cards had been there for a few weeks.  I'm not sure why other pack searchers hadn't searched the product.  Or perhaps they did search it and they missed it.  I don't know.  Bottom line, I put in the time and effort to search, I got lucky and found something, and my efforts paid off.  One can't expect to reap the benefits from that which you haven't sowed.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pack Searching: 2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball

So 2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball came out a few days ago.  I wasn't planning on buying any.  I'm not a prospector.  I'm not a huge huge baseball fan.  But I can't resist the challenge of trying to pack search a new set.  So, of course, I found some excuse to go out and hit up a local Walmart to buy some packs. 

For the most part, I would say that this set is pretty hard to pack search.  Most of the good cards -- the hits -- are on-card autographs.  Those are just about impossible to find.  At least, I think so. 

The odds of finding those hits in retail packs are pretty long too.  For example, even just a basic prospect autograph card is 1:93 odds.  Since there are 24 packs of cards in a retail box, then that means there is about only one autographed prospect card in every 3.92 retail boxes ((1+93) / 24 = 3.92)

Ouch.  Those odds suck. 

The odds of getting a refractor -- of any color -- are pretty long too.

1:4 Odds -- Refractor
1:73 Odds -- Blue Refractor
1:90 Odds -- Purple Refractor
1:350 Odds -- Gold Refractor
1:700 Odds -- Orange Refractor
1:3,475 Odds -- Red Refractor

Wow.  Those odds are horrible. 

Even a prospect variation card is 1:3,990 odds!!!  Good god. 

So basically, if you're going to buy some retail packs of this... don't expect to get much else other than base cards and perhaps a handful of refractors.  (Can you blame people for pack searching when faced with these horrible odds?!?!)

Yeah, I pack searched the box.  There's nothing to really find but die-cuts. 

Dustin Pedroia
2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball
Legends in the Making Die-Cut
Odds:  1:24

Dylan Bundy
2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball
Legends in the Making Die-Cut
Odds:  1:24
The die-cuts are pretty nice.  Unfortunately, I've noticed that the bottom corners of the die-cuts seem to get damaged pretty easily.  At least on the cards which I pulled they appeared slightly damaged.  Oh, and don't expect to get an autographed die-cut since those are 1:12,475 odds. 

Despite hating the absolutely horrible odds in this set, I have to admit, I really do like the cards though.  I think the chrome finish is, as usual, a nice touch.  I love the glossy front of the cards.  Because the cards are printed on stiff card stock and have a thick plastic-like glossy finish, the edges and corners are nice and sharp meaning that these cards should grade well.

Derek Jeter
2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball
Base Card

The base cards look better in person than they do in the above scan.  They look so good that, in fact, I'm thinking about buying more of these packs just to make a complete base set. 

The refractors are pretty nice looking too.  Below is a Melky Cabrera refractor.  It's just a regular refractor.

Melky Cabrera
2012 Bowman Chrome Baseball
Refractor Base Card
These cards are really really nice.  I really do like them.  They look and feel like high quality cards.   But the odds for this set (at least in retail) suck.  And the value for these cards is horrible too.  I think the retail packs are selling for $3.18 each.   And remember, you only get THREE cards per pack.  That's $1.06 per card before tax.  That is expensive!  I want to complete a base set of these cards but imagine all the money I'd spend trying to do that when you only get three cards per pack.  Geez. 

Anyway, nice cards but horrible value.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pack Searching: MOJO Hit

Boom!  Went pack searching and got a good one.

I won't say what it is until I get around to scanning it and putting it up on the blog, but I'm pretty sure it is worthy of the phrase: "mojo."  (What does that mean in the context of card collecting, anyway?)

I wouldn't say the card is incredibly valuable.  It's definitely less than $500.  In fact, it's probably only worth a fraction of that price.  I'm not sure exactly how much it is worth.  The problem is that I can't get a good estimation of its value because it's so rare and so few of them have been sold.

People want this card.  I know that for sure.  This card is on a lot of people's wish list. People want the card because it's of a famous player.  And lucky for me, the card company which produced the card seemingly made this card a shorter printed card because it features a famous player.

Who could it be?  I'm not saying for now. Sorry, but you will just have to wait and see.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pack Searching: 2012/13 Panini Prestige Basketball

I'm not really a basketball fan.  I mean, I'll watch playoff games but otherwise I don't really follow the NBA.  I don't even really collect basketball cards either.  But I just can't turn down a fresh and completely untouched box of new 2012/13 Panini Prestige Basketball.  I have to search it. 

I wasn't expecting to find anything.  I didn't do my homework on this set like I do with most sets that I choose to search.  I didn't know the checklist.  I didn't know what I was really looking for.  I just knew -- because the box said so -- that there was one relic or autograph per (retail) box. 

And here sitting in front of me was a brand new retail box that had just been put out on the shelves.  All 24 packs were in the box.  All packs were neatly factory packaged.  Nobody had even touched them yet. 

So I searched it. 

Jordan Williams
2012/13 Panini Prestige Basketball
Prestigious Packs Autograph

And I got myself a cool autograph!  Sweet!  Okay, granted, I don't know who this guy is.  And upon going home and looking him up, I see that his card isn't worth much.  But whatever!  It's an autograph card.  I love autograph cards. 

It's not my first autograph card I've found via pack searching.  In fact, it's my fifth autograph card.  I just haven't posted up my first four autographs yet for everyone to see.

It wasn't that hard to find.  It just took a little time, effort, and critical thinking. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pack Searching: 2012 Topps Prime Football

In my last post I mentioned how I hadn't been out pack searching in a long time.  Part of that reason was because I've been so busy lately, but another reason was because I had been out searching so much in my area that I had pretty much picked it dry.  Seriously.  I see the same packs and displays out there time after time.  No new cards had been put out.  I had been through those cards multiple times and I know other pack searchers have been through them too. 

So, since it had been about a month since I had gone out searching there were a lot of new sets which came out in the mean time, and new cards had been put out.  One of those sets was 2012 Topps Prime. 

Frankly, I wasn't that impressed with 2012 Topps Prime from what I had seen on the internet.  I wasn't planning on buying any of the cards for my own (non-pack searching) personal collection.  But I can never turn down the chance to pack search retail cards when I get the chance.  So when I was out pack searching for that first time in a month and saw some fresh retail packs of 2012 Topps Prime Football, I couldn't help but see what was there. 

And oh was there something there!

Justin Blackmon; Demaryius Thomas;
A.J. Green; & Michael Crabtree
2012 Topps Prime Football
Quad Combo Relic
Odds:  1:810
Wow!  What a nice hit!  It was a wide receiver quad relic of Justin Blackmon, Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, and Michael Crabtree!  What a sweet card.  I must admit, while the Topps Prime base cards are very uninspiring, this quad relic card is very impressive!  It's an awesome looking card. 

It's worth noting that while the card states that it contains a Michael Crabtree relic, the picture is of 49ers runningback Frank Gore instead.  Whoops!  So this is an error card too!  It doesn't matter to me.  It's a fabulous card either way. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

2012 Topps Update Series Baseball: Matt Kemp All-Star Stitches

It's actually been about a whole month or so since I've pack searched.  I've just been really really busy lately.  But a few days ago I went out to a local Walmart and was pleasantly surprised to see a fresh new sports card display.  It was as if there was a new card rep who was taking more pride in not only making sure the card displays were fully stocked, but that they were neatly arranged.  Or perhaps this Walmart had hired someone new who took more effort and pride in making sure the card displays were neat instead of a mess.  Either way, it meant more cards for me, and more fun.

Matt Kemp
2012 Topps Update Series Baseball
All-Star Stitches Relic
Odds:  1:40
It didn't take long for me to find a relic card.  It was a nice Matt Kemp All-Star Stitches Relic from the MLB All-Star game.  Sweet.  I love the All-Star game pictures and relics.  I wouldn't mind finding more of these.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pack Searching Tips

It seems as if a lot of people are interested in pack searching -- especially learning how to pack search.  The most common way that people find this blog appears to be from google searches on how to pack search.

Well, I hate to break it to those people but I don't think you're going to find many tips on how to do it here.  I've spent a lot of time, effort, thinking, and money into learning how to pack search.  I'm not about to just hand over all that knowledge for free to other people who will undoubtedly just become more competition for me.  Nope, sorry. 

The good news is that there are plenty of ways for you to learn how to pack search on your own without my help.  There are websites dedicated to pack searching and teaching others how to pack search.  Those websites do cost money, but if you're really that determined to learn how to do it without doing all the trial and error yourself, then those websites would be the place to go.

On the other hand, if you're broke or cheap, you can find plenty of information on the internet for free.  Just search around the internet and you'll find tips, hints, and clues on how to pack search.  I myself learned how to pack search on my own, just by searching around the internet for tips and hints.  I haven't paid a single penny to anyone else for information.  All it takes is some dedication, time, effort, and money to buy the packs (to test theories, methods, etc.).

Robert Griffin III
2012 Topps Prime
Rookie Card
Yup, you read that right: time, effort, and money.  Unfortunately, I think those three factors -- which are key to being good at pack searching -- is what will also deter most people from pack searching. You just have to ask yourself: do you want to learn how to pack search?  And if the answer is "yes", then you also have to ask yourself: do you want to be good at it?  If the answer again is "yes" then you have to put in the time, effort, and money.

Look, I just didn't wake up one day and decide "hey, I'm going to start pack searching" and all of a sudden became good at it over night.  Nope.  I woke up one morning and told myself "hey, I'm going to start pack searching" and then spent hundreds of dollars on retail packs over the next few months to gather information, to test my pack searching theories, and to refine various search methods.

Pack searching involves a lot of trial and error.  It's a constant never-ending information gathering endeavor.  I'm always looking at cards, thinking about the cards, thinking of ways to identify them within the pack, and buying packs to test out my theories.

When I first started out pack searching it was extremely exciting (because I was getting some hits), but also very frustrating and expensive too (because I was also buying a lot of dud packs).  You can't get discouraged.  I think too many people probably get discouraged.  They probably buy four or five packs, hit some decoys, and call it quits.  Like I said earlier, it takes effort.  Good things don't come easy.

As of the date that I write this blog post (not the date it was published), it has been about two months since I started pack searching.  And I have to admit, while I have spent quite a bit of money learning how to do it (probably close to at least $500.00 on various retail packs, rack packs, and blaster boxes), I think I've gotten quite good at it.  And I've done it all just by doing some searches on the internet, some critical thinking, and a lot of trial and error.

Now that I've just admitted that I've spent well over $500.00 on cards to learn how to pack search, it probably makes a lot more financial sense to just pay a one month subscription fee to one of those pack searching websites which will teach you how to pack search, but that isn't quite as fun.  I've had a lot of fun learning how to pack search.  I think I've learned a lot of techniques on my own that you would probably learn on paid websites.  I think I've even devised one search method which hasn't been thought up by others -- at least I haven't seen anyone else talking about this method anywhere on the internet.  Once again, I'm not divulging it here.

So, there will be no pack searching tips in this blog post.  You will only find pack searching stories, thoughts, pictures of hits, and my encouragement to others to give pack searching a try.  It can be done.  It isn't always easy.  Bottom line, it takes time, effort and money. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pack Searching Queries Which Led People to This Blog

It's always fun to see how people find this blog.  Not surprisingly, most people find this blog because they want to learn how to pack search.  Here are some of the search queries which have led people to this blog... along with a few of my answers.

Search Terms:  pack searching 2012 platinum football
My Answer:  Yes, you can pack search 2012 Topps Platinum Football.  I'm not very good at it.  No, I'm not going to share techniques here.  Honestly, I'm not sure much can be really done to find the hot packs in this set either.  Most of the hits are on-card autographs.  Those are extremely hard to find.  Good luck finding those (no sarcasm).

Search Terms:  are the gold cards in Bowman 2012 worth anything
My Answer:  Fuck if I know.  Yes?  Aren't those sequentially numbered to 50?  Check out if you really want to know how much those cost.

Andrew Luck
2012 Topps Prime
Rookie Card
Search Terms:  how many decoy packs in 2012 prestige nfl
My Answer:  I don't know.

Search Terms:  allen and ginter 2012 hotpack feel
My Answer:  I can attest to the fact that a 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter hot pack feels very good in your hands.

Search Terms:  how to pack search bowman platinum
My Answer:  Oh, the holy grail.  Of all the sets that I've tried to pack search the most, it's probably 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball.  Yes, you can pack search it but it's hard.  Sometimes I hit good stuff.  Sometimes I whiff and buy base packs.  My honest suggestion would probably be to just stay away from pack searching this set unless you're really dedicated to pack searching, and you don't mind mistakenly buying packs which have just base cards and inserts in them.

Search Terms:  pack searching 2012
My Answer:  Check out "pack searching 2011" too!

Friday, October 5, 2012

2012 Topps Football: QB Milestone Card, Tom Brady

Boom!  Got another one.

Tom Brady
2012 Topps Football
Quarterback Milestones: Touchdowns (Bronze)
Odds:  1:3,950
Tom Brady
2012 Topps Football
Quarterback Milestones:  Touchdowns (Bronze)
Odds:  1:3,950
I love these cards.  I think they are a super cool addition to this year's set, and a great hit for collectors.  And despite having two of them now, I still want more.  Going to keep searching for a third one.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pack Searching: 2012 Score Football

One of my favorite card sets to search is actually one of the cheapest sets too.  I'm talking about 2012 Score Football.  For only $0.99 a pack, you get seven cards ($0.14 a card).  Within each pack is one rookie card, and one glossy card.

Although I tend to prefer higher-end sets because the value of the cards makes searching the sets more worthwhile, this low-end set is fun to search because you can literally preview each pack you buy.  The retail gravity boxes feature packs with the see-through cellophane.  So, if you're looking for a particular rookie card, just search the pack and see which rookie is in the pack?  Looking for an Andrew Luck rookie card?  Check the pack.  Looking for a Trent Richardson rookie card?  Again, just search the pack to see who is in there.

Dwayne Allen (Rookie Card, Short Print Variation)
2012 Score Football
But aside from the ability to preview each pack before you buy it, I do really like the photograph on the cards.  The card's photos all seem to be HDR photos (high dynamic range).  Thus, the pictures have high contrast, bright lighting, and a fairly weird artificial look to them.  I think they look pretty cool.

I also like the glossy cards.  I'm a sucker for gloss and the gloss on these cards gives them a superb.  If the set weren't so huge (400 base cards, and at least another 100 cards of inserts) I would probably even try making a complete glossy collection.

All in all, a fun and cheap set to search.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Messed Up Joe Mauer Card

Hah.  Here's an production error card that I got in a pack. 

Joe Mauer
2012 Bowman Platinum
Production Error Card
I did not do that myself.  It came straight from the pack in that condition.  It almost looks like someone, when the card was being printed, deliberately scratched out Joe Mauer's head. 

Just thought it was sort of interesting and worth sharing.