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.