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. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2012 Topps Chrome Football Blaster Box & Rack Pack & Loose Pack Break

So, I've been driving around like a madman for the past two days.  2012 Topps Chrome Football releases tomorrow (Friday, November 9, 2012) in hobby, but it's started to pop up in retail around me since Tuesday (November 6, 2012).

For some reason it hasn't shown up in the Targets around me.  I read online that supposedly Topps was telling Targets to NOT release the retail product until Friday, November 9th, which is when the hobby releases.  I guess Topps didn't want to piss off a bunch of their hobby buyers by making them wait to rip open their boxes while retail purchasers stole the early-market resale action.

But, lucky for me, the Walmarts around me had the product in stock.  So, like always, I searched it.

I knew beforehand that searching this product would be hard.  Lots of the autographs are on-card, meaning they're just about impossible to find.  Even the autographs which are on stickers are extremely hard to find still.  And then, of course, there is the whole fact that autographs are just rare to begin with.  Specifically, finding even a rookie base card autograph from retail rack packs is 1:262!!!  That is... insanely long odds.  With those odds, approximately one rack pack in 87 rack packs will have an autograph card.  Wow!  Talk about stingy!

While the autographs are hard to find, I knew that the tall boys and die cuts were going to be easy to find. 

Doug Martin, Joe Adams, Andrew Luck,
Doug Martin, Kendall Wright, David Wilson
2012 Topps Chrome Football
1965 Tall Boys
Odds:  1:12

Above are the 1965 tall boys which I found.  I was pretty lucky and found a lot of them.  I guess I beat a lot of people to the stores.  I pulled two Doug Martin, Joe Adams, Kendall Wright, Andrew Luck, and David Wilson.  The Andrew Luck is obviously the best one of the bunch, although the two Doug Martins aren't far behind.

I love these tall boys.  I love the retro throw-back design and look.  Even the pictures of the players look like they were taken back in the 1960s.  I'm dying to find more of them.  The tall boys are 1:12 odds.

The Red Zone Die-Cuts are a little rarer than the tall boys.  Those are 1:24 odds. 

Justin Blackmon, Isaiah Pead,
Chris Givens, Dwayne Allen.

2012 Topps Chrome Football
Red Zone Die-Cut Rookie Insert
Odds:  1:24

I really like these cards too.  Unfortunately, the scans don't do the cards justice.  The colors pop and the card is much more vibrant in person.  These cards are 1:24 odds.  I was pretty lucky to just even hit four of them.  I pulled Justin Blackmon, Isaiah Pead, Chris Givens, and Dwayne Allen. 

I only ended up getting one blaster box.  The blaster box was purchased from a Walmart.  The blaster boxes contain seven packs of cards, and one exclusive rookie relic card.  I didn't know it at the time but apparently Target blaster boxes have eight packs of cards and no relic, while the Walmart blaster boxes have seven packs of cards and the guaranteed rookie relic.  Had I known this earlier I probably would have just waited until a Target had some blaster boxes and bought one from them instead because I think these exclusive rookie relics are pretty worthless. 

Nick Toon.
2012 Topps Chrome Football.
Exclusive Rookie Relic
Odds: 1 per Walmart Blaster Box

 I ended up pulling a Nick Toon rookie relic.  It's a nice looking card.  Again, the scan doesn't do it justice.  The chrome shines very nicely when it's in the light.  The card is pretty thick too.  But I just don't think these cards are going to be really worth that much since the market will be saturated with them once everyone starts buying blaster boxes.  The jersey isn't even game-worn.  It's just "player worn."  I wish I had just sold that pack on Ebay instead of opening it.  I can't imagine this card being worth much more than $5.00.  I probably could have sold it on Ebay for more. 

Jarius Wright & Lamar Miller.
2012 Topps Chrome Football
1984 Rookie Inserts
Odds:  1:6

I did land a few nice 1984 Topps Rookie Inserts.  I pulled a Jarius Wright and a Lamar Miller.  Again, I love the old school design of the cards fused with modern technology.  These are some nice looking cards.  I wouldn't mind completing a set of these rookie inserts.  Strangely enough, despite how many packs of cards I bought, I only pulled two of these.  Don't know why.  Bad luck, I guess.

Stephen Hill.
2012 Topps Chrome Football
1957 Topps Rookie Insert
Odds:  1:12

While I had bad luck pulling 1984 Topps Rookie Inserts, I had even worse luck pulling 1957 Topps Rookie Inserts.  My only pull was a Stephen Hill.  These card designs are super basic but I have say that I love them.  I think I like them even more than the 1984 Topps Rookie Insert cards.  My only question though is why Stephen Hill is listed as an "end" when he's a wide receiver.  Were wide receivers called "ends" way back in the 1950s?  I'm too young to know, I guess.

Finally, let's get to the color. 

I had some pretty good "luck" pulling some color.  Colored refractors are a little tougher to find, but you can still find them.

Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger,
Jimmy Graham, Jared Allen.

2012 Topps Chrome Football
Pink & Black Refractor Parallels
Odds:  1:32 & 1:42

Here are the pink bordered Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) cards I pulled, along with the black bordered cards.  I got a pink Russell Wilson, a pink Jimmy Graham, a black Ben Roethlisberger, and a black Jared Allen.  Black bordered parallels are numbered to 299.  The BCA cards are numbered to 399.

Terrell Suggs, Robert Mathis,
Steve Smith, Ben Roethlisberger
2012 Topps Chrome Football
Purple & Camouflage Refractors
Odds:  1:15 & 1:26

I also got some purple refractors and some camouflage refractors.  I pulled a purple Terrell Suggs, a purple Steve Smith, a camouflage Robert Mathis, and a camouflage Ben Roethlisberger.  The purple and camouflage refractors are both numbered to 499.

I prefer the camouflage refractors over the purple ones.  I think the purple Terrell Suggs refractor looks pretty sweet though since purple is the Ravens' team color.  Similarly, I think the camouflage border for the Ben Roethlisberger card is pretty nice since it sort of matches the Steelers' colors too.

It's worth noting that although the purple and camouflage refactors are both numbered to 499, that the odds for the camouflage refractors are tougher than the purple refractors.  I don't know why this is.  Obviously, the same amount of purple refractors exist as do the camouflage refractors.  I guess Topps just decided to make the camouflage refractors rare in retail packs, which means perhaps camouflage refractors are easier to find in hobby.

Doug Martin.
2012 Topps Chrome Football
Rookie Card

You do get one rookie card in every pack.  I was actually finding two to three rookie cards in every pack.  I would even venture to guess that I have more rookie cards than I do veteran cards.  I'm not sure if Topps is purposely front-loading all these early retail packs with more rookies than veterans or what, but it just seemed like every pack I bought had two to three rookies in it.

The best base rookie card I pulled as a Doug Martin, seen above.

Russell Wilson
2012 Topps Chrome Football
Rookie Card

The next best rookie card I pulled was Russell Wilson.

Strangely enough, out of the 31 retail packs I ended up buying, I didn't hit a single Robert Griffin III or an Andrew Luck.  What the hell!?  I know, I know... bad karma for pack searching. 

Anyway, here is the breakdown of what I got from all the packs I bought:

      1 Walmart Blaster Box
      4 Rack Packs
+   12 Loose Retail Packs   
     31 Total Retail Packs

4   Red Zone Die-Cuts
8   Colored Parallels
2   1984 Rookie Inserts
6   1965 Tall Boy Rookie Inserts
1   1957 Rookie Insert                 
21  Total Inserts

So of the 31 packs I bought, I had 21 "hits" so to speak.

By "hits" I really mean inserts since there are no jersey hits in this product unless you're buying hobby.  Also, I'm not counting X-Fractor Inserts or regular refractor inserts as "hits" because those are so common.  Those fall every 1:3 packs.  Thus, I hit something 67.7% of the time (21 / 31 = .677).

I did pretty well.  Keep in mind, some of those packs which I missed on were from rack packs or the blaster box.  You can't search those so it is more likely that I'd hit a base pack (either a pack with all base or a pack with a regular refractor card) on those than on the loose retail packs which I did search. 

In fact, I went (100%) on my loose retail pack purchases.  I hit something in every pack I bought.  I did buy one X-Fractor pack, knowing it was an X-Fractor pack, just to see what an X-Fractor would look like.

Here's the breakdown of the blaster box which I purchased.  Keep in mind there are seven packs of cards within a blaster box (the eighth pack being that exclusive rookie relic card):

1   Tall Boy
2   X-Fractor
1   Red Zone Die-Cut
1   Regular Refractor
1   BCA Refractor      
6   Total Inserts  (3 "hits")

Actually, one pack had both the regular refractor and the BCA refractor.  So there were three "hits" in this blaster box (remember, I'm not counting regular refractors or X-Fractors).  That's three "hits" out of seven packs or 42.9% hit rate.  Not too bad.  I'm sure they'll be some variation in blaster boxes though.  You might get lucky in some and hit a few more non-Refractor/non-X-Fractor inserts, and on other blaster boxes you could hit less.

Anyway, this is a really really REALLY sweet set of cards.  I didn't think I would like it as much as I do.  Funny thing is, I've spent almost $100.00 on retail packs of this stuff.  And despite liking the set so much, I was telling myself just a few hours ago that I was done buying 2012 Topps Chrome Football.  But then I sat down to sort out the cards and look at them some more, and they started to seduce me again.  Now I'm really really itching to go out and buy some more.

I want to buy a Target blaster box since there is a chance you can pull an autograph jersey card -- so I've heard.  Also, I'm not one to usually buy rack packs since you can't search them, but I freakin' love the orange refractor cards.

I want more of these cards.  No, wait.... I need more of these cards. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sports Card Addiction

It's only been a week and a half since I last bought some cards but I'm already jonesing for more.  It's an addiction.  It really is.  There is something about going out, buying packs of cards, and ripping them open which just... hooks me.

I think it's so addicting because it's just a never-ending chase.  You're always hoping you get that mojo hit, super short print, or 1 of 1.  I see it as being analogous to playing the lottery.  You're always hoping to strike it rich.  But instead of spending my money on lottery tickets, I spend it on sports cards.

All I can think about is cards.  When I have nothing else better to do, I try to find excuses for going to Target or Walmart.  Am I short on laundry detergent?  Am I out of toothpaste?  Do I need some batteries?  Those are the kinds of questions running through my mind as I try to find legitimate reasons to justify a trip out to a retailer.

I have problems.

The Boater
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter
Guys in Hats
Odds:  Case Hit

I try to justify my card purchases by saying it's just $10 or $20 every week.  But that adds up to $80+ a month.  Not a lot of money for some people, but there are a lot of other more important things I could be spending that money on than cardboard.  And when was the last time you went out to buy cards on a set spending limit and you actually stayed under your limit?  For me, that's just about never.  I guess I have no self control either.

I have problems.

I'm trying to see how long I can go without buying some cards, but I don't think I can hold out much longer.  It's helped that I've been super super busy lately but when you suffer from an addiction this strong, you'll eventually make time to appease the addiction.  I really want to go buy some 2012 Panini Gridiron Gear.  It came out last week and I haven't been to a single store to buy any of it.  I feel like I've missed out.  Surely, I have.  Other pack searchers have probably already hit all the hot packs.  Nevertheless, I'll still probably succumb to buying some rack packs or a blaster box just to have some packs to rip open.

I have problems.  I have an addiction.  I collect sports cards.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pack Searching is Not Illegal

I was searching at a Target recently.  I hadn't even been there more than five minutes when security rolls up on me.

"Hi."  The security guy is looking at me and at the packs of cards in my hand.

"Hi."  I say back to him and go back to my searching.

He walks up to me, then to the other side of me.  He's looking at what I'm doing.  "Are you searching packs?"

I play dumb, like usual.  "Yeah, I am.  Is that okay?  Can I not do that?  Is it illegal?"  I know it's not illegal to pack search but I just throw it out there to see what he'll say.

He chuckles.  "No, it's not illegal.  You can search the cards if you want to.  We just had a complaint that you were searching the packs so I wanted to come over here to see what was going on."

I almost started busting up.  A complaint about me pack searching?  Look, I know a lot of people don't like the fact that people pack search but I've never had somebody tattle on me and call security.  I've had security just come up to me themselves and ask me what I was doing, but never in the four months that I've been searching had someone try to get me in trouble or kicked out for searching.

Carl Yastrzemski
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter
Black Bordered Mini
Odds:  1:10

The security guard continued, "I just wanted to see if you looked suspicious.  You don't look suspicious."  Haha.  Aww, thanks security guy.

"So I'm not in trouble?"  I know I'm not in trouble but now I just wanted to see what he would say.

"Nah, you're fine.  I search too."  Hahaha.  Wow.  I've heard stories that often some of the people who work at the stores themselves are the pack searchers but I've never met them myself.  And here was one.  I sort of wanted to talk to the guy some more.  I felt some camaraderie towards him.  We're one of the same.  I wanted to ask him about his techniques.  But at the same time I like my privacy and I'm not really out to make friends when I pack search.  So we sort of let the conversation end there.  Ultimately though, he just left me alone with his tacit approval of what I was doing.  He didn't care.  Hell, like he said, he even does it too.

Now I was wondering who ratted me out.  Just prior the security guy rolling up on me, some other person did walk into the card aisle.  They seemed to be looking at Magic and Pokeman cards or whatever the hell other cards they have next to the sports cards so I didn't think much of it.  But perhaps they were a sports card collector and I spooked them or something.  I don't know.  Maybe they weren't a sports card collector and just thought I really did look really really suspicious.  Who knows.

I suppose that person was celebrating a little bit when security came up to me.  They probably thought they got me in trouble.  Nope, they didn't.  Although, if it makes that person feel any better, the pack that I did buy didn't contain a hit!  I whiffed and bought a dud.  Hey, it happens.  I'm not perfect.  I guess I'm the only one who will get a chuckle out of that.  The person who ratted me out is probably all pissed at me because they think I got a hit, when I really didn't.  Oh well.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pack Searching 2012 Topps Platinum Football: Joe Adams Autograph

I really wish the stores around me sold more 2012 Topps Platinum Football.  It's a really nice set that has grown on me.  Unfortunately, because so few stores around me carry the product, I don't really have many opportunities to buy it. 

Joe Adams
2012 Topps Platinum Football
Rookie Autograph
Odds:  1:11
Here's the only hit I've pulled from this product.  I got it at a Walmart.  It was a rookie autograph (refractor) redemption for Joe Adams.  Not bad.  Not great either though.

It's worth noting that the supposed odds for rookie autograph refractors are listed as 1:11 on the back of rack packs.  That means one out of twelve rack packs will have a rookie autograph in it.  Or, in other words, one 1 out of 36 packs of cards from rack packs will have an autograph in it.  Now, compare this to a retail box of cards.  A retail box advertises one autograph or patch card per (retail) box.  So your odds of hitting an autograph seem slightly better from a regular retail box than rack packs.  That is, of course, on the assumption that a pack searcher hasn't already pulled the autograph from the box already.

Anyway, my only real "hit" from 2012 Topps Platinum Football is this Joe Adams autograph redemption.