Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2012 Topps Chrome Football Blaster Box #2

Continuing on my slow break of nine 2012 Topps Chrome Football Blaster Boxes, here is blaster box #2.

Spoiler alert: it was pretty crappy.

Here are the most notable cards:

From left to right: Vincent Jackson X-Fractor;  Ryan Broyles tall boy.

And, from left to right:  Lamar Miller 1957 RC;  Russell Wilson RC;  and Trent Richardson 1984 RC.

The Russell Wilson rookie card was by far the best card in the blaster box.  The Trent Richardson 1984 rookie card would have been a good card a year ago but now that Trent Richardson is sucking in Indianapolis I don't think it's that valuable of a card anymore.  Isn't it sort of crazy how Trent Richardson went from potential Pro Bowl caliber starter in Cleveland to 2nd string in Indianapolis?  I guess he was over-hyped to begin with. 

So the second blaster box was a bit of a letdown.  At least I got another Russell Wilson rookie card.  Heck, if I get a Russell Wilson rookie card in every blaster box I open I would actually be pretty happy with the results. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2012 Topps Chrome Football Blaster Box #1

Well, I decided to finally start opening those nine 2012 Topps Chrome Football blaster boxes I had stashed away.  I figured that if I were to die in a car crash tomorrow or something, It would kind of suck to not know what was in them. 

Here are the more notable cards:

Clockwise from top left:  Morris Claiborn RC;  Isiah Pead X-Fractor RC;  Warren Moon RC Reprint;  Marvin Jones Refractor RC;  Michael Floyd 1957 RC;  Nick Toon 1984 RC.

And the better hits, from left to right:  Russell Wilson X-Fractor RC; Alshon Jeffery RC;  Whitney Mercilus black refractor RC.

I guess the best two cards were the Russell Wilson X-Fractor and the Alson Jeffery base RC.  The Michael Floyd 1957 RC isn't bad either though since it looks like Michael Floyd is establishing himself as a quality WR this year.

Pretty good start to the nine blaster boxes!  I'll keep the blog updated with the rest of my blaster boxes as I open them.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Football Value Box: Platinum RPA Hot Pack

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Football Value Box: Big Bust (Part I)
Pack Searching 2013 Topps Football Value Box: Platinum Autograph Pack (Part II)

Talk about luck.  Not only had I hit a nice bronze bust of Roger Craig from a 2013 Topps Football Value Box, but I had also hit an autograph in the thin hobby pack of 2013 Topps Platinum Football.

Now all that remained to open was the thick hobby pack of Platinum Football.  I knew it was a rookie patch auto, the only question remaining was who was it going to be?

Montee Ball
2013 Topps Platinum Football
Auto Rookie Refractor Jumbo Patch #/250
Hobby Odds:  1:35

It was a nice Montee Ball patch autograph!  This kid has some potential.  He's averaging about 4.3 yards per rush so far through the NFL season.  Unfortunately, he's splitting carries with Knowshon Moreno in Denver so his overall rushing yards and opportunities to get rushing touchdowns are down, but he looks to have the talent to be a solid running back in the NFL.  This card is definitely going in the PC. 

Tavon Austin
2013 Topps Platinum Football
Base Rookie Card

And to finish off the pack was a rookie base card of Tavon Austin. 

Overall, not a bad break at all for a mere $20.  In fact, I definitely got more than my money's worth in cards from that value box.  Definitely one of my best retail breaks in a long time.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 Topps Strata Football Retail Odds

Here are the retail odds for 2013 Topps Strata Football:

Odds                         Card
1:2,400                      Die Cut Autograph
1:69                           Rookie Autograph
1:121                         Bronze Rookie Autograph
1:176                         Gold Rookie Autograph
1:198                         Sapphire Rookie Autograph
1:297                         Emerald Rookie Autograph
1:595                         Ruby Rookie Autograph
1:4,000                      Dual Rookie Autograph
1:156                         Clear Cut Autograph
1:1,890                      Bronze Clear Cut Autograph
1:8,000                      Patch

Converting these to probabilities we have...

Probability               Card
.00042                       Die Cut Autograph
.01449                       Rookie Autograph
.00826                       Bronze Rookie Autograph
.00568                       Gold Rookie Autograph
.00505                       Sapphire Rookie Autograph
.00337                       Emerald Rookie Autograph
.00168                       Ruby Rookie Autograph
.00025                       Dual Rookie Autograph
.00641                       Clear Cut Autograph
.00053                       Bronze Clear Cut Autograph
.00013                       Patch

Adding up the above probabilities we have a total of .04627.

Converting the above probability to a percentage, your chances of pulling an autograph from a single retail pack is 4.627%.

If you buy a blaster box of Strata, which contains 8 retail packs, then your chances of pulling an autograph is approximately 37%.

Those are actually pretty good odds!  Basically, there should be one autograph in every three blaster boxes of 2013 Topps Strata Football! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Football Value Box: Platinum Autograph Pack (Part II)

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Value Box: Big Bust (Part I)

I had just hit a sweet Roger Craig bronze bust from a 2013 Topps Football Value Box.  I wasn't expecting much else from the rest of the 2013 Topps Football packs, but was surprised when I opened one up and it had...

Alex Smith
2013 Topps Football
Pink (BCA) Parallel #/399
Odds:  1:40

A nice pink parallel of Alex Smith!  Not a bad hit right there.  Alex Smith is having a pretty good year with Kansas City.

Now, time to open up the 2013 Topps Platinum Football packs.  I knew that there are three total hits in a fresh hobby box of 2013 Topps Platinum Football which contains 20 packs.  So, your overall probability of hitting something within these two hobby packs which came inside the value box is:

(3/20) x (3/20)  =  .0225  or  2.25%

One of the two Platinum hobby packs was a thick one, and one was a thin one.  I had already looked at some box breaks of 2013 Platinum Football so I knew that there weren't any decoys in the packs so the thick pack was definitely a RPA.  The question was, did I have a hit in the thin pack?

Well, it could be an autograph or nothing at all.  I picked it up and gave it a good fingering for a minute.  I couldn't tell if there was a hit inside or not.  My guess was that there wasn't.  Oh well. 

Will Davis
2013 Topps Platinum Football
Rookie Autograph
Hobby Odds: 1:12

But when I ripped it open I was completely surprised to see one of the cards was turned backwards.  It was hit!  It was a Will Davis base autograph!  I've actually pulled one his autographs before from Platinum, but oh well.  Can't complain.  Can't complain at all.  Both of my 2013 Platinum hobby packs had hits! 

I turned my attention towards the final thick pack of 2013 Platinum -- the one I knew had the RPA in it.  I wonder who it could be?

... To Be Continued ...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Football Value Box: Big Bust (Part I)

At the start of the holiday season, Topps started putting some 2013 Topps Value Boxes out on the shelves of retail stores.  Inside these boxes are six packs of 2013 Topps Football, two hobby packs of 2013 Topps Platinum Football, plus three exclusive chrome refractor cards.

I've been meaning to buy one of these boxes to see what they were like but I never got around to it.  Part of the reason was that I never found a box that seemed "hot" enough to buy, and second, the boxes were actually pretty hard to find.  Where I live, most of them were bought up pretty quick.  

If you ever check out the football box breaks section of the Blowout Cards forums, there was a huge trend of people posting ridiculous hits from their 2013 Topps Football Value Boxes.  Stuff like 1/1s, two Platinum autograph cards, and veteran autos from the 2013 Topps Football packs. 

So this last week, I was out at my local Walmart doing some Christmas shopping and some pack searching.  I went over to the card section to check things out over there.  There looked to be a new box of 2013 Panini Absolute Football rack packs out.  I gave it quick search and determined that there wasn't anything there worth buying.  Then I saw some 2013 Topps Football Value Boxes. 

I had seen the 2013 Topps Football Value Boxes at this Walmart before.  When I first saw them, there were only two of them.  In fact, I had searched them and decided not to buy any of them because they didn't seem "hot" enough.  I counted how many there were this time.  There were three.  Hmm...  Looks like this Walmart had been restocked with some cards. 

So I grabbed those three 2013 Topps Football Value Boxes and gave them a quick search. 

Like blond sticking out in a crowd of brunettes, one box stood out from the rest.  It was "hot".  Oh boy was it hot.  Without a doubt it had a 2013 Topps Football medal, bust, or coin card. 

I had finally found a 2013 Topps Football Value Box that was hot enough to buy.

Without hesitation, I took it over to the cashier to buy it.  When I got home, I ripped it open to check out the goods. 

First thing I noticed were the three exclusive chrome rookie cards -- which weren't in any sort of cellophane wrapper.  They were just sitting in the box between some of the packs. These cards actually look really nice in person.  The scans do the cards justice, but they look even better in person than they show up on the scans. 

Cordarrelle Patterson
2013 Topps Value Box
Rookie Card

I got a nice Cordarrelle Patterson exclusive chrome rookie card.

Montee Ball
2013 Topps Value Box
Rookie Card

And a nice Montee Ball exclusive chrome rookie card.

Geno Smith
2013 Topps Value Box
Rookie Card

And then a Geno Smith exclusive chrome rookie card.  Notice how I omitted the word "nice" this time?  Yeah, Geno Smith's rookie season has been one I'm sure he wish he could forget. 

I quickly checked the rest of the packs.  Of the six 2013 Topps Football packs, I clearly had a hot pack.  Yup.  It was large, thick, and stiff.  Definitely a hot pack.  The question merely was whether it was a coin, bust, or medal?  And whether it was bronze, silver, or gold. 

I then checked the two 2013 Topps Platinum Football hobby packs.  One was visibly thicker than the other.  Hot pack?  Probably.  I jumped on YouTube real fast to watch a hobby box break of 2013 Topps Platinum Football to get more info on how the packs were packed with cards.  After watching one video I confirmed my suspicions.  Yup, I had a rookie patch autograph!  Sweet! 

What luck!  This 2013 Topps Football Value Box not only had a coin/medal/bust card, but also a rookie patch autograph card from one of the 2013 Platinum hobby packs!  What more could I ask for???

I went straight for the 2013 Topps Football hot pack and ripped it open.

Roger Craig
2013 Topps Football
Gridiron Legends Busts Bronze #/75
Odds:  1:2,675

It was a freakin' sweet Roger Craig bronze bust card!  Daaammmmnnn.  These cards are pretty sweet.  I didn't care that it was a manufactured relic, these cards are cool. 

Roger Craig
2013 Topps Football
Gridiron Legends Busts Bronze #/75
Odds:  1:2,675

Wow!  The odds of pulling this card is 1:2,675 retail packs!!!  Holy moly chips and guacamole.  Those are some pretty long odds.  Damn, I guess I got lucky tonight.  Little did I know how lucky I was...

... To Be Continued ...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Shopping & In-Store Solicitors

Don't you hate it when you get people panhandling you for money while out shopping?  

I was out doing some Christmas shopping and pack searching at Target not too long ago.   I was doing my thing.  I had done some searching.  I was looking for 2013 Topps Strata.  I had found a retail box, but somebody had been through it before me.  There were only 23 packs in the box.  I gave it a quick search.  The autograph was gone.  I did find the two die-cut packs but I didn't even bother buying them.  There was a time when I would buy die-cuts because I thought they were cool, but I don't care about Strata that much.  I think the product kind of sucks except for the clear cut autos. 

Anyways, I was walking around the store looking around for random Christmas things I might buy some relatives.  I turned down an empty aisle.  Then, out of the blue, I hear someone behind me say "Merry Christmas!"  I wasn't sure if I was overhearing someone from another aisle or what.  Being that I was the only person in this aisle, certainly, whomever this person was they couldn't be talking to me, right?  But I turned around, and there was this woman behind me.  She was probably in her 20s or something. 

She greeted me and asked me if I would like to make a donation.  I was confused.  Donation for what?  Then she handed me a little laminated placard with more information on it like some deaf people carry around to show people.  She was taking donations for the Philippine Typoon disaster.  She didn't say much more.  She just waited for me to read the placard and say something.  Maybe she really was deaf.    

Mark Ellis
2013 Topps Series 2
Pink Parallel
Rack Pack Odds: 1:111

At first I was a little confused.  I know it is Target's policy to not allow people inside the store to solicit their customers.  So I thought she might be a Target employee.  But wait, that would certainly be a violation for a Target employee to be soliciting customers within the store while she was working.  So I figured she wasn't a Target employee.  She was just a regular person, who walked into the store, and was soliciting people while they shopped.  That really rubbed me the wrong way. 

When I go out shopping I don't really like to be bothered.  I just want to go out and do my business without someone always hitting me up for money.  It's not that I dislike poor people, or people in need, or that I don't like giving away my money or helping others.  In fact, despite the fact that I do get annoyed by people ambushing you as you walk out of stores to panhandle you for change, I'll often give them a dollar bill anyways.  One of my local Targets always has some homeless people hanging around out front who hit you up for money.  I would say 50% of the time when they're there, I actually end up giving them a dollar.  But this situation, I just didn't like how this young woman had taken it upon herself to go into a store to solicit people -- which I'm sure she knew Target didn't like -- while they shopped.  At least the homeless people have the respect to wait outside. 

I mean, isn't the whole solicitation-of-people-in-the-store situation a big, cleverly designed trap to get you to cave in and donate money so you don't look like a giant dick?  You're in a store to do some shopping.  Clearly you have enough money to give a buck or two to the Philippine Typhoon disaster relief fund since you're out doing shopping.  It's the holidays -- the time when we're all supposed to give rather than to receive.  And she greets me all nice, and is being all friendly.  I bet you over 75% of the people she solicits end up giving her donations. 

Well, not me. 

I was honestly, really put off by the situation.  I handed her back her card and said I was sorry, but that I wasn't going to make a donation today.  She literally gave me a little pouty frown face, said please, and pleaded for me to even make a small donation, stating that the people of the Philippines really needed it. 

I wasn't giving in.

I said I was sorry, and said no.  I think she actually was pretty surprised and pissed that I had turned her down.  I saw her glance down at my handcart to see what I had in there.  I knew what she was thinking, this bastard has the money to buy that stuff but he isn't going to give me $5?! 

Yeah.  I wasn't going to give her a dime. 

She put on a fake smile, gritted her teeth, thanked me, and wished me a happy holiday.  I could tell she was straining to make the effort to be nice to me after I had shut her down.

Did I feel like a dick after that incident?  Yeah.  Could I have given her five dollars?  Yeah.  Could I have given her a dollar?  Yeah. 

Did I really want to when she had decided to come inside Target to solicit people?  No.  I just didn't think it was right that she should do that.  During Christmas, when those Salvation Army bell ringer people ask you for donations, do they come into stores and hit you up while you're shopping?  No.  They wait outside, which I think is respectful of both the shoppers and the store.  I think this woman is no different, and she should have waited outside. 

Anyways.  I didn't actually get any cards on that trip.  I suppose if I was buying some cards for myself at the time I would have felt even more guilty about the situation. 

(Shown above is a nice pink parallel of Mark Ellis that I got from a rack pack of 2013 Topps Baseball a long time ago that I finally got around to scanning)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Is it Better to Buy Hobby or Retail Chrome?

In a previous post I discussed what was the probability of pulling an autograph card from 2013 Topps Chrome Football retail.  My calculations showed that there was a 1.25% chance of pulling an autograph from any retail pack of 2013 Topps Chrome Football.

But what about hobby?  What are your odds of pulling an autograph card from a hobby pack of 2013 Topps Chrome? 

Well, quite simply, your odds of pulling an autograph card from 2013 Topps Chrome Football is 1:24.  That's because there is one autograph card guaranteed per hobby box.  Converting 1:24 to probability, you have a 4.17% chance of pulling an autograph.

But wait!  You might be wondering why I went through all those complicated calculations in my previous post (converting odds to probabilities for all autograph types, and then adding those probabilities together) about retail odds but I'm not doing the same calculations here for hobby.  That's a good thought.  But there is technically no need to do those calculations for hobby for one very important reason.

Since hobby packs are only available from 24-pack hobby boxes, we all know that your given probability of pulling an autograph card from a fresh 24-pack hobby box is 4.17%.  Hobby packs aren't available (right now, at least) in any other form where there is some infinite supply to pick from.  So when you buy a hobby pack from a fresh box, your probability of pulling the autograph is 4.17%.  If you don't pull the autograph in your first pack, your probability of pulling the autograph in the next pack is 4.35% (1 / 23 = .0435).  If you pull the autograph in that second pack, then your probability of pulling another autograph is 0%.  (Assuming there are truly one, and only one autograph per hobby box.)

Retail is just the opposite.  When you go buy retail packs at your local retail store, there is pretty much an infinite supply of cards.  Okay, technically there isn't.  Each store only has so many cards out on display and there are only so many retail packs produced, but the point is that when you buy a retail pack of cards, whether you hit an autograph or not in that pack does not influence your subsequent odds of hitting an autograph (or not) in the next pack.  That's because retail is not like hobby, where there is one, and only one autograph per every 24 pack box.  That means, technically, when you go to Walmart to buy some rack packs, if there are 10 rack packs on display, there could be an autograph in every single rack pack!  Very improbably, but possible!

So the next question is this: is retail or hobby a better buy for getting autographs based on dollars spent?

For us to make this calculation, we have to consider how much each pack of card costs.  Retail packs sell for about $3.00 each.  Actually, I haven't seen any stores selling loose retail packs.  You can only get them in rack packs or blasters.  So, if we really want to be accurate about how much it costs per retail pack, we have to take into account the actual sale price of the rack pack itself or the blaster itself.

Target Blaster Boxes: $20 / 8 packs = $2.50/pack
Rack Packs:  $10 / 3 packs = $3.33/pack

Above, are my calculations.  (There aren't any autographs in Walmart blaster boxes so I have not included those.)  As you can see, you get a much better value by buying blaster boxes.

Let's compare this with hobby pack prices.  BlowoutCards is selling loose hobby packs of 2013 Topps Chrome Football (taken from unsearched hobby boxes) for a mere $3.29!  That is actually a really good price!  It's even cheaper than your average retail pack from a retail rack pack!

Now how do we figure out how much money you'd have to spend on retail packs, on average, to hit one autograph?  Just figure out how many hobby packs you'd have to buy, on average, to hit one autograph and then multiply that by the cost of the pack!

In my previous post, I already noted how your probability of pulling an autograph from a Target blaster box is 9%, meaning that there is one autograph, on average, in every 12 blaster boxes (11.11 rounded up).  I also noted how your probability of pulling an autograph from a rack pack is 3.75%, meaning that there is one autograph, on average, in every 27 rack packs (26.67 rounded up).

So let's just multiply the costs of each product by the amount you'd have to buy:

Target Blaster Boxes: 12 blaster boxes x $20 each = $240 per autograph
Rack Packs: 27 rack packs x $10 each = $270 per autograph

Wow!  That is a lot of money for one autograph from retail.

Comparing this to hobby...

Hobby Packs: 24 packs x $3.29 each =  $78.96 per autograph

In fact, for the $240 you'd have to spend on retail blaster boxes to get one autograph, you could buy about three hobby boxes of 2013 Topps Chrome, in which you are guaranteed one autograph each for a total of three autographs! 

So what does this all mean?

If you're trying to pull autographs from 2013 Topps Chrome Football (without pack searching), just buy hobby.  Your chances of hitting the autograph are better on a per-pack basis, and the amount of money you'll spend to hit each autograph is less than you would spend to do the same for retail. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Chrome Football: More Refractors

A few more "hits" from my attempts at pack searching 2013 Topps Chrome Football. 

Tavon Austin
2013 Topps Chrome Football
Pink Refractor #/399
Odds:  1:35
Hit a nice Tavon Austin pink refractor, and...

Ryan Tannehill
2013 Topps Chrome Football
Pink Refractor #/399
Odds:  1:35

I hit a nice Ryan Tannehill pink refractor. 

Both of these came from retail packs which were inside a rack pack.  I searched the rack packs before buying them and chose these because I knew there was a very good chance they had numerous refractors in them.  And they did -- although I'm just showing the colored refractors.

Once I get the retail packs out of the rack pack I can usually tell which pack has a refractor in it.  Sometimes, depending on the pack, I can figure out who the player is and what the serial number is.  Other times I can't tell.  Either way, I'm still opening all the refractor packs I find to see what I hit. 

Still no success finding autograph cards yet.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

(Sort of) Pack Searching 2013 Topps Chrome Football

2013 Topps Chrome Football finally hit retail stores around me.  Took long enough.  Geez.  I just so happened to be at my local Target getting some food when I noticed all the Chrome was out.  The entire card section was very neat.  All the rack packs were neatly hanging from the metal rods, and all the blaster boxes were neatly arranged.  The shelves must have just been restocked that day.

There was no retail box of cards to search.  Since there wasn't, I just grabbed the rack packs and started doing my thing.  A couple stood out to me.  I had already done my research and had a general idea of what to look for.  I decided to buy two rack packs.  One had a bunch of refractors in it, and the other had two of either a mini, die-cut, and tallboy.  

Autographs are pretty hard to find, in my opinion.  Very hard, actually.  And I don't think I'm the only one who thinks so.  A quick search of eBay for 2013 Topps Chrome Football hot packs shows practically zero results for retail autograph hot packs.  Instead, everyone is selling die-cut/mini/tallboy hot packs and numbered refractor autographs.  Obviously, die-cuts, minis, and tallboys are easy to find.  Numbered refractor autographs are harder to identify, but not impossible given the proper circumstances (being vauge here on purpose!). 

The truth is, by putting the retail packs in sealed rack packs (and blaster boxes), instead of having loose retail packs, it makes it much harder for us pack searchers to find the autographs.  Surely, they must know that it is always easier to search a single individual pack of cards for a hit rather than trying to search a whole sealed rack pack (or sealed blaster).   I actually think Topps' movement towards packaging more and more products in rack packs is a conscious effort to thwart pack searching.  I wouldn't be wholly surprised if some of their people even read this blog or the two pack searching websites to glean information on how pack searchers figure out what are in retail packs of cards.

Anyways, knowing that I really couldn't find autographs in rack packs I just decided to make my purchase and move on.  So, I took my two rack packs and food to the cash registers to pay for them.  I had my stuff in one of those hand carts.  I put it on the little conveyer belt.  When it got to the cashier dude, he literally picked up the hand cart, held it two feet above the conveyer belt, turned it upside down, and dumped out my stuff onto the conveyer belt without one bit of care.  I cringed while I saw the rack packs smack down onto the conveyer belt on their edges and corners.  I was actually pretty pissed.  I imagined the cards having huge dented corners because of this jackass cashier guy.  I wanted to smack him in the face for what he did.  And it wasn't just about the cards, I was also pissed because I had other stuff in the hand cart too which didn't need to get thrown around.  I'm not sure what this dude's deal was.  He was a clueless shithead.  Par for the course in this town working at this Target. 

Once I was in my car I opened up the goods.  Just like I had though, one had a die-cut and a tallboy.  In fact, they were both in the same pack.  I didn't think that would happen.  I thought minis, die-cuts, and tallboys would be in separate packs.

Justin Hunter
2013 Topps Chrome Football
Odds:  1:24
The die-cut was a Justin Hunter.  These die-cuts sure do come out nice on the scanner.  Wow! 

I used to be really into die-cuts.  So much, that I would buy every since die-cut pack I could find.  But now I'm a little more picky.  In fact, I probably won't chase all the die-cuts in Chrome this year.  Instead, I'm more interested in finding colored refractors (and autographs). 

And the mini was...

Quinton Patton
2013 Topps Chrome Football
Tall Boy
Odds:  1:24
A tall boy of Quinton Patton.  Eh.  For a guy who is trying to be all badass in the picture, he's not exactly being badass on the field.  He only has one catch so far for zero yards! 

And the other rack pack had a bunch of refractors.  In fact, one pack had two colored refractors.

Markus Wheaton
2013 Topps Chrome Football
Purple Refractor #/499
Odds:  1:15
They were a purple refractor of Markus Wheaton, and...

Cobi Hamilton
2013 Topps Chrome Football
Pink Refractor #/399
Odds:  1:35

a pink refractor of Cobi Hamilton. 

Soooo, nothing too crazy.  2013 Topps Chrome is pretty hard to search, I'll admit that.  If there were retail boxes with loose packs, things would be a lot easier but by putting three retail packs back-to-back in a rack pack makes things a LOT harder to search.  Oh well.  I sort of enjoy the challenge of it all and it's not going to stop me from buying Chrome. 

Anybody else hit anything crazy from Chrome retail?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2013 Topps Chrome Football Retail Odds

I always find it funny how people on Blowout Cards are always wondering if the odds of hitting autographs are better in rack packs or blasters.  Inevitably, after every product is released, someone has to post on the boards something along the lines of:

"Hey dudez, should I buy rack packs or blasters if I want to get an auto?"

The reason for this question is because there is this prevailing myth among collectors that despite the stated odds of rack packs being exactly the same as blaster boxes, many people believe their chances of hitting autographs is better in blasters over rack packs (or vice versa).

I am totally dumbfounded why there is this nonsensical belief among the card collecting community, especially when card companies make it extremely transparent to us collectors by stating the odds on the outside of the blasters and rack packs.  If you take a moment -- and it really only takes a moment -- to read the odds, you'll see that the odds of hitting an autograph in 2013 Topps Chrome Football are exactly the same in both rack packs and (Target) blaster boxes.  (Blaster boxes from Walmart guarantee a relic card and therefore none of the packs will contain an autograph card.)

Let me say that one more time: the odds of hitting an autograph in 2013 Topps Chrome Football are the same for both rack packs and (Target) blaster boxes!

Okay, now that I've made that quite clear, let's tackle the next question: what are the odds of hitting an autograph in retail?

Some people on Blowout Cards tried to tackle that question in this thread.  Unfortunately, they did not do a good job of it.  One guy said there is an autograph in one in every eight blasters.  That was incorrect.  Another guy said that the odds are actually one in every 19 blasters.  That too, is incorrect because he only calculated the odds for base rookie autographs.  Since everyone else was botching the math, I figured I might as well do it myself.  The funny thing is, I'm not even a math person but I'm fairly confident I did a much better job calculating it than everyone else.  So here it goes.

Here are the stated retail odds for 2013 Topps Chrome Football autographs.  The odds for rack packs are the same as blaster boxes.  These odds are the odds for each individual pack (as opposed to the odds for the entire blaster or rack pack).

Odds                 Card
1:4,567             1959 Mini Refractor Auto
1:4,567             1986 Refractor Auto
1:4,795             Legendary Club Red Refractor Auto
1:2,275             Tall Boy Auto
1:3,412             Veteran Auto
1:172                Rookie Base Auto
1:600                Rookie Refractor Auto
1:980                Rookie Camouflage Auto
1:1,285             Rookie Pink BCA Auto
1:3,900             Rookie Black Auto
1:6,450             Rookie Prism Auto
1:9,780             Rookie Gold Auto
1:15,950           Rookie Dual Autographs
1:177,511         Rookie Triple Autographs

Converting the above odds to probabilities we have...

Probability       Card
.00022              1959 Mini Refractor Auto
.00022              1986 Refractor Auto
.00021              Legendary Club Red Refractor Auto
.00044              Tall Boy Auto
.00029              Veteran Auto
.00581              Rookie Base Auto
.00167              Rookie Refractor Auto
.00102              Rookie Camouflage Auto
.00078              Rookie Pink BCA Auto
.00026              Rookie Black Auto
.00016              Rookie Prism Auto
.00010              Rookie Gold Auto
.00006              Rookie Dual Autographs
.00001              Rookie Triple Autographs

Adding up above probabilities we have a total of .0125

Converting the above probability to a percentage, your percentage chances per pack of pulling an autograph is 1.25%.

So how does this all relate to blasters and rack packs?

Well, there are three retail packs per rack pack.  Therefore, your percentage chance of pulling any sort of autograph from a rack pack is 3.75%.

And since there are eight retail packs per blaster box, then your percentage chance of pulling any sort of autograph from a blaster box is 9%.

Putting this all another way, there is about one autograph of some sort per 26.67 rack packs, and one autograph of some sort per 11.11 blaster boxes.  Therefore, on average, you would have to buy 27 rack packs (26.67 rounded up) or 12 blaster boxes (11.11 rounded up) to guarantee yourself some sort of autograph! 

(Addendum: Since writing this post, I see that somebody has recalculated the percentage chance of pulling an autograph and has arrived at the exact same numbers as me.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Platinum Football: There is a Soldier in All of Us

Call of Duty: Ghosts came out not too long ago.  The game looked pretty sick but I wasn't planning on getting it.  But then one of my buddies got the game.  He texted me and a bunch of our other friends, trying to get us to buy the game.  One by one, like dominoes, we all fell and got the game.  When I caved in and decided to get the game, I pondered where I should go to buy it.  I knew places like Game Stop and Best Buy had the game.  But I also noticed the last time I was at Target, that they were selling the game by the cash registers.  Might as well go to Target, right?  At least I could do a little pack searching while I was there.

So, within 20 minutes, I was at my local Target.  There were a bunch of 2013 Topps Platinum Football rack packs out for sale.  I think I had searched them before, but I decided to search them again.  I was jonesing for some cards.  I needed to rip something open. 

I grabbed all the rack packs off the shelves and started mugging them real good.  Searching rack packs for hits is pretty hard.  I'd rather not do it because it can be such a crap shoot sometimes, but I haven't had much of a choice lately because I've been getting beat to stores. 

After a couple of minutes I had located a rack pack which I suspected contained a hit.  I wasn't sure at all.  Like I said, finding hits in rack packs is hard.  I was about 60% sure it had a hit.  I hemmed and hawed the decision for a couple of minutes while I went to the electronics section to pick up Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Of course, in the end I decided to get the rack pack.

Joseph Fauria
2013 Topps Platinum Football
Autographed Rookie Card
Odds:  1:44

When I opened it up in my car, I breathed a sign of relief.  I had a hit!  It was a Joseph Fauria autograph rookie card!  Pretty nice looking signature on the card too!

Okay, not the biggest name guy to hit, but it was a hit.  I was happy that I didn't miss on this rack pack.  My card craving was appeased for a couple more days.  And, hopefully, with the distraction of a little Call of Duty: Ghosts, I could go a full week without buying more cards... just maybe.  Cards are addicting.

There is a Soldier in All of Us.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Panini Prizm Football: Courtney Upshaw Autograph

More loot from my little one-day road trip.  Hit up a second Target on the trip.  This one only had a double gravity of Prizm -- no retail boxes.  But to my completely surprise, this entire double gravity hadn't been searched at all.  Not one bit.  I found a crap ton of camo and green parallels and one autograph.

Courtney Upshaw
2013 Panini Prizm Football

It turned out to be a veteran autograph of Courtney Upshaw.  It was also one of those error cards, where regular autographs were printed on black foil instead of chrome foil.  What a mistake, right?  Panini printed almost 3/4ths of the autographs in 2013 Prizm on the wrong freaking colored foil.  How did they mess that one up?  I mean, I can understand messing up one, two, three, or maybe five players, but a whole 75+ players?  Geez.  Talk about a huge production oversight.  Anybody else pull any of these? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Previewing 2013 Topps Chrome Football

2013 Topps Chrome Football should be hitting retail any time now.  This product is one of my favorite products to collect.  The cards look nice and sell well.

The big question for most of us reading this blog is: can it be searched?

We'll never know until the product actually hits the stores, but if it's anything like last year's product then the answer is basically "yes".  Die-cuts should be easy to find.  Redemptions should be easy to find.  Sticker autographs will be a little harder to find, but not impossible.  On-card autographs should be pretty hard to find.  Numbered parallels can be found, but I think the process for finding those can be so time-consuming that I don't think it's worth it.

I bet most retail stores will get one retail box of 24 loose packs.  Those will be the first packs to get searched.  I doubt that the retail boxes will guarantee one autograph per box.  In fact, I'm almost sure they won't.

There will also be rack packs.  Those should be a lot tougher to search.  In fact, considering that finding autographs can be hard enough just holding one loose pack in your hand, I bet that most pack searchers probably won't even bother searching the rack packs.  They may just search the orange refractor pack in the rack packs to pull top rookies or veterans, but searching the retail packs within rack packs is hard and I bet most of us won't even bother.  I know I rarely do.

Anyways, I hope to find a few good things but I'm not getting my hopes up.  Competition will be tough.  Lots of non pack searchers will be out there too looking for the product.  You're going to have to beat not only them but the other pack searchers out the stores to get first dibs on this hot set. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pack Searching: 2013 Panini Prizm Football

Went on a little day trip.  I hit up a Target on the way.  To my surprise, I saw not only a double gravity box, but an actual Prizm retail box too!  I started searching the double gravity first.  It didn't look searched, but I soon noticed that all the packs had deep gouge marks in the plastic wrapper from another pack searcher's finger nails.  I immediately dropped all the packs from the loose gravity box.  I didn't even bother searching the rest of them.  Odds were that the other pack searcher probably pulled all the autos.  No need to waste my time searching through the leftovers.

Marcus Davis
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Autograph Rookie Card

But that retail box of Prizm looked fresh, like a Target employee had just put it out.  All the packs were still neatly arranged in the box, face up.  I removed them and inspected the packs.  No fingernail gouge marks.  Unsearched.  Lucky me.  I gave the box a search and found an autograph!  It was a Marcus Davis autographed rookie card.

I actually could tell who it was before opening up the pack.  I was probably better off selling the pack as a hot pack but I'm an autograph collector so I decided to keep it to add to my collection.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pack Searching: 2013 Panini Football Monster Box

Well, I decided to give one of those 2013 Panini Football Monster Boxes a shot.  I've been searching those ever since they hit the stores in hopes of finding one with a golden ticket for a box of 2012 National Treasures.  None of them stood out enough to buy.  But I eventually got tired of looking at them all without actually opening one so I caved and bought one for kicks. 

Panini Football
Monster Box

They come with five packs of 2013 Score, 2 hobby packs of 2013 Prizm Football, and 3 exclusive prizm cards.  Obviously, the real hit potential in these boxes comes from the hobby packs of Prizm, and to a lesser extent the 3 exclusive Prizm cards.

Randy White
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Decade Dominance Insert

The two Prizm hobby packs were pretty disappointing.  Only got a prizm of Randy White Decade Dominance. 

Dion Jordan & Quinton Patton
2013 Panini Prizm Football
HRX Rookie Cards

The HRX rookie cards look pretty nice.  I don't think the whole QR code thing on the back is that great of an idea though. Supposedly, Panini wanted to bring the excitement of pulling an HRX video card to everyone, and not just those few lucky people who hit HRX video cards in hobby boxes.  So if you scan the QR code on the back, you get to see some special video or something.  I haven't scanned the QR codes and I won't.  I'm not impressed by this gimmick.

Tyler Eifert
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Monster Box Exclusive Insert

And, the bonus Prizm pack just had a Tyler Eifert Building Blocks (blue), and some other unmentionable veteran Cornerstones Inserts.

Are these 2013 Panini Monster Boxes worth buying from a pack searching standpoint?  No.  The odds of knowing what you're getting is slim to none.  While there certainly might be some with Golden Tickets out there, I'm sure they're very rare and so despite your best searching efforts you may never come across one.

Are these 2013 Panini Monster Boxes worth buying purely from a collector's standpoint?  I would say "no" again.  I think the value of these boxes is not that great.  Five Score packs provide a $10 value (each pack is normally $2 each).  The two Prizm hobby packs provide about a $10 value ($5 each).  Thus, you're already at $20 Monster Box MSRP.  So the exclusive Prizm pack is a bonus on top of it all.  But are you really going to be happy with all those cards for $20?  Probably not.  Score, while a very nice low end football set, isn't going to provide you with much hit potential.  Maybe you hit a jersey relic or an autograph from Score but it's not going to be anything big.  The Prizm packs give you a chance at gold and black finite parallels and better autographs, but even still, odds are you'll probably hit one of the many junk autographs in Prizm I'm not sure those two Prizm hobby packs make the Monster Box worth the price.

Overall, I'd probably skip these Monster Boxes.  Save your $20 to buy something else, or buy a Topps Value Box instead. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's Okay to Pack Search Packs You Already Own

Saw a funny thread on the Blowout Cards forums.  It can be seen in its entirety here.  But basically, it goes something like this:

Dude buys a Topps Value Box, and writes:
Not much out of the regular Topps packs, gold bordered Bruce Irvin.

Noticed one Platinum pack was significantly thicker so I set it aside.
[Proceeds to post pictures of his two hits from the hobby Platinum Football packs.]

Other guy responds:
YEAH i always look for the fat pack myself and "set it aside" cant believe you actually said that let alone did it.......FAIL  

Other guy clearly seems to be insinuating that the Dude is a pack searcher because he set aside the fat pack. 

Dude replies:
FAIL on your part buddy. I have every right to pack search my own sealed boxes after I have purchased them and brought them home. 

Yup.  The Dude is right.  A person has every right to pack search their own packs after they have bought the box.  It's actually sort of amazing that some people think otherwise.

The next time I get myself a hobby box, I'm totally going to pack search it before I open any of the packs.  Why?  Just for fun.  I like the little challenge of trying to figure out which pack has what in it.  Then, I get to see if I was right when I open the packs. 

Anyways, I just wanted to share that funny little anecdote of anti-packsearcher fail.

Kenjon Barner
2013 Topps Platinum Football

Oh, one last interesting note.  One other guy in the thread claims to have opened 22 Topps Value Boxes and not received a single hit from all the hobby Platinum Football packs.  There are two Platinum Football hobby packs per value box. 

Unlucky Dude:
Like I said...I think I am up to 22 of these now from 7 different stores...not one auto yet! DUN-ZO on these thingys!!!

Wow!  That is some crazy bad luck!  In a hobby box of Platinum Football, there are 20 packs per box and three hits per box.  So, this poor guy has purchased 22 Value Boxes, opened up 44 Platinum Football hobby packs from those Value Boxes, and not gotten a single hit!!!  Crazy.

If I can do math properly, the chances of opening up 44 Platinum Football hobby packs and not getting a single hit are:

(17/20) ^ 44 = 0.00078
or about 0.078%

Put another way, if you opened up 44 Platinum Football hobby packs, you would have a 99.922% chance of getting at least one hit.  This guy was that poor 0.078% which didn't.  Ouch.  Just... ouch. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Panini Prizm Football: A Second Untouched Gravity Box

Pack Searching 2013 Panini Prizm Football: An Untouched Gravity Box (Part I)

I had just found an untouched double gravity box of 2013 Panini Prizm Football at a Target.  I searched it, pulled an autograph and a bunch of green and camo prizms from it.  I was on a mission for more and I had just completed the 15 minute drive across town to the other Target.  I rushed into the Target like it was Black Friday midnight opening.  My eyes were wild and probably bloodshot, like a drug addict who hadn't had a hit in a week.  I needed more. 

But when I arrived in the card aisle, there was no new Prizm out.  None at all.  This Target is usually slower to put out new products than its counterpart across town.  I shouldn't have got my hopes up.  I could feel my disappointment set in, and my high slowly wear off.  I was sooo looking forward to being the first person to the gravity box at this Target.  Damn.  I decided to check back in a few days.

The next few days were like torture.  I kept wondering if the Target had put out new gravity box, and whether another pack searcher had searched it all out.  I suppose I could have checked that Target every day.  After all, it wasn't that far away from where I lived.  But, I swear, there is nothing more disappointing than making a special trip to Target to pack search, getting all excited on the drive over there, to find that nothing new has been put out and going home empty handed.  So I just waited three days, and crossed my fingers that if the product had been put out that it wouldn't get searched.

I went back three days later, and the gravity box was out.  The packs in side the box were neatly stacked in two piles.  Damn.  It looked like someone had already been through them.  You never know until you check!

I grabbed all the packs and started to get my grope on.  Some of the packs definitely seemed like they had been searched, but most others weren't.  It was like someone had spent about one minute trying to search a few of them but then gave up.  Oh well, their loss is my gain.

In about five minutes I had located a hit.  When I find hits I actually try not to look to see who or what it is so that when I do open it up there is some surprise.  But as I was searching this pack I could see that it was a "Ryan".  I knew this could be good or bad.  It could be a Ryan Nassib autograph (good!), or it could be a Ryan Swope autograph (bad!).  Eh, I decided not to look and just buy it anyways.

I kept searching and found four other packs with prizm parallels in them.  I bought the five packs and went on my merry way.

Ryan Swope
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Rookie Autograph

First up was the autograph hot pack.  I have to admit, I got my hopes up.  As I was opening it, I was praying for a Ryan Nassib autograph.  Instead, it was Ryan Swope!  Isn't he quite possibly the worst person to pull?  I mean, he's out of football already because of an injury!  No offense to the guy, but his autograph probably isn't even worth the card stock that it's printed on.  Damn.  I should have sold this hot pack! 

Greg Jennings
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

Next up was a nice Greg Jennings camo prizm. 

Jason Pierre-Paul
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

And a nice Jason Pierre-Paul camo prizm.

Michael Floyd
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

A Michael Floyd camo prizm, and...

Jonathan Stewart
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

A Jonathan Stewart camo prizm. 

I pulled all veterans from the camo prizms!  I was hoping for some rookies.  Not even one rookie!  Blast.  And oddly, I couldn't find a green prizm in the entire double gravity retail box either.  I thought that was weird.  I'm sure there must be at least two per double gravity box.  Maybe the greens were inserts.  I don't like the inserts in Prizm this year so I avoided all of them.  Oh well.

Anyway, not bad for $15, I guess.

... The End ...

Monday, November 11, 2013

2013 NFL Mid-Season Review

We're about half way through the 2013 NFL Season.  When the season started, I provided a few thoughts of mine on which players I thought were worth buying and which should be sold.  You can see that old post here.  For fun, let's take a look at how my predictions are panning out.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Strong Buy Tavon Austin

Mid-season Result: Still a little too early to tell, but not looking good.   Tavon Austin has probably one of the most disappointing rookies of 2013 thus far.  For a guy who was drafted very high, and had so much success in college, he's had a hard time producing in the NFL.  Through November 3rd, 2013, he's been targeted 51 times and only had 31 receptions for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Wow.  Pretty pitiful stats for the 8th overall pick.  But, this last week he just blew up against the Indianapolis Colts logging 138 receiving yards on 2 receptions and also scoring touchdowns on both those receptions.  In addition, he also went bonkers on special teams gaining 145 yards on four punt returns, and scoring one touchdown on one of those returns.  I think his game against the Colts demonstrates what he can do if he can get the ball in space.  He's a fast guy and very elusive.  I do see him being a productive player in the future.  He's sort of like a poor man's Desean Jackson.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Strong Buy T.Y. Hilton

Mid-season Result:  T.Y. is having himself a very nice 2013 season.  Through November 3rd, 2013, he's been targeted 66 times, catching the ball 34 times for 533 yards and five touchdowns.  He's become quite the speedy deep threat for Andrew Luck and the Colts offense.  He has a good chance at having over 1000 yards on the season.  I think he's a guy who will be one of the premiere WR threats in Indianapolis for years to come. 

My Pre-season Prediction:  Strong Buy Luke Kuechly

Mid-season Result:  Kuechly is proving to be a monster for the Carolina Panthers, and one of the key reasons why the Panthers defense is so good this year.  Although Kuechly doesn't lead the NFL in tackles (he has 64 on the season so far, good for 27th in the NFL), I think he's well on his way to being one of the best linebackers in the league, and a guy with Ray Lewis type potential.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Buy Josh Gordon

Mid-season Result:  He's got 626 yards on 35 receptions, and three receiving touchdowns.  These are pretty good numbers half way through the season.  Now, imagine what these numbers might look like if he wasn't on the Cleveland Browns.  If I'm Josh Gordon, I'm praying some other team with a good QB trades for me.  Gordon looks like he's going to have a great 2013 season.  I'd definitely try to pick up a few of his autos if you haven't yet. 

My Pre-season Prediction:  Hold Brandon Weedon

Mid-season Result:  I got this one wrong.  Although Weedon has shown some flashes of proficiency, he also has shown flashes of incompetency.  Now, it looks like he's out of a job in Cleveland.  I think it's highly doubtful he'll ever amount to anything now that we haven't seen much improvement in his second year.  I'd sell anything of his.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Sell Nick Foles

Mid-season Result:  Welp, I got this wrong too, but I'm not sure anyone was expecting Foles to blow up like has the past two weeks.  Through November 10th, he has 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions.  His completion percentage is above 63% too, which is pretty good!  If you have any of his cards, I would either hold on to them for a bit.  Foles has shown improvement from his first year, and is demonstrating that he can be a good starter in the NFL.  This could be the start of a productive NFL career.  Sell his cards if you need money now, but I think he's worth hanging onto for the time being.

My Pre-season Prediction:  Strong Sell Geno Smith

Mid-season Result:  58.1% completion rate, 8 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, a low 71.0 QB rating, and a very poor 30.4 Total QBR.  Things aren't looking good for Geno.  He is just a rookie, and he's not exactly on a good team, but he hasn't looked that great when he's played.  I'd sell anything of his.  I think you can usually tell with most rookies whether they either have it or not, and so far I would say that Geno hasn't shown that he has what it takes to be a good to elite QB in the NFL.  Sell, sell, sell!

Biggest Bust of the 2013 NFL Season?

Here are my updated pointers for buy/hold/sell half way through the 2013 NFL season:

Strong Buy:  T.Y. Hilton (keep buying him before he gets too expensive);  Luke Kuechly (he's going to Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis kind of good);  Alshon Jeffery (having a nice breakout 2013 season, pick up a few of his autos before he blows up even more);  Andre Ellington (looks like Arizona finally found their RB, get him while he's cheap!)

Buy:  Keenan Allen (having a decent rookie season, and showing potential to be a solid #2 WR for many years to come);  Josh Gordon (still worth picking up before he gets too expensive, still has character concerns though);  Eddie Lacy (looks to be the #1 RB in Green Bay and is a good power RB but he's still in a pass-first offense);

Hold:  Tavon Austin (things aren't looking good right now, but he has too much potential to not give more time);  Nick Foles (nobody expected him to blow up like this, but now that he has, hold on to his cards since he's red hot and only getting hotter);

Sell:  Cordarrelle Patterson (is averaging 35 yards per kickoff return, but can't even catch a cold as a wide receiver, looks to be a ST-only guy).

Strong Sell:  Brandon Weedon (he looks like a great #2 QB);  Jake Locker (when will Tennessee give up this guy?  Get rid of cards before it's too late);  Geno Smith (still only a rookie but things are not looking good at all);  Tyler Wilson (the guy isn't employed by a NFL team at all, do I need to say more?);  Chris Harper (even the 49ers cut him and they desperately need WRs).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Panini Prizm Football: An Untouched Gravity Box

The most delightful surprises truly are the ones when you're not expecting it. 

I was at a local Target.  I had just finished some dinner at a local restaurant.  It was nearby one of my favorite Targets so I went over there to do some grocery shopping.  Yes, I'm talking about actual grocery shopping, not "grocery shopping" (going pack searching).  Of course, even on legitimate shopping trips to Target I always stop by the card aisle to see what's new.  I wasn't expecting to find anything new at this Target because I had just been there three days prior on its usual restocking day and it hadn't been restocked.  I knew 2013 Panini Prizm Football was hitting retail across America but my area always seems to be one of the last areas in America to get new retail so I wasn't expecting to see it for another week.

But as I entered the Target and looked over at the card aisle, I could see that the gravity feed boxes hanging along the wall had been rearranged.  Towards the top hung a huge, fat, double gravity of 2013 Panini Prizm Football.  It had a loud camouflage design on it, and stood out like a sore thumb.  It was calling to me.  And my heart fluttered a bit from the surprise. 

I've been so busy the past few months that I pretty much have been picking through the leftovers of all the baseball and football products of the last two months.  You may have noticed, I haven't shown any 2013 Topps Update hits on the blog.  That's because I haven't found any.  All the other pack searchers in my area (there seem to be more and more of them nowadays) got to them before me.  And 2013 Topps Prime?  Only found one hit so far in my entire town.  But this double gravity box of 2013 Panini Prizm Football... I was pretty sure it hadn't been touched.

I examined the packs inside the box.  Surprisingly, for how big the double gravity boxes are, there weren't that many packs inside.  The packs weren't neatly stacked.  Instead, they looked disheveled, but in a good way.  Not like someone had rummaged through them, but like they had just been shipped across America, but untouched by any human hands after being put onto the shelves. 

With eager anticipation coursing through my veins, I grabbed the packs and started searching. 

2012 Prizm was ridiculously easy to search overall.  I was pretty sure 2013 wouldn't be much different.  I soon realized it wasn't.  It's pretty easy if you know what to look for.  My experience searching last year's Prizm set helped.  But I also had some notes passed along to me from a friend of mine.  Using the information given to me, pack searching this stuff was a breeze.  In no time at all, I had found five packs I wanted to buy.  Four were prizm parallels, and one was an autograph hot pack.

Luke Joeckel
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

The first prizm parallel pack was a camo prizm of Luke Joeckel.  The biography on the back of the card says that he feels like he has a "chip on his shoulder" because he went 2nd overall instead of 1st overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.  Really?  I'm a fairly competitive guy myself but I wouldn't be pissed about not going 1st overall in the NFL draft.  I'd just be happy to be playing in the NFL and pretty much becoming a millionaire overnight. 

Xavier Rhodes
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

The next prizm parallel pack was a camo prizm of Xavier Rhodes.  Another first round pick.  He's seeing some playing time with Minnesota. 

Jarvis Jones
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Camo Prizm

The next parallel pack was a camo prizm of Jarvis Jones.  Another first round pick!  Not bad.

Zac Dysert
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Green Prizm

And the the last parallel pack was a green prizm of Zac Dysert.  He was a 7th round pick out of Miami (Ohio).  Maybe some day he'll be the starter in Denver... once Peyton Manning retires... and Brock Osweiler proves himself a bust?  You never know.

Jasper Collins
2013 Panini Prizm Football
Rookie Autograph

And then the autograph hot pack was an autographed rookie card of Jasper Collins!  Okay, I have to admit I was very underwhelmed from the hit.  Jasper Collins was not drafted at all.  He was signed by Miami as a free agent, but then later waived.  He's currently on the Cleveland Browns practice squad.  Not exactly the autograph you want to get when you're opening up an autograph hot pack.  Oh well.  I'll probably still keep his autograph anyways just in case that one in a million chance happens and he becomes a star. 

After going five out of five with these packs, I was excited.  I looked at the clock.  It was 9:15 p.m.  I had to check the other Target here in town just in case they put out their gravity feed box too.  It was late, but I knew I could get there in about fifteen minutes.  That would leave me 30 minutes to search before they closed.  With that, I started my car and drove off, determined to find more hits.

... To Be Continued ...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Previewing 2013 Panini Contenders Football

Since getting back into the hobby, I've learned that Panini Contenders Football is one of the strongest brands in football card collecting.  Why?  It's a mixture of its longevity, large rookie autograph checklist, and unique ticket theme.  Card collectors drop hundreds of dollars on hobby boxes of this stuff year after year. 

In 2012, Panini Contenders Football made an appearance in retail too.  A very limited run of $30 blaster boxes popped up at Targets offering one guaranteed autograph per box.  The boxes were very hit or miss with some people reporting only getting crap $3 autographs while others reported getting multiple short-printed variations worth more than the boxes themselves. 

So what does 2013 have in store?  Well, Panini finally released some images of its 2013 base design.

I have to admit, the cards look pretty sharp.  I like the portrait design of the card.  I like the ticket theme.  I like the white space on the right side of the card for the player to sign their name.  The only thing I would like to see disappear is the barcode in the lower right corner.  I think it's an eyesore and detracts from the overall aesthetics of the card.  If the barcode was removed, you could drop down the "Rookie RC Card" logo, leaving even more room for the player to sign their name. 

Anyway, while the cards themselves look nice, the real reason I wanted to talk about this set is because I think it will be the hottest football product to pack search when it streets. 

In case you have missed it, there will be a retail version of 2013 Panini Contenders.  The full details of the retail boxes can be found on The Cardboard Connection's website right here.  But, for your convenience, I've copied the most important information right here:

2013 Panini Contenders Football Hobby Box Break

  • 5 Autographs
  • 14 Inserts

2013 Panini Contenders Football Retail Box Break

  • 2 Autographs
  • 1 Rookie of the Year Contenders Insert
  • 1 Draft Class Insert
  • 1 Round Numbers Insert
  • 1 Touchdown Tandems Insert
  • 4 Additional Inserts
  • 192 Total Cards
Do you see what I see?  Retail boxes of 2013 Panini Contenders Football will have not one, but two autographs in them! 

Wow.  Let me repeat that for a moment to let the significance sink in.  One of the most popular football sets in football card collecting will be making a full-on retail box appearance with two autographs per box!

Can you imagine just how hot the competition is going to be among not only the regular card collectors to get to those retail boxes first, but also between the pack searchers to get first dibs on those boxes?!  It's going to be madness. 

I mean, can you imagine going to a Target, finding an untouched retail box of 2013 Panini Contenders Football, and pulling out an E.J. Manuel autograph, and perhaps an Eddie Lacy autograph too?  I can.  And doing it just might be a reality for some of us. 

So get ready.  Because come December 13, 2013, (or a few weeks after that date once Panini retail hits), the pack searching competition is going to be on and crazier than ever.  Contenders Football is coming to retail, and with two autographs per retail box!