Monday, July 29, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Bowman Football: I Forgot How Much Fun It Is To Search Blasters

I forgot how much fun it is to search blaster boxes.  There was a time when I use to search blaster boxes all the time.  That was when I was new to pack searching, I was very excited, and willing to bust anything to quell these urges to rip packs open.  Then my wallet started hurting from all the $20s I was spending here and there on blasters so I stopped.  But now I can't help myself again.  2013 Bowman Football is such a fun product with lots of color, parallels, autographs and relics.  Oh, and did I mention how it's pretty easy to search too?

I was at a local Walmart doing my thang, and scouting out blaster boxes.  Lo and behold, one of them instantly stands out.  I'm pretty sure it has some good stuff in it.  My guess was that it either had a relic or autograph hot pack, a die-cut pack, and two foil parallel packs.  For most 2013 Bowman Football boxes, that is a good haul.  So I bought it.  I couldn't help myself.

In my car I ripped open the blaster and quickly gave the packs a quick feel.  I was right.   I had four base packs, one die-cut pack, two foil parallel packs, and one autograph hot pack!

Time to rip this good stuff...

Tyler Eifert
2013 Bowman Football
Rookie Orange Parallel
Odds:  1:42

The pack ripping started strong with a gorgeous Tyler Eifert parallel in Cincinnati Bengals' orange!  This card looks slick!

Maurice Jones-Drew
2013 Bowman Football
Purple Parallel
Odds:  1:8

The next base pack had a purple parallel of Maurice Jones-Drew.

Ryan Nassib
2013 Bowman Football
Purple Parallel
Odds:  1:8

The next base pack had a purple parallel of Ryan Nassib.  Getting better...

Patrick Peterson
2013 Bowman Football
Veteran Orange Parallel
Odds:  1:253

And then the final base pack had a veteran orange parallel of Patrick Peterson numbered to 50!  Sweet!  The veteran orange parallels, unlike the rookie orange parallels, are extremely low printed.  Awesome!

Von Miller
2013 Bowman Football
Odds:  1:27

The die-cut pack had a nice Von Miller.

Kerwynn Williams
2013 Bowman Football
Rookie Gold Foil Parallel
Odds:  1:32

The first foil parallel pack had a Kerwynn Williams (who???) gold foil parallel.  I say again, who???

Stedman Bailey
2013 Bowman Football
Rookie Blue Foil Parallel
Odds:  1:24

And the second foil parallel pack had a Stedman Bailey blue foil parallel.  Nice!  Hopefully this guy turns out to be a stud in St. Louis with Sam Bradford throwing him the ball.

Christine Michael
2013 Bowman Football
Rookie Chrome Refractor Autograph
Odds:  1:99

And finally, the autograph was a Christine Michael chrome refractor autograph.  Okay, I have to admit I have no idea who this guy is.  But after looking him, perhaps I should!  He was picked #62 overall in Round 2 by the Seattle Seahawks.  He's a 5'10", 220 lb. runningback out of Texas A&M who had a decent career.  Sweet!

Overall, not a bad blaster box at all!  In fact, it was pretty darn good!  Every single pack had a parallel, insert, or hit in it.

Here are the odds for everything I hit...

1:8          odds -- 1 purple base parallel pack
1:8          odds -- 1 purple base parallel pack
1:24        odds -- 1 rookie blue foil parallel pack
1:27        odds -- 1 die cut pack
1:32        odds -- 1 rookie gold foil parallel pack
1:42        odds -- 1 rookie orange parallel pack
1:99        odds -- 1 rookie chrome refractor autograph pack
1:253      odds -- 1 veteran orange parallel pack

The probability of hitting all these cards in a blaster box like this is:  7.1629189e-13.

Or, stated another way, that is a 0.000000000071629189% chance of happening.  Putting that into odds, the odds of hitting this blaster box composition is: 1:1,396,078,900,000.  That's one in one trillion three hundred ninety six billion seventy eight million nine hundred thousand.  Pretty crazy!  This blaster isn't quite as crazy as my one in three trillion (approx.) blaster box but still pretty rare!

Man, pack searching blaster boxes sure can be fun sometimes.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

August is Shaping Up to Be A Busy Month

August is looking like it will be a busy month for pack searchers.  There will be three huge releases during August:

(1)  August 2, 2013 -- 2013 Bowman Platinum Baseball
(2)  August 7, 2013 -- 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball
(3)  August 21, 2013 -- 2013 Topps Football

I'm pretty excited about 2013 Bowman Platinum Baseball.  Aside from Allen & Ginter, it's my second favorite baseball set.  I'm a sucker for all the foil board and chrome treatment on those cards.  If 2013 Bowman Platinum Baseball is anywhere like last year's 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball, then the product should be pretty hard to search.  This makes the product fun, and for those of us who do happen to crack the code on the product it will leave more hits for us to find which have been left behind by other pack searchers.  Unfortunately, because of the fact that Bowman Platinum is so hard to search, it's like you'll see a lot of opened packs in the store.  Some people cannot just contain the urge to rip open packs in the store, without paying for them, just to see what is inside.  It's frustrating and gives a the rest of us pack searchers who don't do that a bad rap. 

Pretty hard to find.

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter should be crazy.  It seems to be everyone's favorite baseball set to collect due to the oddities, high quality framed mini relics, and solid autograph checklist.  Regular collectors and pack searchers alike will be flocking to the stores in droves to buy and search.  Competition will be tough and will likely make the whole experience less enjoyable for me.  I think I'm going to be pretty busy next month and I won't have the opportunities to go search as much as I'd like and so I expect to get beat to stores.

I do have two questions about 2013 Allen & Ginter. 

First, I wonder if Topps will continue to take anti-pack searcher steps with their loose retail packs.  I don't want to get into the specifics here, but Topps is the one card company who seems to be taking pack searching very seriously and is making more than just minimal attempts to foil it.  While I wouldn't say that their efforts are completely fool-proof, it will be enough to confuse some of the newer pack searchers. 

Second, I wonder if we're going to see blister packs instead of rack packs.  While 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen was packed out in traditional rack pack form, we did see 2013 Bowman Baseball packed out in blister packs.  And towards the end of last year, we started seeing blister packs of Allen & Ginter instead of the usual rack packs. 

I'm not sure why Topps sometimes puts some products in rack packs and others in blister packs.  Perhaps it has to do with materials, costs, or which factory the cards are packed out from.  Or maybe Topps is trying to make things harder on pack searchers so they're putting packs in blisters so that they can't be searched as easily as rack packs.  I don't know.  Either way, I'll still search the product in any form. 

Finally, 2013 Topps Football.  This set, just like the basic Topps baseball sets, should be easy to search for relics.  Autographs are rarer and always harder to find but not impossible to find.  I've never been lucky or skilled enough to find one, but other pack searchers have found them.  Some day I hope to be a part of that elite group but I rarely have the patience or time to pack search every pack or rack pack of the product I come across for an autograph. 

August should be a busy month for pack searchers!  I'll try and show off as many of my hits as I can find on the blog.  I'd love to hear what you guys hit too.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Topps Series 2: Brandon Maurer Camouflage Parallel

Boom!  Another nice camouflage parallel from a Walmart rack pack!

Brandon Maurer
2013 Topps Series 2 Baseball
Camouflage Parallel
Rack Pack Odds:  1:57

I love these parallels!  I think the camouflage pattern is sweet.

Brandon Maurer
2013 Topps Series 2 Baseball
Camouflage Parallel
Rack Pack Odds:  1:57

Still working on figuring out autographs... not sure if I'll ever figure it out.  I think by now I've been through enough rack packs where I probably was holding an autograph hot pack in my hand but I just didn't know it.  Maybe some day I'll figure out how to find the autographs in Series 1 and Series 2.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Press Pass Ignite Racing: Jeff Burton Firesuit Relic

Was at a Walmart making my usual pack searching rounds when I came across a brand new untouched retail box of 2013 Press Pass Ignite.

These packs are a little harder to search for a novice considering that they are foil and each pack has a decoy card in it but not for me.  It only took me about a minute to figure out which one was the hot pack.

Jeff Burton
2013 Press Pass Ignite Racing
Race-Used Firesuit

I pulled a nice looking Jeff Burton race-used firesuit.  This is pretty badass.  I like how Press Pass actually certifies that the relic is "race-used" and not just "event-used" like Topps so commonly does.

I'll have to keep my eye out for more of the Ignite.  Definitely some easy pickings.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Panini Prestige Football: Santonio Holmes Gamers Relic

Well, here's my one and only hit from 2013 Panini Prestige Football so far... and likely my only hit.  I'm not very excited about the 2013 rookie class or the 2013 Prestige set.  I didn't even bother to check my local retail stores for the product when it first hit the streets.  I went and checked things out days after its release and was picking through leftovers when I found this hit.  

Santonio Holmes
2013 Prestige Football
Gamers Relic

I'm actually going on one of my retail abstinence periods again.  It's only about three more weeks until 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter starts hitting the stores.  I'm saving up for that.  I'm super excited about this set for a few reasons.  First, I always love the relic cards in this set.  And second, Allen & Ginter has a lot of personal meaning to myself because it's the product that I first learned how to pack search about one year ago.  In fact, it was on July 16, 2012, when I started this blog and my card addiction started again.  It's been a lot of fun collecting cards, learning how to pack search, pack searching, and doing these blog posts. 

When I first started this blog it was more of a personal journal for myself which I was posting publicly for everyone to see my successes and failures.  Little did I know that eventually I'd have a handful of devoted followers, would be linked to on the notable Blowout Cards forums, become publicly ridiculed, but also get some fan mail too.  Yeah, I don't get a lot of fan mail but every once in a while someone will email me saying how they enjoy the blog.  I'm glad people enjoy the blog.  

I can't help but think that my blog has probably helped proliferate pack searching within the hobby.  It's not something I thought about when I first started writing this blog.  I really just wanted to share my experiences with those who wanted to read about it.  Now though, after a whole year of writing on the blog, and seeing lots of people finding this blog by doing Google searches for pack searching, it seems reasonable to assume that I've helped make what was once a mysterious underground art into a more publicly visible hobby.  Yes, I said "hobby".  I do think pack searching itself is it's own little hobby separate from that of purely collecting cards.  As I'm sure my fellow pack searchers will agree, this pack searching hobby can really grab a hold of you and take you on one addicting hit-seeking roller coaster of a ride.  If you once thought buying sports cards at random and getting hits every once in a while was exciting, imagine learning how to pack search and getting hits all the time.  That is addicting.  It makes you go to Target or Walmart for even the smallest things like detergent, toothpaste, or a carton of milk just so you can give yourself an excuse to pack search.  You do crazy stuff like drive 30 miles to hit up other retail stores around you when you have a spare two hours to kill.  You visit retail stores on your lunch break.  You visit retail stores at the crack of dawn when they open to beat other pack searchers.  Yes, pack searching is its own little hobby with its own little set of cardboard loving degenerates not too much unlike the general sports card collecting community -- the only difference being that we don't mind walking a fine moral line between honest collector and criminal.

Anyways, Happy One Year Blogging Anniversary to myself, Amateur Hot Pack Hunter!  To all of my readers, I thank you for reading the blog.  And to my fellow pack searchers, good luck hunting.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

One Pack & One Retail Hit? Hmm....

I always find it funny when people on Blowout Cards brag about buying one pack of retail and hit something huge.  It just screams pack searcher.  I mean, of course it's always possible to actually buy one pack of retail without searching it and hitting something crazy, but what are the odds of that happening?  That would be crazy lucky.

Anyways, this thread on Blowout Cards caught my eye...

product34526:  one retail pack is all i need!!!  opened a pack of prestige got a keenan allen rookie then opened bowman and found this baby...........................

Wow!  This guy finds a 1/1 in retail.  Wow... just... wow. 

I'm jealous.  This makes me want to go out right now to every retail store and pack search the shit out of every pack of 2013 Bowman Football I can find. 

There is no mention if this guy pack searched to find this hit or not.  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and trust that he didn't -- not like I really care if he did though.  What an amazing hit.  I'm still looking for my first 1/1 from retail. 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Bowman Football: HOT Blaster Box!

When I first started pack searching I would buy lots of blaster boxes.  Part of that reason was to practice searching on unsearched packs within the blaster box, but also because I was willing to search anything when I first started searching.  Now, I tend to stay away from blaster boxes because they're a lot harder to search since you can't molest the packs.  Every once in a while though, when a product comes along that is easy to search in blaster form I'll go for a blaster.

In my opinion, 2013 Bowman Football is a product which is decently searchable in blaster form.  Well, sort of.  You can never know exactly what you're getting, but you can usually be sure you're going to get something.

A couple weeks ago I was pining to bust some packs open.  I decided I needed to bust a blaster box myself.  I've been examining and taking notes about Bowman Football blaster boxes ever since the product hit the stores.  I think I've collected enough data about them to know which ones might have something good in them and which ones don't.

One of the blaster boxes at my local Target has always intrigued me.  I was pretty sure early on that it probably had some good stuff in it.  I wasn't quite sure at the time because I didn't have enough data so I held off on buying it.  After an additional week of collecting data, I was pretty darn sure it was probably one of the "better" blaster boxes one might come across.  In my estimates, it probably had two rainbow foil parallels, a die-cut, and either a relic or autograph in it.  If it did, then that is pretty good for a blaster box.  I decided I needed to buy that blaster box.

I went back to that Target with my fingers crossed that nobody else had purchased it already.  I had hidden it when I last left it on the shelves.  I put it in a semi-secret spot where I was pretty sure nobody would see it.  And to my relief, I found it.  It was still there.

A couple of minutes later, I was in my car, ready to bust it open.   I tore off the shrink wrap (always checking the shrink wrap to make sure it's favor-sealed) and pulled out the eight packs.  I gave them each a quick preliminary search to see what I had.

It looks like I had three rainbow foil parallels, one die-cut, and four base packs.  Damn.  No relic or autograph card like I had thought.  Instead of a relic or autograph, I had gotten a third rainbow foil parallel pack.

Wait a minute...

I think to myself, the odds of pulling three rainbow foil parallels in one blaster box is pretty slim.  Most of the rainbow foil parallels are like 1:24 odds minimum.  That must mean one of the rainbow foil parallels in my blaster box is pretty valuable.  If so, that might make up for the lack of relic or autograph card.  I keep my fingers crossed as I grab the first rainbow foil parallel pack to open.

Richard Sherman
2013 Bowman Football
Red Rainbow Foil Parallel
Odds: 1:505

I rip it open, and to my astonishment I see a red rainbow foil parallel of Richard Sherman pop out!  Dammmnnnn.  Nice!  The red rainbow foil parallels are numbered to 25!  Super low print!  Sweet!  And it's of a good player!

Collin Klein
2013 Bowman Football
Gold Rainbow Foil Parallel
Odds: 1:32

I grab the next rainbow foil parallel pack and rip that one open.  Out comes a gold Collin Klein parallel.  Nice looking card but not worth all that much.  Collin Klein wasn't drafted so he's not getting a lot of hype at all.

Mike Glennon
2013 Bowman Football
Blue Rainbow Foil Parallel
Odds: 1:24

And then in the final rainbow foil parallel pack is a blue Mike Glennon.  I'm not really sold on this guy right now.  His completion percentage his final year in college was a lowly 58.5% which is not good at all.  His INT% was around 3% which is on the higher side.  These aren't really the statistics you want to see out of a top QB prospect coming out of college.

Jimmy Graham
2013 Bowman Football
Odds: 1:27

And then the die-cut pack was a Jimmy Graham.

Now, I'm staring at the final four base packs from my blaster box.  And I'm thinking to myself, what do I do with them?  Do I open them?  I had give the packs a quick half-hearted search, and I knew they were base packs.  Well, of course, there is always the possibility of one of them containing a really low print colored parallel or a redemption but what are the chances of that?  Pretty slim.  I take a moment to consider selling them on eBay.  Would anyone really want to buy four retail packs of 2013 Bowman Football from a blaster box?  Some people might.  But the costs of shipping those packs alone would probably be higher than the winning bid price and so it might not even be worth my time and effort to sell them.

I decide to just open the packs.  Oh well.  They're base packs but what the hell...

Sam Bradford
2013 Bowman Football
Purple Parallel
Odds: 1:8

Out of the first base pack comes a Sam Bradford purple.  It's nice to get a parallel but we all know these veteran purple parallels are worthless.

Eddie Lacy
2013 Bowman Football
Purple Parallel
Odds: 1:8

Next up was a purple parallel Eddie Lacy rookie card.  Nice.  Not quite as worthless as that purple Sam Bradford parallel.  This one is worth keeping.

Dee Milliner
2013 Bowman Football
Gold Parallel
Odds: 1:32

In the next pack out came a sweet gold parallel of Dee Milliner.  Nice.  Now I'm pretty happy that I opened up these base packs.  I mean, not like this Dee Milliner card is worth a lot but it's worth enough to me personally that it made opening these base packs worth it.

Landry Jones
2013 Bowman Football
Bowman Autograph
Odds:  1:1,400

And then I open up the final base pack... and to my stunned surprise, I see a redemption in there!  Awesome!  An autograph card of Landry Jones!  Sweet.  I got my autograph card that I was looking for.  With that, I stuffed the cards back into their packs and drove home not thinking much of my latest haul.

Later that night I was on the internet debating whether to keep or sell this Landry Jones redemption I had pulled.  I was looking on eBay for Landry Jones redemptions thinking that I would see tons of them, but I couldn't find a single one.

That's strange.

There were tons of regular base autographs and colored refractor autographs of Landry Jones on eBay.  But why would Topps have these autographs live and inserted into the product but then also insert a redemption for the same regular base autographs into the product too?

Because it's not a regular base autograph.

I remembered reading a blog post on about how some of the Bowman Football redemptions were vague, and that they were really valuable but the description on the card did not make them sound valuable at all.  I found that article and re-read it.  Yup, I didn't have a regular base autograph redemption card, I had one of those super short print 1:1,400 odds "Bowman Autograph" redemption cards!   Freakin' sweet!

The "Bowman Autograph" redemptions are apparently Bowman Chrome cards, that are super short print (possibly as low numbered to 10), which will be signed on-card, but depict the players in their NFL uniforms rather than their college uniforms unlike the regular Bowman Chrome base autograph cards.

I chuckle to myself after realizing this, and how I was totally thinking about just selling those base packs to whomever would buy them for $3.00.  Wow.  I could have totally just sold a $100 card (maybe?) for pennies without even knowing it.

How did I miss that redemption card when I was searching the packs in the blaster box?  I hadn't given those base packs a full and complete pack search molestation.  Had I done so, it's possible I might have found the redemption but I'm not so sure I can even say that I would have.  Those Topps redemptions are hard to find in the foil retail packs of 2013 Bowman Football.  It's almost impossible to differentiate them from a regular base card.

So in the end, this blaster box turned out to be one super hot blaster box.  Although it didn't have the relic or (live) Bowman Chrome rookie autograph card in it like I suspected it might, it had a 1:1,400 odds hit in it along with tons of color.  In fact, every single pack in the blaster box either had a hit, insert or parallel!  What are the odds of that happening???  Crazy tiny.  Just check out the odds again...

1:8          odds -- 1 purple base parallel pack
1:8          odds -- 1 purple base parallel pack
1:24        odds -- 1 blue rainbow foil parallel pack
1:27        odds -- 1 die cut pack
1:32        odds -- 1 gold base parallel pack
1:32        odds -- 1 gold rainbow foil parallel pack
1:505      odds -- 1 red rainbow foil parallel pack
1:1,400   odds -- 1 Bowman Autograph redemption pack

The probability of hitting all these cards in one blaster box (if I can do math correctly) is:  3.3306243e-14.

That is a 0.000000000003306243% chance of happening.  Stated another way, (again, if I can do math correctly) the odds of hitting a blaster box with this exact composition is 1:3,753,050,100,000.  That's one in three trillion seven hundred fifty three billion fifty million one hundred thousand

For comparison, the odds of winning the powerball lottery is 1:175,223,510.  I feel like I should go buy a lottery ticket now.

And just to think I would have never hit that Landry Jones Bowman Autograph redemption if I had sold those four remaining "base packs" from that blaster box.

Like I've said before, you just never know what you're going to get unless you look.  And also, sometimes it's just better to be lucky than good.  Wow!  This is the craziest blaster box I've ever bought!

(Perhaps this blaster box was the "good karma" for my honesty and charitable donations for the 2013 Press Pass Football pack searching?  Hmm....)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Guilt & Pleasure: Pack Searching 2013 Press Pass Football HOBBY

I'm Not A Saint: Pack Searching 2013 Press Pass Football HOBBY  (Part I)

The first rule of retail is know what you're selling and the price of what you're selling.  This Target manager did not know how much these 2013 Press Pass Football hobby packs cost.  I don't blame her.  She has a million other things to worry about other than the price of these football cards.  And here she was offering to sell them to me for 99 cents each.  I knew what they were probably worth somewhere between $3.00 to $4.00 at a local card shop.  All I had to do was say "yes" and I'd be getting these hobby packs at a steal of a price.

I think my parents did a pretty good job raising me to do the right thing.  I try to do the right thing when I can.  Part of that reason is that I believe in karma.  I feel silly for believing in karma, but I do.  What is karma? 

noun /ˈkärmə/ 

  1. (in Hinduism and Buddhism) The sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences

  2. Destiny or fate, following as effect from cause

In other words, it's sort of a fancier word for the phrase "what comes around goes around."  If you do a bad act now, your destiny or fate could be negatively altered in the future.  If you do a good act now, your destiny or fate could be positively altered in the future.

If I just tell this Target manager "yes" and buy these hobby packs of 2013 Press Pass Football, is that a good act or a bad act?  If I say "yes", I have made no lies or misrepresentations to her.  She merely offered me a sale, and I accepted it.  But the thing is I have withheld information, which would cause Target to lose money on a sale.  I would be causing them to sell a product for a price well below what it should sell for.  There's the bad act.  Even though I may make no deceit in my conversation with the manager, my silence will harm her too.

I can't do that in my good consciousness.

I open my mouth to speak and blurt out, "I think the packs are worth $3.00 each because the other retail ones are on sale for $3.00."  The manager considers what I just said for a moment. 

I already feel a little deflated as I think about her accepting my price offer and ringing up these four packs at $3.00 each.  $12.00 for four packs isn't quite as attractive as $4.00 for four packs.

"I'm willing to sell them to you for 99 cents."  She clearly just does not care about the price.  To her, I'm a paying customer, and I'm willing to buy a product which they shouldn't even really be selling individually.

I try one last time to do the right thing.  "Are you sure...?"

She interrupts me.  "Look, do you want them for 99 cents or $3.00 each?  I'm willing to sell them to you for 99 cents."  Her tone now has changed slightly to that of slightly disbelief that I actually just tried to convince her to charge me more money for an item I want to buy.

"Okay."  I relent.  "99 cents."

Done.  She types a few more things into the computer and the four hobby packs are in the system being purchased for 99 cents each.  I pay and leave in disbelief over what just happened.

What luck!  I think to myself.  I'm lucky the manager didn't accuse me of opening the hobby box.  I'm lucky that the manager was still willing to sell those packs even though they're not meant to be sold individually.  I'm lucky that the manager was willing to sell the packs for only 99 cents too.

I head to my car to check out my goods.

Marcus Lattimore
2013 Press Pass Football
Reflector Holofoil Parallel

First up is a nice Marcus Lattimore reflector holofoil parallel numbered to 299.  These aren't bad looking cards in person.  Too bad Press Pass didn't have a NCAA license so they could show the team logos instead of photoshopping them out, otherwise these cards would look really nice.  And just barely visible above the player's name is the words "REFLECTOR".  You probably can't see it on the scan it's so faint.

Terrance Williams
2013 Press Pass Football
Reflector "Proof Edition" Parallel

Next was a nice Terrance Williams reflector "proof edition" numbered to 100.  This is basically the same thing as the regular reflector holofoil parallels except that the foil lettering of the player's name is in gold foil instead of silver foil.

Marcus Lattimore
2013 Press Pass Football
Autograph, Bronze Parallel

Then came a nice Marcus Lattimore autograph bronze parallel.  I like how the signatures for these cards are on-card.  It gives the player more room to sign rather than squishing their autograph onto a small sticker. 

Le'Veon Bell
2013 Press Pass Football
Playmakers Autograph

And finally came a nice Le'Veon Bell Playmakers autograph numbered to 50.  Not bad!

So in all, I went 2 out of 4.  I knew I had left autographs in the boxes.  I had orginally picked out seven total packs to buy based on my pack searching, but I put three of them back because I wasn't 100% sure on those packs.  Had I know that I would have only been charged 99 cents then I definitely would have bought them.  I had to go back and buy the rest of the packs!

I immediately went back into the Target to see if the Manager had put the hobby boxes back out on display but they were nowhere to be found.  They were gone.  The manager was gone.  I imagine she was in the backroom somewhere filling out some paperwork on the hobby boxes being open when they shouldn't have been.  Oh well.  Two autographs from four hobby packs at 99 cents each isn't bad at all.  The Marcus Lattimore autograph sells for about $12 to $15 on eBay, and the Le'Veon Bell autograph sells for about $18.

Despite my elation at getting these two autographs for a mere $4.00, I did feel a little bit of guilt.  I felt guilty that when I saw the two opened hobby boxes that I didn't just go get a manager and tell them that these boxes shouldn't have been opened.  Instead, I tried to push my luck and attempted to buy some of those packs.  On the other hand, the manager did realize when I was checking out that the packs shouldn't been sold individually.  She could have stopped me there and declined to sell me the packs yet she didn't care and offered to sell them to me anyways.  That fact sort of negates the fact that I didn't just tell her about the opened boxes so she could immediately take them away.

So to balance out any bad karma I might have picked up from this incident, I decided I needed to give back some good will.  I hopped on the internet and donated some money to a charity.  I won't say which charity or how much, but my donation was enough to equal out what I probably would have had to pay for these packs had I visited a hobby store.  Thus, if you include what I paid Target along with my donation to charity, then I didn't really get these packs cheaper than what someone might pay at their LCS.  But it's the karma which counts.

Hopefully, I've balanced out any bad karma with some good karma and the pack searching gods will be nice to me for a couple of months.

... The End ...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm Not A Saint: Pack Searching 2013 Press Pass Football HOBBY

It's just another pack searching trip to Target.  I roll up into the card aisle.  I check things out.  I take a moment to look around at what is on sale.  2013 Topps Series 2... Bowman Baseball... Gypsy Queen... Score Football... and some 2013 Press Pass Football.
But then something catches my eye.  Those 2013 Press Pass Football packs... they're... foil.  I know from experience, that the retail packs of 2013 Press Pass Football are white and made out of that plastic-like material.  I give that box of 2013 Press Pass Football another glance.  It's a different shape than the retail boxes.  The packs are laid out three wide instead of two wide.  And in big letters, the side of the box states "4 autographs per box".

Four autographs per box?!?!?!

That certainly isn't a retail box.  I immediately move over to the box to  examine it some more.  To my absolutely amazement, there are two boxes there.  Two open boxes, each stating that there are four autographs per box.  These are hobby boxes!

I've seen these hobby boxes before.  They first arrived at this Target perhaps around two months ago.  They were factory wrapped and had some big red looking tape on them stating that the box is to be sold as one package, and that it was not to be opened and sold as individual packs.  But somebody, I don't know who, had opened up both of the hobby boxes and set them out for sale!

I'm not quite sure what to do.  I've never actually seen an open hobby box for sale in retail.  I think for a moment.  First, I check to see if all the packs are there.  The hobby box states that there are 12 packs in it.  I count the packs in each box.  There are a two to three packs missing from each one.  Hmm...  so obviously someone has been buying these packs.  Or stealing them.

And here's where I face a critical decision.  Do I get a Target employee and tell them that these boxes have been opened and they should have been sold whole?  But the hobby boxes are open.  And packs are missing.  People must be buying them, and Target must be selling the packs to people.  Right?  I'm not sure how much Target will charge for the hobby packs, but if they're going to sell them then I'm surely going to buy them.  So I decide that I'm going to buy some of these hobby packs.

 I've never searched ANY sort of hobby product before.  Never.  Ever.  As you know, I don't search at local card shops.  I have no experience searching hobby -- not like it's that much different from retail.  I take a quick moment to search the hobby packs.  I don't give the hobby packs a full shakedown.  I'm sort of in a rush to just pick the packs so I don't get accused of being the guy who ripped open these hobby boxes.  I decide on four packs to buy.  I'm certain they have something... interesting in them.

I take my four packs of cards to the cash register along with a few other items I'm buying.  I play it cool as the cashier starts ringing up my stuff.  She scans the other items I'm buying.  She then grabs the hobby packs.  She scans one.  The computer makes a sound.  She looks at the screen and scans it again.  Same sound.  She now starts to type in the UPC code on the back of the pack.  The computer still doesn't like those hobby packs.  They're not in the system.  They're not in the system because they technically don't even exist for sale within the store, I think to myself.  The cashier sees the manager walking by and waives her down.

"These aren't coming up in the inventory," the cashier tells the manager.  The manager examines the packs, and immediately she knows.  I can tell by the look on her face that she knows these are hobby packs.  Fuck.  I'm screwed.  She's about to accuse me of opening the hobby box.  Do I run for the door?  I don't need any of the other items I'm buying right now so I can always get them elsewhere.  Do I just play it cool?  Act dumb?  Act dumb.  Yeah, act dumb. 

The manager gives me a flat look.  "Yeah, these aren't coming up in the system because they're not supposed to be sold individually."

I give her my best dumb look, "oh really?"

"They're supposed to be sold in a box.  Are there any more over there?"

"Yeah, there are more over there."  I'm shocked she hasn't just outright accused me of opening the hobby box.  The manager disappears for a moment while she goes to retrieve the hobby boxes.  She returns a moment later.

"Yeah, these are supposed to be purchased as a whole box," she indicates holding up the hobby boxes.

"Oh, okay... well... forget about them then..." I say.  But the manager isn't really listening.  She's typing away at the cash register computer.  Suddenly, she looks up at me.

"I'll sell them to you for 99 cents."

I've heard about Targets sometimes selling whole sealed retail boxes for a mere $2.99, the price of one pack of retail cards because they didn't see on the price label that the $2.99 was for each individual pack and not the entire retail box itself.  But have you ever heard of Target offering to sell hobby packs for 99 cents?!?!  No.  Never.

I look the manager in the eye.  What do I say?  I don't know exactly how much a hobby shop would charge for these Press Pass Football hobby packs because I haven't set foot in a hobby shop in years, but I know that a hobby shop would probably charge at least $3.00 to $4.00 per hobby pack since Press Pass Football retail packs here at Target are $3.00. 

I have a choice.  I can pay 99 cents for these hobby packs or I can tell her that they're probably worth $3.00 to $4.00 per pack.  What do I do? 

... To Be Continued ...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Bowman Football: Ezekiel Ansah Autograph

Another trip to Target.  Another stop at the card aisle.  It's been a while since I've been to this Target and it looks like another box of 2013 Bowman Football has been put out.  It looked searched and at least six packs were missing.  The hit was most certainly missing. 

Well, you never know!

I give it a quick search and boom!  I find an autograph hot pack.  Looks like the previous pack searcher didn't know how to find the autographs and was just looking for relics.  Oh well, their loss and my gain.

Ezekiel Ansah
2013 Bowman Football
Rookie Card Autograph
Odds:  1:99

Boom!  Got a nice Ezekiel Ansah rookie card autograph!  Suuuhhhwwwweeeeettttt!  Nice.  I love that the autographs in this set are on-card.  Aside from on-card autographs just looking better, I think it's cool that the athlete who signed the card actually was touching and holding this card at one time.  I mean, under the transitive property laws when you touch the card you basically just shook the guys' hand!  (Sort of... okay, not really but it's about as close as most of us will get to doing that.)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Score Football: Frequent Buyer

I've been at Target a lot recently.  I wish there were more of them around me.  And more Walmarts.

Today I'm searching some 2013 Score Football.  After discovering my first autograph from Score a week ago I'm dying to find more.  Unfortunately, the product has been out a while and I'm sure it's heavily picked over.  Just jump on eBay and you'll see hundreds of listings for Score hot packs.

But today is my lucky day.  I'm searching rack packs and I find one with an autograph!  I would have figured that all the Score in my area would have been searched out already.  I'm pretty sure there is another pack searcher in my area who is huge football fan because whenever a new football release comes out it seems like he/she has been making an extra effort to beat me to the stores.

I take the hot pack to the cash register to pay.  I greet the cashier and she warmly greets me.  She gives me an extended glance -- one of recognition.  She recognizes me.  She doesn't even have to say it but I know she does.

"I've seen you a lot here..." she says casually.  And yes, I've seen her here a lot too.  She's just trying to make conversation.  What do I say in response?  Tell her I'm there searching sports cards?  Have you ever imagined trying to explain what pack searching is to a non-sports card person?  It most likely would be a fair long conversation to explain what you do, and why it's not illegal or wrong.  It's a conversation I'd rather not have at a cash register. 

"Oh yeah... I don't live that far from here."  I don't owe her a real explanation for why I'm here.  She can already see I'm here buying sports cards.  That's all she really needs to know.

She rings me up and merrily gives me my receipt.  "Have a nice day!"  I smile back.  She's nice.  I wouldn't mind just being friendly acquaintances with her but then again, I like just going to stores when I pack search, buying my cards, and not being asked any questions or having to socialize too much.  Get in, get out.  That's my motto. 

Damontre Moore
2013 Score Football
Rookie Card Autograph Purple Parallel
Print Run: Limited to 49

In my car I open my Score hot pack.  Booya!  Damontre Moore purple autograph rookie card!  Sweet!  I think the purple parallels are rarer.  This card looks to be selling for about $6 to $10 on eBay.  Nice.  I'll probably keep it though.

Man, I wish I had given more effort to search 2013 Score Football from the very beginning.  I think it's a pretty cool low-end set that actually looks good.  I might have to put together a set of these cards. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pack Searching 2013 Score Football: Primetime

I'm running an another errand in the next town over and by the same Target I just hit last week for some 2013 Bowman Football.  I'm just itching to search some 2013 Score Football.  Last night I just hit my first autograph from Score.  I should have been searching Score from the day it first came out.  I don't know why I wasn't.  I think I had convinced myself to try some sort of one month pack searching abstinence period.  Boy, what a bad idea that was.  I feel like I really missed the boat on Score.

Anyways, I decide to hit up that Target again.  When I arrive there and am looking at the cards, I'm disgusted.  The card aisle is a mess.  Another pack searcher had been here and they had thrown shit everywhere.  Loose packs from the gravity feeds were littered all over the shelves.  Rack packs had been pulled off the racks and strewn all over the shelves too.  I picked up a few packs and rack packs to examine them for signs of searching.  Yup.  Each rack pack and pack has the tell-tale signs that another pack searcher was here.

What disturbs me the most is not so much that another pack searcher is infringing on my territory, but that he or she made this place a mess.  I mean, I get that we're all in a rush some times and we're all lazy, but there's no need to trash the place this bad.  I mean, it's like this person went out of their way to purposely leave packs strewn everywhere to make life as miserable as possible for the Target employees who would have to straighten things out later.

Since another pack searcher had been here I knew there was little chance at finding anything good.  I wanted to though.  I wanted to find something that this previous pack searcher left behind so I could brag about it here and show off what they missed.

So I went about searching 2013 Score Football which is what I came here for.  The previous pack searcher had already been through these packs so I knew I probably wasn't going to find any autographs.  Who knows though, maybe they left behind a parallel or something.

It didn't take long for me to find one pack which had a black or purple parallel in it.  It was the only good pack I found.  I decided to buy it.

In my car I opened up the pack.  As I shuffled the cards, I could see two green bordered cards in the pack. 

Aww, shit.  I thought to myself.  I hit a funky pack with two green rookie cards in them, and what I thought was a black/purple parallel was really that second green rookie card.  How could I mistake the color green for black/purple?  I must be color blind.

I shuffle to that funky second green bordered rookie card. 

Leon Sandcastle
2013 Score Football
Rookie Card
Odds:  SP

Oh fuck yes!  Leon Sandcastle rookie card!!!  Suuuuhhhhwwweeeeeettttt!  Hah!  So I was wrong about the pack having a black or purple parallel and instead it had a Leon Sandcastle rookie card instead!  I'll take it.

Satisfaction filled me as I thought about the previous pack searcher missing this card.  Victory is mine.

Leon Sandcastle
2013 Score Football
Rookie Card (back)
Odds: SP

Take a look at the back of the card too.  The biography is pretty funny.  Anyways, love me some Leon Sandcastle from Primetime University!