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?