Saturday, August 25, 2012

200th Twitter Follower Gambler Giveaway Day: Tuesday August 28th 2012

Thank you for helping us reach another Milestone with 200+ Followers on Twitter!
To show our thanks Tuesday August 28th 2012 will be having our 2nd Gambler Giveaway Day!

In order to be eligible to win any of the Giveaways you will need to do the following:
1) Follow us on Twitter
2) ReTweet any of our Gambler Giveaway Day Tweets.
3) Watch for Tweets sent out on Gambler Giveaway day which will be Tuesday August 28th 2012

1) Each Follower will be eligible to win a Giveaway providing they follow us on Twitter and ReTweet the Gambler Giveaway Tweets.
2) Followers will not be eligible to win more than 1 Giveaway during the 200th Follower Giveaway Day.

And that's it, again another simple to pickup a nice Giveaway from The Pack Gambler

Below is a listing of the 200th Follower Giveaway along with the 2 additional Giveaways. I think you'll be excited to jump on and hopefully win one of these on Gambler Giveaway Day.

All Giveaways will be Random drawings of current Followers on Tuesday August 28th 2012:

1) 5 packs of 2012-2013 Panini Score Hockey, a 2011-12 Upper Deck Ultimate Chris Pronger Premium Swatches /35. And you will also recieve a team lot of an NHL team of your choice (minimal 20cards)

2) 9 2012 Topps Retro Rookie Reprints of: Bradshaw, Jurgensen, Montana, Griese, Brees, Kelly, Elway, Marino, Stafford. Along with 2012 Score Retro Rookies of: Warner & Carter. Plus 3 2012 Topps Parallels of: Camo Greg little, Pink Casey Hayward & Gold Adrian Peterson. Also you will recieve a team lot of an NFL team of your choice (minimal 20cards).

200th Follower Grand Giveaway: Uncut sheet of 2009 MLB 20th Anniversary Memorabilia cards. This is a full uncut sheet of the faces of the cards. Sheet measures 40x28. Includes players like Tiger Woods, Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, Griffey Jr, Brett Favre, Tony Romo and Kobe Bryant to name just a few. 

Good Luck to all of our Followers on Gambler Giveaway Day! Thank you again for following and please continue to spread the word out as we will continue to bring you the best giveaways in the hobby as we expand our followers.


The Pack Gambler

Friday, August 24, 2012

**UPDATE** Product Review: 2012 Topps Football *Gametime codes*

Here is an update on the 2012 Topps Football Gametime codes I received from the Hobby Jumbo box.
So in the box I received 11 codes from the 10 Jumbo packs. The Topps Gametime site went live yesterday after being a week late to the public. I entered the codes last night and all 11 were for Team Coins.
On top of each being for a team coin I had 2 Cardinals and 3 Saints coins from the 11! I would have thought that the assortment in a jumbo box would have been for all different coins, but then again I guess I can't be picky since they are free.
Now the coins can be used for the Game online which occurs each week. You can pick up to 5 tokens you have to use towards the current weeks games. The Top Ten Highest Scorers at the end of the week are eligible to win a Limited Edition Topps Autographed Card.
The catch to this all is that you can only use your coin once for the season. So you either go all in the first week or wait it out till your coin/team has an easy week againest another team to rack up more points.
They also are keeping track of the Highest scorer for the season as well, which the prize for that will be again for the Top Ten an Autographed Helmet or Football.

Good luck to all that win, hopefully one of your codes unlocks a card instead of a team coin.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

**UPDATE** Product Review: 2012 Topps Chrome Baseball Hobby Box

Just wanted to give a small update on the 2012 Topps Chrome Baseball Hobby review.

So as you might have heard through the 3rd and 4th video I was thinking of putting together a complete base set since I seemed to have a few doubles through the boxes. Well after sorting through them last night I was able to complete a full set along with some doubles.

Working through the 4 box numbers I had 242 base and 73 RC base to put together the 220 card set. I came away with 73 Base and 23 RC doubles within all 4 boxes. this is a little more than seemed to be at the time of opening the boxes as I found into my third and especially the fourth box I was seeing more of the same players and also sequencing within the packs.
However, even on the fourth box the last 5 packs yielded cards I didn't pull in the first three boxes. So in all aspects this was pretty good for this product.

The two rookie autographed base cards that have some manufactured defects (Matt Dominguez, Tyler Pastornicky) will be sending back to Topps for replacements. The lines from the top of the card down the center are very noticeable. We'll have an update on when these return from Topps.

An additional note to this set is the news of Photo Variations to the product. Yes Topps has added them into the Chrome product for the first time. This came late yesterday after the product was released and there are 20 in total. These 20 also are all big name players, so no chance finding a lower tiered Photo variation with these. Included are the hot rookies of Harper, Darvish, Lawrie and Cespedes. With odds of 1:912 Hobby packs and 1:13,500 Retail packs, your sure these will be up there on the price scale. Good Luck on the hunt.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Product Review: 2012 Topps Chrome Baseball Hobby Box

As soon as the Sell Sheet was out this was the one product I was looking forward to this year. Topps has packed this product for 2012 with a lot of hits. Not only do you till get 2 Autographed cards per pack, but this year they have added veterans to the mix. And if that wasn't enough, they have added Die-cuts, Buy Back Autographs, an uncut sheet redemption and Hot Boxes!
The basics on the product this year are as follows: 24 Packs per Hobby Box, 4 Cards per pack. With Refractors running at 1:3 packs with the additional colors of Blue /199, Black /100, Sepia /75, Gold /50, Red /25, Atomic /10 and Super-Fractors 1/1. Pretty much the same this year with the difference of Sepia are a lower serial number and the Atomic Fractors jump from 2011 /225 down to /10. The Dynamic Die-Cuts are listed at 1 per Hobby Box and should be tough to put together a set unless using the secondary market. With the Veteran Autographs I mentioned that were added into the product, well these will be even tougher to find as the highest serial numbered auto is /25! Most are out of 10, so for those autograph seekers your in for a challenge. 
Chrome has a certain following, some just wait for this product to come out and put all their collecting cash into it. It's shinny, has autos, and always has kept it's value over the years. It seems to be the one product with a solid collectors base very similar to Allen & Ginter collectors. More so this year than any other, Topps has pushed the envelope and brought more to this product to lure more collectors into the Chrome drool fest. The ever so sought out for Hot Box has been introduced this year for 2012 Chrome. These boxes will be found 1 out of every 3 cases. All cards within these Hot Boxes will be all Refractors, no base Chrome. The ultimate Refractor collector dream, can you imagine each card in a box being a refractor?  Amazing they have done this with Chrome, and with this I bet more cases will be sold than individual boxes this year.
As with every year Chrome packs in it with Refractor Parallels. So nothing changed here with colored Refractors, X-Fractors and Super-Fractors. Of course you have your assortment of Rookie Card Autographed cards seeded 2 per box on average, but with the veteran autographed inserted into the product you might end up getting 1 RC Auto with a Veteran Auto, either way you win with this product. Most of the Veteran Autographs are numbered from 25 or less, so your odds of obtaining one might be harder than you would think with this product. Also they have added a small number of Autographed Relics numbered to 10. One last added new item are the Dynamic Die-cuts set at 1 per box.
So of course this was something I was planning on buying already but how much would I buy? Well, I set aside 4 boxes from a sealed case to try my luck at a hot box. With the odds of 1 out of 3 cases I figured breaking 4 of the 12 gave me pretty good odds (if this was the case). Lets see how I did:

Box 1                                              
Base: 63 (Trumbo, Arod, Jeter, Braun, Ichiro)
Base RC: 15 (Harper, Nieuwenhuis, Reed, Moore)                                              
Refractor: 8 (Montero RC, Falu RC, Chipper Jones)                                      
X-Fractor: 4 (Beltran, Latos, Cueto, Duda)                                      
Blue Refractor: David Wright /199                                                                    
Sepia Refractor: Eric Surkamp RC /75                              
Gold Refractor: Kirk Nieuwenhuis /50                                                               
Dynamic Die-Cut: David Ortiz                  
Autographs: 2 (Matt Dominguez RC, Wily Peralta RC Refractor /499)                                                                 
Box 2                                              
Base: 59 (Strasburg, Tulo, Votto, Kemp, Trout, Bautista)
Base RC: 20 (Adams, Cespedes, Valdespin, Middlebrooks, Darvish)                                              
Refractor: 8 (Trumbo, Lester, Johnson)                                      
X-Fractor: 4 (Aoki RC, Kinsler, Gordon, Cabrera)                                      
Blue Refractor: Brian Wilson /199                                                                                                  
Gold Refractor: Jon Lester /50                                                               
Dynamic Die-Cut: Curtis Ganderson                  
Autographs: 2 (Drew Hutchison RC,  Kirk Nieuwenhuis RC Refractor /499)       

Box 3                                            
Base: 62 (Pujols, Wright, Fielder, Hamilton, Ortiz, Cano, Kemp, Trout, Bautista)
Base RC: 17 (Lawrie, Cespedes, Montero, Mesoraco, Adams)                                              
Refractor: 8 (Cain, Crawford)                                      
X-Fractor: 4 (Garza, Iwakuma RC, J. Upton, Stubbs)                                      
Blue Refractor: Michael Taylor RC /199                                                                                         Red Refractor: Mike Napoli /25                                                              
Dynamic Die-Cut: Ichiro                
Autographs: 2 (Jarrod Parker RC,  Drew Hutchison RC Refractor Blue /199)    

Box 4                                            
Base: 58 (Chipper Jones, Hosmer, Jeter, Longoria, Kershaw, Sabathia, Stanton)
Base RC: 21 (Middlebrooks, Valdespin, Taylor, Betances, Hutchison)                                              
Refractor: 8 (Ganderson, Herrera RC, Hendriks RC, Liddi RC, Halladay)                                      
X-Fractor: 4 (Bruce, Braun, Crawford, Ackley)                                      
Blue Refractor: Nyjer Morgan /199                                                                                           Sepia Refractor: Ryan Braun /75                                                              
Dynamic Die-Cut: Troy Tulowitzki                
Autographs: 2 (Zack Cozart,  Tyler Pastornicky RC)

So out of 4 random boxes from the case I picked out I came out with none being Hot Boxes. As for the product, Chrome is one of the cleanest and nicest products on the market year in and out. The Refractors are great parallels to this product and add to the chase of finding tough rookie autographs. I did decently on these boxes, again with Chrome you are only getting 96 cards total in a Hobby box so building the 220 base set could be a little tougher with the mix of parallels and autographs in the product. You would need a few boxes to get close or hit the 220 mark. In my case I have a good start and so I will try to make a Chrome Base set. The Dynamic Die-Cuts are really nice added insert into this product. Somewhat like the Cutting Edge Stars in Bowman Platinum, these die-cuts standout and pictures don't do them justice at all. As of the Release there are 50 players to collect. A complete set of these would be really nice to display as part of any collection.
The Autographs I pulled were all rookies except for the Zack Cozart, and the signatures were all On-card (a Hobby favorite) which were all cleanly signed. The one thing I did notice on the base Autographs is that 2 of the 5 seemed to have a manufactured defect of the printing press. The lines on the card front were noticeable and not very appealing to them. However I noticed on the Refractors they did not have this and were very clean card faces. I hit two Sepia Refractors and 1 Red Refractor out of the 4 boxes from the case. Again if you are a Chrome collector you will be delighted in this product. The cards are nice and crisp, not bending like previous years past. And with the lineup of players this year and the addition of more autographs you can't go wrong. This is not one of the Higher end products for baseball but is certainly one that could temp those in the Higher-End market to dabble into the product like myself. in previous years I didn't really bother with Chrome. Don't get me wrong though as I've always enjoyed the On-Card autographs the past years. I just didn't buy boxes of it, instead bought in the secondary market for those players I wanted for my collection. This year though it turned me into a Chrome Collector for years to come, just because of the new product offerings in the this year that I know will continue down the road.
Overall I would say this is in the top 3 baseball products of the year and a definite buy for any collector looking to make sets or chase down those hard parallels or autographs.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.75 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 4.5/5 
Parallels: 4.5/5
Design: 5/5
Rookies: 4.5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Monday, August 20, 2012

Product Review: 2012-2013 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee Hockey Hobby Box

So I left this one alone on release day but had some interest from the beginning, but it was more about the Canadian Redemption instead of the Hobby box as a whole. Yes 2012-23 O-Pee-Chee have been released and are out there on the market for all. This set was a "maybe" purchase for me at Release day instead of the typical "Go get it" feeling. The base cards have a non-flashy design, but are looking more retro each year which is nice. Parallels are in the set with Rainbow and Black Rainbow foils, along with stickers and other inserts. New for this year were Team logo Patches and Autographs with the addition of Buy-Back Autographs.
Now the one thing about this product that is not available for everyone is the "Canadian Only" Red Parallel Wrapper Redemption. The Wrapper redemption only works through Upper-Deck "Approved" hobby stores and they are the only ones to send in the wrappers to Upper-Deck for the redemption packs. This is very tight on the process along with only available to Canadians. The redemption's will come in a 6 card pack which includes Red Parallels Cards from the 600 base set, with 1 All-Star card from a 50 card subset only through this wrapper redemption. The secondary market of these cards, sets should be pretty high. I will provide an update as to my redemption pack I receive in a future blog.
As for the O-Pee-Chee product it's self, it is a big Base set this year with 600 cards. This includes 43 Rookies and Marquee Legends included int he 600 base set. In addition to the 600 base card set there is also a Retro Parallel set of the same 600 base cards! In each box you will receive 32 of these which is one per pack. So with a huge base set, Upper Deck included the Rainbow foil Parallels which are loaded in each box as 8 per box with the Black Rainbow (which are very hard to tell from the front) numbered out of 100 with a serial number on the back of these cards. They also added in a 100 Sticker card set and a 50 card Pop-up set.
So a lot product for your money on this one. But again with low value boxes you always have a lower secondary market to go along with it. Now like other lower valued offerings this year Upper Deck has included Team Manufactured Patches and Autographs to the product. Now finding one of these is going to be tough as the Patches are 4 per case with different odds for the different variations of the patches from 1:125 packs to 1:14,056! And these are hot currently in the secondary market, lots of big money being throw around on these for the even the lower tiered patches. To join in the search are Autographs with the same tough pull odds from 1:240 packs to 1:7144 for the Team Canada Signatures. Not to mention they have Buy-Backs included in the product of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.
So looking through this at first glace it is a like it or leave it box to buy, but for Canadians we have an advantage with the Wrapper Redemption, so this is more of a reason to buy a box or two in order to obtain 50 wrappers for the redemption. With this in mind I took off to the local shop Monday to buy a couple of boxes and get the wrappers in. My shop had a number of boxes still from last Wednesday so I picked up 2 random boxes and here is my results:

Box #1:                                                                   Box#2:
Base cards: 184                                                      Base cards: 178
Marquee Rookie cards: 7                                         Marquee Rookie cards: 7
Marquee Rookie Veteran: 1                                     Marquee Rookie Veteran: 1
Rainbow: 8                                                             Rainbow: 8
Black Rainbow: 3                                                   Black Rainbow: 3
Pop-Up: 2                                                              Pop-Up: 2
Sticker cards: 10                                                    Sticker cards: 11
Marquee Legends: 8                                               Marquee Legends: 8
Retro Base: 26                                                       Retro Base: 26             
Marquee Rookie Retro: 3                                         Marquee Rookie Retro: 2
Marquee Legends Retro: 3                                       Marquee Legends Retro: 3
O-Pee-Chee Signatures: Jonathan Ericsson               Manufactured Patch: Calgary Flames (Modern)

Overall this was a really decent break for this product. I was happy with both boxes and the selection for each. The only difference was I had 1 Sticker card more in Box #2 which gave me 1 less Marquee Retro Rookie. I have gone through most of the base and I don't think either box had any doubles which is fantastic and a great start for anyone wanting to try the 600 card set. Both boxes I pulled hits out of which is really nice. Both aren't the big pulls but are both hard to find among a case so I will take this as a big win. Looking over the product again while writing the review and it isn't the flash of other sets but the photography is sharp on the base cards and the inserts and parallels give a good variety to the product. Aside from my Canadian exclusive Red Border pack that I will see later on, I'm very happy with this purchase, Upper Deck did a great job on this one and I would recommend this to any hockey fan out there.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs/Patches: 4/5 
Inserts/Parallels: 5/5
Design: 4.5/5
Rookies: 4.5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Saturday, August 18, 2012

How do you value your card collection?

Since the very first sports card was made back in 1869 up until 1984 with the very first Dr. James Beckett Monthly Price Guide what was used as the value of sports cards? I have asked several older collectors this question as it comes up each time I meet someone at a card show or run into them in the local hobby shop. 100% of the time the answer is the same, the love of that team or player had the highest value in the eyes of that collector.
Now with the internet you can find a different price for a card in multiple places. You have eBay listings, store websites, Beckett Online pricing, Collector forums, and auction warehouses. Along with the internet you have your local hobby shops and sports card shows with their own pricing as well.
Most people use Beckett for their value of a card. You will see advertisements within an eBay auction for "50% less than listed in Beckett monthly", the same can be said for Local card shops and dealers at card shows. Does the Beckett Monthly Price Guide hold the key to the value of your cards? It does in one way or another as most people will refer to the guide when making trades within collecting forums or with dealers/hobby shops. This has been the main reference for decades within the hobby, heck before the internet was born it was the only source to the card collecting world.

So the question still remains out to you; How do you value your collection? Are you more of the Pre-1984 type that values their collection with a more personal touch of nostalgia? Are you the type take the price in the guide to hold true and would not budge on it even for a friend? Or do you work with the market at that time and ride the trends? There are many ways to value your collection or cards you are looking to sell or flip to make some money towards the next product coming out.
The way I look at my personal collection is different from what I view my Flippers. For me I have a couple of personal collections on the go. I have a "Rainbow", Player, Team and set collection in the works right now. How I personally value these is a little different for each. For example the "Rainbow" collection is a player for the 2011 Topps Baseball set. Since it has been out for over a year I know it will be tough to find some of the parallels. Knowing this if I see one of those lower numbered cards I will take it for a higher price than I would have when the set was released. The Player collection is for a minor leaguer in baseball. Since he has very little cards in the community I am more laid back about getting some of them because I know once he's called up people will put them on forums or eBay to sell as he would be "trending" the market at that time. And as for the Team and set collections, there is no rush on grabbing those cards. Both are in plentiful amounts as lots or singles that there isn't a real rush to obtain them. Plus it is a little different when you are targeting on one certain player or "Rainbow" card as they are limited to what you can get after a product has been released for a while and even sometimes at the release with certain lower numbered parallels.
With Flippers I have found you can go one of two ways. First and most popular is get it out there when they are first released and populate the community. This creates an instant value for your card before pricing is even wet on the paper. Collectors have no idea what value a card has other than what the last one sold for. This can work for collectors but can also back fire. I have seen int he past when the community is flooded with new released cards before pricing is out int he market place and seen some cards go for a lot less than what the pricing is listing them at as well as auction end prices a month after a release. There are many variables to make this happen, but if you are a regular Flipper of cards you need to be on your game to make it work. Myself, I watch the trends of the market. Just as the stock market moves during a day the same happens within the sports card collecting world. Our market tends to have very high peaks when products are first released or if a player is on an MVP or championship run. other than those defining moments the market tends to even out a couple of weeks or a month after a new product is released. This is when I find the true value for cards. People aren't in panic mode to find those rare cards or complete their sets. More volume is out there but the pricing is very close between sellers that you can take your pick.

Looking at my wall of Beckett Price Guides (close to 100) from years past while writing this piece has given me another question to ask; Have you ever gone back and looked at an older Beckett Price Guide to see what a card was listed at near the products release or the prime of that players career? I have numerous times. In fact right now I'm looking at a 1990 July issue of Baseball Monthly. Looking back at that published magazine brings back memories. Lets give a couple of decent comparisons from that guide to this months guide (August 2012). The famous 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is listed for $7000.00 (High Column) as compared to this months guide at $30,000. 1988 Score Traded Mark Grace is listed at $35.00 compared to $8.00 in 2012. Just two examples of cards that both have had some events in years past to change the values on them both. But as a collector of either of these cards, do you value the Mantle at or above the $30,000 now that he has past? And do you still value the Mark grace card at the $35.00 value even though you could pick one up for $1.00 currently on eBay?
Collectors will always have a different point of view of their own collections value. This creates more good for the community than bad. It's the ones flipping for huge mark ups when a product goes live that cause an issue sometimes. So don't get bummed that a 2012 Finest Yu Darvish Rookie card was at a "Buy it Now" of $25.00 within the first couple of days of the product being live. The price will go down in the next couple of weeks and settle at the normal average price for that card. Hey it might just be the $25.00 but you never really know right away. To the person who owns it in their own collection whether it be a "Super" collector or baseball card collector, it could be worth much more to them.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gambler Giveaway Day August 12th 2012

Thank you for helping us reach 100+ Followers on Twitter!
To show our thanks today will be our first Gambler Giveaway day!

Those that have voted on our Blog for what you would like to see as the 100th Follower Giveaway favoured the Autographed Card or Collectible. 
So that will be the 100th Follower Random Giveaway item.

In addition to the Random Giveaway we will be selecting other followers to win other Giveaways as well. How many more? How about 4 Additional Random Giveaways!

In order to be eligible to win any of the Giveaways you will need to do the following:
1) Follow us on Twitter
2) ReTweet our Gambler Giveaway day Tweet.
3) Watch for Tweets sent out on Gambler Giveaway day which will be today; Sunday August 12th 2012 from 2-5pm EST

1) Each Follower will be eligible to win a Giveaway providing they follow us on Twitter and ReTweet the Gambler Giveaway Tweet.
2) Followers will not be eligible to win more than 1 Giveaway during the 100th Follower Giveaways.

And that's it, pretty simple to pickup a nice Giveaway today from The Pack Gambler

Below is a listing of the100th Follower Giveaway along with the 4 additional Giveaways. I think you'll be excited to jump on and hopefully win one of these on Gambler Giveaway day.

Giveaways - will be Random drawings of current Followers up to 2pm EST on August 12th 2012:

1) 2011-12 SP Authentic Lot & 2011-2012 Panini Rookie Anthology Lot - Team of your choice & 07-08 Upper Deck Mini Jersey Ryan Miller & 11-12 Rookie Anthology Draft Year Dual Jersey Simmons/Palmieri

2) 1983 4 Uncut Babe Ruth 20c US Stamps & 92-93 UD Then & Now 3 card lot - Yount, Eckersley & Ripken & '11 Bowman Chrome/Best 2 card lot Manny Machado & 09 Allen & Ginter's Box Topper - Netherlands & 2012 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection C.J. Wilson Game Used Jersey

3) 2012 Topps Football Prolific Players Autograph - Devon Still & 2012 Topps Football Player Worn Jersey - Stephen Hill & 2009 Topps Mayo Box Topper Jumbo Drew Brees

4) 2011-2012 Panini Rookie Anthology lot - Crown Royalty Robert Bortuzzo Autograph & Rivalry Dual Jersey Moore/Blum

100th Follower Random Draw: Dual Autographed Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Envelope of Fergie Jenkins & Gaylord Perry along with 2011 Topps USA Baseball 2 Autographed Card lot - Alex Bregman & Troy Conyers

Good Luck to all of our Followers on Gambler Giveaway Day! Thank you again for following and please continue to spread the word out as we will continue to bring you the best giveaways in the hobby as we expand our followers.


The Pack Gambler

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Product Review: 2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology Hockey Hobby Box

So this review comes a little late on this product. As I said in the video this was my third box of this product and it is really a nice assortment of inserts, parallels, relic and autograph cards. I was initially intrigued when my local hobby shop owner started exampling the product to me and that in each box there was a Box Topper sealed pack. A fifth hit? No way, companies don't do that anymore, do they? Well Panini sure did, and the Box Topper was either an Autograph, Autograph Relic or Relic card. How can you go wrong with 5 hits in a box that is around $100? You just can't nowadays.
Here is the general break down of a box; 10 packs per box, 5 cards per pack, 2 Autographs and 2 Relics, plus the Box Topper (Auto or Relic). In each pack you will find 1 Rookie Update card from another previously released series. These could be Pinnacle Ice Breakers, Crown Royale, or Calder Cup Contenders. In addition to these Base updates the Relics and Autographed Rookies could be from a previously release series as well. These being from Pinnacle Ice Breakers, Crown Royale, Calder Cup Contenders, Luxury Suite, Limited Phenoms, Crown Royale Silhouettes, Certified Freshman, and Bonus Autographs from other previously release sets from the past and current year. This is a packed product.
The Base set is only to 100 so for Set collectors this is decent set to try and obtain through boxes and buying singles online. Again this was my third box but this review will only be concerning the box I broke in the video.
Here are the Results:
Base: 41
Pinnacle Ice Breakers: (3) T.J. Brennan, Dmitry Orlov, Yann Sauve
Crown Royale: Ryan Thang
Calder Cup Contenders: Leland Irving /499
Rookie Treasures: Colton Sceviour Dual Jersey (Black) /499
Draft Year Combos Dual Jersey: Nick Palmieri & Wayne Simmonds (Both White jerseys)
Crown Royale Autograph: Robert Bortuzzo
Rookie Rivalry: John Moore Jonathon Blum (Both Blue jerseys)
Bonus Box Topper pack: Gabriel Landeskog Luxury Suite 2 color Patch/Autograph /99 (This is stated at 1 per case!)

In conclusion, this is my favorite product thus far for hockey. Even though it is a 2011-12 set the hits in this a great and when you can put in an addition hit for collectors, that is something special. The Base cards have a very nice design and the Rookie Update inserts into this product make it a fun break. The Box Topper I pulled was a case hit card and really nice. The Patch on it is very solid with white and Blue and numbered out of /99. And with the Rookie of the Year from last year,  this was a great pull to end the box. Again the relics I find in this product are really great, with the exception of having the same single color for both players on a dual. This product does have a load of signatures in it but mainly sticker autographs are to be found rather than on-card. I would highly recommend this product to buy for any collector.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.75 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 4.5/5 
Memorabilia: 4.5/5
Design: 5/5
Rookies: 4.5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Product Review: 2012 Topps Football

I have to say I wasn't planning on buying the 2012 Topps Football box until I saw a more in depth sell sheet and checklist of the product. It is loaded with goodies for everyone. A large base set of 440 is just the tip of the ice berg on these product. I always find it is way better to go Jumbo box on the Topps regular releases than the normal hobby box version. You get way more cards, subsets and hits. This year in the Jumbo box you will get 10 packs with 50 cards in each. The hits are 2 Autographed cards and 1 Relic per box.
If your an insert/subset collector you will have a field day on trying to obtain all of these cards. 18 in total from Hobby and Retail boxes, this doesn't even count for the 23 Autographed or Relic sets within the product. Did I mention this was loaded?
In addition, Topps has continued the Variation line with both Veterans and Rookies being produced. It was made aware that some players will have 2 different variations to find. This also has translated into some of these being Super Short Printed, but it is still early on the breaks so this might change.
Adding to the hunt is the exclusive Golden Ticket. Only 10 of these are out there and your prize could be an RGIII or Andrew Luck Autographed Football or your very own 2013 Topps Football card. Topps started these with the 2012 Bowman and have been a huge hit on the secondary market if found.
Lastly, Topps is going the Baseball route again with adding the Game Time Giveaway cards. These are going to run the same way Baseball was run where as you enter a code for a "Real or Virtual" Prize. Team Tokens and Players I'm sure will be involved with this promotion as well as real cards you can obtain. From the recent info you could receive a Die-cut card or even Autographed cards of certain players. The Website currently is not available until the time-frame of August 13th - 20th, so we might have to wait a bit to find out more info on these card codes.
So again with the info I read through I decided the best bet was the Jumbo Hobby Box. It gives me the best chances of the big hits and provides 28% more cards than the regular hobby box. Going into the break I was looking for some decent player hits for either the Auto's or relic, RGIII or Luck RC and maybe a nice low numbered Parallel card.
Lets see what the outcome was;
Base: 314
Base Rookies: 116
Base Black Parallel: Michael Bush /57
Base Pink Parallel: Casey Hayward /399
Base Camo Parallel: Greg Little /399
Base Gold Parallel: 5 cards /2012
Variation Card(s): 0
Rookie Patch Card: Stephen Hill (2 colour swatch)
Rookie Premier Autographs: Nick Toon /90
QB Immortals Inserts: 9 (2 doubles)
Paramount Pairs: 10 (2 doubles)
Prolific Playmakers: 11
Prolific Playmakers Autograph: Devon Still
QB Rookie Reprint Inserts: 9
1965 Topps Reprint inserts: 10
Gametime Code Giveaways: 11

This was a big box break. 500 cards to work through and see if any Photo variations were in there and then sorting out the inserts, parallels and base. This years design is really nice and I like it is different from the Baseball design. In recent years they have shared the same until now. This is a bonus for me, really stands out and speaks to us as collectors wanting this change. Topps did a great job on the inserts and subsets for this product as well. Even though there are so many to collect, the quality of them were nicely selected.  I really think the Camo and Pink Parallels are going to be a hit among collectors. They are really cool in person and I personally like the Pink cards and what they stand for. For each of these you can collect the base set players. The Autograph of Devon Still was a sticker autograph and not too excited about it, but the Nick Toon was a cool card to pull. It was on-card auto'd and numbered to /90. very nice design and signature to boot. The one down side on this break was my Rookie Patch card of Stephen Hill. It stated on the card it was a Patch but the relic is a 2 color swatch of white and green. In no way is this a patch as stated on the box and info sheet. I'm not sure if all the cards are like this or not but this was a disappoint for me. The Giveaway codes in each pack can be redeemed (once the site is available) for Virtual and Real cards. Full details have not yet been released so hopefully I can redeem a nice real card out of those 11 to add to the value of the box. Overall I would buy this again if looking to complete a set, but not to be looking for a hit.

Gambler Overall Rating: 3.92 out of 5
Cost: 4.5/5
Autographs: 4/5 
Memorabilia: 2.5/5
Design: 5/5
Rookies: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 3.5/5

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Product Review: 2011-12 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection

Looking for a High-End product with minimal cards? Well you have one in the 2011-12 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection. For around $100 you will get 1 Pack with 4 premium cards. Each Box/Pack will contain the following: 1 Autograph card, 1 Numbered Memorabilia card, 1 Numbered Rookie Card, and 1 Numbered Base card. So do you want to gamble on these packs? You need to let any expectations you have on pulling a big hit covering your $100 out the window.
Even though the Base set is numbered to 399, you still need to have a decent player pulled in order to get some value out of them. The Rookies provide some stable value in this product with them falling one per pack with a run of /399, along with a chance to pull an Autograph /299, SP Autograph /99, Autographed Patch /35, Autographed Patch SP /25 or Autographed NHL Shield 1/1. The stated odds are that within a 15 box case you would pull a minimal of 4 patch cards and 1 autographed memorabilia card. not too bad odds with every other box bringing in a big hit.
The Autographed cards this year bring back the fan favourite Ultimate Signatures along with a case hit 1997 Legends Signatures. As for the rest of the Autographs; they will be parallels in regards to Nicknames /25, Autographed Dual Jerseys /10, Autographed Patches /10 and Autographed Dual Patches /5. if your ripping these packs/boxes these are the ones you want to pull out for your Auto hit.
Lastly the Memorabilia cards range in numbering from at the highest /200 down to /10. These will be covered by an assortment of parallels of Single, Duos, and Trios Jersey cards for both Veterans and Rookies. Patch cards will also follow the same pattern of Single, Duos, and Trios for Rookies and Veterans. The interesting Memorabilia out of this product are the larger pieces. Jumbo Swatches /35, Jumbo Premium Patches /25. Jumbo Autographed Debut Threads /50 and Over-sized Debut Threads Patches /100 should provide some good value on the secondary market for this product. People love their big sized game used memorabilia.
So are you still intrigued enough to buy a Box/Pack? These are the Boxes/Packs I love to buy, the gamble is high on them for the cost but the return could be great if you pull that hit. With the recent sales on eBay in the first day I was a little discouraged in buying a box. The prices for some really nice Auto's and Memorabilia patches were going for much lower than I anticipated. After a little more research on the previous years this product has come out I bought one. The potential of pulling a big hit is pretty good and I figure if I get a decent looking Patch or Swatch I might just keep it in the collection instead of flipping it.
So here is what I just opened and the results:

Base card: Jaromir Jagr /399
Rookie card: Carl Hagelin /399
Memorabilia Card: Chris Pronger Jumbo Swatch /35
Autographed Card: Brendan Smith Rookie on-card /299

So all done within a few seconds of opening the pack. The cards themselves are a nice thick stock used. Designs are nice but a little plain for a high-end product. Sadly, not too happy with the results of this one. The Pronger Swatch is big but all black and nothing special other than numbered /35. The Brendan Smith Rookie Auto is ok but again out of /299 so I don't think the value will be there for him. These could be the results of a High-end minimal cards box/pack so it is a gamble on these ones. I took the gamble and lost on this one.

Gambler Overall Rating: 3.33 out of 5
Cost: 3/5
Autographs: 3.5/5 
Memorabilia: 3.5/5
Design: 3/5
Rookies: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 3/5

Monday, August 06, 2012

Buying Blasters better than Hobby Boxes?

More and more recently we have seen the Blaster Box popularity increase within the collector community. Companies are following this trend and pushing them out to retailers for almost every brand and sport. The questions that have come up are: "Why is the Blaster becoming so popular?" and "Is it better to buy Blaster or Hobby nowadays?"
I for one, have not been too intrigued by Blasters in the past. You would mainly get stuck with a bunch of base cards, inserts and the odd retail subset. The "Off market Companies" (which I like to call them) offer Blasters with different selected hobby packs of a sport or multi-sports with a chance to pull a Game Used or Autographed card. Of course they would always show a Pujols or Brady card on the front of the boxes to entice people to buy. It never seemed worth it to spend $15-30 on a blaster when you could put that towards a hobby box and receive more for your money.

Jumping back to 2008 I did notice a change with Blasters, in particularly with Topps. This year I noticed they were adding a Game Used card within each Blaster. This was something new, guaranteed and very hot within the collecting world. Most people would pull a common Jersey or Bat card but you did hear of the odd person pulling an above average hit in the Blasters.
Following the 2008 Blaster guarantees were more Game Used cards, Extra packs of higher end product, Special Rookie card Parallels, Manufactured/Commemorative Patches and Retail Parallels. Blasters have now created their own market for the hobby. Companies now were hitting on all cylinders too. They knew the set/team/player collectors would want those Retail Parallels to complete their collection, and they knew Game Used is still a strong product within trading and secondary markets. Plus this was also expanding their target market to the retail shoppers, some of which were in the hobby before but stopped going to Hobby shops or maybe they didn't have one around. The main target is the kids though. This has been lost in the hobby and we need to have the next generation pick the hobby up again. They are going to drive the hobby well after we are gone, and buying cards when we were kids and having the accessibility to them is much different nowadays and harder to reach them.

The value within the Blaster boxes can vary, but you are in much better odds now than previous years. Take 2012 Allen & Ginter for instance, every time I read a Box Bust review or topic on the blasters people were coming away with really decent pulls. In fact a couple of the postings had better hits in a Blaster than one of a Hobby box. Could this be really true? Blasters becoming better places to find hits?
Well it turns out that 2012 Blasters are a better chance to pull those tougher hits in some of the products. We've seen Dual Autographs, Ginter Autographs, and above average Relics pulled in all of the 2012 releases so far. Allen & Ginter seem to be leading the way with those better odds of pulling a decent hit in a blaster over the others but even still blasters seem to be the way to go.
As for the "Off Market Companies"; I feel like you can have some decent hits coming out of the guaranteed blasters. Keep in mind though, most of these Blasters are dealing with older over stocked product that boxes were busted and pulled into the blasters. I recently bought one of these blasters a month ago where I posted the packs and cards I received. For the $25 it cost me to take a chance on pulling a graded card it didn't really pan out. The Yzerman Jersey card was a decent pull for a Blaster of this type, but the value as a whole was not worth it.

For me it is a little harder to buy a decent Blaster in Canada of any sport. Hockey is mostly offered at retail for us, but we have seen a Blaster of baseball and a rack pack here more recently this year at the local Walmart. I bought a Blaster with a split of 2012 Heritage and Topps Series 1. I was shocked when I saw them so of course I had to pick one of those up. It was more for the "Wow we actually have baseball blasters?" factor than the search for a Blaster hit factor. I didn't do too badly on the Heritage side with pulling a C.J. Wilson Relic which was a surprise. The Topps side was nothing special but I pull pull that hit in the Blaster.
Question is would I buy it again? Maybe, if we were to ever get a Ginter blaster up here I might be tempted to buy it since we have hardly any Baseball Blasters up here. When I take the occasional trip to the US I do run into a local Walmart and see the Blasters offered and pick one up just for fun.

In the long run currently I would stick to my Hobby box buying over Blasters. I find the value is much better with the Hobby boxes and you know what you are getting in the boxes over the Blasters. Now being The Pack Gambler this might weird for me to say since I love the gamble on busting products. I just find if I had $200 to spend on Blasters or 1 Hobby Box/1 Pack I would take the latter of the two. For the value of the Hobby Box or Single High-End pack I like the odds much better than the Blasters. Keeping in mind Blasters aren't that cheap either, the average Blaster retails for $20 so with 10 Blasters for the $200 I might come away with 2-4 hits on average. This is very similar odds with Hobby boxes or High-End packs, which typically sell much better on the secondary market than a card pulled from a Blaster.

In conclusion I believe that Blasters are a key part to the hobby. It brings the kids back into the hobby which was lost when cards started becoming scarce in convenience stores and retailers. From a collectors point of view, you can take it or leave it, but the kids are key. I like the way companies are marketing the Blasters with hits and extra bonuses to draw interest. This will only continue down the road which will improve the industry. I know a lot of people buy Blasters only and have a great time with it, they are fun to bust open and are cheaper than buying a Hobby box. Collecting and busting boxes should always be fun, whether Blaster, Hobby Box or Packs the fun must be there. In the debate of Blaster or's really up to the collector in you.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Review: 2012 Panini Score Football Hobby Box

Another new release last week was 2012 Panini Score Football. Being a very low tiered product I tend to stay away from these. In the past these were mainly low cost fun to put a set together and be done with it. This year Panini took a low end product to another level with Score Football. The Basics are 36 packs per box with 7 cards per pack. In those 36 packs you would receive a combination of 24 Rookie cards (#301-400), 6 Parallel's, 25+ inserts, and 1 Glossy card per pack (36 total).
From the basic low product specs this is pretty much normal for these releases. The differences that Panini included into 2012 Score were going above the average low end product. The additions were Rookie Flashback Reprints, Printing Plates, Autographs, Serial numbered inserts from /32 down to /6 and Rookie Picture Variations.
This was something new that hadn't been done too often in the past. It was a fresh change to have these added into this product. Now the odds are very tough on the Printing Plates and the lower serial numbered cards but it is still worth a shot at $1 per pack. The Rookie Picture variations are a neat fixture into this rookie class, not to mention the retro Rookie Flashback Reprints. Those really sold me on the product, love seeing those older rookie cards with a different picture on the front.
I decided to purchase 3 boxes of the product once I read over the details. The 3 boxes cost just around $100 so this was one of my cheaper trips to the local card shop. Mind you the store owner almost fell over when I asked him for 3 boxes of it instead of buying a box of something higher end.
Due to prior obligations I wasn't able to bust the boxes until Friday, which was a good thing because you need some time on these boxes to sort and rip them. The boxes themselves look like average small retail boxes rather than typical Hobby boxes, and for Panini products, these packs I found easier to open than others.
After ripping through 108 packs with 756 cards I needed a break. It wasn't one of the more fun breaks but did have it's moments looking for this years hot rookies. Here is a breakdown of what I received in my 3 boxes
Box #1:                                                Box #2:                                            Box #3:
Rookie Cards: 36                                 Rookie Cards: 36                             Rookie Cards: 36
Rookie Variation: 1                              Rookie Variation: 1 (Luck)                 Rookie Variation: 1
Glossy cards: 44 (RGIII Hot RC)         Glossy cards: 44                               Glossy cards: 44 (RGIII)
Hot Rookies: 6                                    Hot Rookies: 6                                 Hot Rookies: 6
Complete Players: 4                            Complete Players: 4                          Complete Players: 4
In the Zone: 6                                      In the Zone: 6                                    In the Zone: 6
Gold Zone: 4                                       Gold Zone: 4                                     Gold Zone: 4
Numbers Game: 4                               Numbers Game: 4                              Numbers Game: 4
Scorecard: 4                                       Scorecard: 4                                      Scorecard: 4
Rookie Flashback: 1                           Rookie Flashback: 1                           Rookie Flashback: 1
Artist's Proof: 1 (/32)                           Artist's Proof: 0                                  Artist's Proof: 1 (/32)

As for the Base cards I was trying to put together the complete set, with the 3 boxes I figured I would have a good shot at that. I did fall short though even with all those cards. Missed 17 from the Base set and 24 Rookies. The Base doubles were a bit too much for my liking with 141 Base doubles and 31 Rookie Doubles. I was really hoping that the doubles would not be this high, plus I thought I could make a 300 card base set with 3 boxes. This was a little discouraging in that regard but maybe I put too much into this product.
A couple of things I did notice which were similar on all 3 boxes. One is that the Rookie variation picture card will be the Rookie card sorted before that last 2 cards in the pack. The sequence went 4 Base cards, 1 Insert, 1 Rookie, 1 Glossy. The Variation was placed in the Insert slot of the pack. This way you know when buying a box which one is different without going through each rookie you received and matching photos.
The Second thing I noticed is you would sometimes receive 2 Glossy cards in a pack. In each box I received 44 Glossy cards, from Base, Inserts and Rookies. I was surprised at this due to the original odds at 1 per pack. Again when opening the packs, because the glossy are a little hard to tell on the Inserts just look a little closer at them and with almost 2 per pack your bound to miss a couple when opening.
The Third noticeable thing about these assortments was on the RGIII and Andrew Luck RC's. I received 1 Luck in the first box, 2 Luck's (RC and Variation) in the second box, and 1 RGIII (Glossy) and 1 Luck in the third box. Of course these are the two guys people want so I knew they wouldn't be put into the same box often or might not even show up in a box or two in a case. The good news is your bound to hit either one of them in 1 box. For me on three boxes RGIII was a harder pull to get.

So on the lower end purchase of 3 2012 Panini Score Hobby boxes I was pleased, but felt a little empty once all done and said. I was really hoping to build a complete set of the Base and just have to look for a few Rookies to finish it off. Being left with 41 total cards missing from the complete set is ok but not expected with a low end product. I wasn't expecting an autograph or low number parallel so when I hit 2 Artists Proof's numbered out of 32 it was a bit of a surprise. Again I was mainly going after this for a Set Building project so I really can't complain too much about it from that perspective. If you plan on buying a box or two to try and score a big hit you won't, but you will have some fun and some sorting to do afterwards. You would need a case break to try for a Autograph and the math alone on the amount of packs and cards would kill me before I write another review so I'll stay with my search for the remaining 41 cards.

Gambler Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Set Builder: 3.5/5 
Parallels: 3.5/5
Design: 3/5
Rookies: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 3.5/5

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Review: 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball

Last Wednesday was yet another release for Topps in their baseball lineup. 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball, a very crisp and reflective product to get the ball rolling into the coming releases of Finest, Topps Chrome, and Bowman Chrome. Last years release I wasn't too impressed. The design of the cards was a little dull, and the Relics and Autographed cards seemed to not have that extra "sparkle" to make me want to buy a box.
I was hoping that Topps would change it up for this years release and when the sell sheets came out they looked great. The base card design was fresh and sleek, the die-cut inserts were a plus and the autographed and relic cards looked fantastic. Parallels of prospects and veterans were included, along with Jumbo patches, a Bryce Harper Bat barrel and redemptions for 53 game used memorabilia from the Arizona Fall league! This product was not only a great looking set but was loaded with goodies.
How could someone say no to a box like this? With chances to pull in some big cards and future all-stars of the game it is a no brainer.
The Hobby box contains 20 packs with 5 cards per pack. The hits are 2 Autographs and 1 Autographed relic per box. The 2 autographs are mainly rookies or future stars with on-card autographs for them. You do have a chance to pull a Purely Platinum Veteran card numbered 1/1, Die-cut veteran /25, dual autographs /50, triple autographs /10 and a Hexagraph book card with 6 autographs numbered out of 10. As for the relic autographed hits, these are 1 per box and come with a sticker autograph (at least from the majority of what I have seen), and are a mix of veterans and future stars.
When I bought this box I wasn't looking for the "white whale" to flip, this was more for future value and looking at the prospects. Of course you can't help but want that Harper bat barrel or a jumbo patch to flip but I tried to put that out of my head on this box bust and look forward to the on-card autographs of the future stars of the game. 

Here is what I received out of my box:
Base cards: 55 (0 doubles)
Rookies: 12 (including Cespedes and Harper)
Base Gold: 3 (Holliday, Jennings, Ichiro)
Base Emerald: 2 (Lester, Harper)
Base Ruby: 1 (Mesoraco)
Prospects: 11
Prospect Refractors: 5
Prospect Refractors Emerald: 1 (Kevin Mathews /399)
Prospect X-Fractors: 1 (Bryce Brentz)
Top Prospects: 4
Cutting Edge Stars Die-cut: 2 (Freeman, Nova)
Autographed Prospect: 2 (Greg Bird, Yazy Arbelo) 
Autographed Relic: 1 (Tyler Thronburg Redemption)

After the box bust I was a little sad it was over. This was a fun rip and had some decent cards in it, I wanted to open more. The Autographed Prospect cards of Greg Bird and Yazy Arbelo were on-card autographs, with both having really decent signatures. The Redemption for the Thronburg Relic autograph was ok but on the lower end of the those on the checklist. The parallels look good too, the base Gold are a little hard to tell from the regular base cards. The Emerald Harper and Ruby Mesoraco look really nice and stand out. 
I was pleased with this box overall but again it is more of a keeper or trade bait box than a flip for profit. If your looking for a really nice design and some future rookies this is the box for you. 

Gambler Overall Rating: out of 5
Cost: 4/5
Autographs: 4/5 
Memorabilia: 3/5
Design: 5/5
Rookies: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5