For a long time now we have heard from buyers and sellers of sports cards that there is a trick or multiple tricks to buying the right box or case. Unless proven to you in person or documented, you really can't just take the word of the hobby sometimes. All collectors would love to have the odds in their favour and be able to pull those massive hits in a box or case, it really mess's around with our buying if we here of certain "whispers" within the hobby of tricks.
With most products now having a serial number attached to each box and case, it is very easy for the card companies to know what cards are in each of those cases down to the box. The main reason for this is to ensure quality control with the end consumers (you and me) on damaged or missing cards within a box or case. This is also to prevent boxes/cases from being sold outside of hobby shops, control of who sells the products is becoming more important to the card companies than in years past.
So have you heard of a Myth or Superstition in buying products? I think I ran out of counting how many I've heard a few years back. I have to say though that I have tried a couple of them and even came up with a few of my own over the years. Some were bang on and others were so far off that I forgot what I was looking for.
Recently I heard of one collector that buys based on numbers on the boxes. Panini specifically has a different serial number on each box they produce. So he simply looks for his number and buys only if the numbering is in the serial number. In his case he looks for the number 44, if it shows up anywhere on the box or case he is buying he rips it. He's been very lucky in the past with serial numbers having 44 in it so that is his own theory. I thought I would give it a try recently and found my number and ripped a box, read my review on 2012 Panini Prominence and see how I did.
Just like collecting everyone has their way of picking product. One guy I know has to have the 4th box pulled out from a case. Another collector buys his products on an even numbered day and has to have an even numbered serial number on the product. This other collector picks the highest serial number between the boxes and buys it. Another one I heard of was a collector who lived on the East Coast but was a West Coast fan of teams. He would only buy products that were shipped from the West Coast because he thought they would have more of the local teams in the product then any other spot selling products.
A lot of this boils down to superstitions in buying, but others seem to have cracked some sort of code and not stop using their method. I have to agree on the serial number ideas out there, if you do pull really decent cards every time out of the same set of numbers you have to stick with it. You can't back down on history because it's proven, until of course you start running down a very long bad streak and need to change it up.
The only one who truly knows where everything is? The companies themselves. They have to know and if you hear any different someone is trying to fool you. Now of course there have been theories out there that only the big distributors receive the best cases or boxes of certain products, but I don't think that is the case (at least not anymore). Being up in Canada it sometimes gets hard to find Baseball products in plentiful quantities, so you buy what you can and open it up. And believe me I've seen some great cards pulled, especially the last two years. heck even the other day at the hobby shop someone pulled a Bryce Harper Finest Autograph.
Going forward there will always be more superstitions than hard core facts about buying boxes. You really don't know for sure what you will pull out of a box these days. Unless you buy products by the case it's a crap shoot on what you pull. I love hearing stories from other collectors on their own tricks/superstitions on buying product. I hope that never changes as it has been one of those never ending stories within the community for years.