Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Story behind that PC find Part 1 - Jackie Robinson

Being a collect of HOF Baseball players, Jackie Robinson is one of my favorites. I think it might have started when I wrote a book report about him in high school. Only during the research for the report, was it the first time I read about the stories of the great legend.

This fondness carried over into collecting cards of Mr. Robinson. Two of my favorite pieces I own have simple stories of how I obtained them, but thought I would share them with you to kick start this series of "The Story Behind that PC find"

The first card up is a 2012 Topps Triple Threads Game Used Bat card #'d 33/36. I was searching through COMC one day and noticed some new cards being listed for Triple Threads. within a few minutes this Robinson card came up. The price of it was $35.00, I couldn't believe it. What an amazing price for a cool card. I should have just bought it outright as it was something I wanted and didn't want to take a chance on losing it. However sometime you feel as a collector to try and get a little less than the asking price. So I offered $25.00. I tried not to low ball the offer and put it in a good starting range. Thankfully the seller came back right away with a counter offer of $30.00. Again I thought about grabbing it for the $30, but instead I decided to try one more offer of $28.00. After I put through the offer I thought I was stupid to try it again, this was a card I really wanted and I shouldn't have put it on a hunch the seller would accept. The seller did come back fairly quickly and accepted the offer. I was ecstatic, to be able to grab a great memorabilia card of one of my favorite HOF players and for a great price. The card is in great shape and might be having it graded sometime down the road.

The next card was obtained in a trade through the Beckett trading forums about 3 or 4 years ago. At the time I was looking for older cards for my collection and looking for any of the HOF players. Trading through the Beckett forums/trading area is just like any other forum. There is a risk in regards to the person your dealing with and also your hopeful the cards show up in the condition that you have been advised of from the other person. This 1955 Topps Jackie Robinson was posted in a forum post along with other items for trade. I noticed it by chance while looking through the posts and contacted the trader right away. I asked about the condition and asked for other pictures of the card. The seller was more than happy to provide them to me so that I could see the shape of the card. It wasn't in the best condition and had visible creases on the front of the card. Regardless of the condition of the card I really wanted to have it, I had yet to see one up for trade in forums (at the time) and they were also scarce on eBay. After a number of e-mails back and fourth we decided on a trade value of $50.00. I was happy with this price. It was a card that was hard to find with a heavy BV cost even for lower end graded cards. I have never had a problem with trading in the BV range and even going over in order to get a card that I really wanted. He was happy also as he found $50.00 worth of cards from what I had in my trading list. I threw in a couple others as well to give him a little extra for working out a good BV price with me. When the card arrived it was a great day. As much as it's damaged it's one of the few cards in the center piece of my collection. Not sure what grade this would get but it will be another one for the list to have graded for the PC.

Part 2 of the series "The story behind that PC find" will be out next week.

Thank you for your support towards The Pack Gambler
Make sure to visit our storefront at, or our COMC account ThePackGambler 

If you have any similar stories about one of your PC cards or items please send us an e-mail and let us know at We might feature you in an upcoming story. 

MASSIVE BLOWOUT SALE ON December 30th - January 5th

To help move out of 2013 into 2014 we're having a Massive Blowout Sale starting tomorrow December 30th on 

Everything in our store will be heavily discounted to clear out our stock for new items coming in for 2014 on

Be sure to get in early tomorrow morning and grab some amazing deals before their gone. Sale will end January 5th but don’t wait to get in on these blowout deals


Monday, December 23, 2013

New blog series about to start: "The Story behind that PC find"

Here at The Pack Gambler we are looking more in depth into hobby other than Product news, reviews and updates. A new series we have developed is called "The Story behind that PC find".

This series will look into the details of how we have obtained certain cards within our collection as well as collector stories who follow The Pack Gambler.

There isn't any guidelines as to the book value amount, sport, or players which we will profile. These stories are ones we thought might be interesting to our fellow collectors to read.

The series will start this week and continue throughout 2014. Be on the lookout for these blog stories.

If you'd like to participate, send us an e-mail:  and tell us a little bit about your story. If your story will fit in our series we'll let you know and look for more details to help write your PC find.

Thank you for your support towards The Pack Gambler
Make sure to visit our storefront at, or our COMC account ThePackGambler 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Expired Redemption Entry Update from: 2008-09 Upper Deck SPx Hockey

You might recall back in June we busted a Retro box of 08-09 Upper Deck SPx Hockey. From this break we pulled an expired redemption for a Autographed FlashBack Fabrics Ray Bourque (Expired 12/19/2010). We sent Upper Deck an e-mail a few days later and asked what they could do. The answer they provided was that "Unfortunately we do not honor expired redemption's and they were holding a raffle for expired redemption customers." One of these raffles was in Toronto at the Sports Card Expo.

I went on the Saturday and asked what I had to do with my expired redemption. Initially I was advised to just put my name on the redemption and that they had redemption hours at the show pulling some items from their showcases. I asked if I should put my address and e-mail on it and they said no. I thought this was a little strange and decided to do it anyways. I couldn't stay for the redemption hour on the Saturday so I figured worst case it would go back to California with them and maybe be pulled at a later date.

The other day I received a small package from Upper Deck. inside I found a letter stating that the redemption card entry was pulled as a winner. Not really sure if it was pulled at the show and I just wasn't there or back at the office. If it was pulled at the show it's a shame I wasn't around as it could have been something pretty good to take home. Never the less, having an expired redemption card replaced is a nice thing.
The replacement card was a 2008-09 SP Authentic Nikolai Kulemin Future Watch on-card Autograph /999. Not too bad of a card, not the same BV replacement but coming in from the same year so can't expect much. Maybe it's a Leafs card due to being at the Toronto Fall Expo? Or maybe was just in a pill of redemption replacements. Again, it is nice to have a replacement and to be happy with anything instead of an expired redemption card.

Thank you for your support towards The Pack Gambler
Make sure to visit our storefront at, or our COMC account ThePackGambler 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Why you should be excited to collect Baseball cards in 2014

When MLB decided to extend their relationship with Topps for the next 7 years back in March, collectors were upset. They missed the diversity, competition, and they didn't enjoy the way Topps recently has dealt with collectors. For those die-hard collectors (myself included), they were subjected to either stick it out or possibly leave the hobby. However a new possibility opened up for collectors, and this came with the name Panini.

It all started innocently in 2012 with Panini bringing releasing news of National Treasures Baseball. Collectors were a little stunned that they heard Panini was releasing a baseball product. How will they compete against Topps? How could they go against not having a MLB licence? Not only did they use their own established MLBPA licence to the fullest, but they pulled out all the stops from Hall of Fame players with Cut Autographs, Jumbo relics and a number of other goodies including Bat Knobs. Yes Panini went for a Home Run and hit a Grand slam with collectors. This was only the first of many small steps to come.

In 2013, Panini released Prizm Baseball and it was a hit with collectors. Panini again used it's MLBPA licence to the best of their ability to bring collectors an alternative to Topps. Using very creative photos and sharp designs, Prizm was able to attract collectors and have them jump on board for future releases. Going retro and bringing back Pinnacle this year was another brilliant move by Panini. Collectors love the look and sense of Retro products coming back into the market place and this was just as well received as Prizm was.

Mixed in with Golden Age, Cooperstown Collection and Hometown Heroes, Panini has created their own decent market share of Baseball collectors. The way they have done it over the last couple of years is truly amazing. No other company would even attempt to try this and if they would, none of them would come close to what Panini has accomplished.

Now as for a baseball collector what does this mean going forward? The game has changed, no longer will you be subjected to only one company holding all of the cards (had to throw that in somewhere in this piece). Bigger selection, greater number of choices, and a better opportunity to collect current stars and Hall of Famers. This is one of the best times to be collecting Baseball cards. It's exciting and interesting waiting to see what's next from either of the companies. Topps has to try and keep up the level of interest while not breaking their own business model and stance as the leader in MLB licensed cards. And Panini continues to bust out new and innovative ways to bring collectors closer to their baseball products using their own unique ways.

2014 products are already being worked on by both companies and for a collector of baseball I can't wait to see what they have in store for us. I'm more excited to hear from the Panini this coming year just because they have done a fabulous job on attracting hardcore baseball collectors away from Topps and also increased other sport collectors into trying baseball. A prediction for 2014 would be that Panini brings us another product like National Treasures that blows us away. Starting off with Select in December and Donruss in February is not too shabby of a way to start a great 2014 campaign.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ever hit that "Lull" in the hobby?

You know what I'm talking about, we've all had that feeling at one time or another. It could have started with that eBay auction you lost in the last 5 seconds to complete your rainbow parallel set of a certain player or team. It could have started when the new products didn't just do it for you design or value wise. Maybe the hobby has become too expensive or hard to find products in your area. Whatever it was, we've all had this feeling.

It's something that you can't really explain or compare to, but collectors within the hobby can relate to each other. Recently I've had that spell on me for the last month or so. This time there really wasn't anything that triggered it, I guess it was just time for it to come around. The last time I had this feeling I left the hobby for three years and did unrelated hobbies like collecting NASCAR Die-cast, building plastic model cars and planes.

The last time I was just bored with what I was collecting at the time. I had a pretty impressive Troy Tulowitzki Collection, a decent Baseball HOF collection of game used and autographs and a decent amount of other PC cards I've been collecting over the years. It came to a point where I needed to change some things up, and so I did. I sold everything I had of Tulowitzki except for 25 cards, sold or traded away my Baseball HOF collection except for a Ty Cobb game used bat card, and sold the rest of my PC or gave cards away. Looking back now I wish I didn't go that far, but we learn as we go on in the life of a collector.

Looking back on that time and comparing it to the present it is much different. I'm not bored within the hobby, not really looking to start any new PC collection or expand my current Baseball HOF too much, and don't have a need to just sell everything away or giveaway the cards I have on hand. This is much different, and I don't want to leave the hobby and do something else. It might have to do with The Pack Gambler business side of things this time. I find a lot of my collecting habits have now been changed to match with The Pack Gambler business since we launched in April with the website. Previously we were writing our blog and providing some detail on reviews or view points within the industry. Now we buy mainly for the site which includes products for Box Breaks, Singles, and Sets. Our habits outside of The Pack Gambler have decreased with this hobby lifestyle of buying, which I believe might be part of the reason I feel this way.

Recently we had our Fall Sport Card Expo in Toronto, the last of the big shows of the year. I was really excited to go and meet up with some Gambler Followers, talk with the companies, search out some deals and buy into the redemption promotions going on. This would end up to be the first time that I didn't spend over $50 at an Expo. That's not to say that the Panini or Upper Deck redemption's weren't worth it or that the products I didn't like, it was far from that. It was that lull that I felt in collecting again. There were some deals that I found in both the sports and non-sports card world along with the odd memorabilia piece that would be cool to have. I just didn't have that "I want that" feeling, and not only at the Expo did this happen. It was a few weeks before hand as well of having this feeling.

I met up with @LongFlyBall (Twitter handle) at the Expo and I started talking about the "lull" I have currently within the hobby. During this conversation I've coined a new phrase "Collectors know collectors". About 5 seconds into talking he knew exactly what I was talking about. That indescribable feeling that we have from time to time within the hobby, this was the first time in a while that I talked about it with a fellow collector. I felt relieved that he knew what I was going through. Just so happens that he too was going through it at the same time. Here were two collectors at the biggest sports card show in Canada with two major releases of Hockey cards talking about not buying anything (or at least very little) and being in this lull state. What were the odds on that? I did pick up a few things for the PC and a retro box of hockey to bust open for fun, but not 1 box for a wrapper redemption or an expensive memorabilia piece.

This time around I won't be selling or trading away my PC or anything we have currently in stock. I'm going to ride this lull out and see what happens. Besides, even if I nothing left in the PC and went onto something else I'd be drawn back into the hobby sometime down the road. So instead of making a mistake or two with the current collection, keeping things in check seems to be the best thing to do. Plus it makes an interesting study to write an update once the lull has past.

A piece of advice for anyone that has felt this way about the hobby, or any other collecting hobby that you might have. There will always be that time when you could say this is enough. What you do at that time and how you move forward is what will stick with you in the long run. Making a decision either to stick it out or walk away can have both benefits and disadvantages. If you have no regrets with your decision then you've made the right one. For now I don't have any regrets with sticking it out. The lull will pass in time and so will the feeling to spend less and then I'll go after that new piece of memorabilia that will be great with my current collection. How long that is? Well that's a different story, only time will tell how long it will be and when the next lull will come around again.

The Pack Gambler

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why own sporting memorabilia? Written by guest blogger: Isabelle Riley

Here's a short piece written by Isabelle Riley asking the question "Why own sporting memorabilia?" Isabelle is a guest blogger for us and is currently writing for HTFM ( A company based out of Australia that brings some pretty cool framing ideas to the sporting and entertainment world of collecting.   

Why own sporting memorabilia?

Owning sporting memorabilia is not just about owning a signed baseball or a bat, it’s about the connection you have to that particular game or the player. Owning the ball from a 1970’s game when you were born in 1985 probably won’t have as much personal value as a signed game ball from the 2000’s, the last game you watched with your dad or the game where the Yankees scored an amazing win, the day your daughter was born. There is a personal connection to sport that even the hardest man cannot deny, everyone has their favorite game, player, match or baseball cards for whatever reason, and to own a part of it is one of the greatest things any sporting fan could experience.  

The one problem with collecting sporting memorabilia however, and it’s experienced  by all fans of any sport, is knowing that your piece is a legitimate artifact of the game, the only way to really ensure that, is if you catch the game ball yourself, or you purchase a quality piece of memorabilia from a company that sells merchandise with a Certificate of Authenticity. Your chosen company should happily advertise the fact that they only supply sporting memorabilia that comes with these certificates, like HTFM Framing and Memorabilia, if they don’t, alarm bells should start ringing.

There are also certain types of memorabilia that are worth more than others. Any memorabilia that is expected to be a one off is obviously going to be worth more than a batch of baseballs all identically autographed for a memorabilia company. Also any cards or posters are worth more if presented in a frame and in mint condition. Same goes for any baseballs that are in original game condition and kept in a glass case. Some collectibles are worth incredible amounts of money, for example, the baseball card T206 is a card that shows  Honus Wagner during the early 1900’s.

There are an estimated 60 in existence, making them worth around $2.8 million each. That’s an expensive card! Any players that have played and signed memorabilia from the 1970’s onward is generally worth less as they have signed so many products, their signature has been devalued.
So no matter the baseball memorabilia your interested in collecting, it’s important to check for authenticity and to do a little research about their market value to make the best investment.

Isabelle Riley is a copywriter and digital marketing specialist from the Gold Coast, Australia, working for  HTFM. We give you access to some of the worlds most sought after sporting memorabilia and celebrity autographed memorabilia - helping to savor and cherish some of the greatest moments in time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Do you collect Pack Wrappers?

This question will come across as an immediate "Of course!" to some of us within the hobby. Others just can't be bothered to keep them after they bust open their box, case or pack. For me, I've always kept a pack of what I've opened. Tried to pick out the best one (if I have many) and store it into a box. Every so often I'll take a look at them and try to remember what I pulled in that box or pack.

I use to do the same with boxes but they became way to cumbersome and hard to store. Packs are much easier and you can store hundreds in a shoe box. The interesting thing about it is seeing the transformation of companies using different packaging, wording and promotions on the packs over the years.

Recently I had some time to pull out the box of packs and look through them. I sorted them by sport and found I had 163 Baseball, 52 Football, 49 Hockey and 13 in other sports or non-sports packs. These range from 1986 to the most recent 2013 products. They are a mix of the cheaper low end products I've purchased in the past, and some are high-end packaging. Funny enough that some of the High-end have a lower grade packaging than say mid-end products.

We all have our favorite products from the past which also translates down to the packaging sometimes. Here are some of my favorite pack wrappers that I've saved over the years:
Triple Threads always has nice cool packaging that makes you feel you've already pulled those tough relics from the pack. Historic Autographs gives you a nice map of New York's Boroughs.

Nice in action pic of Carey Price, Gretzky in an Oilers uniform always is great on a pack, and O-Pee-Chee has a nice drawing of Griffey Jr. in his famous batting pose.
Crabtree showing off the guns, Mayo's nice retro feel packaging with the white on gold colors, and Topps with their Baseball retro packaging for Flashback Fridays.
My favorite baseball wrapper is 2008 UD SPX with the holographic design throughout the wrapper. SweetSigs shows off one of the nicer autos you don't find everyday. And a classic from 1989 that started a new wave in sports card collecting.
Co-Signers has two of the best in the NL in 2008 along with their signatures, while Crown Royale is basic yet classic dark look.

1989 Fleer is famous for one of the biggest error cards along with some of the best rookies to play. Mini boxes are super cool and love the retro feel and look to them.

No matter which company, sport, design, or feel you like, wrappers are another collectible for us to enjoy. With wrapper redemption's becoming more frequently the past couple of years, wrappers involved in these promotions could become less available. Of course the value of more recent wrappers won't touch those of years past, but are a fun way to enjoy the hobby even more.  

Thank you for your support and please checkout our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler.
Any questions you may have within the hobby please send us an e-mail at

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Product Review: 2013-14 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey Hobby Box

Hockey is in full swing and great to have the 2013-14 edition of Artifacts hitting the streets at the same time. Artifacts has been a consistent love for collectors year in and out. It might have to do with the setup of the base set that challenges collectors to hunt down those hard to find serial numbered cards. 100 cards make up the main base set with 25 Goalies numbered /999, 25 Team Canada Players /999, and 50 Rookies /999 round out the 200 card full set. Each base card have four parallels to also find with Ruby /299, Emerald /99, Sapphire /85 and Spectrum /25. Rookies have been the prominent ones that collectors like to grab when they see them.

There are a number of Relic cards to collect from Single, Double Triple and up to six player relic cards to find within the Hobby boxes. Artifacts is known for their Patch Relics with multiple colors. Great for secondary value and traders really score with fellow collectors with these as well.

Autographs are also found and are mostly sticker autographs. Autofacts are the most common to find but if lucky enough you'll find Relic Autographs which are of mostly stars within the game.

Redemption's have been a pain this year with companies, but with the Rookie Redemption's found in Artifacts they are a great find. The checklist for these will be provided later in the year or early next year with the players selected for each redemption. Typically all the rookies that will make an appearance on-ice this season will be represented.

Hobby Boxes are the way to go with Artifacts but the Blaster retail packs are not bad either. In each hobby box you'll find 1 Autograph or Autograph Relic, 1 Multi-player Relic, 2 Single Player Relics, 1 Numbered Parallel, 4 Numbered Base cards and 1 Rookie Redemption.

So without further delay here is how we did:

Base Cards: 29 (0 doubles)
Base Rookie: 1 - Scott Laughton 364/999
Base Goalie: 1 - Tuukka Rask 222/999
Base Team Canada: 1 - Chet Pickard 375/999
Base Blue Parallel: 1 - Zach Parise 02/85
Base Red Parallel Rookie: 1 - Petr Mrazek 014/299
Rookie Redemption: 1 - Colorado Avalanche
Autofacts: 1 - Brendan Mikkelson
Treasured Swatches: 1 - Mike Richards Dual Relic
Tundra Tandems: 1 - Ray Bourque & Brad Park Dual Relic
Treasured Swatches Red Parallel: 1 - Martin Brodeur Stick & Tape 09/12

Always been fond of the base cards and this year is no difference. Really like the design with the silver corners and the black tint of the background of the photo. Really nice looking base card set. The Base card Parallels are really extra nice with the colors. We pulled Sapphire and Ruby and the designs really standout a little extra with the colors. Really great work by Upper Deck on theses.
The Base card Serial Numbered cards are again. Love the Team Canada cards living in Canada. The goalies having their own semi-set is pretty cool. The Rookie cards also have the same design and with the wording Rookie out in front. 
Up next we pulled the Colorado Avalanche Rookie Redemption which we really hope is Nathan MacKinnon, but again we'll have to wait and see who this might be later on. Brendan Mikkelson was our Autofacts. Not much about it other than a sticker autograph of an average player.
Two of our three relics were a Dual relic of retired Bruins Bourque and Park. Mike Richards was the other relic with a nice two color dual. Both are not numbered and basically normal swatch relics. 
Our third relic was a big one. Numbered 9 of 12, we pulled a Brodeur Dual Relic Stick and Tape. Very cool card of a future hall of fame player. The stick piece is rounded near the bottom of it which is hard to see on the scan. Tape is something we've never pulled before and is an odd relic piece. It's pretty much just a piece of the stick tape cut and stuck on the card. It's a very flat piece compared to anything else relic wise. It was interesting to pull one of these cards to see how they did the tape relic.
Overall we love Artifacts. That has not changed with the 2013-14 edition either. Great base card designs and parallels lead the way of this product. Pulling three relics per box is great and when you pull a nice relic like we did it becomes a great box pull. Really happy with the rookie redemption also since it could be MacKinnon. With the price around $100 it is a definite buy for any hockey collector. We'll be looking at collecting the set this year and buying a few more boxes to enjoy busting.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 3.5/5
Relics: 4.5/5
Concept: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Product Review: 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Hobby Box

With the hockey season just starting we wanted to open up a box of some good ole hockey cards. So we decided on 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee. Now this product came out a bit ago but we wanted to open something with a heritage feel to it. Now this is a pretty decent price point for a lot of cards and fun wrapped into a box.

Each hobby box will contain 32 packs with 8 cards per pack. A whopping 256 cards within the box for around $65-70. This product is the biggest set to collect with 600 cards. 100 of those cards are Marquee Rookies which are found 1:2 packs. Within each pack you will receive 1 Retro Parallel, collecting that set would be a very big undertaking as well.

Along with the Retro Parallels, each base card has a Rainbow, Black Rainbow, and Blank Back Retro Parallel. Black Rainbows are the only ones serial numbered which are to 100.

Two inserts that you'll also find are OPC Stickers and OPC Rings. Stickers are found 1:3 packs with Rings found 1:16. The Rings insert can be punched out and worn by collectors (if you'd like that).

Not only will you find these inserts and parallels but Autographs are also found within packs. Keep in mind these autographs are pretty tough with odds like 1:192 and 1:384. You will have an easier time finding one on eBay or COMC instead of in packs.

Last year O-Pee-Chee introduced Team Logo Patches and they have continued into this year as well. Modern Era, Anniversary, Expansion/Post-WW2, Pre-WW2, and Cartoons are all different patches to be found. Odds of finding a patch start at 1:125 and continue up to the rarest patches at 1:17760 packs! Needless to say they are hot on the secondary market and trading.

So lets kick off the 2013-14 Hockey season with breaking into this box, here's what we pulled:

Base Cards: 177 (0 doubles)
Base Card Rookies: 15 - Gallagher, Fasth, Brunner, Bennett
Base Card Rainbow Foil: 8 - Brown, Fleischmann, Burmistrov, Gordon, Klesla, Mitchell, Kunitz, Eaves
Base Card Black Foil: 1 - Bryan Little 99/100
Base Card Retro: 32
Stickers: 9 - Bure, Orr, Lemieux, Messier, Miller, Burmistrov, Getzlaf, Pavelec, Datsyuk
O-Pee-Chee Rings: 2 - New Jersey Devils, Dave Schultz
Manufactured Team Patch: 2 - Edmonton Oilers (96-97 to 10-11), Quebec Nordiques (80-81 to 94-95)

We love the retro feel with O-Pee-Chee, hence why we picked this product to bust on a week like this. Very simple stock like the cards we grew up on. A nice design to boot and zero doubles found in a box with all these cards is great. Really like the Marquee Rookies are found every 2 packs giving them some extra value and harder to build the set overall. 
The retro parallels are fun looking but not really a fan of them really. I understand them but some of the colours on the cards aren't the greatest even for a retro set. On contrary we really like the Rainbow and Black Foil parallels. They add some nice value to the box and if you pull one of the star players you could have a healthy return on the secondary market. 
The Ring insert is pretty flimsy but again these are meant to be out and put onto little collectors fingers. The Stickers are pretty good on the ones we pulled. Love the photos especially this Bure. Lots of retired stars showing up on these which is cool to see.
Not expecting this at all, but we pulled 2 Team Patches within our box. Yes we pulled 2 patches that have odds of 1:125 packs to pull. Another cool thing was that we pulled 2 Canadian teams with one being the defunct Nordiques. Both are done nicely within the cards and look great. Both are in the 1st tier of Patches to be found and will look great in any collection. Very surprising to see these pulled within 1 box so thinking this must have been a mistake within the packaging.

Overall we liked the 2013-14 edition of O-Pee-Chee. It provides a lot of value to collectors with a very low price point. Set collectors will enjoy busting boxes to try for the 600 card set. We'd recommend this box/product to any hockey fan. Lots of cards, inserts and a chance at a Patch or Autograph is well worth the under $70 price tag you'll find boxes at.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Patches: 5/5
Parallels: 4/5
Inserts: 4/5
Concept: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Monday, September 30, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Topps Chrome Baseball Hobby Box

Last week was special for Baseball collectors as 2013 Topps Chrome arrived. Chrome has a very big following within the community and is one of the most popular products collected within Baseball Collectors. For the last 3 years we've found ourselves to be waiting on the day that Chrome is released and piece together the set for our own collection. This year is no different, and with the surging rookies for 2013 included this will be yet another great set to collect.

Hobby boxes come 24 packs with 4 cards, providing you with only 96 cards in each box. This makes collecting the sets or subsets a bit of a challenge but fun at the same time. With a set of 220 cards you will need a few boxes to put together a full set due to the other goodies Topps packs into each box.

The other goodies for collectors are the famous Refractors that make Chrome what it is. Refractors, XFractors, Blue, Black, Gold, Sepia, Red, Camo, Atomic, Pink, and SuperFractors make up the mass of parallels you can pull from a box. Not only the Base Cards have these Refractors but also the Rookie Autographs are included.

This year there a re a few new things to look for within the product. One being the 25 Base Card Photo Variations. These are popular and are a little tough to find so far. Of course the top players are included in these which will make it a hunt for those super-collectors to pickup. Some new inserts are also included into the 2013 edition. Topps 1972, Chrome Connections Die-Cut, and Dynamic Skills Die-Cuts are three new sets introduced. Die-Cuts are always a fan favorite so they will be popular in the secondary market.

Autographs run wild in 2013 and not only with Rookies. Ten Autograph Inserts including rookies and Veterans are to be found within the hobby product. Some of these include 2 or more autographs including a Division Die-Cut Boxloader that is in the shape of a pennant.

Not to be outdone, Topps also has inserted random Hot Boxes to be found. These Hot Boxes are only Refractors. No word on the odds within a case to pull one but if you do end up finding one of these your sure in for a treat. 96 Refractors within one box is just crazy!

We've talked enough about what you could find, lets see what we did find within our box:

Base Cards: 74 (0 Doubles)
Refractors: 7 - Puig, Chapman, Altuve, Beltran, Lutz RC, Bumgarner, Lynn,Youkilis
XFractor: 4 - Justin Upton, Gio Gonzalez, Jedd Gyorko RC, Evan Longoria
Blue Refractor: Hiroki Kuroda
Black Refractor: Matt Holliday
1972 Refractor: 2 - Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer
Close Connection: 2 - Verlander, BJ Upton
Dynamic Skill: Jered Weaver
Autograph: 2 - Rob Brantly, Adam Eaton Redemption

No matter what you think of Topps Series 1 or 2, Chrome just makes them so much better with the technology doesn't it? Trying not to be too biased but I love Chrome, shape clean cards and with some of the best parallels in the hobby. We came away with 74 cards of the base set, which leaves us well short of the 220 needed. We'll need either a couple more boxes or try to source out the remaining cards needed for our 2013 set. The Refractors that we pulled were great as always, with no change to the technology to the Refractor, XFractor, and Black Refractors. However the Blue Refractors are a lighter Blue this year. A nice change and look just as sharp.
The new die-cut inserts are great. The Close Connections have very crisp cuts and are a very solid die-cut. The design of the Dynamic Skills is nice with the honeycomb background. The 1972 Topps inserts are nice and remind us of Archives, but in Refractor form.
The Autographs we pulled are not the best Rookies to pull and we even pulled a Redemption. You can never go wrong with On-Card Autographs and even with the two players we pulled you can't be disappointed. Eaton is the best of the two even though it's a redemption.
Taking into account that we paid around the $80 price point and received 2 Autographs, a great assortment of Refractors, and along with the inserts and zero doubles with the 74 Base cards we did pretty well. The price point is perfect for this product, you won't find the value of any other box coming close. Zero doubles is great as well as it does well for Set collectors, even though you come short of 100 cards you still feel the value of what you have opened. The inserts this year were well done and the Die-Cuts will be popular in the secondary market as well with set collectors. Overall this wasn't an amazing box but the value in the box is top-notch. We'll continue to open a few more boxes and collect the set as always. Highly recommend this product to any baseball fan. Even if your not a baseball collector this could be one to look into and try.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 5/5
Parallels: 5/5
Inserts: 5/5
Concept: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5