Saturday, May 25, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Topps Star Wars Jedi Legacy Hobby Box

Typically we only open Sports cards but in this case we were excited to hear about Topps producing the 2013 Star Wars set. The reason why? the first relics to come out of any Star Wars movies were included int he product!
This set is all about Anakin and Luke and the stories about their journeys through the movies. The base set is only 45 cards with each having an A and L version to it which is why it turns into a 90 card set. Anakin's version has Green and Red Light Sabers on the front while Luke's is Green and Blue.
Now with Topps sports products you expect Parallels, so why not add them in here too. yes this product has a few different ones to collect. Blue, Magenta, Green and Gold are all included. Blue is the common of the bunch falling one per pack while Gold are limited to only 10. Printing plates for each card are also to be found within the box, their odds are 1:30 boxes.
Inserts are found one per pack and will be either a Connections (1:2), Influences (1:2) or The Circle is now Complete (1:12). With the Circle is now complete insert set, you can collect all 12 cards which are in the circle shape and have Facebook redeem codes on the back. You could win prizes including posters and Film Cels, but also if you collect the set you can redeem the center piece to the circle through Topps.
Speaking of Film Cels, these are an inserted Relic in this product. Single, Double and Triple Cels are to be found with the Single Cels found 1 per box. These are pretty cool and the idea has been around for a while.
Onto the hits; first off we have a Autographs showing up 1 per 3 boxes. The checklist we saw had 17 names on it including Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. They look to be sticker autographs but that won't stop Star Wars fans from all around hunting these down.
Next on the Hit list are the first time Movie Relics. These are interesting as they include Ewok Fur, Jabba's Sail Barge and Chewbacca's hair/fur. These odds range from 1:5 boxes to 1:30 boxes for Chewbacca's hair/fur. these have a couple of things about them, one being this is the first time something from the movies have been offered in trading cards, and secondly where have these been all these years? Maybe Lucas had them stored away for just this occasion. Either way these are pretty cool for Topps to add into the product.
The way the Relics are handled int he product is you will receive 1 Film Cel Relic and 1 Additional hit of either an Autograph, Movie Relic, Film Cel, or Printing Plate

So that's the skinny on the product, lets see how we fared with our hobby box:
Base Cards: 140 (1 complete set with 50 doubles)
Base Blue Parallel: 19
Base Magenta Parallel: 4
Base Green Parallel: 1
Connections: 12 (2 doubles)
Influences: 12 (0 doubles)
The Circle is now complete: 2 #1 Luke Skywalker and #11 Darth Vader
Film Cel: 1 FR25 Darth Vader with Palpatine
2nd Relic: Duel Film Cel DFR2 Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker Final Battle
The cards for this product are nice, but are expected with any product around $100. Was a little surprised to find so many doubles and a complete set. Could have received a few more inserts or parallels instead which would have made the product more enjoyable.
The Parallels are a nice foil stamping on the cards. They really standout for the Magenta and Blue. The Green seemed a little plain but you still can tell its a parallel. Out of the 24 inserts we pulled 2 were doubles, which again could have been better with the assortment of the product.
The Circle is now complete inserts are nice and could be a cool display for someone that would want the set framed in a nice display. Haven't entered the codes on the back of the cards so not sure how the online piece works.
Since both our hits were Film Cels will talk a little about this hits. First off the cards are nice and you can clearly see the film cel under a light or clear background. The ones we pulled didn't seem to have any blurred images and they looked pretty cool. As for them being called a Relic, well this is interesting. On the back of the cards it states that you have received a Unique Film Cel from the Original Star Wars Trilogy. On the front of the card is has the word Relic on it as well. So are these really film cels from the movie? Well we haven't found out any info on them yet, so will have to wait and see if something is provided later on. Either way these are pretty nice and the duel is a pull 1:169 packs which is higher than some other hits we could have pulled.
Overall the product is nice and an expected product for the price point. The addition of the film cels and a chance at pulling a relic from the movie is pretty interesting, not to mention the autographs. We would recommend this product to any Star Wars fan and non-sports collector to try.
As always, most cards we pull in our breaks we send into our COMC account. The hits from this one are currently on eBay which you can find here:

If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Thanks again and remember to visit us at

Gambler Overall Rating: out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Relics/Hits: 4.5/5
Inserts: 3.5/5
Parallels: 4/5
Concept: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 3.5/5

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Topps Archives Football Hobby Box

Within the hobby you have different types of collectors out there. In one element of collecting, you find people  in the hobby like to stick to a brand. Heritage and Allen & Ginter are two good examples of that, well enter the Archives collector into this mix. Yes we are starting to see the Archive collectors coming out again after the 2012 baseball edition of the product. Following up this year is 2013 Topps Archives Football first.

The funny thing about this release is that it was slated for a late 2012/early 2013 date and even had 2012 in the title but Topps has changed this over to 2013 in October and delivered it this month. The other notable mention is that there are zero rookies in this product. All rookie players from last year (Griffin, Luck, etc..) should be considered second year cards. It's unfortunate they couldn't pull this off for 2012 and made them fit into the rookie card qualifications but the bonus about this would be there shouldn't be many redemption cards for autographs in the product (an assumption that hopefully holds true).

The concept for the Topps Archives brand is to bring the older designs from years past to the future with current players. This works very well in Baseball and has grown in popularity, football should be no different. The designs Topps has used in this product are 1959, 1976, 1985, and 1986 (one of our favorites) for the 200 card base set. You will also find Short-printed High numbers (cards numbered 201-240) which span across the many years of Topps Football.

The inserts in 2013 Archives Football have some old favorites like 1000 Yard Club, 1970 Topps Glossy Set, and the 1968 Topps Stand up Set. These designs pattern the previous years inserts within Topps football products.

The main draw in any Archives product are the Fan favorites line of Autographs. These autographs are from 75 players that were fan favorites across the span of football. Most notably in this set are autographs from Ickey Woods, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Louis Lipps and Christian Okoye. Of course we can't list all 75 of these players here but all have a certain place in football fans hearts.

Autograph seekers will also have a chance to pull 1984 Autographed book cards, 1988 Framed Mini Autographs, 1980's Celebrity Cut Autographs, Topps Originals Autographs, USFL Buy Back Autographs and 1965 Tall Boy Autographs. Lots of autographs to look for in this product, mind you these are all lower printed autographs with the highest being numbered out of /25.

The added bonus to Football Archives that the 2012 baseball missed on is the Box Bottom cards. yes we are going back to the good ole days with four box bottom cards on each hobby box. We aren't sure of the complete checklist, but the designs are the 1985 Topps Red Border design. These are pretty cool to see again on a hobby product, very happy about this addition.    

So the basics of this hobby box product is 24 packs per box with 8 cards per pack. Within each hobby box you should find 2 parallels, 6 Short prints and 2 autographs.

We ran our Box Break through live video which can now be found here
This is a breakdown of how we did:
Base Cards: 173 (0 doubles)
Base Card SP: 6 - Woods, Johnson, Chrebet, Sikahema, Clark, Okoye
Gold Base Parallel: 2 - Wes Welker, D'Qwell Jackson
1970 Glossy: 4 - Rice, Newton, Elway, Bush
1000 Yard Club: 3 - Peterson, Cruz, Rice
1968 Standup: 2 - Allen, Fitzgerald
Fan Favorites Autographs: 2 - Harold Carmichael, Bob Golic
This is a great product to start the 2013 Football card season. Topps did a great job on selecting the designs for this. The 1986 design is our favorite within the product along with the 1000 Yard Club inserts. The inclusion of the high-numbered short prints are nice and follow the same as baseball did. The assortment of the box was great and didn't expect anything less. Topps really did a nice job on this opening Football product for 2013.

The autographs we landed of Carmichael and Golic were cool ones to receive. Again with Archives your looking at retired fan favorites that are all on-card autographs. This is great for collectors and much better than stickers. With these players signing it makes them a great collectible for all fans. You might not pull greats of the game but they are very nice autographed cards.
Highly recommend this product to any Football collector and any collector that loves vintage. This is a very solid product, inserts, autographs and the base cards are great. We are only 27 cards short for the complete 200 base card set (which we plan on finishing). Awesome way to start the 2013 Football card season.

As always, most cards we pull in our breaks we send into our COMC account. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Thanks again and remember to visit us at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autographs: 5/5
Inserts: 4/5
Parallels: 4/5
Concept: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Product Review: 2013 Bowman Baseball Hobby Jumbo packs

This will be the first year in many that we haven't bought a box of 2013 Bowman. This isn't to say we don't like the product, it's just that we have decided to go a different route with it and change it up from year's past.
To give a different perspective of buying within the hobby, we decided to buy two Hobby Jumbo packs from our local card shop. Luckily for us they had broken open a Jumbo box for packs just recently and had sold only 3 packs from the box so far.

Now when buying a box of cards you have the known aspect to the assortment of parallel cards you will receive and have the given (in this case) 3 autographs per box. Buying single packs from a box your odds have taken a dive and become less precise as to what you will pull due to multiple factors.

One of those factors are to do with missing packs from the box. Unless they are ripped at the store you will have no idea what that person(s) received in their packs. In this case three packs were missing from the 12 pack box and for all we knew all three autographs were in those packs. In this specific case the owner didn't see the packs opened and didn't know the person who bought the packs.

This to us was perfect and fit in with what we wanted to write about in this piece. The unknowns within the Hobby on buying packs from an opened box. We could have picked another product like Topps Series 1 or Tribute but decided on Bowman a few months ago for a couple of reasons. One being that this is the first Rookie and Prospect Crop of the year in one product. Some of these prospects could turn into a Trout or Harper one day way down the road. The second factor is that you should receive 2-3 parallel cards in each pack along with the chance of hitting an autographed card.

As we know holding onto Prospects for years after the products have been released is something you have to train yourself to do. It's not easy to keep them stored away in your card box for the next 3-5 years in hopes for them to become a superstar. There is great reward in doing so, but again not for everyone.

So here are our results from our two packs of 2013 Bowman Baseball Jumbo Hobby packs:

Pack #1:
Base: 15 (Wright, Pujols, Stanton)
Prospects: 8
Prospects Chrome: 5
Gold Base Parallel: 1 - Brandon Belt Gold
Blue Base Parallel: 1 - Bryce Harper Blue /500
Mini Refractor 1 - Daniel Cocino
Prospect Challenge Code: 1
Pack #2:
Base: 15 (Ortiz, McCutchen, Ryu RC, Braun)
Prospects: 8
Prospects Chrome: 5
Gold Base Parallel: 1 - Alex Gordon
Base Ice Parallel: 1 - Carlos Ruiz
Base International: 1 - Kris Hall
Autograph: 1 - Christian Bethancourt Base Auto Prospect Redemption

We did very well on two Jumbo packs pulling the Blue Harper and the Bethancourt Redmeption autograph. Overall the design of 2013 Bowman is clean and simple with a very similar back to the cards compared to the 2012 edition. The Chrome Prospects are nice with the white standing out on the Chrome finish. Ice is back again this year and not looking old at all. This technology is very sharp and really look great in the parallel's we've seen. The Added touch of the Mini Chrome Refractors are great. Everyone loves mini's and these will be no exception.
In our 1st pack we received a code card for the Prospect Challenge which is one of the programs Topps has with online codes to win prizes. The one thing about these is that this counts as one of your 32 cards in the packs. Personally would have liked to have seen another parallel in the pack instead of this card, so if you are ripping single packs from a box keep this in mind. This doesn't impact the box buying group as much because of the amount of cards you come away with but will make a difference to the single pack rippers.
Single pack buying is not something we do regularly but in the case of Jumbo packs it's a good bet to make. Jumbo packs always deliver something decent in your packs.This doesn't mean you'll see autographs in everyone but you should come away with decent parallel's. In our first pack with the Harper, it could have been another player (superstar or not) and it might have been called a bust for collectors. If you look at that pack with the parallel's including the Mini Chrome Refractor, it turns out it's a decent pack overall. Typically Jumbo packs run in the $12-15 range depending on where you buy from. So looking at it this way with a $15 pack you paying just under .50 cents per card for this 2013 Bowman Jumbo pack. Not too bad if you think of the parallel's and the chance of pulling a nice prospect card or two.
Just as much as we suggest buying Jumbo Boxes we suggest picking up Jumbo Packs as well. More for your value and you should hit something nice out of them.
As always, most cards we pull in our breaks we send into our COMC account. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Thanks again and remember to visit us at

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Pack Gambler Retro Break: 1989 Donruss Baseball Wax Box

This months Retro Break is going way back to 1989 and with a familiar product that everyone in the Baseball Card community knows, 1989 Donruss Baseball.
Yes we have pulled all the stops to find a legendary old school box break to run with for our Baseball followers and collectors alike.
I'm sure everyone knows of the most famous card in the set being Ken Griffey Jr.'s Rookie Card but there are a couple other aspects to this product that people seem to forget about. One being the 26 card Diamond Kings set. these cards feature Dick Perez's illustrations of the top players on each team. These were always cool to pull out of the packs as they gave you another side of the player and a cool looking card.

Next up are the famous Rated Rookies. 20 cards in total and featuring some of the best in the game from the 90's including the aforementioned Ken Griffey Jr., Sandy Alomar Jr., Gary Sheffield, Randy Johnson, Tom Gordon and Cris Carpenter. The RR in blue on the cards really standout and have become known now within the most recent Panini cards since they purchased Donruss properties a while back. 

Within the 660 very deep set you will find anyone and everyone from the 1988 year along with some other rookies that didn't make it to the Rated Rookie stature. Chris Sabo, Rob Dibble, Brady Anderson, Craig Biggio, Dante Bichette, Curt Schilling and John Smoltz. Some top caliber players there including a couple of Hall of Famers.

One last note about the product is the collectible Warren Spahn puzzle pieces. Each pack will have 1 piece to the large puzzle to collect and build. Also a card featuring the puzzle in full is within the base set.

So the basics of the Wax Box is 36 packs and 15 cards per pack. Amazing considering the most recent boxes have no more than 24 packs with the most 10 cards per pack. 540 cards you will come out with from one box, you can imagine how heavy the box feels compared to modern day boxes. Very solid and very heavy which is why you won't see these with low shipping rates on eBay or other sites.

So lets see how we did with the Retro box break:

Cards: 480
Diamond Kings: 21 (7 doubles)
MVP's: 20 (7 doubles)
Rated Rookies: 14 - Sheffield x2, Alomar Jr. x3 (5 doubles)
So for a 1989 baseball Wax box what could you expect? We didn't pulled our main sought after rookie of Ken Griffey Jr. but we did end up with 2 Sheffield, 2 Biggio and 3 Sandy Alomar Jr. rookies. We also came away with the full Puzzle set and a couple of decent hall of fame players and other 90's stars. The doubles were very common back in those days as we know and also knowing how deep the set is we knew going in there would be no chance at completing the full set.

The interesting piece of the break was the assortment of the packs. We opened the 1st two bottom rows and the cards pulled from those packs were from the 50-100's numbered only. The top right row of packs provided only 500-600 numbered cards. The last row (top left) were a mix of all numbered cards. We only received 2 cards from the 300's and received 0 cards from the 400's. A very strangle correlation of cards, but again from the 80's and 90's this is to be expected.

On the wax wrappers there was an advertisement for "Large Size Diamond Kings". I have never seen any of these in person nor have I looked for them, and haven't seen any recently on eBay. I always wondered the quality of these once received from the factory. 
Even though the box was less than stellar it was cool to rip open wax packs again. Really brings you back to the roots of starting collecting. You knew even back then the cards were meant for Kids as even stated on the box side panel. We've come along way from 1989 products and look to be maybe getting back to the "For Kids" theme soon. This was one of the first products to start the era of over-production. Doubles were so frequent and almost for every card we pulled but very expected from this product. This was a typical outcome for the next few years within the card collecting hobby, but these were fun times as a kid collecting as well.
As always, most card we pull in our breaks we send into our COMC account. If you are interested in any of the cards we have listed or not shown please let us know at

Thanks again and remember to visit us at 

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Product Review: 2013 PressPass Ignite NASCAR Hobby Box

The 2013 NASCAR season is in full swing and the latest product to hit the hobby scene is the 2013 PressPass Ignite Racing Hobby Box. This is a low-mid range product offering some decent bang for your buck. We purchased a box of Ignite in 2012 and was impressed with it so we decided to keep the tradition going.
This years product is about the same concept, 20 packs per box with 5 cards per pack. Your Guaranteed to find 1 Autographed Card and 1 Race Used Memorabilia per box, along with inserts like Convoy, Profile, Turning Point and 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee's (one per box). The Prfiles also have 5 Short prints to find which are Kyle Busch, Pastrana, Harvick, Patrick and Stenhouse Jr.

Chase inserts to look for are Davey Allison Tribute cards and Danica Patrick Daytona 500 Pole award cards. Each of those are only slotted 1 per Half case and should provide some good secondary market appeal. Odds to find one of these are 1:200 packs

One other special with this product are Hot Boxes. They are found 1 Hot Box per Half Case and will provide an Bonus Hit of a Hot Threads Patch Card, Supercharged Signatures Autographed Quad Memorabilia or Great American Treads Autographed Daytona 500 Tire Cards. 

One thing we really like about this product is we have been able to put together the 70 card set within 1 box purchase. Not a big deal for some but it is really nice that you can do it within 1 box and come away with a little extra doubles from the packs. The base card cards also have 4 parallels to find with Black (/50), Yellow (/5) in hobby packs with Cyan (Walmart) and Magenta (Target) found at Retail.

So Lets see how we did with our box:
Base: 90 (Complete Set with 20 Doubles)
Parallel: 1 - Mark Martin Black /50
Convoy: 2 - Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch
Profile: 2 - Kenseth, Hamlin
Turning Point: 2 - Kyle Busch, Edwards
Hall of Fame: 1 - Leonard Wood
Allison Tribute: 1 Davey Allison DA4
Hot Threads: 1 - Carl Edwards Blue #'d 02/99
Ignite Ink: 1 - Paul Menard Blue #'d 16/25
Bonus Hit: Great American Treads Marcos Ambrose Autographed Daytona Raced Used Tire #'d 4/20

before we get to the goods, here is our review on the cards. The Base cards are nice and simple. Same sort of design as last year but really liked the Top Speed cards. We came away with the full 70 card set and the 20 doubles weren't bad either with Earnhardt, Gordon, Johnson and Patrick within them.
The inserts are very nice this year with the foil look and feel to them. The Convoys are the best as you can't get enough of Trailers with the paint designs. Also with the inserts and the base you are seeing the first images of the 2013 cars and uniforms which is a nice add to the product.

So as you have seen we hit a Hot Box. Not only did we get the bonus hit but we came away with a Hot Threads and Ignite Ink parallels, along with the Davey Allison Tribute card. The Allison is a basic insert card but only 2 of them are found per case so not a bad hit.
The Carl Edwards Threads is nice that it's numbered and not the Silver un-number version we could have pulled. The piece of the Firesuit is small and typical for NASCAR products. I wish they were a little bigger as if I received a lower tiered driver this would have been a miss on a box hit.
The Paul Menard Ignite Ink is not too bad, again we hit a parallel for this Autograph and it's only numbered to 25. The Autographed sticker is very large which does provide the driver to sign their name without restriction.
Lastly our Bonus Hot Box Hit. Now this is a really cool piece for a couple of reasons. The first being that it is a very large piece of the side wall of the tire from the car. It has a very clear and thick yellow piece of the Goodyear writing on the tire. Again the sticker autograph is very large and takes up almost half the card. Numbered out of only 20 cards this is sure to bring interest on the secondary market. Now the biggest thing about this card is that it is from the car he drove in the 2013 Daytona 500. This race was run on February 24th, only 73 days ago! The turn around on receiving the tires, autographs and putting them into the cards is amazing! Never heard of such a turn around before in any sport or product. This was a great insertion for this product.
So overall we are very pleased with this product. Aside from the hot box we are happy with the base cards, inserts and hits in the box you can pull. This is a solid product for any race fan and would recommend on picking one up. Again you could hit 2 of the lower-tier 43 drivers in NASCAR but you have a very good chance of pulling one of the stars at the same time.  

As always if there are any cards you are looking for or interested in please let us know via e-mail at We will be putting some of the cards on COMC and the hits of might end up in a Gambler Giveaway or on our ebay auction block soon.

Remember to stop by our website for Singles, Boxes and Box breaks.

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Cost: 4.5/5
Autographs: 4/5
Memorabilia: 4/5
Concept: 4/5
Design: 4.5/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5

Monday, May 06, 2013

43rd Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo Review

For Canadians the Sports card Expo is something we look forward to twice a year. We meet friends, stores, distributors and companies all within the collecting industry in the three day events. The Spring Expo is usually the kickoff to the Baseball season and the NHL Playoffs.

Now of course regardless if the Jays are doing well it is mainly a Hockey show throughout. This shouldn’t concern baseball collectors at all as there are dealers with only Baseball items at their booths. Being a huge baseball fan and running through the Hockey overage of products and memorabilia we still find those great baseball deals and unique pieces to pick up for the collection.
For those that attended the expo this past weekend we brought in postcard flyers with a 10% off coupon code on them to promote us being live and looking to spread the word out among the Canadian and international collectors in attendance.

Each show runs a Friday to Sunday schedule and will have certain players in attendance signing during the show. The players are mainly Hockey retired and active stars of the game. This year’s attraction was the 1993 Stanley Cup Champions Montreal Canadiens. This included a line-up of stars from the team including Patrick Roy’s first appearance at the expo. A very big ticket at the show and brought in a number of Montreal fans and hockey historic collectors from around the globe. The prices for the autographs were typical for the expo but were on the expensive side compared to other appearances I've been to in the past for the team or even players by themselves. That didn't stop the line-ups for them though; droves of people were in line for each and every player on the block.

Another aspect of the show is the Fergie Jenkins Foundation. Mr. Jenkins comes out on the Saturday of the show and brings along fellow retired players to sign autographs for his foundation. This time out was a great draw of players including Goose Gossage, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro and Andre Dawson. All Hall of Fame players and all in one day! A thrill for any baseball fan to have any of these players sign something and meet them.

One of the things you must do at either of the Expo’s is to have a game plan. It’s a decent sized venue and if you have “must haves” to do you better get to them first. Our game plan for the show was pretty simple this time around. First up was to meet the Baseball legends and grab their autographs, then head over to the Universal booth to redeem our voucher, stop by COMC and drop off a submission and then free range the rest of the Saturday.

Again loving baseball I was super excited to meet these players including Andre Dawson whom I always wanted to get his autograph in person. The line was not too bad at 10am when they started the signing but quickly expanded every 10 minutes or so. The great thing about this signing was that the foundation had items to purchase the players autographs on including Official MLB baseballs. The prices were very good as well, for 4 of the players (excluding Fergie as we have him already) on MLB baseballs it was only $190 total ($47.50 each). A fantastic deal to receive 4 Hall of Famers autographs on Official MLB Baseballs with cases! It was a real pleasure to meet these gentlemen and they were all very appreciative of collectors paying towards the Fergie Jenkins Foundation. A big thrill for me as a baseball collector to meet each of these players in person that I remember watching as a kid.

Next up was the Universal booth to redeem the Panini Passport to obtain a special Black edition card of Patrick Roy. There were two versions at the show with Colorado or Montreal shots of the Hall of Fame player. We received the Colorado version but were hopeful to land the Montreal version. Oh well, free card for two Panini Wrappers isn't anything to complain about. The one thing I would say is that Panini not showing up to Canada's largest card and memorabilia show is a no-no. They should have been here and should have made it for the collectors. 
Panini was not in attendance at the Expo this time from what we heard was a scheduling conflict. This was disappointing for collectors as the past shows they have always had a wrapper redemption program which always yielded some amazing cards. Panini has stated they will be in attendance at the Fall Expo which will include the Double-Rookie class in Hockey products.

Our last “To-do’s” was a stop by the booth and drop off a submission into our account. Met with Geoff and talked a little about how we thought COMC was doing for us and how we enjoy the customer service with them. Really great idea within the hobby community and a must use for any collector as a seller or buyer.
Now it was time to go row by row and search out some things of either our collection or the store. Walking around at the Expo is run into some interesting items that people are selling and some really cool “wish I had money to spend on that” items. Take for instance this dealer had the best Jersey’s and displays at the Expo. Wish I could grab every Gretzky jersey he had and put them up in the house somewhere. Stood around a looked at them for a bit and took in all the ones he had. Pretty impressive lot of jerseys he had.
Upper Deck was (and always has been) in attendance and they continued their roll with the Priority Signings Wrapper redemption program. This Expo’s crop of signers were limited to only /36 per player which gave collectors a very good shot at landing some star autographs. Our own Gambler Follower @TheRealDpan ended up with a John Tavares Autograph /35 and won an Alexander Ovechkin Autographed card out of /99 during a raffle.

In The Game was also in attendance and when you walk into the Expo your given a raffle ticket to spin the wheel for a prize and also receive another raffle ticket that could win you an uncut sheet. They too also had a wrapper redemption program going on which collectors were treated to encased cards. Another Gambler Follower @WildEagle pulled a decent redemption card for his wrapper program and also had a turn at the Deal or No Deal contest.

I had the pleasure of meeting a few Gambler Followers this weekend which included @TheRealDpan, @WildEagle, @LongFlyBall, @SlopitchFanatic and Beckett’s own @yanxchick. Was great to meet @TheRealDpan, @WildEagle, @LongFlyBall and talk a little about the Expo, the hobby in general as well as what we are trying to do here at The Pack Gambler. Great guys to meet and talk with and glad to have finally meet them.

@SlopitchFanatic is a great follow on Twitter and always has some of the best singles I've ever seen ripped out of boxes. Seems to have the upper hand on me but glad he’s the one that pulls the big ones out of the boxes rather then anyone else.

Very cool to meet @yanxchick (Susan Lulgjuraj) and talk a little about the show and the hobby. Have liked the style of her writing in the Hockey Beckett’s and was happy to introduce myself to her as I missed out at the Fall show.

Unlike most we left the show around 2pm on Saturday, early but did what we came for and then some. We didn't find anything too interesting this time around like a Game Used Bat or really amazing deal on boxes, stocked up on much needed supplies and had a good time overall.

With the hockey strike the hockey products didn't have the same thrill as they did in previous Expo’s. The main topic among dealers was the Rookie Double Class coming towards the fall. The excitement of the Fall Expo seemed to be on everyone’s mind and looked very promising for everyone in attendance. A few rumors around the Fall Expo were floating about which included a very big star player signer and amazing promotions with the big two companies (Upper Deck and Panini).

We’ll have to see how that goes, but if you’re from out of town you better make plans soon to come out for the Fall Expo as it sounds like it could be the one that will standout for years to come.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Product Review: 2013 TriStar Hidden Treasures Platinum Autographed Baseball

Recently TriStar released the 2013 Hidden Treasures Platinum Autographed Baseball edition and had two Grand Treasures to hunt down included. The basics of this product are pretty interesting. Each box will provide an Autographed Baseball of a Hall of Famer or a "Star" including a Unique Inscription. Each ball is number to 36 or less, which makes these autograph balls even more interesting and unique in their own way. A case is broken into 12 boxes, 6 of those boxes will contain a HOF Autographed ball with 1 of those being a deceased player. The other 6 boxes will produce 6 Special & Unique inscriptions of Star players. There are only 120 cases produced leaving us with 1440 Autographed Baseballs. Not bad odds in the grand scheme of things and could land a decent HOF player in those odds. And rounding out the product are the Grand Treasure Autographed Balls to find of Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb.
Now we've found that when a product comes out with their version of "Star" this could mean anything, and is very subjective to whom is placing this label on the player. TriStar never has a checklist released and you basically have to go by what you see on the box or seen other collectors pull out of the boxes. The box shows Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial and the Ripken Family on the Hall of Famers side. The Inscriptions side shows Dave Parker, Pete Rose, Craig Biggio and Randy Gumpert.
Other players listed on the back of the box include; Ernie Banks, Bob Gibson, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Warren Spahn and Ted Williams for the HOF players. Another listing of Inscribed balls shows Sparky Lyle, Mookie Wilson, Lance Berkman, Willis Hudlin and Tracy Stallard. Some of the inscribed autographs show "Greatest Game Ever" and "Ruth's 500th Slider", which both are a little skewed in the sense of Star players but knowing this we were still interested.

Now an autographed baseball with inscription are usually cool and provide some info on the player signing the ball. Of course there is a chance to pull that Tracy Stallard that gave up Maris's 61st HR which really wouldn't mean much as a collector, but still a bit cool in the baseball historian way.

So we decided to break open a box and see which ball we would end up with. We pulled a Tommy Brown Autographed Inscribed Baseball numbered 12/36.
The interesting thing about Tommy Brown is that he is the youngest player to hit a home run in the major leagues at the age of 17 in 1948. This is inscribed on the autographed ball which is the longest inscription we have seen in a while. He inscribed this just below his autograph and also included the date and the pitcher he hit is off of. In his case it turns out is was a well known player Preacher Roe. For not landing a HOF player this is one of the best inscriptions we have seen and had in our own collection.
The TriStar card goes on to provide other information on Tommy Brown like; Hit 3 Home Runs in a game (1950), Played in the 1949 World Series, and also in the minor leagues he reached base 20 consecutive times.
The other quality aspect of the TriStar products are the holograms of authenticity and the individually numbered holograms of the ball you have received. These add value to us as collectors and are worth it in the long run for these types of autographed collectibles.
Overall we find the Platinum Hidden Treasures provide the best value and fun for receiving an autographed baseball. Again you have to know going in that you could end up with a ball like this or that Stallard, but it is the chance you take on these products. Balls numbered to 36 or less is another advantage in this product and again add value to what you are buying. The cost of between $89-99 per ball is not that bad considering the product and chance of an HOF player. Definitely will be buying more of this in the future and hope to land that HOF player sometime soon.

Gambler Overall Rating: out of 5
Cost: 4/5
Autographs: 5/5
Concept: 4/5
Inscriptions: 4/5
Design/Packaging: 4/5
Fun Aspect: 3.5/5