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