03 March 2019

Pack of the Day 193: A Hobby Box of 2019 Topps Heritage

Topps Heritage came out the other day, and I talked myself into going to the local card store to see what their pricing was like. It was fairly reasonable compared to online prices, so I bought a box to open and get a look at this year's offering.

There's the box before I tore into it. I guess there's not much else to say about this picture. You're guaranteed one autograph or relic in the box, and there are 24 packs with 9 cards per pack. You also get a box topper.

Here's what the box topper wrapper looks like, for anyone who was wondering.

My box topper was a 1970 Topps Super Baseball card of Juan Soto. Other options include 1970 Topps Originals (buybacks with foil stamps), 1970 Topps Posters, and 2019 Topps Teammates.

The packs look like Heritage packs.

Here are the odds for all of the various things, as well as the NPN information, for folks who like to participate in that.

Here is a standard base card from the set. I pulled 196 / 400 cards from the base set, so it is conceivable that with some luck you could complete the non-SP set from two boxes and a couple of packs or trades.

Here's an example of a League Leaders subset card. I had to choose the one I pulled with two Astros on the front.

The Rookies get to share their cards, and they get minor league stats on the back of their cards.

The All-Stars have a newspaper design. Several blogs have noted the return of The Sporting News branding on these, after a couple of years without. The backs get cartoon heads with varying levels of creepiness.

There are also playoff cards, with The Sporting News branding, black and white photos, and box scores on the backs.

Here are a few other base cards I picked out for this post. I don't know why so many Braves showed up in this picture. I didn't set out to do that. I don't even like the Braves. I guess I picked Minter because of the All-Star Rookie trophy.

I pulled 8 cards from the short-printed # 401-500 portion of the set. I'm glad I got an Astro in Gerrit Cole. Aaron Judge is probably the other highlight here. I noticed that the cuts on the edges of many cards are pretty rough. You can see it well here on the bottom of the Edwin Diaz card. Maybe they should switch out the cutter blades a bit more often.

The Chrome partial parallel set falls 1:58 packs, and I pulled an Odubel Herrera from the box. I think the serial number on it is # 261 / 999. It is quite bowed.

The Black parallels are not serially-numbered, but fall 1:62 packs. I think this is a full parallel set rather than a partial, but don't quote me on that. I am not a reliable source here.

Baseball Flashbacks are a 1:18 pack insert set, and I pulled a Reggie Jackson as the lone representative from that checklist.

New Age Performers fall 1:6 packs, and are quite colorful in spite of the bland grey borders.

News Flashbacks are another 1:18 pack set, and I got two of them in my box.

Then & Now is an additional 1:18 pack insert, and I got a card with Jim Palmer and Justin Verlander on the front. It is interesting to see how the pitching game has changed over time. No one last year threw more than one shutout in the AL.

1970 Topps Scratch-Off inserts come one per box, and I got Mike Trout as the subject of my booklet.

Here's the inside of the booklet after it's been unfolded. I think I liked these better as box toppers.

And the promised hit is a Yankees pitcher autograph. Real One Autographs are a 1:106 pack pull.

I like this product quite a bit, but at the going rate for boxes I don't feel like the perceived value is there. Maybe if you can break enough of it to pull a few variations or cooler hits it would be different. At $90-100 per box, though, you're getting a lot of base cards and not much else. You can get a # 1-400 base set for $35-40 online. This would be a much better break at $60-65 per box, but I guess we're not going to see that happen anytime soon. This is a fun product to sort through and look at, but I'll probably just buy a set online at some point rather than bust any more boxes.

27 February 2019

Chasing 'Rowdy' Ronda Rousey

I wish I could come up with a clever title for this blog post, but I'm drawing a blank. A few months ago I decided it was time to add a Ronda Rousey autograph to my collection. My initial plan was to go for a Topps Chrome autograph, but the ones I saw were all sticker autographs that lacked eye appeal.

I eventually settles on this 2016 Topps UFC Top of the Class autograph, numbered # 15 / 25. It's a sticker autograph, but the design of the card hides the sticker pretty well, and her signature is all on the sticker. I was pretty happy with that, and I was glad to finally add the autograph of one of the biggest names in MMA to my card boxes.

A little more recently, a Rousey collector listed a bunch of their collection on eBay, with some fairly reasonable prices. I added several to my watch list, but didn't really want to commit to buying another Rousey autograph. The seller reduced their prices at the same time an eBay Bucks promotion was going on, though, and I caved and bought an on-card Ronda Rousey signature. This one comes from 2013 Topps UFC Knockout, and is numbered # 78 / 99.

Later I got to thinking that it would be nice to have a Ronda Rousey WWE autograph card in my collection. There are rumors that she might not be with WWE for all that long, and I didn't really want to miss my chance to get one. She's got a few sticker autographs out there, but I noticed that I could get an on-card signature in the recently-released 2019 Topps WWE Transcendent Collection. I won this auction for about the cost of a group break spot, which I think is a pretty good deal for one of the bigger names in the product. This is the Purple parallel of her autograph, numbered # 09 / 10. 

The card does have a scratch on the surface on the left side, but I can live with that. It is funny to me how I am looking for things to complain about on an autograph card of one of the bigger names from one of the highest-end products, when as a teenager in collecting I would have gone absolutely nuts if I'd pulled a relic or autograph card of even a semi-star. Things have changed a lot over the last 20 years.

I may be done with Ronda Rousey autographs now, but we'll see what the future brings. I am pretty happy to have a couple of nice examples from her UFC career, as well as a pretty big card from her time in the WWE.

18 February 2019

Two Reverse Boxes of 2018 Topps Legends of WWE

Topps has put out a Legends set for the WWE each of the last couple years, and it's a pretty decent product. I thought about buying a box of it, but then I decided this might be a good product to build a reverse box for. The idea behind a reverse box is that you put the money you would have spent on a box toward buying single cards you like from the product, basically custom-building the contents of a box on the secondary market. By buying this way, you remove the chance of hitting something really big, but you also remove the chance of opening a box that doesn't match your interests.

Based on my understanding, each box of this product contains 12 packs with 5 cards apiece, for a total of 60 cards in a box. Of those 60 cards, 12 are parallels and 4 are hits, with three of those hits guaranteed to be autographs. Boxes run about $95 at the moment.

You won't complete a base set or either of the insert sets from two boxes of the product, but I went ahead and bought a complete set and split the cost 50/50 between my two reverse boxes. The base set has 70 cards in it, and features plenty of big names, like Andre the Giant and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

The first insert set is called Identity Crisis, and it features 20 cards of wrestlers who switched personas during their careers. Here are a couple from my first reverse box.

There is also a 10-card Women's Division set, with cards for many of the bigger names from the female side of the roster.

I was able to get 7 numbered parallels for each of my reverse boxes, mostly from one big lot. These four are all Silver parallels, serially-numbered # / 50. I was especially happy to get The Rock. I think Kane was a single I got because I could combine shipping with some of the hits I picked up.

This Tatanka is a Blue parallel and is numbered # 08 / 25. It also came from the same lot as the other parallels.

The inserts have parallels, too. Cardboard Connection lists Identity Crisis and the Women's Division set as part of the base set. I don't know. They are numbered differently than the base set, so I consider them to be inserts. 

I picked up a whole Bronze parallel set for just a little more than my regular base set cost me, so I split off the Women's Division inserts as my remaining parallels for the reverse boxes. Here are the first 5 cards in that checklist. 

I was able to land some pretty good cards for my hits. The Mankind autograph is a Blue parallel, and is numbered # 04 / 25. The Mark Henry card is a Hall of Fame ring manu-relic with an autograph. That one is numbered # 79 / 99.

The other two hits from this reverse box were a base Jake "The Snake" Roberts autograph and a John Cena relic card. These base hits have print runs of 199. I like that many of the wrestlers included their nicknames on the autographs for this set.

Here are some more base cards to start off the second reverse box. It's fun to see some of the older guys in a set like this.

Here are a couple more of the cards from the Women's Division checklist. I guess I am showing all of them in the Bronze parallel sections of these boxes, but it probably won't hurt anyone to see Miss Elizabeth and Trish Stratus more than once.

And a couple more Identity Crisis inserts, this time Randy Savage and Razor Ramon / Scott Hall.

Next up are a few more Silver parallels. The Kurt Angle was purchased separately, and all of the other numbered parallels here were part of a lot. I hope no one faints at the sight of "Ravishing" Rick Rude. 

That lot also contained a Gold parallel of D'Lo Brown and a Blue parallel of Diamond Dallas Page. I haven't looked at a lot of breaks of this stuff, but I think my reverse boxes did pretty well as far as parallels go.

And a couple more numbered Identity Crisis cards, including my favorite of the bunch, "Macho Man / King" Randy Savage.

Now we've got the second half of the Women's Division Bronze parallel set to close out the parallels. Let's see what I got as the hits for this box.

First up is a nice Iron Sheik relic / autograph. This is the Blue parallel, and it's a Christmas Card, numbered # 12 / 25. I also managed to get my hands on a Trish Stratus base autograph for what I felt was a reasonable price. There was a Silver parallel out there for a bit more, but I couldn't fit it into my reverse box without breaking the price limit.

I had to get a "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan card for my collection when I saw that he covered the cards in his name, nickname, and a 'HOF 2011' inscription. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboats autograph is one I'm still chasing, but I did manage to land his relic card among those included in a lot.

That rounds out the cards I picked up for my reverse boxes, but I've snagged a few other to go with them.

This trio of autographs includes a Blue parallel of Alundra Blaze and base autograph cards of "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Big Show.

I also got a trio of relics. DiBiase makes another appearance, along with Matt Hardy and Kevin Nash.

This is a pretty fun product, and I enjoyed building reverse boxes of the product. There are a lot of big names in the product, but the hits also include a lot of wrestlers you can pick up on the cheap. Rather than take that risk, I was able to get complete base and Bronze sets, some really nice parallels, and hits featuring the wrestlers I really like. I may pick up a box of this stuff some day, but for now I am pretty happy with building my own boxes.