12 November 2013

Breaking it Down 5: eBay Case Breaks

I went through a period a couple of weeks ago where I participated in quite a few eBay case breaks, mostly trying to vulture whatever cheap teams were available at the end of the auctions or trying to get the Blue Jays in an attempt to get R.A. Dickey hits.

I personally hate the Baltimore Ravens. I may even hate them more than I hate my Denver Broncos' divisional rivals, the Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders. But I wanted to watch a case break and the team was on offer pretty cheap, so I bit on it. I got this autograph card of Aaron Mellette, a guy who hasn't played a snap this year. Yay! Dollar-bin autographs!

In another break I got the Astros, who don't really have a lot of hits in Tier One, but of the Astros who are in the set, Craig Biggio has most of the hits. I got this base-level relic of his, with a nice stripe along the side to add some visual interest to the relic. Of course these single-patch relics can be had for a couple of dollars on eBay all day long, so I still probably came out behind on the break. I justify it by imagining that part of the money goes toward the entertainment value of watching the cards being opened and seeing all of the stuff that gets pulled, whether it goes to my team or not. I also like to think of it as research for my plan to try doing case breaks online as a part-time gig if I can get a decent plan laid out and some startup capital.

I also got a Tier One autograph of Anthony Gose, who I am building quite a collection of as far as autographs go. I think this is probably my fifth autograph of Gose. It is kind of disappointing that many of the Tier One autographs have peeling foil on the corners, and this Gose is no exception. I will live with it, though.

 In a Topps Prime break I wound up with the Chargers and got this Manti Te'o double relic card. I am pretty happy with it, as I found the whole imaginary girlfriend thing to be an interesting story. I met my wife online, and I'm pretty glad that she didn't turn out to be an old dude pretending to be a young woman.

All of the above cards were from the same breaker, but I also got the Astros in a Topps Chrome break a while back. I got a couple of base cards of Altuve and Robbie Grossman.

I also got a trifecta of Brandon Barnes, a base card, a Refractor, and a Gold Refractor numbered out of 50. There isn't much to say about this break. It wasn't the greatest, but then I often spend the same amount of money on packs of cards at the store that yield nothing I really want.


  1. I know how addicting they can be. I wish ya luck if you decide to dive into doing case breaks. If you do, I'd say go all in. You'd want a website, sponsorships, the works. Plus you'd want to break as many cases as you can and get them from a good distributor. I've thought about doing the same, but it seems that barriers to entry for us newbies are getting pretty steep. Ebay's fees are out of control and they're doing everything they can to shut breaks down since they're technically against the rules and can be considered "gambling". My plan is just to hold a break every few months when I find a good deal on boxes and do it for fun, hoping to maybe break even.

    1. If I decide that I can do it, I plan to go all-out as much as possible, to the point where I can break cases online as a part-time job. Right now I am mostly just trying to watch enough breaks to see what works and what doesn't, and also trying to track how much individual breakers make per case and which products generate the best return.

      It would be nice to get enough of a presence/customer base that you wouldn't have to use eBay as much. One of the breakers I've been watching quite a bit seems to use eBay for some of their cases to draw in new customers, and then gets them onto their newsletter to run the bulk of their breaks after the eBay breaks are done.