20 October 2014

What's in the Box 2: Collector Crate Bronze Level Unboxing

I saw somewhere that a new outfit called Collector Crate were unveiling a monthly mystery box program similar to Loot Crate, which sends out a monthly box full of geek and gamer paraphernalia. The Collector Crate version would be sports collector specific, and consists of three different pricing tiers, which in turn offer a different level of merchandise in each mystery box. The tiers are Bronze (10 low-mid end packs, 1 relic card, 1 autograph card, various odds and ends), Silver (10 mid end packs, 2 relic cards, 2 autograph cards, various odds and ends), and Gold (10 mid-high end packs, 3 relic cards, 3 autographs, various odds and ends).

They were offering a $5 discount on the inaugural October boxes, so I ordered a Bronze box to see what it was all about. It arrived in the mail last week. There is a Bronze sticker on the front and four little boxes denoting which sport the box contains. There is a checkbox for hockey, although they don't yet offer a hockey option. My choice was baseball. When it arrived the seal holding the box shut had been cut, but the contents all seemed to be intact.

Here are the various odds and ends that were included in the box. In the upper left is a Big League Chew gumball. It was not as satisfying as real Big League Chew which was shredded bubble gum that came in a pouch, like Red Man chewing tobacco. There was a small foam finger, which you could place on your finger, a little plastic baseball with an Angels logo on it, a Houston Astros pennant, and a Boston Red Sox sticker. The Collector Crate card talks about how you could win a Collector Crate box through their social media sites, and the little yellow envelope contains the bonus hits. I chewed the gumball and will probably find a place on my wall for the Astros pennant, but this stuff is probably not anything that I would go out and buy on my own. And I am just lucky that the pennant featured a team that I am a fan of.

Here are the 10 packs that came in the box. The only real difference between this and your basic repack from Target is that some of the packs are Hobby packs, so the odds are maybe a little better of pulling something decent. Let's see how I did. I'll start off with the bonus hits.

I got a couple of Mets hits in the box, with a relic/auto of Mike Cameron and a relic of Robin Ventura. They are two guys who had long careers in baseball and both were All-Stars at least once. The Cameron card is even pretty limited, being serially-numbered # 03 / 45. The hair on the Ventura swatch is probably a Duke relic from my Basset Hound, who sheds pretty much everywhere, even on the scanner. He has never even been in my car, but his hair is in my car.

In addition to the relic and autograph hits, the envelope contained this 1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. Rated Rookie card. You can't say no to a free Griffey. So the hits were pretty decent, even if they weren't anything I would seek out on the secondary market. We all know that they could have been much, much less exciting.

I didn't bother to scan everything from the packs, but I did scan the cards that were most interesting to me. First up are the horizontal-format cards, because they have to be scanned in their own little group.

The Jeff Samardzija is a base card, but it fits into my player collections. I don't know anything about that Upper Deck X Baseball stuff, but the Troy Tulowitzki card was super-shiny and I figured it was special. The 2008 Upper Deck Heroes pack featured a couple of card with players I collect on them, but the card design was so ugly that I didn't scan them.

Homer Bailey is another player I knid of collect, as is Chris Johnson. Carlos Lee is an Astro and a die-cut, so I included him in the scan. I may already have that card, though. I pulled three 'hits' from the packs, which seems like a better-than-average ratio to me. Eddie Butler is supposedly one of the top prospects in the Rockies' system, but had pretty horrid stats in the three starts he made for them in 2014. He is also injured, and when he comes back from that he will probably get some more seasoning in the minors before (hopefully) getting another chance with the Rockies. Brad Sullivan was a first-round pick for the Athletics in 2003 and pitched in the lower end of their minor league system until 2007, never really getting anything going. The Mike Trout Elite Dominator card from 2014 Donruss is numbered # 774 / 999 and features an X-Fractor-like pattern that doesn't really show up in the scan.

The Eddie Butler autograph is a Refractor autograph and is numbered # 484 / 499.

And that's about it from the box. Even with the $5 discount and the extra autographs and inserts I pulled from my 10 packs of cards it's a bit borderline on whether the box was worthwhile. I can get a 10-pack repack from Target for around $12. I am not sure that the two bonus hits, the odds and ends, and the upgrade in some of the packs from Retail to Hobby adds an extra $13-18 in value for me personally. I can't imagine that I would even pull a couple of autographs and a Mike Trout insert or equivalent every time I busted a box.

Maybe I am just soured a bit on opening randomly-packed stuff altogether, when it generally works out to be cheaper to take the direct route and buy the cards I want outright on the secondary market.

Collector Crate may be good as an occasional purchase for me, but I can't see myself dropping the money to buy one every month. I don't know if things work out better at the higher tiers (the Gold tier seems to feature some pretty high-end packs, for example, with guaranteed hits), but the Bronze tier just doesn't quite hold enough value for me to strongly recommend it. I can scratch the repack itch at a lower price point, and the pennants/baseballs/bubble gum/stickers are stuff I normally wouldn't spend money on anyway, so I don't really include it in my mental value calculation.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I was very curious about these when I first heard about them. I'm not a huge repack fan so I decided against it. Have you seen any of the gold ones? Curious to see what they put in them.

    1. I saw one Gold baseball break on Twitter. It looked like the guy got some Bowman Chrome, maybe some Topps Chrome, Prime Cuts, SP Authentic, and I'm not sure if he got a Panini Immaculate pack or if it was just his bonus hits that came from the product. There were a few other higher-end packs as well.

      I also saw a Gold football break on a blog. It seemed like the guy got a decent number of patches and autographs, but I don't know that it was anything I would pay $100 for.

  2. I was wondering it the Chrome auto was for trade. Nice Ventura relic!

  3. I'll just stick with my 20 dollar repack boxes. 20 packs for 20 bucks with an included "hit". Thanks for sharing that, I hadn't heard about it until now.

  4. Thanks for sharing! I was debating on buying one of these... but decided to save my money. I think I'd consider buying one if you were able to go with team specific memorabilia. I'm not sure what I'd do with an Astros pennant and Angels baseball... other than flipping them at the flea market. However if they were A's and Padres stuff, I'd be pretty happy.