Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Breaking Down Breaking Retail

Buying retail can be confusing, especially when you hear people throwing around words like: "Blasters, Blisters, Loosies, Rack Packs, Cello Packs, Hangers, Hangars, and Gravity Feed." Although I prefer to buy Hobby (buying from a Local Card Shop), there are some retail only cards/parallels that can be fun.

The main draw to buying Hobby packs over retail packs is guaranteed hits. When you buy single packs from your LCS, you are buying from a box that has a guaranteed number of autos, relics, #'d Parallels, inserts, etc. When buying retail, there is zero guarantee in most of the packs or boxes that you will get any hit. Nevertheless, retail is enticing. It's cheap, easy to find, fun, and satisfies those late night cravings for busting wax. There is nothing more fun than going to Wally World at 2:00 am to buy some cards (well maybe a few things that are more fun, but you get my point.)

This will be a guide to what you will get in some of the Topps Retail Packs, what you may find, and what I prefer to buy:

Blaster Packs: 

Blaster Packs typically contain 10 packs and a manufactured patch card. The packs contain 8 cards. The great thing about these boxes is that they are usually tamper free and the packs are not available for the Evil Pack Searchers to go through. You are guaranteed a "hit" that is a manu-patch card. It is not a player relic, but the plus side to these is that they resell better than some player relic cards. They are a nice addition to a PC for a player and are typically nice looking cards. They also guarantee a certain number of retail parallels. In 2013, you received 2 parallels in each pack. In 2012, it was 2 packs of parallels.
The downside to these boxes is the amount of cards you get for the price. The cost per card is about 25 cents. Not the best box to buy if you are trying to get more inserts, parallels, and collect the set.

They are a fun break and you do get something guaranteed.

Price $19.99
Total Packs 10 + 1
Cards per Pack 8
Total Cards 81
Parallels ?
Cost per Card $.25

Hanger Boxes: 

Hanger boxes are some of my favorite retail cards to buy. You get the benefit of getting more cards for your money in a tamper proof box. Those pesky Pack Searchers won't be able to search these and they are not resealable with shrink wrap. I have had a few hits from Hanger boxes I have bought, and really enjoy getting more cards for my money. These average out to only costing around .14 cents per card. For the money you spend on a Blaster pack, you can get two hanger packs and have almost double the cards.
The one downside to these boxes is they are not the most fun to open. You only get 1 large cellophane pack to bust, and you do not get the excitement of opening pack after pack.

I still prefer these for my money when buying retail and seem to get more hits from them. Luck of the @cardboardgods, I guess.

Price $9.99
Total Packs 1
Cards per Pack 72
Total Cards 72
Parallels ?
Cost per Card $.14

Rack Packs (Jumbo Packs): 

Rack Packs are another option that is good for the money at around .14 cents a card. They are inexpensive at $4.99 and usually contain a certain number of retail only parallels. I have pulled 4 autos out of these packs in the past few years. One of the downsides to these, is that they can be pack searched for relics. The low cost and guaranteed retail parallels make these a great pickup when you visit the Target or Walmart.

Price $4.99
Total Packs 2
Cards per Pack 18
Total Cards 36
Parallels 3
Cost per Card $.14

Single Packs (Loosies, Gravity packs): 

Now the most searchable of all, The loosies. These are typically found all over the card aisle in your favorite retail store. They are usually a mess and have been picked over. I have even seen them opened and then put back when no hit or desirable card was found. These are the cheapest and usually range in price from $1.99 to $2.99. They typically contain 12 cards and are not the greatest value with the cost of .16 to .25 a card.

Price $1.99 - $2.99
Total Packs 1
Cards per Pack 12
Total Cards 12
Parallels ?
Cost per Card $.16 - $.25

Happy Retail shopping! Don't forget to spend more at your LCS!!

1997 Fleer Ultra David Arias RC #cardoftheday

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What the Fractor? Refractors - A Visual Guide

After returning to collecting within the past few years, I was very confused when it came to refractors. I didn't really understand the difference between a chrome card and a refractor. Then parallel cards like emerald foil, silver ice, and waves it gets even more confusing.

Cardboard connection has a great page on refractors.

The quick explanation for refractors is they are cards that refract light thus causing a rainbow effect with a ton of colors shown as light passes it. Refractors were first seen in 1993 Topps Finest. From that release they have shown up in various products, but are now a regular part of parallels in releases.

Not all chrome, ice, wave, or foil cards a refractors. Refractors are cards that have the rainbow when light hits the surface.
I'm not sure why this was a confusing concept for me, but it was. Hopefully, in writing this, it will help you to.

Other than providing a quick explanation for Refractors, I also wanted to host a place to include photos of various types of refractors to be used as a reference.


Xfractor - other than noticing the small squares in this refractor, you can also see X crossing throughout the card.

Superfractor - notice the small swirls/circles all over the card in the refractor

Color Parallel - Various Colors, but still has the rainbow light effect

Wave - Has a wave effect across the face of the card


Atomic Ice 

Atomic Refractor

Camo - Camo parallel with refractor

As I think of more I left out, I will add them to the list.
Let me know if you have thought of any I haven't in the comments or hit me up on twitter @teddyballgamebb


2012 Bowman Sterling Lewis Brinson auto #cardoftheday