30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Retail wax is not my thing...

The truth is... since I've gotten back into the hobby, I haven't been a big fan of busting wax in general... but I especially avoid retail wax or blaster boxes. It's pretty simple:

Reason #1
I don't want anymore unwanted base (that I end up giving away to my students anyways).

Reason #2
I'm not optimistic about pulling a great autograph or memorabilia card. Even when they're guaranteed, I know that odds are I'm going to pull an autograph of a 36 year old minor league prospect for the Angels.

Reason #3
If there's a card I really want, I'll usually do my research and pick it up off of COMC or eBay. And every once in awhile, I'll pull off some trades on one of the forums or in the blogworld.

Reason #4
And last, but certainly not least is the value you get from busting wax. You rarely ever get your money's worth... especially out of retail packs. And let's face it... I'm not a millionaire with tons of disposable income. Nope, I'm a teacher who teaches financial responsibility to my students.

But yesterday... while shopping at the local Target for shampoo, conditioner, and some treats for my students... I strolled by the cardboard collectibles aisle. It was the first time I actually saw the section stocked, so I was actually pretty excited.

I've been wanting to pick up a blaster box of 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen, since I've seen some pretty cool stuff being pulled from them. Plus... I'm a softie when it comes to retro-looking products.

Unfortunately, there were no blaster boxes of Gypsy Queen to be found, but I did discover a box of retail under some other boxes. So I grabbed 5 packs (@ $2.99 each) and continued with my shopping.

As soon as I got home, I threw the bags on the dining room table and headed to my office where I proceeded to rip through my purchased wax. Here's a breakdown of what I pulled:

Base Cards

I am now the proud owner of 17 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen base cards, which were highlighted by the three you see above. This set is pretty nice and as soon as they hype dies off, I'll probably try to pick up a completed one off of eBay. By the way... this is the first Stephen Strasburg card in my collection. One of these days, I'll man up and obtain a rookie card of him.

Short Prints

I pulled two short prints of two ball players I know very little about.

Rookie Card

Out of five packs, I pulled one rookie card. Like the short prints, I don't know much about Ben Revere other than what I saw in his stat sheet on baseball-reference.com.

Gypsy Minis

There was one mini in each of my packs. Four of them were regular versions, but none of them are really worth diving into.

Red Gypsy Queen Back Mini

My last pack contained this Nelson Cruz parallel mini. Remember when this guy hit a homerun in each of his first four games to start off this season? Well... he's cooled off quite considerably since then... and I'm assuming so have his cards.


Each pack contained an insert, which I thought was pretty cool. And like the base cards, I think they're pretty nice looking and would be perfect for TTM autographs. I really liked the painting of Jason Heyward on his Wall Climbers insert, but my favorite card is the only Padres card I pulled from the five packs. It's a David Eckstein Sticky Fingers insert which honors the second baseman's great hands.

Well there you have it. That's what $16.33 will get you. Will I ever come close to getting my money back? Hmmm... no way... but that's okay... because I don't collect for investment reasons. I collect to have fun. And I enjoyed every minute it took me to rip open these five packs.

Plus... it was a great reminder of why I tend to avoid opening retail products... and wax in general. These days, I'll typically only bust wax if:

Reason #1
It's cheap and I think the product holds great value in it.

Reason #2
I really like the base card design and/or there's a particular insert set I want to chase.

Reason #3
I'm planning on building sets of this product.

Reason #4
I'm really "jonesing" for that fix.

Reason #5
If and when I find a product that fits the first four reasons... then I look at my finances. If I can afford to spend the extra cash, then I'll finally pull the trigger and buy a box/case.

If you were to look back at my last four major wax purchases... they all fell under the five requisites: 09/10 Panini HOF Basketball, 2008 UD Masterpieces Football, 09/10 Bowman 48 Basketball, and 08/09 Topps Signature Basketball.

So... what about you?

How do you acquire most of your cards? Busting wax? Purchasing singles/sets/card lots? Online trading?
Buying mystery packs? Other?

If I were to break it down by percentages, I'd say that 65% of my PC was obtained through purchases, whether they be singles, sets, card lots, or mystery packs. 25% of my collection was acquired through online trades on either Sports Card Forum, Card Collectors World, or in the blogworld. And 10% is obtained through busting boxes or cases of product.

Happy Thursday everyone... I'm definitely looking forward to the three day weekend. Sayonara!


  1. Totally old-school in this area because I collect partly to reacquaint myself with my childhood appreciation with the hobby, and the only way you could collect then was buying packs at the store:

    45 percent: buying packs at stores
    30 percent: online trades
    20 percent: buying singles, mostly online
    4 percent: busting boxes
    1 percent: cards at the LCS (it sucks)

    But if I'm looking at my collection from the time I started, the buying packs at stores soars to like 80 percent.

  2. I understand in my head that blaster and wax in general is not worth the price, but in my heart I love the treasure hunt aspect of it. 90-95% of the time I could get every card that I get out of a pack cheaper as a group of singles, but I still love the thrill of finding one for myself.

    I am probably around
    50% online trades
    20% retail wax
    20% eBay/Sportslots
    10% boxes
    0% LCS (none close to me)

    Great topic BTW as usual.

  3. I'd say:

    50%-retail packs
    40%-blogger trades
    6%-other online trades
    2%-group breaks
    1%-hobby packs
    .8%-LCS (mine also sucks)
    .2%-Stealing them from the spokes of the neighborhood kids.

    By the way, I'd like to up that blogger trade percentage a bit by trading for that Cruz if you're interested.

  4. Before the Internet and Ebay became available to me, it was more retail than anything, and that's partly because I didn't know the difference between Hobby and Retail product. Once I started knowing, I still was more of a retail guy but did start buying a little more at the local card shop. Then Ebay came along, and it became 80% singles and 20% boxes off of online sites such as Dave and Adams or Blowout. In 03, I bought a box of almost every brand possible looking for LeBron Rookies, came up empty handed most of the time. Now that, I cannot justify spending 100 dollars on a box and getting a no name 2nd round auto rookie and a single colored white swatch jersey card. The last product I bought was a pack of 09/10 SP Signature Edition which did net a Dual John Paxon/Ron Harper autograph, but for the most part the box breaks I read about scare me too much to risk dropping serious coin on such a risk. I'm 100% Ebay now, and yes I do get the itch, who doesn't at a collector but I always talk myself out of it and go for a nice card that's a sure thing. I'd rather spend 100 bucks on a nice hall of fame rookie card or dual auto patch of a superstar than get a Michael Redd jersey card and a Lazar Hayward Auto rookie (no offense to those who collect them).

  5. 70 percent: buying singles online
    24 percent: online trades
    5 percent: cards at the LCS (mostly trades though haha)
    1 percent: buying packs at stores
    0 percent: busting boxes (have yet to buy a single one)

  6. night owl - interesting way of putting it... since i too collect with that point of view. i guess the "cheapskate" side of me reigns though.

    hiflew - i felt this way about 15/20 years ago... but since then i've left the hobby a few times and each time i come back i seem to spend less and less on wax. it's great that people still do bust products, b/c if everyone stopped, the hobby would probably fade quickly.

    play at the plate - the cruz is yours... email your address to sanjosefuji@yahoo.com

    chris p - great minds think alike... i'm headed in your direction

    spastikmooss - we're very similar... except i won't be spending anymore money on retail