Anyways... I really like 2013 Topps Five Star Baseball. The hard signed autographs, simple card design, and solid checklist are awesome and exactly what I'd expect in a high end product. One problem... I'm not a "high end product" kind of guy. Plus, I'm not exactly known for busting boxes either (please ignore my "out of character" Black Friday box busting frenzy).
That's why I decided to save money and build my very own custom Five Star box based on what collectors would typically find in a sealed box.
I can't remember whose blog I read... but I stole their idea. If anyone knows... can you leave the name of their blog in the comment section, so I can give them credit.
Okay... moving forward. Each box contains one pack and each pack includes on average...
A. One Base Card
B. Two Active or Retired Player Autographed Cards
C. One Autographed Patch Card or Autographed Card
D. One Autographed Book Card or Silver Signatures Autograph Card
E. One Jumbo Swatch, Patch, Batting Glove, MLB Logo, Bat Plate, or Bat Knob Relic Card
My original goal was to stay under the sealed box price by as much as I could. Right now, sealed boxes can be typically found at online shops in the $319 to $350 range.
Without further adieu... let's see how I did. I avoided buying a numbered base card, because I'd rather have another autograph. And since it's my personal custom box, I make the rules. Here's what I picked up in place of the base card:
Autograph #1: Dennis Eckersley (#'d 240/353) $13.00
eBay Best Offer Accepted: $10.50 + $2.50 s/h
I went with a value priced autograph, because I noticed that most of the base cards sell in the $5 to $15 range. $13 for an on-card autograph of a HOFer who's featured in an Athletics uniform. Can't complain about that.
Next up are the two cards that made me decide to buy into this product. They're my two retired player autographs... and feature two of my favorite players from my childhood.
Autograph #2: Tony Gwynn (#'d 15/50) $43.00
eBay Auction: $40.05 + $2.95 s/h
I've got to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the photos used on either of these cards. I was hoping they'd use a picture of Gwynn at the plate.
Autograph #3: Rickey Henderson (#'d 22/25) $96.88
eBay Auction: $93.88 + $3 s/h
And this is the best photo of Rickey they could find? How about one with him on the base paths? Oh well... I'm not going to complain too much. This is my very first autographed baseball card of Mr. Henderson.
Autograph #4: Tom Glavine (#'d 56/65) $29.99
eBay Best Offer Accepted: $28 + $1.99 s/h
Relic #1: Jimmie Foxx (#'d 17/25) $32.88
eBay Auction: $29.88 + $3 s/h
The one downside to this custom box was paying $32.88 for a relic card. Outside of a Jackie Robinson jersey card, I don't think I ever spent more than $20 on a memorabilia card. And I can't imagine it will happen again in the near future. On a positive note, it's a nice addition to my A's collection.
That leaves me with just one more autograph for my box. To save a few dollars, I didn't bother looking at autographed patch cards. I stayed with the standard base autographs, which is what attracted me to this product in the first place. There were a few people I targeted: Dale Murphy, Clayton Kershaw, and Andre Dawson. But I ended up going with Mr. October instead.
Autograph #5: Reggie Jackson (#'d 14/50) $43.89
eBay Auction: $43.89 (free shipping)
I'm not a huge fan of Reggie, but he was a big part of the Oakland Athletics success during the early 70's. I might be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure this is my first Jackson autograph too. It's a shame he's wearing pinstripes.
Okay... time to add up the damage and assess my box. Total cost of my custom box (including shipping) was $259.64. That's a lot of money, but it includes on-card autographs of five HOFers and a bat card of one of the greatest hitters of all-time. Best of all, it allowed me to choose cards specifically based on my collection.
After falling well under the Five Star SRP, I decided to update my goal. The new goal is to see how nice of a box I can build, while staying under the current unopened box prices.
That's why I grabbed this Fred Lynn autograph.
Autograph #6: Fred Lynn (#'d 181/353) $10.00
eBay Best Offer Accepted: $8 + $2 s/h
Fred Lynn was one of those guys I followed as a kid, because he was such a well balanced hitter. I remember checking his stats every morning in The San Jose Mercury News. He might not be in the hall of fame, but there's no denying the guy could hit.
I'm still actively looking for autographs of Murphy, Kershaw, Dawson, and Stewart. The way I look at it... I'm still $50 to $80 under what I would have spent on a sealed box, so I should probably be able to pick up at least one, two, or maybe even three more autographs without going over.
Happy Valentine's Day Eve and sayonara!