30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Scrambling for Scraps

Depending on your perspective, busting packs can be viewed as gambling.  I'm not sure that's how I viewed it as a kid, but that's how I look at it now.  I'm dishing out my hard earned cash for the chance of pulling something cool for my collection.

Obviously some products are higher risk, than others.  I'm not taking that big of a risk when I buy a pack of 1989 Bowman for a quarter at a card show.  However the annual Topps Archives Signature Series packs are definitely on the other end of the spectrum.  Most online card shops have them for $30 to $50 per pack.

What comes in a pack?  One signed buyback card that has been encapsulated by Topps.  I consider this a high risk product, because you could drop $180 and pull autographs of AJ Burnett, Brad Ausmus, Charles Johnson, Mike Cameron, Todd Zeile, and Willie Wilson and nobody who is familiar with this product would be shocked.  In fact Mario over at The Baseball Card Blog (formerly known as Wax Heaven), recently called it "one of the worst breaks I've watched this year".  Sure Topps added superstars and hall of famers to the checklist, but based on what I've seen, they're short printed and are possibly case hits.

The bottom line is you won't find me spending $30 on one of these packs.  On the other hand, I have no problem picking up the crumbs being sold on eBay.  I've bought a few lots which set me back anywhere from $3 to $6 per card.

Today I wanted to share a few of these Archives Signature Series buybacks that I recently added to my collection:

1999 Stadium Club #190

Andruw Jones could straight up ball in the outfield.  He had a cannon for an arm and this photographer captured him showing off his leaping ability.  The icing on the cake is the gold Sharpie signature running across this card.

Most collectors aren't going to be to impressed with the next card:, because he's not wearing his Royals jersey:

1993 Topps #318

Willie Wilson spent his first fifteen seasons in Kansas City... and that's how I will always remember his career.  However, I was pretty excited to see this card arrive in the lot.  I'm sure I knew about Wilson being an Athletic... but as I get older... this sort of trivia tends to slip my mind.  This card will not allow that to happen again.

And rounding out this post is this popular hall of fame manager:

1990 Topps #23T

Back in the day, I enjoyed watching the Atlanta Braves play on TBS... so I had the opportunity to see Bobby Cox in action on a variety of occasions.  This card popped up either on a blog or a YT video and I wanted a copy ever since.

I paid a little more for this particular lot of cards ($77 + $9.99 shipping for 13 cards) and I'm pretty sure the Cox was the card that drove up the price.  The two copies that have recently sold on eBay have closed for $32.89 (+ $2.93 shipping) and $36.89 (+ $3.99 shipping).  I think I bid on both of those cards.

That's why I enjoy purchasing these cards as part of card lots... because it allows me to grab these buyback autographs for pennies on the dollar.  No shame in scrambling for scraps.

That's it for today.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Sure ain't nuttin wrong with a pair Braves. I paid $2.00 for my first Andruw autograph. The others I have were about the same. They are abundant. I probably have a Cox auto, but off hand I can't remember. But, I did just load up on cheap Braves autos on Comc yesterday.

  2. I don't gamble like this and opened just one small retail base set pack this year. And I saved a lot of money doing it. I bought a couple of hobby boxes in the past and the autographs and relics I pulled were underwhelming. These are great cards that you have with a solid logic and approach to acquiring them.

  3. It took me awhile to get off of retail. I still get the itch to open a pack every now and again, but thankfully there are plenty of breakers on YouTube which help me out!. Spending your hard earned cash on exactly what you want is the way to go in my opinion.

  4. Those cards are pretty cool, but I agree that the math means the packs aren't worth the $$. That Andruw Jones card looks pretty awesome with the gold ink.

    They are kind of popular in Japan too so I've been browsing the auctions here for them. I picked up a signed buyback 1989 Topps Andres Galarraga for 800 Yen (about 7$) a little while back which I was quite pleased with for my Expos collection side project :)

  5. Opening packs and boxes is definitely gambling, but it's one of the most enjoyable parts of the hobby. While buying individual cards is a better value 9 times out of 10, the feeling of pulling a card that you wouldn't have been willing/able to buy yourself is unbeatable.

  6. I grabbed a Bobby Cox Jays buyback over at COMC during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales from this set. It was a case of not knowing I wanted a Bobby Cox Jays auto until I saw one.

  7. That Andruw auto is legit. Nicest one I have seen in a while and not the crappy scribbles we normally see. Nice pick ups!

  8. I've been keeping track of all the Robin Yount cards in this year's retired series and almost all of them were 1 of 1's. That being said to get my high end fix I to also choose the youtube voyeurism. I also picked up 5 of these cards for $20 a while back at my LCS, all brewers for my team collection, and one former brewer. That's over $150 retail for unopened. Jones has a sweet sig for sure, nice snag.

  9. Definitely the best way to go with those. Who's the smart one--the person who pays $30-$50/pack for those or the one that gets the cards for $3-$6? Nice pickups, buddy.

  10. I can't see myself buying expensive packs like this. Your route of picking these cards up on the cheap is definitely the way to go!

  11. I still don't understand why anyone buys packs of these Archives signature things. Seems like even the best pulls would barely be enough to recoup the price of it.

  12. That Jones auto is nice. Heck it's almost so perfect that I didn't think it was real at first.

  13. I'll add to the totals by saying that your Andruw Jones autograph is impressive!

  14. johnnys trading spot - yeah, this is definitely the most expensive andruw jones autograph in my collection. i grabbed one this summer for 2 bucks at a card show.

    peter k steinberg - i hear ya. pulling underwhelming autographs and relics can change your approach to collecting in a heartbeat

    p-town tom - i use youtube to get my fix. unfortunately, i still bust a blaster every now and then. the good news is my local targets never have any decent ones on the shelves, so that helps control my addiction

    sean - nice. i think i grabbed a galarraga a few years ago.

    henry blanchette - it's been a long time since i pulled a card that i wouldn' be willing or able to buy for myself. lol. maybe that's why i don't rip that often anymore

    buckstorecards - congratulations! i'm definitely going to add a jays autograph of cox at some point.

    sumomenkoman - yeah. one of the nicer autographs i've seen. it looks awesome on that fantastic action shot

    cynicalbuddha - that's a solid score for your brewers pc. i would pay $20 for 5 a's all day long

    dennis - i think the only way people make their money back is if they land a 1 of 1 of one of the big names like jeter, trout, or aaron. i guess group break guys cover their costs too. but otherwise the $3 to $6 route is the best way to go.

    matt - i've never opened one of these boxes, but i have paid $50 for a pack before. it wasn't pretty. lol. that's why i have chosen this new route ;)

    nick - i agree 100%

    collecting cutch - i know, right? i love that card

    the lost collector - yup! although when i was 10 years old, i didn't view it that way. lol

    nick vossbrink - when it comes to great looking autographed cards, this is one of the nicer ones in my collection

    gregory - and i'll say it again... i love that card :D

  15. I love that Willie Wilson card. I did not realize he even had certified autographs out this year. Not a 1980s Cardinals, but he fit that style.

    1. the snorting bull - he definitely would. love the speed on those 80's cardinals teams