30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Hand Picked, Out of my Budget, Custom Box

It was love at first sight.  Okay... that sounds a little cheesy, but it's the day before Valentine's Day... and love is in the air.  Damn... that sounds cheesy too.

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

My fourth autograph is my most recent purchase and the card that kept me from publishing a few weeks ago.  Each box of Five Star comes with a book card or a Silver Signatures card.  I went with the more affordable option.  I was hoping to buy a Dave Stewart for my A's PC, but for a few more dollars I decided to go with a HOFer instead.

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!


  1. I love the Eckersley and Lynn autos. Consider me jealous.

  2. That is a fun idea. I always go on cardboardconnection.com to view checklists of new sets. I make note of all the Pirate cards and go from there. What you have done is a way better idea for the high end sets. I've watch a lot of case breaks on this stuff and have seen some real duds. You always leave happy. The only downside is not getting the mega hit, but unless you are case busting the chances are slim.

  3. Some very nice cards, in deed.
    I can't see that Rickey card without imagining him in a sled throwing out Christmas presents.. http://baseballcardbreakdown.blogspot.com/2013/12/12-days-of-christmas-cards-12th-day.html

  4. Very nice cards. Your way, just buying some singles, is the ONLY way any sane person can collect these. I guess I'm old fashioned but the idea of paying $350 for a slim box of cards, no matter the possible reward is just out of my comprehension. For that $$ I'd want a reasonable shot at a Ted Williams Head relic. ;-)

  5. Love the Lynn card. Great deal. Eck is pretty sweet also

  6. Awesome cards. I did a reverse box of 2013 Topps Tribute and made a post about it last year. I prefer doing high end products that way. I got what I really wanted and it cost me less than half the price.

  7. Killer work Fuji, beautiful autographs!

  8. That's a great idea- even if you're not the originator. Regardless, those are some awesome cards- much better than if you had dropped the bucks on a box.

  9. Great selection! As a Rickey and Reggie collector those are easily my favorite. I love the Eck as well. Nice idea and execution.

  10. That is awesome that you could get all of those cards, shipped even, for well under the price of a single box. Topps needs to learn how to pack out their products from you. Like you I would rather spend the price of a box on buying singles, that way you get what you want.

  11. Eck has one of the nicest sigs of ANY ballplayer, past or present!

    Some of today's players could do with learning a thing or two about how to sign a card from soem of these guys... I'm looking at you Wil Myers!!

  12. Awesome cards! I love 2013 Five Star as well!

  13. The Henderson autograph is spectacular!