2008-09 Champ’s Hockey box breakdown

Back in April, I purchased a box of 2008-09 Champ’s Hockey. It was somewhat of a weak moment. I had just received my income tax return, and I went to a new card shop that I had never visited before. The dealer told me that he’d sell me a box of Champ’s for $100, including tax, if I paid him in cash.

Now, normally I don’t buy high-end stuff. I’m the guy who’s on the sidelines, watching some other schlub open up expensive packs and boxes and getting the good autograph cards, while I seldom buy anything more expensive than regular Upper Deck. For once, I wanted to open an expensive box of something, and I was intrigued by this Champ’s product, with all the dinosaur bones and whatnot.

So, like the beer drinker who for once had enough to buy a bottle of fine scotch, I bought a box of Champ’s. I meant to post this box breakdown sooner, but got sidetracked and then forgot. Today, I found the post-it note that listed what was inside this box:

Post It Note

As you can see, I got three “hits” in this box. First the autographed cards:

How about that? I got a hard-signed autograph card of Steve Stamkos, who was probably the most anticipated rookie from the 2008-09 season. No, he did not win the Calder, but getting a Stamkos ‘graph is pretty awesome, and preferable to an autograph of, say…

Jon Filewich. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of this guy. I sure didn’t until I got an autograph of him. He played 5 games in 2007-08 for the Penguins, and has been in the minors ever since. Maybe in 5 years he’ll become the next Maxime Talbot. Or not.

But speaking of Penguins, I got a pretty rad jersey card:

I nearly lost it when I got this Mario Lemieux jersey swatch card. I normally detest jersey cards, because I never get any good ones. Well, I think this one is pretty impressive.

Getting a Stamkos autograph and a Lemieux jersey card made this a worthwhile break. Too bad the other autograph was not of a more, ahem, significant player–but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, right?

As for the other cards (base, minis, etc.) nothing really stood out in my break. Overall, I like the set, but wonder why the mini set has more cards than the standard-sized set.

For those of you collecting Champ’s, here is my Want List and Trade List. Help a brother out in completing his set.

I still need quite a few base, rookies, mini rookies and Natural History–yes, I am crazy enough that one day I will own the entire mini set, including all 191 of the Natural History cards. (Plus, I need an extra copy of C295 African Wild Dog to give to my girlfriend, who did a report and presentation in college recently about the wild dogs).

I’ll write a set review once I complete the standard-sized set.

Until then, I leave you with a card of arguably the second greatest goalie ever. Arguably.


Not quite a "blast"

Today, after watching the Blackhawks lose 5-2 to the Red Wings, my girlfriend Shellie and I got some shopping done at Target.

And like a junkie, I am always drawn to the trading card aisle. I must need to get my head checked because I know that blaster boxes of trading cards are a waste of time and money. But as a fool and his money soon part ways, I purchases a blaster box of 2008-09 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey cards.

Here’s what I got:

— 51 base cards

— 2 Young Guns (Brad Staubitz, Teddy Purcell)

— 3 Victory update cards

— 3 Victory Rookie update cards (Petr Vrana, Dwight Helminen, Nathan Oystrick)

— 1 Tales of the Cup insert (Clark Gillies)

Wow…what a waste! Sure, you’re not always going to get an awesome rookie card in a box–especially a blaster box.

But let’s do a little math here. Don’t worry, I promise it will be easy.

A single pack of Upper Deck Hockey cards costs $2.99 and contains 8 cards. Young Guns are found in 1 out of every 4 packs (1:4).

A blaster box of Upper Deck Hockey cards contains 12 packs–but the packs only have 5 cards each. Additionally, Young Guns are seeded at a rate of 1 in 6 (1:6).

So, what’s the better “value”? Glad you asked.

A blaster box gets you 60 cards for $20.

To get 60 cards from single packs, you’d have to purchase 7 1/2 packs of cards. For argument’s sake, let’s just assume you could purchase a “half pack”. Your total cost would be $22.45.

Purchasing single packs would cost more to get the same amount of cards. Besides, grabbing eight packs at random from the shelf does not mean that you will get two Young Guns…it means you might get two Young Guns. And seriously folks, we know that’s why we buy these damn cards.

At least when you buy a blaster box, you almost always get two Young Guns.

But now, I must voice a few gripes that most of us are thinking anyways:

1. The blaster box does not state how many cards per pack. This is a recent development in the design of these boxes, as sets released earlier this year state on the blaster boxes how many cards per pack. This feels very “bait-and-switch” to me. One might assume that if a single pack contains 8 cards, then each pack in a blaster box also contains 8 cards. That’s a reasonable conclusion, albeit an incorrect one. The fact that Upper Deck does not state how many cards you get in a pack (or a box) should be illegal. Seriously. If you buy a box of tissue or a bottle of aspirins, it clearly states how many you get. Why are trading cards exempt from this?

2. The insertion of Victory Update cards. For those of us trying to build a set of Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey, it is frustrating to get one Victory Update card in every other pack–or every pack if you buy the 8-card single packs. Six out of 60 cards I got were Victory Update cards–that’s 10% of the box. Most of us would rather get another Upper Deck card–bringing us closer to completing our sets–than a Victory Update card. Plus, I got more Victory Update Rookies than I did Young Guns. Which brings me to my third point…

3. Cost of Upper Deck-brand cards. Really, what is the difference between the $2.99-a-pack Upper Deck cards and the 99-cents-per-pack Victory cards? Both are printed full-bleed, are ultra glossy and have full-color backs. The only difference is, Upper Deck sells the Upper Deck-brand cards for more. Sure, we have a 1-in-300 chance of getting some dumb memorabilia card. So what? That just drives up the cost. Upper Deck cards are really not any better than Victory cards, quality-wise. Therefore, they should be a buck a pack. But they are not, which leads us nicely to point number 4.

4. Cost per card. Time for more easy math. A blaster box costs $20.

$20 divided by 60 cards = 33.3 cents per card. That’s 3 cards for $1.

But, living in Chicago, I have to pay 10.25% sales tax. So let’s recalculate.

$20 plus 10.25% tax = $22.04 divided by 60 cards = 36.73 cents per card. That’s closer to 3 cards for $1.10.

Unless you live in Chicago like I do–which has the highest sales tax in the U.S.–you’ll pay less for cards than I do, but are still paying about 33 cents per card. If someone at a card show tried to sell me Upper Deck commons for 33 cents each, I’d have to lacerate them with a rough-edged OPC card from the early 1980s.

And yet today at Target, I willingly–and foolishly–paid that amount. Like I said, a fool and his money.

… … …

On a related note, I still need about 70 base cards from Series One and 60 base cards from Series Two. If you have any, please take a look at my Wantlist.

Likewise, if there are some 2008-09 Upper Deck Hockey cards you need for your set, check out my Trade List. I’d rather trade with someone than pay 33 cents a card.

2008-09 Legends Masterpiece box breakdown

This weekend, I purchased my first box of hockey cards from the new season–2008-09 Upper Deck Legends Masterpieces. I was at Target and bought one of those “blaster boxes”, which contained 8 packs for the low, low price of $20.

By the way, eight packs for $20 is not a low price, especially considering that you only get four cards per pack. Counting sales tax (10.25% in Chicago), that makes each individual card “cost” about 69 cents each.

But are they worth it? I’m a sucker for “art cards”. One of my favorite sets is the old Hockey Hall of Fame postcard set. Since this Legends Masterpieces set is composed solely of artistic renderings of famous players and memorable moments, I thought I’d give these a shot.

I know blaster boxes don’t have great odds having any sort of insert card. This one in particular was devoid of any insert, chase or special cards–only base cards here. I’ve listed a pack-by-pack breakdown of what I got in the box:

Pack 1
#66 – Marty McSorley
#47 – Grant Fuhr
#32 – Phil Esposito
#76 – Andy Bathgate

Pack 2
#62 – The Sutters
#35 – Jarri Kurri
#38 – Wayne Gretzky
#12 – Mario Lemieux

Pack 3
#24 – Pat LaFontaine
#68 – Dale Hawerchuk
#23 – Mike Bossy
#85 – Mr. Hockey

Pack 4
#65 – Manon Rheaume
#25 – Lanny McDonald
#14 – Ray Bourque
#69 – Gilbert Perreault

Pack 5
#51 – Johnny Bower
#80 – Mr. Hockey
#38 – Wayne Gretzky (again!)
#31 – Tony Esposito

Pack 6
#40 – Rick Vaive
#21 – Patrick Roy
#49 – Brian Leetch
#9 – Richard Brodeur

Pack 7
#33 – Bobby Orr
#58 – Peter Stastny
#72 – Eddie Shack
#13 – Lester Patrick

Pack 8
#3 – Lady Byng
#28 – Bobby Hull & Mr. Hockey
#77 – Craig MacTavish
#60 – Rod Langway

As for the cards themselves, they are printed on a thicker card stock that has some texture, as well as embossed gold ink. I still think that the asking price for these is too high.

Fortunately, I only got one duplicate card–and that was of Wayne Gretzky, so I’m sure I’ll be able to trade it to someone.

I’ll post a review once I get the entire base set. In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite cards from the set so far…

Opening 530 sticker packs is not fun

I recently purchased 530 packs of 1995-96 Panini Hockey stickers, and let me tell you, opening 530 packs of stickers is not fun!

I imagine that this would be the hobby equivalent of shelling peanuts. As much as I loved buying and opening packs of Panini Hockey Stickers back in the day, it just isn’t the same. Now, it’s more akin to factory work–you do the same thing over and over and over until you just don’t care. There are no insert or chase cards to hope for, and (somewhat ironically) the wrappers tend to stick to the top sticker, making these a bit of a challenge to unwrap. Fortunately, the top sticker is a shiny, foil sticker, so any paper that sticks can be removed without damaging the sticker itself

I purchased this large lot of sticker packs with the delusion of being to complete eight or nine sets. After all, 530 packs would be a total of 3,180 stickers. Since each set contains 306 stickers, you could theoretically make ten complete sets and have 120 leftover stickers.

Theoretically? I am delusional. After opening 100 or so packs, I was quickly reminded on how bad the collation on these old Panini sets were. I’d end up getting like 12 of one particular sticker, and none of some other sticker. So, while I got a ton of stickers of guys like Eric Lindros, Ray Bourque and Mike Richter, what I’d really hope for is stickers of Mark Tinordi or Ian Laperriere, because those two seemed impossible to come by in these packs.

When all was said and done, I only completed three sets! I am five stickers short of competing a fourth set, 15 stickers shy of a fifth set and would need an additional 30 stickers for a sixth set.

On the flip side, I have 1,394 duplicate stickers I don’t need, as well as a bunch of sticker albums (each album came with 10 packs).

Should anyone have duplicates from this set, perhaps we can work out a trade? The stickers I need are posted in my Want List.

Likewise, if anyone needs an album, I’d be willing to give you one for just the cost of shipping.

1992-93 OPC Premier box break

Recently, I went to a card show and picked up a box of 1992-93 O-Pee-Chee Premier hockey cards for $8.

As much as I like old cards and opening packs, this set left me wishing I just bought a complete set online. The problem with that, though, is that many people want to charge you $8 to ship a 132-card set.

So, I thought that I’d buy this box and get a complete set.

I thought wrong. Even though a box would yield you 252 “regular” cards and 36 insert cards, I came surprisingly short of completing a set. Here’s the breakdown of what I got:

Regular cards
– 115 cards towards my set
– 94 doubles
– 42 triples
– 1 quadruple

Insert cards
– 32 “Star Performers” (22 plus 10 doubles)
– 5 “Top Rookies” (4 plus 1 double)

Overall, I now have 88% of a complete set, 100% of the 22-card “Star Performers insert set and 100% of the 4-card “Top Rookies” insert set. Even though it’s cool that I got all the inserts, I really didn’t need them, since I bought those a long time ago.

As you can see, I got a lot of doubles–and quite a few triples too. I even got a quadruple, of Tampa Bay Lightning player Joe Reekie.

Many of the packs had a “packaging flaw”, where you would get two cards of the same player in the same pack. One particular pack gave me three doubles in the same pack, as I pulled two cards of Glen Murray, two cards of Gordie Roberts and two cards of Guy Hebert.

But I ended up with one more insert card than I should have–37 instead of 36…so I guess it wasn’t all bad.

Another interesting tidbit: these cards seemed to “segregate” themselves. In every pack that I pulled a card of Reggie Savage, I also got a card of Darren Banks in the very same pack! I don’t know if the card-packing machines in London, Ontario really intended to put both black players in the same pack, though; it was probably coincidental.

If anyone has doubles and can help me out, I still need 17 cards to complete my set–see my Wantlist here.

I also have numerous doubles to trade of both the base and insert cards, as well as complete insert sets for trade. Reply here, or Contact Me if interested.

Look for a review of this set once I complete it.

2006-07 Power Play box break

I went to a card shop on Sunday, and purchased–among other things–a box of 2006-07 Power Play hockey cards. In retrospect, I paid more than I should have for the box–I now see that they don’t sell for much on eBay…damn. But at the time, the price that I paid seemed like a good deal–the card shop owner marked down the price, since it was last year’s product.

I love opening packs, and I figured a full box would make me a complete base set, plus maybe give me a chance to pick up a few special cards. Besides, there’s “one jersey card per box, on average”.

Without further ado, here’s what these 24 packs yielded:

– 131 base cards
– 6 Prospects (Yan Stastny, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Steve Reiger, Cole Jarrett, Matt Carle & Jeremy Williams)
– 2 Goal Robbers (Manny Fernandez & Marty Turco)
– 3 In Action (Sidney Crosby, Henrik Zetterberg & Matts Sundin)
– 1 Last Man Standing (Chris Simon)
– 1 “Specialist” jersey swatch card (Brad Richards)

I’ve got mixed feelings about these cards.

The set, overall, is just OK. One hundred base cards, and the design is not all that great. I did get a complete base set though, which is always nice.

The Brad Richards card isn’t really worth all that much–I see two currently *not* selling on eBay for 99 cents each, and one that did not sell about two weeks back. It’s the risk you take. Sometimes you get a well-sought after jersey or autograph card, but most times you don’t. No big deal. Richards is a good player, so I don’t mind having this card around if I can’t trade it to someone.

The 30 rookie cards in this set–of which I got six of–are nothing special, either. No Malkin, Staal or Paul Stastny (though his brother Yan is in this set). Why go through the trouble of making the rookie cards six per box if they are going to be of mostly ho-hum players?

I guess that’s why these cards don’t sell for all that much. But then again, I am forgetting *why* I collect. Sure, value is a part of it–I’d be lying if I said that was not a part of it. But what is, and always will be, the most important is the fun factor.

And what was fun, though, is opening the packs, and building a set (yes, even if it’s just a 100-card base set).

Beckett Hockey Magazine suggested that if you want your girlfriend to like, or at least understand, your hobby, then you should ask her to open some packs of cards with you. Well, it worked for me.

After going to the card shop, my girlfriend Shellie and I got dinner and opened some of the packs before dinner, and the rest over desert. She seemed to enjoy opening these packs even more than I did. Whereas I would open the pack, glance at the names, and see if I got any special cards, she would look at each and every card, and notice certain things about many of them. She mentioned that Todd Bertuzzi looked intense and creepy (“You have no idea!” I told her), and the fact that the Ducks are no longer “Mighty”.

So, OK, I overpaid a bit for these “unpopular” cards. But I did get a complete base set, a Sidney Crosby “In Action” card, a lackluster jersey card (white swatch, oh yeah!), some doubles to trade…and the enjoyment of opening some packs. I guess that’s not so bad.

Sooner or later, I will post a review about this set.

2007-08 OPC collector tin break #5

My last tin of 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee. That is, unless I decide to buy more. Here’s what this last batch of 13 packs got me:

– 66 base cards
– 7 Marquee Rookies
– 1 Base Parallels
– 1 Stat Leaders
– 2 Team Checklists
– 1 OPC Buyback (1989-90 Pierre Turgeon)

Sweet! More team checklists. I think I have over half of them now (I did get some duplicates). In addition to all 500 base cards and all 100 Marquee Rookies, I am trying to get all 30 Team Checklists. The other insert cards I can take or leave.

Speaking of take or leave, I got another card from the infamous ’89-90 OPC set–a card of former sniper Pierre Turgeon. Sigh…another quarter card.

After opening three blaster boxes, five wax boxes and five collectors tins, I still need 14 base cards and eight Marquee Rookies. I also need nine Team Checklists, as well as other insert cards…should I decide to pursue those insert sets.

Of course, now I have tons of cards to trade. So, if any of you out there are trying to build this 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee set, drop me a line at sjb44@hotmail.com

2007-08 OPC collector tin break #4

Results from my fourth OPC tin. Remember, there are only 13 packs per tin…

– 66 base cards
– 7 Marquee Rookies
– 1 Base Parallels
– 1 Stat Leaders
– 2 Team Checklists
– 1 OPC buyback

Hey! Team Checklists! I haven’t gotten any of those in a while. I also got a 1989-90 OPC Kirk McLean rookie card. This card is maybe worth a buck…maybe. Since that set was so over-produced, you can get the set of 330 cards for $10. So, I find it hard to believe that someone would shell out a dollar for this ex-Canucks goalie. Though I was a fan of McLean “back in the day”. I even did a portrait of him, standing in his net, ready for action. I think I was in ninth grade when I drew it. I was doing a lot of portraits and caricatures of hockey players back then. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be the next Carlton McDiarmid or the next Dave Elston.

2007-08 OPC collector tin break #3

My third collectors tin. Now we’re getting somewhere…sort of.

– 66 base cards
– 7 Marquee Rookies
– 1 Base Parallels
– 1 Season Highlights
– 1 In-Action
– 1 Stat Leaders
– 1 OPC Buyback (1987-88 Mike Bossy)
– 1 Quad Materials: Minnesota Wild

I got another “old” buyback card, an ’87-88 Mike Bossy card. OK, so this one is only 20 years old, but at least it’s not growing on trees like its ’89-90 brethren.

More importantly, I got one of those Quad Materials cards. You have to open a lot of packs to get one of these. Allegedly, you get one of these in about every 288 packs or so. Looking at this “prized pull”, I am reminded why I hate memorabilia cards so damn much.

Yes, this is a nice, colorful card. But why did Upper Deck (the company “leasing” the O-Pee-Chee name) decide to use a purple and black swatch for Pavol Demitra??? Yes, Demitra did play one season for the Los Angeles Kings–two years ago–so they probablby have some leftover Kings jersey of his to cut up and put on a card. But why use it on this one? There’s a green swatch of a Marioan Gaborik jersey, a red swatch from a Piere-Marc Bouchard jersey, and a white (or maybe gray) swatch from an Adam Hall jersey. These three swatches look nice–they are all of the Minnesota Wild’s color scheme (as you’d expect). But the Demitra swatch “clashes” with the other three, ruining what otherwise would be a nice presentation and welcome addition to my collection.

Adding insult to injury is that the Demitra swatch is “multi-colored”. Why couldn’t that swatch go with a pic of Demitra as a King? Sure, he no longer plays with them. But why put a swatch from a Kings’ jersey when it’s a Wild card?

Wild card? Ugh. Time for sleep.

2007-08 OPC collector tin break #2

Here is the breakdown for the second of five tins I purchased recently:

– 67 base cards
– 6 Marquee Rookies
– 1 Base Parallels
– 1 Season Highlights
– 1 In-Action
– 1 Stat Leaders
– 1 OPC Buyback (1976-77 Canadiens)

Hmmm, one less Marque Rookie in this tin. That sucks. I also got one of those “buyback cards” that I’ve gotten so tired of. At least this time, it was not another Patrick Roy award winner card. This go-around, it was a card from 30 years ago, featuring the Montreal Canadiens. I don’t mind getting a 30 year old card in a pack of new cards, even if it is a common.