I recently won a complete set of 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards on eBay, including all short-printed Rookies and Legends cards.
I also bought some packs–specifically one rack pack and one blaster box. It may seem pointless to buy packs if you already have a complete set. But if I want to be the world’s best hockey card blogger (dare to dream!), then I have to experience all aspects of the hobby…including the Sisyphean task of buying and opening packs.
Dave at Waxaholic recently wrote a 2009-10 box breakdown, so I’ll skip doing that too and talk about a related topic: the cost of building a 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee set. Please note that my examples do not account for sales tax, since it varies from state to state / province to province.
Option One: Rack Packs
This is the way to go if you only want to build the 500-card base set. A rack pack contains 31 base cards and 1 short-print–either a Marquee Rookies or Legends card. Your cost per card boils down to 15.6 cents each.
You’d need to buy 17 rack packs (17 x 31 = 527 base cards) to get enough cards to make a complete set. Of course, a few of those might end up being other inserts, like team checklists or Canadian Heroes. Most likely, you will not get all 500 cards you need for a base set; you’ll probably end up with some double or triples, falling short of a complete base set.
The good news is that you will easily be able to trade those 17 short prints that you end up with. Collectors trying to get cards 501-600 will gladly trade you 5 or more base cards for one of your short-prints.
Option Two: Blaster Boxes
These are the types of boxes you find at Target, Toys R Us and Wal-mart. A $20 blaster box has 14 six-card packs. 14 x 6 = 84 cards – a cost of 23.8 cents per card. A blaster box will net you 62 base cards, 7 short-prints and 15 inserts–give or take.
At a cost of $20 each, 9 blaster boxes gets you 558 base cards, 63 short-prints and 135 inserts. You’ll spend $180, will fall short of getting all of the short-prints, and again most likely won’t get one copy of each base card. At the same time, you’ll have a lot of inserts that you could probably trade away for the rest of the base or short-prints you need.
Option Three: Hobby Boxes
Hobby boxes have 36 six-card packs. My local shop sells them for $70, and the best price I can find online (including shipping) is $60. Without checking every single online store, card shop and eBay auction, let’s just say a hobby box sells for $65.
The only upside to buying hobby boxes is that you vastly increase your chances of getting a jersey or autograph card. In fact, you are three times more likely to get such a card from a hobby pack vs. a retail pack.
Should the allure of the possibility of getting one of these cards be enough to sway you to go the hobby box route, you would need to buy three boxes to get 486 base cards (plus 54 short-prints and 108 inserts). Four boxes gets you 648 base, 72 short-prints and 144 inserts–hopefully, one of them is an autograph.
Option Four: Buy a Complete Set
OK, technically this is not “building a set”, but it is by far the cheapest method. I got my set for $91 shipped. Looking at eBay auctions during the last two weeks, a base set sells for around $60 shipped, and a full set (1-600) for $110. Some dealers have even put together “master sets” that contain all base, short-printed and insert cards.
No, you don’t get to open pack after pack. You don’t get the glimmer of hope for a game used or autograph card. But you also don’t end up trying to track down the last 26 cards you need, or with figuring out with what to do with your duplicates (I hear some bike spokes calling…)
On a related note, I plan on posting a review of this set in about a week or so. I have a final paper and a final presentation–both about cyborgs–due in a week for one of my grad school classes. So the hockey card talk will be at a minimum the next few days until I get all my schoolwork behind me 🙂