After busting an entire case of the 2011 version as an experiment (with mixed results overall) last year, I decided to take a different tack. Hobby boxes and their promise one lame relic or a not-quite-as-lame autograph were out of the question; jumbo boxes, despite their two auto-plus-one-relic appeal, are just too expensive to justify the purchase, especially when they don't seem to produce one base set anyway, at least not in my experience.
So today I experimented with 10 jumbo (or rack) packs of 36 cards each ($5.29/per) and one 72-card hanger box ($10.49). I'd generally heard those were the way to go because the blasters and their guaranteed Captain manupatches (and dicey player selection, other than Charles Woodson and Jake Long!) don't justify spending $20 for 81 cards. Here's a look at how I did:
SportsCardRadio, plus a full checklist, all while Beckett employees waste time pleasuring themselves to their own videos of box breaks), but then again, that's why they're called "SPs."
Set completion: 268/440
Total extras: 107/375
No sense in bitching about not-excellent collation when you buy 10 random racks and a hanger, I guess. Hopefully I can trade some of these to Colby.
I ended up mostly with the ones that came one per pack but did get a few that were slightly tougher, and then one total surprise. I'll list the odds for the ones that weren't in every pack. Here they are in the order I liked them, least to most:
It's not that I hate these, but Topps' increasingly dubious and useless "giveaways" don't inspire much confidence in me these days. I may try to actually sell them this year, something I regret not doing last year.
Let's see, the design is extremely boring and seems like it was intended for some other mailed-in Topps base set. That and the player selection is often questionable, especially since there's autographed versions of these. Seriously, Jabar Gaffney? F-- for this one, Topps.
Paramount Pairs: 11
These aren't all that bad, it's just that it's such a stale concept at this point. We're starting to get into Topps baseball reprints territory with how derivative and predictable these are. Fine design, but definitely not a set I'm going to collect.
Not an especially thrilling design, but pretty good, and obviously these are quality players we'll be seeing. I may actually try to work on this if I can trade for the ones I need--no sense in spending anything on them otherwise.
Nice and familiar, but in a good way, not an "If you make just ONE more ToppsTown-type insert, you're going to be getting a redemption card for your favorite pet" way. The complaint about the atrociously lame serial number "stamp" stands, however.
It's a relatively small gesture, but a quality one to try to raise breast cancer awareness with this interesting insert. I'm not so insecure that I wouldn't say these are kind of cool, even if I probably won't be going after the versions of my favorite players with too much effort.
QB Rookie Reprints: 9 (1:2)
This is my blog so if I want to rag on Topps for overdoing baseball reprints but utilize the concept (which, admittedly, has been done) with football, I can. Kind of cool how they limited it to QBs this time, and if they did a different position the next couple of years, I think I'd be down. This is the set I'm most likely to try to complete, and fortunately it's not even very large.
1965 Topps Tall Boys: 11
Last year it was the minis, and this year it's this pretty sweet throwback. The set's much too large for me to consider completing and I'll probably send this to an appreciative Colby instead, but I do very much like the inclusion of something this fun.
Those are all the more standard inserts you'll pull, but I did end up with this guy, which caught me completely by surprise:
"What's so great about that?" you're probably asking. Well, when I noticed it standing out in the pack, I figured I'd just pulled another of Topps' various parallel versions and nothing special. That is, until I flipped it over to check the serial numbering so I could figure out what it was:
Whoa! There's a 1/1 that came out of the blue! Definitely not something you see every day when it comes to retail, that's for sure. I've only pulled two other 1/1s, one being from 2008 Razor Letterman and another in my 2011 Topps football last year, but both of those were from cases. Not, bad, not bad at all, Topps.
I'm not exactly sure what to do with it because I don't know what pricing would work out to be on a guy like this, but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna try to sell it if I think I can get enough for it; otherwise I can make it available to someone who appreciates the Lions more than me, which shouldn't be hard to find.
These were fun to bust; I enjoyed the jumbos far more than the hanger, which basically involved opening the box and removing a shrink-wrapped brick of cards to flip through. Jumbo packs are just more fun, though either way you've got a decent chance of pulling something worthwhile. A few of the inserts were pretty boring but one of the guaranteed pulls is the sure-to-be-popular Tall Boys. Random (e.g. terrible) retail collation is still your enemy, but if you can get past not likely pulling a crappy hit, these offerings are a good way to go. Whether you're going for an impulse buy or working on the set, I'd recommend some jumbos, especially if you can get them on sale.
I'm hoping to pick up a few more racks to get myself closer to the set, then I'll see where Colby is at, and hopefully we can help each other with our wantlists without requiring further spending. If any of you happen to be busting these too, though, please let me know, as I'll eventually be making a lot of this available.
I hope you enjoyed this review, and I promise I'll have more good content coming soon, especially in the form of purchases from eBay, SportLots, and eventually, COMC!