The Upper Deck ePack program has proven to be a successful integration between manufacturer and marketplace. Over these first few years, I’ve primarily taken advantage of the opportunity to flip these cards directly on COMC.
I typically use flipping to generate store credit which allows me to fund my true passion: set building. As I was browsing the COMC listings last fall, I realized even with all the ePack cards I was buying and selling, I had never attempted to build an Upper Deck set via ePack! This led to the idea described in this article. I decided I would choose a set that was released via ePack, and then attempt to build the set entirely by buying the cards on COMC.
First, I needed to pick a set. I wanted it to be attainable, which means it couldn’t be too big or too expensive. I also wanted it to be fully available via ePack. This meant I couldn’t pick Upper Deck Series 1 & 2 or even Goodwin, as a good portion of the base cards from those sets are only available in “parallel” versions. The true base cards are not available in physical form. I also wanted to try and build a style of the set I had never done before. After considering all these things, I landed on the 2019-20 Upper Deck Series 2 Rookie Materials set.
This 40-card set includes a player worn swatch of some of the biggest NHL rookies of the 2019-20 season. One of the things I love about hockey memorabilia cards is the variety of colors in the embedded material. They aren’t all just plain white jerseys like we sometimes see in some other sports. In fact, only seven of the 40 cards I purchased included white jersey swatches!
The “base” Rookie Materials cards are not serial numbered, but they do have varying levels of scarcity. The odds for the tiers range from 1:98 packs up to the rarest cards only falling 1:333 packs. I assumed this would create a bit of a challenge for obtaining some cards.
Since the set is numbered using the player initials vs. numbers, I decided to make a checklist on an Excel spreadsheet for me to use to track my progress.
I started the process by searching for the set and sorting to display the lowest-priced cards first. I was pleased to see that the prices started at around .60 each!
I started at the top, and began to examine the available inventory of each card. As I dug through the listings, there were a few things I was looking for. I wanted to find a variety of swatch colors, and ideally, I wanted to find the cards at the lowest price possible.
That last one brings me to something that often gets overlooked. Whenever you are considering a purchase on COMC, you should determine if the seller accepts offers! There are many times where even though a seller’s original asking price isn’t the lowest on the site, it becomes the lowest after they accept an offer. Sellers are more likely to give you a discount if you are buying multiple items from them, so trying to bundle multiple cards from the same buyer was another priority for me.
Over the next few days, I was able to acquire 37 of the 40 cards from a total of 24 different sellers (can you imagine the cost of shipping if I had to buy these from 24 individuals on eBay?). The total asking price was $72.37, however, I was able to make offers to seven of those sellers and secured a discount of $3.97 or around 5%. I was hoping for a bit larger discount, but with it being a fairly new release and with some of the cards having limited inventory due to their scarcity, I wasn’t completely surprised. The average price for the first 37 cards was about $1.85 per card.
The Final Three
There were three cards that proved to be elusive in my initial search. Adam Boqvist, Kaapo Kakko, and Quinn Hughes did not have their card available on the site. Those three were all in the 1:333 scarcity tier, and with Kakko and Hughes being a couple of the most popular rookies last year, I knew this may take some work.
Since most items consigned with COMC get cross-listed on eBay, you can use the eBay notification tools to help alert you to new items! I set up alerts for those three cards, and each time I got a notification, I was able to see if that was a listing from COMC or another random seller.
It took a couple of months, but I was finally able to acquire the remaining three cards using this method. The Adam Boqvist card ended up costing me $3.50. I paid $15.00 for the Hughes, and the Kakko was the final card and it set me back $12.99.
Wrapping It Up
The final cost for the set was just shy of $100. Since I operate in “advanced reseller” mode, I’ll need to add an additional .25 per card when I have them shipped home, so my final delivered cost will be closer to $115.
This proved to be a fun, challenging, but attainable build. I feel it was a great use of my store credit, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to build this set anywhere else for less than I did here on COMC.
If you enjoy set building, I challenge you to find an ePack set of your own to chase. There are a variety of insert sets and other autograph or relic sets that are available on the site, or if parallels are your thing, there are even ePack exclusive parallels for many of the base sets. Regardless of which you pick, you’ll have fun along the way.
About the Author
Mike is a husband, father, baseball chaplain, sports card collector, and owner of WaxPackHero.com. He has collected since 1986 and is a lifelong Cubs fan. You can connect with him on his blog, on Twitter @themikesommer, and on various other social media platforms under the name WaxPackHero.