Retail Therapy – 2019 Topps Series 1 Baseball

Welcome to our first ever ‘Snowed In’ edition of Retail Therapy! With snow blanketing much of the Pacific Northwest and expected to continue for some time, we’re ripping away from the office this time around. While some people might prefer to stay inside under a blanket and watch their favorite series on Netflix, not us! We picked up a couple of blaster boxes of this year’s flagship Topps set before #Snowmaggedon hit the PNW, so we could bring this blog to you regardless of the conditions outside!

2019 Topps Series 1 was released on January 30th and features the standard 350 card base set and plenty of parallels, short prints, super short prints, inserts, autographs and memorabilia! While you might have to rely on Cardboard Connection’s short print variation guide for regular short prints, super short prints are a bit easier to spot as they all feature Hall of Fame players. Topps also celebrates their 1984 set with plenty of insert sets stylized after the 84′ design.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time for the big reveal! How does the flagship Topps design look this year?

Pretty good, actually!  Topps opted for a half-bordered design this year, with the player’s first name found within the color that wraps from the left edge of the card to the upper right. Our one complaint is that the gray last name on top of the color is prominent in the design, and does occasionally get lost in the mix between the white space and player’s photograph. The cards actually look much more sharp in person than they do in photographs or scans. On the other hand, the 1984 inserts are extremely sharp on the modern card stock. This is not the first time Topps has brought this design back. It was most recently included as part of the 2012 Topps Archives base set cards #151-200, and has been used many times over in Topps On-Demand products as well.

In addition to the 1984 inserts, the Grapefruit League Greats set really stands out for it’s absolutely gorgeous set design. Home Run Challenge cards return as well, and we were fortunate enough to hit two: Juan Soto and Gary Sanchez. We’ve polled our twitter followers to choose a date, and even though the odds are astronomical, if we’re lucky to win the trip to the 2020 Home Run Derby, we’ll be sure to take plenty of photographs and share!

Ballpark Evolution is another really fun insert set this year, which shows how far some of the game’s most legendary cathedrals have come over time:

For $19.99, Topps flagship series blasters almost never disappoint. The Topps flagship series are sets that appeals to a wide array of collectors. Sure, the amazing hits and chase cards can be found in hobby and Jumbo HTA boxes, but Series 1, 2 & Update are products that should be opened and collected to celebrate a time when the hobby was simple, and the rookie card was king.

With that being said, our only gripe with our two blasters was the inadequate collation of base cards, as each blaster yielded 6 RC’s and 3 future stars featuring all of the same players!

As always, we’ve saved the best for last! If you read our blog last month, you’ll know that a certain COMC employee (who may or may not also be ghostwriting this blog) enjoys manufactured patch cards. In commemoration of 150 years of professional baseball, this year’s retail manufactured patch cards feature a vinyl logo. The top card is numbered to /50 :

But if manufactured patch cards aren’t your thing, don’t worry! While there are a bevy of different ‘fake’ patches, there are several real ones to be found in the nosebleed of the stated odds section. Our resident Mitch Haniger collection was able to pick up this spectacular one-of-one Letter Patch card shortly after the product release:

RECAP:

All-in-all, in our 14 total packs (2 blasters) we hit two gold /2019 parallels, one foil parallel, and two unnumbered 150th anniversary stamped base cards. For inserts we hit four 1984 throwbacks, two home run challenges, six Grapefruit League Greats, two Greatest Moments, and one Ballpark Evolution. We also received both of our guaranteed patch cards. If you’ve been following along with this series, you’ll remember we’ve been snubbed on guarantees more than once!

That’s going to do it for this installment of Retail Therapy. We expect to start seeing 2019 Topps Series 1 cards find their way onto the COMC marketplace in mid-February, and in a few weeks, we’ll have plenty of base and insert cards in stock to help you complete your sets!

As always, any cards featured in our Retail Therapy series will be available for sale on the COMC_Breakhits account shortly! How much Topps Series 1 will you be breaking? Leave us a message in the comments below letting us know what you’ve hit so far, or what you think of the set this year!

Retail Therapy – Topps Holiday & Panini NBA Hoops Holiday!

Welcome back to Retail Therapy, an ongoing blog series where we test our luck and try to beat the odds while showing you some new products that should be available at a retail store near you. We’ve had some fairly miserable retail breaks in the past that you can check out here, so we were hoping to end the year on a high note.

In the spirit of the Holiday season, this time around we decided to bust a blaster box of 2018 Topps Holiday Baseball, and one 2018-19 NBA Hoops Holiday Box blaster as well. A recent trend in the industry has seen both Topps and Panini producing winter-themed products over the last couple of years. Topps actually produces a Holiday version of Bowman baseball as well that is far more festive, featuring Holiday Sweater parallels and Turkey Stamped Autographs. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the 2018 edition locally, so we opted for Topps baseball instead.

2018 Topps Baseball was up first, offering 10 cards per pack, 10 packs per box, and one guaranteed relic, auto, or relic auto per box. More likely than not a relic is to be expected, with the stated odds favoring the swatch over the pen.

 

For $19.99, the 2018 Topps Holiday Baseball is a fun blaster filled with plenty of big name stars and it’s fair share of rookie cards as well. Overall, there are 200 names in the main checklist, with only two parallels: snowflake (1:2 packs) and 1:1 gold snowflakes that drop one every 5,799 packs.

Will the Shohei Ohtani RC with a snowflake design go down in history as one of his most coveted rookie cards? Probably not, but it’s a fun low-end card for younger collectors and completionist player collectors.  The snowflake border pattern is much more festive this year in comparison to last year’s edition, which saw the snowflakes primarily on the upper right of the card.

However, the metallic snowflake parallel returns this year and is substantially worse than last year’s parallel. Can you tell which is which in the two Whit Merrifield cards above? In the card on the left you can see slightly raised texture snowflakes, indicating the parallel. This is in contrast to the 2017 Metallic Snowflake which threw a little bit of silver glitter in the winter pattern on the card. We received five of these parallels and they’re very underwhelming. In their place, we would love to see short prints of our favorite players wearing Santa hats or beards in 2019 – make it happen, Topps!

Oh, what is this? It’s a Holiday Miracle! We beat the odds and pulled a sticker auto of St. Louis Cardinals  Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Luke Weaver numbered to 10! With stated odds of 1 per every 297 packs, we beat the odds pretty good here for our first ever auto in the Retail Therapy blog series. The auto checklist includes the likes of Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Ronald Acuna Jr, but we’re not complaining!

Onto NBA Hoops, which to our surprise have a very well gift wrapping designed wrapper. Offering 8 cards per pack, 11 packs per box, and one auto or memorabilia card (on average) for $19.99, this winterized version of a Panini staple set should be a hit among casual collectors and younger fans of the game. The checklist features current stars, rookies, and legends of the past.

 

Overall, the card design lacks the holiday flair of the Topps Baseball design, as snowflakes can be found within the photography of the base cards and not around the border. This year’s hoops design is somewhat plain, but the set can usually be counted on for above average photography and it does deliver in this year’s edition. Our 11 packs yielded six rookie cards, with some packs containing two and most containing none. While we did secure a DeAndre Ayton RC, and the Miles Bridge RC should be of interest to COMC CEO and resident Charlotte Hornets Fan Tim Getsch, Luka Doncic was absent from our blaster.

Also absent from our blaster box was an autograph or relic! The Grinch known as (on average) reared it’s ugly head and denied us, taking away from some of the luster of our premium hit in the previous blaster. Each pack did contain an insert, most of which were well designed. We’ll echo our same sentiments about the NBA Hoops Purple Parallel that we did about the Snowflake parallels in Topps – they just aren’t festive enough, Panini! Is a gift wrapping border with a bow in the corner too much to ask for? We think not!

That’s going to do it for this installment of Retail Therapy. As always, any cards featured in our Retail Therapy series will be available for sale on the Blog_BreakHits account! Will some of these items be in your stocking this Holiday Season?

Retail Therapy – 2018 Topps Heritage High Number Baseball

One of the hottest baseball sets this fall is 2018 Topps Heritage High Number baseball. Here at COMC, sets such as Heritage are very popular among our team, as there is a contingent of collectors on our team who prefer classic designs and traditional card stock over the chromium card stock and futuristic designed sets. This makes Heritage High Number the perfect product for our latest installment of ‘Retail Therapy”.

Stylized in the spirit of 1969 Topps, this set is crammed full of key rookie cards of all of the usual suspects from the 2018 rookie crop such as Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Gleyber Torres, as well as the first non-online-only exclusive Topps rookie cards of fan favorite rookies such David Bote and Dereck Rodriguez. 

We took a short trip to our local Fred Meyer (Meijer) to track down two $19.99 blaster boxes of Heritage High Number near release day. You can check out our full recap below, and as always, any cards featured in our Retail Therapy series will be available for sale on the COMC_BreakHits account!

We stumbled out of the gate as our first blaster had to be one of the worst in the history of retail products. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration when you consider some of the products that were sold in supermarkets all around the world in the early 1990’s.The first Heritage High Number blaster we opened yielded zero serial numbered, variation, errors, or parallels at all. Our loan ‘hit’ in this blaster was an Ichiro Suzuki Deckle Edge insert that falls one every 10 packs. OUCH.

For those who don’t believe us, we photographed the miserable experience, so revel in our disappointment:

As luck would have it however, we quickly had a reversal of fortune as the first pack of the second blaster yielded the purple goodness that was a Chrome Hot Box Refractor. For those who don’t know, hot box parallels tend to come in bunches in some recent Topps products. Hitting one meant that each of the remaining seven packs in the blaster would also contain purple mojo!

In a shocking turn of events new to the Retail Therapy series, we actually had a pretty decent hit! Although it is unnumbered, Hot Box Purple Chrome Ronald Acuna Jr. RC’s have consistently been selling for about $30. With four sharp corners and pretty good centering, whoever decides to purchase this card from the COMC Marketplace will definitely have a good candidate for grading on their hands! Not only did we hit one Acuna….

We hit base RC as well! Heritage High Number marks the Topps debut of Chicago Cubs up-and-comer David Bote, who as of this writing has zero cards available on COMC. The set is also home to the first pack issued Dereck Rodriguez rookie card as well. Rodriguez is the son of all-time great catcher Ivan Rodriguez and bright spot in the San Francisco Giants pitching rotation. Rodriguez also had an RC released in the Topps Living Set. It will be interesting to see how the value of his Living Set & Heritage RC’s compare to his flagship RC that is expected in Topps Update later this year.

As far as short prints & inserts go, we did hit six short prints, easily recognizable as they are cards 701-725 in the 225 card checklist (cards 1-500 can be found in the standard 2018 Topps Heritage released earlier this year). Our two retail exclusive Collector Card Set Checklist were expected and nothing to write home about.

Lastly, before we wrap up, we just had to share what is arguably the best photo in the base set:

We’re giving Daniel Mengden a 7 out of 10 on the Rollie Fingers mustache scale, and we’re giving Heritage High Number two thumbs up as a fun product for those who prefer a more straight forward and traditional pack ripping experience. There are plenty of autos, memorabilia and inserts that we didn’t even touch on in this blog. You can check out a full breakdown of the product here.  Although time will tell, with a checklist this stacked, it’s hard to imagine this product not increasing in value over time. Until next time, good luck and happy ripping!

[Featured Video] 2018 Ultimate Collection Hockey Box Break (While Riding a Ferris Wheel!)

One of the best resources to previewing new products released is to simply type in the name of the product into a Youtube search. Perhaps you’re a veteran of the group break circuit, spending hours watching breakers such as Firehand and Cards Infinity, hoping that they have the hot hands and pull some sick mojo for your spot in a break. Maybe you’ve even shot your own box break video and shared it via Instagram or Facebook live. Case in point: you’re no stranger to the world of box break videos. But we’re guessing that you’ve never seen a break quite like this!

Earlier this month at the 2018 National Sports Collector’s Convention, two members of our team saw an opportunity to shoot a unique one-of-a-kind break, and wasted no time planning their move. The IX-Center in Cleveland, Ohio, the venue that hosted this year’s National Convention, features a full-sized Ferris Wheel in the center of the building that ascends up into the rafters of the building, offering a view of the entire show floor as well as at the Hopkins International Airport outside in the distance.

Join James and Jeremy of COMC as they embark on a box break like no other. Did Jeremy find incredible hits in his box of 2018 Ultimate Hockey? Did James immediately regret his decision to step foot on the Ferris Wheel when his fear of heights kicked in? Check out our video and let us know what you think!

 

Want to get your hands on cards like these?
Browse 2018 Ultimate Collection Hockey on COMC!

Retail Therapy – Breaking 2018 Topps Opening Day & Heritage Baseball

With baseball season right around the corner, there is a plethora of 2018 baseball trading card products on the horizon. We wanted to have a little fun prior to the kick off of the season by sharing our recent experience ripping some retail product that we opened from two newly released sets – 2018 Topps Opening Day and 2018 Topps Heritage.

For those unfamiliar with these products, Opening Day is a lower-end product that is often times overlooked in favor of Topps Base Series, which typically releases a few weeks prior to Opening Day. Opening Day includes insert sets geared towards the younger generation of collectors such as Mascot cards, and the whole product itself tends to focus more on the fun aspect of collecting instead of big hits. On the other hand, Heritage is a nostalgia-filled throwback set designed based off Topps sets from 50 years ago. Intentional “error” cards, action image variations, chrome parallels, relic cards and Real One Autographs are just a few of the highlights that collectors look forward to on a yearly basis

Because of the price difference in the products, we decided to open the same dollar amount worth of each product. This meant for Opening Day we would be opening one blaster box ($10), two hanger packs ($3 each), and 3 single packs ($1 each). For Heritage, we would open a hanger box ($10), a hanger pack ($6) and a single pack ($3).

All of our product was purchased at our local Target, which is important to note because Topps Heritage contains retail-exclusive parallels specific to Target and Wal-Mart.

 

 

Without further ado, lets get to ripping!

Opening Day was up first and although not typically known to yield huge hits, we were hoping to either beat the odds or at least get a glimpse of one of the first Shohei Ohtani cards in an Angels uniform.

The three single $1 packs did not yield much, with the highlights including an Andrew Benintendi rookie cup card and a Giancarlo Stanton card featuring his new Yankees uniform. That will still take some getting use to seeing!

Our $3 hanger packs yielded slightly (yet not much) better results, as we pulled a trio of New York RC’s – Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar for the Yankees and Amed Rosario for the Mets. We were also happy to see that our beloved local Seattle Mariners have a card in the “Team Traditions and Celebrations” insert set highlighting Felix Hernandez‘s “King Court” section of Safeco Field!Our $10 blaster box was a fun break, but also not very noteworthy. The lone parallel that was pulled was a blue Corey Dickerson. We also snagged a second year rookie cup card of Cody Bellinger and another trio of New York RC’s, with Frazier and Andujar of the Yankees being flanked by Dominic Smith of the Mets this time around.

Although we didn’t get any major hits (as expected), the break was very enjoyable! The ‘Team Traditions and Celebrations‘ set is a clever and welcome addition to the Opening Day product. As we moved onto our Heritage products with visions of a Red-ink Shohei Ohtani Real One Autograph in our heads, we prepared our eagle eye to spot one of the potentially many short printed error or variation cards found within the product.

These two guys keep following us everywhere! The most notable card out of our $3 pack was a rookie stars combo featuring, you guessed it, Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier. We’re starting to notice a pattern here…

The $6 hanger pack yielded two more pairs of 2018 rookie stars, with Parker Bridwell of the Angels being the most promising of the four players featured. Giancarlo Stanton is again depicted in a Yankees uniform in the Heritage set, and with such a great pose, something tells us that this will be a base card that will sell in high volume for years to come.

Finally, our $10 hanger box was not bad, but we’ve seen better. Four 2018 rookie stars cards (with Rafael Devers  of the Red Sox rounding out the eight-pack), a Nick Markakis short print, Aaron Judge checklist, second-year Andrew Benintendi Rookie Cup and a  Target exclusive 1969 Collector Card Bryce Harper were the most notable items. Don’t worry, we’ve triple checked that Benintendi – unfortunately it is not one of the short printed 1969 error variations.

Admittedly, neither of the two boxes was particularly memorable. That being said, we want to know which box you think was the better of the two! Leave a comment below letting us know which box you felt is better and also be sure to share your experiences with retail breaks! Have you recently beaten the odds and pulled a monster hit? We want to hear about it!  As always, if you feel so inclined, some of the items in this break can be found in our Blog_Breakhits account. Until next time…Keep on Rippin’!

2017-18 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey ePack Box Break!

Hello COMC Nation!

Last week we were treated to the release of 2017-18 Upper Deck Series One Hockey on the ePack platform! Upper Deck’s flagship hockey set is a perennial favorite best known for it’s Young Guns rookie card inserts.

What better way to celebrate the release of this set than to feature it In our ongoing COMC Breaks series. In this video, we bust a full box of 24 packs in search of coveted Young Guns rookie cards of Brock BoeserNico Hischier and Charlie McAvoy among others.

Please enjoy our video below and as always, we would love to hear your thoughts, suggestion and feedback as to what future breaks and video content that you would like to see on the COMC Blog!

Be sure to check out the COMC_BreakHits account to purchase any physical items found in this break!

2017 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions ePack Box Break & How to Transfer ePack Items to COMC Video Tutorial

Hello COMC Nation!

Today we have a very special treat for you! In honor of yesterday’s release of 2017 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions on the Upper Deck ePack website, we opened a box of the product and recorded our break to share with you! Goodwin Champions is known for unique insert sets such as this year’s World Traveler Map Relics as well as for Goudey Sports Royalty Autographs which this year feature legends such as Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan.

After the break, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide a brief overview on how to transfer your physical items from ePack to COMC. Transferring your items from the ePack platform to your COMC account is easy and can be done in a matter of minutes!

If you would like to skip directly to the tutorial, please go to the 11:30 mark of the video.

Please enjoy our video below and as always, we would love to hear your thoughts, suggestion and feedback as to what future breaks and video content that you would like to see on the COMC Blog!

Be sure to check out the Blog_Breakhits account and purchase any items included in this break!