The Official COMC Fantasy Pack Baseball Team of 2019!

When we’re not processing the millions of trading cards that come through the doors of COMC on a yearly basis, we like to embrace the hobby and have a little fun. Many members of our team have been fantasy sports enthusiasts for decades, and over the last few years we’ve tried to develop innovative and fun ways to incorporate sports card pack and box breaks with fantasy sports. You may remember our Fantasy Baseball Pack Battle League from last year.

This year, we’ve come up with a fun concept to build a fantasy baseball team using packs of the 2019 Topps Opening Day Baseball Card product. Unlike other fantasy games, we’re not trying to score points,but rather trying to build a team that can ‘win’ the most games using a unique scoring system.

If you want to play along at home, it’s really simple! All you’ll need is to two $9.99 blaster boxes of Opening Day and a way to keep track of your team and stats!

How to play: 

  1. Open all of your packs. Separate your batters and pitchers into two piles, then separate your batters into piles sorted by player position.
  2. Build your offense. Your Offense should consist of 9 players (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 outfielders, and a Designated Hitter). Choose three reserve players (any position) as well for backups in case of injury. Duplicate players are allowed if a player is an outfielder or listed at multiple positions. (If you did not receive a position player from each position, you may play a player of any position to compensate)
  3. Build your pitching staff. Your pitching will consist of 5 Starting Pitchers, 1 Closer, and 2 reserve pitchers (SP or closer). Duplicate pitchers are allowed. (If you do not receive enough pitchers to field a full staff — each pitcher you received may be played up to two times to compensate.If you didn’t receive a closer, you may play a sixth SP.)
  4. (Optional) Hard Mode: Play with a salary cap and build your team using the league average of $132 million or less by utilizing salary information found on Sportstrac.
  5. (Optional) Ultra Hard Mode: Any player with an real life salary of under $1 million is automatically bumped to $3 million. Players on rookie contracts still provide tremendous value, but not nearly as much as they do under hard mode.

Scoring

The scoring system for this game involves converting your players on-field performance into ‘wins’, with a goal of building a team that can win as many games as possible. You can track your players performance throughout the year using Baseball-Reference.

Hitting Scoring 

Every 40 runs = +1 win
Every 15 Home Runs = +1 win
Every 15 Stolen Bases = +1 win
Every 30 RBI’s = +1 win
Every 50 walks = +1 win

Example: Mike Trout in 2018: 101 runs (2), 39 HR (2), 24 sb (1), 79 RBI (2), 122 walks (2) = 9 wins
A team with an offense comparable to nine 2018 Mike Trout would earn 81 wins.

Pitching Scoring

Every 5 Wins = +3 Wins
Every 5 losses = -1 Win
Every 5 Saves = +1 Win
Every 75 Strikeouts = +1 Win

Examples:
Justin Verlander (sp) in 2018: 16 wins (9), 9 losses (-1), 290 strikeouts(4),= 12 wins
Edwin Diaz (rp) in 2018: 0 wins (0), 4 losses (0), 57 saves (11), 124 strikeouts (1) = 12 wins

A team with a pitching staff comparable to five 2018 Justin Verlander and a 2018 Edwin Diaz would earn 72 wins. Combined with the hitting total, this team would win a total of 153 games.

Exception: Autographed cards pulled from your 2019 Topps Opening Day Blasters are worth 50% less points than their non-autographed counterparts. Why? Because you’re already a winner if you hit an auto out of an Opening Day Blaster, duh! Also, you should be submitting that card to COMC to sell ASAP!

Substitutions: If any of your hitters fail to appear in at least 108 games (2/3rds of the season) during the 2019 season, you may swap them for a reserve player from any position. If any of your starting pitchers fail to make 20 starts throughout the 2019 season, you may swap them for a reserve. If your closer fails to appear in at least 45 games in the 2019 season (save opportunity or not), you may swap them for another relief pitcher.

Our Team:

For this game, we’ll be using the hard mode of staying under the $132 million salary cap.Opening two blasters yielded enough position players and pitchers to field several teams, so you should have no trouble building a team or three to play along. A lot of good players got the snub due to our salary cap restriction. We passed on elite fantasy players like J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Nolan Arenado, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, and Stephen Strasburg simply because we could not make the numbers work. Our strategy was to divide the money in half as close as possible to balance out hitting with pitching.

Hitting:

Designated Hitter: Mark Trumbo ($13.5 Million)
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto ($5.9 Million)
First Base: Anthony Rizzo ($11.28 Million)
Second Base: Gleyber Torres ($605,000)
Short Stop: Francisco Lindor ($10.55 million)
Third Base: Rafael Devers ($614,500)
Outfield: Ronald Acuna ($560,000)
Outfield: Mike Trout ($17.6 million)
Outfield: Mitch Haniger ($590,000)

2019 Hitting Payroll = $61.19 million

We ran into a salary cap problem after our initial team configuration, which meant that J.D. Martinez and his $28 million contract had to be downgraded to Mark Trumbo’s more manageable $13.5 million deal. Our second and third year players provide insane value for their price tag, allowing us to pay for Trout, Rizzo, Lindor , and Trumbo. We went with the hometown favorite Mitch Haniger as a sentimental pick over a certain player riding our bench. More on that later.

Pitching:

SP: Justin Verlander ($28 million)
SP: Gerrit Cole ($13.5 million)
SP: Trevor Bauer ($13.0 million)
SP: Blake Snell ($1.6 million)
SP: Jacob Degrom ($9.0 million)
Closer: Edwin Diaz ($607,000)

2019 Pitching Payroll = $65.7 million

We had way too many good pitchers to choose from, so we had to make some extremely tough decisions. In the end, we decided that the Houston Astros 1-2 combo of Verlander and Cole simply provided too much value to overlook. Trevor Bauer has in insane K/9 ratio, and reigning AL CY Young Winner Blake Snell is the best deal in the Opening Day set. We round out our pitching staff with the NL Cy Young Winner Jacob Degrom and his new teammate Edwin Diaz, who should still be capable of closing 50+ games for what should be a competitive New York Mets team.

Reserves

Hitter: Juan Soto ($578,000)
Hitter: Max Muncy ($575,000)
Hitter: Whit Merrifield ($1.0 Million)
Pitcher: Dereck Rodriguez ($561,000)
Pitcher: German Marquez ($565,000)

Bench Reserves Payroll = $3.279 million

Admittedly, spending $126.89 million of our $132 million before considering a bench probably wasn’t the best idea. Our team finds itself extremely thin in the event of a pitching injury, with us not having the cap room to add a veteran or top backup pitcher. All in all, we spent  $130.1 million of our $132 million, and it was extremely difficult to pass on some of the game’s best. If we had played uncapped, our team would have looked substantially different!

What do you think about our fantasy game and scoring system? Have you come up with any good ways to turn your trading cards into an interactive ‘fantasy sport’? If you decide to play along at home with us, let us know how your draft goes and who’s on your team! We’ll be checking in with an update blogs along the way throughout the season to track our progress!

COMC NCAA Tournament Challenge Bracket Group – Join Now and win COMC Credit!

Want to win $25 COMC Store Credit? Of course you do! We’ve created an ESPN Tournament Challenge Group for members of the COMC Nation to put their March Madness brackets up against COMC employees! The top two brackets will win COMC Store Credit!

Click here to join our Tournament Challenge Group on ESPN.com

The Password to join the group: Checkout2019

How to play:
1. Sign into (or create) an ESPN.com account, and click the join group button. Group password is Checkout2019.
2. Name your bracket the same as your COMC username.
3. Fill out your bracket prior to tip-off on Thursday, March 21st.

The top bracket in the group will win $25 COMC Store Credit, with the runner-up winning $10 COMC Store Credit. You must have a COMC account in order to claim a prize if you win. COMC employees will be participating as well, and are not eligible to win prizes. Please do not include ‘COMC’ in your bracket name, as that is how our employees brackets will be differentiated from members of the COMC Nation!

Stay tuned to to this post for future updates!

Social Media Roundup: January & February 2019

While the COMC Blog is your #1 source for COMC updates, industry news, hobby focused editorials, and much more, there are plenty of reasons that you should be following all of our social media pages! If you’re not following our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages, you’re missing out on content exclusive to those platforms such as contests, giveaways, sales of the week, and the #DailyCheckout to name just a few. We want to give you a sneak peak of some of that content that you may be missing out on, so we present our ‘Social Media Roundup’ for the months of January & February:

Facebook: 

Our Facebook Page is home to sports related contests/giveaways, including our popular ‘Caption Contest’, where we ask our followers to hit us with their best caption for a funny sports photo or picture featured on a trading card for a chance to win COMC Credit.

Our followers were also able to play along with our ‘Pick ‘Em’ contests all throughout the NFL Football playoffs and Super Bowl, with several members of the COMC Nation taking home COMC Credit, cards, and swag for their correct picks. A fair warning, we truly have some sports Nostradamus’ among the COMC Nation, so competition is fierce!

Caption Contests are a weekend tradition on the COMC Facebook Page, and recently we’ve had some of our funniest ones yet. We asked our followers to come up with a Hip-Hop Duo name for Dave & Doug Widell, who were featured in this hilarious 1992 Pro Line Portraits Trading Card, and we were not disappointed:

Winner:
“MC Hairline and DJ False Start” 

Honorable Mentions: 
“The Mile High Foreheads” 
“Recede with Caution”
“D&D Music Factory” 

Twitter: 

Over on the COMC Twitter feed you’ll find us retweeting the latest news across all major sports, as well as unique an fresh  recurring content of our own. Our Monday Morning Discussions produce great chat about various sports related topics. One of our most recent discussions polled our followers to tweet their favorite sports related video games at us, and we received nearly 100 responses:

The COMC Twitter account is also home to the #DailyCheckout, where we feature one athlete, sports personality, or subject per day. This recurring series shines light on their backstory and/or recent accomplishments, while linking to their available trading cards on the COMC Marketplace.  Each week has an overarching theme, such as our favorite All-time Seattle Mariners, best current-season NBA Rookies, or more recently our favorite Pokemon!

Instagram

If you enjoy sharing your trading card collection with others, you should consider tagging the COMC Instagram account in your #Mailday pictures! We love sharing our customer’s #Maildays to our Instagram page. This year we’ve even started sharing our Top eBay Sale of the Week on Instagram! If you haven’t been following along, here are our most expensive items that have sold on eBay through the first eight weeks of 2019:

That’s going to do it for this installment of Social Media Roundup on the COMC Blog! We’d love to hear your suggestions for content that you’d like to see on our social media platforms! Leave a comment below with your thoughts, feedback, and ideas!

The Good Word: A Well Designed Mail Day

By James Good

For the last three plus years at COMC I’ve seen every single tweet, Instagram picture, and Facebook post that we’ve been  tagged in. My absolute favorite posts that we get repeatedly see are our customer’s Mailday pictures, where they show their followers all of the items that they recently received in their latest COMC shipment. We routinely reshare these on our instagram page and twitter accounts, so be sure to keep tagging us in your #Maildays!

Seeing all of our customer’s incoming items for their personal collection inspired me to share some of the contents of an incoming COMC package of my own. While there are plenty of not so exciting items in that package that simply fill the gaps of my Mitch Haniger player collection, there are bunch of other items that have been inspired by my latest inspiration for collecting: buying cards based on unique card design.

I think that card design is a very low priority for a lot of collectors, as we’ve grown accustom to cards designed around sticker autos and recycled designs, among other visually unappealing decisions. Most prospectors don’t even consider card design when stashing away players in hopes of a later payday. The truth is that the card design for the majority of modern cards is very underwhelming. I’m not going to publicly shame any manufacturers, because with so many sets being printed these days, poor design choices were bound to happen. Just like without the bad moments in life we wouldn’t appreciate the good ones, without bad card design, we couldn’t appreciate good card design.

The 2008 Topps Factory Set Mickey Mantle Chrome Refractor Reprints set is the perfect example of the modernization of a reprint done right. There isn’t an overload of numbered parallels, and the design is simply a clean replica of the original on a modern chrome cardstock. The 1952 Mantle RC has been reprinted time-and-time again over the years, most having some sort of poor design choice shoehorned in. Topps got it right in 2008, and in the 2006 Topps ’52 set where they swapped the background color of this iconic card in a creative re-imagining. I’ll probably never own the real thing, so these reprints fill the void in my collection.

One rookie card that I am fortunate enough to own is a PSA 9 2007 Bowman Chrome – Prospects Tim Lincecum Gold Autograph #’d 31/50. As I talked about in one of the earlier installments of The Good Word , I love manufactured patch cards. These three are among my latest pick ups that fit the qualifications of well designed cards. Lincecum’s unconventional pitching delivery might have shortened his career, but it did produce a wealth of great trading cards along the way. I’m a sucker for the stars and stripes, so the 2010 Topps – Jumbo Packs Manufactured Hat Logo Relic on the right ranks highly on my well-designed sets list.

 

Which leads me to this 1912 Player’s Countries Arms & Flags Tobacco Card #4. I am not much of a vintage collector, much to the chagrin of my colleague Rich Klein, who two years ago at a National Sports Collector’s Convention took my 1960’s football card knowledge to task. I think that anytime you can buy something that’s over 100 years old for $0.50, you probably should, and this card was no exception. Even being 107 years old with a bit of paper loss, it still checks all the boxes for a well designed card.

As a kid growing up in the 90’s, nothing stuck with me more than the roller coast ride that was the 1995 ‘Refuse to Lose‘ Seattle Mariners. During that period of time, I opened so many packs of 1995 Score in search of the Gold Rush parallel of my favorite Mariners and 1996 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice looking for Gold Facsimile Signatures and You Crash the Game cards. I was never able to pull these two, but thanks to COMC, my hundreds of dollars of summer jobs and allowance money was not wasted in vein.

By comparison, the 1995 Score Gold Rush Parallel is inferior to the Platinum Team Set version. I really love the design on the Hitters Inc. subset, and not just because Albert Belle’s mean mug is a hidden gem. There were many iterations of Collector’s Choice ‘You Crash the Game’ contest across multiple sports, but the 1996 baseball version did it best with a bright orange and red foiled explosion design. Not only was it a great design, but it was a great concept that has stood the test of time. I know a certain 2019 Topps insert set with an awfully similar promotion.

If I were to rank Topps flagship designs, 1968 Topps would likely fall in the middle of the list. It’s not a bad design per say, it’s just not my style. I do love the rounded corners of the black border and white space between the player photo and border, but the textured brown outer border doesn’t work for me. That being said, this card jumps off the page to me because it features one of the best photos of any Mariner ever featured on a trading card.

Vogey looks larger-than-life in this pose, and the Safeco Field logo in the background is a nice finishing touch. It almost makes you forget that he has a career MLB batting average of .197, or that Safeco Field is now T-Mobile Park.This card screams “In Vogey We Trust” , that he’s our guy of the future, and that I’m willing to put in writing that he’ll hit 30 bombs whenever he’s given his first full year in the Bigs.

Last but not least, there hasn’t been a better non-sports set idea since the Map Relic Insert Sets from Upper Deck’s last two Goodwin Champions sets. These sets have checked all of the boxes I’m looking for when determining good card design:

  1. Make it unique
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Feature Great Photography

These cards do an perfect job encapsulating the points of interest they feature. The embedded map relic is a unique element that I don’t recall ever seeing on a card prior to these sets. My goal is to eventually collect all of the map relics of places that I’ve visited. Right now that list is at eight:

Niagara Falls, Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, Capital HillGolden Gate Bridge, Freedom Tower, Mount Rainier, and Ruby Beach .

Ruby Beach holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the destinations along the first road trip that my fiancé and I went on almost four years ago. Traveling to the coast of Washington to be close to the water has been a recurring trend in our relationship. Later this year, we’ll get married near the beaches of Moclips, Washington, about 65 miles south of where the photo of this card was snapped.

Now it’s your turn! In the comments below, let us know some of your favorite cards from your most recent mailday!

Super Bowl LIII: Signature Showdown

After two thrilling overtime Conference Championship Games, Super Bowl LIII is set to feature a clash between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. While the finish of the Los Angeles Rams vs New Orleans Saints game will be discussed for years to come, it was business as usual for the Bill Belicheck led Patriots, who unrelentingly punished a tired Kansas City Chiefs defense in overtime en route to their third straight Super Bowl appearance.

A lot has happened in the seventeen years since these two teams last met in Super Bowl 36. That Super Bowl would be the starting point for the dynasty New England Patriots, who have gone on to win four more Super Bowl’s since. Tom Brady is still going strong at 41 years old, and with five rings and four Super Bowl MVP’s, it could be argued that he’s hungrier than ever to add to his legend before time runs out.

On the other side of the ball, the Rams have transitioned from the Greatest Show on Turf to a team that struggled to find it’s identity for many years. It wasn’t until they drafted Running Back Todd Gurley in 2015, Jared Goff in 2016, and returned to Los Angeles later that year that the team found their direction. The team made waves when they signed Head Coach Sean McVay at just 30 years old in 2017, and that may very well have been the final piece of the puzzle. The Rams went on to finish with a 13-3 record in 2018, the same record they finished with in 1999, a season that just so happened to end with a Super Bowl victory.

Last year we chose our Super Bowl winner by rating the respective team’s rookie cards. Our method of picking a winner did not go so well, as our pick of the Patriots did not come to fruition. This year around, we’ll be rating the team’s offensive skill position and one defensive position by the quality of their signatures found on trading cards. We’ll be using cards featuring highly visible and clean autographs for the sake of a fair review process.

Quarterbacks

If this were a contest based on autograph value,  Tom Brady would have Jared Goff by a Hail Mary and then some. But we’re judging based on penmanship, and neither of these players earn high marks from us (and the puns began….). While iconic and somewhat legible, Brady opts for the lazy approach of three letters and squiggles to fill up the rest of his autograph. Goff take a different route, but unfortunately that route teeters somewhere between fifth grade cursive class and “Hey, that kind of looks like my last name, right?”. We’re going to give the win to Goff because while neither auto is particularly great, Goff’s does not come across as dismissive, and it’s apparent he puts at least a little effort into trying to produce a quality signature. Touchdown Rams.  Rams 7 Patriots 0 

Running Backs

On the field, there are very few players who come close to the caliber of Todd Gurley. In just four years, Gurley has established himself among a very elite group of running backs, and is poised to set records if he can stay healthy. On the other hand, Sony Michel is a young upstart who was able to take over the starting role halfway through his rookie campaign. But when it comes to the pen, we have to give the nod to Sony, who’s autograph possesses a coolness with it’s sailboat S and lone M representing his last name. Gurley’s overlapping TG just doesn’t cut it, and there is strong evidence to support that you’re more likely to get a streaky autograph out of a Gurley than a clean one. Patriots 7 Rams 7

Wide Receivers

For the Wide Receivers group, we’ll be awarding 3 points to each receiver who’s autograph receives our stamp of approval.

James White – While technically a running back, James White led the Patriots in receptions in 2018. White’s intentionally smaller autograph shows time and care. We’re awarding a field goal here.

Julian EdelmanJulian Edelman has beautiful penmanship, but the glaring problem is that his ‘J’ looks more like a ‘D’, and his last name is marred with issues. The effort is there, and if his name were let’s say, David Iverson, this would absolutely be a points-worthy auto.

Chris Hogan – Now here’s a guy who’s doing the best with what he’s got. We appreciate the effort, even if that effort is in the same vein as Billy Madison writing ‘Rizzuto’ on a chalkboard. Kick is up and it’s good!

Brandin Cooks – No, the Pats are not cheating, at least not yet. While he caught passes from Brady last season, Brandin Cooks is now catching passes from Goff. He’s also catching points in our contest for the beautiful loops found in his initialized signature.

Robert Woods – We really like the route that Robert Woods takes with his auto, with consistent lines, a looping R, and a clever little w that transitions into an S that brings it all together. Three points on the board without question.

Cooper Kupp – He can catch passes with the best of them, but Cooper Kupp is a bust with the pen. He’s probably pretty good at drawing up offensive plays on a white board though!

So James White and Chris Hogan both earn the Pats three points a piece, while Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods keep the Rams lockstep with the Patriots. Patriots 13 Rams 13

Tight Ends

Rob Gronkowski has over five hundred receptions in his brilliant career, while Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett barely have over 100 receptions combined. Gronk has a track record to haul down touchdowns in bunches, which is why we’re awarding him TWO touchdowns for his shining example of excellent penmanship, legibility, care and consideration for signing. We’re also awarding a touchdown to Tyler Higbee for a quality H and overall legible auto as well. Although we appreciate the uniqueness, Gerald Everett’s signature just doesn’t do enough for us to get all seven point, so we’ll give him three points for getting close to pay dirt. Patriots 27 Rams 23

Defensive Players

Aaron Donald gave offensives nightmares all season long, racking up 20.5 sacks along the way. Devin McCourty has been the model of consistency on an otherwise inconsistent Patriots defense. Both players have vastly contrasting signatures, making this final match up particularly difficult to decide. Devin opts to go full name, but gets lazy on his first name and trails off in areas of his last name. On the other hand, Aaron Donald not only opts for the ‘AD’ approach, but his ‘A’ is far more of a star than it is the first letter of the alphabet. Intentional or not, the swagger is overbearing, because Aaron Donald delivers every bit of what his signature seemingly represents: Star D(efense). Rams 30, Patriots 27.

Our painstakingly researched and 100% scientific method of picking a winner has led us to choose the Los Angeles Rams as our favorite to win the Big Game. Regardless of the outcome, we expect Super Bowl LIII to be a match up for the ages as many story lines play out. Speaking of which, we want you to play along at home with us. Be sure to follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages where later this week we’ll be giving you three different opportunities to win prizes in our Super Bowl Contests!

Best of 2018: 5 Great “It Sold for WHAT?!?” Cards in COMC History

As we wrap up 2018, we wanted to take the month of December to highlight some of our favorite blog posts of the year. This was one of our most popular new blog series this year, and generated buzz on social media. This story was originally published on 05/21/2018 and is presented in it’s entirety in this blog as well

Over the course of our 11 plus year existence, we’ve seen A LOT of cards. When we say a lot of cards, we mean somewhere in the neighborhood of 52 million and climbing at the time of writing. As you can imagine, we’ve seen our fair share of iconic cards, especially cards that didn’t gain notoriety until many years after we first saw them. This can lend itself to some pretty hilarious historical pricing data when some of these cards sell years or even a decade before they peak in value.

That being said, we’ve scoured some historical sales to find some of the best “It Sold for WHAT?!” examples in COMC’s history:

2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects – Prospects Chrome – Refractor Autograph #BDPP89 – Mike Trout /500

As the legend of Mike Trout continues to grow, so do the value of his 2009 Bowman cards. This particular card was listed for sale on February 19th, 2010 and sold almost two weeks later for a fraction of what it’s worth today. These cards are so desirable that we’ve never seen a copy of this card consigned since. BGS 9 versions of this same card have recently sold for $7000.00.

2000 Playoff Contenders – [Base] Rookie Autograph #144 – Tom Brady [BGS MINT 9]

We have seen our fair share of this coveted Tom Brady rookie card over the years. This BGS 9 version was sold back in June of 2013 for a paltry $1254.00. Recent sales of this card with an equal grade have recently sold in excess of $10,000.

2013-14 Panini Prizm – Autographs – Target Red Prizms #33 – Giannis Antetokounmpo /49 [BGS 9.5 GEM MINT] 

Before earning his nickname ‘The Greek Freak’ and becoming the NBA mega star that he is today, Giannis  Antetokounmpo’s rookie cards could be had for a fraction of what they’re worth now. This beautiful Red Prizm RC autograph sold for just $256 back in October of 2016. A Non-graded version of this card recently sold for over $1,700.

1986-87 Fleer – [Base] #57 – Michael Jordan [BGS 9.5 GEM MINT] 

We’ve seen just two BGS 9.5 graded copies of perhaps the most iconic basketball card ever printed sold on the COMC Marketplace. The most recent took place in 2016 and sold for over $11,000, but it is the first sale that makes this card earn a spot on our list.  In the summer of 2013, a BGS 9.5 Michael Jordan RC was had by a buyer for just over $4,000.00. Talk about a good return-on-investment!

2013 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects – Draft Picks Chrome – Gold Refractor #BDPP19 – Aaron Judge /50

In hindsight, a 6’7″ power-hitting Yankees prospect flying under the radar just seems silly, but it’s safe to say that Aaron Judge cards sold at pedestrian prices until #AllRise took baseball by storm last year.  Not one, but TWO of these gorgeous gold refractors sold for right around $30 in 2014. This card can’t be had for under $1,000 just four years later.

If you happen to have sold one of these cards, just remember time heals all wounds. It also increased the value of your card exponentially. If you’ve sold a card on COMC that you’ve regretted years later when a player’s stock rose significantly, we want to hear about it! Share your best “What was I thinking?” stories with us!

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?