Friday, October 3, 2014

Repack wars: The return

It's been a while since I opened a repack.

I've come to realize that repacks tend to keep me on the saner side of collecting. When you're in the Target card aisle (or whatever your local big box store happens to be), it's easy to buy a pack of something you don't really want.

I came ever so close to grabbing a pack of Series 2 during a recent Target run with my dad. Never mind that my Series 2 needs are minimal and can be filled on Just Commons for a couple bucks, if need be.

Thankfully, I decided to quell the urge and went with a couple fun repacks instead. One of the rack pack variety, and one encased in one of those plastic hangers that are absolutely impossible to open. It presented a perfect opportunity to revive my little "Repack Wars" series.

If you're unfamiliar with the setup, it's about as unscientific as humanly possible. I give and take random amounts of points at will and without much reason behind it. It's about as unclimactic of a war as you'll ever find.

All I want to do is kick back and have fun with a couple repacks. We'll start with the rack pack.

Stadium Club, of course, is a special point of interest in Dime Boxedonia. And, as I recently learned, it's back with a vengeance here in 2014. I spent a good couple hours last night poring through Ebay and admiring all of the quality cards in this year's product.

That said, I doubt anything can top the immortality of early '90s Stadium Club.

Stadium Club bonus, +4

Repack #1 running total: +4

I've covered all ends of the spectrum with '95 Upper Deck.

I went from hate to acceptance to unabashed love all in the span of about a year.

All I need to figure out is why I ever hated a set as beautiful as this.

Better late than never, +2

Running total: +6

A couple awesome shots of a couple hard-nosed ballplayers.

The Brett has to earn some bonus points for being a night card.

Nitty-gritty, +2 each
Night card bonus, +2

Running total: +12

It's a Kevin Brown hot pack!

Ugh, -2

Running total: +10

You can't go wrong with early Fleer.

Grainy photos and all.

Love the blur, +2 each

Running total: +14

Metal Universe and Circa.

Definitely two of the loudest sets ever.

Headache bonus(?), +1 each

Running total: +16

This particular repack had the common Three Vintage Cards Inside! sticker on the front.

I'm pretty sure vintage is anything pre-1981 to the people in charge of producing these things.

If I'm right, then this nifty '79 Brewers team card qualifies.

But so do these three.

I already had the Garber and Kessinger. And, although Lamar Johnson is nothing more than a vaguely familiar name to me, his '77 Topps issue does a great job of showcasing those groovy '70s Sox jerseys.

Four pieces of vintage for the price of three.

Beating the odds, +4

Running total: +20

This was probably my favorite pull from the rack pack.

Donruss gratuitously reprinted some of their older cards (including Leaf) with a set called Recollections in the early 2000's. Each single is significantly curved with a chrome finish, which frankly doesn't seem to work well with Donruss designs.

Still, pulling a shiny version of Greg Maddux's 1990 Leaf issue certainly made for a fun and fascinating change of pace.

That's really all I ask out of a repack.

Change it up, +5

Repack #1 final total: +25

Could repack #2 beat that solid effort?

Let's find out!

The hanger box repacks have one big advantage over the rack packs, in that they're a buck cheaper. (Four dollars instead of five.)

Another plus of the hangers is that you can see a few of the "cover boys" through the little windows of the plastic. This Ryan Howard caught my eye at the front of the first repack on the shelf.

I believe these were actually Target-exclusive Topps inserts back in 2008, modeled after the turn-of-the-century T206 tobacco releases.

Definitely a great way to start a repack.

Cover boy bonus, +3

Repack #2 running total: +3

A couple of the other cover boys weren't half bad, either.

More cover boys, +3 each

Running total: +9

The early '90s are always good for a little fun.

Note the random line of people in the backdrop on the May.

Have some cards and a smile, +1 each

Running total: +11

A little more overproduction-era fun.

Sorry, Fleer, but I have a tough time believing there was ever a big league ballplayer named Sherman Corbett.

Especially with specs like those.

Corbetts and double dips, +1 each

Running total: +13

A card so nice they gave it to me twice!

Yeah, right.

Double fail, -2

Running total: +11

Raul Ibanez was 38 years old when he (assumedly) made this gem of a catch.

He's currently 42 and still kicking with the Royals.

That's some serious longevity right there.

Hats off to Raul Ibanez, +4

Running total: +15

The repack gods threw a trinket my way with this one.

I just kickstarted a new Rickey Henderson player collection a few months ago that has been growing by leaps and bounds lately. Here's an awesome oddball that I doubt I could've found anywhere else.

That has to be a good omen.

Rickey, Rickey, Rickey, +5

Running total: +20

I assumed this was a double at first.

One of the best cards of 2011, sure, but I don't have much use for dups.

Into the extras pile it went.

That is, until I noticed a string of Flagship Yankees and Red Sox all bunched together.

Not something you'd see out of your everyday repack. Something didn't seem quite right.

Curious, I grabbed the Ellsbury and flipped it over.

Well, that explains it.

Note the BOS-7 numbering in the top right. These weren't doubles at all.

They're actually from team sets Topps issued back in 2011. My local Target has carried the Cubs and White Sox ones the past few years. I'm guessing big box stores on the East Coast did the same with these two clubs.

So, then, how the heck did they wind up in a repack all the way back here in the Midwest?

Your guess is as good as mine.

All I know is that they were an absolute treat to find.

Team issue bonus, +15

Repack #2 final total: +35

For what it's worth, the second repack ended up taking the crown. Those team issue cards pushed it over the edge.

Still, I think most collectors realize that it's not about winning or losing when it comes to repacks.

The sheer fun of ripping them open is worth the price of admission.


Zippy Zappy said...

I've noticed a lot of the team set cards pop in repacks in recent times.
I think it's primarily because the more they age, the cheaper they get. When released team sets are like $10 (aprox.) at big box marts but after the season/year ends sellers are lucky if they get $2 for them. I know this because a seller at a card show was selling a case-worth of 2012 Yankee team sets for $2 (per set) and nobody was buying.

shlabotnikreport said...

It's interesting how these repacks go through phases... For a while, it was nothing but unopened "bonus!" packs of 1989 Fleer, then it was the Topps glossy All-Star inserts, now they seem to be liquidating team sets.

I bought a repack yesterday and I got two 2008 Topps cards from team sets. One was a Glavine with ATL1 on the back, the the second took a while to identify... it's a Michael Wuertz card numbered 22. I think it came from the 55-card Cubs "gift set".

I have a pair of cheap scissors that I originally bought for house projects, but now I keep it in the car for those days when I run over to Target at lunchtime and want to open a repack.

Mark Hoyle said...

There is a dealer at one of the shows I regularly go to that buys commons from 85 to the present. He gives you 5 bucks for 1500 cards. He then sells them to these repack companies.