I got that itch the other day. The one where you just need to open some new baseball cards and nothing else will make you happy. I thought about stopping at Target on the way home to pick up a blaster of Heritage... or maybe Opening Day, but I had to work first.
It was Tuesday morning so that meant I was working my one day a week at the card shop. That meant enduring hours of looking at sealed wax without getting to open any of it, and that didn't particularly sit well with me. The only positive was that most of the new wax the owner had just gotten in was Panini stuff... which I mostly won't touch (yeah... looking at you ugly Donruss). He did have boxes of Heritage and Series 1, but I wasn't about to go down one of those rabbit holes.
I sat and patiently worked the rest of the day away.
One of my favorite parts of working a hobby shop is meeting the different types of clientele that walk through the door looking for various things. You obviously get to know the 'regulars' fairly well. I'll give you some examples of a few of ours:
- One guy comes in on roughly a weekly basis and buys a half box of some type of Heritage product every time (and that's usually it). We set the box aside for him so that he can pick up the other half the following week.
- We've got a guy who comes in 2-3 times a month who is addicted to our selection of older wax. He almost always walks away with 3+ boxes of cards that are between 5 and 15 years old. I guess he likes the 90's!
- Yet another older gentleman is addicted to autographs of baseball and hockey prospects... and he wants them cheap. Anything that guarantees plenty of autos at a low price point, he'll pick up. Think Panini Elite Extra Edition, Leaf Perfect Game, the Panini USA Baseball sets... those kinds of things.
This last gentleman walked through the door about a half hour before close on Tuesday and he was looking for something to break. We really didn't have much new for him so I had to start pitching him ideas. His question is always the same, "How many autos does it have?" Then he does some math in his head and decides if the box is worth it. I don't remember what the guy walked out with that day, though I think it was a couple tins of the new Upper Deck Series 2 hockey product.
One of the products I pitched to him that day was our last remaining box of 2015 Topps High Tek. He usually likes the newer baseball sets, so I thought there might be a chance that he would take a flyer on this one. The standard "how many autos" question came out, and when I told him that each box only had one autograph, he immediately put it back.
Fast forward to store close and I had that same box in my hand with the owner laughing at me. I had successfully pitched the product... to myself. The owner gave me a bit of a discount as long as I opened the box in front of him. I happily obliged and below are the results.
Starting it off with the two ugliest cards from the box. There's something about seeing non-modern baseball players on these very modern card designs that really irks me. Also, any Yankees card with a red and blue background doesn't really work.
This is a bit more like it. Not only are these two guys "modern" players, but the color schemes here work way better. Notably, the Rusney Castillo is a circut board design background. Apparently this tier of parallel falls one per box, and considering you only get 7 base cards per box... well, it isn't really all that rare I guess. Your standard backgrounds that fall 4 to a box are the spiral (Jackson), dots (Big Unit), waves (Franco), and grass (below on Henderson). My box was nice and standard and I received one of each.
These last two base cards are my favorite and it all has to do with the color scheme. The A's unis and the green and gold explosion make the card an immediate eye-catcher. The Canseco is a stripes parallel and is supposedly a case hit. Hooray? A bit gimmicky in my opinion. Actually, if you've been with me from the beginning, one of the first boxes I opened and showed off here was 2014 Topps High Tek (forgive my lack of pretty pictures back then). I also got a nice Canseco in that box which has since left me.
This one's purty. The scan doesn't do this card justice. It simply makes it look like it's a giant color clash fiesta. It's really not that bad. Maybe I'm biased cause you know... the whole purple card thing. Give me more!
One the other hand, I wasn't super happy pulling a redemption, but when I saw Freddie Freeman, it all made up for it. Granted, he's probably not necessarily the super-star auto you're looking for when opening a box like this, but I was more than happy to pull a card that goes straight into my collection. Admittedly, I was a bit reserved in my excitement until the physical card actually showed up...
...but it did just the other day! I scanned this, and the card below this morning as I was running out the door. I might have to look at my scanner settings because these two JPEGs don't look too hot, and I don't think there's anything terribly hard for the scanner to pick up here. Oh well. Topps graciously sent me a second card saying they apologized for the long wait on this redemption. Thanks? The redemption took all of ten days.
Topps must have done their research though because the second card that came along for the ride was a purple! parallel of Jose Bautista from Topps Tribute.