Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Collector Crate - So that's whats in the box

Nope not Gwyneth Paltrow's head.

It got here Saturday.  I unfortunately was deep in the throws of tearing up my floors and putting in some nice Pergo.  So that little red box just sat there taunting me, yet I knew when I got done I'd have a nice surprise waiting for me.

I've already seen quite a few box breaks posted of all three levels of Collector Crates. But I promised I'd break open my box and share it with ya'll.

First let me preface this break by saying I paid for this box.  It was not sent to me by the company.  I know they sent quite a few out early and I'm sure that helped them get a nice buzz going.  Second I opted for the cheapest, Bronze level, box. Cuz I'm cheap. But I digress...

The first thing I noticed was how small the box was.  To be honest 10 packs of card don't take up that much room though.  The second thing I noticed was how light the box was.  Again, 10 packs aren't that heavy, but these are the things I notice. After I go through the contents I do plan on doing a price break down to see if it was worth it.

So here's what was in the box.  No the Sharpe was not in the box.

Here's a close up of the box.  Besides the 10 packs of cards and my one auto and relic card I got a nice little A's mini pennant, a plastic mini baseball with the Phillies logo on it, a Blue Jays sticker, two gumballs, a mini "We're #1" foam finger and pack of TeenyMates.

Here are my TeenyMates.

There are a couple  rarer ones to pull. I pulled a Giant and Met. And 2 puzzle pieces.

The packs
2007 Upper Deck Series 2 (Retail, says so on the pack)
2012 Panini Prizm (4 card pack so I know it's retail)
2008 UD Timeline (6 card pack so I know it's retail too)
2012 Topps Chrome (Retail, isn't marked as hobby)
2010 Upper Deck Series 1 (18 card retail gravity feed pack)
2013 Topps Series 1 (5 card retail gravity feed pack) Really a 5 card pack of Topps?
2014 Topps Heritage (Retail, because it's got the security card inside)
2009 Topps Unique (Hobby Only!!)
2013 Panini Golden Age (Not sure if this is a hobby pack or not we'll call it hobby)
and the vintage 2006 UD Future Stars (Hobby, it says so on the pack)

Well it looks like out of 10 packs I got 7 retail packs and maybe 3 Hobby.  The 5 card pack of 2013 Topps really pisses me off.  That's not even a real pack. Were those even .99 cents?  And the inclusion of Golden Age is interesting since it's not really a baseball product.  But I do love the oddball stuff.  So lets see what I got.

I realized I bought the low end box, but this pack is just insulting. I would have rather it had been a pack of Opening Day.
 Not even a rookie card for my trouble.  Well this ain't starting off too good.

Retail Chrome

 At least I pulled a rookie and a refractor.

 Oh how I miss you Upper Deck.  I'm not a hockey collector so I haven't bought any UD since 2010 probably.  Nobody overly exciting in the pack either.
And speaking of 2010 Upper Deck.  We all remember UD got smacked down for putting this out.
 Still I liked the overall design of the set and boxes of this are super cheap.

 I also got a Mat Latos Blue Surpreme foil board card and Biography insert, hazaaa.

How about some more shiny.
 Nice to get at least a rookie a couple stars.  I'm not a huge fan of Prizm baseball, but I will say this year's football looks good.

 Did anyone open any Timeline back in 2008. I might have grabbed a pack, but I was living in the boonies back then. King Felix shows up again.

I quit Heritage 2 years ago.  This set just aggravates me to no end.  I do love the 1965 design though.
 And I pulled a short print, Jean Segura. Sadly I already have it for my Brewers team set.
 Here's a set that got no love.  And to be honest I kind of liked Topps Unique.  I did not, however, like the price tag associated with packs and boxes.  Boxes of this still go for close to a $100. Topps even tried carrying this over to Football, but neither brand got a second year.

 The black borders are cool, but such a bad idea.  They show any imperfection. I also got an insert and parallel.

 Nice to see Warren show up in the pack and make it a little more basebally. The Sugar Ray mini is the basic back.
The oldest pack in my box was this 2006 UD Future Stars. I had seen a few box breaks that had some vintage 90's Bowman, but this was by far the best pack in the bunch.

 Look at that Felix again. Oh that foil board goodness.
 And holy crap an autograph!  And this a cool acetate card too. Too bad it's of Peter Moylan.  He played with the Braves for 6 years and a year with the Dodgers, with a lot of minor league time.  He's also Australian and signed a minor league deal with the Astros this year before being released in March and that's were Peter's trail goes cold or at least were I stopped.

 I hear you asking. So what were my hits? Even the bronze level box gets one auto and one relic card included guaranteed. I saw a few breaks were guys were also getting a Griffey rookie, no rookie in my pack.

I got a 2008 Allen and Ginter Jim Thome  framed relic. At least I know who he is.
I also got a  2012 Bowman Platinum Green Guillermo Pimentel Autograph. Guillermo is still floating around the Mariners minor league system.

And that's it. Was it worth it?  It definitely doesn't feel worth it, but lets do some cost break down.

First I'll see if can buy packs off of blowout.com, if I can I'll use that price per pack, otherwise I'll use the price per pack if you bought a box.  This would be the cost I would have paid, not that Collector Crate paid.

So the box cost me $29.99. Like a dumb ass I forgot to enter the promo code for $5 off.  Shipping was included in the price, but usually for similar products shipping is $6, so we'll knock that off the top and say that if we break over $23.99 we're good.

Contents of box.
A's Mini pennant - $1.50     looking on Amazon these are between $2.50 and $1.40 each.
Plastic Phillies Baseball - .50 - You can buy a full set, all 30 teams for about $14 and these usually go for about 50 cents in coin ops.
Gumballs - .25
Teenymates - 3.99 That was the original price on the gravity feeder found in stores.
Little foam finger and sticker - I'll say about $1
Price of extra goodies $7.24

The packs - Blowout.com's prices
2007 Upper Deck Series 2 (Retail) - $1.29
2012 Panini Prizm (retail) $1.49
2008 UD Timeline (retail) $1.29
2012 Topps Chrome (Retail) $2.99 (couldn't find a pack or box price for a retail box so i'll go for what my local department store usually charges for Chrome
2010 Upper Deck Series 1 (retail) .60 (had to do a price per on this, you can buy a 36 - 18 card packs of reatil for $19.95)
2013 Topps Series 1 (retail) .50 - I'm being generous here for this 5 card pack, you can buy 60 for under 30 bucks.
2014 Topps Heritage (Retail) $2.99
2009 Topps Unique (Hobby) $4 - This is price per pack if I bought a box
2013 Panini Golden Age (hobby) - $1.70
2006 UD Future Stars (Hobby) $1.99
Total pack price $18.84. Let's just round up to $19

The hits 
2008 A&G Thome relic - I could only find 2 that sold recently on ebay and one went for about a buck and the other for two so lets say the relic is worth about $1.50. I picking up Ginter relics at my local card shop for a dollar all the time.  Why not they make great trade bait, but as a hit pretty lame. And I'm not using Beckett pricing, I live in the real world.

2012 Bowman Platinum Pimentel Green auto #d to 399 - People are asking all sorts of money for this card, but the only sale I found on ebay within the last 3 months was for $1.99, so we'll just call it $2.00

I'm even going to add in Moylan auto - sadly I found unsold cards that could have gone for .89 cents and the only one I found sold was for about a buck. $1.00

So lets summarize.  The packs were currently worth about $19. The extra goodies, which I don't care about, are worth maybe about $7.  And my hits including the bonus auto I found amount to about $4.50.

So if I include the extras in the box value that comes to about $30 to 31.  Take the extras out because they are nice, but not something I would collect or buy and the value of the box drops to about $23.50. Right about on the money.

Was it a good deal?  Not really. A good deal would imply I was getting more for my money which I clearly did not.

Was it fun to open? Yes. Who doesn't love opening random packs and other goodies?

Would I buy another one?  Probably not. But I don't regret trying it out. And I'll definitely be putting in for their free box drawings. And I know I only got the cheapest box they offer, but the packs were ones I probably wouldn't buy and the extras were definitely something I wouldn't have spent money on. And maybe it's just the way I choose to collect or the type of collector I've become, but really this box had nothing in it for me. Sure the silver and gold levels might have been better, but I have no problem risking $30 once on something like this to try it out, but definitely not $70 or $100.

 As a matter of fact everything posted here is up for trade, everything.

Are you guys still with me?  I know this post is getting long.
Let's go over the good and the bad and then I have a few suggestions for Collector Crate.

The good.
Nice variety of packs, spread around brands and years.  It was very well packaged. The packs came  well bubble wrapped.  I did hit a bonus auto.

The bad.
70% retail packs!  7 out of 10 were retail!!  Retail sucks. I get that picking up old retail packs might be great for the bottom line, but odds of hitting anything good out of retail are slim.

A 2013 Topps Series 1  - 5 card pack. Are you kidding me? I'm not even sure I'd count that as a pack at all. If it had been thrown in as an extra that would have been cool. It's almost insulting to include it in the box. And don't say, but you got the big old 2010 UD fat pack.  Yeah retail fat pack of an unlicensed product that almost got Upper Deck sunk. A 10 or 8 card pack of Topps would still have been considered low end enough for this box.

The hits were not in top loaders.  They were well packaged with the packs, in penny sleeves and were fine, but it seems odd to have the meat of the box unprotected like that.

The hits where kind of lame.

OK I'm done ranting, now on to some constructive suggestions on how to make the boxes better.

First, get rid of the retail packs.  I would suggest going exclusively hobby, even for the low end.  I'm sure the silver and gold feature higher end packs you can't find at the retail level, but if you want me to move up to the next tier or even buy another bronze, you got to make me want to and after breaking my box I don't want to.

Consider making teamcentric boxes.  Make the extra goodies, like that pennant, and the hits customized to a team collector.  I'm a Brewers fan. Would I have had a better experience getting a Brewers relic and auto in the box?  Yes I would. I would also probably keep the pennant and little ball if it featured my team.

I didn't see the option on the website, but consider being able to give these crates as gifts.  I think these would make a great birthday or Christmas gift. I could even see my wife getting me one.

And lastly, try and bring the cost per box down. I don't see too many people signing up even for the Bronze level over and over again at $29.99 getting blind packs and I really don't see people dropping big money on the unknown.  This might work with kitsch pop culture things at a lower price point, but sports card collectors can be very picky.

Alright.  Lastly if anyone out there opened a box and posted it feel free to link your break in the comments.  I've seen a few, but I know I've probably missed a bunch too.  And I'm curious how others breaks went. Happy, sad, mad, or glad?

cb out.


  1. I'm interested in a bunch of cards including the Moylan. Please email me at caitlinjennings64@yahoo.ca

  2. I'm with you on the team-centric idea. If you could at least pick the team you get, it might be worth it.

    But, in all seriousness, what really differentiates this box from one of those Fairfield repacks with a hit that Target sells (assuming, of course, that you are near a Target)? The Topps Unique and the Golden Age, I suppose.

    Speaking of which, if you're not keeping the Spahn, I'd love to try to figure out a trade.

    1. That was one of the few cards I was actually going to keep.

  3. I'm interested in the Mets Teeny Mate figure.

    Really not too impressed with Collector Crate... they need to make sure their customers feel like they are getting more than $30 (or $70/$100) of value each month, whether it really works out that way or not.

    Lootcrate is at the stage where they can negotiate with manufacturers to get exclusive items for their boxes, and they're able to do themes to get people excited about them. Some of the other pop culture boxes do this too.

    It's a little bit tougher to do themes for sports collectors, but maybe it would help. And they definitely have to take team preference into account or leave out the stuff like the pennants and stickers. Give me something like that for my favorite team and I'll think it's cool... otherwise, it's just extra junk.

    As it is, every Collector Crate break I've seen looks like "Fairfield repack by mail." That might be fun occasionally, but who's going to sign up for a monthly subscription?

    1. I'll add that Teeny Mate to the prizes if you win my World Series contest, if not well work something out.

  4. You can find those 5-card packs at Dollar Tree. So they cost a buck. It's just base cards, no inserts.

    1. You can buy a box of 60 for $30 on blowout. That's where I got 50 cents for my price point.

  5. I've seen those Topps packs at Dollar Tree as well. $1 isn't bad I guess, but they shouldn't be in this box. I'm glad you shared because I thought about getting a box, but now am glad I didn't. I might check them out in a few months to see if they have gotten better, but its not worth it now.

    I like that Gil Meche card. I never even heard of Topps Unique before, so that is a nice looking card, especially with him wearing the Monarchs jersey.

    1. I'll throw the Meche card in and more Royals if you win my World Series contest.

    2. Cool, thanks. I was just on twitter and Collectors Crate tweeted "When ordering, let us know your choice of 3 teams and we will do our best to provide you with cards & items from those teams"

      That is something to think about if you are ever on the fence about getting another one.

  6. After seeing your box I feel a little bit better about the one I got, but I think I came away with about the same feeling at the end of it. Why go through all the trouble and added expense when I can buy a repack at Target for $20, get twice as many packs (and some repacks offer a guaranteed auto/relic) and skip all the stickers/pennants/gumballs? This is especially true if Collector Crate is going to use a 7:3 mix of retail to hobby packs, as getting hobby packs was part of the draw of buying a Collector Crate. You probably already saw my break, but here's the link anyway:


    1. At least you got a bonus Griffey! and no 5 card packs.

  7. That Golden Age is hobby. Yellow packs were hobby - blue packs were retail.

  8. It's a nice idea, but clearly doesn't compare with the value you get from Loot Crate. Those run for <$20 and that is covered by the t-shirt alone, everything else is bonus. To build these things of old retail and base the pricing on the retail price is no deal at all. $15 for a box of packs that would retail for $30 would be a good deal. Especially if they go with so many actual retail packs.

  9. Anytime you're dealing with packs... it's going to be a win some, lose some situation. That's why I really need to fight the temptation and just walk away. I'm hoping that a bunch of people with post their Collector Crate boxes on YouTube. That way when I'm feeling the urge to buy one, I can watch other people's boxes instead.

    Btw... awesome A's pennant!

    1. That's what I do with the real high end stuff. I just watch the YouTube breaks. Then I go and ebay and pick up singles for a fraction of the cost of a box.

  10. It looks like they are reading and maybe responding to our reviews. This just went up on the Collector Crate Facebook page:

    "We are putting a minimum value on our plans now.
    $21.99 + $8 Shipping = $40 Value
    $61.99 + $8 Shipping = $100 Value
    $91.99 + $8 Shipping = $140 Value
    We are adding more value into every box by including:
    • Rookies
    • Prospects
    • Star
    • Insert
    • Serial ‪#‎ed‬
    • Parallel Cards
    & Other Bonus Items!"

    1. I guess I should add that the idea of value is kind of a nebulous thing, even when you assign a dollar amount to it. If you are going by retail sales price of your packs you're looking at usually $2-3 per pack, add in Beckett values for your two hits, and then a few dollars for your odds and ends, and there you are at $40. So their valuation can be right there at $40 for the same box that you priced out at $30 or less. It really depends on how you value the packs and how much of the mix is in Hobby packs vs. Retail packs.

      By that math the $20 for 20 packs + a hit repacks are still a better 'value' as you are getting $40-60 in packs at the retail price plus a hit of (theoretically) some value. I like the concept of the Collector Crate, but it is going to be hard to beat the retail repack folks who have the advantage of access to bulk cheap retail packs and don't have to account for the cost of premium shipping. And I think for the most part, unless you are able to choose some specific teams for your bonus items, most collectors aren't going to view those as part of the value they get in the box. I guess the bonus items are what separates the Collector Crate from just being a Repack by Mail, but it is going to be hard to convince a collector that knick-knacks depicting teams that he or she doesn't care about is an added value.

      It's a cool concept, and maybe the Silver and Gold levels are where Collector Crate will be able to deliver a more positive experience. At those prices it may be easier to deliver a solid mix of packs and substantial bonus items that feel valuable. At the Bronze level I think it is just too hard to cover product + packing + shipping and still compete effectively with the repack folks who have a strong retail supply chain already in place.

    2. They should just simplify their pricing and call it $30, $70 & $100 and just roll the shipping costs into the price.

  11. Great comments guys. I see the also just posted about being able to choose 3 teams to center the box around. Looks like they read the blog! I noticed they didn't link to it though. I wasn't trying to be mean, just honest about my experience. I'm hoping they can dial it in with all the feedback they've been getting.