Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why I Buy Older Cards - An Experiment

When I stopped by the local hobby shop a few weeks ago, I decided to try a little experiment. I picked up one hobby pack of Topps Heritage for $5. I also grabbed a rack pack of 1984 Topps baseball, which cost half the amount of the Heritage pack at $2.50. I've picked up quite a few of these '84 rack packs over time and they've always been fun to rip. I figured this would be a good way to illustrate why I gravitate towards older cards, and man was I right!

Let's take a look at the Heritage pack first...

Nine cards for $5, so we're talking more than 50 cents per individual card...

#85 - Ike Davis

Fantastic, a boring card of a hat-less player!

#347 - Nyjer Morgan

#307 - Jair Jurrjens

I do have to say in all fairness that I love the 1962 Topps backs.

#427 - Will Rhymes (Short Print)

#88 - Joe Girardi

#353 - Neil Walker

#16 - John Jaso

#270 - Ronny Cedeno

#5 - Clayton Kershaw

And we finish things off with probably the best card in the pack.

Still awake? Not exactly the world's most exciting pack. Do I feel like I got a decent return on my $5? Nope! Now let's look at the '84 rack pack. For just $2.50 I got over 50 cards, meaning each individual card cost me less than 5 cents compared to more than 50 cents per card with Heritage. Let's see what the pack yielded...

1st Section

Glossy All-Stars #4 - George Brett

Each rack pack comes with one Glossy All-Star card. I chose George Brett, let's hope he treats me well.

#485 - Rick Rhoden
#332 - Kevin Gross

#708 - NL ERA Leaders

Can't beat two first ballot Hall-of-Famers on one card.

#69 - Rod Scurry

#704 - NL RBI Leaders

#640 - Lance Parrish
#618 - Dickie Noles
#433 - Rich Hebner
#684 - Bob Shirley

#705 - NL Stolen Base Leaders

#699 - Dave Rucker
#99 - Craig Lefferts
#185 - Sixto Lezcano
#247 - Onix Concepcion
#659 - Duane Walker
#343 - Mark Davis
#252 - Larry Christenson
#257 - Julio Cruz

The first section was so-so, the League Leaders cards are nice. On to section 2...

2nd Section

#612 - Harry Spilman
#657 - Thad Bosley
#342 - Tim Foli

#150 - Dale Murphy

Nice, Murphy was coming off of 2 straight NL MVP seasons in '82 and '83.

#196 - Don Slaught
#738 - Bill Schroeder
#53 - Juan Beniquez

#130 - Ozzie Smith

Normally this would be card of the pack for me hands down, but there's a card in section 3 that beats even Ozzie here...

#491 - Bobby Castillo
#575 - Jim Clancy

#782 - Steve Balboni

Not exactly a picture perfect swing from Steve Balboni.

#469 - Tom O'Malley
#193 - Darrell Brown
#203 - Matt Keough
#172 - Frank DiPino
#146 - Ed Romero
#603 - Renie Martin
#624 - Terry Harper
#39 - Garth Iorg

Ozzie was definitely the star of the middle section, I'm always happy to add a new Wizard to the collection.

3rd Section

#115 - Andre Thornton

#8 - Don Mattingly Rookie!

I don't think you can get a better 1984 Topps pack than this! It's exciting to pull one of the better 80's Topps rookies from a pack. This one's in great shape too, with sharp corners and pretty good centering. I've pulled Ripken and Gwynn rookies from Topps packs and now I can add Don here to the list.

#656 - Bryn Smith
#425 - Steve Howe
#93 - Bob Knepper

#350 - George Foster

#749 - Doug Flynn
#642 - Tom Underwood

#348 - Toby Harrah

Toby looks like an NHL player sporting a playoff beard.

#275 - Len Matuszek

#68 - Luis Salazar

#620 - Al Oliver
#65 - Kirk Gibson
#385 - Tony Perez
#145 - Gary Lavelle

#408 - Lou Piniella

#538 - Kevin Bass
#245 - Rick Sutcliffe

So there you have it, a 2011 Heritage pack vs. a 1984 Topps rack pack. I know that I was extremely lucky to pull the Mattingly rookie, but I would go so far as to say that I'd still take the rack pack over the Heritage pack even without that card. The Ozzie Smith alone is a card I'll always keep, and I can't say that for any of the Heritage cards.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a knock on Heritage and I realize every collector is different (which is why this hobby is so great). How about you, would you take the Heritage pack or the rack pack?


Hackenbush said...

I'd definitely take the 84's. Another tactic is to just buy the cards from Heritage that you really want. So far I have 4 in my COMC "to be shipped" inventory. Total cost with shipping will be just $1.40. That's 35 cents a card and I got to hand pick them. As you say, we all have our ways of collecting. None wrong, just different.

1967ers said...

I'd go with the old pack, too. I gave up on new wax a couple of years ago. Now, I just let someone else put the set together and pick up what I want directly. It's easier.

Limits the amounts of traders I get, though.

Captain Canuck said...

must be nice to be able to have the choice.
it ain't that way around here my friend....

Dave H said...

I wish hockey rack packs from the 80's were that cheap! 82-83 Racks will run you about 30+ a piece around here!

But I agree, vintage won that battle for sure!

1967ers said...

I don't think I've seen an '82-83 rack pack since ... (ponders) ... '82-83.

I remember buying one because it had Richard Brodeur on the front and he'd been eluding me.

Sal said...

Mattingly! Shave those sideburns!

Dave H said...

I saw someone selling a 35 dollar 82-83 Rack pack at the swap meet last weekend. There was a Hawerchuk team leader card and a few commons on the visible portions. If I didn't have the set and doubles of almost every card I would have probably bought it just for the fun of it.

Sal said...

I see 1982-83 OPC Hockey Rack Packs at that big show I go to 2 times a year. Some dealer who overprices everything has them, and wants about $40 for one. Honestly, I just want a picture of it for the Wrapper Gallery.

Anonymous said...

Nice pull!

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