Friday, February 4, 2011

Topps 2011 Part 3 - Hobby vs. Retail

HOBBY Reflections

Being that I titled this blog "The Budget Collector" perhaps I should include some budget or economic based posts? Yes, I think I should.

Yesterday I picked up my first 2011 Topps cards at Target, as you may recall I bought a single rack and a single retail pack, a total of 48 cards or the equivalent to 4 retail packs of 12 cards each. For that I paid $7.66 or just under 16 cents a card. Today I checked out my friendly local hobby store, Beverly Hills Sports Cards and bought 4 packs of Hobby from a brand new box. The cost was $13.17 after tax for 40 cards or 32 cents a card. Obviously right off the top you're paying double per card, and that's not a smart thing at all.

So if I'm paying twice as much per card, shouldn't I get some good cards? Well, yes and no. See what you're really paying for is the CHANCE to get better cards. When you look at the odds listed on the pack though, you find something very, very interesting: unless you're a big sucker for long-odds high end pulls, retail is actually a better buy. Certainly there are cards in Hobby that don't exist at Retail, specifically Silk, Black and Press-Plate parallels, the manufactured gloves and most of the autos and relics are only found in Hobby. However, the easiest of those to pull are the black paralles at 1:100 packs!

The odds on the standard non relic/auto inserts are virtually identical in hobby and retail. Gold parallels are half as easy to pull at 1:8 in hobby vs. 1:17 at retail. Something really odd happens though to the remainder of the auto/relic sets, they are actually EASIER to pull at retail rather than hobby. That's awfully strange, but true. Example: A Diamond Duos relic is 1:12,500 at hobby and 1:10,500 at retail. The 60th Anniversary Reprint Auto set falls at 1:13,200 retail and a whopping 1:14.750 at retail. The 60 for 60 redempions are 1:150,000 at retail and 1:167,000 at hobby. Again, long odds, but significantly less at retail.

Bottom line here, if you're looking to build the set and want most of the low end inserts, go with retail. If you're actually try to get hits, well, I think you should really look for a different set, other than the flagship.

So let's take a look at exactly what I got for my $20+ "investment" in 2011 Topps shall we?


Base 28/37
Topps town 4/ 2
Topps 60 2 / 2
Gold 2 / 1
60 Years of Topps 1 / 2
Diamond Ann 1 / 1
Diamond Duos 1 / 1
History of Topps 1 / 0
Kimball Champions 0 / 1
Vintage Repro 0 / 1
Total Inserts: 12 / 11


Total Cards 88
Base 65
Total Inserts: 23
Topps Town 6
Topps 60 4
Gold 3
60 Years of Topps 3
Diamond Ann 2
Diamond Duos 2
History of Topps 1
Kimball Champions 1
Vintage Repro 1

So far the best two cards I've pulled were the Jeter Mini and the Topps History with Eisner. Yuck. Honestly, I'd just as soon pull more of these:

Honestly, I'm paying a bit more than 25 cents a card here, and besides putting together a set, which I attempt and fail at every year, I'd be better off buying singles rather than packs, but I'm just so addicted to opening packs. It's a problem I tells ya.


IkesCards said...

Does your hobby shop really price Topps at $3 per pack? Yikes! I bought my son 5 hobby packs today at $1.99 per pack. The hobby shop near my office usually prices Topps flagship at $1.80 per pack (no idea why he prices at that number, but he does).

I hadn't noticed the difference in odds between the two though... excellent information!

FWIW - Isaac pulled a Castro relic out of those five packs today.

William Noetling said...

Yeah, the different one down the street was charging almost $5 per pack for Series 2 last year for some reason. With that "Beverly Hills" in the name of both shops neither has the best prices, though the one I prefer has a great selection of old singles and is always buying old stuff.

I actually did an Excel spreadsheet to compare the insert ratios. If I were even more insane I might try to find the probability of pulling specific cards, but I'm really not.

And congrats on the relic pull. Even the EASIEST ones are only 1 per box.

Jeff Bunnell said...

My local shop is $79.00 a box, 2.50 a pack or 2.25 if you buy 10 or more.
Plus tax....
I too am addicted (my 12yr old loves it too).
Thankfully, I've got a Jumbo box on the way that I only paid $73 for back in December.

Jeff Bunnell said...
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