Saturday, December 31, 2016

Final Maildays of 2016

So I waited until almost everything came in before I posted my last Mailday of 2016. So here's what I got!

96-97 Fleer Total O Michael Jordan BGS 9.5

Don't have many, but this a nice card to pickup before the end of 2016! MJ's are expensive as hell, but I really like the look of this one and it being graded 9.5 to boot is very nice!

15-16 Immaculate Kyrie Irving Patch/Auto #15/60

Actually won this during Kyrie's heroics in the 4th quarter of the Christmas Day game against the Warriors. Nice patch, on card auto, awesome card!

2016 Strata Signatures Ken Griffey Jr. #34/35

Sooooooo stoked I got this in Friday! It was the redemption I pulled from my horrible Strata break last month.  This card is AMAZING looking and is by far one of the best looking cards I own.

15-16 Gala Starring Role Signatures Anfernee Hardaway #30/50

A sweet on card auto of my favorite basketball, Penny Hardaway

96-97 Flair Showcase Row 0 Allen Iverson RC

Flair Showcase Parallels are some of my absolute favorite looking cards so when I saw this AI I had to get it

2008-09 Topps Chrome Russell Westbrook RC

Russell Westbrook is my favorite NBA Player in today's NBA. This guy is unbelievable and is putting eye popping numbers, triple doubles almost every game. As expected, it means his stuff is SUPER EXPENSIVE, but I couldn't resist. I had to get his Topps Chrome Rookie Card to add to my collection. Chrome is always a favorite of mine and even as high as it's gone to, I think it has even more room to grow as Russ continues to be a one man wrecking crew this season.

15-16 Immaculate Sneaker Swatches Karl Anthony Towns #37/39

I love Shoe cards and already have the Penny and Grant Hill in this set. Decided to add KAT as well.

15-16 Prizm Gold Prizm Russell Westbrook #4/10 BGS 9.5

I love Gold Prizms and Russ is my guy, there is no way I wasn't going to win this card. Being graded 9.5 is an added bonus as well.

16/17 Prizm First Step Gold Prizm #6/10 Russell Westbrook

Another Gold Prizm of Russ


2016 Prime Signatures Auto/Patch Ezekiel Elliott #10/15

Being a HUGE Cowboys fan, there was no way I was going to let the year go by without adding a nice Zeke to my collection. Numbered to 15, absolutely love the look of this card. It's a sticker auto..but it works on this card, plus I love the patch on it. Hoping the Cowboys do big things in the playoffs this year!

2015 Panini Prizm Rookie Autographs Green Prizm Jameis Winston RC #4/50 BGS 9.5

Another guy I had been wanting to add an autograph rookie card of Jameis Winston. He was on my fantasy team this year so I saw a lot of his games and he's really developing into a pretty solid QB in only his second year. Again, I love Prizm, and this Green Parallel numbered to 50 was a no brainer to me. Again, the grade is cool.

2016 Panini Prizm Ezekiel Elliott RC
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So all the base rookie cards in Prizm Football have a refractor finish which really make them stand out. Another one of those "have to have" cards for me.

And that'll finish off 2016! Happy New Year's to everyone and here's to a great 2017!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My General Thoughts and Musings Since Getting Back Into The Hobby

Well, as the year comes to a close, I really never thought I'd be back collecting cards again. After doing it for nearly 20 years, I thought I was really done with that part of my life. After 5 years though, I dunno, boredom I guess, I decided to get back into the swing of things and collect once more. Even though I hadn't been gone that long, I quickly noticed how things have changed since the last time I collected. Here's just a few random thoughts on things I noticed in the hobby that definitely caught my eye.

I should've kept my Lebron's and MJ's- So I basically quit the hobby in mid 2012 and sure MJ cards were and have always been highly collectible and expensive, but man in the past 5 years they skyrocketed BIG time. 90's MJ stuff is insanely expensive and I guess it's due to the fact that it's been what 7 years since there's been any new MJ NBA licensed cards? Isn't that crazy that the biggest star in the history of the league hasn't had any new NBA cards in the last 7 years?! It really drives the demand up for his stuff. I'm not gonna say I had even a good MJ collection, but it was decent. I had some nice inserts of him and looking at the prices now, even for his mid end inserts, I'll probably never be able to fully get them back. My biggest regret though is selling my MJ Fleer Rookie. It was a BGS 7.5 that I bought for like $550 and sold for $600 when I got out. MJ rookies sell SUPER high now and a BGS 7.5 would probably now cost me over $1,000 EASILY. The same goes with my LeBron rookie stuff. I had a pretty decent LeBron Rookie collection and man cards like his Topps Chrome Rookie Card is like 4 to 5 times what I paid for mine when I first got it. I just wish I would've kept SOME stuff of theirs in hindsight.

The Evolution of Box Breaking- I'm going to sound like an old man but back in my day, we would only dream of opening up boxes of product. When I was kid, it was pretty much packs only, but it was also a lot more affordable than it is today. Now I know back in 2012, super expensive high end boxes existed, but for me I really hadn't opened a box a cards since probably 2004 or 2005. I went strictly the singles route and it's kind of the reason I got a little bored. The excitement of opening boxes and pulling something big always seemed to trump just going on Ebay and buying the single. As I look at today's landscape though, man it just seems more expensive then EVER and the sad thing about it is that it has turned into basically a glorified lottery. The value in most products is so minimal that it makes box breaking frustrating and almost pointless because companies nowadays like Topps and Panini have zero clue how to balance out value. It's either pure crap or you hit the mother lode, and guess what..you ain't hitting the mother lode most times. Box prices are insane even for "mid end". I mean mid end products are now considered boxes that are in the $100-$200 range or so!! That's CRAZY to me. I like how Hoops, which used to be as low end as you can get is still considered low end but is $75 a box! Just because Panini gives you two crap $1.00 autographs or junk jersey cards (Ok I know that even in 2012 jersey cards were already worthless, but fast forward 5 years later and they seem EVEN MORE WORTHLESS...which just shows how flooded the market is with these. Not even star players get you $10 nowadays, it's hilarious that PARALLELS are now more coveted than game used memorabilia cards) they justify the price. It's a $30 a box product basically, that gets priced at $75 bucks. I know eventually all prices go down, but you literally have to wait a few months if you want to bust some product at a reasonable price. One thing that has been a MAJOR part of card collecting that wasn't so much when I collected is Group Breaking. Me personally? I don't like it, but a TON of people do it and it's a reason Panini and Topps can keep producing overpriced junk because Group Breakers sell out breaks easily. I just don't get group breaks or people that have card shops break their personal boxes online. Isn't that part of the FUN?? Opening stuff yourself? In group breaks, you STILL pay an arm and a leg for a premium team and run the risk of getting squat. If you do a random team break..well you can get a crap team that doesn't give you hits. I dunno...just not my cup of tea but it's definitely not going away anytime soon, hell..it's what drives the hobby seems like!

The Exclusive Licensing: As I left the card market, Panini was in the beginning of their basketball monopoly that phased out UD and Topps. That was one of the big reasons I quit collecting because I wasn't really a fan of what Panini was doing. Well...now here we all and all the major sports have 1 sole producer of cards. Panini has both football and basketball, Topps has baseball, and Upper Deck has Hockey. It's crazy to me that when I very first started collecting cards you had literally dozens of card manufacturers per sport and now it's down to a single entity. I think it sucks and is more damaging to the card market than anything and it doesn't matter who it is, as long as there are Exclusive Licensing it will never get better. I'm not one of those who says "Panini sucks, UD should have the NBA" because to me, UD would have the SAME problem Panini has. UD would be the one producing 30 sets with more than half being worthless just because that's what the NBA wants. Panini isn't perfect, far from it, but competition is what's needed and we're probably never going to see that again.

Ebay Auctions/Fixed Price: The last and final thing that really jumped out to me was how small the number of actual auctions there on Ebay. When I was collecting, it just seemed like there were a ton more open auctions out there to browse. I mean I search Russell Westbrook open auctions and there's like only 300 total and since I like to just look for the day, it literally takes me like 20 seconds to browse all of them for the day. It seems to me a combination of what people are paying for product and EBay's fee system, people are just scared to lose money and would rather put up fixed auctions than take a chance on an open auction. So you see a TON of fixed auctions that have super ridiculous prices and maybe it's me being spoiled and lazy, I just don't have the time or patience to weed through them. I've tried negotiating with Fixed Price but most won't budge at all or don't answer. It's why this go around, I've turned more to busting boxes because they are easy and accessible. I dunno, maybe I'm wrong on this and it just seems like there aren't as many open auctions than before, but it sure as feels like it to me.

So all in all...how has it been being back? Even with all the changes and frustrations, I must say it's still fun to me and I'm still glad I made the decision to return to this crazy hobby. Here's hoping 2017 is just as fun!
 

 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Most Memorable Pulls of 2016

Well, with the year coming to an end and since I won't be receiving any more boxes to open this year, I figured I'd go back and look at my memorable pulls since coming back to collecting in the summer of 2016. I'll start with the honorable mentions than countdown the 5 top pulls of 2016, which of course if you read my box breaks you know I've been keeping a running list of my Top 5 pulls since I started back up. So without further ado, here's the best pulls I've had since I've been back.

15-16 Excalibur Rookie Rampage Auto Jersey Karl Anthony Towns
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This was the first major pull I had in my return to collecting. I pulled this in my first box break when I bought a couple boxes of 15-16 Jumbo Prizm Basketball and a box of 15-16 Excalibur. Getting a Towns right off the bat was pretty awesome!

15-16 Gold Standard Golden Pairs Dual Patch Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson #12/25

How can I forgot pulling this beauty from a box of Gold Standard? In only my 2nd box break I pulled this card along with 2 other nice cards from the same box. The Curry patch on this is awesome!

15-16 Gold Standard Myles Turner Auto/Patch RC #11/25

The 2nd awesome card I pulled from this box. A nice RPA of one of the better rookies from the loaded 15-16 class.

15-16 Gold Standard Gold Strike Kristaps Porzingis Auto/Jersey #56/99

My first Porzingis pull in what would be a recurring theme throughout the year. Not a bad rookie to keep pulling, that's for sure!

2016 Topps Stadium Club Instavision Kris Bryant
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It's not worth a ton, but it's still pretty cool to pull a case hit of one the greatest young players in the game today!

15-16 Limited Dual Signatures Kristaps Porzingis/Jerian Grant Gold Spotlight #8/10
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Kristaps strikes again! This time it's a dual autograph numbered to 10!

2016 Topps Tribute Milestone Relics Kris Bryant (#5/10)
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How can I forget that day long event of opening boxes of cards all day and it ended with a bang with this card and another that I'll showcase in my top 5. Numbered to only 10 copies, this card has a piece of game used ball from Kris Bryant's first HR game.

15-16 Donruss Timeless Treasures Kristaps Porzingis Autograph/Jersey Card #26/75
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For the 3rd time, Porzingis strikes again! Another nice rookie auto pull of the "Unicorn"

15-16 Panini Prestige Distinctive Ink Kyrie Irving Redemption (# to 25)
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My first redemption pull and it was Kyrie Irving. Unfortunately, though I have pulled quite a few redemptions this year, this one is one of the two I have that are still outstanding. Kyrie is awesome and I'm hoping I don't have to wait forever for it, but since it's numbered to 25 copies, I'm willing to wait it out longer, hoping it gets made.

15-16 Gold Standard Gold Strike Myles Turner Auto/Patch RC #25/25
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On my 2nd go around with Gold Standard I pulled a different Myles Turner Patch/Auto Rookie Card!

15-16 Gold Standard 14K John Wall Auto #40/40
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Gold Standard was really good to me this year, and this Wall On Card Auto Card is very nice looking!

15-16 Gold Standard Golden Pairs Andrew Wiggins/Kevin Garnett Dual Patch #7/25
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Love these Golden Pairs Dual Patch cards and I was able to pull another one this time of Wiggins and KG!

15-16 Revolution Autographs Tracy McGardy
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A pleasant surprise from a low end product. On Card Autograph of TMac!

2016 Donruss The Elite Series Ezekiel Elliott #783/999
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To date the only Zeke I've pulled. I know it's low end but it's still an awesome card!

2016 Donruss Signature Marks Gold Terry Bradshaw Autograph #1/5
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I know Bradshaw's in the news right now for his comments about Mike Tomlin not being a great coach. Regardless if his opinion (which I don't agree with at all, Tomlin's a hell of a coach to me) he's still a Hall of Famer with 4 Super Bowl Rings. It was really cool to pull his autograph and it being numbered to only 5 copies was even better.

15-16 Panini Preferred Crown Royale Purple Auto D'Angelo Russell (#6/49)
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Originally a redemption I pulled, this was from my horrible Panini Preferred break. It was by far the best card of the break. Really love the die cut Crown Royale design and the fact that it's an on card rookie auto.

15-16 Court Kings Sapphire Autographs Dennis Rodman #22/25
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Love this card because of the huge bold signature. Also numbered to only 25 copies

15-16 Noir Black and White Autographs Giannis Antetokounmpo (#15/49)
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Another card I pulled a redemption of. Luckily it didn't take long to get in. The Greek Freak has been nothing short of AMAZING this season and it's cool to pull an on card auto of his.

And now the official Top 5 Cards I pulled this year. Starting with #5

#5 2016 Topps Strata Signatures Ken Griffey Jr. Redemption

My Strata Case Break was overall disappointing, but pulling this sure wasn't. I've seen the shadowbox autos from this product so I know it's going to be awesome. My worry is how long it's going to take to get made. I hope I don't have to wait years for it

#4 15-16 Prestige Prestigious Premieres Signatures Karl Anthony Towns #101/299

I only pulled two KAT autos this year, but this was by far the best since it's on card

#3 15-16 Panini Prizm Rookie Signatures Silver Prizms Kristaps Porzingis #25/25
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The best out of the 4 Porzingis Autos I pulled this year. It's on card and from the super popular Prizm set. It's also the Silver Refractor numbered to 25. Great rookie card to have!

#2 2016 Topps Tribute Superfractor Autograph Alex Gordon (#1/1) 
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From the same box I pulled the Kris Bryant Milestone Relic. This was my first ever 1/1 and superfractor. It's the only card on here that I no longer had as I sold it for a price I just couldn't refuse. It was basically my #1 pull all year before just recently getting edged out a couple weeks ago by card #1. 

#1   2015-16 Gala Red Carpet Signatures Kobe Bryant (#9/30)
 
And the best card I pulled of 2016, I just pulled two weeks ago. An on card beauty of Kobe Bryant. Numbered to only 30 copies, these sell pretty well on the secondary market as well. By far my best pull!

Here's hoping that 2017 is just not or even more successful than this year was!!  

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Box Break: 15-16 Panini Black Gold Basketball

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So it's been 5 years since I've collected cards, and it's been even longer since I've received cards as a Christmas gift. The last time I remember getting cards from my parents was Christmas 2003. They bought me a box 2003-04 Upper Deck Black Diamond Basketball and in that box I did indeed pull a Lebron James Rookie Card. Fast Forward 13 years later and here's the first gift of cards I've gotten since then. Panini Black Gold was on sale during Black Friday and I put it on my XMas list knowing just like with most high end Panini Products there's a pretty good chance at the box busting. I felt at the price point it was worth a shot and put it as one of my options for my parents to chose from. They went with it. This is also going to be the last break of 2016, as I have no other boxes coming in before the New Year's. So...would there be some Christmas Magic? Here's what I got

Base Cards
Hassan Whiteside
Damian Lillard

Base Bronze Parallel
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Tim Duncan

Vintage Gold Autographs
Tom Heinsohn (#100/149)

Rookie Jersey Autographs
Willie Cauley-Stein (#116/199)

Massive Materials
Dante Exum (#34/49)
Kevin Love (#144/199)

Overall Thoughts: Well...2016 ends with a dud unfortunately and boxes like this will probably make my parents never want to buy me boxes as a Christmas present again, lol. The cards themselves are amazing looking. I really love the shadowbox look of the base cards and they are really eye popping. I like the design of the hits too, the subjects of the hits leave a lot to be desired though. At it's normal $200 price point, this stuff is MASSIVELY  horrible value wise. I mean, this is maybe $15-$20 worth of cards at most? Disappointing that the "Massive Materials" were both plain color swatches (the Love especially since it's a plain colored WHITE swatch). Willie Cauley-Stein isn't a great rookie. At least I pulled a Celtics HOF'er in Tom Heinsohn. Again just like Gala, Gold Standard, etc...Panini has no clue how to balance value in their boxes. You either hit it big or lose your ass completely. I'm not going to tell my parents how awful this break was, I'll sugar coat it as to not hurt their feelings. Singles is probably the way to go as boxes are still a little over $100 per box. Here's my pulls












































































Top 5 Pulls of 2016
#1-2015-16 Gala Red Carpet Signatures Kobe Bryant (#9/30)
#2- 2016 Topps Tribute Superfractor Autograph Alex Gordon (#1/1)  
#3- 2015-16 Panini Prizms Rookie Signatures Silver Prizms Kristaps Porzingis (#25/25)
    #4-15/16 Prestige Prestigious Premieres Signatures Karl Anthony Towns (#101/299) #5-2016 Topps Strata Signatures Ken Griffey Jr. Redemption

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Box Breaks: 1 Box of 15-16 Gala

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I had wanted to try a box of Gala for a while now, but the price was just always way too high and you know what Panini products it's reallllly tough to get value. I had  $10 coupon from Dave and Adams Cardworld and boxes of Gala were $99.99 there, so I figured I take a chance, use my coupon and bust one of these for 90 bucks. I believe the initial pricing on these was $230..so yeah..it took a drastic reduction in price to get me to try this. Boy am I GLAD I did!! Here's the results

Base
Chandler Parsons (#47/99)

Coming Attractions Jersey
Kelly Oubre Jr. (#30/60)

Main Attraction Jersey Purple
Manute Bol (#02/40)

Gala Signatures Purple
Tom Chambers (#2/40)

Red Carpet Signatures
KOBE BRYANT (#09/30)

Overall Thoughts: Yup...my first KOBE AUTO PULL AND IT'S AN ON CARD BEAUTY!! So with Gala the big draw to this set is the super rare base rookie cards numbered to only 8 copies. If you hit one of those of the big rookies (KAT, Porzingis, Booker, Russell etc) it's MONEY. That's one of the reasons I wanted to try a box..just for that offshoot chance..you never know! The cards themselves are beautiful. I really love the look of the base set (you only get 1 base card a box) and although the players weren't the greatest outside of the Kobe, there are still very nice looking cards. Love the fact too that all autograph cards are on card. That's a huge deal to me. So I'm not going to lie, the way I opened these cards kinda worked out great, because the Kobe was the last card I Saw, however the first 4 card were VERY underwhelming to say the least, lol. Thankfully there was the Kobe and it totally saved the break! It's a gamble, but if you want a high end product at a decent price, I'd take a shot at this, even at $100, with Panini, you're always going to risk the shot of getting shut out but if you hit, you can hit BIG with Gala! Here's the pics!

 
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Top 5 Pulls of 2016
#1-2015-16 Gala Red Carpet Signatures Kobe Bryant (#9/30)
#2- 2016 Topps Tribute Superfractor Autograph Alex Gordon (#1/1)  
#3- 2015-16 Panini Prizms Rookie Signatures Silver Prizms Kristaps Porzingis (#25/25)
    #4-15/16 Prestige Prestigious Premieres Signatures Karl Anthony Towns (#101/299)
#5-2016 Topps Strata Signatures Ken Griffey Jr. Redemption


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Box Breaks: 4 Boxes of 14/15 Totally Certified Basketball

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Another Black Friday Purchase (these are still $29.95 a box on DACardworld) that I felt had little to no risk. 4 hits per box for $30 bucks felt good enough to give it a shot. Here's what I got

Box #1

Jabari Parker Base RC

Red Parallel
Jared Sullinger (#31/279)

Blue Parallel
Goran Dragic (#14/149)

Blue Die Cut Parallel
Kevin Love (#06/74)

Certified Excellence
Kobe Bryant (#61/299)

Rookie Roll Call Auto

Jarnell Stokes (#12/299)


Totally Certified Jerseys Red

Dante Exum (#33/249)
Dan Majerle (#191/249)

EPIX Jerseys
Ricky Rubio Single Jersey (#29/199)

Box 2

Red Parallel
Damian Lillard (#3/279)
Jerry West (#72/279)

Red Die Cut Parallel
Klay Thompson (#66/135)

Blue Parallel Die Cuit Parallel
Andrew Bogut (#24/74)

Certified Excellence
Chris Paul (#19/299)

Rookie Roll Call Mirror Parallel
James Young (#14/25)

Totally Certified Jerseys Red
DeMar DeRozan (#14/249)

Totally Certified Jerseys Blue
LeBron James (#89/199)

Clear Cloth Jerseys Blue
Jonas Valanciunas (#72/199)

Box #3

Andrew Wiggins Base RC

Red Parallel
P.J. Hairston RC (#133/279)
Nikola Vucevic (#48/279)

Red Die Cut Parallel
Kyle Lowry (#100/135)

Purple Parallel
Paul Pierce (#49/49)

Totally Certified Jerseys Red
Alex English (#13/149)

Clear Cloth Jerseys Red
Kawhi Leonard (#287/299)

Clear Cloth Jerseys Blue
Mike Conley (#56/99)

Certified Competitor Autograph
Danny Green (#93/99)

Box 4

Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle Base RC's

Certified Skills
Joakim Noah (#268/299)

Certified Skills Mirror Parallel
DeAndre Jordan (#10/25)

Red Parallel
P.J. Hairston RC (#83/279)
Steven Adams (#72/279)

Red Die Cut Parallel

Pete Maravich (#72/135)

Blue Parallel
Manu Ginobili (#25/149)

Select Few Signatures
Xavier McDaniel (#8/60)

Present Potential Mirror Signature
Ryan Kelly (#18/25)

Totally Certified Jerseys Purple Die Cut
Joe Johnson (#61/99)

EPIX Gold Triple Jersey

Dwyane Wade (#7/10)

Overall Thoughts: Pretty much what I expected. I'm a sucker for pulling rookies so I'm happy I hit the Wiggins (also hit Parker, Randle, and Aaron Gordon, some of the better rookies in this class). Nothing huge, though the Wade Gold Triple Jersey is a pretty cool hit. Also happy with getting jersey cards of LeBron and Kawhi. I got two low serial numbered autos just not of anyone notable. Best auto was probably the Xavier McDaniel one, which I like because I don't have an auto of him and I remember "hating" him as a kid when I was a Bulls fan because he played for the Knicks so it brings back memories. Again like most older Panini products, these are much better breaks at drastically reduced prices and even then, you might be a little disappointed. I just like ripping packs and as I build my collection, I'm not looking to sell that often, so if still pull good cards of Wade, LeBron, Kawhi, and DeRozan, I'm pretty happy with that plus the entertainment value. Again, if you're a basketball fan and just want to rip something cheap and get 4 guaranteed hits you should definitely try at least a box of this at 30 bucks a pop. Here are pics of the cards

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Top 5 Pulls of 2016
#1- 2016 Topps Tribute Superfractor Autograph Alex Gordon (#1/1)
#2- 2015-16 Panini Prizms Rookie Signatures Silver Prizms Kristaps Porzingis (#25/25)
    #3-15/16 Prestige Prestigious Premieres Signatures Karl Anthony Towns      (#101/299)
#4- 2016 Topps Tribute Milestone Relic Game Used Ball Kris Bryant (#5/10)
    #5-2016 Topps Strata Signatures Ken Griffey Jr. Redemption