Saturday, March 25, 2017

Old School Box Breaks: 99-00 Fleer Ultra Basketball Hobby

 
So here is the 2nd of the 3 boxes that I purchased as a lot on Ebay. This particular product takes me back to a fun time in my collecting career. Game Used cards were starting to become a staple in a lot of sets starting in 1999, and though they were still tough to pull, they were starting to become just a little bit easier to pull. I remember buying a lot of this as a kid so it was something I definitely wanted to take a crack at when I saw the lot on Ebay.

What To Look For: Again from a 1999 perspective, SP'd rookie cards were pretty popular. In this product rookies were seeded 1 out of every 4 packs so rookie cards of Elton Brand, Steve Francis, Lamar Odom, Baron Davis, and Shawn Marion would be the top rookies to get. Unfortunately this ended up being a pretty mediocre draft class. It was a semi solid, but not spectacular class. The top 5 i mentioned had their brief success in the hobby, but none of it really lasted long. Besides rookies, Fleer Ultra is known for Platinum Medallion and Masterpiece parallels. The Platinum Medallions are numbered to 50 for veterans and 25 for rookies and of course Masterpiece parallels are 1 of 1s. The hardest insert set is the Millennium Men which are serial numbered to 100. As with most 90's inserts, get the right guy and you'll have yourself a pretty good card worth a nice chuck of money. Feel the Game memorabilia cards can be found too, but it's only player worn and of rookies so although at the time this was a desirable set, as the rookie class progressed most of the cards in the set aren't worth much despite the 1 out of 7 box odds. You can also pull Fresh Ink autograph cards and though the checklist has a TON of mediocre to bad names, you still have guys such as Scottie Pippen, Ray Allen, Shaq and other stars to pull.

 
Basic Set Info
99-00 Fleer Ultra Hobby
125 Base Cards
25 Rookies Seeded at 1:4 Packs
24 Packs Per Box
10 Cards Per Pack 

Inserts
Gold Medallion (1:1)
Gold Medallion Rookies (1:35)
Platinum Medallion (Numbered to 50 for Veterans, 25 for Rookies)
Masterpiece Edition (1 of 1)
Good Looks (1:6)
World Premiere (1:12)
Heir To The Throne (1:24)
Parquet Players (1:72)
Millennium Men (numbered to 100)
Feel The Game (Hand Numbered)
Fresh Ink (Hand Numbered)

Time for The Break

Rookies (1:4)
Jonathan Bender
Jumaine Jones
Tim James
Jason Terry
William Avery
Quincy Lewis 

Gold Medallion (1:1)
Charles Oakley, Eric Snow, Grant Hill, Mike Bibby, David Robinson, Antoine Walker, Bryon Russell, Damon Stoudamire, Maurice Taylor, Larry Hughes, Latrell Sprewell, Jalen Rose, Alonzo Mourning, Ricky Davis, Keith Van Horn, Nick Van Exel, Larry Johnson, Mitch Richmond, Corliss Williamson, Charles Barkley, Tim Thomas, Dirk Nowitzki, Rashard Lewis, Dikembe Mutombo

Good Looks (1:6)
Allen Iverson
Baron Davis
Chris Webber
Anfernee Hardaway

World Premiere (1:12)
Jonathan Bender
Lamar Odom

Heirs To The Throne (1:24)
Antawn Jamison 

Parquet Players (1:72)
Antawn Jamison

Overall Thoughts: Yet another fun trip down memory lane! One thing that amazes me about this set is the top notch photography. Man it's good. Even common players have outstanding game action shots. This has to be one of the best sets made in regards to the game photos used. As far as the contents, I think even in 1999 this would be considered an Ok box. Not brutal, but not bad either. No huge hit like a memorabilia card, a Millennium Men Insert, an Autograph, or a Platinum Medallion parallel. The best card I'd pull would be a Parquet Players which is out of 3 boxes. The two biggest hits were of Antawn Jamison (aforementioned Parquet Players and Heirs To The Throne)..which back in 1999 wouldn't have too bad, but Jamison never really lit the hobby on fire so his cards don't go for much today. The rookies were dreadful...regardless of the year as the best one was of Jason Terry. The World Premiere inserts are sooooo awesome looking. I love the die cut design and again at the beginning of  the 1999 season, Lamar Odom stuff was actually highly coveted so this would have been a solid insert to hit. I also love the Gold Medallion die cut parallels. The Good Looks inserts aren't really anything special, which is probably why they are the easiest to hit. The Parquet Players and Heirs To The Throne are also really cool looking. Overall with the price I paid for the box, worth the nostalgic trip down memory lane. Here are  some of the hits, including some of the base cards to show off the photography!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Top 5 Pulls of 2017

#1- 2016 Donruss Optic Gold Vinyl Cam Newton 1/1
#2- 2016 Donruss Optic Derrick Henry Rated Rookie Autograph (#43/150)
#3- 2016 Donruss Optic Kenneth Dixon Rated Rookie Holo Autograph   Redemption (# to 99)
#4- 2016 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs RPS Devontae Booker  
#5- 2016 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs RPS Paul Perkins

 
 



 


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Old School Box Breaks: 02-03 Topps Chrome Basketball

 
So here's the first of the 3 boxes I had bought in a lot on Ebay a couple of weeks ago. I slow broke this box this past week, opening 4 packs a day. To be honest, I wasn't really targeting this box, it was the other two in the lot, this just happened to come with it, but it's still actually not a bad box to open despite the relatively weak rookie class.

What To Look For: Well, even though like I said, the rookie class is pretty bad relatively speaking, there are two prominent rookies to chase in this class. Manu Ginobili and Yao Ming. There was a time where Amare Stoudemire carried this rookie class and his Chrome was highly coveted, and although he ended up with a solid career, injuries derailed his ascent into superstardom. He's still not a bad rookie to pull, but he's a distant 3rd to Manu and Yao. Other than that? No other rookie really stands out hobby wise, with the next being Nene but that's stretching it. So obviously refractors off all kind (especially the serial numbered White and hobby exclusive Black refractors) for Yao and Manu and even Amare would be nice to pull. Also what I like about this product is the chance to pull MJ stuff since he was in his 2nd season with the Wizards. So there's quite a few MJ's to chase in this set with his base card, refractor parallels, inserts, and refractor insert parallels. White Refractor and Black Refractors in general are highly coveted so pulling a star refractor would also be nice. I know nowadays Relics are basically worthless hits, but in 2002-03, although Relics were getting easier to find by the year, they were still not a guarantee in every box in some products like Chrome. A relic in Chrome is basically one in every two boxes. Chrome also has autographs but the checklist is super top heavy with just Shaq and Yao being desirable (TITO MADDOX?! REALLY TOPPS?!). Autos are super hard to pull (basically 1:400 packs).

 
Basic Set Info
02-03 Topps Chrome Basketball
165 Base Cards
24 Packs Per Box
4 Cards Per Pack

Inserts
Topps Chrome Refractor (1:4)
Topps Chrome White Refractor (1:23)
Topps Chrome Black Refractor (1:29)
Coast To Coast (1:8)
Coast To Coast Refractor (1:40)
Zone Busters (1:12)
Zone Busters Refractor (1:60)
The Move (1:28)
The Move Refractor (1:140)
Relic (1:40) (Topps has two different relic sets and groupings within the relic set with specific odds, but I just took the relic average as a whole group)
Autographs (1:400) (Same as Relics, Autographs are divided into different groupings, just took the overall odds)

And off we go!

Notable Rookies: Manu Ginobili, Amare Stoudemire 

Refractors (1:4)
Gary Payton
Pat Burke RC
Rasheed Wallace
Jason Terry
Smush Parker RC
Tyson Chandler

Coast To Coast (1:8)
Jason Richardson
Jason Kidd 
Ray Allen

Zone Busters (1:12)
Vince Carter
Michael Finley

The Move (1:28)
Jay Williams

Topps Chrome White Refractor (1:23)
Jermaine O'Neal (#142/249)

Topps Chrome Black Refractor (1:29)
Richard Jefferson (#94/99)

Coast To Coast Refractor (1:40)
Jamaal Tinsley

Franchise Fabric Relic (1:40)
Kenyon Martin


Overall Thoughts: Definitely a fun break! No big hits, and no MJ (not even base) but still at the price where I got well worth it! I'd actually probably pick up another box if I could and might be willing to pay up to $20 more for it since I got it so cheap. The inserts are nice, the refractors are great looking, at least got a Manu Rookie which was one of the cards I was gunning for. Highly recommend if you're looking for a reasonably priced box with chances at MJ refractors. Here's pics of the main hits!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Top 5 Pulls of 2017

#1- 2016 Donruss Optic Gold Vinyl Cam Newton 1/1
#2- 2016 Donruss Optic Derrick Henry Rated Rookie Autograph (#43/150)
#3- 2016 Donruss Optic Kenneth Dixon Rated Rookie Holo Autograph   Redemption (# to 99)
#4- 2016 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs RPS Devontae Booker  
#5- 2016 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs RPS Paul Perkins

 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Old School Box Breaks: 98-99 Topps Series II Retail Basketball

 
Back to breaking Old School Basketball wax and on this one I did things a little bit differently. I actually slow broke this over the week instead of opening the box in one sitting. I figured it would be a little bit more fun to stretch the suspense by opening a few packs a day, plus it gives me a little something to look forward to each day. I'll be doing that with the rest of my old school boxes I have as well. 

Background: So 98-99 Topps Series II was a product I'll always remember because it was one of the first products to come out right after the lockout was ended for the 98-99 season so it would be the first time to see the this class' rookies in their NBA uniforms. Despite being a low end product, there during Vinsanity, the Topps Base rookie was a $15 card which for base Topps was pretty good, especially considering the rookies aren't shortprinted. I saw a box of this on Ebay and definitely wanted to give this a shot. This is the retail version of this product though, so you can't pull Autographs.

What To Look For: Obviously rookies. Should probably get multiple copies of the main rookies since the rookies aren't seeded and the base set is low..combined that with the fact this is 36 packs per box with 11 cards per pack, there's no doubt there should be at the very least 2-3 copies per rookie. In retail, the other thing to look for would be the East/West Finest like insert set which comes at the rate of 1 per box. The MJ/Kobe is a pretty popular card and the refractor is even better. Refractors are pretty tough to pull though. MJ is also in the Topps Chrome Preview Set and the Gold Label set (including Class 2 and Class 3 Parallels which are tough to find). Any MJ would be an awesome pull to get. According to the box odds there are 3 inserts that are seeded one per box, the East/West, Topps Chrome Preview, and Coast to Coast. Hopefully I get all three and they are of good players.

 
Basic Set Info
98-99 Topps Series II Basketball (Retail)
110 Base Cards
36 Packs Per Box
11 Cards Per Pack

Inserts
Kick Start (1:12)
Classic Collection (1:12)
Coast to Coast (1:36)
East/West (1:36)
East/West Refractor (1/144)
Gold Label Class One (1/12)
Black Label Class One (1:96)
Red Label Class One (1:4,967)
Topps Chrome (1:36)

Let's see what I got!

Notable Rookies
Vince Carter-4
Dirk Nowitzki-3
Paul Pierce-4
Jason Williams-4
Mike Bibby-4
Antawn Jamison-2

Kick Start (1:12)
Tim Thomas
Mike Bibby
Ray Allen

Classic Collection (1:12)
Wilt Chamberlain 
Jerry West 

Topps Gold Label (1:12)
Charles Barkley
Antoine Walker
Shaquille O'Neal

Coast To Coast (1:36)
Eddie Jones 

East/West (1:36)
Karl Malone/Jayson Williams
Anthony Mason/Tom Gugliotta

Overall Thoughts: No big names on the better inserts, and didn't get a Topps Chrome Preview insert but did get two East/West Inserts which are the same odds and better looking cards anyways. Unfortunately the Mason/Gugliotta is one of the worst duals on the checklist. Regardless, tons of fun, tons of rookies as expected (3 or more copies of most of the main rookies). Because the base set is so small, it doesn't take long to get packs and packs of doubles so packs without a hit become really repetitive especially with 36 packs in the box. So towards the end of the break I was just hoping there'd be an insert to break up the monotony. Still recommend if you have an itch to open older product and can find this at a cheap price. Hobby would probably be a better option for a shot at Autos (including Kobe) if you can find it. Here's pics of the cards!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Top 5 Pulls of 2017

#1- 2016 Donruss Optic Gold Vinyl Cam Newton 1/1
#2- 2016 Donruss Optic Derrick Henry Rated Rookie Autograph (#43/150)
#3- 2016 Donruss Optic Kenneth Dixon Rated Rookie Holo Autograph   Redemption (# to 99)
#4- 2016 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs RPS Devontae Booker  
#5- 2016 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs RPS Paul Perkins