Category Archives: Dollars & Sense – Box/Case Break Analysis

We will purchase and open sealed boxes/cases providing reviews around value, entertainment and return on investment in real-time.

Track these posts as we list the key singles on-line for sale and see the profits/losses in the real-world.


2013-14 Panini Titanium Basketball is Better than Gold!

I have to admit I was pretty nervous breaking this 8 Box case of 2013-14 Panini Titanium Basketball as those who follow me know my luck was horrendous in Panini’s Gold Standard case break! But I am happy to say my faith in Panini has been restored and I have found some of my Mojo with my second solid break in a row!

The case started off as a Lakers box with Shaq, Nash, Gasol game used and Kobe, Kobe, Kobe….Did I mention Kobe?

Titanium Kobe Game Used, Autographs and Patches oh my!
Titanium Kobe Game Used, Autographs and Patches oh my!

The Kobe Autograph is going in my personal collection but I had to stare and admire that Kobe/Gasol Prime combo /25. Gasol’s piece looks like a piece of that sleeve he wears giving a really cool contrast to Kobe’s letter patch!

The Rookie cards in this series are intentionally hard to pull with the original sell sheet saying one per 8 box case….so initially I thought this was my RC hit:

Michael Carter-Williams Titantic Threads RC

But then when I was sorting through the pile of cards I noticed a few were turned around and as I flipped one over I saw this….

Giannis 13
2013 Panini Titanium Giannis Antetokounmpo Parallel Draft Year RC /13!

The Greek Freak staring back at me with a low serial number?!?! I am still torn what to do with this card as I have seen some crazy prices on Giannis’ Gold Refractor Prizm RC….but this one may end up at BGS and then into the PC.

So if you watch the video you may notice that I don’t even acknowledge the BIG HIT since it is turned backwards and I thought oh another duplicate base (got triplicates of many players) but upon sorting I flip this Bad Boy over….

Anthony Davis 1
2013 Panini Titanium Anthony Davis Draft Year Parallel 1/1

I was stunned (and albeit slightly embarrassed I didn’t catch the card during the video break!) but a 1/1 card of one of the hottest players in the NBA right now. I wanted to add it to my PC….but alas you can’t keep everything….otherwise where will I get money for my next break?!?!?

So you can find the Unibrow along with other cards from my break on eBay under home_plate_1989


I will follow up in a week or so with the results after the sales are completed.

Until Then…..Keep on Busting!

2014 Donruss Trout vs. Puig

2014 Donruss Group Break – Los Angeles Dodgers & Angels

I participated in a Case Break of 2014 Donruss Baseball with Twitter’s @brentandbecca

Trout Elite 624
2014 Donruss Mike Trout Elite /999
Puig Dominators
2014 Donruss Yasiel Puig Dominator /999

I personally enjoy the Group Breaks where you get to select your team(s) as I feel you have a little more control over where you money is spent….though it is always a gamble as there are no guarantees on hits and in higher end products with low production runs you can even come up with ZERO cards.

2014 Donruss is a “fun” product to open as the majority of their inserts give a  respectful nod to their past inserts so you get the whole “retro” feel going on.

Though the low numbered “hits” were far and few in between….I believe from the overall case the lowest numbered insert I recall was around /99?

There were two autographs of Oscar Tavares and one autograph of Miguel Sano but other than those in  a 16 box case it was a bust.

Kershaw 99
2014 Clayton Kershaw Press Proof /99

I paid $60 for the Dodgers & $60 for the Angels but I was paying for the chance to get a Autograph of Puig or Trout for the personal collection. Alas it wasn’t meant to be….Next time!

So which team would you have wanted?

Till next time….Keep on Busting!


“Fool’s Gold” – 2013-14 Panini Gold Standard Doesn’t Add Up

I had such high expectations for Panini on a product that is retailing at $180 a box & $1,800 a 10-box case that I felt it would be enjoyable and worth a gamble backed by a quality brand. Yet I felt empty after busting my case on-line as each box felt it was lacking in over-all value. So I listed all of the cards (hits, base & redemption) I got out of the 10 box case and below you will see the final results per box. (*I didn’t subtract sales fees or shipping costs…these are straight up sold for prices)

2013-14 Panini Gold Standard Basketball
Box Price Sold Profit/Loss Key Hits
1 $180 $59 -$121 Demar Derozan Gold $20
2 $180 $113 -$67 Kevin Durant Gold /20 $90
3 $180 $58 -$122 Joakim Noah Auto /25 $20
4 $180 $40 -$140 Kelly Olynyk Auto GU RC $10
5 $180 $194 $14 Scottie Pippen Auto /49 $165
6 $180 $53 -$127 Damien Lillard /49 $13
7 $180 $21 -$159 Pau Gasol Game Used $9
8 $180 $35 -$145 A.Davis / D.Lillard Insert /49 $12
9 $180 $193 $13 Dion Waiters Patch /7 $122 & Magic Johnson Auto Redemption/49 $52
10 $180 $45 -$135 Cody Zeller Auto GU RC $17
Totals $1,800 $811 -$989  

7 out of the 10 boxes I lost more than $120 on each and the 2 boxes I was able to basically break even on required the major hits of the case. Just to be clear I never break expecting to make a profit. I am a collector at heart and if I have fun in the experience and come across a few cards for the Personal Collection along the way then all the better.

At the same time I don’t expect to lose a $1,000 and not even pull a card for my PC than I can get excited about. There is no “fun” in that experience.  With 8 redemption cards out of 10 boxes…and duplicate autographed rookies (*See my Initial Reaction Post) Panini should be more careful in how they collate the value into their cases so that one collector or even one retail store doesn’t get such a poor case in regards to value.

Perhaps Panini was mining the Gold for themselves or we must have very different definitions and standards.



2014 Stickwork – A High End Product that DELIVERS!

Initial reaction: This was one of the most fun breaks I have had in some time! Even more unique to that statement is I don’t collect Hockey cards! Each of the stick swatches seemed more impressive than the next and you could tell that In The Game (ITG) took great care in the quality control process and creation of these Hockey works of art!


You can find a great mix of Hall of Fame Game Used Material

Quad Howe 1


Every insert subset is low numbered with no insert having more than 19 cards in existence! With only three cards per box it still felt like I was getting my money’s worth each time I opened a box!

Yzerman 500a

So to begin my Hockey collection ITG has made it difficult in picking WHICH cards to keep! Great Job ITG we can’t wait to see what you come out with NEXT!



Make sure to subscribe to our blog as we will be posting some financial results as we list cards on eBay to see what collectors value inside the box.

Until then….Keep on Busting!


2013-14 Panini Gold Standard Case Break Results

My initial reaction after breaking a 10 Box Case of Panini Gold Standard is I like the High Quality of the product in regards to paper stock, game used jersey swatches, metal cards and the majority of on-card autographs. I also like little innovations like including 14kt Gold circles inside select insert cards.


I was disappointed however with what I found to be the overall value in my particular case. This included 8 redemption cards out of my 10 boxes which is a little too many for my taste as well as the collation of the product gave me duplicates of one of the Auto RC’s as well as two duplicates in the Metal cards which run about 1 a pack.

On the rookie side of the equation which are a big draw for this product running about two Auto Jersey cards per box I found this case to be severely lacking in higher end picks. As you can see 80% of my Auto RC cards were basically below the 20th pick even doubling up on #49 so any thoughts of me building a set went out the window missing so many key cards. Out of the first 20 players drafted last year I would need to purchase 17 of them. 


Round Player Pick
1 Cody Zeller 4
1 Kelly Olynyk 13
1 Shane Larkin ® 18
1 Tony Snell 20
1 Mason Plumlee 22
1 Reggie Bullock 25
1 Andre Roberson ® 26
2 Isaiah Canaan 34
2 Glen Rice Jr 35
2 Jeff Withey 39
2 Ryan Kelly 48
2 Erik Murphy 49
2 Erik Murphy 49
2 Peyton Siva 56

Waiters PatchI was also disappointed by my case hit. I have seen other breaks on-line now and my Dion Waiters Game Used patch numbered to 7 pales in comparison to the Bullion Inserts and higher end Game Used Patches that you have seen surfacing. When a collector spends this much money on a case I would hope a better “hit” would be in the pay-off.


Durant GoldI think the top card pulled out of this case would be the Durant Gold Record /20, but it is a big hole to crawl out of to recoup the funds used to purchase this case…and unfortunately I don’t think Durant 14kt will make much of a dent!

1st Pippen Auto pulled - going into PC.
1st Pippen Auto pulled – going into PC.

I will be listing the majority of cards pulled from this case on eBay over the next week and I will release a follow-up post so you can see if these “Dollars Made Cents” – giving a box by box analysis of cards pulled to funds recouped.

I do think this is a very high quality product with a lot of potential – but this case shows a very large hit or miss potential. Until next time – Happy Hunting!

Home Plate

NT Box Top

2013 National Treasures Football – Will You Roll the Dice?

NT Captain Patch

When you get into a Super-High End product such as National Treasures (i.e. $450+ a box) you have to weigh your odds in breaking a box/case. With a configuration of 1 pack per box that holds 8 total cards you are into each card at about $55+ per card. A steep price for a blind open. 
So the question is with 2013 being a softer NFL Rookie crop, to me, that makes the risk a significantly higher since you tend to get a RC auto or two per box.

What are your thoughts? Does the potential RC pull deter you from opening National Treasures this year?

NT RC SIG- ON CARD Current Star Signatures includes Jumbo Prime Booklets, Notable Nicknames and Colossal Jersey #s





NT Cut Auto 50- HOF 50th Anniversary Material Cards & Signature Materials Cards features NFL legends.


Each Box contains two base cards, rookie and/or legends (#’d/99 or less), three autographs (#’d/99 or less) and three memorabilia cards (#’d/99 or less)

NT Nike Swoosh


NT Geno Smith


Does Basketball Have a Triple Crown?

In baseball the “Triple Crown” is represented by leading the league in Batting Avg, Home Runs, and Runs Batted In. Perhaps the “Triple Double” is the closest thing to showing overall dominance by getting double figures in 3 categories such as Points, Rebounds, and Assists.

1961 Fleer Oscar Robertson RC
1961 Fleer Oscar Robertson RC

 In 1961-62, Oscar Robertson became the only player to average a triple double in a single season. In spite of averaging 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists that season, The Big O only lead the league in assists.

But in looking over the history of basketball no player has ever lead the league in those 3 categories in the same season. Only Wilt Chamberlain has lead the league in Scoring and Rebounding in the same season – a remarkable 5 times. Other players that have lead the league in those 2 categories, but in different seasons have been: Elvin Hayes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and David Robinson.

Robinson RC
1989 Hoops David Robinson RC


1971 Topps Nate Archibald RC
1971 Topps Nate Archibald RC

A more unlikely two-thirds of the triple crown is leading the league in scoring and assists. What makes it unlikely is that a player would have to have the ability to score for one’s self and also help to set up others to score. Mr. Clutch, Jerry West, was the first player to lead the league in scoring one year and then lead the league in assists in another season. But Nate “Tiny” Archinald is the only player to pull off that rare feat in the same season of 1972-73.


1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain RC
1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain RC

In 1967-68 The Big Dipper, Wilt Chamberlain, posted a league leading combination in rebounding and assists, making him the only player to ever to accomplish a career “Triple Crown” in basketball.

Who will be the next to join Wilt in this career feat? Lebron & Durant are both dominant in the game, but not league leaders in rebounding or assists. Kevin Love has a legitimate shot at Scoring & Rebounding, but he has never averaged close to double figures in assists.

Do you think we will ever see another career Triple Crown league leader?


Kevin St Jacque

Contributing Author Kevin St. Jacque has been collecting cards, comics and watching baseball and basketball since the late-1970′s. He has over 1,100 Marvel sketch cards and just as many autographed and memorabilia sports insert cards. Raised in the LBC, he’s an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan. Recently he spends time with his young daughter hunting stores for Monster High dolls for her collection. You can find him contributing various hobby happenings on


First Issue of Beckett Monthly – 1984 – Memories


Digging through some old magazines boxes I stumbled across a favorite old friend….the 1st Beckett Monthly – November 1984 by Dr. James Beckett. It brought back some wonderful memories of my youth and the beginning possibilities of our Hobby when you now had a “guide” you could refer to before making purchases or trades.

Even more interesting now is flipping through the pages (26 pages dedicated to pricing) and seeing how much things were worth back in the day!

Some interesting finds come to mind:

bowman mantle1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle RC – $375

Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps no case1952 Topps Mickey Mantle – $1,400


1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson – $60

koufax1955 Sandy Koufax RC – $50

1955-Topps-Roberto-Clemente-RC-260x1821955 Roberto Clemente RC – $95

rose1963 Pete Rose RC – $350

carlton1966 Steve Carlton RC – $100

1968-Topps-Baseball-Nolan-Ryan-RC-260x1851968 Nolan Ryan RC – $33

jackson rc1969 Reggie Jackson RC – $55

Who would’ve thought you could get a 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle  RCfor the same price as a 1963 Pete Rose RC?

Or you could buy THREE Nolan Ryan RCs for the price of ONE Steve Carlton RC?

Would you rather have a Reggie Jackson RC or a Sandy Koufax RC?

So many possibilities….if only we had a time machine!

Let me know if you are curious about any specific prices from the 1st issue of Beckett Monthly (it goes up to 1984) and I will be happy to share.

Until then….Happy Collecting!




In The Game ITG StickWork Hockey Only 2500 Boxes Produced

It takes a LOT for me to venture outside of my comfort zone from the big three (Baseball, Basketball & Football) to get excited about breaking down a product. In The Game Stickwork Hockey has definitely captured my attention with their ambitious product release due to hit shelves in late February 2014.

game-used-stickWith a limited Print run of 2500 boxes and each box containing 3 Game Used Stick inserts already holstered in Magnetic holders my expectations are to pull some very unique items.

The Game-Used Stick insert features past, present and future hockey stars. Each player is featured in 19 silver versions and one gold version. Some of the players featured are Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Raymond Bourque, Evgeny Malkin, Trevor Linden, Joe Sakic, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch to name a few.


The Vintage Game-Used Stick insert set is so exquisite, I thought I would show you two of them, Doug Harvey and Terry Sawchuk. These cards are part of hockey’s history and are limited to nine silver versions and one goldversion. Others in this insert set include Frank Brimsek, Jacques Plante, Maurice Richard, Bill Mosienko, Tim Horton and Ted Kennedy to name a few.


goalie-paddle-imageSome of the most colorful players in the game use some of the most colorful  sticks. The Goalie Game-Used Stick insert includes Goalie Game-Used Sticks and Goalie Paddles The Goalie Game-Used Stick and Goalie Game-Used Paddle checklists are impressive including Arturs Irbe, Carey Price, Jimmy Howard, Kari Lehtonen, Mike Richter, Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Richard Brodeur, Patrick Roy and John Vanbiesbrouck to name a few.


In The Game brought the Lumbergraphs concept to the hobby and this product takes it to another level.


An insert set that is made up of 1/1′s from the players’ names on their stick shafts or “handles”. The list of cards in this insert set is mouth watering, especially for the player collector.

So keep an eye out for the video break and product review we will be doing in late February…Home Plate takes it to the Ice!

2014 Bowman Platinum Baseball – July 2014 Release

Auto Relic

2014 Bowman Platinum Baseball




So I just put in my pre-order to break some 2014 Bowman Platinum Baseball….curious what everyone thinks of this product? How do you collect prospect heavy sets….try to complete the set? Put away prospects you predict will break-out? I always feel products like these in baseball require a long-term vision of buy and hold….Thoughts?

Hobby boxes Guarantee (2) Autographed Prospect Refractor Cards and (1) Refractor Autographed Prospect Relic Card in Every Box – featuring larger-than-life prospects from the 2014 Draft Class! Look for New! Platinum Cut Autographed Refractor Relics and New! Toolsy Die-Cut Insert Cards; as well as a total of (18) Different Hobby Only Autograph, Autograph Relic, Bat Plate Relic & Parallel Cards!

Jose Abreu Red Prospect Auto
(2) Autographed Prospect Refractor Cards
(1) Refractor Autographed Relic Card


Autographed Prospect Cards – including:
- Refractor Parallels – #’d to 399, 199, 50 & 25
- Refractor Parallels – #’d to 10, 5 & 1 of 1- All Hobby Only!
- Printing Plates – #’d 1 of 1 – Hobby Only!

Purely Platinum Autos – #’d 1 of 1 – Hobby Only!
Dual Autos – seq #’d to 25
Triple Autos – seq #’d to 10
Hexagraphs Book Card Autos – seq #’d to 5 – Hobby Only!

Bowman Black Autos – seq #’d to 25 – Hobby Only!
- New! Violet Parallel – #’d to 10 – Hobby Only!
Retro 90 Bowman Auto
New! 1989 “Bowman is Back” Black Refractor Auto – #’d to 25 – Hobby Only!
Top Prospect Die-Cut Autos – #’d to 5
New! Autographed Platinum Cut Relic Cards – #’d to 49
Cutting Edge Die-Cut Autos – vets & Rookies #’d to 25
Cutting Edge Die-Cut Relics – vets & Rookies #’d to 50
Prospect Bat Plate Relics – #’d 1 of 1 – Hobby Only!

Autographed Relic & Autographed Jumbo Relic Cards
- Refractor Parallels – #’d to 199, 50 & 25
- Refractor Parallels – #’d to 5 & 1 of 1- All Hobby Only!
- Printing Plates – #’d 1 of 1 – Hobby Only!

Insert Sets include:
- New! Toolsy Die-Cut Inserts – new unique die-cuts representing 5 Tool Die cuton-field abilities – 6 different to collect!
- Cutting Edge Stars – die-cut cards featuring top vets & rookies
- Top Prospects – die-cut #’d to 25
- New! 1989 “Bowman is Back” Silver Diamond Refractor – Hobby Only!
- Arizona Fall League Contest Insert
- Arizona Fall League All-Stars Redemption Program

Base BPBase Cards
Veterans & Rookie Stars – including Gold, Blue Sapphire & Ruby Parallels; & Printing Plates – #’d 1 of 1 – Hobby Only!
Prospects (100) – including:
- Refractor & X-Fractor
- Color Refractors #’d to 399, 199, 50 & 25
- New! Orange Refractor #’d to 10 & Atomic Refractor #’d to 10 – both Hobby Only!
- Super-Fractor – #’d 1 of 1 – Hobby Only!
- Printing Plates – #’d 1 of 1 – Hobby Only!

Configuration: 12 boxes/20 packs/5 cards* * Each pack contains (5) 2014 Bowman Platinum Baseball Cards