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Sealed hitless packs
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Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of btlfannz
posted
I was just checking out some Downton Abbey stuff on the hated 'bay when I came across a site selling sealed packs of Downton Abbey.

However, in the description is this:

NOTE: You are purchasing a 2-box lot with two OPEN boxes, each containing 24 sealed packs = 48 packs. The packs containing the autographs, wardrobes, and sketches have been removed, but all other standard inserts (upstairs/downstairs/wwi/mini parallels) are available.

My question is that if the packs are still sealed how do you know which ones to remove because they contain "hits". I can guess that the costume cards have a certain "feel" about them but I know that the auto cards weigh the same as a regular base card. So what's going on here? Have these guys got an X-ray machine or something?

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Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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Pure speculation - but maybe they open a box, feel for the wardrobe card pack(s), and then start opening the rest until they pull the one autograph and then stop. If they open a case that way I'm sure they'll have enough unopened packs left over to fill several "boxes", especially if there is a pattern to where the autograph is located in each box. The fewer packs it takes to find the autograph the better for them. I wouldn't go near those kind of auctions by the way.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Logan,
 
Posts: 2095 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: September 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of chesspieceface
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The autograph cards are on usually different stock or else have a different finish than the regular cards (usually a "flat" as opposed to "glossy" surface), so for those who are practiced at it, it is a simple thing to determine if a pack holds an autograph without opening it.

The practice is used on most retail packs for sale at places like Target and Walmart, and with those packs, the people who do it are so good at it, they can usually not only tell if there is an insert card in a pack, but more specifically what kind of insert card it is, i.e, a sketch, a costume/jersey card, printing plate, redemption card, or even a numbered parallel card.

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Posts: 3016 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
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Step one
Buy a box, open till you get the big hits, then stop. Note where in the box you got the big hits.

Do this again with the next box but start in the area of the box where you got the hits last time.

Do this enough you can get the big hits by only opening 5 or 6 packs in the box.

People do this with cases as well.

Open a case go till you get the super rare you were looking for, note where in the case it was.

Open the next case start where you find the super rare and work out from there till you find it again.

then the sell the other boxes knowing they wont have the super rare card in it.

No matter how well companies try and collate their boxes and cases, patterns emerge if you open enough.

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Posts: 522 | Location: New York City | Registered: February 01, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of btlfannz
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If it wasn't for the fact that the seller openly stated that the packs had been cherry picked I would be seriously miffed (not my first choice of words). The only thing that is safe these days is packs taken from a factory sealed box that you bought, or have the scumbags found a way to rip that method as well.

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Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I always worry about cherry picked cases when I purchase boxes on e*ay. If the price is good enough I'll take a chance. Never have gotten anything worth noting with e*ay boxes. I respect a seller who let's you know there are no chase cards left.
 
Posts: 457 | Location: Raleigh | Registered: April 21, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
NSU Writer
Picture of Don Norton
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If you are looking for inserts, these are the way to go. One dealer I know sells boxes for $12, with the big hits already pulled. For $12 there are other inserts however. I recently got one of these boxes of Grimm, it had 5 puzzle cards and 6 lenticulars. I also did well on a Star Trek Into Darkness box, finding 3 folding character cards. Also, there is often the possibility of another big hit, such as a sketch. So, if the price is good, it may be worth it.
 
Posts: 2844 | Location: Crystal Lake, IL | Registered: December 04, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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Well I've never tried very hard to cherry pick a box, so I'm not good at it. I don't know how you can determine where an autograph card or sketch is in a box unless the manufacurer is foolish enough to place it in the same pack(s) sequence in every box.

Prop cards and even material cards can be very obvious in certain products. Plus don't forget the old scale method where the packs are weighted up.

I think Mr.Blue is right, they just open packs until they get the big hits and then they know that all others are empty, so they can sell them sealed. It's fine if they are upfront about it and give a reduced price, but naturally some sellers will just list loose packs and not disclose that they will have no big hits. That's when they catch uninformed buyers that don't realize that these packs have already been searched.

But this is exactly why I like those manufacturers that occasionally add extra hits to a box. It keeps everyone honest because those cherry pickers don't know if there might be another hit that they are missing, so they are at least tempted to open everything.
 
Posts: 8780 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Titanium Card Talk Member
Picture of wolfie
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I think it is great that the seller is telling you right up front exactly what he has done and what you will get, I see no problem with this sort of auction at all.

The reason this situation exists is the fault of the dealers and collectors who years ago started to demand that boxes of cards were guaranteed to contain certain things. In the past you never knew what you might get when you opened a pack, now if you open a box and the first pack you open has the one card per box autograph in it you know before you open them that the other 23 packs in the box just contain base and chase so no fun to be had opening those with any anticipation.

I would love there to be no autographs in some boxes and three in others with no way of knowing which pack contained one but that is never going to happen, cards are not a bit of fun they are a business and everybody wants a guaranteed return on their money.

As I said at least this guy is honest and does not try and make out that you might get something that you never stood a hope of getting.

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Posts: 28563 | Location: wolverhampton staffs uk | Registered: July 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by wolfie:
The reason this situation exists is the fault of the dealers and collectors who years ago started to demand that boxes of cards were guaranteed to contain certain things. In the past you never knew what you might get when you opened a pack, now if you open a box and the first pack you open has the one card per box autograph in it you know before you open them that the other 23 packs in the box just contain base and chase so no fun to be had opening those with any anticipation.

I would love there to be no autographs in some boxes and three in others with no way of knowing which pack contained one but that is never going to happen, cards are not a bit of fun they are a business and everybody wants a guaranteed return on their money.


I agree with your premise, but not with the part about having no autographs in one box and three in another. At the cost of a current box, there is no way that I would even consider any product that might have the potential of a hitless box.

I would advocate an extra hit that comes every 3 or 4 boxes to keep people honest, but there must be a guarantee of some number of hits in every one, unless the retail price was slashed to the $30 or $35 that it use to cost to pick up a box.

The fact is, boxes cost too much now. I know that it is silly to ask manufacturers to rollback prices, because no one really seems to do that for anything, but the secondary market is getting soft. We are now pulling the best hits in some products, looking on eBay, and realizing that many don't cover the cost of the box. That's right, the BEST card is worth less than the box in certain products!

If I bought a $30 box I wouldn't mind getting $10 worth of cards, but at $80 plus that would be unacceptable.
 
Posts: 8780 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Jake
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I bought a lot of the Star Wars Galaxy boxes this way a few years ago. They stated the sketch had already been pulled. So I knew it was only going to have the foils, parallels, etc.

They forgot to pull the Peter Mayhew auto Smile It was a nice surprise!

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Posts: 1226 | Location: Vegas Baby! | Registered: September 21, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of chesspieceface
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Before I took the dive into buying Star Wars cards by the case as I now usually do, I bought some freshly released Star Wars Heritage cards sold as "sketches removed".

They were very cheap, the cards were great, and they even came with a stick of fresh gum, and this time it was even wrapped. For the price I paid, it was very like buying Star Wars cards in the old days when all I wanted and needed were some cool pictures from the movie and a few sticks of gum. That was a lot of fun and I didn't have to worry whether or not my sketch would be junk or a masterpiece.

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Posts: 3016 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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For some series, sketch cards were placed in sleeves or an envelope as a "box-topper" (or case-topper). Some dealers would sell sketchless cases (with proper disclosure), and this could be a pretty nice bargain if you'd just as soon avoid the agony of paying full case price and not know whether you'd get one of the "premium" artists. Recently I asked a manufacturer whether sketches would be inserted in packs in an upcoming release, so that I'd know whether to look for one of these opportunities.

btlfan: Some dealers will open boxes until they find the "big" autograph when it's supposed to be one-per-case-or-so and then sell off the other sealed boxes. I once had a dealer say he was being nice by sending me a sealed box from an unsearched case ... Now, I only buy boxes from people I don't suspect.
 
Posts: 2423 | Location: North Augusta, SC, USA | Registered: November 28, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by btlfannz:
My question is that if the packs are still sealed how do you know which ones to remove because they contain "hits". I can guess that the costume cards have a certain "feel" about them but I know that the auto cards weigh the same as a regular base card. So what's going on here? Have these guys got an X-ray machine or something?


There are several ways which may or may not go together. I found them back in the mid-90's when I was most active. I'll least them for you:

1) Serial number - There are some serial number patterns as codes for certain inserts in boxes/case

2) card stock - Different materials and card production batches will result in different textures/feel and often difference in L x W. This can be used directly to feel the card while in the packs.

3) weight - This is for packs. Often used on small boxed packaging such as those packed by Flair. This is often done with the help of digital weighing scales. Different card stocks will cause the weight variance.

4) thickness - This is done in combination with #2 and #3. It applies to finding inserts that have different thickness than the regular issued in the set. Among them are those that use rubber and wood materials. Embossed and carved cards also fall in this method, same as with double-thick cards.



I have never bought a box so I only used #2, it's the easiest method. #3 is more difficult to use nowadays. I observed that cards are not as uniform in size as they were made back in the 90's. #1 is the most difficult to use because you will most likely depend on hearsay since there are much less people who purchase boxes, and even lesser who purchase cases. You can usually get hot boxes through #1. #3 and #4 are can be missed since there are packs that can have extra cards packed in them.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: juke,
 
Posts: 69 | Location: Earth | Registered: November 01, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
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I remember a certain long forgotten Skybox set from 1995 which had 2 motion cards per box

It was so obvious as to what packs had the motion card, as the packs were twice as thick as all of the others in the box
 
Posts: 4487 | Location: Bayonne, NJ, USA | Registered: May 06, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Around 2008 on Feebay, some company was selling "searched" boxes of Clone Wars and some other properties. I bought a few boxes cheap and did get some really nice sketches. I could only assume that those boxes had 2 sketches in them.
 
Posts: 48 | Location: Hawaii | Registered: July 11, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of EriktheArchitect
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Prime reason why I don't buy new product. Its overpriced and I could care less about sketches, autographs... I might buy a set of base cards if they are cheap enough.

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Posts: 1159 | Location: Just NW of Hazzard County Georgia USA | Registered: December 08, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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quote:
Originally posted by btlfannz:

My question is that if the packs are still sealed how do you know which ones to remove because they contain "hits". I can guess that the costume cards have a certain "feel" about them but I know that the auto cards weigh the same as a regular base card. So what's going on here? Have these guys got an X-ray machine or something?


One of the early chase cards was holograms printed on aluminized stock. Impel's packs were plastic, and you could find the hologram packs with a metal detector.

There was one Impel set, I forget which, that had foil wrappers so you couldn't find the holograms that way. But it didn't make any difference because the hologram card was alway on the top of the back left stack in the box.

Upper Deck's Comic Ball cards had holograms, but they were slightly different in thickness than other cards, and you could find the "hot" packs with a dial caliper.
 
Posts: 1557 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
NSU Pricing Specialist
Picture of Bill DeFranzo
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quote:
Originally posted by Bill Mullins:

Upper Deck's Comic Ball cards had holograms, but they were slightly different in thickness than other cards, and you could find the "hot" packs with a dial caliper.
it was easier than using a caliper. The hologram was always on top and it had rounded corners. Easy to feel with a fingernail.

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Posts: 901 | Location: Hampton NH 03842 | Registered: March 17, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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You are correct sir! Now that you reminded me, I can recall seeing boxes of cards where it was clear all of the corners had been mushed down by people looking for the holograms.

It was another set that the caliper were useful, and I can't remember what it was (Lots of brain cells burned out since then).
 
Posts: 1557 | Location: Huntsville, AL United States | Registered: November 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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