Quick Update

Any of you that open boxes, know that there is risk involved when it comes to this hobby.  Today box 3 of Ionix came in the mail at the price of $45.  I’m going to keep this short and simple…it was by far the WORST box of this product I’ve ever opened.  No parallels, no major inserts, and out of the 3 inserts I received were duplicates from the last box! Yeah I feel like I just wasted $$ but that’s the risk you take.  Safe to say that unless a box of this pops up for super cheap, that this will be the last box of Ionix I purchase 🙂 I am eyeing a box of 2000 EX or 2000 Showcase next.  I’m going to lick my wounds and post and update as to how many base sets of the 60 base cards I have from 3 boxes.


(My face while opening the last few packs…I knew I received a beatdown)

While it ended on a sour note, it was sure exciting to find a Warp Zone in box #2.  Stay tuned for an “Old School Hits” post that comes from E-X2001.  I was lucky enough to find something extremely rare that a member on Freedom Card Board was selling.  Pretty excited to write about the card here by the end of the week.

Until next time!



Ionix Box Break (Box 2)

After a so-so first box, I found this box the day after via Auction on eBay.  Now the story on this box is interesting to start off with.  In the listing, which was listed as “1999 Ionix Baseball Cards”, the picture was of an unsealed box…this typically isn’t a good sign.  But I won it for $17 with free shipping.  Already I’m thinking this is too good to be true.  This box did take an extra 6 days to arrive in Sitka…yep the mail here can be unpredictable.

After opening the package the packs are practically falling out of the box, but all 20 of them were sealed!  At this point, I’d be happy with 20 packs of base a Techno SP’s to help me with the set I’m building.  However, today I had a pleasant surprise halfway through the box.  Let’s see what all this box had to offer:

Price: $17 (Best deal of all time?) 20 packs with 4 cards per pack

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.05.17 PM

Base: 70 with close to the same # of duplicates

This is to be expected with such a small base set (60).  But the card I talked about in my last blog post was waiting on the back of one of the first few packs 🙂


It’s sure fun to pull a card I have fond memories of finding when I opened my first packs of Ionix in 99.  Still can’t believe I got 2 packs for $10 but I still remember trading in a super rave insert from 99 Thunder for it of a no name pitcher.

Techno (1:4 Packs)

Just like the last box, there were 5 within the 20 packs.  In this box was Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, Chipper Jones, Tony Gwynn, and  Juan Gonzalez.  What’s even better is I need all of these for the complete 90 card set.


Hyper (1:9 Packs)

In the last box there was only one of these, but in this box, as stated on the box in Ant-Man size font, there were 2 in this box. Can’t beat two Hall of Fame players 😉


Nitro (1:18 Packs)

The first surprise of this box was getting an extra insert.  While these aren’t the most desirable looking inserts, I’ll always take an extra one to help with the set.


Not sure what is going on in Piazza’s card, but I’m guessing he either just struck out, or popped on straight up to the first baseman.

At this point you know what three inserts are left…see if you can remember which one I said was the best looking insert in Ionix.


Warp Zone (1:216 Packs)

I was sure excited to see the back of this card when I opened the pack!  I quickly found a sleeve and toploader.  This set shouldn’t be too tough to put together minus the Jeter and Griffey.  But man, they sure do look nice!


What wasn’t pulled:

Base Reciprocal ( #d to 750)

Cyber (1:53 Packs)

Techno Reciprocal (#d to 100)

HoloGrFx (1:1500 Packs)

Update: In my everlasting search for an Alex Rodriguez of this, I’ve only spoken to one person who has one.  He is holding onto it so I’m still searching hard for one.  However, I did just purchase a Techno Reciprocal of A-Rod that I will “show off” when it arrives 🙂

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: B

Still a lot of dupes, but not nearly as often or as many.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to put my base set of 60 together now and I received 5 new Techno SP’s.

Condition: A-

I feel like this is an awesome grade considering the box was sitting open in someone’s shop for 16 years.  Only one card was dinged but I got a duplicate of it in perfect condition.

Pulls: A-

It is my hope to one day post an A+ with a box of Ionix but I don’t think it can get much better than this, especially with the history this box had.  I’m still excited about pulling a Warp Zone from a pack!

Value: B

I don’t see a reason to change this grade as I’m guessing some of you use this grade to help you decide what old school boxes to buy (other than Ionix since you’re saving them for me, right?). Hopefully you don’t buy any 90’s boxes with the hopes of reselling anything. That’s just a bonus at this time period.

Thanks for the read, and stay tuned for box 3 as it’s currently in Kent, and could be here tomorrow or Friday!

Old School Hits: 2001 UD Sweet Spot Signatures

sweetspotEven though the concept of the autographed card on ball material didn’t originate with Upper Deck, one can say they certainly took the idea to heights that made them very popular with collectors. Today, we’ll look back at what turned out to be a pretty groundbreaking insert, the original Sweet Spot Signatures set.

Each box of 2001 Upper Deck Sweet Spot consisted of 18 packs and each box guaranteed to land a game-used jersey card, one game-used bat card, and either a game-used base card or a Sweet Spot Signature card in addition to a special cross-brand Joe DiMaggio box topper pack. This Paul O’Neill card has been one of my favorites in my personal collection for years and luckily for me, the ink on this card has managed to hold its own, which is more than you can say about some of some the cards produced in the years that followed. This card is one of 53 in the set and other subjects include Ken Griffey, Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan, Stan Musial, and even cut ball cards of Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, and BABE RUTH!

Boxes of 2001 UD Sweet Spot are pretty difficult to find and when they surface, they can rarely be found for under $200 so keep in mind before you make a purchase, that your big box hit may be of Mike Lamb.

1999 UD Ionix (Box 1)

When I think back to my favorite product of 1999, my first reaction is to say Ionix by Upper Deck.  Everything about these cards is likable, from the thick stock, the colors, the refractor parallels, and the best high end insert made by Upper Deck, the Hologrfx.   As you can see by the title, this will be the first Ionix box out of at least 3 that I will be reviewing.  I have another en route that came at only $20, so I’m pretty excited to see what hidden treasures await in the future as well.

Price: $32 (20 packs per box, 4 cards per pack)


There’s a great story that goes with my love for this set.  I remember when the sell sheet came out, and there was a Ken Griffey Jr. card on it.  I told myself it’d be awesome to find that card one day.  I was able to buy 2 packs of this at a card shop in Anchorage, and as fate would have it, there was a Griffey in one of the packs.  Now back then a base card of Jr. was worth a lot to me and my friends.  Safe to say I never stopped loving this set.

Here is what was in box #1, which came from a Canadian card shop:

Base: 71 (18 duplicates)

With a small base set of 60 minus the SP’s, it’s not uncommon to pull a bunch of dupes in a box, even if you’re only getting 80 cards.  What’s really neat about these is that the technology used to make the “bubble|” effect on the background gave each card a unique look to them. This J.D. Drew was worth a pretty penny when he was on fire on his rookie season with St. Louis.


Techno (1:4 Packs)

These are part of the complete base set, but are short prints, so they fall at 1 per 4 packs.  As expected, there were 5 Techno SP’s in this box: Derek Jeter, Sammy Sosa, Mo Vaughn, Mike Piazza, and Barry Bonds.  These can also come in rarer versions #d to 100 which I will get to later.


Hyper (1:9 Packs) 

Man the inserts from Ionix look sweet!  There’s something about a glossy, thick baseball card that just makes me love each and every insert set!  Unfortunately, there was only one in this box, Chipper Jones.


Nitro (1:18 Packs)

Out of all the insert sets, these “pop” the least due to their darker backgrounds.  I was pretty excited to get the player I did though 😉


Reciprocal (#d to 750, no stated odds)

If you are a refractor lover, then these cars will make you smile!  They sure stand out amongst the base, as these are parallels of the base set, but also feature a different action shot of the player.  Here’s a comparison of the Glavine and a look at the Tino that also came in this box:



What wasn’t pulled:

Ionix has three REALLY TOUGH cards to pull, and up to this point I’ve opened 5 boxes of this and have never seen these come from a pack.  We also didn’t find a Cyber insert which come in at 1:53 packs.

Techno Reciprocal (#d to 100)

If you want to see what these bad boys look like, take a look at this one currently on eBay: Alex Rodriguez Techno Reciprocal. It’s a little overpriced but there are only 2 on eBay, this one and a Nomar.  I’ve rarely ever seen them on eBay which shows you just how tough they are to come by.  I’ve never seen one with my own eyes, but I imagine they really stand out, just like the regular Reciprocal parallels.

Warp Zone (1:216 packs)

These are the best looking inserts in the set, even more so than the next insert set I’ll cover.  The white border, foil text, and rainbow colors make this stand out more than any other insert I have of Alex Rodriguez.  I payed a pretty penny for this, but it was definitely worth it! I’d really like to put this whole set together 🙂


HoloGrFx (1:1500 packs)

Here’s the crown jewel of 1999 Ionix.  Can you imagine what it would feel like to see one of these come from a pack?  To add to how amazing these are, I used to have a Rodriguez and I’m still VERY upset at myself for not keeping it before I moved to teach 5th grade.  If anyone knows where an A-Rod exists, I will pay a finders fee before I purchase it!  Here’s an example of the Griffey that I found on photobucket:


Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: C+ 

Yeah….I literally pulled a duplicate two packs after pulling the same base.  How does this even happen with such a small base set, that quick into the following packs lol? At least the inserts were all different right?

Condition: A

Two key elements in finding cards in good condition, 17 years later: Thick card stock, and no sticking cards.  These didn’t stick together that much and the corners were all very sharp. Really happy about this even though the packs were all shifted to the top of the box.

Pulls: B-

Nothing major to note, and while there was two A-Rod base cards, and a Rodriguez insert, there was no Griffey.  Was hoping to have one to show off to go with my childhood story.  Next box hopefully.

Value: B

I’m not going to base this solely off of the fact that there wasn’t anything that had a high resale value, but the cards are all in excellent condition.  If one were to be into grading cards, these would all grade extremely well.  The B grade is simply for the fact that not inserts were pulled that are considered “high-end”.

BONUS: There was an original price tag of $136 on this box!! Now while this is Canadian currency, that still comes out to $105 in U.S. dollars when this set first dropped.  Yeah, these were highly desirable cards in 1999 🙂


Review coming tonight!


I’ll be reviewing one of these each night for 3 nights.  Before I decide which one to review first, are there any suggestions?  Ionix is my favorite all time set from 99 so I’m thrilled to be opening a box.  The original price on the box is $134!!

Please check back tonight at 11 pm PST for the review.