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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

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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 🙂

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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.

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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 😉

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Box Break: 1999 Ultra

First off I’d like to say thank you to anyone that stops by to check out my box breaks here!  The more people that stop by and leave a comment or two, the more I’ll be motivated to really put in the time and effort to keep this blog up and running on multiple posts per week basis.  Let’s get on to the results of my first box break review in 4 years shall we?

 

1999 Ultra came in 24 pack hobby boxes with 10 cards per pack. I paid $39 for this box.  When I was a kid, Fleer Ultra was a favorite because of their photography and card design.  I opened plenty of ultra retail back in the day, but if you can believe it, this is my first hobby box of Fleer Ultra.

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The basics: 250 base card set with 25 prospects that fall 1:4 packs, and 10 season crowns that fall 1:8 packs.  One thing that stood out immediately is the collation!  I haven’t checked to see if I have the complete base set but I didn’t receive ONE duplicate.  For any set builder, this is perfect!

Here is a shot of the base, rookies, and season crowns:

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Something I love about the backs on these cards is that on the bottom, they compare the players career stats with a retired player of similar capabilities.  It was neat to see how some of the greats of the 90’s stacked up with greats from the late 70’s and 80’s!

 

You also were guaranteed one gold medallion per pack.  I received 24 of them, 23 being from the base set, and one being the rookie shown above!

 

Now on to the inserts that were pulled

The Book On… (1:6 packs): Travis Lee, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken Jr., and Jeff Bagwell

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These are raised a bit and have a good, clean look to them.  The information on the back talks about their strengths as a player.

World Premiere (1:18 packs) Miguel Tejada & Matt Anderson

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These are shiny and are also raised up a bit.  I remember having the Tejeda as a kid so the nostalgia really kicked in when this came out of the pack.

Gold Medallion Prospects (1:40 packs) Josh Booty

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This was the rarest card to come out of the box.  Like you, I giggled slightly when I saw the name.  Another reason collecting in the 90’s is fun, is because you wonder who in the heck some of these guys are.  Welcome to our first “Who?!” section ladies and gents!

Josh Booty not only played Major League Baseball, but he was also an NFL Quarterback for my Seattle Seahawks.  He never played in a professional game in 3 years.  He made 3 brief appearances for the Florida Marlins, with a .269 average and 4 RBI.  Many years later, he won a reality tv series called The Next Knuckler and was signed by the Red Sox. Unfortunately that didn’t work out for him, as he was later arrested for a DUI.

What wasn’t pulled:

Thunderclap (1:36 packs)

Damage Inc (1:72 packs)

Season Crown Gold Medallion (1:80 packs)

Diamond Producers (1:288 packs)

These are one of the best looking inserts Ultra has made since the 1995 Hitting Machines. Each pack I opened, I looked for that clear insert in the middle of the cards.  No luck today.  Here’s the Rodriguez I have:

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Platinum Medallion #d to 99

I was really hoping to find one of these as they really stand out with their lettering.

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Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: A+

No duplicates?!  Yes please!  A good friend of mine teaches 2nd grade across the hall from me and I will be taking these in for his son to sort out after we open the 98 Upper Deck retro box that’s on the way. It’d be great to have the complete base set and put it together.

Condition: B +

90% of these card were in mint condition.  A few of them had fading colors on one half. A few also had some chipping going on.  Even those these card came stuck together, their surfaces were surprisingly still glossy!  Think about it, this box has been sitting sealed for 17 years until today!

Pulls: C+

I won’t ever go into a box break hoping that something amazing will come out.  Like the majority of collectors now, I don’t expect to make a cent back on any boxes I break for this blog.  Once in a blue moon something spectacular may come out, but I’ll always go in with the expectations of enjoying myself and hoping to relive those childhood memories of collecting.

Value: B

Being able to put the complete base set together is always a plus for me!  If you love sharp photography and some really neat statistics and info on players then you’ll enjoy this box as much as I did.  Even the chance of a Platinum coming out makes this box even more exciting to break.  At $39 I probably won’t grab another unless I find one for under $30. The lack of big time hits hurts this box’s grade but if finding those inserts isn’t a big deal to you, then I’d say pick one of these up sometime!

Thanks for the read.  Stay tuned on Wednesday for a review of 1998 UD Retro, followed by 99 Gold label retail, and 99 Pacific Paramount.

Overall Grade: B-

1999 Bowman Chrome Series 2 Baseball Review

A couple weeks ago, Tim at 90’s Box Breaks busted a box of 1999 Bowman Chrome Series 1. Today, we’ll take a look at Series 2, the portion of the set containing most of the big names from the ’99 class. These names include C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Alfonso Soriano, Adam Dunn, Carl Crawford, and Josh Hamilton, just to name a few. With a list like that, it should come as no surprise that these boxes can be a bit pricey, often running in the $75-100+ range. The Baseball Card Exchange currently has these priced at $65, the lowest price I could find so I bit. But was it worth it?

Box Details: 24 packs per box, 4 cards per pack, $65
From: Baseball Card Exchange


Base set: As you gathered from Tim’s review, Series 2 contains 220 base cards: 70 red veterans and 150 prospects/rookies. My box yielded 72 of 220 basic cards (roughly 33%, 22 red, 50 blue) with 15 duplicates. Ironically, all 15 of my dupes were reds.

Rookies of note: C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Joe Nathan, Freddy Garcia, David Eckstein, Aubrey Huff


International (1:12 packs): One big difference between Series 1 and Series 2 is the distribution of the International parallels. In Series 1, they are seeded at a rate of 6 per box. In Series 2, only 2 per box. My first pull was Tom Davey, who pitched 4 seasons in relief with the Jays, Mariners, and Padres, compiling a 7-6 record and a 4.41 ERA. My second pull was Kevin Eberwein, who played minor league ball for 5 seasons. I love city skylines on cards and wholeheartedly agree with Tim. These cards look a thousand times better on chrome than they do (regular Bowman) foil.


Refractors (1:12 packs): Of course, no chrome set would be complete without the refractor parallels! In both Series, these are seeded at a rate of 2 per box. I pulled two rookie refractors: Brady Clark and Corey Patterson. It’s too bad Patterson never panned out the way many thought he would. It’s also too bad I didn’t pull this card in 1999. This card was huge then (just like that 2000 Asadoorian I pulled a couple years ago).

International Refractors (1:50 packs, numbered to 100): The International Refractors in Series 2 are a little easier to pull than those in the first series (1:50 packs as opposed to 1:76 packs). Check out the scan. These cards are stunning. Even though I pulled Garret Anderson (059/100), I’m not entirely disappointed. That should say something about these cards.


2000 ROY Favorites (10 cards, 1:12 packs): A common insert of past Bowman products, the 2000 ROY Favorites showcased some of baseball’s best prospects from a decade ago, including Pat Burrell and Alex Escobar. Refractor versions are found 1 in every 100 packs on average.


Impact (20 cards, 1:15 packs): While the ROY Favorites set focuses only on prospects, the Impact set features a mixture of both veteran stars and prospects, as evidenced by the Joe McEwing and Alex Rodriguez above. Both sets are exclusive to Series 2. Impact refractors are seeded 1 in every 75 packs.

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: C-

15% of the box’s contents were duplicates. That drives me particularly insane when there are only 96 cards in a box and 220 cards in the basic set. If you go back and do the math, you’ll see that I got 37 red cards but of only 22 different players.

Condition: A

The greatest thing about this box was the fact that the cards were in tremendous shape. No dings, creases, scratches…nothing. I was very pleasantly surprised by this as I usually get at least one card in every box that is mangled straight from the pack.

Pulls: B-

Overall, I was hoping to score one or two more big rookies, rather than David Eckstein (ugh). Despite the fact that some of the pulls were very lackluster, the International Refractor brought this box’s score up a bit, to a little better than average in my opinion. And like I said earlier, the Patterson would’ve been a big card around this product’s time of release, but who would want it now? If any Cubs fans in the blogosphere are interested, let me know.

Value: B

I must say that I probably wouldn’t have even considered breaking this box if I had to pay anywhere near the $100 mark for it. Remember, the only guarantees in this box are 2 refractors, 2 Internationals, 3-4 ROY/Impact inserts, and a handful of rookies. There are tons of great names to shoot for and if you’re into the whole grading thing, they should grade pretty high if they come out like my cards did. For $65, I figured it would be worth a shot and while I wasn’t totally disappointed with my results, I surely would’ve been if I had to shell out the extra $35-40 only to find that all but about 4-5 of my rookies were on the level of Peter Bergeron, Bubba Crosby, and Guillermo Mota. I’d proceed with caution on this one, at least if you end up paying top dollar.

Overall Grade: B-

Old School Hits: 1999 Fleer Mystique Feel the Game

beltreRandomly inserted into packs of 1999 Fleer Mystique was one of the earliest game-used sets to hit the hobby known as Feel the Game. The checklist was small but potent (for the time) and featured a mixture of established stars and the hottest newcomers. These cards were great for a variety of reasons. First, jersey swatches were considerable bigger than the tiny ones we’ve been accustomed to with game-used. Secondly, there a mixture of not only jersey pieces but batting gloves and in this particular case, a shoe! These made for some great looking pieces. See for yourself! Third, a picture of the actual item from which the swatch was taken was placed on the back of each card.

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Here is the complete Feel the Game checklist, print runs included:

1. Adrian Beltre – Shoe – /430
2. J.D. Drew – Jersey – /450
3. Juan Gonzalez – Batting Glove – /415
4. Tony Gwynn – Jersey – /435
5. Kevin Millwood – Jersey – /435
6. Alex Rodriguez – Batting Glove – /345
7. Frank Thomas – Jersey – /450

A full review of 1999 Fleer Mystique can be found here.

1999 Flair Showcase Baseball Review

As promised, here’s a box break/review of 1999 Flair Showcase! In case you didn’t already know, pre-2000 Flair are some of my favorite sets ever. Just look at the scans below. They are beauties! For past Flair box breaks (’98), click here and here. Anyway, let’s see what my first box of ’99 brought me…

Box Details: 24 packs per box, 5 cards per pack, $45
From: Baseball Card Exchange

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Base set: 1999 marked the last time that the Flair Showcase set was fractured. In this case, 144 players each had three cards each, Rows 1, 2, and 3. The scan above depicts cards from Row 3, the most common of the bunch. In this box, I pulled 71 Row 3 cards without duplicates.

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Row 2: The Row 2 cards came at a rate better than one per pack. In 1999, the look for these cards was tweaked a bit from those of previous years as the players no longer had their distant background images but rather a small action shot placed under a giant model of their uniform number. The number concept might seem a bit tacky, but the cards are beautiful regardless. I pulled 40 different Row 2 cards in this box. Some of the notables included Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken, Jr., Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and Mike Mussina.

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Row 1: Much like the Row 0 cards were all serially numbered in 1998, the Row 1 cards are all serially numbered according to where they fell in the set. Here’s the breakdown:

Cards 1-48 (numbered to 1,500)
Cards 49-96 (numbered to 3,000)
Cards 97-144 (numbered to 6,000)

Altogether, I pulled 9 Row 1 cards:

#9 Tony Gwynn (0110/1500)
#16 Darin Erstad (1241/1500)
#69 Gary Sheffield (0914/3000)
#73 Bartolo Colon (0966/3000)
#83 Livan Hernandez 0674/3000)
#108 Mike Mussina (4431/6000)
#134 Reggie Sanders (4316/6000)
#136 Charles Johnson (4194/6000)
#139 Matt Williams (3038/6000)

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Legacy Collection (/99): The low-numbered, blue-foiled Flair parallel known as the Legacy Collection returned in 1999 and mirrored all three Rows with a print run of 99 each. I was unable to pull a Legacy card in two boxes of 1998 Flair but I was able to hit one here in Andres Galarraga (63/99).

Wave of the Future (/1000): A staple of the Flair Showcase line, this year’s Wave of the Future inserts returned with a special technology later used in Fleer’s E-Xceptional inserts. I pulled an insert of Troy Glaus (0979/1000). Ben Grieve, Travis Lee, Todd Helton, Eric Chavez, and Ricky Ledee are among the others featured in this set.

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: A
This box didn’t contain a single duplicate and I actually got two more cards than I was supposed to (122).

Condition: C
While the base cards were relatively unharmed, the inserts had some serious issues. Some Row 1 cards suffered from serious peeling around the edges on the back. Also, check out the faded foil on the Legacy logo on the Galarraga card. This was a bit disappointing.

Pulls: B
The pulls earn a solid ‘B’ thanks in part to the Legacy card. From past experiences, I know that these aren’t guaranteed pulls. Overall, the star power in this box was above average.

Value: B
The asking price of these boxes are regularly in the $55-60+ range. At $45 (again for those that will ask, I don’t include the shipping in the prices I list because I often buy boxes in bunches and don’t calculate how much I spent on each), the box is worth it for the slick look of the cards alone. Throw in some awesome inserts and hard to find parallels (including possible 1/1’s) and this box is a winner, assuming several of your inserts don’t get damaged.

Overall Grade: B