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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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2003 Finest Baseball Review

The second box I opened on my birthday, this box of 2003 Topps Finest was originally videotaped, but due to the horrible overall quality (lots of lag, audio distortion), the video was never published. As you’ll see, it was a pretty darn good break.

Box Details: 6 packs of 5 cards each per mini box, 3 mini boxes per master box, $75

From:Dave and Adam’s Card World

Uncirculated Box Topper (numbered to 199, 1: box): Each master box is accompanied by a silver pack holding an uncirculated Gold X-Fractor. Numbered to just 199, these gold parallels mirror the entire set, autographed rookies included. It just so happens that my Gold X-Fractor was a signed rookie card of J.D. Durbin (030/199). Durbin was a prized possession of the Minnesota Twins’ Minor League organization, and even received their Pitcher of the Year Award in 2002. He is currently a free agent.



Base set:
The base set is comprised of 100 short set cards, followed by 10 short-printed, autographed rookies. As was the norm with that era of Finest, each base card has a unique color background, influenced by the depicted player’s team. My box yielded 85 out of 100 short set cards (85%) and no duplicates.


Refractors (1: mini box): One of the key differences between 2003 Finest and say, 2009 Finest lies in the refractors. 2003 Finest does not have the bevy of colorful refractors that collectors have become accustomed to in recent years (red, green blue, gold, black, etc.) Instead, only basic Refractor and X-Fractor parallels exist (box toppers aside). The basic Refractors are seeded at a rate of 1 per mini box (SP’s 1 in 34) while the X-Fractors are seeded at a rate of 1 in every 7 mini boxes (SP’s 1 in 68). I did not pull any X-Fractors in this box, but I did pull basic Refractors of Tim Hudson, Larry Walker, and Barry Zito. I’m sure I will be sending the Zito out to New Mexico sometime. As for the Walker, it came out of the pack with significant damage to its back (a giant scrape). Why did it have to happen to a Refractor??


Finest Relics (1: mini box): Inserted into each mini box is a game-used bat or uniform relic. Each relic is designated to a certain “group” based on rarity. The odds of finding a particular relic from each group are as follows:

Bats:
Group A: 1:104 mini boxes
Group B: 1:32 mini boxes
Group C: 1:29 mini boxes
Group D: 1:42 mini boxes
Group E: 1:40 mini boxes
Group F: 1:23 mini boxes
Group G: 1:18 mini boxes
Group H: 1:24 mini boxes
Group I: 1:12 mini boxes
Group J: 1:22 mini boxes
Group K: 1:21 mini boxes

Uniforms:
Group A: 1:28 mini boxes
Group B: 1:11 mini boxes
Group C: 1:11 mini boxes
Group D: 1:10 mini boxes
Group E: 1:19 mini boxes
Group F: 1:12 mini boxes
Group G: 1:34 mini boxes
Group H: 1:17 mini boxes

I pulled bat cards of Nomar Garciaparra (Group A) and Rickey Henderson (Group J) as well as a uniform card of Eric Chavez (Group B).

Team Topps Legends Autographs (10 cards, randomly inserted)
: And now, here are those Hall of Fame autographs I mentioned in my last post. 10 Team Topps Legends signed cards for this special set, and just like the relic cards, each autograph belongs to its own specific group. The complete checklist is below, pulls highlighted in bold.

Group A: 1:168 mini boxes
Brooks Robinson
Goose Gossage

Group B: 1:68 mini boxes
Al Kaline
Stan Musial

Group C: 1:32 mini boxes
Lou Brock
Luis Aparicio
Duke Snider

Group D: 1:23 mini boxes
Gaylord Perry
Paul Blair
Vernon Law

Overall, autographs (rookies, Finest Moments (link), and Team Topps Legends) fall at a rate of 2 per master box.

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: A+

For the second straight break, the box delivered the inserts and “hits” perfectly, all without a single duplicate. Very nice.

Condition: B
Condition was the only issue I had in this box. In fact, if it weren’t for this category, this box would get straight A’s across the board. Only 2 cards from this box came out of the pack with noticeable damage, but considering that both of those were chase cards (Walker Refractor, Gossage autograph – look at the blemish on the front, towards the bottom), I had to drop this down a grade.

Pulls: A
I think it’s pretty obvious that I got lucky with this box. The 2 autographs I was supposed to pull were both Team Topps Legends (as opposed to failed prospects) and I even got a bonus autograph with the box topper! Not to mention that I also pulled the rarest bat relic available in Nomar…

Value: A
Regardless of where you purchase this box, you should be able to find it for less than $80. For that price, you should find a nice little box containing 5 hits (3 relics, 2 autos), 3 Refractors, a Gold X-Fractor, and possibly one more X-Fractor if you’re lucky. I’d say go for it.

Overall Grade: A

Mailday Flairicana!

With a title like that, I suppose you’d assume that I acquired a Ric Flair autograph from Donruss Americana but that isn’t the case. However, I did acquire my first-ever autograph from the Americana line, a Private Signings card of John C. McGinley numbered to 50.

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McGinley, a veteran of film, TV, and Broadway has been one of my favorite actors for a long time. He has appeared in tons of films such as Platoon, Wall Street, Se7en, The Rock, and Office Space but younger fans would immediately recognize him as Dr. Perry Cox from the hit show, Scrubs. Check out Mr. McGinley’s impressive resume at the IMDb.

The second part of this mailday features a pair of cards from a set I’ve been chasing for well over a year (closer to two actually). Those that have been paying attention to this blog know what I’m talking about…

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With only 250 possible sets available, completing the Row 0 set from 1998 Flair Showcase has certainly been quite the challenge! With the acquisitions of two of the higher-tiered cards: Nomar Garciaparra (126/250) and Scott Rolen (184/250), I am now only three cards away from completion.

The three that I am missing are Mark McGwire, Frank Thomas, and Livan Hernandez.