Doing live box breaks was a fun obsession for me last month – paying a card breaker for a blaster or hanger and watching as they rip the packs – for the life of me honestly, I don’t know why. There are a couple of drawbacks to doing live breaks, the first and probably biggest being that you are most likely going to overpay for the box – if a blaster box is $19.99 at your local retailer, but you’re paying a breaker $30, well, that’s a big difference. And considering that many of the breakers and rippers online are just everyday people and not businesses, they are paying retail for the items and then jacking up the price. Second is that you have to wait for the cards to be shipped, and run the risk of damage during shipment – another concern that I have seen in my time doing box breaks and rips is that the packages rarely come insured, so in the event, damage does occur, you’re out the investment in the box unless you can get the breaker to refund (good luck).
Anyway, I recently bought into a break of the new 2020 Panini Certified Football – the breaker sold the box off by conference and division, so NFC and AFC with the North, East, South, and West division of each. If you look online right now you will see that a box of 2020 Certified is running $220 plus – some people have it as high as $600 for a single box (what?!?!), so when the chance to buy two divisions (NFC North and AFC East) was presented at only (I hate using the word “only” here) $110 I jumped on the opportunity (I also hate using the word “opportunity” to describe this).
Before I go into the results of this break, let me humbly admit that I was ignorant of the 2020 Certified set, what the top cards were, what types of inserts there were, etc. I knew nothing about the set, and my entire decision in purchasing the break was fueled by the hype from everyone online talking about how they couldn’t wait for Certified to release and how dope it was going to be, blah, blah, blah. I made the worst mistake in investing and dropped money on something I had done zero due diligence on, and oh how I regret it.
The break in question was a single box break – consisting of 50 cards. The odds were against me from the start – think about it, there are 36 teams in the NFL, and the box has 50 cards. If every team had at least one card per, that only leaves an additional 14 cards split between the teams, coming out to an average of 1.39 cards per team. Someone was going to lose here, and it definitely was me. Out of the eight teams I had purchased, two of my teams showed no cards in the break – zilch. Of the remaining six teams, I pulled a total of 12 cards – eight of which are standard base cards, two were numbered, and two were inserts. The best name I pulled was Barry Sanders on an insert card. Remember, I paid $110 for this break, putting my per card average price at $9.17 per card!
Needless to say, I was a little disenchanted with the results after watching the live break – so much so in fact that I couldn’t even bring myself to comment on it, or reply to any of the messages in the “break chat”. My disenchantment turned in to total disgust when the cards arrived this morning and I looked at comparable sales data for the cards I pulled – if I am able to sell the cards at the highest reported listing prices, I will net a whopping $44 – a $66 loss on my investment. When I finished reviewing the sales data this morning, I was so disgusted I nearly threw the damn cards in the garbage. What a waste of money which could have been better spent on something like Topps Chrome Baseball, or Donruss Elite Football, or, oh, I don’t know, anything other than this crap!
Further investigation shows that if I really wanted to collect this set, I can go on eBay right now and for $50 get the entire base veteran set (mind you, that’s 100 cards!) in pack fresh near mint/mint condition – well ain’t that some sh*t! To date, this has been my biggest loss on a box break – who am I kidding, this has been my biggest loss on anything – even the stupid Benchwarmer box break I bought into last week produced better results than this 2020 Certified break, and I only hit two cards out of the Benchwarmer break (which will be a future article).
Well, enough about that, let’s review what did come out of the break. Starting with the NFC North, consisting of the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, I pulled the following cards;
- Za’Darius Smith – Base Card – Defensive End, Green Bay Packers
- Kerryon Johnson – Base Card – Running Back, Detroit Lions
- Barry Sanders – “The Greatest” Insert Card – Running Back, Detroit Lions
- Cameron Dantzler – Numbered /399 Rookie Card – Cornerback, Minnesota Vikings
- Dalvin Cook – Base Card – Running Back – Minnesota Vikings
- Adam Thielen – Base Card – Wide Receiver – Minnesota Vikings
- Justin Jefferson – 2020 Graffiti Insert – Wide Receiver – Minnesota Vikings
For my AFC East pulls (of which I was really hoping for a Tua), I pulled the following cards;
- Raekwon Davis – Numbered Rookie Card – Defensive Tackle – Miami Dolphins
- Byron Jones – Base Card – Cornerback – Miami Dolphins
- Jordan Howard – Base Card – Running Back – Miami Dolphins
- Stephon Gilmore – Base Card – Cornerback – New England Patriots
- Le’Veon Bell – Base Card – Running Back – New York Jets
I can honestly say, without a doubt, that I will likely never buy into a high-end box break like this again. To pour salt on an open wound, a breaker on eBay was selling a half case break of 2020 Certified by the team (that’s 6 boxes – 300 cards total) and the Miami Dolphins sold for only $54 – if, and this is a really big “IF” I ever buy into a high-end box break again, it will be by the team on a multiple box break. Dropping $110 on a gamble, hoping for something good out of a mere 50 cards was the biggest mistake I have made in my recent prospecting and investing journey. Heed my advice, learn from my mistakes, don’t do it!
*Disclaimer: Investing in trading cards, comic books, memorabilia, and any other item involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone. Cardboard Prospector does not provide financial advice, and none of our articles or opinions should be construed as financial or investment advice. We do not guarantee results from your decision making based on our opinions and content. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence prior to making any investment.
I started collecting cards when I was about 8 years old, with my passion being baseball cards. I grew out of collecting in my teens and spent the better part of my 20’s focusing on education and career. Now in my mid-30’s I have dove back in to collecting and now prospecting and investing in cards and comics as well. I like to write about ways to collect and invest and share my experiences in the collecting and investing world of sports cards and comics. I am also an avid cigar enthusiast and you can get cigar reviews and information on my sister site Cigar Informer at https://www.cigarinformer.com