This box was quite the harrowing adventure, as I drove across state to be disappointed, only to find redemption, salvation, no a box of acceptably priced Topps Update, which I have purchased, looked at longingly in the box for an hour, then finally made it home to open.
I called ahead today and found a store whose Topps Update arrived. Usually, my luck at this store was quite good. So, very excited and beating traffic on one of the scariest roads in the state, I arrive in 30 minutes, which is akin to a land speed record. I stealthily walk inside, not arousing the attention of the owner from his computer. I look in the cases, as I like to do, see nothing and start to search for the red box on the shelf.
Moving deeper in the store, I spy the boxes, both jumbo and regular. I see the jumbo pack has a hot sticker on it. And a price tag of $16.75 for a pack pre-tax. I start hearing the nothingness of white noise and venture deeper in the store. There, I see a hobby box of 2012 Topps Update...$89.95. At this point, deep in the store, the owner turns around and asks if I was the caller who asked about the 2012 Topps Update. With nothing but the words hanging in the air for the briefest of moments, when I lie and say no. Deterred by the ridiculous price, I walk towards the front of the store and make a quick escape, where from my phone, I find boxes online are $59.95 without searching. Card store owner 1, motivated customer 0.
So, I head to another local card store, which I tend to not care for, but has the advantage of being open late. After a ten mile drive, I arrive with no hope in my heart. I expect the box here to be $110 and the jumbo box to be $200, but instead the box was acceptably priced and purchased for my consumption.
The box opened with the above Harper and a Yu Darvish card in the same pack. Things were looking very up for this box. Sadly, we reached the near pinnacle of what the box had to offer right then and there. About 15 packs in, I found my guaranteed autograph or relic...
I suspect there might be one or two names on the list of potential suspects who would be less desirable, but I was hard pressed to pick any of them from the checklist, perhaps Chris Perez, but he at least is occasionally newsworthy.
The actual box was overflowing with inserts, as I pulled 71 from a standard hobby box. Mostly Reds and Series 2 Gold Cards, but a great number of inserts. There were 22 gold cards (none from Series 1) with the best being the Sabathia shown above, 9 Golden Moments, 9 Golden Moments Sparkle cards with the best being the Kemp shown above, 6 Diamond Giveaway, 9 Blockbusters, 9 1987 Minis, 4 Golden Greats (3 Reds and an Andre Dawson). There were also the following cards, yearning to save the quality of the box, which in all honesty, was likely in the bottom tenth percentile in terms of overall card quality, as there was also nary a short print to be found.
There was however, a Black card numbered to 61 in the box. Of course, the card was Henry Blanco, which while a fine reminder that he was still in the league, he is still short of being ironically interesting like the Gold Sparkle Jamie Moyer and Kevin Millwood cards I pulled.
And, as hope was leaving the box and change was only what I ended up with at the store, I pulled the below card.
The actual picture of our President is quite scary, as he looks old, not regular old, but a creepy, life-drained old, which is not how I remember the leader of the free world. Quite honestly, it is an awful picture, but an awful picture in a winnable state. Part of me is very interested in collecting the whole set once the election and the redemptions are over, though I suspect seeing the same picture 50 or so times with just a change in state name will leave me cold and likely halt my collection where it is at. Unless I add a Romney for card debates.
What the box did have going for it was collation. There was not one duplicate amongst the 359 cards pulled from the box (thank you Ruiz relic) and I only need another 42 to complete my base set. I think the number of lower grade inserts in the box verges on excessive, since there was no need for 22 gold cards. Actually, the collation on the gold cards was a fail, since an entire series was not represented in the box. Otherwise, I think this is a quality product, just sadly, one of the worst boxes from this quality product to represent its value.