Guide for online box buying  

A friend of mine decided to make a trip to Kenya very recently. Two days after her arrival, all hell broke loose. I mailed her to leave as soon as possible, but her reply was “screw this I only live once, we’re going on safari to Kilimajaro now.” It went fine to my knowledge.

It’s a bit like this to buy boxes online today. You can say “screw this I only live once” and make your buy, make your box break, and perhaps it goes just fine. But odds are you end up disappointed, fooled, and ripped off with a sense of utter stupidity. Or perhaps you’re happily unaware of this and buy another one. Sooner or later you will start wondering why you keep pulling purely crap cards, even after your 15th box buy. Don’t feel bad, there are lots of collectors out there who are unaware of the traps, dishonesty, and plain fraud.

The most common dishonesty is when a seller open a case, find the best box with the casehits, keeps those wonderful cards themself, and sell the remaining “bad” boxes to buyers. The most common fraud is resealed packs and boxes. This is a crime that should always be reported.

There are only a handful of stores and eBay sellers you can trust. Consider this a small/partial guide for the novice collector.

  1. First easy trap to fall in: Do not buy so called “hot packs with guaranteed autos/rookies/game-used” on eBay. They are not hot, they are simply opened carefully, searched, good cards replaced with bad, and resealed. Do you know anyone who has pulled a good rookie or game-used out of these hot packs? Thought not.
  2. Do not always trust ebay feedback. Oh I can hear a whole choir of upset people violently protesting now. Why? Because 100% positive feedback is never a guarantee. It’s only an apparent safety. Some people do a crafty job of keeping their feedback in perfect shape. If you look closely you can sometimes see a perfect feedback score, but a note of dozens of “mutually withdrawn” feedbacks. That means many persons have left negative feedback, but the seller has convinced them to withdraw. How and with what means? Be suspicious. Just the same it is not a guarantee for concern that an eBay seller has for instance only a 91% score. It could mean he is brave enough to put negative feedback on bad buyers and get revenge feedback in return. This leads to number 3:
  3. Do your research well. eBay feedback is a hint, but way more important is to ask people with direct experience of the seller. Ask around, lurk about, hide in the shadows with your cloak. Alright, my imagination runs away, but you get the idea. It is really the absolute best way of learning whether an eBay seller is honest and reliable.  Go to well known trading card forums (like Sports Card Forum) and ask.
  4. If you’re still not entirely sure or have seen one little dubious comment about a seller, don’t be afraid to write that seller an e-mail. It is likely the seller will take offense, but he must be prepared for questions. If his answers makes a good explanation and gives you the right feeling, just ignore that remark someone has made. It may be a person angry cause he’s had simple bad luck.
  5. When you’ve reached this far and have narrowed down who to buy from, ask them carefully about shipping costs. Sometimes you buy an item, and you get a shock afterwards, especially if you’re across the border or abroad.

Now you got everything you need: knowledge and the tools to make a good safe buy. It doesn’t guarantee a good box break. You may get the worst box break of your life, but at least you know it’s purely down to bad luck then rather than by a dishonest person laughing his way to the bank with your money.

Advice: When you’ve found a good seller, stick to him, or your top 2-3. The more you buy the more likely you are to get better deals in the future.

Overwhelmed and feels like too much work? The below are entirely reliable and trusthworty sellers from my experience:

Dacard (Dave and Adam’s card world) – there is a reason they are the most popular online sellers. They are 100% safe, and they have a large good collection of boxes, packs, and other goodies. They are relativively cheap and reply to your questions within 24-48 hours. They have many different options to ship: Ground, Airmail, Express, Fedex etc. However, if you’re across the border or abroad beware, the shipping costs may be the worst in the business, enough to scare you away.

eBay sellers:

  • queencollectibles (also under alias grossistesk) – Fast, decent shipping costs, good prices. A popular seller and often used alongside Dacard by buyers. Sell a lot of boxes, even older ones. Replies to your questions within 24-48 hours.
  • rmwiz (also under alias hobbyquest2000) – Fast, very good shipping costs, Replies to your questions within 24. Really good prices. Limited collection.
  • nolandennis – Limited collection, but also sell packs. Very fast, great shippingc osts. Relatively good prices. Replies to your questions within hours! This may be the smallest seller of the ones mentioned, but personally, I must say the absolutely nicest. How you feel treated as a customer is also a big part of your decision where to buy.

There are others of course, but the above are good examples of great sellers. 

Good luck!