Guest article by gosens151911

A main concern of mine about the card industry is how they prey on card collectors from young to old with retail packs. These are the packs you end up buying at your local Wal-Mart, Target, dollar store etc. They may come in blister packs (usually 2-3 packs packaged together), or individually, sold from an opened retail box. These packs are somewhat cheaper than their hobby counterparts. However, one should know that the odds of pulling anything good from them are very low or nonexistent, when compared to the hobby version. This is why you will usually notice many “all base” breaks from these packs. Using three hockey card products I will compare the odds differences. I will start with the best retail packs in terms of odds of pulling something good and continue to the worst. It should be noted that there are blaster boxes available for purchase which won’t be shown in the comparison, but their packs will usually have lower odds than retail (an example would be UD Series 1 Hockey, in a blaster pack the odds of pulling a young guns rookie is 1:6 vs. 1:4 in retail).

Note: In this comparison, pricing per pack is based on the box price divided by the number of packs. The price you pay in store will likely be more as they usually will try to round up to the nearest dollar (or more) and there is normally a premium on individual packs versus buying a box.

Information Source: dacardworld.com and mirajtrading.com

1.  2007-08 OPC Hockey

Hobby box ($64.99 CDN)

36 Packs, 6 cards per pack ($1.81 CDN/pack)


 Marquee Rookies – inserted 1:2

OPC Quad Materials – inserted 1:144

OPC Signatures – inserted 1:432

Regular Set Silver parallels – inserted 1:6

Superstar insert – inserted 1:4

Buybacks – not shown


 Retail box ($54.99 CDN)

36 Packs, 6 cards per pack ($1.53 CDN/pack)

Marquee Rookies – inserted 1:2

OPC Quad Materials – inserted 1:288

OPC Signatures – inserted 1:864

Regular Set Silver parallels – inserted 1:12

Superstar insert – inserted 1:4

Buybacks – not shown

Looking at this product, there is not much of a price difference. This is one of the products where there is a possibility to get a big hit, but the odds are fairly low even in hobby. However, if you’re chasing them, hobby is the way to go as it doubles your chance of getting one of the bigger hits (quad materials, signature, and parallels) for a slightly higher price. However, if you do not collect them, this is one of the products which gives you the option of completing the base set at a reasonable price, still giving you a rookie in every other pack whether it’s retail or hobby. This is an example of a reasonably good retail pack, as it still gives you a chance of pulling the bigger hits (even though the odds are extremely low) at a reasonably low price.

2. 2007-08 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey

Hobby box ($95.95)

24 Packs, 8 cards per pack ($4.00/pack)

o Young Guns – inserted 1:4
o Signature & Memorabilia Cards
o UD Game Jersey – inserted 1:12
o Big Playmakers Jersey – numbered to 50
o UD Game Patch cards – numbered to 15
o Big Playmakers Patch cards – numbered to 10
Big Hits
o Signature Sensations autograph cards – inserted 1:288
o Clear Cut Winners die-cut cards – numbered to 100
Parallel Cards and Inserts
o UD Exclusives regular set parallel – numbered to 100
o UD High Gloss regular set parallel – numbered to 10
Superstar Inserts
o NHL’s Best – inserted 1:12
o Hometown Heroes – inserted 1:12
o NHL Award Winners – inserted 1:24
o Lord Stanley’s Heroes – inserted 1:24
Regular Cards
o 200 Regular Cards

Retail box ($50.95)

24 packs, 8 cards per pack ($2.13 CDN/pack)

Rookie Cards
o Young Guns – inserted 1:4

Signature & Memorabilia Cards
o UD Game Jersey – inserted 1:24

Superstar Inserts – inserted 1:4 includes the following sets:
o NHL’s Best
o Hometown Heroes
o NHL Award Winners
o Lord Stanley’s Heroes

Upper Deck’s main product has quite a price difference between hobby and retail (hobby costs almost double the price of retail). However, it is justified for this product. Looking at the cards you can pull from the two, hobby is the only one that gives you a chance at pulling the higher end jersey cards, autograph cards, and parallel cards. If you do not want to take your chances in pulling these, retail is still a pretty good run for your money. You can still pull the standard game used jersey card, all the inserts, and even the young gun rookie cards at the exact same odds as hobby. The odds of pulling a rookie being the same in retail as in hobby is what makes retail worth its money, as these rookies are usually the ones that will hold their value. Either way, with this product you will usually get what you paid for.

3. 2007-08 Artifacts Hockey

Hobby box ($120)

10 packs, 4 cards per pack ($12/pack)

Memorabilia Cards
o Treasured Swatches – #’d to 299
o Frozen Artifacts – #’d to 299
o Treasured Swatches/Frozen Artifacts, Silver Parallels – #’d to 100
o Treasured Swatches/Frozen Artifacts, Gold Parallels – #’d to 50
o Treasured Swatches/Frozen Artifacts, Icy Blue Parallels – #’d to 25
o Treasured Swatches/Frozen Artifacts, Red Parallels – #’d to 10
o Treasured Swatches/Frozen Artifacts, Purple Parallels – #’d to 1
o Treasured Swatches/Frozen Artifacts Patches, Bronze Parallels – #’d to 50
o Treasured Swatches/Frozen Artifacts Patches, Gold Parallels – #’d to 25
o Treasured Swatches/Frozen Artifacts Patches, Red Parallels – #’d to 10
o Treasured Swatches/Frozen Artifacts Tag Patches, Purple Parallels – #’d to 1
o Tundra Tandems (dual jerseys) – #’d to 125
o Tundra Tandems (dual jerseys), Icy Blue Parallel – #’d to 50
o Tundra Tandems (dual jerseys), Icy Red Parallel – #’d to 25
o Tundra Tandems (dual jerseys), Icy Black Parallel – #’d to 1
o Tundra Tandems (dual patches), Silver Parallel – #’d to 35
o Tundra Tandems (dual patches), Icy Blue Parallel – #’d to 25
o Tundra Tandems (dual patches), Red Parallel – #’d to 10
o Tundra Tandems (dual tag patches), Black Parallel – #’d to 1
o Tundra Trios (triple jerseys) Blue – #’d to 75
o Tundra Trios (triple patches) Red – #’d to 10

Rookie Cards
o Artifacts Rookies – numbered to 999
o Artifacts Rookie Redemption cards – inserted 1:10
o Signature Cards
o Auto-Facts – inserted 1:10

Parallel Cards
o Regular Cards – Silver parallel – #’d to 100
o Regular Cards – Gold parallel – #’d to 50
o Regular Cards – Blue parallel – #’d to 25
o Regular Cards – Bronze parallel – #’d to 10
o Regular Cards – Silver Rainbow parallel – #’d to 1
o Regular Cards – Gold Rainbow Auto parallel – #’d to 1
o Legends/Stars/Rookie Cards – Silver parallel – #’d to 100
o Legends/Stars/Rookie Cards – Gold parallel – #’d to 50
o Legends/Stars/Rookie Cards – Blue parallel – #’d to 25
o Legends/Stars/Rookie Cards – Bronze parallel – #’d to 10
o Legends/Stars/Rookie Cards – Silver Rainbow parallel – #’d to 1
o Legends/Stars/Rookie Cards – Gold Rainbow Auto parallel – #’d to 1

Regular Cards & Subset
o Legends/Stars – #’d to 1499
o 100 Regular Cards

Retail Box ($40)

24 packs, 5 cards a pack ($1.67/pack)

Legends/Stars (1:36 – numbered to 1499)

Artifacts Rookies (1:36 – numbered to 999)

Rookie Redemption cards (1:48)

Memorabilia cards 1:36 -
2007-08 UD Artifacts Tundra Tandems Metallic Purple – not numbered
2007-08 UD Artifacts Frozen Artifacts Purple – not numbered

Auto-Facts 1:172

From personal experience, this is one of the worst retail products I have ever seen. First off, you could purchase an entire box for $40 and still have a good chance of pulling no memorabilia card, or even only base for that matter. Without inserts available in this product and low odds of pulling anything in retail, there isn’t much incentive to purchase it. Unless you’re feeling really lucky there isn’t any reason to waste money on retail and you should opt for the hobby version even though its cost is way higher per pack as you will usually get something out of it.

SUMMARY:

  • - Retail packs are usually sold at most hobby stores, along with any chain stores (Wal-Mart, Target, dollar stores etc)
  • - Hobby packs are usually only available at hobby stores due to their higher price which chain stores aren’t willing to offer
  • - Retail packs will usually provide you enough value based on what you’re paying for them. Don’t expect to get any big hits, as most retail packs won’t even contain them, they’ll only be available in hobby
  • - Do your research at home on what’s available in retail packs if you plan on buying them, this way, you will know what you have a chance of getting
  • - Some retail packs will usually be worthless with a very low chance of getting anything. This appears to happen with most packs that don’t contain inserts and low odds of pulling a rookie (i.e. Artifacts)
  • - Note that the blaster boxes you can purchase may have even worse odds than retail packs
  • - Make sure you know whether or not you’re buying hobby or retail when purchasing cards packs from anyone. Some may try to charge you hobby price on retail packs. All hobby packs will have the word “hobby” clearly marked on the wrapping. If you don’t see it, then it is most likely a retail or blaster box pack. This is probably the most important thing to note, as there is a large difference between the two.