Guest article by Broscards

One of the newest ways to get connected with like minded collectors is the “group break”. In group breaks, a number of collectors all put money towards a number of boxes from any given sport. The boxes are busted either live on a site like http://www.ustream.com/, or recorded on a site like http://www.youtube.com/. Then, all the cards are shipped out to members who participated in the break.

There are several different styles of group breaks being applied to all sports and all brands. If a group decides on a “high end” product like National Treasures for example, they may decide to do the break by hit. That means you purchase a certain pull from that break. Say for example, you pay and the host tells you that you have hit number 12 from the case. Then when the case is opened, you will get the twelfth hit that is pulled. This type of break generally awards every member with at least an autograph or a memorabilia card. Often in these breaks though, one spot is reserved for all the base cards or parallel cards that come out of the case. In that instance, although that person paid the same price for a spot as someone who will be getting a single game used or autographed card, the person that gets the base card slot will get a number of cards, all base. This style is very popular on the site http://www.groupcasebreaks.com/

Another style that I use in the group breaks I host is the team style. In this style, there are two major variations. Let’s use football for our scenario. There are 32 teams in the NFL. Using a team style, you would need to have either 16 or 32 people involved. That way everyone either gets two teams or one team. Those teams are decided on by either a random draw or by a draft. Some groups have “owned” teams. An owned team is a team that a certain member has claim to every month. In the football break I host, we have 16 members from month to month and we do things a little differently. I noticed that in other breaks certain owned teams had a waiting list of members who wanted in the break when that owned team became available. In my break, there are 16 members, and everyone drafts two different teams from month to month. This way everyone has a fair shot at having a high draft pick and selecting the hot team, whoever that may be. In review, the team style is centered on either having one owned team and one drafted team, or two drafted teams.

When you are deciding on whether or not to join a group break, don’t be surprised if the price is not the price of the box divided by the number of people involved. If my group decided to break a $1600.00 case, the price for each of my 16 members would be around $110.00. This is not so I or any other host can make some money off the break. You need to remember that Paypal charges 3% on all payments. Then there are supplies like top loaders, penny sleeves, and bubble mailers to buy. Then finally, there is postage. Look at the product being opened and try to get a feel for how many cards each member will receive on average. This will give you a sense of what the postage will be. If you do the math, and it looks like the host is charging too much money, ask them to break down the cost for you. The object of any group break is to allow collectors who don’t necessarily have the budget to break a lot of wax to enjoy having a chance at the hits for an affordable price. Anyone who is hosting them to make money isn’t doing it for the right reason. Generally, prices for group breaks are around $20.00. The group break I host is $15.00 a month, due on the 10th of every month. This allows us a budget of around $200-$210 dollars worth of product every month!

I wouldn’t recommend starting a group break on your own. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to get involved in a break and build up a reputation and friendship with other members. Get a respectable number of completed transactions also before you try and host a break of your own. Other members will be less likely to join your break if you have not built up a level of trust on the site where it is hosted. Although 99% of traders are trustworthy, most everyone has had one or two bad experiences and is now always on the lookout. Once you have built up that trust, I fully recommend starting your own. It is one of the most rewarding experiences. Not only do you get to open boxes every month, but the friendships can last a life time.

Group breaks are a phenomenon that has gained wide ranging approval throughout the hobby in the last few years. It is a simple way for a group of collectors to become friends and share each other’s collecting interests. You get all kinds of collectors in these breaks. They range from team collectors to player collectors and everything in between. Meeting new people is just one rewarding aspect of our hobby. The group break is one of the easiest ways to get involved and start introducing yourself to other board members. Get out there and find some friends to start busting wax!

Keep Collecting.