Wednesday, June 6, 2018

This never happens anymore

It's no secret that collation for trading card sets sucks and has basically sucked for the last 25 years.

I believe I've mentioned this before, but I don't remember pulling two of the same card in the same pack until Upper Deck came along. So I've been blaming them for turning a periodic frustration into an expected occurrence for the last few decades.

I am so used to the collation issues of just about every product on the market that I have certain expectations when I buy packs. For example, if I already own a fair amount of a certain set -- and by "fair amount" I mean at least 30 percent -- then when I buy a pack of that product, I expect a certain amount of duplicates. That shouldn't be so, but that's what I expect.

This has played out so often for me over the years as I have one-third finished sets everywhere, particularly from the last two or three years.

Yesterday, I stopped at Walmart because I had spotted on the Twitter that there were discounted baseball card boxes there. Good stuff, like 2016 Stadium Club. That's worth throwing a few dollars at even with the guaranteed duplicates.

Of course, when I arrived at Walmart, the only thing discounted was the usual -- lots and lots of football with some pro wrestling and some auto racing. That's all that I ever find in the discount bin.

However, I did find one lonely 24-card pack of 2016 Topps Bunt in there. I didn't really want to get it, but it didn't seem right for the baseball pack to have to share living space with sports that are clearly inferior. So I bought it.

I hadn't looked at the 2016 Bunt cards I owned for a long time -- it's not as pretty as 2017 Bunt. But I counted them up and I had 87 of the 200 cards in the set.

That's 43 percent. That's plenty enough cards to be pulling 6, 7, 8, even double-digit dupes out of my 24-card pack.

I pulled out the first card. Nelson Cruz of the Mariners. I checked the Bunt cards I owned already. There was no Nelson Cruz. So that's a card I needed.

The next card was Brian McCann. I checked again. Hmmm, I need that card, too.

Dallas Keuchel was next. And I needed that card, too. Wow. Three needs in a row. That was worth taking note.

The next card was Aaron Nola. And the Bunt cards I owned already told me that this was my first 2016 Phillies Bunt card.

Four needs in a row. What was happening?

The next cards, Matt Kemp, Don Mattingly, Carlos Carrasco, Ozzie Smith. All needs.

Anthony Rendon. Rod Carew. Hanley Ramirez. Randy Johnson. Need, need, need, need.

Gregory Polanco, Willie McCovey, Shin-Soo Choo, Blake Snell. Need 'em all.

Curtis Granderson? Need. Jeremy Hazelbaker? Need. Starling Marte? Need. Hank Aaron? Need.

Carlos Gonzalez? That's a need, too.

And, of course, the only cards I expect to need in any given pack -- the inserts -- were needed as well.

So that was a 24-card pack (Bunt insists on counting its online "free pack" advertisement as a card) in which I needed every card, even though I owned 43 percent of the set already.

Again, this should be a common occurrence. But it's not. This basically never happens anymore.

And I am ecstatic to avoid the dupes monster entirely to pick up 21 additional cards for the set to officially go over 50 percent complete!

Is it enough to go for the rest of the set?

Not really.

It's about the small victories in the modern card hobby.

I beat the dupes monster.


  1. I almost can't believe it - not a single dupe? That's fantastic. I'll remember this next time I'm in the card aisle at Target.

  2. It is like a Topps miracle.

  3. I have a theory that Topps short prints some cards and puts them in a special pack that I rarely ever find. The same thing kind of happened to me the other day. I thought I owned 99% of Series 1, and my wife got me 4 packs. One of the packs had a good amount of cards I haven’t seen, which meant I needed them.

  4. Collation will never be as bad as one time I bought a box of Classic WWF cards...
    Every pack in the box was the exact same..
    Card... For... Card....
    They were even in the same order, for the most part..

  5. You have to treat that pack purchase like a no hitter. Don't talk to anyone. Go back to Walmart and buy another pack.

    1. Nope that was the only one, right? The mojo is over.

      And come on, you know we have the rest of what you need. Like the video game said, "Finish it!"

  6. Do you have a want list (aka what you're missing list since I'm not sure it's REALLY a want) for this set? I still have 2016 Bunt sitting in the same hobby box I bought them in, so can probably knock off a bunch of them.

    1. No list. I'm not really interested. But I won't say no to cards.

  7. I think I grabbed a complet Bunt set. For 5 bucks shipped. No dupes


  8. That really is nice. You were rewarded for saving that pack from those filthy cardboard inferiors!

  9. I think Topps basically poops out like 3 different collations of their blasters/ hobby boxes. So like..
    All "Version A" boxes have the same cards (save inserts and a random straggler or two), and all "Version B" have the same base cards, and all "Version C" have the same base cards.
    Your experience seems to be that you had already bought Blaster A and B, and were lucky enough to grab C this time.