Saturday was the monthly Pack Wars at our local card shop. Me and my daughter went for our first time last month, had a good time, so a return trip was in order. The guys who own and/or run the joint are very cool, and they have a great shop going. I’m not sure if “Pack Wars” is a industry-wide deal, but I’ve only seen reference to it one other time out East. This is how it goes down: Show up at closing time, purchase tickets for $1 apiece. These will be used as money for Pack Wars. I, of course, spent way too much. Everyone files in, a good mix of parents/kids, and a good range of collectors flying solo. Everyone bellies up to the counter, grabs their complimentary card box, and waits to begin. The first round is free. Everyone in attendance gets a pack of cards. This time it was 2011 Topps Opening Day. We all open, and the guys running this event call out what we’re looking for. It’s always something like “closest card number to 40 without going over”, or “highest career RBI”, or “tallest player”. You get the idea. Everyone starts yelling out what they have, a winner is found, and they usually score a jersey card of some sort, and you get to keep your cards. You also get a raffle ticket good for a drawing of stuff after the event. Next they start calling out what packs are being ripped for the next round, how much they normally cost, and what they are going for tonight. For example, “a pack of XYZ cards, normally $5, tonight is 3 tickets, limit 2 packs per person”. There is a flurry of tickets being exchanged for card packs, we all open, we all check out any hits someone might have pulled, the shop folks tell us what is hot from that set, etc. Then we find out what we’re looking for, and this is repeated all night. Older cards, all sports represented, old junk wax stuff, etc. Here’s some of what I pulled this time:
The Jake Locker auto was my hottest pull, especially being here near Seattle. A cool Michael Choice auto, too. The relic cards are the prizes from the rounds I won.
Interspersed throughout the night, they also do some trivia rounds. They ask a question, you yell out the answer, and if you get it, you pick out of a box of vintage cards. You have to guess the high book value of the card, and if you get within 20%, you get the card. It’s pretty insane seeing some of the stuff that comes out to win. Kids are usually given a ton of help, and some of them walk with INSANE cards for their collection. Totally cool concept. This night, being a life-long Steeler fan, I jumped on the question “what city has 3 pro teams all wearing the same colors?”. Hell yes, I nailed it in record time. The bad part? I know shit about card values, ESPECIALLY vintage card values. Here is what I pulled from the box to guess:
1959 Topps #543, Corsair Outfield Trio card
Cool that I pulled a Pirates card for answering the Pittsburgh question. They offered me some tickets to the end drawing if I didn’t try to guess, but if I’m going down, I’ll go down good. I just blurted out “buck and a quarter…hundred and twenty-five”. Damned if he didn’t turn the card over in front of me to show me the numbers on the back of the top-loader:
Nailed it. It’s now in my grubby paws, and in my small but growing vintage collection.
About 2 hours later, they do a ton of drawings. Some stuff is tongue in cheek, some stuff is crazed. They gave away a cool Yogi Berra autographed pic this time. Every kid in attendance gets something, and usually every kid walks away loaded with free card binders, etc. People mingle afterward to trade, and the owners throw down some pretty sweet discounts on boxes/packs. Kids also get the stuff some older cats didn’t want (we gave all our old junk wax football cards to one kid who was stoked, and I gave all my Red Sox cards to his pal). It’s a cool thing where you can open stuff you probably wouldn’t open on your own. I’ll be headed back again in a month