2021 has been an amazing year for me getting back into the hobby and leveling up my sports card game. I've had so much fun, learned so much, and am super excited about the future. It took me 7 months to learn a ton of valuable lessons, make some mistakes, and make some amazing purchases and plays that are sure to pay off in the near future.
I've even made trades with perfect strangers on Twitter, finding profiles stating PCs consist of guys like Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle - going back into my closet and dusting them off and trading them for some new NFL rookie autos. That was crazy fun.
But there's one area of the hobby that still mystifies me just a bit - breaking.
What is breaking?
Sport card breaks, or “breaks” are when a single person (or business) buys an entire box of sports cards, then charges individual collectors for the opportunity to “buy in” and keep a selection of cards from the box.
Typically the format is to enter a group on Facebook. The business/breaker makes a post stating which box(es) of cards will be part of an upcoming break, and gives a day, time and entry fee. If you want to enter the break, you pay the fee (usually via PayPal), and give them a number or team name.
Some breakers want a number, then they use random.org (a common randomizer) to assign pro teams to people that enter the break. For example, if it's an NFL box, I'd pick a number from 1 to 32 (because there are 32 NFL teams). If I pick number 24, whatever NFL team gets randomly assigned to number 24 on random.org, is my team.
Whichever cards the breaker gets that feature a player for my team, are my cards.
It's pretty much that simple.
The complicated part is keeping track of everything among your busy schedule.
But Facebook does most of the work, because within the break group (an actual Facebook Group, typically private, but sometimes public), the breaker goes live, opens the boxes, opens the packs, calls out who gets which cards based on their break slot (team explained above), and then posts this video on the break page after it airs.
So, if you can join live, you can enjoy the fun interaction with the breaker and everyone in the group.
It's kind of like a live Fantasy Football Draft type of vibe.
But if you miss the live airing (like I typically do), you can go back to the break page and watch the recording.
Also, good breakers will tag you in every post related to the break, making it easy for you to find / or hard for you to miss, at least. 🙂
How To Pick A Good Break Group
Admittedly, I don't have a ton of experience in break groups, and I've never conducted a break and don't plan to. 🙂
Still, I can offer some solid basic but important tips on how to pick a good break group.
1. Make sure you price out the box they're breaking against what they're charging. I've stopped entering breaks with a particular group because they were charging around $60 for a break slot, and breaking boxes that were about $60 for the entire box. Why would I do that? It made no economic sense whatsoever. Now, to their credit, they were including autographed helmets of significant NFL stars to people who got the lowest numbered card in the case they opened. So their overhead cost was likely a bit higher than just the cases they were opening.
2. Make sure they will mail you your cards free of charge regardless of which cards they pull for you. Some breakers will only mail out the "case hits" free of charge. "Case hits" are typically considered autographed cards, memorabilia cards or serial numbered cards. Another reason why I stopped breaking with the earlier group I was referring to is because they would charge to send you your regular cards, or hold them for months and send them all at once. I kind of thought this was a bit sleezy, even though it may be common. Not entirely sure.
3. Go with someone educational and entertaining. A group like @wildcardsboxbreaks on Facebook is a perfect example of someone to go with. They are more educational than anything else. Getting entertained should be a given, but getting educated about each player they pull is super important.
More than anything, sports card collecting and investing is about acquiring knowledge. Knowledge about players, potential, situations, card manufacturers, sets, brands, inserts...EVERYTHING!
Wild Cards does this with all sports, but they're especially experts in Baseball, which can be the most complicated to understand which cards are actually valuable.
Participating in Breaks can be like buying lottery tickets. You get your hopes up, only to get crushed, honestly.
But it can be very economical, entertaining and educational and FUN if you pick the right group.
This is why my pick is Wild Cards. They are the sponsor of the video / show seen here. More on Wild Cards (and why I like them) is below.
Paul Hickey is a Digital Creator, spending about about 60% of his work time building WordPress websites for small businesses, 20% of his work time running an eCommerce Sports Cards and Digital Collectibles business at NoOffseason.com and another 20% of his work time authoring books and creating digital art in the form of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).
In each of his entrepreneurial endeavors, he believes it's important to create a community. He strives to do this by creating helpful content for his audience (community members) to learn about the topics he's interested in.
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