On my way home Sunday, I decided to drop into a market that frequently has deeply discounted wax. This time, I found 2005 Fleer Patchworks packs going for a $1. If I recall correctly, they also had full hobby boxes available as well
When I made it home, I browsed through Beckett and saw that 05 Patchworks is only a 100-card set, which should make this one a pretty easy build.
Not so fast! Turns out the base set consists of 70 cards, and the final 30 of 100 are short prints. Short prints seeded one-in-eight per hobby box. In other words, if I paid the $80-100 going price for a hobby box of 05 Patchworks (18 packs/5 cards per pack), I’d end up with almost all of the base set, and only two out of the 30 short-printed cards. TWO.
I understand card companies want and obviously need to turn a profit. This, however, is beyond asinine. If I bought a 12-box case of Patchworks (or just about any other short-printed set, for that matter), and allowing for near-perfect collation, I’d still be short six cards out the short-printed set. Even with the better seeding ratios in products such as Allen & Ginter (1:2) and Heritage (1:3), it still takes a minumum of two hobby boxes to complete a set. And after all is said and done, I’ll end up with a ton of mostly-useless doubles.
Of course, it’d be tremendously simpler to buy a complete base set to begin with. But doing so kills the fun of putting together a hand-collated set.
Rather than continuing to pour money into essentially worthless extras such as game-used jersey cards, why not focus on making sets that are cost-efficient to build? And I’m not talking about de-fanged derivatives such as Opening Day and First Edition, either. I’m talking about 100-card sets, without massive amounts of ridiculously-seeded short prints, at a reasonable price? This year’s UD Icons Baseball seemed like it was a step back in that direction — until you see its pricepoint. $11-12 MSRP per pack (10 packs per box/5 cards per pack)? Who can afford that?
Short prints (ridiculously seeded ones at that) kill the fun of completing a set by hand. You’d have to buy so much product and count and miraculously perfect collation to get where you want to be. Short prints are added value for the manafacturers, not the collector.