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Retail Review: 2008-09 Black Diamond Blister Pack Retail Box Break, Volume 2

December 14, 2011

Back in May when I was at the Spring 2011 Toronto Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo, I was having a difficult time finding boxes at a price that was both affordable and offered what I felt was any sort of possibility of a decent return on my investment.

Throughout my travels up and down the aisles that day I scoured for what I would consider to be a deal, with nothing to show for it.

Finally, toward the end of the day, I returned to a booth I had been to on a number of occasions already and came across a box of 2008-09 Black Diamond Retail Blister Packs that I had somehow overlooked on a number of previous visits.

At first I thought something was labelled incorrectly: 108 packs for $110.  That’s entry-level product pricing, not something I expected to find on a product like Black Diamond.

After reading the odds on the packages I quickly handed my money over to the dealer and was on my way.  As my review of that box would indicate, I was pretty happy with what I got, despite a few shortcomings and quality control issues.

Those issues were easily offset by having my expectations shattered when it came to the number of Triple Diamond and Quadruple Diamond short prints that came out of the box though, as I received significantly more of each than I had expected to when I paid my money to the dealer.

So when I was faced with a similarly fruitless search for deals at last month’s Fall Expo show, I went back to what I felt was a reliable option and picked up another 110 pack box to have some fun with.  And once again, I feel like I did pretty well for myself.

The last time around I took the descriptor of the odds on the Triple Diamond and Quadruple Diamond “Regular Cards and Rookies” to mean that the combined sum of the two came out at 1 in 8 and 1 in 24 packs respectively.

As I mentioned already and as the table below will show as well, those odds were soundly beaten with my Spring Expo box.  But since that was the only box of this product I had opened, the approach I took with this box was that I had simply gotten lucky last time around.  As such, I lowered my expectations back down to my original interpretation of the writing on the pack for this box too.

Based on that lower level of expectations, the odds stated on the packs indicated that I should receive the following from my box:

  • 27 Double Diamond SPs
  • 13 Triple Diamond SPs
  • 4 Quadruple Diamond SPs
  • 1 Gold Parallel
  • 9 Perimeter Cuts Die Cut inserts
  • 1 Gemography Autograph
  • 4 Quad Jersey cards

The table below and pictures that follow show what I actually ended up with.  Once again, I either got really lucky or I was completely wrong in my interpretation when it came to the short printed cards.

Odds

Fall Box

Spring Box

Complete Single Diamond Sets

3

2

Double Diamond SPs

1:4

25

29

Triple Diamond SPs

1:8

15

13

Quadruple Diamond SPs

1:24

5

5

TOTAL SP CARDS

 

45

47

Triple Diamond Rookie Gems SP RCs

1:8

13

11

Quadruple Diamond Rookie Gems SP RCs

1:24

7

4

TOTAL ROOKIE GEMS

 

20

15

Gold Parallel /10

1:80

0

0

Gemography Autographs

1:96

1

0

Premier Cuts – Single Diamond

1:24

4

4

Premier Cuts – Double Diamond

1:24

6

5

Premier Cuts – Triple Diamond

1:170

0

0

Premier Cuts – Quad Diamond

1:1015

0

0

TOTAL PREMIER CUTS

1:12

10

9

Quad Jerseys – Regular

1:25

3

2

Quad Jerseys – Ruby

#/100

0

0

Quad Jerseys – Gold

#/25

0

0

Quad Jerseys – Onyx

#/10

0

1

TOTAL QUAD JERSEYS

1:24

3

3

        

*****

Ratings & Assessments

Base Set – 3 out of 5

Typical of a tiered set with multiple levels of short prints, the player selection in the base set portion of 2008-09 Black Diamond is nothing spectacular.  Outside of Corey Perry, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, Brendan Shanahan, Jeff Carter, Patrick Marleau, Alexander Semin, and Mike Green, there isn’t a whole lot of star power jumping out at me.  In fact, even including some of those names under the category of “star power” likely stretches the definition just a little bit.

From a design perspective I could have done without the lines crisscrossing each other in the background.  My preference would have been for the hazy/cloudy metallic look more common in Black Diamond releases, similar to that featured on the Perimeter Cuts insert cards.

With that said, I have always been a fan of the Black Diamond line for its prominent display of the featured player and this set still does a decent enough job of that for me to like it more than I can complain about it.

Autographs – 2.5 out of 5

This box provided me the Gemography autograph that I had expected to receive, something the box from back in May did not.  A player that at one time looked be a top prospect in Edmonton, Andrew Cogliano was the player I pulled.  Unfortunately Cogliano didn’t pan out in Edmonton and is now doing a whole lot of nothing with the floundering Ducks in Anaheim.

I’m not a huge fan of the design of the Gemography set.  Too busy, too small of a photo, and just too much trying to be crammed on to a small space.

Inserts/Parallels – 5 out of 5

I’m including the Triple and Quadruple Diamond short prints in this portion of the assessment because they are chase cards more so than are base set cards in spite of their being numbered as a part of the main set.

My expectations were more than exceeded by what I pulled from the short prints and I got a bonus Premier Cuts insert in the mix as well.

The collation on the Triples could have been a bit better – no matter how big of a Red Wings fan I am, I didn’t need three Datsyuks – but other than that I cannot really complain; solid resale options littered throughout the packs.

Memorabilia – 2 out of 5

Pretty underwhelming this time around as I was short one quad jersey card from what I had expected and each of the three I did pull were of the base set variety.  Arnott, Latendresse, and Lundqvist were the pulls and obviously Lundqvist is the only one to get even remotely excited about.

I like the quad jersey concept and their prominence in the design of the cards.  Compared to most jersey cards inserted into products these days it feels like a whole lot more jersey than you would usually see. I was also pleased that all of the cards were multi-coloured.

Rookie Cards – 4.5 out of 5

11 different Triple Diamond Rookie Gems among the 13 total pulls.  6 unique Quadruple Diamond Rookie Gems among the 7 total pulls.  Each of those numbers far exceeds my expectations and in the case of the Quads, far exceeds the odds as well.

Though none of these players have quite lived up to their potential thus far in their careers, they are still young and much of that potential still exists.  I can only hope that a couple of these guys become big names and can earn me a little income to invest in my permanent collection.

Quality Control – 4 out of 5

Unlike the Michael Frolik debacle that came out of my Spring Expo box, I had no issues this time around when it comes to damaged cards.

Collation-wise, my 108 packs yielded 3 complete single diamond sets, I finished one more after adding in some of the leftovers from the Spring box, and I am only 1 card short of a 5th set.

Not bad for collation on this Single Diamond cards, but as with the box from the Spring, the Double and Triple Diamond cards saw some pretty serious duplication, as did my Rookie Gems cards, but that’s fine with me given the sheer number of them that I pulled.

Not getting a Gold parallel for the second box in a row was a frustration, as was the jersey “haul”, but the Rookies more than make up for those shortcomings in my books.

Overall Box Value – 3.5 out of 5

108 packs is always going to be a lot of fun to open up no matter what you’re breaking.  Getting to open that many packs for the price that I did and not have it be an entry-level product is even more entertaining to me.

Some definite shortcomings were balanced out by some major exceeding of expectations and all in all I feel as though I got my money’s worth on my investment.

*****

So there is a rather long-winded box break and review post for your reading enjoyment.  If you happen to have card #6 featuring Tim Thomas from the case set, then please send me an e-mail (bb_bros@hotmail.com), it’s the only card I need to finish off base set #5.

What is your opinion on this set and what do you think about what I pulled?

Let me know your thoughts by shooting me an e-mail at bb_bros@hotmail.com, leaving a comment on this article, or connecting with me on Twitter or Facebook.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!

Ryan

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