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Box Break: 2002-03 Pacific Heads Up

March 21, 2012

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It’s been a long time since I posted a box break article here on the blog.  More than three months in fact.

Well the wait (for the 5 of you who I’m pretending may actually have been waiting) is over!  I’m finally getting around to posting the results of the box of 2002-03 Pacific Heads Up that I mentioned in my brief post about my trip to Ottawa just under a month ago now.

I was drawn to the product for a few reasons:

First, I have a bit of a bobblehead problem.  Not as big as my card problem, but I still have an affinity for the strange looking little things nonetheless.  This box came with a bobblehead doll included, theoretically limited to just 1,000 copies.  As you can tell by the picture at the beginning of the article, Peter Forsberg was the player I got.  A future hall of famer is not bad at all in my books!

Second, I knew I was (pretty much) guaranteed two quad jersey cards in the box based on the advertising on the packaging.  Keep reading to see who I pulled.

My eBay Store: Buy your Pacific Heads Up cards

Third and most importantly, the price was right.  At just $30 for the 18 pack box, it was just too tempting to pass up, especially when I knew I was getting the things I just mentioned at a bare minimum, to go along with a variety of other inserts and parallels.  Compared to some of my other options this seemed to be the best chance at having some fun, potentially recouping some of my costs, and staying within my limited budget all at the same time.

So here we go, time for the breakdown.


Ratings & Assessments

Base Set – 4 out of 5

I’m actually a big fan of the look of these cards, have been since the day the product came out.

As I have indicated in some of my previous box break reviews, I like when the player being featured on the card is able to stand out from his surroundings.  The colour photo against the mirror-like foggy/smoky look of the background on these cards achieves this perfectly for me. 

Granted, this look can result in some rather uninspiring photos being used, but I’m willing to accept that in most cases and this set is definitely one of those cases.

One issue I do have with the design work on these cards is the fact that the team names seem to more prominent than the players’ because of their position on the card and the unusual font.

Autographs – N/A

None available in this product.

Inserts/Parallels – 2.5 out of 5

As I often remember being the case with Pacific’s products, there’s not much here to get excited about here. 

I pulled a Vincent Lecavalier from the Head First set, Inside the Numbers cards of Markus Naslund and Evgeni Nabokov, a Postseason Picks featuring Mats Sundin, and Showstoppers of Roberto Luongo and Chris Osgood.


None of the designs are all that great and none of the pulls really were either.  Just a batch of inserts that seem as though they were created just so there was something other than base cards in the packs. 

I guess pretty much every manufacturer is guilty of these types of offenses though.

When it comes to the parallels I think Pacific missed the boat big-time by only changing the colour of the gold text and bars at the bottom of the card to the colour of the parallel set.


To me, a more appealing look could have been incorporated by tinting the fog/smoke background the colour of the parallel in question, thereby adding some more obvious distinguishing features than the barely-different-than-the-base-set end result.

Memorabilia – 3.5 out of 5

As I said earlier, I knew going in to this box that I should be getting two quad jersey cards.  While reassuring to know, I also knew that I could be in for a big-time let down based on some of the players Pacific tended to include on their “hits”.  I have an 01-02 Head Up jersey that will be in my eBay store soon that features Jere Lehtinen, Mike Keane, Benoit Hogue, and Blake Sloan. Ouch.

In the end it definitely could have been much worse than the cards you see below and the cards don’t look half-bad either.



Rookie Cards – 0 out of 5

I didn’t even realize this when I bought the box, but aside from a card that was inserted into every pack offering collectors the chance to get an entire batch of rookies via a mail in offer, there were no rookies to be found in this set. 

For those wondering why this category gets a zero when the Autographs category got an N/A, my reasoning is this:

I knew when I bought the box that it wouldn’t contain any autographs.  That was pretty much the norm from Pacific, which is something I knew well from back when they still existed. 

But not including rookies?

That was not the norm, was not expected, and given the hobby’s obsession with Rookie Cards (which was also the case back in 2002-03) is something I find inexcusable to be frank about it. 

Therefore it earns a goose egg.

Quality Control – 3.5 out of 5

A couple of issues here as the foil board had some minor chipping on around the edges of a handful of the cards.  Predictable given the all-foil design, but frustrating too.

Somehow there was also duplication amongst the singles, with four doubles making an appearance.  In a 90 card box with 125 cards in the base set, this simply shouldn’t happen. 

Inexcusable duplication.

Overall Box Value – 3.5 out of 5

Despite the shortcomings I encountered when it comes to the lack of rookies and the uninspiring insert cards, I’m going to bump it past the three mark overall because of how much I like the base set and the semi-decent jersey cards, with an added bump coming from the Forsberg bobblehead. 

I didn’t get anything I needed for my collection, so everything you see above is available for trade or sale, minus the Lindros/Fleury/Peca/Yashin jersey which I have already sold on eBay.

An all-around though, a fun break at a decent price and a box I’d consider picking up again if I can find it at the price I paid in Ottawa.

If you are interested in buying or trading for anything you see above just post a comment, email me at, or connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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