Many collectors have their eyes set on a certain card and prefer to collect cards individually.
This may work for you if you’re trying to build up a specific collection, but there’s another way to go about collecting sports cards.
And it’s much more fun: Hobby boxes!
Hobby boxes are boxes that are sold at your local hobby store and attract a lot of interest from veteran collectors.
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They come as a set of a number of different items including sports cards and ‘inserts’.
Take a look at the 2018 Topps Series 1 MLB Baseball hobby box.
This factory sealed hobby box includes 360 cards, including Rookie Cards & Rookie Autographs of Alex Verdugo, Victory Robles, and other legends.
It also has 21+ inserts including Topps Salute, Superstar Sensations, MLB Awards, 1983 Topps Baseball, and more.
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This massive collection is much more attractive and interesting to collectors than purchasing individual cards.
They provide an element of surprise and the potential to find a highly valuable card that you can profit off.
If you want to add more high-end or mid-level chase cards, game-used memorabilia patches, autographs, and multi-signature cards, you should consider checking out a few popular hobby boxes.
Is A Hobby Box A Good Investment?
The short answer: Yes. There’s no doubt. Hobby boxes give you the chance to purchase hundreds of sports cards at once.
If just one of these cards turns out to be a highly valuable one, you can make back all the money you spent on purchasing the box – and some more.
In fact, it has been found that sports cards can earn you more money than investing in stocks.
The increase in the value of cards is mostly based on the principle of scarcity, which is not used by modern sports brands.
As explained earlier, a hobby box comes with a high probability of hits: cards that are not produced on a massive scale and vintage cards from decades ago.
These cards are now easily worth hundreds of thousands of dollars because of how rare they are.
If you have watched the Bruce Willis movie, Cop Out, you may have an idea of what people can do for a valuable sports card.
To put it in simple words, hobby boxes contain a good number of insert cards, or hits, that are produced in the limited quantity. These cards can earn you a surprising fortune in the long run.
The Top 5 Hobby Boxes of All Time
Now, if you’re looking to buy a hobby box because of its premium content, you want to make sure you pick the right one that can give you the most value.
After all, if you wanted something ordinary, you could’ve easily just opted for a retail box.
We have done our research to figure out what kind of boxes can get you the best returns.
Here are the best options according to our research:
2011 Topps Update Baseball Update Series (buy on eBay)
First on our list is the 2011 Topps Baseball Update Series Hobby Box.
This box allows you a chance to find signed autographs or relic cards (one per box) as well as Topps 60 Autographs, Next 60 Autographs, Diamond Duos (retired + current player combo based on a similarity or connection) and several other high-value cards.
It gives you a high chance to find a hit like Mike Trout 2011 Topps Update RC.
Take a look at how the value of this card has gone up recently.
This gives you a good idea of the sort of returns you can expect from this hobby box.
The box also offers multiple Diamond parallels for player collectors.
In addition, it also contains All-Star Game patch cards and several rookie cards for late-season call ups.
In total, the 330-card base set box features 36 packs, 10 cards in each pack.
2019 Panini Prizm Basketball Hobby Box (buy on eBay)
The most recent hobby box on our list, the 2019-20 Panini Prizm Basketball Hobby Box offers you a chance to find hits like the Zion Williamson Prizm rookie card.
This is an extremely valuable card.
In fact, a customer recently found a Zion Williamson’s rookie card worth over $100,000 in a New York shop.
Other than Zion Willaimson, you can find hit rookie cards like Ja Morant, Cam Reddish, Jarret Culver, Rui Hacimura, and more. In total, you can collect Silver Prizms of around 20 rookies.
If you’re lucky, you can find high-value Rookie Signature Prizms Mojo.
The two signed autographs per box include rookie cards from current and retired players. You can also find top players under Sensational Signatures.
1986 Fleer Wax Box Break (buy on eBay)
The oldest hobby box on our list, the 1986-87 Fleer Wax Box Break Hobby Box makes for a fantastic investment.
Valued at around $75,000, the 30-year old box is well-known for its Michael Jordan rookie card.
The last few were sold for $66,000 in 2017, and a couple more for $75,000 at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention.
You can also buy individual packs from this hobby box, for around $2000 each. Most investors and collectors are chasing after Michael Jordan rookie, which is amongst the most desirable rookie cards for basketball enthusiasts.
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Back in 2017, a collector from New York who bought this box was lucky enough to find not just one but THREE Michael Jordan rookie cards. According to one analyst, the value of these cards could be around $28,000.
The box also offers you a chance to find some other high-grade rookies cards, like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
1993 SP Baseball Hobby Box (buy on eBay)
More than two decades old, the 1993 SP Baseball Hobby Box is among the all-time high-value boxes due to the various hits it offers, including Derek Jeter rookie card, which is rated as one of the most iconic baseball rookie cards of the 90s.
The 290 cards box comes with 18 All-Stars, and several rookie cards in each box. In addition to Derek Jeter, you can also find one of the best Johnny Damon’s rookie cards, along with Chipper Jones and Manny Ramirez cards.
The hobby box also features inserts like Platinum Power, which include 20 best home run hitters of the 90s. There is a good chance of finding these hits one in every nine packs.
In total, the box comes with 24 packs, with 12 cards in each pack.
2017 Panini Prizm Football Hobby Box (buy on eBay)
Released a couple of years back, the Panini Prizm Football Hobby Box is a great choice for football fans.
This hobby box comes with a lot for collectors as well as investors, with some wild inserts, colorful parallels, and rookie autographs.
And if you are lucky, you might end up with a Mahomes rookie card.
A Mahomes rookie card is highly sought after and could give you fantastic returns when you decide to sell it.
The box also comes with around three signed autographs in each box, in addition to 9 numbered Prizm parallels.
The 2017 Prizm Football Hobby Box was also the first one in the series that came with several new items, like Prizm autograph Rainbow and Bronze Stars base rookie and autograph.
The hobby box offers you a chance to find several high-value cards, including Randy Moss Tribute set of 15 cards, and a signed card with only 25 cards printed.
The box contains 12 packs per box, with 12 cards per pack, along with a few hits guaranteed in each box.
In addition, there is also a chance to win Rookie Patch Autograph cards, numbered to only 99 or even less. This makes it an interesting hobby box for people chasing relics.
Hobby Boxes vs Retail Boxes
A lot of collectors often ask whether they should go for hobby boxes or retail boxes.
Retail boxes are sold by big stores like Target and are very easy to find, compared to hobby boxes that are sold exclusively in card shops.
Some large cities may have just one shop, or the closest one may be a long drive away.
Despite that, hobby boxes are the premium choice. They come with more cards compared to retail boxes.
Even though most of the cards you find in the hobby boxes are the same as you get in a retail box, a typical hobby box comes with a higher number of special premium cards, also called hits.
You may be wondering what makes these cards so special, or a hit.
Well, these special cards include serial numbered baseball cards, game-used memorabilia patch cards, certified autograph cards, and other premium cards.
Compared to a retail box, a hobby box is also packed with a higher percentage of inserts and rookie cards.
You can even find exclusive cut autographs, multi-signature cards, multi-color jersey patches, and similar special inserts that are often not available with retail boxes.
The inserts are designed to diversify your collection and to add more value to it.
Other inserts may include pieces of gloves, bats, jerseys, and other sports equipment.
Besides, in some hobby packs, brands are also adding older cards that offer you very good value in the secondary card market.
Hobby boxes also tend to include a higher saturation of rookie cards.
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Like insert cards, these are also produced in limited quantities. Some are even produced only once.
The first card ever produced for a player is, in most cases, the most valuable one.
Based on the scarcity and the player the card features, rookie cards can get you a higher price than other inserts.
However, there is one downside.
Since hobby boxes offer more value, it is natural that they are more expensive than a traditional retail box.
You can expect to pay around 1.5x to 2x the price of a retail box.
Despite that, the probability of finding a hit is much greater compared to a retail box.
Simply put, even when expensive, a hobby box offers you a much higher value.
So, if you’re a high-end collector and are after cards from premium brands that include Upper Deck, Topps Five Star, Topps Dynasty, Immaculate Collection, and National Treasures, and more, you don’t really have a choice between a retail or a hobby box.
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That’s because all these premium brands are only available with hobby boxes. You can’t really collect cards from these brands if you’re buying a retail box.
In addition, there are several other mid-end sports cards that are only available as hobby boxes.
The bottom line is, hobby boxes make better sense because:
- They offer you guaranteed autographed inserts and rookies
- High chances of finding hits
- They provide you a better profit opportunity
Plus there are few feelings on earth better than ripping open a box of cards and seeing a dozen or two packs ready to be taken behind the woodshed 🙂
The Bottom Line
Whether collecting sports cards is just a hobby for you or you’re a collector looking to invest in cards, hobby boxes are a fun and lucrative choice.
Hobby boxes like 2019 Topps Chrome Hobby Box and 2019 Topps Series 1 Baseball Hobby Jumbo Box Break are good options for baseball enthusiasts.
For football lovers, the 2019 Panini Select Football Cards makes perfect sense.
You can also learn more about investing in the sports cards that you find in your hobby box in our archives.
You’ll also find detailed reports we’ve written about individual cards there. We regularly cover interesting cards in detail.
If you have any questions, or just want to chat with a fellow sportscard enthusiast, feel free to drop a comment or email us at email@example.com.
If you are about to drop a fair amount of money on a hobby box and are having second thoughts… don’t click on purchase!… email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a second opinion and advice in regards to the purchase.
We’re always looking forward to having a chat with our readers.