Wednesday Wax: 1999-00 Topps Series 1 Hobby

The Set:
1999-00 Topps Series 1
36 packs per box, 11 cards per pack
Series 1 base set contains 110 base cards, 10 rookies inserted 1 in 5
MVP Promo, 1 in 336 packs
Record Numbers, 1 in 12 packs
Season’s Best, 1 in 12 packs
Patriarchs, 1 in 22 packs
Picture Perfect, 1 in 8 packs
Prodigy, 1 in 36 packs
Prodigy Refractor, 1 in 144 packs
Autographs Group A, 1 in 877 packs
Autographs Group B, 1 in 351 packs

Our Break:
Definitely received a complete base set, likely came up with two.  As with our Series 2 break, the base cards have the blindingly bright orange borders, with otherwise nice action shots of the player in the center.  The photography in the Shaq we’ve shown above is magnificent, capturing the dominance of Shaq’s time with the Lakers.  Again though, we busted this box for shot at some nice inserts, and because it was a cheap break with much enjoyment in pack breaking.  It’s nice to open 18 packs and realize you still have half the box to go.

’99 Draft Picks (8): Jason Terry, Corey Maggette x2, Ron Artest x2, Richard Hamilton x2, Elton Brand

Picture Perfect (6): Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Keith Van Horn, Tim Hardaway, Ron Mercer, David Robinson

Record Numbers (4): Karl Malone, Kerry Kittles, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan

Season’s Best (2): Tim Hardaway, Vince Carter

Patriarchs (2): Mitch Richmond, Patrick Ewing

Prodigy (1): Michael Doleac

Prodigy Refractors (1): Matt Harpring


Once again, the design and flair on some of these insert sets, Patriarchs and Season’s Best in particular, is something you just don’t see in modern-day sets.  The Picture Perfect inserts don’t do much for me, but most of the others are attractive and colorful sets.  Prodigy has a Chrome feel.  The excitement I felt opening the Prodigy insert and refractor quickly faded when I saw the players on each card.  Certainly could have done better, but pulling an insert with 1:144 odds felt pretty good.

Pulling multiples on several rookies was disappointing as well, but at least these are of guys that are still playing today.

As with our series 2 break, this one was a blast to break, and it won’t cost a fortune to pick up.  These should be available for under $30 on ebay or elsewhere.  One of these days we’ll open an autograph, but for now, we’ll treasure our Matt Harpring Refractor.

Wednesday Wax: 2000-01 Topps Reserve

The Set:
2000-01 Topps Reserve
10 packs per box, 5 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 base cards, 33 rookies
12 8×10 Autographed Canvas
21 All-Star Veteran Relics
15 All-Star Rookie Challenge Relics
1 PSA Graded rookie card included in each box

Our Break:
46/100 base set, 2 duplicates

Rookie Card /999 (1): Jamal Crawford

PSA Graded Rookie /999 (1): PSA 8 Craig ‘Speedy’ Claxton

All-Star Veteran Relic (1): Gary Payton

8×10 Autographed Canvas (1): Antawn Jamison


A unique set in several ways.  This was the only basketball set from Topps released under the ‘Reserve’ name, evolving from the ‘Gallery’ brand.  The card fronts have paint splotches to make up the card borders, with a game action shot centered to create the appearance of a canvas.  The card backs have some stats not typically included, showing how the player performed on various days rest (0,1,2,3+), in addition to season averages.  It was a bit disappointing to open any duplicates at all considering we opened less than half the base set, but could have been worse.

Something else that doesn’t make much sense to me is including anything less than PSA 9 graded cards in the box.  Unfortunately this wasn’t a great rookie class either.  We were fortunate to open one of the few still in the league as our regular rookie in Jamal Crawford.  Some of the other top rookies in this set are Kenyon Martin, Mike Miller, Hedo Turkoglu, and Stephen Jackson.  Yeah… ouch.

In 2000 the early craze for game used cards was in full swing.  A set of relic cards from All-Star weekend was a nice change.  Clearly there is a chance to open cards of some of the league’s best in this set, such as Stockton, Malone, Shaq, Duncan, Hill, Robinson, but also some up-and-comers at the time in Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, etc…

The draw of this box is of course the 8×10 canvas, with the grand prize being a Shaq or Magic Johnson autograph.  We weren’t lucky enough to open one of those, but Jamison isn’t a bad consolation.  The others on the checklist are Jermaine O’Neal, Elton Brand, Shawn Marion, Andre Miller, Baron Davis, Steve Francis, Wally Szczerbiak, Keyon Dooling, Larry Hughes, Mike Bibby, and Maurice Taylor.  The big prizes at the time were likely Brand and Steve Francis, the star rookies from the previous year.

If you want a different box-opening experience, as well as a chance (a slim one) at a Shaq or Magic canvas, this is a low-risk box that could result in a high-reward.

Wednesday Wax: 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified

The Set:
2010-11 Totally Certified
6 packs per box, 5 cards per pack
Base set contains 150 base cards, 35 rookies autographs
Relic and Gold Autograph versions of some of base set
15 Totally Certified Potential
50 Fabric of the Game Jumbo Jersey #
50 Fabric of the Game Jumbo Team
Red/Blue/Gold/Green/Black parallel versions

Our Break:
Each card is serially numbered.  The base set is /1849.  Collector’s will either need to open a lot of boxes or do lots of buying/trading to complete a base set of these.  The draw with this product is the rookie autographs (John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins), the chance at autographs and relics of stars such as Griffin, Kobe, Rose etc… and of course the HRX video cards.  This product also includes several retired legends such as Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, John Stockton, Karl Malone, among others.  Here’s what we opened:

Base cards /1489 (16): Gerald Henderson, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce, Chris Paul, Paul Millsap, Mehmet Okur, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, Jameer Nelson, Gilbert Arenas, Danny Granger, Rodney Stuckey, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Aaron Brooks

Red /499 (5): Brandon Jennings, Zach Randolph, Matt Barnes, Hedo Turkoglu, Richard Hamilton
Blue /299 (3): Pau Gasol, Chase Buddinger, Kevin Love

Red Materials /249 (3): Andrew Bogut, Tyreke Evans, Luis Scola

Green Fabric of the Game /299 (1): Rasheed Wallace

Rookie Autographs /599 (2): Landry Fields, Ed Davis (Redemption)


First, want to applaud the design on the rookie autographs.  They look sharp and having on-card signatures makes them appealing.  While our box didn’t contain the most highly sought after rookies (John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Evan Turner, etc..) we did pull two solid rookies, one of which starts on a playoff team that looks like it could make a deep run this year (Fields).

Pulling even a base card of a superstar such as Lebron, Kobe, Durant, etc… would have been nice, but with a base set of 150 cards and the box containing only 16, this can’t be expected out of an average box.

While the big hits in this product provide an exciting pack-busting experience, the typical box won’t deliver an adequate return.

Wednesday Wax: 1999-00 Topps Series 2 Hobby

The Set:
1999-00 Topps Series 2
36 packs per box, 11 cards per pack
Series 2 base set contains 117 base cards, 10 rookies inserted 1 in 5, and 10 USA cards inserted 1 in 5
MVP Promo, 1 in 172 packs
All Matrix, 1 in 15 packs
Team Topps, 1 in 18 packs
Impact, 1 in 24 packs
Impact Refractor, 1 in 120 packs
21st Century, 1 in 27 packs
Own The Game, 1 in 44 packs
Autographs (Groups A, B), overall odds 1 in 98 packs

Our Break:
Without going in and counting, I am fairly certain we opened a complete set of base cards, while also seeing many, many duplicates.  We probably have close to 10 Danny Ferry base cards, so any Danny Ferry collectors, hit us up.  The orange bordered base set might be my least favorite Topps base set of all-time.  The action photos are nice (gotta love young Kobe hanging in the air pre-layup/dunk in the photo above), but who are we kidding, we opened this box for the inserts and a chance at a Topps Autograph (reasonably inserted at 1:98 packs, basically every third box).

’99 Draft Picks (7): Alexsandar Radojevic, William Avery, Cal Bowdler, Quincy Lewis, Dion Glover, Jeff Foster, Kenny Thomas (Most, if not all of the good rookies were in Series 1)

USA  Basketball Team Card (7): Kevin Garnett, Gary Payton, Steve Smith, Tim Hardaway, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Tom Gugliotta

All Matrix (3): Shaquille O’Neal, Antoine Walker, Keith Van Horn

Team Topps (2): Reggie Miller, Grant Hill

21st Century (1): Jonathan Bender

Own The Game (1): Jason Kidd

Impact (1): Kobe Bryant


Fantastic value, beautiful inserts.  Our box looks like it contained pretty standard results for this product.  It was right on the odds for the inserts, didn’t hit on any of the higher odds inserts such as the Impact Refractors or the Autographs, but did pull several nice inserts that had lower odds (Shaq, Kobe).

The USA cards were interesting.  Who knew Tom Gugliotta played for Team USA?  Fun trivia fact there.

Pick up this box if you don’t want to break the bank (you can find a box for under $30), but still have a shot at some nice autographs and inserts.  Really can’t stress enough how great these insert sets are.  These types of cards are what is missing from today’s products.  The scans in this post don’t give an accurate picture of how nice these cards look.  Give me these over a game used card of Andres Nocioni any day (nothing personal, Andres- we actually could pull one of these in our next break, 10-11 Totally Certified).

Wednesday Wax: 1998-99 Bowman’s Best

The Set:
1998-99 Bowman’s Best
24 packs, 6 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 base cards, 25 rookies (1 in 4 packs)
Refractors 1 in 25 packs
Atomic Refractors 1 in 100 packs
Veteran Autograph Atomic Refractors 1 in 10,073 packs
Rookie Autograph Atomic Refractors 1 in 12,515 packs
Veteran Autograph Refractors 1 in 3,358 packs
Rookie Autograph Refractors 1 in 4,172 packs
Franchise Best 1 in 23 packs
Mirror Image 1 in 12 packs
Mirror Image Refractors 1 in 628 packs
Mirror Image Atomic Refractors 1 in 2,504 packs
Best Performers 1 in 12 packs
Best Performers Refractors 1 in 628 packs
Best Performers Atomic Refractors 1 in 2,504 packs

Our Break:

94/100 base cards, 38 duplicates

Rookies (6): Tyronn Lue, Bryce Drew, Keon Clark, Brian Skinner, Al Harrington, Paul Pierce

Best Performers (3): Grant Hill, Antawn Jamison, Mike Bibby

Refractors /400 (1): Chauncey Billups
Franchise Best (1): Karl Malone

Mirror Image (1): Shawn Kemp/Keith Van Horn


Wouldn’t take much to complete the base set of 100 cards, as we were just a handful short from our one box.  It’s always enjoyable to open 90’s products to see the league where the league was heading at that time.  You’ve got Shaq and Kobe just before their Finals runs.  The overlap of the end of Robinson’s career and the beginning of Duncan’s.  Pippen, Barkley along with Hakeem on the Rockets.   All of the base cards have golden strips at the top and bottom.  Imagine how nice these would have looked if these sections were colored to correspond with a player’s team colors.

1998-99 Bowman’s Best was one of the first products to have short printed rookie cards in the base set.  While we would have loved to have seen a Dirk rookie, Paul Pierce was a fine second choice.  The rookies, inserted at 1 in 4 packs, have the same glossy and metallic look as the rest of the base set, but have silver top and bottom sections, with a darkened background of an arena crowd.

The number of inserts in this product is certainly on the low side, particularly since only one refractor is usually included in each box.  This was also one of the first products to include serial numbered cards.  The refractor we did pull (Chauncey Billups) is really a beautiful card.  Could have done worse there for sure.

The chase inserts are the Kobe Mirror Image card and the Jordan Franchise Best card, and of course the refractor and atomic refractor versions of any of the inserts, which all have extremely tough odds.  The odds on the autographs are pretty mind-blowing as well.


Base Set: 3/5 Stars
Inserts: 3/5 Stars
Value: 3/5 Stars
Overall: 3/5 Stars

A fun break, but half of the packs held nothing but base cards, and the inserts we did pull weren’t necessarily worth the wait.  Best card was probably the Pierce rookie.  One insert refractor, a Dirk rookie, or even a star refractor would have pushed this break another direction though.

Wednesday Wax: 1994-95 Fleer Series 1

The Set:
1994-95 Fleer Series 1
24 packs, 21 cards per pack
Base set contains 236 base cards, 1 Toronto Raptors logo card, 3 checklists
Rookie Sensations 1 in 3 packs
All-Defensive 1 in 9 packs
League Leaders 1 in 11 packs
Pro-Visions 1 in 5 packs
Triple Threats 1 in 9 packs
Award Winners 1 in 22 packs
Career Achievement 1 in 37 packs

Our Break:

Lots of base cards, lots of duplicates

All-Defensive (5): Mookie Blaylock, Charles Oakley, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Dennis Rodman

League Leaders (2): Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Dennis Rodman

Pro-Visions (5): Jamal Mashburn x2, John Starks, Dennis Rodman, Dan Majerle

Rookie Sensations (10): Vin Baker x3, P.J. Brown, Sam Cassell, Anfernee Hardaway, Chris Mills, Dino Radja, Nick Van Exel x2

Triple Threats (2): Patrick Ewing, David Robinson


Have no reason to complain on much of anything from this box, as I got it off ebay for the price of most modern-day lower-end packs.  However, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed to pull multiples of inserts, particularly the three Vin Baker rookie sensation cards.  Also opened a ton of duplicates in the base set.  Pretty sure we came close to completing the base set, though.  Also had to spend a considerable amount of time pulling the cards apart.  Didn’t notice any damage to the cards because of this, though.

Inserts were inserted at 1 per pack, over a third of them being from the 25 card Rookie Sensations set.  Pulling the Penny Hardaway from this set was nice, and it ended being the best card in the box.  The chase cards from this insert set are the Hardaway and Chris Webber ($5 each).  The Pro-Visions cards fit together from what I can tell.  The Marshburn and Starks pictured above are cards 1 and 2 in the set, and their backgrounds run together.  Can’t argue with the variety of the inserts, pulling cards from 5 different insert sets.

It’s worth noting that the rookie cards from 1994-95 Fleer (Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Jalen Rose, Eddie Jones, etc…), are in the series 2 products.


Base Set: 3/5 Stars
Inserts: 4/5 Stars
Value: 5/5 Stars
Overall: 4/5 Stars

The base set design isn’t particularly exciting, but does feature nice action shots of the players.  The player name text also goes well with the splotch of color underneath.  The ding on the insert score is mainly because we pulled 5 duplicate inserts out of 24 packs.  We don’t need even 1 Vin Baker, and certainly not 3.  We also didn’t pull any of the inserts with tougher odds, even though we were likely to pull at least 1.  Again, a fun break, brings back a lot of memories of opening these as a kid.  Can’t argue with the value.  The Penny basically paid for the box all by itself.  While not as thrilling as the Flair break from last week, or even an Ultra break from the same year, it’s a solid product that delivers a lot of cards, a variety of inserts, and a reasonable amount of fun.

Wednesday Wax: 1994-95 Flair Series 1

The Set:
1994-95 Flair Series 1
24 packs, 10 cards per pack
Base set contains 158 base cards, 14 USA cards, 3 checklists
Hot Numbers 1 in 5 packs
Scoring Power 1 in 8 packs
Center Spotlight 1 in 25 packs

Our Break:

163 out of 175 base cards, 73 duplicates

Hot Numbers (5): Dikembe Mutombo, Hakeem Olajuwon x2, Scottie Pippen, Isaiah Rider

Scoring Power (3): Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone

Center Spotlight (2): Hakeem Olajuwon, Chris Webber


Opening this box was the most fun I’d had on a break in a good while, and it’s likely led me to open a box of Series 2 and to complete the insert sets from Series 1 and 2.  I think it’s partly because of the current NBA lockout, which has inspired me to go back and watch some games from the mid-nineties, making pulling some of the players from those games pretty awesome.

I remember opening a single pack of 94-95 Flair Series 2 when I was younger (around 8 years old when the set first came out).  I was in awe of the packaging.  Each pack comes in a little golden cardboard box, which is wrapped in clear plastic.  Then the cards themselves are wrapped in clear plastic.  While it takes a bit of effort to get to the actual cards, the effort is worth it.

The base cards have something that I miss in modern cards, and that’s player action shots filling the entire card.  The fronts feature multiple shots of the player and script text with the player name, with team name below.  The back of the card lists the player’s entire career stats, which I always appreciate.  What’s different about this set though is that the stats don’t hog the space on the back of the card, as an action photo serves as the background with the stats overlaid.  The USA cards show a game by game account for the player during the 1994 World Championship.

The inserts look fantastic.  I would have liked to have opened more than 10 out of 24 packs, but their rarity is part of what makes 90s inserts so appealing.  Shaq inserts are the most sought after from this Flair set, but I was pretty pumped to pull multiple Center Spotlight cards, beating the odds there.  The Chris Webber Center Spotlight and the Scottie Pippen Hot Numbers were the top cards in the box.


Base Set: 5/5 Stars
Inserts: 4/5 Stars
Value: 5/5 Stars
Overall: 4.67/5 Stars

The beautiful design on the base set, the high card quality, and the nostalgia factor made 1994-95 Flair Series 1 a great buy.  You should be able to find a box online for under $30 including shipping.

Wednesday Wax: 2010-11 Panini Playoff Contenders Patches

The Set:
2010-11 Panini Playoff Contenders Patches
20 packs per box, 5 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 base cards ‘Season Tickets’, 100 rookie autograph patches ‘Rookie Tickets’

Our Break:

83 of 100 Season Tickets, no duplicates
Die Cuts Silver /299 (2): Kevin Love, Tayshaun Prince

Rookie of the Year Contenders Die-Cuts Silver /299 (1): James Anderson
Place In History (3): Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol

Starting Blocks (6): D. DeRozan/E. Davis, D. Gallinari/T. Douglas, B. Lopez/D. James, E. Gordon/B. Griffin, T. Gibson/J. Johnson, B. Griffin/A. Aminu
Starting Blocks Die Cuts Silver /299 (1): B. Lopez/D. Favors

One-Two Punch (3): J. Flynn/M. Beasley, J. Holiday/E. Brand, S. Nash/C. Frye
One-Two Punch Die Cuts Gold /99 (1): R. Allen/P. Pierce

Rookie Tickets (4): Solomon Alabi, Omer Asik, Luke Babbitt, Hassan Whiteside (Redemption)


For the set collectors, the base set would be an easy one to complete, as we received over 80% of the base set in our box.  The inserts provided a nice mix of younger, up-and-coming players (the Starting Blocks) and veteran leaders and stars (One-Two Punch).  The insert card ratio was great as well, as there were 21 non-base cards in our box from 20 packs.  With 4 autographs and that many inserts per box, this product is a solid value for the price (selling for around $85/box at this posting).

One thing that stuck out on the base set design was the amount of white space, particularly at the bottom of the cards.  This is more noticable on certain cards than others, particularly on cards of the smaller guards like Jonny Flynn and Sasha Vujacic.  The stats on the ticket section of the card are well done, providing information on when the team was established, how many years the player has been in the league, etc…

The rookie patch cards are beautiful, and while the autographs aren’t on-card, the autographs are inserts which are typically favorable to the sticker autographs.  My only real complaint with the patches is how the bottom of each patch is covered up by the product name and year, and this is nitpicky as it does not bring down the attractiveness of the card too much.  The ticket theme is completely overshadowed by the huge patch though.

The theme of this set seems to branch in a bunch of different ways.  We’ve got the Contenders, Rookie Patches, and then the ticket theme.  I think the cards would fit together better if there was more of a focus on one of these themes.  It seems like too much is going on in one set.


Base Set: 3/5 Stars
Inserts: 5/5 Stars
Memorabilia and Autographs: 4/5 Stars
Value: 5/5 Stars
Overall: 4.25/5 Stars

For the price of the box, Playoff Contenders Patches is a good value with 4 attractive autographed cards per box and a variety of insert cards.

Wednesday Wax: 2010-11 Panini Classics

The Set:
2010-11 Panini Classics
18 packs per box, 8 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 base cards, 40 Legends, 40 Autographed rookies

Our Break:

Complete set of 100 base cards plus 30 duplicates
Legends /999 (2): Michael Finley, Chris Webber
Silver /250 (1): Jeff Green

Classic Moments (1): Rajon Rondo
Classic Combos (1): Karl Malone/John Stockton
Dress Code (2): David Lee, Andrea Bargnani
Dress Code Silver /250 (1): Toney Douglas

Classic Greats (1): Artis Gilmore
Blast From The Past (2): Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh

Membership Materials /499 (2): Tayshaun Prince, Pau Gasol

Autographed Rookies /699 (2): Luke Harangody, Terrico White


The base set design is one of my favorite designs from the past several years.  It does have a throwback feel with script text of the player, position, and Classics logo.  The primary team colors filling the majority of the background on the base cards make for a relatively bright and colorful set.  The base set had at least 3 players from each team, with a good mix of stars, established veterans, and up-and-coming players.  We also received a complete set of base cards, which is pretty rare and definitely a plus for those set collectors and the player collectors who want to be sure to pull a favorite player.

The two ‘Legend’ cards we pulled had a red and black color scheme with a black and white photo to give the card a look of nostalgia.  While the obvious legends were included like Bird, Magic, Dr. J, Moses, etc.., some of the choices confused me a bit, such as Michael Finley, Glenn Robinson, and Jamal Mashburn, among others.  Are these guys really ‘Legends’?

While I found the base set appealing, the inserts were another story.  I found most of the inserts relatively bland, lacking the vibrant coloring of the base set.  Instead most of the inserts have a similar look, feel, and color scheme.  The Blast From The Past inserts confused me as well.  Chris Bosh’s card, for instance, features him in a Raptors uniform.  Glad to see we have blasted back a whole year to revisit his exile in Toronto.  I’d imagine most folks would be more excited to pull a card featuring Bosh in his new Heat uniform.

The insert ratio is appreciated, which including memorabilia and autographs was close to one per pack (15/18).

The Membership Materials cards are made to look like membership cards, and contain a mix of retired and current players.  Seeing at least one of the memorabilia or autographed cards from the box feature a retired player would have been nice.

We pulled two rookie autographs in the box- no complaints there.  The rookie autographs in the set are just excellent as they follow the base design and are signed on-card.  Surely the top rookie autographs are popular and selling well.


Base Set: 5/5 Stars
Inserts: 2/5 Stars
Memorabilia and Autographs: 4/5 Stars
Value: 4/5 Stars
Overall: 3.75/5 Stars

My biggest suggestion for a future Classics product would be to include more retired players per box (only 4 cards in my box), which is what most would probably expect from a product labeled ‘Classics’.  Maybe this was just an odd box.