Thursday, January 21, 2010

1995 Pacific Prism Box Break (A Strange Ebay Experience)

1995 Pacific Prism Series 1 Box
36 packs, 1 card per pack
Cost:  $17.00 (includes shipping, purchased through Ebay)

I only have a few Prism cards from 1995.  I have no idea how I came to own them.  Player lots probably.  Every time I see one of them in my binders I wish I had more.  Inevitably I search Ebay only to be reminded  the singles sell for 1-8 dollars.  I have been hesitant to purchase any at those prices.

So when I finally saw a reasonably priced box of Prism on Ebay ($17.00), I thought "Ah ha!  I'll go right to the source!"

But this story has twists and turns.

After I paid I patiently stared at my front door, waiting.  One week.  Two weeks.  I decided I better politely contact the seller to make sure the box had shipped.  My email was ignored.

After three weeks passed I was pretty frustrated.  I wrote the seller again and explained I was going to file a claim and leave negative feedback.

The seller immediately replied this time around.  He said there had been an accident in the family.  Due to the stress he had forgotten to ship the boxes.  I accepted his reason.  I even offered to just take a refund and forget the transaction happened.  Oddly, he declined, saying instead he would ship my box plus a free one for my troubles.

I waited another week.  The seller lives on the same coast as I do so it isn't a haul.

Finally, after more than a month in total had passed, I wrote again saying I couldn't continue to deal with this forever.  I asked for a refund, this time more forcefully.  I gave a deadline, stating I would be leaving negative feedback.

The seller apologized and said he did mail the boxes.  I quietly doubted it.

He asked me to give him one more chance.  Now he was offering not one, not two, but three free boxes along with the one I had purchased.

A big part of me felt I was being strung along.  He assured me he would send them quickly and that they'd be at my home within 2-3 days.  I reluctantly agreed, assuming I was being a fool for trusting him again.

Much to my surprise, the boxes arrived soon thereafter.  Tada!  My trust and patience paid off (for once).  Four boxes for the price of one.  Sure, I had to wait over a month, but my cost was reduced from $17 a box to $4.25.  It was a bizarre interaction that ended happily, I think (more on that later).

144 total cards.  Holy colorful!  As much as I like these cards, one card per pack is downright silly.  Not quite as silly as a grown man lining up 144 cards on a living room floor, but silly nonetheless.

The set has 144 cards as well.  I got numerous doubles though, so I didn't come all that close to completing it.

I love the way these cards reflect light.  I get hypnotized.

Frankly, after opening all these packs I find I have more questions than answers.  The set puzzles me.  It came out during a time frame that I had stopped collecting, so I have no memories of it at all.  Looking into its history, I found hardly any information.  I couldn't even track down one review or article. 

For example, the box reads 'Series 1' but there is no 'Series 2' as far as I can tell.  Plus, my cards range from 1-144, pretty much.  Beckett does not indicate a Series 1 or 2.  I have never seen a second series box on Ebay.

I wonder if Pacific had intended to release a second series but for whatever reason it never came to pass.  Or was 'Series 2' football?

What happened?  Was the product too expensive?  Was it unpopular?  Did the one card per pack concept anger collectors?  It's a mystery to me.

I'll ponder while we look at more cards.

Rickey looks like he is just about to do one of his famous snatch catches that drove so many crazy (scanner shot).

Each pack also has a team logo card.  Presumably this was included to help protect the Prism card.  It's too bad the background of each is the same generic stadium.

Cal is one of the most valuable cards in the set.  There are no notable rookies.

The backs look almost like a second front.  

Ah, Trammell and Whitaker.  By 1990 or so these guys were pretty much known as the best SS/2nd Base combo ever (offense/defense).  It was taken as common knowledge that they were Hall of Fame locks.  How time forgets.

Back to the set:  Pacific produced 2999 cases of this product.  At 20 boxes per case that comes to just 720 cards in an entire case.  So if my math is correct, there should be about 14,995 of each card out there.  That assumes these were sold only in box form (not as complete sets).

Yet there are very few of these cards on Ebay.  Only about 30-40 at a time.

As far as boxes go, there's usually just one or two sellers offering them.

I've never seen a full set for sale.

So where is this product being hidden?

We know stuff considered junk is all over Ebay.  If these cards aren't being collected shouldn't there be a lot of them for sale at cheap prices?  If they are being collected, shouldn't the giant-Ebay-monster have hundreds of singles up for sale in the $1-8 range?


I hope the answer is that collectors appreciate these cards and have them safely tucked away in their homes.

I like the looks of them so much that I am even going to put the semi-stars (not shown) in my star books.  That's right!

15 years after their release, are these cards loved or forgotten?

How do you feel about them?

Oh and there's one more thing that has me confused.

Was I supposed to get Gold Prism cards in these boxes too or were they included in a different Pacific product (Pacific Crown boxes maybe)? 

Beckett doesn't specifically mention these are to be included in my packs.  It simply states they will appear in 1:12 packs on average; doesn't say which boxes they come from.

But they are the only other Prism cards listed besides the ones from my boxes (for 1995).

I didn't get any of these gold cards.  Were my boxes searched?  If so, that would add another strange layer to the peculiar Ebay experience involving a curious set.

One thing we do know, I am not the Sherlock Holmes of collecting, but I do likes me some cards!


  1. I completely forgot about these team logo cards. They are glossy, but I can rub them up and they'll be perfect for autographs.

    I remember buying a few packs of this, but it seemed expensive at the time due to the one card per pack thing. I always liked that Pacific wasn't afraid to try new things.

  2. If you got any of the Red Sox I would be interested.

  3. Adam,

    The only Red Sox double I got is the unstoppable Scott Cooper.

  4. Those are sweet. I love shiny cards and those are the epitome of shiny goodness. I'm glad the eBay thing worked out for you, too many good people have been burned there. I know you don't trade too often, but I would love to set up a Mariners for Orioles swap at some point. Let me know.

  5. You mean two-time All-Star Scott Cooper!

  6. Yeah, this is a sweet set. I would like to think that they are tucked away safely in people's collections. I too would be interested in just about any doubles that you had from this set, I just love the look of them.

  7. It's great to hear others love this set too. Glad it isn't lost to time.

    I'll figure out which cards I can trade and email people with the teams they like. Maybe it can be a starting point for some trades.

    I found out from Mark (at marksephemera) that these packs sold for $1.75 each when they first came out. One card. Whew. Steep.

  8. I had completely forgotten about these cards. I love the pic with 144 cards spread out across the floor... I had to look away to keep from getting dizzy. Anyway, now I think I'm going to have to dig through my cards to see if I can find any of these.

  9. I'm another lover of these cards.I would be interested in any Tribe duplicates . Let me know!

  10. I've only got one or two of these cards as well. Nice breaks dude, and you really can't beat $4.25/box, even if it did take a month+ to get them.

  11. i'm not sure if you still check this blog but i'd love to have the empty boxes of this and would be happy to buy them if you wouldn't mind contacting me - thanks!