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What is the difference between buying packs at wal-mart or target, and buying the hobby packs?

Where do you guys shop for your cards? Regardless of buying packs, boxes, or singles. I've been primarily using Ebay so far because I can't find anywhere around me that sells cards. I live in Minnesota near Mall of America and Field of Dreams is there but all they have is the SP Authentic's right now. That and a few singles but nothing I really like.

I feel your pain, I have the same problem, I don't have a LCS around me either so I usually buy my boxes and I have bought a few singles online, there are a few good ones the one I use most is I have bought from amazon and from the market here on beckett and Welcome aboard and I hope this helps you.
Thanks for the tips I'll check those out.

Any other suggestions?
I've mainly bought singles online.. I do not do much trading. I buy boxes at my favorite local card shop (LCS) called PJ's Sports Cards in Chula Vista, Ca (San Diego). But sometimes he is a little high. Not too often though, but Basketball variety is limited.. not too many basketball collectors in San Diego, even though we have a more than a few shops in San Diego County... but most are small & don't have much to offer.

If buying boxes online.. I'd recommend or Http:// Those are the two biggest most respected internet dealers. Also, check out Beckett Media. There are tons of dealers that sell boxes. Search around when buying boxes... using ebay is not always as good, because it is hard to tell if a seller is trustworthy or not when it comes to boxes. Even though they have 100% feedback, doesn't mean they don't try to come up on busting wax.. meaning, they open part of a case, pull that "case hit" then sell off the (what I call) junk boxes...

When ever I made a big purchase of boxes, I used DAcardworld. I've talked to Blowoutcards on several times about prices of cases.. the products I called on are about the same as DAcardworld.

I would recommend staying away from retail boxes. Be careful when buying boxes on ebay. some of the wording is tricky... you think you are bidding on a hobby box, come to find out it is retail. The possibilities of pulling a good card are much better in "hobby" boxes. They cost more, but the payoff is way more. Also, boxes at Target, Walmart, or other retail store could of been searched... or tampered with. I seen a box yesterday that was opened with a razorblade. Couple packs were open, then thrown back into the box... sucks when there are thieves & bad collectors searching packs/boxes...

good luck when you decide to buy another box. is a good site for singles too!
Pretty much everything jpleazme805 said. However, to answer the difference between packs at Wal-Mart and Target vs. Hobby Packs...

In some cases, there is no difference. In fact, there are some cards in retail packs that you won't find in hobby packs. However, those retail exclusive cards don't really carry much value on the second market because people would rather buy the cheap packs themselves instead of buying a card online for the same price as the pack. Also, this isn't the case most of the time of Hobby and Retail being the same. Some cases that are good examples of them being the same would be 2009-10 Upper Deck, 2009-10 Panini, 2007-08 Topps, and a few others. These retail boxes (called Blasters by most) more times than not have a "1 hit per box (on average)" (be careful of that ON AVERAGE). Sometimes, those hits are the same as the hits you'd get out of the hobby box. In fact, you could buy four blasters of one product, get a guaranteed 4 hits which would be the same number of hits you're guaranteed from the hobby box, and it might be a few bucks cheaper. BUT, you are less likely to get something that would be considered a case hit which you might be able to sell for a nice chunk of change. Also, there are cases like 2008-09 SkyBox where you can pull a GU card, it looks exactly the same as the regular version, except for some green in the background, signifying it's retail. I don't know why, but the retail is valued less (BUT THEY LOOK ESSENTIALLY THE SAME, LOL).

Some examples of cards that are much different between Hobby and Retail:

2007-08 SP (Retail Version) and 2007-08 SP Authentic (Hobby Version)
2008-09 SP (Retail Version) and 2008-09 SP Authentic (Hobby Version)
2008-09 Hot Prospects (the Draft Day subset and RC are blue and the RC have no AU or GU, but in the Hobby versions they do and the Draft Day are numbered)
2008-09 SkyBox (the GU have a green backing in the retail, but everything else is the same)
2009-10 Donruss Elite (the Retail version doesn't have a metallic foil-like background like the Hobby version)
2009-10 Absolute (Retail Version) and 2009-10 Absolute Memorabilia (Hobby Version) (Retail version has no shine to it)

Those are just some of the differences. You also have to be careful too as there are Retails "Hobby" boxes, at least that's what I call them. Blasters may come with anywhere between 8 and 20 packs, but there are some bigger boxes that might have 24-36 packs. In the case of 2008-09 Upper Deck MVP, that isn't really a bad thing actually. There isn't a big AU or GU list in that product and you're almost guaranteed to get a complete set and have a chance at some Rose, Love, Mayo, Westbrook, etc. rookies. But in the case of 2008-09 Hot Prospects, you're guaranteed 1 GU (maybe a rookie, but not likely), I believe the Draft Day are still different, and since the set only has 90 base cards, you'll easily get the set, maybe two.

I myself am trying to stay away from Retail as it's an addiction to grab a few packs or a box when I go shopping, but I could save that and get Hobby Boxes here and there. It's all about discipline.

Another thing I'd like to warn you about is Mixed Boxes. There are some that guarantee stuff like a graded card, or a GU or AU or RC, etc. And some of them seem like great deals, 16 packs for $20, etc. All of the packs are retail, the graded card may be nothing spectacular (the two I got was a base card of MJ that was $2.50 and a Shaq SPx card worth $4), and the GU/AU might be loose in the box and might get damaged.

And don't get drawn in by the awesome Retail stories either. One user on here pulled a 1/1 Joe Johnson Patch from a 2008-09 Hot Prospect pack from the Dollar Tree. I pulled two GU and an AU from a blaster box of 2007-08 Stadium Club. Someone pulled a Bill Russell AU /24 (I think) out of a mixed box from Walmart. I pulled 4 GU and some other great inserts from a mixed box from Walmart that only guaranteed 1 GU. These stories are few and far between, so don't get drawn in.

Well, I think I typed enough. lol. Sorry for the book, but hopefully it helps.