**EDIT - we do not recommend ordering from Collector Crate at this time**
It looks like Collector Crate has run into some trouble. To see more on this, Sports Card Radio reported on it here first. Sports Card Info put together more on the story here. We do not know anything definitive at this time, but a lack of response from Collector Crate is troubling at the very least. It seemed like a promising idea that maybe another company will pick up from here, but for now we cannot recommend them as something to try out as we had wrote about below.
We recently won a twitter contest for a Collector Crate! We had never won a social media contest of any kind before, so needless to say this is pretty exciting to start with a crate! To quickly explain what these are, we will let their explanation do the talking:
"We are a unique monthly subscription service offering a mystery box filled with your favorite sports cards and collectibles. Choose from our 1 month plan without any long term commitment and receive the great cards and items included in our 3 and 6 month plans. You also choose from 3 different levels according to your budget. From the beginning collector to the seasoned hobbyist, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Don't forget to enter our monthly contest to win a CollectorCrate on Facebook
We received a silver level crate as the prize. These are the $69.99 level boxes and we had some idea what to expect based on the description, but once we opened the lid, it was amazing the amount of stuff that was inside! There is a detailed list on the Collector Crate homepage that identifies what comes with each level. Bronze starts at $29.99 and the highest is the gold level at $99.99. We will do our best to keep this post concise, while trying to use more pictures.
We decided to start with the non-traditional items that are not packs. When we won, they asked what our favorite 3 teams were. Those of you who know us, know the first team is the Red Sox and lucky for us there was a lot here (we also named the Giants and the Cubs).
The first piece that grabbed us was a Pedroia fathead! He is among my wife's favorite players, so this is an obvious keeper! Look for him to rebound in 2015 as he looks healthy for the first time in years!
Then many more Red Sox themed items including, sunglasses (my son now own's them), a metallic sticker, a mini pennant and a pack of 3D stars featuring Nomar Garciaparra! The pack revealed two Sammy Sosa variations, a Jason Giambi (NYY), and a Chipper Jones.
Next up was one of the massive 1984 Topps Super Size packs! These cards are obviously giant! Love the Carlton we pulled, but the centering is just a little off... vintage packs are often this way explaining why those old PSA 10s sell for big bucks! Not sure who the "other" piece is yet...1st baseman is my initial guess? The cut is strange enough to create an optical illusion that the card did not fit in the wrapper... but in reality it did.
So far this is a fun product to break! All kinds of goodies in the crate, especially related to our favorite team! However, there is even more... From top left and downwards in first picture... The mini helmet is the San Francisco Giants, hoping to get to a game out there soon! My son took the big league gumball very quickly! There is a pack of doubleheaders...have not opened one of these in years...we pulled Jerome Walton, remember how hot that guy was in 1990? My daughter immediately ran off with the fruit gushers pack. The 4 MLB chipz we got featuring Danks, Axford, and Robinson Cano. The mystery Red Sox chip is Jacoby Ellsbury.
So far this crate has had a lot of very nice items, but the traditional packs are the biggest part of the fun for collectors! One pack jumped out at us right away, it was a pack of 1999 Skybox Molten Metal. These were innovative at the time for Fleer and were a mid-range hobby only product. The pack is oversized, but features standard size cards. The cool thing about our pack here is it's a 20th National pack. These were distributed only at the National in Atlanta that year. Easy to identify with the NSCC logo on the lower right. In case you are unfamiliar, the NSCC is the National Sports Collector's Convention, the biggest annual show each year. Often exclusive products are distributed at the convention, such as this pack we are about to open.
In addition to the usual Metal Smiths and Heavy Metal cards, each special NSCC pack had one metal die cut card in a 30 card set of only Braves! Hoping for a Hall of Famer, we scored a John Smoltz (bottom center)! Our Heavy Metal is another Hall of Famer, Roberto Alomar with the Cleveland Indians at the time (top left)! Todd Walker, Jason Giambi, Miguael Tejada, and Will the Thrill are solid players. Fantastic pack!
One of the coolest packs in our crate was a pack or can of 1998 Pinnacle Inside! These were released in can form, much like a standard soup can and you needed to open them with a can opener. One in every 47 cans were gold parallel cans, but we got a regular version. Each can has a different player or team. We received an Arizona Diamondbacks can celebrating their inaugural season! In every can when you open it, there is a pack of 10 cards sealed in plastic. **A tip is to make sure you open the can from the bottom.** These have value afterwards and many collect the cans. The cans opened from the top have little value. Our pack was great for the time as it included an Inside Tips Pitch Around card of Frank Thomas, Kevin Brown coming off a World Series win with a note of his trade to San Diego, Padres Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, a Miguel Tejada "rookie", a smiling Sammy Sosa, and a shortstop named Nomar Garciaparra who had just won rookie of the year in 1997. Very tough to beat that kind of luck if you imagine opening the pack in 1998.
We moved to another group of packs with that classic 1980s look and feel. Plenty of superstars and Hall of Famers to chase so we were excited to see who may be revealed? Top left we begin with featuring 1987 Fleer Star Stickers. The sticker card is the Chicago Cubs. Best pull here looks like an Eric Davis. Following next is a 1981 Fleer Sticker and All star game pack which features various team stickers and all star game trivia. The gum is very stuck to the Tigers sticker!
1989 Donruss is next, actually a favorite of ours! Will we see a Ken Griffey Jr rookie card? We did hit a "Rated Rookie" but it was Carlos Quintana. My sister was a fan of his back then and thought he was going to be a star player for the Red Sox... oh well. Last pack was a 1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes. No trouble pulling some stars here! Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron included!
The crate continues with more packs. The next group of packs covers a range of 14 seasons. More chances to pull some key cards in this group and we will open them backwards this time from lower right up to top left. So the order is 2000 Skybox Molten Metal, 2007 Bowman's Best, 1984 Topps, and finally a 1993 Bowman pack.
Starting with the 2000 Molten Metal we got some nice cards and hit an Emerald of Roger Cedeno, which fell one in every four packs then. Anyone win a fantasy league back then without that guy around to lead your team to a steals category win? The 2007 Bowman's Best was an excellent pack. Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez on the top row. A rookie autograph of Adam Ottavino, now in the Rockies pen, and the bottom row is an Ichiro and a Ken Griffey Jr. If you know these cards they are a nice design and hard to take photos from the refracting. 1984 Topps is another favorite of ours. The gum is stuck to a Larry Williams and of note we pulled a stunning Ripken. If graded, it's a 9 or 10 level card if it had better centering. A real pack fresh beauty. Lastly, a pack of 1993 Bowman. A Jeter maybe? No luck today, but notable cards included a Foil parallel of Red Sox super prospect Frankie Rodriguez (he was going to win many Cy Youngs awards) and the card of an up and coming Bernie Williams.
In the next group there is a very cool 1997 Donruss Preferred tin pack! The others are packs of 2013 Topps Chrome, 2015 Donruss, and 2001 Upper Deck Decade 1970s baseball. So this groups spans another 18 seasons, plenty of chances for stars!
We will start with the 2013 Topps Chrome, it's actually 3 packs together with the orange refractor pack bonus. The best three cards of the regular packs included a Jackie Bradley Jr rookie card, an Oswaldo Arcia xfractor rookie card and a 1972 look Miguel Cabrera. The orange pack is where these really impress. In that 3 card pack was a Nick Franklin rookie card, a Dustin Pedroia, and a Mike Trout!
2015 Donruss is a recent release and this one had many nice cards as well including a Clayton Kershaw, a Francisco Lindor Elite insert (he looks like a future star), and a Justin Garza Olympic card. Not a bad design this year and it looks like a challenging set to build still.
2001 UD Decade 1970s featured psychedelic cards of Ruppert Jones, Dale Murphy, Lou Brock, Dave Parker, and Joe Morgan. Lots of star power combined with a very classic 70s look is a winner! Finally, the tin had a nice group, highlighted by a silver parallel of Edgar Martinez. Edgar needs more of a look for the Hall of Fame, so be it if he was a DH.
So we have made it to the last few items now. The first is a pack of 1999 Topps Stars and Steel. These are oversized packs that open like a tri-fold booklet and feature steel cards made using what is termed "serilusion technology" where a film laminate is bonded to an actual piece of 25 gauge metal. Only in the 1990s did the collectibles industry see such unusual card designs. Each "pack" features three cards and there were Gold and Domed holographic parallels randomly inserted at 1 in 12 and 1 in 24 pack rates.
We hit 3 nice base cards featuring Andres Galarraga, Tony Clark, and Hall of Famer, Tony Gwynn. Tony Gwynn is one of those players who really should be recognized more for his hitting abilities than he is. He had such a quietly consistent career like few players to play any sport. Besides his shortened rookie year, he hit .300 or better every single year he played... into his 40s. Every single year. Consistent, period. He got to the postseason three times and hit .306. He played in two World Series and hit .371. Amazing hitter. Mr. Padre is missed.
We think it's a solid idea to add some guaranteed hits to the Collector Crate to make sure everyone gets something really exciting. We had plenty of great items as it is, but just in case the packs don't yield enough these are awesome! It comes in a black zip-lock style bag so that you don't know what will be inside. We were hoping it would have something to do with our teams choices in the beginning and we were pleasantly rewarded that way. At this level the promise is two game used items and two autographs and a rookie card, but there was more included. For the Giants fan in us we love the 1986 Topps Traded Barry Bonds rookie card. The first autograph is an Adam Lind numbered to 399 made. The other autograph was a Cesar Puello from 2014 Bowman Chrome. He has a nice combination of power and speed that may make the majors soon as he is up to AAA. As Red Sox fans first the game used cards are Jon Lester numbered to 399 made from 2013 Tier One and a green 2015 Donruss relic of David Ortiz! Additionally we received a Collector Crate card exclusive sketch print of Red Sox legend, Ted Williams! Emily Tester is the master of this artwork and she did an awesome job on this one! The last item is a porcelain example of Hall of Famer, Joe Kelley's T206 Old Mill card with a Piedmont back. Joe was born in Cambridge, MA and made his debut with the Boston Beaneaters. Only 1909 of these sets were produced, very cool card. Here is a shot of all of these hits:
We took our time opening this, enjoying every minute of it! The team at Collector Crate obviously does a nice job packing in a lot of variety. As you can see the packs will cover many different time periods and the miscellaneous items are excellent additions to a crate. Any sports fan would be more than happy to receive one of these as a gift or on a regular basis. The only caveat we can think of is that a seasoned collector may not enjoy this as much, as they may want to purchase their own packs. Different collectors often have very different tastes (an 80s collector may not like recent packs and vice versa). We enjoy many different aspects of collecting so a product like this is a winner to us. If you are looking for a gift for a collector or you are new to collecting, we cannot think of an easier way to get into collecting. You will get exposure to numerous areas of collecting with a Collector Crate and you can go from there when you learn what you like most.
If you ever need help with your sportscards collection, feel free to contact us. We would also welcome some comments below if you have any other questions or thoughts on this post. For more general information on sportscards and collectibles, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, instagram, or pinterest!