Stay Away From SP Authentic and other Hot Packs

I have some simple advice for you, but honestly, if you arent living by it already, something is wrong. Basically, from the beginning, I have said to stay far away from advertised hot packs on ebay unless you enjoy cheap jersey cards. This has become even more true with the recent release of 2009 SP Authentic, because its so easy to tell where the main box hits are in each box. In addition, there are sellers who will try to scam you into thinking that a retail pack is actually a hobby pack, thus putting you even further into a bad situation.

Now, many people think pack searchers are the scum of the hobby, but I have a little bit of a different take on it. Although I don’t support their trade, I don’t see how its that relevant anymore, unless it’s a case as stated above. Frankly, if you are going to Target to buy packs for hits, you should know that it is about as futile and worthless as another Indiana Jones movie. In addition, the sales of hot packs have hit the floor lately since jersey cards arent worth more than a few dollars anymore. Therefore, it really isnt that big of a deal when you see someone searching packs these days. Its mainly because of the fact that they probably wont be able to recoup cost so its their loss to try. Without getting into my case against retail purchases versus hobby purchases, SP Authentic creates a different problem for people who don’t know any better.

Because the retail products and hobby products are so different (they are completely different checklists), but still look similar in name and packaging, it leaves a window for exploitation. On top of that, hobby packs advertised as a guaranteed “something” are either resealed crap hits to make you think you have a shot at a Sanchez, or left over packs with the base rookie autos that arent worth anything. It is almost NEVER the case that you have a non-tampered or non-scouted pack, so don’t even think about buying them.


I know most of you are aware of this scam, but I wanted to post it for the newer readers who don’t know the history.

Pack Searchers Are One Thing…

Ever since the advent of jersey cards in products, people have been there to beat the system when opening packs to make money. These morally deceptive people have camped out at retailers across the country with their system, all with the goal of finding jersey and auto cards without ever opening the pack. These “pack searchers” have become some of the most hated people in the hobby, and have made buying loose retail packs for hits an unwinnable venture.

After obtaining these searched packs, they often sell them on eBay as “hot packs,” or packs of product for sale with guaranteed hits inside. Collectors often buy the packs expecting a chance at a nice card, but usually end up with nothing more than a plain jersey card. It’s unethical, damaging, and underhanded, despite the fact that manufacturers have used decoy cards to try and fend them off. As the companies have started to clearly label their retail packs, coupled with the decreasing value of plain jersey cards, pack searchers have diminished in numbers. It doesn’t stop people from trying their hand at it, but really, it’s not as much of a problem as it used to be.

There is one thing I saw recently that made me cringe, and that is the number of sellers out there who flat out cheat buyers who don’t know the logistics of the practice. Recently, an auction was posted, featuring the claim that the hot pack for sale contained a 1 of 1 superfractor out of 2009 Topps Chrome Football. Superfractors are extremely valuable for top tier rookies and players, and are some of the most sought after cards in the hobby. Every red flag I had in place started to go off in my head, rightfully so.

For those of you who have opened the packs of this product, its no surprise that this is a completely impossible claim to make. A superfractor is physically impossible to search out in an unopened pack, as the card features no discernable difference from the regular cards. They are not thicker, they don’t weigh more, and they are not a guaranteed hit in any box. Therefore, any claim that any unopened pack contains one, is 100% false.

Of course, because not everyone is familiar with these facts, there are bidders on the pack, which should end upwards of 100 dollars. I feel horrible for the winning bidder, because whoever buys the pack will end up with a superfractor that isn’t worth anything, out of a pack that has been opened and resealed. The seller has opened the pack, saw that the superfractor was probably a cheerleader card or lower tier player, glued the pack shut, and is selling it under the suspicion that the sale will get him more money.


The easiest way to punish any scam artist is to not buy into the scam, especially when there are very few avenues to take corrective action on this person. The seller’s pack will deliver what it says, but only because the person has advanced knowledge of what is going to come out of the pack. It’s completely unethical and unfair to the buyer, and I recommend never trusting anything you can’t verify with 100% certainty.

Personally, I would avoid hot packs all together, even if the sale seems legit. It encourages cheating, and provides funds for people who do not deserve them. You will NEVER make back your money, and the risk will never be worth the reward.