Beginner’s Guide to Box Breaking

While card collecting is a historic and timeless hobby, “box breaking” has become a huge trend in recent years thanks to video streaming technology becoming much more accessible. In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of box breaks and why you might want to try one out.

What is a box break?

A box break (aka group break) is an event where collectors buy a spot in the break in exchange for receiving some of the cards in the case/box/pack. These are typically live streamed so that all participants in the box break can share in the excitement of seeing the pulls and hits as they happen. Box breaks have become a popular and economic way for collectors to get potentially higher-value or rarer cards without having to buy a whole box or case themselves.

How do box breaks work?

Box breaks can be done several different ways and it depends entirely on the breaker that you decide to buy with. Below are some of the more common types of breaks:

  • Pick Your Team (PYT): Collectors buy a team (or multiple teams) and they receive every card pulled from that team. Prices for the teams are predetermined based on popularity/checklist of the team.
  • Pick a Pack: Prior to the start of the break, collectors will select a pack number to be opened during the break. They receive all of the cards within that pack.
  • Draft Style: This break works similar to pro-style drafts. Breakers use a randomizer to determine draft order. After all of the cards have been pulled, the top person gets first dibs at picking a card. The second person gets to pick a card from the remainder, and so on until all of the cards have been pulled. There are some variations on how breakers run this draft style.
  • Division Break: In this break, collectors buy an entire division of a sport. For example, you would buy one of the four NFL divisions and then receive all of the cards from all the teams in that division. This break is typically more expensive but it gives collectors a better chance at getting a hit from the break and receive more cards overall.

Many breakers make their own variations on these common versions or invent new ones entirely. Make sure you look at the rules of the break before you buy a spot just so you know exactly what you should be getting out of the break before it begins.

How much does it cost?

Since collectors split the cost of buying the box, it is always cheaper than buying one on your own. But prices can range dramatically for a spot in a box break and there are several deciding factors. Perhaps most importantly, the quality of the box/case. If it is a “hot box” with a higher ratio of hits (autographs, memorabilia cards), then breakers will charge a premium price since the box was likely more expensive. The price also varies depending on the slot that you purchase as mentioned above. In short, you can find decent breaks anywhere from $25-$100 but the prices can jump significantly as the quality of the product increases.

Why should I try box breaking?

Value: Without a doubt, box breaking is one of the most cost effective ways to get cards you’re interested in for an affordable price. Instead of having to buy a box yourself and invest hundreds of dollars, you can pay a fraction of the price to get the teams you’re interested in. There is also a certain amount of quality control that comes with box breaking: buying a spot in a higher-caliber break means you could potentially get an extremely valuable card at a cut-rate.

Community: Another great benefit to box breaks is the camaraderie that goes along with the break. These are typically live streamed with a chat group running alongside. Collectors can share in the excitement of watching pull after pull, hit after hit. Some breaks run auctions during the stream so participants can have a little fun competing with one another. There can even be bonuses and giveaways during the livestream which is another added benefit to participating live.

From a breaker: We asked our friends at 702 Breakers why they think collectors should try out box breaking:

Collectors should give breaking a chance because it allows them to snag a bunch of hits and cards from their favorite teams out of several boxes at once and really amp up their collection quickly. Plus with breaking, it is instantaneous. You know exactly what you’ve hit from the comfort of your own home rather than having to travel to a brick and mortar store just to pick up a box.

We should add that 702 Breakers is one of the only breakers that ships every single card from every single product—even ones with thousands of cards involved—making them one of the more unique breakers out there.

What’s next?

If you decide to try out box breaking, you’ll likely get add a whole slew of cards to your collection. Obviously, you’ll want to know their value whether for bragging rights or to potentially sell them if they’re not what you need. Our free price guide will give you the current market value, so you can easily and quickly find out the rate of return on your box breaking experience.

If you’re a box breaker that would like to be featured in our blog, please get ahold of us in the comments. We have some ideas for working with you! If you’re a collector who loves group breaks, tell us some of your favorite breakers in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to Box Breaking”

  1. I have a 1966 topps padres bruce bochy #428 unsigned baseball card. I enter the info in and replies broaden the info. Show an example card and what needs to be entered. For example a legend. This would simplify your program for idiots like me. I have 30 cards, most of them are in the 1980’s. Only 1 signed 1984. Pro cards red sox brian conroy #940. Make it simple for stupid people like me that never sells baseball cards. Thank you for your time, Gail Bartell

    1. Thank you for the feedback, Gail! We are working on this suggestion and really appreciate you taking the time to use our site and help us improve it!

  2. I have run across a very large amount of cards while going through deceased mothers house, I’m talking 1000’s of cards ,looking for value or where to take them to sale,many have never been oprn,lots of different brands. I have not even end opened up the large boxes they are in so there is probably different sports cards on there. Help

    1. Hi Debbie, thanks for commenting! We have the fastest and easiest price guide online. Try searching for the cards using their year, player name, and card manufacturer (e.g. Topps) to find their average market value. You can also check out this article for tips on how to sell your cards online:

        1. 1993 Donruss baseball came in series 1 and series 2… so you could search Mavin for something like “1993 donruss baseball series 1 unopened box” and it says an unopened box of 36 packs goes for $20… so that’s $.556 per pack… so if you have 1000 packs maybe they’re worth $555.55. But that’s for a sealed box, not sure if your cards are loose or in boxes. Here’s the search results I mentioned:

  3. I saw that you wanted to hear from any box breakers that were reading the article so I thought I would just introduce myself. I am Michael, the creator and founder of Sparked Breaks, a box breaking company that specializes in super affordable single box breaks. We are unique in the sense that we ship all cards no matter what and offer a program called the stack where we hold the cards for the buyer until they have accumulated enough cards to fill a 400 count storage box, to save them on shipping costs. However, if the buyer does want the cards as soon as we break the product we do also offer standard shipping. Just thought I would introduce myself here and see if there are any projects you would like to work on together, as I am a newer box breaker trying to find an audience at the moment.

    1. Shameless plug but I’ll allow it! Happy to promote a box breaker. Sounds like a good idea to hold the cards until they accumulate and ship them all at once. Good luck with the hobby/business!

    1. Hey Chris, thanks a lot! I checked out your website, very cool! Also followed you on Twitter. I recognized the SketchCard name from the Beckett article!

  4. Hello, ive always been interested in box breaks. I was a huge collector growing up, however, many things led to me quite the hobby. As collecting as made a comeback, i again have started to once again collect. I live in Idaho and collecting still has not returned. Our nearest hobby shop is a three hour drive. Salt Lake City Ut or Boise Idaho. I would love to bring the excitement of these breaks to my area. Maybe an interesting article would be on starting box breaks in an area that has nothing!! From 0 to 100 % !!!!

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