By Bert Lehman
As vintage sports trading cards continue to increase in value, more and more collectors are seeking ways to get in on the action. The problem is unopened packs of vintage cards can be expensive, selling for many thousands of dollars.
Some companies have started hosting events in which collectors, through randomization, purchase a card position in an unopened pack. Then, when the pack is opened, usually during a live event, the collector receives the card that was in their numerical position in the pack. This creates plenty of anticipation when the pack is opened, but it also creates disappointment among collectors if there was a good card in the pack and they didn’t get that card.
To help alleviate the disappointment with collectors, Charlie Parrino, owner and founder of Just Rip It, has created the “equity pack.”
With an equity pack, collectors purchase a “share” in the entire unopened pack. After the pack is opened, the cards are sent to PSA to be graded. When the cards are returned from PSA, they are submitted to an auction house to be sold. Once the cards are sold, the proceeds are then distributed to all shareholders.
Parrino, who previously worked on Wall Street, compares equity packs to stocks. Stockholders can’t purchase an entire company, so they purchase shares in the company. Collectors who can’t purchase an entire pack of unopened vintage cards can now purchase a share in the entire pack.
“If someone can’t afford to buy the whole pack, they have a percentage of the pack,” Parrino said. “So if there is a good card in there everyone that buys an equity share will get a percentage of the so-called valuable card that could be in there.”
Through his experience of opening vintage packs through Just Rip It in which collectors are randomly assigned a card in the pack, Parrino said he noticed a letdown when a collector didn’t get the good card in the pack.
“I saw a little animosity there,” Parrino said. “With the equity pack everyone is rooting for everybody.”
A 1960 Topps Baseball unopened cello pack graded PSA 7 was the first pack Just Rip It opened using the equity pack method. The cost for one equity share in the pack was $550. Even though no Hall of Fame players were pulled from the pack, Parrino said all the cards were in really good condition.
“The reaction has been great,” Parrino said. “It’s one for all and all for one.”
Initial interest has been strong enough that Parrino said he could run five or six equity packs at the same time. He doesn’t plan to do that, though, because he doesn’t want to flood the market.
He does plan to venture into other sports, like football. He also wants to provide two tier levels of pricing, with a cost of $300-$400 for the lower tier.
“I don’t want to out-price the market,” he said.
He added that he only uses unopened packs that are graded. This helps eliminate packs that have been searched through.
To provide collectors with more bang for their buck, Parrino also gives royalty points to collectors who purchase a share in an equity pack. Royalty points can be accumulated and used to purchase items on the Just Rip It website. After an equity pack is opened, participants also receive dividends which can be points or merchandise. Dividends are given away via randomization.
“Everybody is getting something,” Parrino said. “It’s almost like a free consolation prize until we get the graded cards and list them with an auction house.”
The opening of equity packs can be viewed online.
“Whether you’re a customer of mine or not, you can watch for free,” Parrino said. “People still want to watch the opening of the pack whether they have a share in it or not. The response has been great.”
For more information about equity packs, visit