Sports breaks are big business these days, though they’re admittedly not for everyone.
And, in case you’re not familiar with the concept, the basic idea is that a “breaker” buys a box or case or other configuration of unopened cards and then “breaks” them — opens them, that is — in some public(ish) forum.
Because the entire enterprise is generally funded in some way by collectors who buy into the break in some fashion or another. For instance, you might pay a fee to buy all of the Yankees the breaker pulls from a box of 2020 Topps cards, while Joe down the street pays a similar fee for Dodgers cards.
In other instances, you might buy a chance at certain cards — Don Mattingly from a 1984 Topps box or Ken Griffey from a 1989 Upper Deck foil case.
Whatever the configuration, the basic idea is the same — you pay to get the cards you want from a break without having to foot the entire bill.
That’s the business of the thing.
But there’s another side to sports breaks — pure entertainment.
Because, even if you NEVER buy into a break, you can still enjoy the vicarious thrill that comes from watching as the contents of a really cherry pack or box reveal themselves.
YouTube is rife with those opportunities to peer in on the fun.
And, while many, many breakers focus on the hot new product of the moment, there are bastions of breaking excitement out there just waiting for us old-school collectors to discover.
To help you get a taste of the ripping life, vintage style, here are five fun YouTube channels that regularly feature old-card sports breaks, along with a specific video from each channel that really lights our cardboard fire.
Vintage Wax Packs
Vintage Wax Packs is not the most prolific channel on our list, and most of their videos run five minutes or less.
But what they may lack in overall volume of material, they make up for with the content of their videos, especially if you’re a fan of sports cards from the 70s and 80s.
A channel with wax packs featuring tall-boy basketball cards and Nu-Card wax packs and 40-year-old football packs?
Vintage Wax Packs will definitely leave you wanting more.
Video We Love: 1981 Topps Wax Pack Break
An easy choice for me, as 1981 Topps were the first cards I ever pulled out of a fresh, live wax pack. Nostalgia out the wazoo on this one!
Vintage Breaks steps us over into the business side of breaks — deep into the business side, in fact.
This channel gives you the complete “breaking” experience, including tagging card “winners” and plugs for you to get in on the action.
But Vintage Breaks is also a prolific content producer, pumping out multiple videos on most days.
They’re all about the hustle and grind, for sure!
But along with all the hubbub comes exactly what their name promises — vintage breaks. Expect to find just about any sort of sports card from the 1950s through the 1980s on this channel, with breaks covering all kinds of boxes and packs, and even high-end sets.
Video We Love: 1983 O-Pee-Chee Wax Pack Break
Yeah, another easy one …
1983 was the first year I seriously collected cards and *spoiler alert* there is an orange gum sighting in this video.
Another buy-in channel, Burl’s Sports is a cornucopia of vintage sports card eye candy, with much of the focus on set breaks.
Those are tons of fun, but it’s hard to beat the thrill of watching an unopened pack revealing its bounty. Luckily, Burl’s pops packs on occasion, too, making this a must-watch channel if you’re looking for that hidden-treasure sort of vicariousness.
Video We Love: 1984 Topps Football Wax Pack Group Break
So, turns out I’m a wax pack homer.
I “busted” pack after pack of these 1984 Topps football wax beauties when they first came out, and I can’t see that brown and blue wrapper without my pulse ticking up a few notches even today.
This is a small channel (right now!) but it’s packed (ha!) with the kind for cards that kids from the 80s drooled over every day for a decade or more.
If you have a hankering to witness a 1992 Donruss Triple Play pack break, for example, you’re not going to find a better outlet than Wax Ecstatic.
Video We Love: 1987 Donruss Wax Pack Break
1987 was probably the height of my collecting journey, at least the first time around, and 1987 Donruss epitomized those heady days.
They still do, for me. Whenever I see one of those orange-beige wax packs, like in this video, I’m 15 years old again, and anything is possible.
Jon’s Sports Cards
Jon’s Sports Cards is another business-focused channel, with high production values and plenty of videos to keep you coming back.
There is a lot of new-card material on this channel (which is also fun), but there are plenty of videos featuring old-school cards, too.
One of the neat things Jon’s does is to buy repacks from other vendors and break them on the channel, giving you an idea of what you might expect if you were to subscribe to those services or buy a lot from those other companies yourself.
Video We Love: 1984 Topps Baseball Vending Box Break
Bonus Channel: Wax Pack Gods
Yeah, this is a totally self-serving bonus recommendation, but we do like our channel. And we think you’ll find something fun there among our nearly 900 videos.
And, every once in awhile, we’ll pop open a 1990 Fleer wax pack or a 1985 Topps Traded set.
And sometimes, we’ll dig into the really good stuff, like …
Video We Love: 1982 Topps Kmart Set “Break”
If you’ve read any of my posts or emails over the years, or visited our YouTube channel, you already know I have a totally over-the-top infatuation with the 1982 Topps Kmart set.
This video runs through the entire beautiful run of this confusing but brilliant little box set.