Good: Authentic Vintage Experience (feels like opening a 100-year old product), Delightfully Odd, Low Product Print Run, Interesting Checklist, Jason Heyward Autographs, One of kind baseball card experience
Bad: No MLB License, Checklist is relatively brief, Occasional moisture marks on cards
The Bottom Line:
Obak is one of the most delightfully odd products I've ever opened. If Tim Burton created a baseball card product, it would be TriStar Obak. It doesn't have the star studded cast of a product like Allen & Ginter, but that's what makes it so interesting. One of things I enjoyed most about Obak is that it doesn't feel like your opening a 2010 baseball product, it actually feels like your ripping a 100-year old box that magically includes players like Jason Heyward and Cal Ripken. If you enjoy vintage baseball products, I highly recommend giving Obak a shot.
The design is a weird combination of 100-year old card design spliced with Microsoft paint. At first the design comes off a little cheesy, but it grows on you pretty quick. The mini cards are awesome looking and the different parallels and alternate versions of cards are fascinating to look at.
The checklist is short, brief, and to the point. The 117-card base set is broken down into various themes such as "History's Greatest Players", "#1 Overall Draft Picks", "Can You Believe", "Future Stars", and so on. The autograph checklist is intriguing, featuring players and personalities like Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Abbott, Jose Canseco, Jason Heyward, Starlin Castro, Hulk Hogan, Johnny Bench, and other interesting names. The checklist also has an odd sense of humor to it, why else would Ben McDonald be in the set?
The great thing about Obak is the insanely low print run, each box of Obak is numbered to 3,000! In one box alone, I received 7 cards numbered to 125 or lower (6 below 75). The two things that hurts Obak's value in the secondary market are it's lack of Major League License and the lack of visibility it receives. At the end of the day, the fact that TriStar prints so little of the product makes it's a pretty safe product to rip.
The base set, parallels, and the mini set are perfectly constructed for set building. Autographs of rookies like Jason Heyward obviously won't hold up against the big guns like Bowman Chrome and Donruss Elite, but as I noted above, there is something oddly charming about this product that makes it stand out. If you like a well done vintage product, I think you'll find Obak very collectible.
It's exciting opening a box that you know only 3,000 other people will ever open. I actually enjoyed ripping Obak more than I enjoyed ripping Allen & Ginter. You get 4-autographs, 2 parallels, 1 Mini Parallel, 3 Short Prints, and a 1 T4 Cabinet Card in each box, with each having a max print run of no more than a couple hundred. Part of the fun of a product like Obak is breaking a box, than spending the next couple of days figuring out what you got (weird parallels, surprising SP's, variations). Obak really felt like opening a 100-year old product, which is an exciting and intriguing experience.