Identifying Shadowless & Unlimited Base set Boxes & Packs Jul 6, 2017 16:47:39 GMT -6 smpratte, oldskoolpokemon, and 26 more like this
Post by jkanly on Jul 6, 2017 16:47:39 GMT -6
Identifying Shadowless & Unlimited Booster Boxes and Packs: Identity and Features
Prelude: You can be fairly certain that a Base set booster box contains "Shadowless" cards by examining its features. The goal of this guide is to help inform those who are interested in understanding the basic features of each English booster box and pack variant. Since the primary focus is upon Shadowless box and pack identity, the 1st edition box and all non-English will be excluded from the guide. As follows are the primary features:
Exterior: Three types of exterior features:
1 - The Charizard artwork on the side of the booster box is either a large "green winged" variation or a blue winged variation. "Green-winged" booster boxes were the earliest to be printed, followed later by blue-winged Charizard boxes.
2 - The plastic seal around the exterior of the booster box either does or does not have the "Wizards" logos. In October of 1999 WOTC transitioned from the rectangular logo (a) to the current arched Wizards logo (b). On English booster boxes that had Wizards logos, the arched type logo was present only on the 1999-2000© boxes made in the U.K. or Australia. (see box variations list below).
3 - Is made in either U.S.A., U.K., or Australia (a), and either includes, excludes, or has limited customer support contact information (b). *Note: The term "country code", such as a "single country code box", is a slight misnomer as the term “code” actually refers to the number of calling codes present on the bottom of the box (e.g. the phone number for each regional office headquarters).
Each of the distinct booster box variations exhibit different combinations of these above three features. As follows is a list of all currently known combinations (not including the base set 1st edition box):
The exterior variations - descending from the most likely to contain Shadowless cards to the least likely:
|GRN/Blue Wing||Wrapper Logos||Country of Origin||Office Contact Information|
|*Green wings||No logos||Made in U.S.A.||No contact information|
|Green wings||Rectangular logos present||Made in U.S.A.||No contact information|
|Green wings||Rectangular logos present||Made in U.S.A.||Multiple country information|
|Blue wings||No logos||Made in U.S.A.||Multiple country information|
|**Blue wings||Rectangular logos present||Made in U.S.A.||Multiple country information|
|Blue wings||Rectangular logos present||Made in U.S.A.||Country information; US, CAN, Asia & Latin America only|
|Blue wings||Arched Wizards logos||Made in U.K.||Multiple country information, "1999-2000" box dates|
|Blue wings||Arched Wizards logos||Made in Australia||Multiple country information, "1999-2000" box dates|
*Highest chance of Shadowless cards inside.
** Most common variation. Virtually zero chance of containing Shadowless cards, however there is a small chance that these contain "Black Triangle" error packs (exhibits a black triangle on the front of each pack to hide a 1st edition symbol, see below).
There have been confirmed instances of individuals forging sealed box authenticity by removing Wizards logos from the wrapper with alcohol and/or re-wrapping an already opened box with clear wrap in order to increase the box's presumed value. Very close attention should be paid to the quality and consistency of the wrapper before buying clear wrapper boxes from questionable sources. Additional information about booster box forgeries can be found here: efour.proboards.com/thread/6828/tell-booster-box-fake and here efour.proboards.com/thread/3509/fake-1st-edition-base-set
Interior: Identifying the Box’s Contents:
Provided that the box exhibits at least the "Green winged" Charizard on the exterior there is a chance that it contains packs with the Shadowless card booster pack design as well, and therefore the possibility of containing Shadowless cards. First, pressing down on the semi-circle "tongue" of the top of a box will reveal just enough of a pack to identify the pack design type inside. Any trace of the red "Trading Card Game" logo on the pack indicates that it is an unlimited release box, while the absence of the logo indicates that packs with a Shadowless card pack design are within. Second, with the semi-circle pressed down, a peek toward the inside top will reveal either short seal or “long seal” booster packs (see Pack Identity & Caution #2 below). This process necessitates some care as the cardboard semi-circle must be pressed down, breaking the paper tabs but without damaging the plastic seal. Breaking loose the cardboard flap may be considered damage to some collectors, so that is something to consider. As shown:
Step 1) Missing the "Trading Card Game" logo at pack top, in this case indicating a "Shadowless" card pack design:
Step 2) Long seal Shadowless packs are within (see Pack Identity below):
Note): A visual of the cardboard semi-circle broken away from the booster box lid (very rarely are these un-torn):
Identifying Base set Booster Packs
There are two known variants of the Shadowless card booster pack; the long seal & the short seal.
Following the 1st Edition Base set box release there were multiple booster pack design feature changes. There are currently eleven known Base set booster pack variants. The earliest of the packs containing Shadowless cards were manufactured with "long seals". That is to say that the booster pack's top and bottom seals were manufactured with a longer crimp along the seams. Other various booster pack design element changes include:
- On Shadowless design packs (variants #1-3), the "TRADING CARD GAME" logo is on the bottom of the pack, whereas on Unlimited packs (variants #4-11) it was moved to the top.
- On the bottom front of Shadowless packs (#1-3) it reads; "11 Tradable Game Cards", whereas on Unlimited packs (#4-11) it reads; "11 ADDITIONAL GAME CARDS".
- On the reverse of Shadowless packs (#1-3) it reads, "Each player must have a Deck of Pokemon cards to play. Collect all four theme decks!". Whereas on Unlimited packs (#4-11) it reads, "Collect all the theme decks! Each player must have a 60-card deck of Pokemon cards to play.", and the last sentence is in red ink.
- Various text size and text boldness changes (most variants)
- Slightly different ink color/saturation between printings (all variants)
- Addition of the Wizards "expert level" logo on the rear of Unlimited print packs (variants #4-11)
- Transition from the old rectangular pre-2000 Wizards logo to the new arched Wizards logo (variants #9-11)
1. Shadowless 1st Edition, Long seal:
2. Shadowless, Long Seal:
3. Shadowless, Short Seal:
4. Thin Font, Short seal (dark artwork color saturation):
5. Thin Font, Long pack:
6. Thick Font, Short Seal:
7. Error 1st edition stamp variant of #6 (no "Black triangle" stamp):
[[no photo currently available (pending)]]
8. Error "Black triangle” 1st edition stamp variant of #6 [see below for info]):
9. Made in the U.S.A., "1999-2000" copywrites, Short seal pack:
10. Made in Australia, "1999-2000" copywrites, Long seal pack:
11. Made in the U.K., "1999-2000" copywrites, Long seal pack:
It is important to note that the presence of the Shadowless card pack design on short seal booster packs is not a guarantee that it contains Shadowless cards. Short seal Shadowless design packs found in blister packaging, for instance, have as low as a 50% chance of containing Shadowless cards, while those short seal packs obtained from a booster box have a higher chance of containing Shadowless cards (>75%). Evidence shows that Shadowless packs with long seals are the closest to a guarantee of containing shadowless cards of any pack variant. Every long seal Shadowless design booster pack that has been opened and documented have been found to contain Shadowless cards.
Triangle Error Packs: By looking at the exterior of the booster boxes, nine of the ten variations can be identified. The last booster box variant contains error packs known as "Black Triangle" packs. Simply put, these are packs that were printed with an “edition 1” symbol on them but were recycled for use with the non-first edition (unlimited print) English Base set cards. Although some of the packs slipped through unnoticed, a black triangle was eventually printed on top of the symbol for the remainder of the packs printings so that they could continue to be used and not destroyed. The 1st edition pack printing error occurred in late 1999 during booster pack design changes for the foreign (non-English) 1st edition Base set, and thus have no connection to the original English Base set 1st edition Shadowless card print run.
The black triangle 1st edition error packs' scarcity hints that there had been a very low print volume, but no reliable information has been brought forward of their exact print duration. The packs have been found only in the most common booster box variation and do not have any individually identifying exterior box features. It is therefore impossible to identify these boxes without breaking the booster box's seal.
1999-2000 Copywrite Booster Packs:
Packs containing 1999-2000 copywrite cards include pack variants 9 through 11.
Booster variant #9 - U.S.A made packs will include 1999-2000 non-holos only
Booster variant #10 - Australian made packs will include 1999-2000 non-holos and may or may not include 1999-2000 holos.
Booster variant #11 - U.K. made packs will include 1999-2000 non-holos and may or may not include 1999-2000 holos. Note: The last distribution of U.K. packs containing 1999-2000 holo cards were distributed loose (not enclosed inside of a booster box), which were indicated by Polish information labels adhered to the reverse of the pack (see photo below). Packs with these labels therefore have the highest chance of containing 1999-2000 holo cards.
Polish Information Label on U.K. Pack:
Finally, here is a registry of recent pack and box openings which will help to analyze the frequency Shadowless cards received from boxes and packs when compared with the exterior artwork and features. This is intended to be community driven, so message me or post here with your results (photos preferred)!
(File upload to google docs [unfinished, progression is ongoing])--
Please message me if there are any errors which should be corrected or any information that could be added. The initial goal of this post is to share up-to-date information about what we know of the Shadowless Booster box and its identifying features. Thanks to all who have directly or indirectly helped with the collection of this information
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Update Jul 19 2017: Added a ninth box variation: Blue wings, square logo, limited distributor U.S.A mfg box. Information contributed by scratchdesk - Thank you!
Update Aug 2017: Added Booster variations section with all photos
Update Jul 18 2018: Revised & fixed typos
Update May 4 2020: Revised and added photo contribution by ˢᶦʳ[Ash] - Thank you!