So one of the continuing controversies in the world of Pokemon products are MJ Holdings variety of “Mystery Boxes”. These Mystery Boxes contain booster packs, unsealed cards, graded cards, and assortments of coins, dice, and card sleeves.

These boxes often include chase cards, chase packs, or a chance at pulling a very high value graded card. So there’s a serious element of gambling. And because sealed product (booster packs) is already a gamble it’s literally gambling on top of gambling.

Besides gambling, there’s also a problem with uninformed consumers purchasing the boxes without fully understanding that there’s a lot less value in the boxes than the retail price. In other words a grandparent doesn’t know they’re paying $5 a pack when those packs are selling for $3 everywhere else.

And that’s where the controversy is.

All of these boxes seem like they’re meant to entrap gamblers OR prey on grandparents who don’t know the true value of the contents of the boxes. Basically only a very rare few are walking away from these boxes with significant value and people just don’t know that.

On top of that, these boxes are not from the Pokemon Company and are third party repacks of product. It does not say MJ Holdings on the face, rear, sides, or top of the box.

Each Mystery Power Box comes with 5 random booster packs from a variety of modern sets. Some boxes include “chase packs”, which are valuable packs from older sets. There’s no promise on what those chase packs will be or at what rate they’re seeded at with Mystery Power Boxes. They’re simply randomly inserted.

Again this is a gamble and the outcome of opening these boxes is often not good. This is why MJ Holdings is often described as a “scammer” and that these boxes are “scams”.

But I will say that is only true in a sense. Yes you often get lower valued product and yes the inclusion of chase pack / chase card artwork on boxes is somewhat misleading. I do honestly think there are people out there who are just looking at the front of the box, seeing an interesting product, and thinking that’s what they’re buying their kid or grandchild.

However that is probably not a literal scam. It is not a scheme to defraud the consumer. They tell you the products are randomly inserted, they tell you a seeding rate, they tell you what is shown on the box may not be contained within. I’m no lawyer but it seems important that they say these things.

Which all leaves you conflicted. It feels like a scam, but may not legally meet the definition of one.

Anyway let’s see what was in my box…

My Mystery Box came with Crown Zenith, Fusion Strike, Lost Origin, Silver Tempest, and Evolving Skies booster packs. Their current market value is as follows:

Crown Zenith Booster Pack – $4.50

Fusion Strike Booster Pack – $4.00

Lost Origin Booster Pack – $4.45

Silver Tempest Booster Pack – $3.13

Evolving Skies Booster Pack – $9.09

Total Expected Value – $25.17

Cost of Box – $25.92

Loss – -$0.75

Bizarrely I almost broke even on this box. This is not typical of these boxes. You usually get far less in value than the $26 purchase price. Most of the credit goes to the Evolving Skies booster pack which has shot up in value recently. So yes you can get value out of a Mystery Power Box, but it’s not typical.

Now the tiniest bit of background on MJ Holdings. There really isn’t much information beyond that they’re a major trading card distributor for Walmart.

MJ Holding Company, LLC is the largest North American distributor of trading cards (including gaming, sports, and entertainment), related trading card supplies, collectibles, toys, and hot trend items.


Brief History

December 2000: Purchase of MJ Holding and the beginning of the distribution business within the trading card industry at Meijer and Wal-Mart. Retail distribution store count of 500 stores.

October 2005: Purchase of Midland Hobby Supplies, Inc. increasing the distribution within Wal-Mart stores in the American Midwest. Retail distribution store count increases to 2,500 stores.

November 2006: Purchase of Steeds Marketing Ltd, launching distribution in Canada within Wal-Mart Canada, 7-Eleven Canada and other convenience stores. Retail distribution store count increases to 4,000 stores.

February 2009: Purchase of SCC Wholesale, LLC, increasing distribution within Wal-Mart stores across the USA. Retail distribution store count increases to 5,000 stores.

April 2010: Purchase of Vintage Sports Cards, increasing distribution within Wal-Mart, K-Mart and adding Toys R US as a retail partner. Retail distribution store count increases to more than 7,000 stores.

Ultimately I think everyone should be wary of MJ Holding’s products unless they know exactly what they’re getting in to. This is a gambling product and should be skipped over by parents and grandparents in favor of actual Pokemon Company product. Tins make for a good small present, try getting your kid a tin!

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