Okay, bonehead question from a total newbie: How do you guys open a pack (modern, brand-new deck)? Do you try to preserve the cellophane in any way? In cutting the tab, do you outline the "U" shape with a small, sharp knife, as I've seen on YouTube? Quite a few of mine have numbered seals; I'm guessing it's okay to cut them so long as the numbers are preserved?
I'm spending more and more on decks (like the 52PlusJoker deck) which I'm dying to open and look at - but I'm afraid of doing something stupid and decreasing the collector value of them. Is a completely unopened deck any "more collectible?" I'm gonna have to pass this all on to SOMEONE one of these years; might as well keep it as "collectible" as possible... Thanks for your advice!
First of all, in the modern custom deck world, just as in the vintage deck world, sealed and unopened decks tend to get a premium.
Having said that, just as an opened deck (even one missing the box and a few cards!) can have some value to it.
Different people use different methods for opening their decks. Personally, I remove the cellophane completely (unless the tuck box has a cut-out in it, in which case I leave the bottom intact), then use my thumbnail to cut the seal along the curve of the paper under the sticker. Some people talk about the messy sticker glue or wanting to remove the stickers - that's up to one's tastes. At one time, it was even popular for decks to ship without any seal at all, just the cellophane wrapper - that didn't change until custom-designed seals became more common.
Many collectors, myself included, have a policy of buying "two of each" - one for the collection, one to crack open and enjoy. It makes deciding whether or not to open a lot simpler. It's getting more difficult to continue the practice for some, though, because of the increasing price of a custom deck and projects that release multiple varieties of decks. It's making more collectors become more picky about what they buy even as more buyers are entering the marketplace.
If the price points push too high too fast, though, this hobby could take the same hit as comic books and sports cards/memorabilia before them - demand drastically drops and dealers/designers are stuck with a lot of decks they can't sell. Those markets have yet to fully recover, and in the case of comic books, it may NEVER recover as print is being supplanted by digital downloads.
But back to my point (I tend to wander!). It's a matter of one's preferences, whether and how to open, but buying in pairs makes the decision easier to make. It's simply a matter of how many pairs you can afford.