Thursday, April 27, 2017

Flea Market Finds #120: Bags of Hidden Treasure

I typically avoid picking up Ziploc bags filled with 1992 Donruss baseball cards for these two reasons:

1.  Cards thrown into Ziploc bags tend to be damaged.
2.  Who needs more 1992 Donruss baseball cards?

However this particular bag I found sitting on a table at the Capitol Flea Market also had some dark brown cards too, so I went against my natural instinct, flipped the bag over, and made a pleasant discovery.

Bag #1:  Vintage Oddballs  $4


Right away a nice stack of 1968 Atlantic Oil Play Ball oddballs caught my attention.  I had seen these cards before over at Wrigley Wax, but don't think I had seen any in person before.


The concept was simple.  Customers who purchased gas were given game pieces that contained two player cards that each had a specific player number.  Collect and match specific numbers and you could win prizes.


Just like McDonald's Monopoly game pieces, the winning cards were short printed and are very rare since most people redeemed these back in the day.  My stack didn't contain any of the short printed cards.  But there were a handful of hall of famers like Frank Robinson, Al Kaline, Lou Brock, Carl Yastrzemski, and Roberto Clemente.


It looks like some (possibly all) of the cards came with two different backs.  One with the game piece cover and the other with the official rules.

In addition to the vintage game cards and 1992 Donruss, there were also two sets of 1986 Drake's Big Hitters:


These were originally released on boxes of Drake's products like the Hostess cards from the 70's.  Someone took the time to cut these out.  Unfortunately both sets are far from mint due to rubber band damage and inconsistent cutting.

On the other hand, it's a pretty cool oddball issue.  They contain official MLB logos and have some awesome action shots.


Moral of the story?  If you see a bag of Junk Wax Era cardboard sitting on a table at the flea market... it's probably worth the two seconds of your life to flip it over and see if there's anything else worthy on the other side.


Bag #2:  Topps Rediscover Buybacks $5


Another bag of sorts.  This time it's a team bag filled with 2017 Topps Rediscover buybacks.

1993 Topps #465  

It's much less interesting compared to the Ziploc bag, but there were a few cards that I really, really wanted and the guy refused to break up the lot.

The key cards are the high flyin' Fernandez featured above and this Devon White rookie card:


1987 Topps #139

And of course... there were a few vintage buybacks for some fellow bloggers and myself:


That's it.  There were plenty of other cards to be had... but I'm trying to cut back on clutter.  Here's a peak at the stuff I passed up:




I was interested in this binder filled with early 90's Fleer inserts...


But the $20 price tag was a little too steep for cards you regularly find in quarter bins.  Plus, I'm trying my best to reduce the clutter.

This should prove challenging as I'll be hanging out at the 21st Annual TRISTAR Collectors Show at the Cow Palace on Saturday.  My goal is to limit my dime box and quarter bin purchases... and hopefully purchase a 1956 Topps hall of famer for my collection.  We'll see how that goes.

Enjoy the rest of the week.  Happy Thursday and sayonara!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Once In A Lifetime Opportunity

When it comes to purchasing new cards for my collection, I refuse to discriminate.  I'll buy them online over at eBay, COMC, and at a handful of online card shops.  Plus I  purchase cards in person at the flea market, at the local wholesaler, and every now and then at card shows.

So when I first read Tony's Day #7 Challenge, which is to write about a card you bought in person, I figured it was going to be pretty simple.  Then I realized that I'm constantly writing about my flea market finds, card show hauls, and trips to the wholesaler, so that stuff has already been covered.

I decided to head over to my website, flip through my collection, and see if anything jumped out at me.  That's when I found this:


Two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese born MLB player, during a book tour across the country.  Thanks to Brady over at St. Louis Cardinals Cardboard, I was able to participate in a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the book tour.  Some of the perks included autographed copies of Robert Fitt's book, "Mashi", along with a signed baseball and a few other items.

After I got my items signed, I decided to stick around to see if I could ask Mr. Fitts and Mr. Murakami some questions.  While waiting, I noticed that Mr. Murakami was signing his name in kanji at the request of some fans.

I hopped back in line and purchased an extra Turkey Red cabinet card, which Mr. Murakami happily signed in kanji.


Afterwards both gentlemen were kind enough to take a photo with me capturing the moment when I got to hang out with the player who paved the way for guys like Hideo Nomo, Ichiro Suzuki, and Hideki Matsui.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Not-So-New New Card

I have a few Target gift cards burning a hole in my wallet and have been trying to find a 2017 Gypsy Queen blaster box to no avail.  There's always at least one box of 2017 Topps Series One, but it's not really my cup of tea.

Anyways... since I haven't opened any 2017 baseball products, I haven't been able to complete Tony's Day #1 Challenge, which is to write about a card from the current year with a photo you like.

My solution?  Cheat.

Last Thursday, I picked up a team bag filled with 2017 Rediscover Topps buybacks and found this card:

1993 Topps #465

I realize that it's technically a twenty-four year old piece of cardboard.  However since it was included in packs of 2017 Topps, I figured it was fair game.

Anyways... this photo is fantastic for a few reasons:

#1:  It's a great action shot with Fernandez looking to turn two.
#2:  Fernandez has all of his limbs and is wearing flip-up glasses.
#3:  I looks like the MLB Home Run King is making a guest appearance.

I also like this card because it features him with the San Diego Padres.  Most of my Fernandez cards show him with Toronto.

By the way... did you know that he spent a season in Japan playing for the Seibu Lions?

I'm just threw that into this post, so I can show off some cool stuff I saw at the 2017 Nikkei Matsuri, which is a festival/bazaar that takes place in San Jose's Japantown each year.

My entire life, I've been fascinated by bonsai trees.  I have owned a few over the years, but I always seem to kill them.  There were a bunch on display today.  Here are two of my favorites:


My friend's mom and sister are part of a Japanese doll making club and three of their dolls were on display as well:



Being a forty-four year old guy, I'm normally not into dolls, but I've got to admit the detail on these are truly amazing.

Well that's it for today.  I'm still in the process of building care packages.  Should have them shipped out on Wednesday or Thursday.  I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Card Shop Employee Discount

When it comes to purchasing sports cards, I take pride on being a patient collector who tries to spend his hard earned money wisely.  Now I realize that some people see purchasing sports cards and spending money wisely as contradictions.  But I'd like to think that most of the cards I've picked up these past few years have been decent bargains that have held their value.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for decisions I made during the Junk Wax Era.  Today's post is my Day 6 submission to Tony's 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge: A card you spent more than $10 to get.

Back in the early 90's, I worked at a baseball card shop.  The owner was kind of a scumbag who didn't always pay us on time.  But every now and then, he'd give me a good deal on a card I really wanted.

One day, he came in to restock the singles and brought in a bunch of 1988 Score Rookie and Traded singles.  At the time, this set was perceived to be very rare which made them very popular.  

One of the hottest cards in the set was this card:

1988 Score Rookie and Traded #80T

I purchased this card at the peak of Mark Grace's popularity and probably paid over $20 for this card (which included my employee discount).  To put things into perspective, back then I made less than $5/hr.

Today you can purchase a PSA 10 graded copy of this card for less than that.  Since I returned to the hobby in 2008, I've seen raw copies like mine in dollar bins at card shows.  However, it wouldn't surprise me if collectors have found this card sitting in dime or quarter boxes.

Even though I spent way too much money on this card, I've have held onto it, because it's still a cool card.  Grace had a solid sixteen season career which easily qualifies him for Baseball's Hall of Very Good.  Plus it features a great, well cropped action shot of him taking a swing at Wrigley Field.  Check out those stirrups!

Well that's it for today.  I've started working on a bunch of care packages that will be shipped out sometime next week.  I'll hopefully have a list of packages for you in my Sunday post.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Flea Market Finds #119: Another Shoebox and Vintage Star Wars

Good things often come in small packages.  That's exactly what the Branham High School Flea Market is.

There are three major flea markets that I attend and Branham is by far the smallest.  However when it comes to finding reasonably priced collectibles, it's my favorite one to browse.  Last weekend there were five vendors with trading cards.  I made purchases from three of them.

Purchase #1: Water Damaged Shoebox $5


The first vendor's setup focused on action figures, lunch pails, and other children's collectibles.  Sitting off to the side was this water damaged shoebox filled with 80's and 90's baseball cards.  75% of them are 1982 Donruss.

Let's get this out of the way.  There weren't any Ripken rookies to be had.  

There were also a handful of other cool rookie cards:


Plus a slew of stars for my 80's binder:


And some errors and corrected versions from this set:


The vendor wanted $10.  I offered him $5 and he accepted.  If anyone out there is building this set, there's a good chance that I can help you out.


Purchase #2:  Just the Hits $10

Box Bottom Guy was back.  He didn't really have anything new in terms of singles... but he told me he'd accept any reasonable offer.




I was excited to find one of Verlander's first trading cards and one of those nickname autographs.  But my favorite card is the 2001 Topps American Pie Woodstock card of Maury Wills.  Topps did a great job with this set's design.

I felt $10 was a fair offer for the five hits... and he agreed.

He also threw in a few things I found from his dollar bin:

80's Baseball Calendars

1985 Topps Super #7

2003 Donruss Classics Timeless Tributes #128

This purchase was proof that if you take care of a valued vendor, they'll take care of you.


Purchase #3:  Vintage Star Wars/Star Trek Stickers  $10


I met a woman who was selling off her son's Star Wars collection.  There were a lot of cool items, but I settled on these $2 packs of stickers.  I grabbed all eleven and she gave them to me for $10.


Most of the stickers were in really nice condition... and I was really surprised at how popular the Star Trek stickers are.  But my favorites were the Empire Strikes Back letters:


That wraps up my Branham Flea Market Finds.  I'm on Spring Break this week, so tomorrow I get to walk around the Capitol Flea Market, which is about five times bigger... but not necessarily five times better.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!