30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday's Card Show Adventures

What comes to mind when you hear the words "sports cards" and "early 90's"? Overproduction? Card shops? Parallels? Junk wax? Inserts?

All of these things popped into my head at first... but when I dug a little deeper... I also remembered the weekly card shows at one of the local high schools.

Well those boxes of 1991 Topps baseball, along with all of those inserts & parallels are still flooding the market in 2011. And although they're slowly disappearing, there are still two card shops in my area.

But the days of weekly card show are gone. Long gone. These days... all I have to look forward to are two card shows each year. The GTSM show comes to the South Bay every January/February and every spring the TriStar show arrives at the Cow Palace.

Well it's that time of the year... and thanks to Kerwin @ Card Collectors World, I was able to get some free passes to this year's show, which allowed me to spend an extra $8 on cards.

This was the first time (that I can remember) having a specific card in mind that I wanted to pick up entering the show. It was the 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson and you can read about it's importance to me, here.

The plan was simple... find every single 56 Robinson at the show and compare the prices. After my walkthrough, I discovered 8 different Robinsons ranging from $35 to $out of my price range. The $35 card was heavily damaged with bad corner wear and several creases, while a couple of the nicer ones were $200 plus. The rest fell into the $70 to $125 range. I initially planned on purchasing the $35 copy, but after talking to a couple of dealers, I decided to purchase the nicest one that I could afford, which was this one:

The guy originally wanted $85... then after talking for 10 minutes he lowered it to $70. Then after I offered him $60... he told me he'd meet me in the middle. At the time, this was only the fourth copy I'd seen and I wanted to see what else was out there, so I told him I'd think about it and moved on.

After checking out the rest of the show and learning a little more about the value & condition surrounding this card... I decided to pick up the card for $65. The card itself is in pretty nice condition, so I brought it to a couple of the dealers I had met and both were impressed by the purchase. One said it would easily grade a PSA 4, but could be a PSA 5... while the other was a little more generous with his grading and said it would be a PSA 5 or 6. One thing they agreed on is that I scored big time.

With my main purchase out of my way, I was free to go back and sift through some of the dealer's bargain bins. Here's what I found:

PSA 9 Rookie Cards of Torry Holt

I've been a fan of Holt since he entered the league in 1999. He was a top 5 receiver during the 2000's and ended his career 13th on the list for career receptions, 10th for career receiving yards, and 2nd for yards per game. Hopefully these stats will earn him a spot in Canton. I know graded cards aren't what they used to be (heck... the guy I bought these from had hundreds of graded cards on his table for $1 each)... but for a buck a piece... it was hard to pass these up.

2002 Sweet Spot #156 Maurice Morris (286/550)

I spent almost an half hour at this guy's table and walked away with handful of cards. One of them was this card. I'm a huge fan of Sweet Spot products and an even bigger fan of the Seattle Seahawks, so this killed two birds with one stone. Morris spent eight seasons with the Hawks during the 2000's was a solid running back for them. He'll never be worth much more than the $2 I spent on him... but I don't have any plans on trying to sell him anyways.

1993-94 Donruss Special Print Inserts of Mario Lemieux & Steve Yzerman

After I found the Morris in the dealer's binder... I shifted gears and started sifting through his 10 cent bins. He had five or six 5,000 count boxes full of commons, but hidden within those were these two gems. Like I mentioned earlier in the post... the 90's are often associated with the word "overproduction" and if you look closely at the top of these cards... Donruss produced 20,000 of each copy. These days collectors look the other way when they come across refractors #'d to 999... but back in the day... 20,000 was considered rare. Damn... gotta love Nifty 90's Nostalgia.

San Jose Sharks Autographed 8x10's

I wrapped up the show by picking up these two autographed photos from my buddy Mike. He's the same guy I hung out with at the De Anza Flea Market a few weeks ago... and the guy who I used to go autograph hunting with in the late 90's and early 2000's. He showed me where to stand outside of the San Jose Arena... and when to do it. In fact, the majority of the Sharks 8x10's in my collection I acquired with him.

I noticed that he had autographs of my favorite current Shark and my favorite former Shark at his booth, so I asked him what he wanted for the pair. He offered to give them to me, but I know he spent a ton on the table and refused to take them without paying for them. I ended up giving him $10, so he could grab some lunch.

We're planning on going out and picking up some more autographs in the next few weeks... since we all know the Sharks are headed for the Stanley Cup Finals. I have foreseen it... and it is their destiny. I'll keep you posted if we end up heading out to the Arena.

So what am I up to so far?

Parking $8
Show Admission $Free
Jackie Robinson base card $65
Torry Holt rookies $2
Maurice Morris rookie autograph $2
Overproduced Donruss inserts from the 90's $.20
Sharks autographs $10

I guess that brings me to $87.20... but I didn't stop there. There are a few items I can't show, because they're for a few of my online buddies and I want to keep it a surprise for them. But when the day was over, I spent close to $100 in all. Considering the fact that I pulled out $300 from the ATM, I was proud of myself for displaying some will power and controlling my spending. Actually... I owe it all to The Retro-Set Addict's post on hobby spending from last week. It made me reconsider how much money I'm throwing into my collection.

Well that's it for today. I hope you enjoyed my card show adventure as much as I did... it'll be awhile before I attend another big show (although I've been talking to my buddy about possibly heading out to the National this year in Chicago). Until then... let's hear from you...

What's your favorite "hobby related" thing from the 90's?

It can be a specific card... a set... a cardboard technology... or anything else related to the hobby.

Well... I have to prepare for the mental strain the Sharks game will have on me in a few hours.
Go Sharks!

Happy Sunday everyone... and sayonara!


  1. When I think of the early '90s and collecting, the first thing that comes to mind is the price guide.

    I was heavily into the price of cards back then and knew the value of everything I had.

    Almost completely the opposite now.

  2. There's so much I love of about 90's, but I think i'd have to go with importance in insert cards, which I did a blog post on a few weeks ago, I LOVE 90's insert card of all sports and brands, some of the nicest cards ever created.

  3. Great pick ups. Getting a Jackie Robinson in any condition is a sweet deal.

  4. night owl - great call... i can't believe i didn't think about that when i was writing the post. i agree with you 100%

    chris p - had you mentioned this 2 years ago... i would have laughed and offered you my inserts. but... i've slowly grown to appreciate what we collected during that awesome decade. btw... you have one of the greatest collections around... keep posting those amazing card. i love reading about them.

    spiegel83 - thanks... i couldn't agree more... robinson is one of the greatest of all-time on so many levels

    baseball cards rule - thanks