It's not going to be easy. I've been addicted to busting wax packs for over three decades and I've told myself that I'd quit on numerous occasions. But in the end... the 2.5" x 3.5" pieces of cardboard always lures me back.
In fact, last week I caught myself checking out blaster boxes at Target. There were a few priced in the $12 range, but most of the decent stuff was $19.99. Thankfully I had enough will power to walk away, because I turned around and used the $20 on my latest flea market find.
When: Sunday, January 18th
Where: Capitol Flea Market
What: A Small Collection of Cards
How Much?: $20
My favorite type of vendor are the people who are cleaning out their homes and trying to make a few bucks at the same time. Since they're not "regulars", their stuff hasn't been picked through and if you come across the right person... they're willing to give you some great deals as long as you're willing to give their possessions a good home.
This past Sunday, I stumbled across a guy who fit the above description.
He had a bunch of boxes filled with sports cards ranging from 80's rookie cards to 90's inserts. If I were to guess, he probably had around 1,000 singles spread out among eight to ten boxes.
I asked him how much he wanted for this 1997 Pinnacle Museum Collection Artist's Proof of Frank Thomas:
He flipped the card over... saw the $25 label... and said $5. Before I could counteroffer, he told me he'd give me a good deal if I bought more. I immediately started sifting though the boxes and after fifteen minutes or so, I had created a nice stack of singles plus a box full of Greg Maddux cards that I was interested in.
By this time, his booth was packed and he was selling things left and right. Trying to save both of us time, I asked him how much he'd want for the full collection. He got excited and asked me if I'd be willing to wait until things slowed down. After fifteen minutes or so, he apologized and asked if I could come back in 30 minutes.
He set aside the collection and promised to hold them for me. I went back after the 30 minutes had passed and he was still busy, so I continued to check in with him a few more times. Finally after a couple of hours had passed things we had a chance to talk about his collection.
Each of us briefly described our collecting timelines and eventually got down to business. He had no idea what he wanted for the collection, so I asked him if it was easier for me to just pick out cards I really wanted. He liked the idea and I started looking for the stack I created earlier.
The stack contained about 15 top loaders filled with some baseball inserts, rookie cards, and parallels for my binders. It included some pretty cool cards like these:
I mentally added everything up in my head and was prepared to offer him $10. But before I had the chance, he told me to take the stack for $5. He told me he was trying to wrap things up and just wanted to get out of there.
I handed over the five bucks, threw the cards in my backpack, and was getting ready to leave. That's when he asked... "did you see anything else you wanted?". I told him I saw a few things, but didn't want to keep him waiting. He told me I had a few minutes, so I went to work.
Ten minutes later and fifteen dollars poorer, I found a bunch of football and hockey cards for my binders:
In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't walk away with the whole collection. I probably would have spent too much money on cards I didn't need. Instead I spent $20 on 192 hand picked cards... which is a lot more value than you'd find in your average blaster.
Best of all... this purchase allows me to have a few extra dollars to spend on dime box purchases at this weekend's card show at Serramonte Mall... where I'll hopefully have a chance to hang out and talk sports cards with Mr. Haverkamp and Brady (over @ Yadier Molina Baseball Cards).
Happy Thursday and sayonara!