30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Flea Market Finds #108: Quarter Bins and a Vintage Mantle

What I'm about to share with you defies all logic... but it has been proven time after time after time.  I've been walking around the Capitol Flea Market for years... and I just can't figure out why Thursdays are so popular out there for both vendors and customers.

It's like anyone and everyone who is related to flea markets clears their calendars every Thursday morning.  Don't people have regular Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 jobs anymore?

Unfortunately... 90% of the time... I'm stuck in the classroom and can't make it out there.  However... right now I'm on my summer break and last week I grabbed my backpack, picked up Starbucks, and walked around  .

I was about ten minutes into my routine and digging through some DVD's, when a guy came up and asked me if I was still interested in baseball cards.  I recognized him, because he's one of the regulars who's out here hunting the same treasures as me.  Anyways... he mentioned that he had brought out a bunch of stuff and was set up over in the other section.

So we walked over together and he pulled a bunch of binders and a handful of boxes out of his truck. I was kind of hesitant at first, because he wouldn't commit to any prices.  He just kept saying... build a stack and we'll work out a good price.

After a few minutes of digging through his binders, I eventually asked him to give me a ballpark quote to see if we were wasting each other's time.  He told me that normally he charges people 50¢ to a dollar on singles from his binder, but that I could have anything in the binders for 25¢.  That sounded reasonable, so I went to work.

Purchase #1:  25¢ Singles  $5

The binders were organized by sport and player.  Most of the cards were newer base cards, but he did have a few older cards sprinkled in there here and there.  There were also a few cheap inserts thrown in to keep collectors like myself interested.

I was pretty excited to add this Alex Rodriguez insert to my collection:

1994 Flair Wave of the Future #8

If you collected back in the 90's, then you might remember when this insert once commanded $20 to $40.  I always wanted one... and now I'm really glad that I waited to finally pick it up.

Here's another card that once set fire to the hobby...

1985 Topps #620

Unfortunately... I paid top dollar for my original copy of this card.  At least this purchase helps soften the blow.

One of my favorite binder finds was this vintage Mantle...

1967 Topps #103

Okay... so it's not his regular issue base card.  However... I'll buy a forty-nine year old baseball card featuring The Commerce Comet that has a 25¢ price tag on it any day of the week.

C'mon.  Who the heck doesn't appreciate The Mick's floating head?

Purchase #2:  50¢ Singles  $5

After digging through the binders, he passed me a small box of cards that contained about 300 cards in penny sleeves.  There were some vintage Wacky Packages mixed in with other non-sport cards.  Plus there were a handful of baseball inserts.

I assumed that these were a quarter each too... but when it came time to pay him... he told me that the penny sleeved cards were 50¢ each.  I ended up throwing a bunch back into the box, but kept these:

I'm a sucker for 70's and 80's Topps non-sport sticker cards, so I just had to have these featuring The Fonz.  Plus I needed the 2000 Topps Combos card of Nomar, Arod, and Jeter for my set.  I realize that I probably paid a little high for this group of cards, but the third and final purchase off of the guy softened the blow.

Purchase #3:  The Higher End Stuff $20

The final few boxes were filled with top loaders and to be honest, I probably would have bought a lot more if I still collected basketball.  Like the binders, when I inquired about prices... he told me to make a stack and we'd work something out.

So I quickly flipped through everything and pulled out eight cards.  He originally wanted $50 for the lot... and I immediately put everything back except for this Peyton Manning shoe card:

2001 Absolute Memorabilia Ground Hoggs #GH37

This card is sweet and I really, really, really wanted to add it to my collection.  Obviously, I didn't get all giddy in front of him... but I was prepared to pay up to $15 for this card.  That's how bad I wanted it.

The guy immediately asked me to make a counteroffer for all eight cards, but I told him I didn't want to offend him.  He told me that he appreciated me taking the time to go through all of his stuff and told me to give him twenty dollars for the eight cards.  Now that's an offer I couldn't pass up.

Heck... this autographed card of Chief Jay Strongbow alone sells for $10 to $20:

2006 Topps Heritage Chrome Autographs #JS

Even though I don't actually remember watching Strongbow wrestle, I do remember hearing the sad news of his death back in 2012 and watching WWE's tribute to the legendary wrestler.

I was also excited to add this seat relic card featuring Bart Starr to my Green Bay Packers collection:

2001 Topps Heritage Souvenir Seating #S3

I've mentioned that both of my parents attended college in Wisconsin and were once diehard Green Bay Packers fans.  They attended plenty of games including a few at Milwaukee County Stadium.

Rounding out the final five...

I was disappointed that he didn't have more baseball cards, but overall I'm very happy to add these cards to my collection at a very reasonable price.

The best part about these transactions is that both of us were happy.  The guy had an extra $30 in his pocket... and I walked away with a smile on my face.  Before I left, he told me that he had more cards at home, so I gave him my number.  I'll keep you posted if I end up buying anything else off of him.

Purchase #4:  1981 Topps Football Starter Set $5

My final purchase of the day was this nice starter set.  Normally I wouldn't have grabbed this box, but the cards were in such great condition, I found it difficult to pass up.  Unfortunately the two biggest rookie cards are missing.

However most of the big names were in there.  I'm just six cards shy of completing one of the more popular football sets of the 80's.  If anyone has singles laying around, I'm looking for these:

I already have a Joe Montana, however I visited my parents this week in Vegas and discovered that my copy needs to be upgraded for this set.  I thought I had the Monk too, but I only found the Coke version.

That's okay... I'm planning on targeting both of these at next month's Serramonte Mall Sports Card, Toys, and Collectibles Show.

Well that's it for today.  Now that I'm back home, I can get back to building care packages.  I should have them sent out early next week.

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!


  1. I was all about A-Rod from the late 90s through the late 2000s and hunting for his actual Flair rookie card, I pulled that rookie-year insert out of a pack.

  2. Score! Fred Dryer rules! I love the "make me an offer", it is kind of like the self-eval you do for work-they wait for you to tell them what you are willing to give, not what they are willing to take-but is all worked out for the Fuj

  3. I might be able to close out that 81 FB set for you.

  4. the best thing there just might be mr. c on the phone. seriously, though, this haul is the result of good flea market karma.

  5. Glad the seller worked with you. Always fun to find someone looking to liquidate quickly.

  6. Great Strongbow card. Saw him in person in the late 70's at a small little cal arena. Great memories

  7. Is that the Fonz's rookie card?

  8. I think I easily paid 9 or 10$ for that same Dwight Gooden rookie card 25 years ago. Good to know it is now worth a quarter! In fact I think I spent a lot on a few rookie cards from that 85 set which experienced similar returns (Eric Davis, Mark Langston, Orel Hersheiser, Bret Saberhagen, Shawon Dunston, etc).

  9. Nice purchases, plus you got a Mr Fuji card!

  10. Very nice haul! Those are some high profile finds for 25 cents

  11. I'd like to know more about the Bart Starr card... Any takers

    1. The Starr was part of the 2001 Heritage football product. There were a total of 7 cards inserted into packs at a rate of 1 per 263 packs. The piece of wood is supposedly a piece of seat from Milwaukee County Stadium, although with any game used memorabilia card you never know if it's legit.