30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It's Show Time!

It's official.  I'm addicted to cheap cards.  Seriously... it's a problem.

Ten days ago, I walked into the annual TRISTAR Sports Collectors Show with a plan:

#1:  Show some self-control and limit my dime box and dollar bin purchases.

#2:  Look for either a graded 1956 Topps hall of famer or a complete 1973 Topps baseball set.

Pretty simple and not too challenging, right?  Wrong.

My friends set up next to the guy from COMC, who happened to bring a boatload of shoeboxes and 5,000ct. boxes filled with dollar and dime cards.  It was almost as if the Cardboard Gods were testing me.  If they were, I failed miserably.

Purchase #1:  Dime Box Purchase  $10

If you're a 70's vintage guy who doesn't care too much about card condition, than this was the show for you.  The COMC guy had monster box after monster box filled with 70's baseball.  I saw multiple rows of 1971, 1972, and 1975 Topps baseball.

When I got there, three guys were sifting through them, so I skipped those boxes and targeted his other dime boxes:

I ended up grabbing 121 cards for $10, which is a little over per card.  Eight cents for a 1984 Topps Traded Bret Saberhagen rookie card was hard to pass up.

Can you believe that back in 1990 this card sold for more than $20?  Talk about sports card depreciation.

However... that's nothing compared to this card:

I found this card, which I needed for my 1986 Donruss set sitting in the COMC guy's dollar bins.

Purchase #2:  Dollar Bin Purchase  $100

I probably should have started with these boxes, because they were loaded with all sorts of cool stuff.  Vintage.  Memorabilia cards.  Rookie cards.  Autographs.  Low numbered inserts and parallels.

One of my first finds was the 2006 Upper Deck Dustin Pedroia rookie card and after about an hour, I had pulled out 129 cards and 6 sets.  Here's a sampling of the stuff I found:

I was kind of shocked when we added up everything and was about to start putting cards back when he told me to take everything for $100.  That's about 75¢ per card.

After sifting through them at my house, I discovered that about half of the cards were damaged to some extent, which was kind of a bummer.  Oh well... you get what you pay for.

I'm still stoked that I found this minor league card of Edgar Martinez:

It wasn't the best deal in the purchase, but it's my second favorite card in the bunch right behind the Canseco, which as crazy as this sounds... actually booked for $100 back in 1990:

I realize that most people don't take Beckett's values seriously anymore, but back in the day... the card shop I worked at couldn't keep these in stock and routinely sold them for full Beckett value.

Based on percentage rather than actual value, can anyone think of other cards that have depreciated as much as or more than the 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco?

Purchase #3:  Dime Packs  $5

There's nothing Earth shattering here, but for the price of a Whopper and some fries at Burger King, I was able to pick up 58 packs for a rainy day.  I'm mostly looking forward to the 1980 Topps Footballer cards, which I'll eventually share over on APTBNL.

Purchase #4:  8x10 Cards  $2

There are a number of you who don't like these oversized cards, but when it comes to my player collections, I'll take them... especially when they're 8 for $1.

My favorite?

I've always loved this action shot of Nomo... and the Dufex technology is a nice added touch.

Purchase #5:  Sets  $8

My first four purchases were made with the COMC guy.  This one came on the other side of the show, where there was a guy selling complete sets for a buck each.  He seemed motivated to dump his sets, so there's a good chance I could have gotten these cheaper.  But there's no need to haggle when you're already getting a good deal.

After eight hours of hanging out at the show, I dropped $125 on a ton of cards.  Unfortunately... I accomplished neither of my original card show goals.  I'm still debating whether or not it was worth it.  On one hand, I got a lot of cool stuff for myself and fellow bloggers.  On the other hand, $125 would have easily paid for a PSA 4 graded Willie Mays or Sandy Koufax without cluttering my office with stacks of cardboard.

Who would have thought that card collecting could create such first world problems?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Nice stuff from the $1 bin! Even if they're damaged a bit, still a nice deal.

  2. Dang!That Canseco RC has gone way down In value but It's still worth a helluva lot more than 1 DOLLAR!GREAT HAUL.

  3. You did well in my book. How did you lug all that stuff around??

  4. Great pickups and thanks for sharing!

  5. Lots of cool stuff. I spied my fave Eric Dickerson card in there. I've decided that show goals are kind of pointless. Putting it in car racing terms..these days I let the show come to me.

  6. It is very hard to refrain from the "big deals" even when they are on the cheap!

  7. I wish I had shows around here to even write about. Thanks for sharing the cards and I call that money well spent!

  8. You nailed it! Looks like you did much better than I, then again I only collect one team-so it is only natural. If I lived closer I would have went back on Sunday

  9. Were those signed Ainge and Reeves cards? Cool! I think the Topps Kids cards will be fun to open.

  10. Wow- what a great haul! I really dig that Edgar minor league card.

  11. I spy a nice Gary Carter jersey for a $1. Great deals, damaged or not.

  12. Great cards and lots of fun. Thanks for the post.

  13. dennis - it filled up several pages in my damaged card pc

    tony - i was really happy to finally cross that off of my 86d set needs

    the lost collector - the comc guy gave me a shoe box to put them in. plus my buddies were set up at the show and were right next to him, so i just stored my stuff there

    kin -thanks!

    commish - i kinda agree. not sure how often i actually meet my show goals. do you need the dickerson? i noticed i already had one in my 80's binder. it's yours if you want it.

    john miller - yeah, but i really, really, really need to bring a heavy dose of self discipline the next time i go to a show

    sumomenkoman - thanks. unfortunately i didn't see any laird or tabuses there :(

    b man - sunday would have been a good day to go, b/c i'm sure the comc guy wanted to just dump his stuff on the cheap and he was bringing in a bunch of new boxes

    hackenbush - yeah the ainge and reeves were signed. not sure they're real... but for the price, it was worth the risk

    cardboard jones - me too. one of my favorite purchases

    matthew scott - yeah, i was happy with finding that carter. great color scheme.

    bulldog - thanks for taking the time to read my post!