30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, July 27, 2020

Budget Cuts

I've been talking about not teaching summer school for a few years now.  But after being forced to take it off due to COVID-19, I've learned to have a deeper appreciation for those two paychecks I didn't earn this summer.

Luckily I decided back in January to cut back on buying cards, so this change in finances didn't hit me as hard as it could have.  But the days of nonchalantly picking up a new Rickey Henderson autograph or a PSA 10 graded rookie card of Fernando Tatis Jr. are in the past.  

1977 Kellogg's #26

That doesn't mean I haven't bought anything this summer.  I completed a bunch of sets, including the 1977 Kellogg's baseball set that had been sitting on my desk for a couple of years now.  I've also purchased some cards on Topps.com, which I'll write about as soon as I receive them.

And two weeks ago, I bought a box of 1988 Pacific Baseball Legends off of Dennis who runs the blog... Too Many Verlanders.  He picked up a pair of boxes off of Facebook and offered one up to me.  If you're interested in seeing what he pulled from his box or reading about his cool FB find, click here.

Unfortunately, my box has been added to the unopened box collection... and won't be opened anytime soon.  I currently have forty to fifty thousand cards sitting in my garage that need to be cleared out before I end up opening up anymore boxes.  I would also like to find a 1989 Pacific Baseball Legends Series 2 box to go along with this box and the box of 1990 Pacific Alumni Team Baseball Legends I picked up years ago.  Thought it'd be cool to open up and build all three sets at one time.

In the meantime, I have plenty of cards to keep me entertained.  In addition to the box, Dennis sent me three bricks of cards which I broke down into the following stacks:

The two largest stacks containe Greg Maddux and Oakland A's cards, but there were also some Padres, Sharks, SJSU Spartans, and Japanese baseball players thrown into the mix.

Here are a few of the highlights:

2000 Topps Combos #TC2

At first I was a little baffled by the appearance of Kevin Millwood on this card, but after looking up his 1999 statistics I quickly discovered he had the best season among the four pitchers.  He led the Braves in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, and winning percentage.

1995 Donruss Diamond Kings #DK-24

There's already a copy of this card sitting in my Tony Gwynn collection, however I needed another copy for the Diamond King project I recently started working on.

1988 Topps #360

If I had pulled this card out of a pack thirty-two years ago, it would have went into the trash.  Today it's the newest addition to my Damaged Card PC.

1999-00 Fleer Ultra #24

 also sent me three San Jose State SpartansTariq Abdul-Wahad happened to play for both of our teams.  He was a Michigan Wolverine (played there right after Webber left for the NBA) for two years before transferring to SJSU where he led the team in scoring his final two seasons.

1992-93 Fleer Ultra #199

Doug Wilson was the San Jose Sharks first captain and has been their general manager since 2003.  This year he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame primarily for his accomplishments on the ice with the Chicago Blackhawks, but Sharks fans have appreciated his work in the front office.

1993 UD Denny's Grand Slam #3

There was also a nice variety of Oakland A's cards, but this Rickey stood out.  It's such a great looking card.  I thought about treating everyone to a set review, but after some digging... I realized that I already wrote one ten years ago.  If you're interested in seeing the entire set and checking out one of my earlier posts, click here.

And I'll wrap things up with a pair of hits...

2006 SP Authentic By the Letter Autograph #BL-DH
2003 UD Sweet Spot Patches #BZ1

It's always nice to add a pair of patches to the collection.  Once upon a time I was attempting to spell out "SAN JOSE FUJI" with autographed letter patches.  I believe I fell one letter short, but I'll have to double check.  Regardless... now that I'm on a tight budget... it won't be very high on my priority list.

Thank you Dennis for offering to sell me one of your boxes and throwing in some very nice bonuses.  As long as I'm around the blogosphere, I'll be setting aside my extra Tigers for you and Julie.

Here is today's question of the day:

Has COVID-19 made an impact on your hobby budget?

The hobby has really boomed since March with a lot of new money entering our hobby.  Even though some outrageous prices have started to settle, I still feel like it is a seller's market right now.  I know that I've seen plenty of completed listings on my eBay watchlists soar in price, which kind of stinks.  But I'm happy that card collecting popularity has been on the rise.

Well that's it for today.  Happy Monday and sayonara!


  1. My budget is about the same, in general. Although I'm spending a but less overall because it's hard to find cards due to crazy prices.

  2. I certainly understand the reasoning, but for the life of me I still don't get how people can get unopened packs/boxes of product and not open them right then and there!

    I've definitely spent less on cards during the pandemic, but it wasn't as drastic of a change as I thought it'd be. Getting my job back has certainly helped ease some of the worrying over buying cards.

  3. Awesome cards you got to show off in this blog post! The people in this hobby continue to impress me with their kindness and thoughtfulness. I've had a couple of binges of buying cards but mostly these are on the cheap side, probably averaging under .28 cents a card.

  4. There has been a nationwide retail drought as far as cards go, so I'm not in a position to buy anything, but I do worry about being able to justify picking my spots as far as online purchases go.

  5. Probably spending about the same. Trying to use birthday, holiday money as much as possible.

  6. For the last four months, my blog has been all about how I'm spending my card money in the covid era. The budget amount hasn't changed, the direction has.

  7. My budget hasn't changed, but I just haven't been in "acquisition mode" for the most part. It seemed a good time to work on organization, and that's gone a long way towards satisfying my 'card time' needs.

    One thing that occurred to me the other day... Before the lockdown, if I was having a crap day at work, I might run over to Target during lunch or after work for some retail therapy... but I've been working remotely since March, and if I want to blow off some steam I just take a time out from work and go into the next room and organize for a few minutes.

    Plus, there's just been so little in Target these days.

  8. I'm spending a bit less. I'm spending about the same at my dealer's, but I'm not hitting Target once a month (2 blaster boxes usually) or Walgreen's a couple times a month (repacks).

  9. Beautiful Fidrych! I'm definitely missing some Kellogg's cards in my life.

    Glad you liked some of the stuff I tossed in, and I hope you don't have to wait too long to bust the Pacific Legends. Someone here please buy up Fuji's stuff!

    My spending has been trending down the last few years anyway for a few reasons:
    -Not spending on wax because nothing is worth it anymore
    -Limiting eBay purchases to hard-to-find stuff because shipping rates have gotten ridiculous
    -Being pickier about what I bring in so I don't end up with so much junk I have to get rid of

    Not to be any more of a shill than I already am, but now's a great time to get on TCDB and make some trades since that's more productive than spending on new stuff right now anyway.

  10. We both posted a Doug Wilson card today, how random is that?!?!

  11. I think that my budget has been roughly the same. I am grateful to still have a job, so I am trying to spend money where I can to help people out. Especially small businesses.

  12. It was nice hanging out with you and the other guys during Dennis' box break on YouTube. Dennis will be sending me a nice stack those '88 Pacific Legends for my set along with some other cards on his trade list that I still have to pick. I'll be sending him some '69 Topps Tigers along with a 1996 Pinnacle Denny's #18 Cecil Fielder.

  13. It most certainly has. I am spending double what I was before Covid. In my defense, it was also a planned increase which is predominately spent on binders and pages, and binders and pages, and binders and pages. Less on actual cards, although I went overboard at Sportlots for a few months.

  14. I gave myself a limit of 1000 Yen per card in an attempt to reduce my spending, but all I've found is that I am buying more cards under that and my average spending per month is about the same. I've been lucky though, haven't lost my job or any income (yet), hope it stays that way.

  15. Budget's the same but plenty more money since no going to the movies or eating out at sportbars /restaurants.

  16. Love that helmetless Doug Wilson. I don't collect Hockey but I could see myself making an exception for those first couple seasons of Sharks.

  17. So many things to comment on. That “damaged” Gwynn is pretty cool. If I found a 75 card like that I’d absolutely keep it. Also that’s a nice 75 patch even if not intended to represent the year. The prices are definitely inflated I’m wondering when it’ll peak or crash. It seems to be across the board on everything so in a way that’s made it easier to avoid buying stuff.

  18. Thankfully I still have a job so it hasn’t really impacted what I spend on cards. The problem is that I don’t really buy stuff online, I’m nervous to go to a card shop or shows, and the stuff on our shelves at Walmart and Target are bare.

  19. COVID-19 has actually helped me refocus on finishing sets. Less money spent on packs at the big box stores means more for singles and trades.

  20. COVID really hasn't made a change in my budget but the crazy prices on new cards has changed up what I am picking up as I am working on some older cards and sets instead of new sets and every Giant that comes out.

    That Zito manupatch is awesome btw, super cool looking card.

  21. I never stopped working but still got the stim check, so my spending has remained the same ~ which means freely and all the time. Helps that I've been selling off chunks of the hoard and trading steadily too. Thanks to all the buyers and traders!

  22. the lost collector - crazy prices have made life much simpler for me ;D

    nick - i know what you're saying. the bottom line is i can't stand clutter and by opening up boxes, it creates more clutter. glad you're back at the book store. can't wait to eventually get back into my classroom

    peter k steinberg - last year i went through a phase where i was trying to avoid buying lowend cards. the past few months has been the exact opposite. i love the 28¢ card purchases

    laurens - yeah, i haven't seen a decent selection of cards in quite some time at my local target. then again, the only thing i'd really want to buy is a box of big league

    wax pack wonders - sadly... my birthday and holiday money wouldn't get me too far ;D

    night owl - switching directions is the current trend. some people are embracing it. others aren't

    shlabotnik report - i sort of wasted the opportunity to get my collection organized this summer. i just wasn't in the mood. but i'm glad you were able to do it and use it as therapy. in the past it's worked for me. these days, not so much

    elliptical man - when you do go to target, do they have a selection? if so... i'm super jealous. i haven't seen any of the guys i normally buy cards from locally. they're usually set up at card shows and flea markets. haven't been to either since the lockdown

    dennis - i'm planning on listed the stuff this weekend. keep your fingers crossed. tcdb won't be happening anytime soon. the new school year is just around the corner and i'll be working harder this year than i have in over a decade as i try to teach from home. i miss teaching my students in person.

    shoeboxlegends - i saw that. great minds think alike

    the snorting bull - that's cool that you're supporting small businesses. i've been trying to do my part by ordering from restaurants and bringing it home at least twice a week. lol. and if you're wondering... i have put on a few pounds

    bbcardz - yeah, that live box break was a nice change of scenery. maybe other bloggers will start doing it

    johnnys trading spot - hope you stocked up on supplies early in the pandemic. not sure about binder and pages, but things like penny sleeves and top loaders are way overpriced right now.

    sean - glad you have job security. that's the most important thing. i've tried the price per card limit, but it didn't work for me. if i find a card i really like and it's a good price i'll buy it. well... assuming i can afford it

    sg488 - funny you mentioned the movies. was talking to someone recently and she said that was the thing she missed the most about this situation we're in. i don't usually go the the movies except for when a star wars movie comes out or when we take the kids there during our annual summer school field trip. as for cutting back on eating out. i still go out at least twice a week to support the local businesses, so it's a good thing i'm spending less on cards ;D

    nick vossbrink - just let me know... and i'll send you some first couple seasons of sharks

    steve at 1975baseballcards.com - prices should start falling soon, but hopefully it won't crash and scare away people who rejoined the hobby. i like the fact that there are so many people interested in collecting (even if some of them are doing it for investment purposes)

    jeremya1um - i don't blame you about card shops and card shows. although i did got to my lcs recently (for the first time in years to buy 200ct. boxes) and was very impressed at how they're trying to keep their customers safe.

    robert - yeah, i've been really impressed with your set building. keep it up!

    arpsmith - those patches are pretty cool. looks like bonds has a card in that set

    gca - my buddy has been bugging me to sell. it's tempting, but i haven't dove into that realm yet. i'm afraid if i do, i'll enjoy the money too much ;D

  23. What’s a hobby budget? As my post for SCC end will include how much of an impact covid has had on my collecting this year

  24. Honestly, I have never been able to spend much on cards, but the last few months I have opened the purse strings a little more. Not a lot. And if you have 40-50000 cards you are needing to get rid of, I am tempted to drive down and steal them from you!!