30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, August 30, 2013

Flea Market Flops #1: The Inaugural Edition

It's a crapshoot every time I grab my backpack, water bottle, and pistachios and head out to the local flea market.

Sometimes I find new items for my collection.  And other times I walk away empty handed.  Either way, I usually only write about my flea market success stories.  But that's about to change.  I figure it's probably just as interesting to reflect on the stuff I didn't buy too.

So here's a look at some of the stuff I walked away from over the past month or so:

Binder Full of Los Angeles Dodgers  $100

This was from a few weekends ago.  I came across this awesome binder full of 70's and 80's Los Angeles Dodgers cards.  Obviously... a few bloggers instantly came to mind, so I asked the guy about it.  After a two to three minute conversation about how rare some of these cards are, he told me he wanted $150... but I could have it for $100.

I'm sure if you're a fan of Beckett values... it might be in the same ballpark.  But I wasn't willing to pay over $20.  Sorry Night Owl, Zakwin, Stealing Home, and GCRL.

Cards One: Bringing Back The Oldies 80's Packs $2 each or 3 for $5

How addicted am I to cardboard?  I'm so addicted that I considered picking up these repacks from Cards One... which probably contain a bunch of 1988 Topps baseball.  Anyways... I was willing to give the guy $2 for all three packs, but he kindly shot down my offer.

Rubber Band Wrapped Sports Cards $2

I flipped through these and didn't see anything I wanted.  But I had figured the least I could do was entertain the lady and ask her about the cards.  She told me that they were left behind in her classroom by a former student... which led to a conversation about teaching, schools, and of course "education" in general.

In the end, she told me I could have them for $2, since I was a teacher.  I passed... even though I appreciated the $3 educator's discount.

Baseball Card Binder $50

I'm not going to lie.  I really, really wanted this binder.  It had a bunch of 70's stars in it, including Pete Rose, George Brett, Reggie Jackson, and Tom Seaver.  Unfortunately, there wasn't enough in it to justify spending $50.  I offered $20 (which I though was more than fair) and the guy laughed at me.

Ichiro Suzuki Bobble Head $7

Seven dollars isn't a terrible price for a hand painted bobble head, but it was just a little out of my price range.  I wanted to pay $3... but was willing to go up to $5.  The good thing is that I've seen this bobble on three different occasions.  Maybe one of these times he'll drop his price.

2000 McFarlane Big League Challenge Mark McGwire $10

Do I really need a Mark McGwire logo-less figure?  No.  Do I really want a Mark McGwire logo-less figure?  No.

But I had to ask about it... and the Jeff Garcia bobble sitting right next to it.

The guy wanted $10/each or $15 for the pair.  As I walked away, he asked how much I wanted to spend.  I told him a buck and he told me not to waste his time.  Well... that's how much I wanted to spend.  My parents told me to never ask a question, if I didn't want to hear the answer.

9-Pocket Pages w/Baseball Cards $10

This is probably one of the more intriguing things I walked away from, because within this packet of 10 to 12 9-Pocket pages, there were inserts and rookie cards.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a great look at them, because they had taped the pages together.

Ten dollars was kind of high for a mystery package that only guaranteed me a Russell Martin rookie card and a low end insert of Derek Jeter.  I was willing to give the guy up to $3, but didn't say anything because I didn't want to offend the guy.

Dave Dravecky & Wally Joyner Autographed Balls $225

I had to save the best for last.  In all honesty... this might be one of my all-time favorite flea market stories.

As a child of the 80's, I would love to add autographs of both of these guys to my collection... but seriously... there's no way anyone is giving the lady $225 for the pair.

But hold on... it actually gets better.  She wanted $150 for each of them individually, but was willing to give me a package discount.

Wait... it gets better.  When I picked up the Dravecky to see if it was certified... she YELLED at me.  Not just a "loud" voice... it was a sharp, unsuspecting, ear piercing scream.  Everyone stopped what they were doing to see what the drama was about.

It was awesome!

As she yelled at me, I immediately began thinking to myself... how should I react?  Well... I took the high road... put the ball down... took out my phone and snapped this picture... then walked away with a huge smile on my face.

The event definitely got the blood flowing... but I can't wait until the next time I see her.  Because I'll definitely be fondling her balls again.

Happy Friday and sayonara!


  1. Fondle away, good sir. Fondle away. The first and last are definitely my favorites.

  2. As much a fan I am of Dodgers cards of that era, there's no way I'd pay more than a quarter of what he was asking (of course, I probably have most of them anyway).

    But I wouldn't have left without telling him to turn the Ron Cey card right-side up. For crying out loud.

  3. It's good to know that not every flea market expedition is successful. There are times when I've been ready to hop a flight to San Jose.

    1. Yeah... don't waste your money on a ticket. I went out this morning and didn't find ANYTHING worth writing about... good or bad. Some Sundays are good... others are very, very, very bad.

  4. great stuff.. You have got to share more of these in the future.

  5. Now if I was me, and lucky for me that I am, I would have walked right on back to that one guy and wasted a bunch more of his time before walking away, again, empty handed!!

    And I really think I would have shrieked a hell of a lot louder than that if some strange little Asian dude was fondling my balls right there in front of everyone!!

    1. Deep down inside... she liked it. ;-)

  6. What most people don't understand, and it's taking me quite a while to wrap my mind around this fact - is that the internet has sent the supply of baseball cards through the roof. The same amount of vintage cards still exist of course, but customers for them now have access to the entire nationwide supply that might be for sale, rather than just what the local shops and shows might have available. Which of course dramatically lowered prices for vintage. A good thing for collectors. For flea market vendors, not so much.

    1. You should go around flea markets across the country and preach this to vendors w/vintage cards. If you want... I can be your sidekick.

  7. You said you fondle balls. (snark)

  8. Flea market folks are an interesting breed. Dravecky is a great signer TTM, and you should be able to find his address with a quick google search.

  9. "Sorry Night Owl, Zakwin, and GCRL."

    How come nobody remembers I collect Dodgers? *sigh*

    1. Damn... Sorry bro. Give me thirty seconds and I'll fix that problem.

    2. Lol...no worries. I was just joking.
      I know the other guys have been around a lot longer and most folks think of them first.

  10. My 2/14 collection might have made me consider a slight overpayment for the Dravecky pair. Still, I think I'd be far better off grabbing a card off ebay.

  11. How could you pass on the rare upside down Ron cey error card?

  12. Unless that Dodger binder had Cey/Garvey rookies in mint condition,$20 was a fair offer.As for the Ichiro BBH for $7,the box looked thrashed,but as long as the doll was in good condition ,I would have bought it.

  13. I would have been all over that Ichiro bobble for 7 bucks.