30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, December 29, 2014

Cardboard Road Trip

Last Friday night, my buddy and I decided to embark on a spur-of-the-moment road trip down to Southern California to check out a few flea markets, thrift stores, a card shop, an antique store, and of course the Frank & Son Collectible Show.

We set out on our journey a little after 4am (Saturday) and arrived at the Frank & Son Collectible Show a few minutes before 10am.  There were tons of people already there and parking was insane.  If you're not familiar with the show, it's been around since 1988 and is currently in a large warehouse where vendors purchase booths.  The majority of the vendors sell either toys or CCG cards, but there are a handful of guys with sports memorabilia.

Unfortunately, I didn't purchase any sports cards while I was there.  However... I was excited to add these two bobbleheads to my collection:

2002 SGA Hideo Nomo

2011 SGA Fernando Valenzuela

I've been wanting to add a Nomo bobble to my collection for awhile now and being in Southern California, there were plenty to choose from.  I ended up going back to the vendor who seemed the most flexible on his prices.  After a few minutes of wheelin' and dealin'... I walked away with both of these bobbles for $30.

After the show, we headed to the Mission Tiki Swap Meet in Montclair, California.  Most of the vendors carried cheap, new items and there was very little sports memorabilia available.  We ended up walking away empty handed.

That afternoon we checked into our hotel and started searching for something to do.  We ended up going to three different thrift stores, A & N Sports Cards (in San Dimas), and an antique store.  We completely struck out at the thrift stores and the card shop's prices were insane!  They wanted $135 for a box of 2014 Stadium Club baseball.  That's nearly 3x higher than online prices.

On our way back to the hotel we stumbled across the Coin Depot in Old Town La Verne.  If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend dropping by this place.  The guy who helped me was very nice and he seemed to know his stuff.  Their inventory mainly consisted of coins (hence the name), but it also had antique toys, war memorabilia, and of course sports cards.  

I ended up grabbing these seven cards for $20:

1975 Topps Mini #335

1970 Topps #370

1967 Topps #475

1960 Topps #23

1959 Topps #1

1959 Topps #212

1959 Topps #260

The next morning, we woke up and drove over to the Foothill Swap Meet in Glendora.  This flea market was a huge upgrade from the one we went to on Saturday.  There were a handful of guys who had sports cards (including vintage stuff), but I didn't end up buying anything except an Aladdin DVD for my friend and a bag of pistachios.

We started to make our way back home and stopped of at the Saugus Swap Meet.  This flea market was loaded with collectibles.  Unfortunately most of the stuff was priced way too high.  However, I was able to walk away with two purchases.

I picked up these three boxes for $20.  When I skimmed through it I noticed a handful of 90's inserts and 80's rookie cards.  I figured for the price, it was worth the $20 in entertainment value alone.  As soon as I actually sift through them, I'll write up a post with some of the goodies.

The only other purchase I made came off of a guy's dollar table.  If you bought five items, he threw in two for free.  Here's what I ended up grabbing:

Overall, I was a little disappointed that I didn't come home with more treasures.  But as with most road trips, it was a lot of fun.

From start to finish, we travelled 768 miles in a 39 hour window.  Thanks to affordable gas prices, we spent less than $40 each on gas and even less for the hotel.  Had we planned things out better, we would have gone to the San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings game, but we're already planning our next road trip and next time it'll involve at least one sporting event.

When you go on trips, do you usually check out the local card shops, flea markets, and thrift stores?  Do you try to attend sporting events?

Happy Monday and sayonara!


Tony L. said...

I usually don't go to local card shops, flea markets, or thrift stores when I'm traveling -- usually because I don't do my homework in advance to find out where to go.

As for attending sporting events, well, I've been to three English Premier League games, 2 San Diego Padres games, three Toronto Blue Jays games, a Pittsburgh Pirates game (way back at Three Rivers), an Orlando Magic game, a Chicago Cubs game, a Chicago White Sox game, and an Arizona Fall League game. So, if I can fit in a game, I definitely try to do it and sometimes I travel for it specifically!

Big Tone said...

Fernando bobble FTW!

The Prowling Cat said...

Last year when we did Disneyland in the summer I convinced the wife to let me do a thrift store. That was only because it was within a block of somewhere we were already at. I did research to see if there were any around before we left. If we hadn't gone into that area it wouldn't have happened as I don't go out of the way to do those while on vacation.

As for sporting events. Those are always a must that we actually research who is playing while we are in the area. We will do minor league games or professional games. Just depends on what the teams are, and who is home. On our summer trips we will sometimes plan multiple events, but usually don't get to all of them. That is why we have the one guaranteed event that we plan a full day around. It's very rare that we don't hit a sporting event, but it does happen.

Nick said...

A lot of trips I've taken have been built around sporting events. Both of my trips to St. Louis have revolved around taking in a Cardinals game. I've visited card shops at a few of the cities I've visited without much success, sadly.

Greg Zakwin said...

dude, next time you're in the LA area, stop by the card shop I work at!

BobWalkthePlank said...

When I travel for work the first thing I check is if a sporting event is taking place. I was pissed when I was in Houston a few weeks back and the Rockets were playing out of town.

Fuji said...

Wow... that's a lot of cool places you've traveled to. One day, I'd love to travel to all of the different MLB stadiums. But that's probably not going to happen anytime soon.

Fuji said...

You're very fortunate that you're married to someone who likes to attend sporting events too. Minor league games are often more entertaining than MLB games... and they're way more affordable. Might end up having to travel around California hitting up all of the different minor league stadiums.

Fuji said...

As a collector who enjoys finding bargains, it's hard for me to find things to purchase at card shops. I really, really, really wanted to make at least one purchase from the shop I went into. But I just couldn't justify paying their insanely high prices.

Fuji said...

Which one? I might be going down there again in a few months.

Fuji said...

Yeah... excited to add that one too.

Fuji said...

It's now going to be a priority for me too! We were bummed to see that we missed the opportunity to see our hometown team play in LA.

defgav said...

Hell, I can't even be bothered to check out local card shops, flea markets, thrift stores, and sporting events at home, much less when I'm out of town! haha.

Nice pickups. Especially like the '67 Jim Palmer and '60 Jim Brown.

Wes Moore the former JBF said...

A mysterious box shall arive upon your doorstep from the eastern south. The trinkets inside may be to your liking. Make ready

Commishbob said...

If the trip isn't for a sporting event in the first place a I always check to see what we can squeeze in. I was disappointed that the Sox were not at Fenway when I was in Boston last fall for the hoops Hall of Fame trip.

BTW... your haul from your trip is outstanding. I especially like the $20 vintage purchase. Great cards for the price.

Fuji said...

Thanks. Most of the cards were in pretty rough condition... especially the Brown. But that Palmer is really nice for being over forty-five years old.

Fuji said...

Oh dang... another JBF care package? What have I done to deserve this insane generosity. Thanks in advance! By the way... stay tuned. Your personal rookie card is featured in my next post ;)

Fuji said...

Fenway is in the top 5 ballparks I want to watch a game at. Hopefully I'll make it there eventually.

Thanks... I was really excited to pick them up. It was also a lot of fun talkin' cards with the antique store employee.

Matt C. said...

I actually live right between La Verne and Montclair. Unfortunately there are little to no card shops in the area anymore. You definitely have to travel to LA or the Orange County area to find anything really worth it. If you ever want some tips on places to check out send me an email!

Greg Zakwin said...

Beverly Hills Baseball Card Shop!


Ryan G said...

I make it a point to go to card shops if I can find them, especially here in Japan. And depending on how much time I have, I love to check out flea markets and those "antique malls" that are just a step above flea markets. And of course thrift shops! I've found some interesting things at markets all over Asia!

Ryan G said...

Oh yeah, and baseball games too... Japan, of course, but also Taiwan and Korean games. And in the US, I always planned my in-season trips so that I could catch MLB and MiLB games.

Fuji said...

Thanks Matt... I'll try to remember to do that before my next trip down there. I appreciate any help I can get.

Fuji said...

One day when I retire... my dream is to travel around the country (and world) going to different flea markets, antique malls, thrift shops, and of course baseball games. By then I'll be ready to start another blog. Maybe that'll be my new focus.