30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Bargain Priced Excitement

Like many of you, I acquire new cards in a variety of ways.  Random wax packs.  4 Sharp Corners.  Card shows.  Flea markets.  COMC.  The occasional blaster box.  DA Card World.  Care packages from fellow blogger.  Sportlots.

But without a doubt, eBay is my primary source of cardboard... especially in regards to the money I set aside for my hobby budget.  I've never actually sat down and calculated anything, but I'd guess that 70 to 85% of my monthly budget is spent on eBay.

Some months are worse than others... depending on the deals I find and whether or not eBay offers special promotions.

A while back, eBay was offering up 15 to 20% coupons and 8 to 10x eBay Buck bonuses on a weekly basis.  I took advantage of those deals and ended up with a $38.90 eBay Buck certificate.

I wanted to apply the certificate towards one key addition to my collection, so I targeted the T206 Chief Bender.  Unfortunately nobody accepted my best offers and I kept getting outbid on auctions.  Plus time was starting to run out.  The certificate was set to expire on May 2nd, which meant I had less than a week left.

I widened my eBay searches and eventually found this auction a few hours before it was set to end:

The current bid was less than $30, so I added it to my watch list and set an alarm on my phone.  With only a few seconds left, I entered in a bid and was shocked to see that I won the auction for less than $50.

Now I'm not exactly a Barry Bonds card collecting connoisseur, but I have been targeting his autographs when the price is right.

Certified packed-pulled autographs typically sell in the $70 to $85 price range.  $60 would be considered a really good deal.  $48.10 (+ $3.15 shipping)?  That's an awesome deal!

When you factor in my eBay Buck certificate, I only had to pull $12.35 out of my pocket for this 1999 Topps Autograph of one of the most hated men in baseball who just so happens to also be the all-time home run king:

1999 Topps Autographs #A10

This on-card signature was from an era when most autographs were still pretty tough pulls.  Sure you had products like SP Signature and Donruss Signature that offered one autograph per pack, but those were exceptions to the rule.

In 1999... Topps created a 16 card autograph set that was split into two series.  The first eight cards were inserted into Series 1 packs at a rate of one per 532 hobby packs.  This Bonds was part of the second series cards which were a little easier to pull: one per 501 hobby packs.  That's about one per 14 hobby boxes.

The back of the card points out that Bonds was the only baseball player to hit 400 home runs and steal 400 bases.

Nineteen years later, he's still the only member of that club.  In fact he finished his career with 762 home runs and 514 stolen bases, which obviously makes him the sole member of the 500/500 Club to boot.

I realize this guy isn't going to win a lot of popularity contests, but he was one of the most entertaining baseball players I've ever had the chance to watch and I'm not just talking about his 73 home run season.  Whenever he entered the batter's box, he gave baseball fans a show.

And just in case some of you forgot... he was pretty good defensively too.  Just continue reading the back of this card where it mentions his eight Gold Glove Awards.

Okay... it's time to wrap things up.  Here are today's questions of the day:

What is your primary source of sports cards?

Who is the most exciting athlete you've ever watched in person?

Happy Sunday and sayonara!


  1. Nice Bonds auto and yeah a great price. My primary source these days is through trades, I never have much luck pulling Angels from packs. Most exciting player I've watched in person was Nolan Ryan.

  2. Great use of your eBay bucks, Fuji! Looking at my spending from 2012-17 I've spent 25% more at COMC, though eBay's caught up a decent amount recently. And I think Denard Robinson might be the most exciting athlete I got to see live!

  3. For me, Griffey was always exciting, Bonds was, and Ichiro was. I made plans to see each of them play in person, and I am glad that I got to see them play and that I can tell my future grandchildren that. i also saw Rickey Henderson play in person, but I was just starting to come of age as a baseball fan as he was winding down his career, so he didn’t run as much.
    As for cards, it’s mostly Wal-Mart, Target, and maybe a COMC order once or twice a year, and maybe a purchase from eBay if there is a card I really want.

  4. My primary source of cards? I've been hitting Sportlots a lot more than ebay recently.

    Most exciting player in person is a hard one. Bonds in his prime was something else but all those intentional walks were a snoozefest. So I think I'm going to have to go with Rickey Henderson here.

  5. Primary source: Ebay. Most exciting athlete: Michael Jordan

  6. The most dominant performance I've ever seen live, believe it or not, was Trent Dilfer. For the most exciting athlete, though, I have to go with a pair of BYU players who were often the best athlete on the field during their college careers: Taysom Hill and Kyle Van Noy. I guess Donovan Mitchell would have to rank up there, but the time I saw him live was only his fifth NBA game, and nobody knew just how exciting he is.

  7. Ebay has always been The Place That I Go When I Can't Find It Elsewhere. I'm honestly more comfortable on COMC or trading through the mail or wandering through a card show.

    Most exciting athlete: that's a toughie. I might have to say Bo Jackson. He kind of came along after my star-struck stage but it's safe to say no one had seen anyone like him. I'm surprised he hasn't been mentioned yet.

  8. It's all up to trading buddies now. With no or little budget, it's trading buddies and a once in great while walmart pack

  9. My collection comes 95% from Wes.

    eBay is still king for me. I still use COMC for cheap autos and relics for my WVU collection. Cardbarrel (just commons) has come in handy a lot lately.

    I've got to see a lot of good athletes while attending WVU events. A lot of Uconn guys like Ray Allen, Kemba Walker and Richard Hamilton come to mind. Allen Iverson is a big one too during his one Georgetown year.

  10. Cool pick up. I'd have to say eBay + blog trades is where 98% of my cards come from.

    Most exciting in person is definitely Allen Iverson (damn, you Matt!). He was so quick and just looked like he was on a different level.

  11. If I had to guess a rough breakdown, I'd say 40% from trades and my team collector group, 30% from COMC, 25% from shows, and 5% from ebay. I buy a few higher end cards a year on ebay, but the increased shipping rates have killed my ebay shopping over the last couple years.

    Most exciting I've seen in person? Mario Lemieux, though it was only a handful of times. It's cliche, but it really did seem like the game happened in slow motion for him.

  12. Where do you find those eBay special offers? Seems eBay never shares stuff like that with me and the only time I'm able to get in on the deals is if someone is nice enough to share the code on Twitter or something. But I end up missing out of most of them. :(

  13. In terms of quantity, card shows are easily my primary card source. But as far as consistency goes, trade packages get that distinction. Card shows are an every-other-month event, but I've traded fairly consistently on a day-to-day level for the last decade or so.

  14. Retail is my source of bulk cards as I grab a pack or blaster when I am out. Next used to be trading on my blog but Trading Card Database is now a source of 2-5 trade packages a week. Then ebay is now last for me.

  15. I don't have a driver's license and the LCS I used to go to in Iselin, Nj moved a lot farther away. So my only two sources for new cards (besides trades) are COMC and Target. 1-4 times a year I'll place a significant(for me) order with D&A or 4SC. Rarely do I shop on eBay anymore, maybe one purchase every 2 months.