30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The $20 Card Show Challenge

It's no secret that I've been struggling the past few months, but I try to focus on something positive to motivate me to keep pushing forward.  Right now I'm setting my sights on Thanksgiving break.  Before that it was last weekend's Cardboard Day Trip.

Originally Ryan (aka SumoMenkoMan) had planned on flying into San Francisco International Airport and attending the Serramonte Mall Sports Cards, Toys, and Collectibles Show back at the end of September.  But that didn't end up working out, so we started looking at other possibilities.  That's when the Crowne Plaza Hotel Sports Card Show revealed itself.  We both circled the date on our calendars, Ryan made his travel arrangements, and voila a much needed break from reality came into fruition.

After picking up him up at SFO, we headed east towards Sacramento and a little under two hours later we arrived at the show.  I'm going to estimate there were fifteen to twenty dealers set up with a little bit of everything for the modern collector.  Although Ryan pointed out that the non-sports selection was a bit lacking.

Personally... this trip was much more about hanging out and talking shop than buying cards.  However Ryan had suggested a few weeks ago that we see who could get the most bang from a $20 bill.  I happily accepted that challenge.  Let's take a look at what I bought...

Purchase #1IP/TTM Autographs  $7

Within five minutes of our arrival, I ran into famous blog supporter... Mr. Haverkamp.  We caught up for a few minutes, then suggested I take a look at this one dealer's stuff.  He had a bunch of boxes of autographs and you know how much I love collecting ink.  I spent probably thirty minutes digging through his stuff and pulled out ten to fifteen cards.  Part of that time was searching up certified signatures online to see if the autographs were worth the gamble.

I eventually narrowed things down to these five which set me back seven dollars.  In hindsight, this was my least favorite purchase, but you gotta start somewhere and get the ball rolling.

Purchase #21986 Meadow Gold Milk Pete Rose  $2

The same dealer with the autographs had a table filled with oversized items and oddballs.  That's where I found this milk carton featuring Pete Rose:

I feel like I've seen someone blog about this set before.  Even if I didn't, I like these kinds of items.  This is a really cool pickup for my Pete Rose collection.

Purchase #3Quarter Bin  $1

After purchasing the Rose, I spent the next forty-five minutes to an hour walking around the show looking for something to buy.  I even told Ryan that I might not be able to complete my end of the challenge.

While telling him this, I was standing at a guy's quarter bin where I found these four cards.  The purchase centered around the 1979 Topps All-Time Record Holders card of Sisler and Cobb.  Once I found that card, I was on a mission to find three other cards.

Darling is one of my favorite childhood pitchers.  The Castillo is super shiny and Griese is rocking awesome glasses.  Plus I was one dollar closer to completing the challenge.

Purchase #4More Quarter Bins  $5

After circling the show a few times, I came across another dealer's quarter bins that were absolutely loaded.  Unfortunately we were short on time, so I had to rush through the monster box filled with rookies, memorabilia cards, inserts, autographs, and parallels.

I ended up pulling out forty-something cards... but quickly narrowed it down to thirty.  The guy told me I could have the stack for $5... which breaks down to six cards for a buck.  I could live with that.

Here's the card that originally got me excited about digging through the guy's box:

2005 Prestige Xtra Bases Red #131

Anytime I can add a Maddux card serial numbered to 150 to my collection for a quarter (technically less), I'm going to do it.

Here are a few other highlights:

I think the hidden treasure in the box was this rookie card of Charlie Blackmon:

2011 Topps Update #US231

And the oldest card in my five dollar stack was this Reggie Smith rookie card:

1967 Topps #314

Reggie Smith was one heck of a ball player who was a 7x MLB all-star and a career .287 hitter who hit 314 home runs.  I'll buy his rookie card for 17¢ any day of the week.

Purchase #51989 Topps Big Baseball Wax Box  $5

Just as I was handing over the five bucks for the thirty cards, I noticed the dealer also had boxes of Topps Big baseball cardsOne of the projects I'm working on is putting together a master collection of 1988 to 1990 Topps Big sets.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think the 1989 Series 3 set is the only one I'm missing, so I decided to buy this box and build it the old fashion way.  Actually... I grabbed two boxes for $10, but for the sake of this challenge I only included one of these boxes in this post.

After the show we grabbed lunch at Del Taco.  I was looking forward to eating there almost as much as attending the card show itself.  Then we drove to a nearby card shop where I picked up a few more cards.  Unfortunately this post is starting to drag on, so I'll share my card shop purchase along with the cards Ryan brought me on either Thursday or Saturday.

Phew.  I'm exhausted.  The first quarter ended last Friday at my school and grades were due today.  I just finished filling out over 170 report cards.

Now it's your turn.

What grade would you give me on the $20 Card Show Challenge?

Which purchases were average or above average?  Which ones were epic fails?

I'm looking forward to reading your comments... and reading Ryan's post where he summarizes his $20 Card Show Challenge purchases.

Until then... happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

Click here to read Ryan's post which summarizes his $20 Card Show Challenge post.  He picked up some really cool non-sports stuff... and took photos of the card show to give you an idea of the size and number of people in attendance of the show, so head over there and check it out.


  1. Wow, lots of nice deals for less than a quarter! AND you spelled the word "voila" instead of "walla!" A+, my friend. Also, I think it's awesome you were able to meet up with SMM.

  2. Let's see.....5 Autos including an Earl Weaver, the Pete Rose milk carton easily worth $10-20 alone (and my favorite of the lot), unless of course that 84' Donruss Darling is the numbered (30) version and if so I'll buy it. You passed, so did you beat Ryan?

  3. It may have been my post on the Meadow Gold sets you remember. I was trying to figure out what existed and which sets contained a Dave Winfield so I just put all my research together in a post.

    Looks like you did great for $20!

  4. Awesome work Fuji! I think you did very well, when you consider what you got here vs a retail blaster for the same amount. I agree with your selected highlights, the Rose milk carton and Blackmon RC are fantastic!

  5. I probably would’ve payed 7 bucks for the Weaver autograph alone, so to get another autograph of a Hall of Fame manager, a McReynolds rookie, a Kruk, and a Kittle, that was a steal right there, as were the 30 for 5 bucks stack. Good job on getting the Blackmon rookie.

  6. I would have given an A+; however, I have to dock you for not picking up any Blue Jays.
    Overall Grade: A
    -anonymous paul-

  7. The autos and the Reggie Smith RC is A+ already. Nice grab!

  8. I think you did great, Also jealous of your Del Taco excursion, they’re awesome.

  9. You did very well! Fun way to go to a show.

  10. A+ in my book. I published my post a bit ago, but think you are the clear winner. We should have stayed at the quarter bin instead of heading over to Teammates...hindsight is 20/20, but we had some nice Del Taco. My treat next time!

  11. You hit a grand slam here! Vintage baseball/basketball/football cards, inserts, relics, autos galore...even non-sports and oddballs! And to top it off with a box of unopened packs for set-building, man that's my dream!

  12. You did awesome! Getting two Hall Of Fame managers' autographs was impressive!

  13. Nice job on the $20 challenge and also on finishing up those report cards. That last quarter bin was loaded - just the 6 cards you highlighted were worth more than the $5 you paid in my book.

  14. Just came back from viewing Ryan's haul. I'd give both of you an "A" for sure. Those Topps Big cards bring back some good memories.

  15. Amazing. Those are some sweet autos for $7. Nice basketball and football pickups as well. Glad you got to go and you did well.

  16. Darn shame that there are GU (or rookie simulations) in quarter boxes. But I wouldn't be too proud to buy them either! :)

    I might have some other serial numbered Maddux cards...

  17. Heck, you get an 'A' for the Earl Weaver card alone!!

  18. As a Sox fan, the Reggie Smith rookie is my favorite, but the Earl Weaver auto would have to come in a close 2nd.

  19. You get an A from me! I've never seen one of those Meadow Gold cartons intact, very cool!

  20. dennis - the quarter boxes were cool... but the hanging with ryan was much cooler.

    johnnys trading spot - it's the unnumbered version. is the numbered version super hard to find? i'll have to dig out my 84d set and see which on is sitting in there. lol. i think the fact that we got to eat del taco makes us both winners ;)

    jason presley - it probably was. i read so many blogs it's hard to keep track.

    shoeboxlegends - agree. i'd take these cards over a blaster any day of the week

    jeremya1um - the guy had at least 1 more weaver. i actually grabbed the wrong one. i thought i picked up his signed 1978 card. oh well... it's still a weaver

    anonymous paul - lol. now wait a minute. there's probably at least one blue jay in that topps big box

    base card hero - glad to see at least one other collector appreciate that reggie smith rookie card ;)

    steve at 1975baseballcards.com - it's a good thing i don't live near one. i'd probably go there once or twice a week

    the lost collector - thanks. it truly was a lot of fun.

    sumomenkoman - you paid the last time (remember the churros?). sorry. it's my treat next time buddy.

    bbcardz - honestly had i not found the final quarter bin and boxes of topps big... the show would have been luke warm at best in regards to cards. it was more about the adventure than anything else

    matt - i've been wanting that 1986 topps dick williams autograph for years. lol. i just hope it's real

    arpsmith - in regards to value, that vendor (with the quarter bin and topps big boxes) made the day

    gregory - i can't wait to dive into them and build that set. maybe i'll do a post on them

    bulldog - thanks. due to a cancelled flight, we almost cancelled the road trip. sure glad we stuck with it.

    gca - this wasn't the first time i've seen autographs and memorabilia cards sitting in these bins. i actually didn't bother pulling all of them out, since i was short on time... and on a budget.

    commishbob - the weaver is for you buddy.

    henry blanchette - yeah, i was stoked to find that for a quarter. i mean 17¢

    nick - now that's quite the stamp of approval. he had a few of these rose milk cartons. wish he had other guys. i would have bought them all.

  21. Got to admit, the first time I found that dealer Jim's table (Berkeley last May, I think), I bought a full Pete Rose unfolded milk carton as well, and begged him to find me the Mike Schmidt! He said when he cleared out the factory stash years ago, the Roses were the only ones available.

    1. mr haverkamp - thanks for sending me over to his table. the rose was my favorite purchase. i kinda wish i bought an extra one to cut up. best of luck finding the schmidt.

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