Thrift Treasures 76: A sealed 84 Donruss set for price of a blaster

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

This was not your typical Thursday in California.

IMG_7134The San Francisco Bay Area was facing its “worst storm in five years,” which received a ton of hype and of course failed to live up to the billing.  It was windy, the rain was continuous and streets were flooding.  But it’s not like homes were being ripped from their foundations or anything. Anywho, that is not what made this particular Thursday atypical.

I work a rotating shift work schedule which allows me to be off on some weekdays, and a day before this fateful Thursday my wife send me text messages about some estate sale that starts on a Thursday. She saw some pictures posted in the online advertisement, including stuff she is interested in, and then stuff she knew I would be into.

 

IMG_7132Well, the stuff she knew I would be into was a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer sign with a Baseball Bat as a part of the advertisement, a shelf of “old” baseball magazines, and a picture of some random cards.

The cards I could see in picture didn’t intrigue me much. What I wanted was the sign.

So I took my daughter to school and my 4-year-old son and I ventured through the storm and arrived about 15 minutes before the doors were supposed to open. Due to the weather, they just started letting people in whenever they arrived. By the time we walked in there were a dozen buyers in the house, including a group looking at the aforementioned magazines.

I heard the host of the sale throw out a price point of $15 a magazine, and then the small group dispersed as they laughed at the high price. I knew at that moment that this thrift adventure was not going to end well …. or would it.

Immediately after hearing those words I located the Pabst sign on the wall.  Unfortunately it had a $145 price tag on it.  No way I was down to pay that much.  I then thumbed through the loose cards and two binders of cards nearby and asked how much.  I immediately saw a decent shape 1971 Topps Steve Garvey rookie, so I figured I would pounce if the price was right. Then I got the dreaded, “Well, it depends. Some of those cards aren’t supposed to be in there.  Like that Garvey rookie.” The host then removes it from the binder. Yeah, no thanks, Pal.

So I take my son through the house hoping to salvage the trip with a little trinket for the boy. This was to no avail. Nothing remotely even kid friendly there … except for the cards of course.

IMG_7111Before we leave the house I take one more look at  the card area and decide to blindly ask how much his boxed sets were. I could see one was a 1987 Topps factory set, a 1989 Score factory set, and then two factory Donruss sets, which I just automatically assumed were 1988 and 1989. The host said $25 each. I looked closer at the Donruss sets and saw that one said “’84” and another said “85.” I opened the lids, expecting to see a box of commons but was floored when I saw stacks of sealed bricks of cards — the way Donruss packaged their sets during the mid 1980s.  The 1984 set was a no-brainer if it was complete given that Don Mattingly’s best rookie card is a part of the set.  The 1985 one was too, but I had my doubts that they were complete, especially when I asked the seller if they were complete and his response was “Yes … well, I think so. That is how they were sold to us.”

I looked through the stacks and the numbering seemed to indicate that the Mattingly rookie should be there.  But I had never physically held a mid 1980s Donruss factory set.  The puzzle pieces held together with rubber bands increased my doubt. I started to wonder if some savvy collector had removed the brick of cards that contained the Mattingly. The seller said I could have the two Donruss sets for $40 if I wanted them. Part of me wanted to pull two $20 bills from my wallet and hand it to the seller and run, but I started to get that feeling of “this is too good to be true.” I felt that I could stomach a $20 gamble a whole lot better than $40. So I talked the seller into unloading one set (1984) to me for $20. Done deal.

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I tucked the box under my arm, grabbed by son and trounced through puddles to get back to the car.  Once I buckled my son in I opened the box and located the brick that should have had the Mattingly. And sure enough, there it was … super sharp.

At that moment I had thoughts of running back in to get the 1985 set as well, but by this point dozens of other cars had just pulled up to the neighborhood and people were running into the estate sale. Remember it was raining, and this was the first day of an estate sale.

I located the three key rookie cards to this set, the Mattingly, the Darryl Strawberry and Joe Carter Rated Rookie.

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The Mattingly is sharp, but centering might be a slight bit off.  The Strawberry and Carter, however, look to be dead center. Fantastic copies for grading purposes.

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The sealed set was a bargain at $20. These sets usually go for upward of $100 on eBay as they are broken by people looking to grade the contents.  I will say this though, I got really lucky with the quality of the key cards. Factory sets typically offer the best condition cards, but as you can see here, some cards were badly off center. Thankfully they were not the ones I treasured the most.

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Total cost of this treasure: $20.

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

Thrift Treasures 75: 100 parallels for $2.99

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

One thing I really enjoyed about the Ultra brand produced by Fleer during the 1990s and 2000 was the parallel cards. I really enjoyed the gold and platinum parallels of the base set. If for no other reason that some of them in the early 2000 were die-cut. So, imagine my delight when I walked into a thrift store today and located a baggie of 100 2000 Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion Parallels for the low price of $2.99.

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Sounds great, right? Now what if I told you these were not just any Ultra Gold Medallion parallels. They were WNBA Ultra parallels. OK, I just lost 95 percent of the audience.

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Like many of you, I have almost zero interest in women’s basketball. I’m not knocking it, I’m just saying I don’t watch it. But there are a few names that have stuck with me over the years, and as it just so happened, three of them were in this lot: Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, and Chamique Holdsclaw.

For fun I decided to use the Beckett Online Price Guide to see what this lot “books” at. Yes, I realize that “book value” has lots its footing in the hobby, but I still find it useful at times, and in this case for entertainment value.

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The Swoops and Holdsclaw cards were the highest valued ones with a high book of $8 while the Leslie was tagged at $5.  My entire lot of 100 cards? High book of $219.75. Boo-Yah! (Some sarcasm here.)

What’s interesting to think is that someone who owned these cards before me had to buy multiple boxes of this product to acquire this many parallels.  I mean they were released one per pack. And the packs were probably in the $2.49-$3.50 range at the time. Think on that for a bit.

Total cost for these treasures: $2.99

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

Thrift Treasures 74: Oldies but Goodies; shiny ones too.

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

So late last week I hit a thrift store on the way home and in the “collectible” section behind the show case near the register were three white boxes that all card collectors could spot from across the room.  One was small, like a 200-count box, but the others were 400-count and 550-count. On the outside the store wrote a vague description of what was inside. The small said something to the effect of “comic cards” and they wanted $2.99 for the box, and the others had various sports descriptions on them, as you can see from the pictures.

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I don’t buy every “mystery” box I run into, but if I am allowed to open it and get some idea of what is inside, I’ll bite if the contents and price point make sense.  Well, in this case I was allowed to do so. The first card I pulled out of the 400-count box was a shiny 1996 Topps Chrome Tony Gwynn refractor.  I closed the box immediately and staked my claim at $2.99. I then popped the larger box and pulled a small stack. The highlight of the stack was a 2007 Score Adrian Peterson rookie, followed by a 1988 Topps Brian Bosworth rookie.  I looked at the price on the lid ($3.99) closed it up and headed for the register. I’d already seen enough to justify by purchase.

So after the purchase I sat in my car and finally dug through both boxes hoping to unearth some special gems.  As it turned out, both boxes had a little something fun and even some items I’d even call treasures.

We’ll start with the small box, because it was heavily baseball-centric. When I opened this box in the store, I gravitated toward the single card that was in a penny sleeve which was the Tony Gwynn.

IMG_7056Refractors at one point were the epitome of parallel cards and in 1996 Topps released it’s first Topps Chrome run. They’re not as hard to find as their basketball counterpart, but the baseball ones from the early Chrome years are still not a easy to find as the ones made these days. The Gwynn could re-sell for more than what I paid for these two boxes.IMG_7057

There were some star cards in the 400-count box but I wont spend too much time on them. Instead I’ll just show a lot of 1997 Mother’s Cookies San Francisco Giants — lots of dupes, but at least I got ONE Barry Bonds — and five misc. cards, including two rookie-year Marshall Faulk cards, and a cool 1995-96 Hoops Skyview Joe Smith. Yes, that last card is of Joe Smith, a former First Overall Pick who didn’t exactly light the NBA on fire, but those mid-90s inserts do well on the secondary market.

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The 550-count box was 99% football.  I stopped collecting football about a decade ago, but every now and again I dabble in the sport. I also still have an emotional draw to rookie cards of guys, so some of the contents of the box really struck a cord with me.

First off, we’re start with a small grouping of stars cards that were in here. A few Peyton Mannings, some 1988 Topps Joe Montana and Steve Young cards, a pair of Jerry Rices, a 1980 Topps “Mean” Joe Greene” and a very very very sharp 1980 Topps Bears team checklist featuring the legendary Walter Payton.

IMG_7062David Boston never really caught on as a top receiver.  Maybe that explains why a mem card of the former Cardinals receiver was in this box.

IMG_7064I loved Upper Deck’s innovation during the 1990s.  One of my favoriter sets the 1994 Upper Deck Pro Bowl inserts.  What’s not to like? It’s a refractor-like finish matched with the epic motion-capturing hologram mug shot. Yeah, it’s Brent Jones, but it is still gorgeous. It goes perfectly with the other 49ers unearthed in this box.

IMG_7063And remember when I said there were rookie cards? Yeah, there were a few dozen.  Three-quarters of the rookie cards were of guys who never mattered at all in the NFL, there were these eight which I chose to feature here.  There was the aforementioned 2007 Score Peterson rookie, as well as rookie cards of Patrick Willis and quarterbacks flops JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn. But the 1988 Topps Brian Bosworth rookies (there were two of them), 1988 Vinny Testaverde, and 1989 Topps Traded rookie cards of Deion Sanders and the late Derrick Thomas really made this box fun to go through. The 1984 Topps Morten Anderson rookie is a bonus. It’s sharp as well, much better than the one I used to own.

IMG_7061Total cost of these Thrift Treasures: $6.98

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

 

1973 Topps Lou Gehrig spotted in “The Goonies”

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , on December 1, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

This is probably old news to many of you — or maybe not — but there is a baseball card shown in the 1985 flick, “The Goonies.”

In the movie there is a story about a guy who went missing in 1934 while hunting for treasure underground. The group of kids who star in the movie find the man and a book of his. The book market? The Lou Gehrig card.

Gehrig was a stud in the 1920s and 1930s as you know. But the card on which he is shown is NOT from that era. It’s actually a 1973 Topps card.

Like I said, it may be old news to you, but it’s new to me.

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Small bit of Topps advertising “hidden” on 1953 card

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , on November 26, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

I was just looking at this Clem Labine card from the 1953 Topps set, which is perhaps one of the nicest sets ever produced.

I’ve probably looked at this card a hundred times. But today I saw something that I had missed every other time.

Look over Labine’s right shoulder. Look at the advertising panel on the wall behind him. Although we can’t see the entire panel, it would appear that this is an advertisement for Topps Gum. I love “hidden” items like this.

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Icon-O-Clasm: “Progression”

Posted in Icon-O-Clasm with tags , , , , on November 26, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

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Completed: Golden Age Woodward and Bernstein autographs

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , on November 24, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

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