Can you honestly say that you’ve ever been on a trip and counted more card shops than you did Targets or Wal-Marts?
Well, it happened. And the score is 1-0 so far.
My wife and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary this weekend and during the trip we found ourselves in Solvang, Calif., which is a small Danish town in the central coast of California.
The town is essentially made up of store fronts and businesses replicating the look of the architecture of Denmark.
So, imagine my surprise when I stopped at a building that had a display including faded sports cards.
I stared at the cards wondering why they were there in this small tourist town. And then I saw the business card.
I thought to myself: “There was once a card shop here?!”
Then I looked up:
There at the end of Copenhagen Drive on the second floor is a real card shop! And it still exists!
My wife and I, and our two kids, went inside for a few and I chatted with the owner, whom I guess is “Tom” based on the business card.
“Tom” said he had been in business for more than 40 years. I asked how business was and he stopped, looked and me and said “what business?” He went on to explain how slow things had been and how he doesn’t deal on the a internet. I could tell I was touching a nerve so I decided to stop the chit-chat and find something to buy.
I always try to find some sports card during a trip my wife and I take to add to my collection.
The first card I found was a 1986 Fleer Update Robby Thompson rookie car. This former Giants second baseman and I share a birthday, and I’m almost positive I don’t own this particular rookie yet.
Second card is another rookie card I don’t own, the 1985 O-Pee-Chee Dwight Gooden. I was happy with the card at this price.
I have a soft spot for certain cards from the early 1990s, anytime I find copies of them I have to buy them. This 1991 Score flag card is one of them.
I was pretty happy with those three cards and happily would have pulled out $3 for those cards and moved on. But I felt compelled to keep digging. So I did.
I located this Blake Swihart 2010 Bowman Chrome USA card in another box. The price, as it turned out was higher than I could have paid on COMC, but that’s OK. I opened a bunch of 2010 Bowman products and somehow never pulled this one.
And grabbed the next stack of cards and started thumbing trough. Then IT happened…
Yes, this was THE Carlos Correa. Yes, this was Chrome. Yes, this is 2013, his first year. Yes, this is a black refractor. Yes, the card is numbered 99/99. And yes, this cost $1.
At this point I started digging g through stacks faster, looking for other gems. I dug for another five minutes and feared the shop owner would wonder why I was trying to hide a huge smile so I started to wrap it up.
I opened my wallet and realized I had no cash, only my debit card. And the owner told me it was a $10 minimum for debit/credit cards so I grabbed two overpriced 2015 Topps Series 2 packs at $2.95 each and checked out.
Once I paid and exited the store, I let out a celebratory smile. The Correa was a big find for $1. It’ll go right into my rookie/prospect PC.
In case you’re wondering, the packs were decent too.