Thrift Treasures 85: A mini helmet signed by an NFL HOFer

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , on March 31, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I have two kids.  One is in elementary school and the other is in pre-school.  Neither of them really enjoy shopping at thrift stores because “everything is old.” When they were younger they didn’t vent their displeasure, they just went along with the program.  So the only time I really get to go is when they both are in school.  My son (pre-schooler) goes to school two days a week and for only two hours.  What does this mean?  This means that in those two hours I get to jam in as much thrifting as a man can do.  I can cover stores within a 15-mile radius in that time if I stick to a quick search of the stores.

 

Well today, Tuesday, was one of those days.  I saw lots of cards today but not a single one came home with me.  I wasn’t interested in the baggies of 90s commons for $2.99 each or the 500-count boxes of 1987 Topps and 1988 Donruss for $9.99 either.  I had mild interest in a box that contained 20 packs of 1991 Fleer and a 1989 Donruss rack pack that had a Ken Griffey Jr. Rated Rookie on top.  And I would have bought that box ($9.99) had I not already found something that really caught my eye.

Behold, a Washington Redskins mini helmet bearing the signature of Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Theismann. This thing was sitting unprotected on a shelf in the misc. section.  Thankfully his signature is really only recognizable to sports fans.  The price tag ($4.29) as you can see in the picture made this an absolute no-brainer.

  

The autograph is in silver paint pent and is in pretty decent condition considering the rough environment in which it was found

Total cost of these treasures: $4.29

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

And then … there was one. Another big 2000 GOTG SP Auto acquired

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Never did I ever think I would get so close to finishing one of the greatest sets of all time. The 2000 Greats of the Game autograph set has been one of the top sets I have ever seen and over the last two years I have spent time and money trying to finish this thing.  I have bought cards locally, I have purchased cards at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland in 2014, and I waited nearly a month for a card to arrive from New York after some snafu with the Postal Service. And now … I have brought a card back to the United States of America from Tokyo, Japan.

Behold, the second to last card for the set, the George Brett certified autograph from Fleer.

IMG_0819I’ve noted before that the George Brett autograph was one of the hardest to acquire and over the last few months a few have popped up on eBay with Buy-It-Now prices that would make some heads spin. And even though some of those sellers take offers, none of them would come down to a price range I was happy with.

And then IT happened … one was put up for auction by a seller in Japan.  After a week of bids, and many last-minute ones, I managed to win the card and today it arrived at home in less than two weeks from the date of purchase.

This acquisition leaves me ONE card shy of the set.  You can see 91 of the 92 cards here.

Thrift Treasures 84: Jesse “The Body” Ventura autograph, “error” WWE cards and SF Giants SGA set

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

IMG_9905Lately I’ve been getting back into professional wrestling.  Laugh if you want, but it’s always been that thing in the background that I’ve always found entertaining.  This is all makes sense because in about two weeks I’ll be attending my first WrestleMania. So it would seem fitting that this edition of Thrift Treasures is heavily wrestling-centric.

On Friday I made a trip to two thrift stores in the area and the first item I located for sale was a baggie of random wrestling cards for $1.49.  This baggie looked to have a stack of 2009 Topps cards and some other odd Topps WWE cards I’d never even seen before.

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The condition of the cards was obviously not great, but I figured it was worth a trip down memory lane.

The base 2009 Topps cards were interesting.  There was an early Brie Bella release, a gold parallel (/500) Kane, a pair of CM Punk cards, and many more stars.

IMG_0418There were also some inserts …

IMG_0419And then these weird Topps Insider cards … Make sure you pay close attention to the last scan

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OK, you’ve seen them.  Do you see the two errors? One is Brock “Lesner” instead of Lesnar, and the other is …

IMG_0427… um, oops. The only remote way this is ‘Triple H” is if we are calling him Hollywood Hulk Hogan, but he’s not even dressed that way, so …

The next item I located was yet another signed book for my growing collection.  This book is signed by a politician/professional wrestling legend Jesse “The Body”Ventura. Pretty neat find for the price.

IMG_0334 IMG_0335And the final item is a 32-card 2011 Topps Emerald San Francisco Giants Stadium giveaway set featuring second year cards of Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, as well as a rookie-year release of Brandon Crawford.

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Total cost of these treasures: $7.47

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

BGS/BVG order returns: ’56 Clemente slabbed; RC’s crossed over

Posted in Mail Day with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

So, a few months ago my co-worker advised me that he had established a relationship with one of his local thrift stores and they would contact him if they obtained any sports cards.  This shop isn’t a chain store, just some little shop that buys storage lockers and resells items. I’ve never been there, but that’s how it was described to me.  And given the location in the middle of nowhere, I had no reason to doubt my friend’s description.

A short while after that relationship was established, my friend sends me pictures from the shop of various vintage cards.  Among the cards was a 1956 Topps Roberto Clemente. Long story short, my co-worker end up buying a bunch of cards and collectibles for several hundred dollars from this store.  In these transactions he acquired for me the aforementioned 1956 Topps Clemente and an off-center 1956 Topps Hank Aaron. I initially was going to send both cards to BGS in my order, but ultimately decided on just the Clemente as it was centered almost perfectly.

Well, the Clemente is  gorgeous. It graded a 6.5.  I could flip it for a decent profit, but like everything else in this batch of Beckett Graded cards, they are all for my personal collection.

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The Clemente was the newest addition to my collection before the BGS order was sent, but just about the same time I completed that transaction, I acquired a rookie card of Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.  This 1934 Goudey rookie card had been elusive. And then it happened. A HENRY Greenberg rookie card was posted on eBay and it was slabbed by SGC.  The card looked amazing, and the simple fact that it was listed as Henry likely kept bidding lower that it should have went.  Centered the card was, but mint it is not.  I could not see that it had a crease in the picture on eBay, but when it arrived I could see it. Disappointed?  Not really.  The card was graded a 2.5 by SGC and that would explain why.  Whenever I purchase rookies that are graded by SGC, GAI or even PSA, I almost always end up cracking them and sending them to Beckett Grading because I like the continuity in my display case and I feel the cases are superior to the other companies. So I cracked it and sent it to BGS.  It crossed over at exactly a 2.5

IMG_0214Speaking of a crossover, here is a 1959 Topps Bob Gibson rookie card that is absolutely stunning.  It’s centered and doesn’t have a single crease.  So why was it graded an SGC 2 when it came into my hands.  There is clear glue residue on the back. It came back from BGS as a 2.5.  It could be the best-looking card in this grade. Finding these Gibson rookie centered is not an easy task.  I’m more than happy to have this copy, regardless of the grade that it has been assigned.

IMG_0218Technically speaking, there are no official rookie cards prior to 1933.  That is the year that Goudey was released and according to Beckett, that set holds the first “rookie cards.” This means that many early 20th century legends do not have rookie cards.  Ty Cobb, Cy Young and even Honus Wagner technically do not have rookies.  But for my collection, this just means I seek early cards of the players, and in most cases, I chase the coveted T206 tobacco cards. At some point last year I acquired a Willie Keeler graded a PSA 1. I sent it to BVG in this order and it came back a BVG 2. I wasn’t expecting that.  Grading on T206s is always a crapshoot.  I’m just happy that BVG concurred with PSA on the fact that the card was real.

IMG_0215Sometime last year I was taking inventory of my Hall of Famer rookie cards and noticed that I was missing a Robin Roberts 1949 Bowman rookie.  I managed to find a raw centered copy with rounded corners for about $25. Needless to say it was submitted and came back … a 2.5. Not exactly a high-end copy, but it looks great in this case. Still worth every penny that I put into the card and the grading fee.

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One of the oddest rookie card parings I own is the 1941 DoublePlay card that features not only Harold “Pee Wee” Reese but also Kirby Higbe.  The pairing is notable because Reese has for a long time been portrayed as a supporter of Jackie Robinson and Higbe was among a group of players who was traded in 1947 after they refused to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers after Robinson was brought onto the team as Major League Baseball’s first African-American player. This copy was a PSA 4 when I purchased it.  I cracked it from its case and saw that the only real blemish was a stain near the left border.  It came back a 5.5.

IMG_0212And speaking of Jackie Robinson.  In 2006, shortly after I returned to the hobby, I acquired a 1949 Bowman Robinson for my collection.  It was raw when I purchased it and I sent it to BGS to have it slabbed as ‘Authentic” instead of actually graded.  At the time I liked that idea.  However, over the years I’ve found that many people are confused by this, and in my own display cases, the blue labels looked odd with the silver, white and occasional gold labels issued by Beckett Grading.  I decided this was the perfect time to crack the Robinson from it’s authentic case and submit it along with the aforementioned Reese/Higbe rookie. It came back a 1.5.

IMG_0213The final card in this batch is on that was acquired at about the same time as the Jackie Robinson.  It is 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie.  In recent years, these cards have increased in value regardless of condition.  My copy is clearly not mint as it is way off center.  But it is not creased, so that it a plus. Like the Robinson, I initially submitted this card to be placed in an “Authentic” case only. And for the same reasons as the Robinson, I decided to crack it and sent it in this batch.  I was surprised to see it come back as a 2 — I just figured the centering would kill the grade — but the fact that there are no creases is always a positive apparently.

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He won more World Series titles than Ric Flair had major World Heavyweight Titles

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , on March 6, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Ric Flair is widely recognized as having held a major wrestling Heavyweight Championship title in the WWE(WWF), WCW, and NWA 16 times. Did you know there is a baseball player/coach who won more World Series titles than Flair held wrestling heavyweight belts?

Enter Frank Crosetti of the New York Yankees. Crosetti played 17 seasons in the majors and after his playing days went in to coach the Yankees. In all, he made 23 World Series appearances and was a member of 17 championship teams. Here he is pictured on his 1933 Goudey rookie card, one that I recently picked up from COMC.com.

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4x 2015 Topps Toys R Us blister packs with purples

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

If you follow me on Twitter, you might know that I have fallen in love with the 2015 Topps Toys R Us purple parallels. They are foil and are gorgeous. I personally think they are the best looking parallel of the base set so far. And for $2.99 a pack you get three purples and a basic retail pack.

I you’ve been breaking any Topps packs this year you may have gotten some of those coupons from packs, which give you anywhere from 50 cents to $10 off a purchase. The amount is specified on the card.

Well, I had pulled six of them and placed a few into my wallet for future purchase. Well, guess what? You can use them at Toys R Us. I had four with me on Tuesday so I decided to go buy a few “purple packs.” With the coupon that brings the purchase down to $2.50 per, which is a no-brainer since I love the purples so much.

Here is the loot. As my luck had it I snagged a relic in the packs, one of Javier Baez. I also got a gold parallel, which is you haven’t noticed are tougher this year. And my purples weren’t half-bad either.

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Thrift Treasures 83: A bag of ‘Super’ Topps cards + bonus

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on March 3, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

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IMG_9897You know why I love thrift shopping?  Because you never know what you’re going to find.

Such was the case Monday when I visited a local thrift shop and located a bag of oversized cards hanging on a peg hook in the toy section.  There was a 35-year-old card of former Indians player Rick Manning starring at me with a nice stack of similar over-sized 1980 and 1981 Topps Super cards behind it.  I estimated that there were about 50 of these jumbo cards within the bag.  And since I had not owned any of these, and the cost per card was going to be able a dime each, I figured I’d bite.  I mean, why not? Maybe I could turn some of them into an art project, use them to decorate, or even help out some other collectors who had been seeking them.

After located the bag, I checked the remaining peg hooks and located about a dozen bags that held stacks of 1990 Topps, which was clearly obvious based on the horrific borders that year. And then there was one bag that really caught my attention for three reasons:  1) There was an unopened re-pack type of pack dated from 1989 inside, 2) There were two packs of cards within (2010 Topps Ser. 1 and 2010 Upper Deck); and 3)  the price tag was a mere 99 cents. So …. I bought them too.

IMG_9898We’ll start with the cheap(er) stuff.  As it turned out, the Topps and Upper Deck packs in this 99-cent bag were opened.  But clearly whomever owned them before didn’t remove anything because I pulled arguably the best 1951 Topps Blue Back card in the set, Babe Ruth.  It’s not worth a bunch, but it is Babe Ruth.

IMG_9931The Upper Deck pack was less exciting.  But we’re not five years removed from Upper Deck’s last-ditch effort at producing baseball cards.  If you remember, MLB ended its 20-year relationship with Upper Deck after 2009, but UD still had a contact with the Major League Baseball Player’s Association.  So, Upper Deck produced baseball cards that wre unauthorized by MLB and used photos that were supposed to hide the actual logos.  Well, check out these four cards in my 18-card pack.  Those logos (Team and MLB) look pretty clear to me.

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Remember that re-pack thing I mentioned earlier?  THAT was stilll sealed.  I remember seeing these at stores like K-Mart, Toys R Us, Woolworth, KB Toys etc. when I was a kid.  So I was taking a two-and-a-half decade jaunt back in time with this.  Was I expecting anything exciting? Not really.  Even if the company who created these implied there might be items of value inside by showcasing a 1954 Topps Ted Williams on its wrapper …

IMG_9910The packaging promises a mix of Topps, Donruss, Score and Fleer.  That, they delivered.  Sadly, it looks like they took a 1989 Topps Cello pack and removed the wrapper, then added in two to three of the 1988 Donruss and Score, and 1989 Fleer sets. Ugh.  I did manage to get a pair Hall of Famers though.

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Now we move onto the Topps Supers.  I estimated that there were 50 cards inside.  As it turned out there were 48, including a half-dozen football, which actually made this even more intriguing to me:

IMG_9922That’s not a bad six pack:  Tony Dorsett, Joe Theismann, Bob Griese, Franco Harris, Joe Greene and John Stallworth.

The baseball ones were fun too, and there were even a few dupes.  As stated earlier, none of these are worth a ton, but they are fun to own.  Heck, if I had them when I was younger I definitely would have placed them on the front of my school binder.  Here are the cards from the 1980 set; followed by a few from 1981, specifically from the Phillies, Yankees and Mets.

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Total cost of these treasures: $5.98

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

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