It’s a beautiful thing when you wake up on a Friday, have the day off work and the only real plan is to hit the first day of an annual three-day major card show.
It may have been Friday the 13th, but there was no bad luck for me when it came to cards. I was headed to the annual Tri-Star Productions card show in San Francisco with a pocket full of cash and a plan that included bargain hunting. The end result is one that will be absolutely impossible to match in the future.
In fact, my haul included some 300 cards, some of which will blow your mind given the prices at which they were purchased. But because there was so much acquired at the show, I’ll have to break the haul into three blog posts. They’ll all be documented as “Thrift Treasures” because the prices I paid were pretty much on par with what I would have paid at a thrift store. Unbelievable.
This is Part One of Three:
Where do I start? We’ll kick things off with a dealer who had a vast array of clearance items. He had probably six 5,000 count boxes full of cards priced at a dime each, a box of cards in Top Loaders that were 2 for $1 each, and then some PSA graded cards he wanted a buck each. Insane.
The following cards are ALL from this one dealer:
How ’bout a little PSA 10 action?
There were at least 50 cards in the PSA bargain bin, but a lot of them were 7s, 8s and 9s. Had I not already been jaded by some other deals, I probably would have went to town on this one box. Instead I bought only the pictured Gem Mint 1990 Topps TV All-Stars Dwight Gooden. There is one on eBay for $17.99 Buy It Now, and the description says there are 4 graded as Gem Mint by PSA. I guess I have one of them now. Cost: $1
We’ll work backward and show the cards that were the most expensive next. These next two were 50 CENTS each. Seriously?!
1964 Topps League Leaders card featuring Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal
1977 Topps Andre Dawson rookie card
In one of the 5,000 Monster Boxes, the seller had about 3,000 1975 Topps cards all in plastic sleeves. There wasn’t much quality left in there when I hit those, but I did locate a few Steve Swisher rookies. Until yesterday I had been unable to obtain even one of these. Cost: 10 CENTS each
4 1975 Topps Mini Steve Swisher and 1 1975 Topps Steve Swisher rookie card
In a small sandwich bag stuffed in a two-row shoe box were some over-sized cards that everyone seemed to pass on, probably because they had no clue what they were. Me? I knew EXACTLY what they were. They were 1989 Topps Baseball Talk! I had only seen people play with them, and had never owned any personally because they were too expensive and not readily available to me. The bag contained 30 of these cards, which feature plastic record-type discs on the back which play audio clips when inserted into the machine that plays them. I thought about buying them all, but really, there were only 10 that felt like must-haves. The seller didn’t care if I only took the ones I really wanted, so … I did! These were all 10 Cents each.
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Don Mattingly
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Cal Ripken
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Nolan Ryan
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Ralph Kiner
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Al Kaline
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Eddie Mathews
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Roberto Clemente
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Ty Cobb
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Babe Ruth
1989 Topps Baseball Talk Hank Aaron
How awesome was that? Got all ten of those for a buck. And because I like to have fun with numbers, want to guess what the Beckett high book value of that small lot of Baseball Talk cards is? Just $103.50. Yeah, a C-Note.
Anyone like hockey? I don’t actively collect hockey, but I do know rookie cards. Did I mention these were 10 cents each?
197701978 O-Pee-Chee Mike Milbury rookie card
1982 O-Pee-Chee Steve Kasper Rookie Card
1986-1987 Topps Gary Suter rookie card
1977-1978 O-Pee-Chee New York Rangers checklist
1992-1993 Upper Deck Hockey Heroes Wayne Gretzky Header Card SP
1972-1973 Topps Guy LaFleur
A pair of football rookies — 10 cents each
1981 Topps Dan Hampton Rookie Card
1987 Topps Randall Cunningham Rookie Card
Let’s move onto some baseball …
I like Nolan Ryan. I like his cards. I really like his cards when they are ten for a buck.
1990 KayBee Nolan Ryan
1992 Topps Gold Winner Nolan Ryan
1992 Topps Gold Winner Nolan Ryan Record Breaker
1991 Stadium Club Nolan Ryan -- I actually got two of these.
1982 O-Pee-Chee Nolan Ryan
…And Rickey Henderson …
1983 Topps Rickey Henderson
1988 Starting Lineup Rickey Henderson
1992 Flopps Stickey Henderson
Eight baseball stars …
1993 Upper Deck George Brett / Robin Yount SP
1992 Topps McDonald's George Brett
1992 Topps McDonald's Ken Griffey Jr.
1988 KayBee Cal Ripken Jr.
1995 Summit Nth Degree Cal Ripken Jr. CL
1981 Kellogs Steve Henderson
2011 Topps Diamond Ichiro
2001 BBM Best 9 Hideki Matsui
Some baseball rookies/prospects:
And we’ll close the first part of this series with a slew of “vintage” wrestling cards. This is where good gets awesome.
2 1987 Topps WWF Stickers WWF Logo
1987 Topps WWF Stickers Andre The Giant
1987 Topps WWF Stickers Randy Savage and Elizabeth
1987 Topps WWF Stickers Hulk Hogan
2 1987 Topps WWF Stickers Bret Hart
1985 O-Pee-Chee Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
1985 O-Pee-Chee Jim Neidhart rookie card
1985 O-Pee-Chee Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon
3 1985 Topps "Macho Man" Randy Savage In Action cards
1985 Topps WWF Sticker Lou Albano
1985 Topps WWF Sticker Jesse Ventura
1985 Topps WWF Sticker Iron Sheik
1987 Topps Macho Man Randy Savage w/ Elizabeth
7 1987 Topps Hulk Hogan cards
4 1987 Topps Bret Hart rookie cards
And the grand finale … a flying elbow from the top rope …
1985 O-Pee-Chee Randy "Macho Man" Savage w/ Elizabeth rookie card.
Oooooh, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! That Macho Man Canadian rookie card is in great condition and might be worth grading. Raw copies of this card are upward of $20 easy.
Total cost of these treasures: $9.50
Think those were awesome?
I’m just getting started.
Stay tuned for the next part of this special Thrift Treasures series.
Part One // Part Two // Part Three