Thrift Treasures Part XXII: Card Show Bargain Bins

I’m kind of cheating here with this post by labeling it under Thrift Treasures, but given the prices I paid for the items within, I certainly felt like I was thrift shopping.

I woke up Sunday morning not expecting to go to a card show, but half way through the morning I remembered there was one scheduled for at a local mall, so I spoke to my wife and we decided to go as a family. Normally it’s not a good idea to take the entire family to a show. For collectors, time easily gets sucked away digging through boxes for bargains. For companions who are not into cards, this time can feel like eternity — alone. Nonetheless, we went together. I figured we could get some lunch and knock out some Christmas shopping if the show was a dud. As it turned out, the show turned out pretty awesome, for me, anyway.

The show was advertised as having 40 tables, which is pretty small. In all there were probably about a dozen booths located sporadically throughout the mall, dumb idea if you ask me. The first one I stopped at was a major no-no in my eyes. On one table were two boxes full of cards from all sports with the price “50 cents and up” written on the front. When I inquired how much a certain card was (I was looking at a neat EX 2000 Barry Bonds acetate die-cut insert) the dealer told me to pull out what i wanted and, “I’ll give you a good deal.” That prompted this somewhat vulgar Tweet. (link)  I just walked away. I don’t screw around when I am at shows. Dear dealers: Price your shit!

Not too far around the corner I found another booth run by some teenager. From what I gather, his father owns a shop (mainly toys and memorabilia) in the mall. I dug through the autos and game jerseys (priced at $4 each or 3 for $10) and half contemplated buying a 2009 UD Icons Dexter Fowler auto, but decided not to once I saw what was in the dollar bins. For the next 30 minutes I thumbed through every card in the four boxes. I wound up with 14 cards for $14. I could have done more damage, but after a while a deal doesn’t seem like such a deal when the dollar amount keeps rising. I stuck to 12 cards for myself and two that are definitely spoken for by Houston Collector, who is on the verge of launching a new blog.

I’m usually not a fan of buying stuff at shows for other people. Why? Because we deal in cash at shows and any time I spend a buck for someone else, that is one less buck I have to spend on myself. Sounds selfish, but I’m sure it makes sense to some of you. Anyway, I put my feelings aside for these two Lance Berkman 2005 Donruss State Line parallel cards. Why? Because they are low numbered (DK is 07/30; base is 11/40) . They should fetch me some sweet Red Sox … I hope.

I passed on that Dexter Fowler auto (sticker auto, $4) and opted to go with a less expensive signature of the newest old Yankee, Nick Johnson. It’s not a rookie-year autograph, but this 2000 Just 2K Auto will fit nicely in my collection. For a buck? C’mon. I saw common signatures selling for four times as much, I’ll take this solid hitter at that price.

Here’s a super exciting Melvin Mora 2000 Pacific Omega rookie card that is sure to make you guys jealous. OK, I’m joking. I actually bought this for my rookie card collection. I was missing a Mora, and this one I always felt was his best because it is serial numbered to 999 copies.

Bored? I promise things will pick up.

Now we’re talking. A rookie card of the newly crowned American League Cy Young Award winner. I love it. It’s no chrome, but I’ll buy this for a buck, and I am sure many of you would as well. How was this in the box? Oddly enough that same question went through my head as I pulled the next NINE cards …

I know some people really hate Roger Clemens, but this is a joke, right? As a Clemens (and Red Sox) collector, I took this as a slap in the face. The left edge is a bit rough, but overall it’s pretty good shape.

Let’s take a quick break from baseball and honor some awesome hockey cards. Here we’ve got 1972-1973 Topps cards of Guy LaFleur and Bobby Orr. Are you F’n kidding me? I turned the LaFleur over and nearly crapped myself (not really, but you get me, right?) when I saw that there was only ONE year of stats listed — I thought it was his rookie. Turns out it is his second year card. Still cool, right? And the Orr? C’mon. Seriously? Neither of these cards are going to be slabbed anytime soon, but they are great finds for these prices. I don’t even collect hockey, but I might keep these as bargain hunting trophies.

From Hockey we move straight to vintage baseball. These boxes were filled to the max with serial numbered cards. In another time I would have bought lots of them. But when I found the hockey cards above, and these following vintage, all of that serial numbered stuff just seemed pointless.

1941 Double Play Gerald Walker and Joe Heving. Yes, those are holes in the card. Yes, that makes the card damn near worthless. And yes, those players are not stars. But this is the first 1941 Double Play card I’ve ever had a chance to own. Can you say you own one? The card is badass. Period. Admit it.

Um, is that a real 1952 Topps card? Sure is. A low-number, red back at that. Eddie Robinson isn’t exactly a household name, but in my home, he will forever be known as the man pictured on my good condition 1952 Topps card that I found for a buck. I’ve run across some other 1952s during other thrift hunts, but they were all in real bad shape. This one is pretty awesome, clean front and back.

You might have heard of this guy. This is not one of his true vintage card, but this 1960 Fleer is my first Cy Young. Actually, if you want one, you can get them on eBay for about a buck, only you’re going to have to pay shipping. Not a bad purchase if you ask me.

Anyone ever heard of that guy in the Dodger uniform? I think he’s pretty good. In 1965 he led the National League with a 2.04 ERA. This certainly isn’t one of Koufax’s most expensive cards, but I’m not complaining.

So, yeah, that’s a real 1933 Goudey card, one depicting Hall of Fame outfielder Sam Rice. Did I mention this is classified as Rice’s rookie? Guess who will be my next installment in the Rookie Card Showcase …<<insert big grin here>>

And the last card purchased from this particular dealer is now perhaps one of the coolest cards I own, a 1935 Goudey 4-In-One card featuring Hall of Famers Frank Frisch and Dizzy Dean. Seriously, this card cost me a buck. Can you think of a better way to spend a buck?

After paying for those cards, I pretty much felt on top of the collecting world. But I stopped at two more booths. At one I bought three packs of tobacco-size (A&G/T-206 minis) top loaders (price was $1.10 per 10; by comparison my local card shop wants nearly $3 for the same thing). And at the last, I spent a whopping $2 (3 cards for $1) on three Adam Wainwright rookies and three 2007 Allen & Ginter Mini cards, Jack the Ripper (regular back), Ichiro (A&G back) and Dwight Eisenhower (No Number on Back /50) That’s a hell of a haul for a total of $19.30.

11 Responses to “Thrift Treasures Part XXII: Card Show Bargain Bins”

  1. You got some awesome vintage cards for a buck, cant beat that price.

  2. Damn man, I need to start going to the shows you go to. Those are all real sweet deals for $1/each.

  3. Amazing. You made out like a champ.

  4. wow!!! Great haul!! I need to find a show with cheap vintage cards… I will definitely go nuts with that! The goudeys were my favorite!

  5. Very nice. At a card show in a mall? Any mall card show I’ve been to in the history of my life had no cards earlier than the ’60s.

    • There was a guy with perported vintage for sale at so-so prices. He had a real bad 1915 cracker jack Nap LaJoie for which he wanted $30, but it was some what suspect. Card was beat to hell but had 4 strong corners … sketchy.

  6. sweet finds, jealous!

  7. houstoncollector Says:

    Yeah, I definitely have some Red Sox I’ll have to find you, as well as a 2nd year Clemens card.

  8. Dude! I wish they had card shows like this in SoCal. Heck, the weekend one I went was SAD.

  9. […] I also picked up some other cards from the bins. Not nearly as awesome as the cards I found the day before, but these worked out OK. 1970-1971 Topps No. 1 […]

  10. […] As for this particular copy of Rice’s rookie, it is authentic and was obtained in one of my bargain bin finds at a recent card show. […]

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