Thrift Treasures 68: 2014 Tri-Star San Francisco show bargain bin hauls


So last week I attended the annual Tri-Star show in San Francisco, and this time I went with a co-worker, whom I recently discovered was a card collector.  I was a bit uncertain of going with the guy — because I tend to go spend a lot of time going through stuff most people don’t care about — but it turned out fine.  He also likes to spend a lot of time at shows.  Guess I have a new partner to go to shows with.

I digress.  As usual I went to the first night of the three-day show, which gave me an early crack at the bargain boxes, the ones full of cards priced at a dime an a quarter, etc.  Well, in comparison to previous shows, this one was probably the least exciting for me.  The overall volume of stuff I bought was the least I had purchased in five years.  There are different reasons for this, but I think I’m becoming a tad more selective in what I’m purchasing from these boxes.

Anyway, enough of the chit-chat, on with the show …

We’ll start with the first dealer, who usually has cards offered for a dime a piece if you buy 200, but for some reason his stock this time didn’t grab me the way it had in previous years.  He tends to come up with new stuff for each show — which is awesome, by the way — but this stash just didn’t have the appeal.  So I settled for just 18 cards at a quarter a piece. A handful of prospect refractors, a few serial numbered cards (as low as 50) and one of my favorites of all time, the 1992 Upper Deck “Mr. Baseball” short print card featuring Tom Selleck and Frank Thomas.

IMG_8674The same seller also had some other boxes in which he had “better” cards priced at different levels, $3 each or $5 each.  I was kind of in a stingy mood so I only went for three from these boxes.

The Joey Votto Heritage ‘Action’ SP/variation and Bobby Thomson autograph were $5 each, and the 2014 Topps David Ortiz celebration variation card was $3.


Across the way from the aforementioned seller was another guy who had cards cheap, at a dime a piece.  But I skimmed through the boxes really quick after a half dozen or so people did the same.  I spent five minutes going through boxes real quick and only nabbed these 10 cards for $1.  That’s six 1994 Topps Archives Hank Aaron rookie reprints and three Willie Mays cards from the same set.  I found a 2012 Topps Mike Trout as my tenth card and called it a day from that seller.


Around the corner from the second seller was a guy who had a showcase full of signed shiny stuff, and then two boxes of items that were priced at $3 each, or three for $6.  I found three cards and the guy said he only wanted a $5 bill from me.  This shocked me because … I got a steal on these.  Do you see what I did?

IMG_8668Yeah, that Justin Morneau and the ‘Hot Corner Guardians” card are … 2011 Topps Heritage BLACK refractors, serial numbered to 62 copies each.  At $1.33 each that’s a steal.  That Posey is a basic Heritage Chrome refractor /562.

A few tables to the south was a guy from Sacramento.  We chatted a bit as I was going through his boxes of random autographs.  I stumbled upon a 2000 Greats of the Game Autographs Moose Skowron, which he had labeled at $10.  I paused, it was obvious I wanted it. Not because I am a big Moose Skowron fan, but because I am working on the set.  I told the guy I was working on the set and the Skowron was one of those autographs that I always pass on, because I hate the price.  He told me that I could have it for the lowest eBay price.  I checked and the prices were all over the place, from $2 to $10.  We settled on $5.  Win for me … and him, too, I suppose.

IMG_8670At another table a guy was selling a bunch of items for just a quarter a piece.  And while I could have purchased many more items, I decided to limit myself a bit here.  I picked up a few 2014 Topps Opening Day Blue Parallels, a 2013 Topps Update Gold parallel Danny Salazar “RC”, a 2013 Topps Update BCA Pink Pedro Strop /50, a 2013 Topps Update Juan Lagares Emerald Wave /25, three 2013 Gypsy Queen Minis of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, and my favorite, a 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter Bazooka mini of “King Tut” serial numbered /25.

IMG_8678The same seller had a box of cards for $1 each.  I took one, 2014 Topps Heritage Matt Kemp “Action” SP/Variation.  He put the base card in there too, which could be evident in the picture.

IMG_8679And the last dealer from whom I made purchases had a few items that made me laugh.  He had four boxes of items for a quarter each, and then a box containing items he was selling 3 for $5.

Well, the quarter boxes gave me eight cards, including five serial numbered cards (That McGwire is /600, Harrison is /100, Armas is /100, ans the Bagwell and Garciaparra are /2000), and three 1990 Leaf Sammy Sosa rookie cards.  I’m sure some of you remember when that Sosa Leaf rookie was a $150 card.  Had to own them at that price.

IMG_8675And the final purchases of the night came from the same seller.  Remember the aforementioned “3 for $5″ box?  Well, I found four cards.  He essentially charged me $1.50 a card.  That’s a 2000 Topps ‘Career Best” Sequential /1334, a 2000 Ultra Platinum Medallion Manny Ramirez /50, a 2012 Bowman Prospects (retail) Autograph Kolten Wong, and a card I always wanted, a 1974 Topps Willie McCovey with the “Washington” designation on top.  It’s the rarer version of the card; there is a more common “San Diego” version that is easier to find.


Total cost of these treasures: $38

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