Thrift Treasures 103: an Uncommon Refractor

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So there I was doing my thing on a Thursday morning, looking for cardboard treasures in multiple thrift stores when in one store I spotted a binder in a showcase that intrigued me.
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The binder, as you can see from the picture, was covered in shiny baseball stickers from a vending machine, and was surrounded by two bags, one containing all 1991 Fleer baseball (pass on those every time) and another that obviously contained a few dozen Sports Illustrated For Kids cards, which I usually buy if the price is right.
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I asked the clerk to open the showcase and when I opened the binder quickly and I could see that there was a mix of soccer, non-sports, hockey and some baseball cards.  And in the back there were two signed photos of former soccer star Eric Wynalda (which were personalized to “Ben” — which just so happens to be my name.)  Also tucked in the back was a game-used card and a certified autograph. I flipped through the binder pages quickly and could see a few 1996 Finest cards including a few silver “uncommon” cards, which at that point I felt was worth the purchase.  I did not go through every page before I bought the binder.
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I also decided to buy the bag of cards that contained the SI For Kids cards — it was 20% off because it had been sitting there for a while.

I made the purchase and headed to the car.
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I ripped into the bag of cards first and counted more than 40 SI For Kids cards, including an early Shaq, an early release of female soccer legend Mia Hamm, and a bunch of other stars from various sports. The remainder of the bag was filled with basketball commons which were all in sleeves. While there was nothing of great value here, I would’ve paid a dime per SI For Kids card if I had seen them separately so this was a fair deal.

Now onto the binder.
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I started to flip through the pages one by one hoping that there was some treasure within.  The first card that made me stop was about a dozen pages in.  It was a 1995 Ultra X-Men acetate “Limited Edition” insert of “Beast.”

A few pages later I located a pair of quality Derek Jeter cards, a 1997 Finest base card and a 1997 Pacific Crown Prizm card, which is a set I loved back in the day.
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The next page, stopped me dead in my tracks.

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Located in the No. 9 slot on the binder page was a 1996 Finest Silver Refractor Derek Jeter, an “Uncommon” refractor.  In 1996 and 1997, Topps’ Finest product was divided into tiers, base “common” cards, silver “uncommon” shorter print cards, and gold “rare” even shorter print cards. And naturally there were refractor versions of each. Well, Jeter is Jeter and in this hobby, Jeter always has been one of the top draws.  How this card managed to find its way into a binder and left at a Goodwill is unreal. The card has a high book value of $80. And even if you consider book value to be meaningless, you get the point that it’s not a common card.

The remainder of the binder held a few other neat cards including several of the uncommon Finest cards, a Sammy Sosa “common” refractor, a 1994 Crown Contenders Randy Johnson insert (I loved these too in 1994), and a 1996 Pinnacle ‘Essence of the game” Eddie Murray insert (these were 1 per 23 packs).
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Usually such binders are filled with items not really to my liking, but this is a clear example that you must at least peruse a binder before ruling it out.

Total cost of these Treasures: $14.85.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts here.




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