Archive for the Thrift Treasures Category

Thrift Treasures 123: I get high with a little help from my … cards (Woodstock relic)

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

Last weekend my son and I went to the local flea market, part of which I documented in the previous edition of Thrift Treasures. While we were on the way there, I was telling him about my past experience at this flea market, specifically with a certain dealer who would often bring cards and sell them relatively cheap.

Among the previous hauls were relic cards for $1, which was a big deal a decade ago. I did not expect to see that dealer again, but there he was, right in a spot where I remembered. I spotted him from half way down the aisle and told my son. We made a b-line for his table.

This seller has aged over the years, and sadly he is now in a wheelchair. But there he was, hawking goods for the benefit of those looking to secure relatively cheap cards.

I scoured his cards and tried to gauge my son’s interest on some of them, but he was not seeing anything HE wanted for his collection. Totally understandable. But I stopped immediately when I thumbed through a stack of cards in Top Loaders and spotted something I hadn’t seen before.

There in the parking lot of this community college in California was a little pile of dirt, but not just any dirt — pieces of EARTH (it even says so on the card!) from Woodstock, New York, location of THE most historic concert of all time.

I may have said an expletive which caused my son to see what I was gawking at. He immediately asked what it was and what the hell that writing was on the front of the card. I explained to him the significance of the concert and told him that while I had opened a TON of 2001 Topps American Pie, I had not seen this card before.

I’ve pulled pieces of Elvis’ leather jacket, a swatch of Janis Joplin’s clothing, the lining of Frank Sinatra’s jacket (I think), and even pieces of the Berlin Wall as seen on the JFK card from that release. But never have I seen this Woodstock card. The price tag said $10, which I was happy to pay.

I continued to look through the stacks and really only stopped on one other card, a 1958 Topps Rival Fence Busters subset card featuring Willie Mays and Duke Snider. The card had three rounded corners and two somewhat pointy ones. Yeah, that’s not a typo: The card had FIVE corners because someone had clipped off one of the corners.

The price tag said $3 and I knew it had to be mine because it was my duty to save this 62-year-old card from the hell it was living among the piles of stuff constantly dragged from one flea market to another.

I took the cards to the seller, who had since fallen asleep in his wheel chair (poor guy), and his mother (yes, his mother) tried to wake him but he was fast asleep. She saw the cards I had in my hand and the price tags on them and said, “Just give me $10.”

I asked twice if he was sure and then thanked her for the deal.

The Mays/Snider card is in rough shape as you can tell, most would continue to walk away if it sat there. But this is an authentic vintage card featuring two Hall of Famers, one of whom is a local legend. While not worth much to anyone else but me, it’s a card I’m more than happy to have sitting around in my stack of vintage Willie Mays cards. And it’s even better that it was essentially a throw in to this sale.

The Woodstock card is really neat. Yes, it’s a small capsule of dirt embedded in the card — and it really doesn’t specify if the dirt came from the farm where the concert was held or if it’s from the center median of an intersection in that city — but the card represents something I didn’t know existed from a product I opened. Additionally, while I was not alive when Woodstock the concert occurred, I once watched a documentary on Woodstock while I was in college and it completely changed my outlook on music.

I was working at my college newspaper at the time as an editor. I would go to classes during the day and then work at the newspaper until midnight five days a week. When I got home one night, I was unwinding watching VH-1 (it was a music channel, folks) and the Woodstock documentary was on. It was like 1 a.m. when it started and I sat there for the entire thing; I had an emotion connection and reaction (I cried during Joe Cocker’s performance) to the show and the music. It’s hard to explain, but that night changed me, so this card will now sit in my PC as a reminder of that night.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $10.

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Thrift Treasures 122: Factory Sealed Iconic Set has a Homecoming

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t he say he was moving stuff out of his collection?

If that’s what you’re thinking, then you’re half right. I did say that, but the last post also had the following key components: be happy, write more, and hopefully add to the Thrift Treasures. I am accomplishing all of that here.

Saturday was the monthly flea market at one of the local junior colleges. I hadn’t been there in months, hell maybe even a year. But I was free on Saturday (which is rare) and my son was willing to go check it out with me. So we went with low expectations; I explained that this very much a feast or famine situation.

What we found was that there were at least four dealers who had cards in some format. Some had singles, others had boxes for sale — old and new. I call this an “abundance” of cardboard given that sometimes there is literally no one selling these collectibles.

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular other than stuff that made me happy or seemed like a great deal so I kept my purchases to a minimum.

The focus of this Thrift Treasures post will be on the items purchased from the final table we found on the way out of the venue.

This vendor had a dozen 1990 Donruss Boxes, some 1990 Topps Vending baseball boxes and some other misc items from that era.

But what stood out to me was this 1991 Topps baseball factory set. I’m close to completing my 1991 Topps Stadium Club baseball set and the 1991 Topps flagship set is one of my favorites of all time. And as I journey through this “Happiness Era” of my collecting journey, I’m realizing that I miss buying stuff that brings joy, not just the newest, flashiest or most valuable. Also, I feel like I’m trying to set a good example for my son in the hobby. And this purchase was going to do just that.

The box had a $10 sticker on it and the seller was literally packing up his van with the other items. I didn’t even bother negotiating. I handed him a $20 and be gave me my change.

I explained to my son how great the set is and that my intention was to put the set in a binder so that it can be enjoyed. The photography and design is great.

These sets are often posted on eBay for $10-$15, but shipping is brutal on a 792 card set and add another $15-$20 to your cost — that’s not a price point I want to be at with these cards.

We were about to leave when I was discussing this find via text with a friend. I’d shown him a photo. I told him how this seller had two boxes of 1991 Pro Set NFL Series One For $5 each. The first inquiry was about the Lombardi Hologram insert. I was reminded those were in 1990 — I should’ve remembered, I have one — but was advised that the boxes offer a shot at Bill Bellichik rookies, which command a premium in top grade.

For the low price tag I couldn’t resist. I told my son what the deal was and explained we could open the packs together later this week when he comes back from his mother’s house.

In addition to the Bellichik rookies, we’ll also be hunting for various variations and errors, which can also carry premiums. And when we’re done scouring the box, we’ll take the left overs (minus anything he might want to keep for himself) and donate them so they aren’t just sitting around my place. I post more about those boxes this week.

Me, being silly with the contents of a Thrift Treasures 122

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $20.

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Thrift Treasures 121: Pay It Forward

Posted in Thrift Treasures on November 13, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Last week I popped into a thrift store I hadn’t visited in a while. It’s a chain store, one that I enjoy, but the company had closed all other local locations over the last year so that’s put a damper on my thrift adventures.

Nonetheless on this trip it did not disappoint as I found two bags of football cards, which from the looks of things obviously had atypical content for a thrift store.

We’ll just cut right to the chase. These bags were $3.99 each and contained about 50-75 cards, and both bags contained ink. The prize of the bags was this Brock Osweiler Upper Deck Rookie Patch Auto featuring a swatch of player-worn Jersey from Arizona State University.

My intention was to sent it to COMC with my next batch. But when I posted a picture of the find on Twitter, Scott, (@SBergerBoston) an ASU fan, hit me up about a trade. I was kind of lukewarm on the idea but I figured it was worth discussing. I mean it’s not like the Osweiler was going to net me a small fortune.

So Scott and I engaged in early trade talks. And out of nowhere a good friend of mine, Tom ( @TommyDubbs46 ), pointed out that he knew both of us.

I’ve known Tom through social media/eBay BECAUSE OF CARDS since 1998; and Tom pointed out that he knew Scott for seven years.

I knew pretty much at that the Card I found just needed to be placed into a bubblemailer and sent to Scott, but I wanted it to be a surprise.

Scott told me he didn’t have anything I was seeking but he was willing to dig for something else.

But I ignored him … Because that’s what you do when you’re trying to stall.

Tom provided me with Scott’s address and for five days I was feeling bad, half expecting Scott to be upset that our DMs went cold.

But Scott reached out on Wednesday when the package arrived, thanking me for the card. He was surprised. Turns out Scott really digs Brock Osweiler.

This is a perfect example of why I justify my thrift searches. You never know what you’ll find; what you’ll save from destruction, and in some cases what you’ll be able to place into someone’s personal collection. It’s not always about financial profit; sometimes the experience is your profit.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $7.98.

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Thrift Treasures 120: The Best of the American League

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on November 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Real quick hitter today. I had about an hour to spare on Wednesday between drop off time at school and an award assembly in which my son and nephew were receiving accolades in math so I make a quick run to a Goodwill I hadn’t been to in several months.

As I scoured the shelves, the word “Donruss” entered my brain. I admittedly bypassed it for about two seconds then I retraced my steps and lo and behold stuff between a various board games was this Boxes 1990 Donruss “The Best of the American League” set.The set isn’t rare, but its surely not as common as basic Donruss. The set was clearly unwrapped, but the box was taped shut. For $5 I figured ai’d take a shot. Sure enough the set was complete.

The blue is actually quite pleasing to the eye, not quite the eyesore that 1990 Donruss became.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $4.99

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Thrift Treasures 119: Colin Kaepernick signed “Salute to Service” hat

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on September 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

This has been a really interesting week. Sort of out of nowhere I found myself in the market for a new (to us) dresser for my kids. The one we’ve had for the last few years broke and no longer held the drawers properly so I was faced with buying a new one, or looking for a suitable used replacement.

I chose to thrift shop since I could also get my fix of looking for discarded sports treasures

Well, Day One of the hunt actually led me to a GREAT deal on a new (to us) couch. And Day Two was pretty bleak for a few hours as I struck out at four different thrift stores — no good cards (only some over priced early cards it former quarterback Jake Plummer) or furniture

The fifth store was a long shot … a small Goodwill in San Jose, Calif., near the border of Santa Clara. I checked the showfloor and there was no dresser, but I discovered an upstairs “loft” boutique that had better quality items

Again, no dresser. But there was something that I had to own. You guessed it — the item listed in the title.

Here is what presents as an San Francisco 49ers 2013 Salute to Service cap with tags … signed by former quarterback and polarizing social justice figure Colin Kaepernick.

Let that sink in for a second …

This post isn’t supposed to be a place for people to bash Kaepernick, to show their patriotism, etc. Or really a place to bash the establishment, and show support for the former quarterback.

I’m not going to get all political here. That’s never been my deal.

But, I will say this is a mighty interesting piece in context. It was interesting when it was signed ,presumably at practice since the facility is nearby. It’s even more interesting in context today. And who knows how interesting this looks as a historical item in 25-40 years.

Needless to say, I had to own it.

By the way, I did find an alternative to a dresser — I found an IKEA 8-cube bookshelf for $25, about 70% off the original price.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $14.97

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Thrift Treasures 118: Hobby time capsule for $9.99

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on August 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Few things bring me as much joy as finding discarded hobby gems at the thrift store for less than the price of a handful of modern packs.

It’s easy to get sucked into paying $3, $4, or $5 for a pack of cards at retail hoping to pull something that makes you feel like a hobby winner. And we all know that the agony of defeat happens much more than any sort of victory. So when we can find items that make us smile — even if some portion of the hobby doesn’t get it — it’s really a priceless experience.

Such was the case Wednesday when I stopped at a local Goodwill before dropping off two packages at the post office. It’s been a while since I’d found cards at thrift stores, so imagine the joy I felt when I found a two-row shoebox that showed some promise … and for only $9.99.

True, 75% of this box had what was obviously 1989 Donruss. But that stack of cards in Card Savers II held so much promise. I wasn’t expecting the world, but cards stored in semi-rigids can be gold hiding in plain sight.

I looked all around the store hoping to find more boxes but there were none. The box was priced some five days earlier so odds are someone beat me to the punch for others.

Nonetheless, this box was mine and as it turned out, the box wound up being a hobby time capsule for one of the most exciting times in our hobby, 1990-1992.

The mention of those years will turn people away, thinking it’s just junk wax era. Hell, after I posted a picture of the wrapped box, one Twitter follower said he wouldn’t even risk the purchase unless there were relics inside.

Insert facepalm emoji here …

I digress. I ripped open the cellophane, grabbed a handful of Card Savers IIs and almost immediately found an absolute masterpiece of our hobby, the 1991 Elite Series Jose Canseco, serial numbered to just 10,000 copies.

The Canseco isn’t rare by today’s standards. But in 1991 trying to pull any Elite Series insert was literally like trying to find a needle in a haystack — they were legitimately like 1:10 cases. In their hay day the cards were selling for several hundred dollars; today the Canseco is still a $30-$50 card on occasion, and even more of graded well.

The Canseco would prove to be the pinnacle of this box in terms of current monetary re-sell value, but there was so much good stuff in here.

This image here is basically a summary of collecting from 1990-1992:

You’ve got the Canseco Elite, the awesome and tough-pulls in the Pinnacle “Team Pinnacle”, the 1990 Upper Deck Ben McDonald error card, the 1991 Upper Deck “Baseball Heroes” Nolan Ryan Header Card, the 1990 Score Bo Jackson baseball/football card and the 1990 Score Rookie/Traded Eric Lindros.

The McDonald is actually a neat card I’d never owned. He was a top rookie that year and his basic UD rookie card had the “Rookie” logo. But in early batches of UD, there were a bunch of errors, including the McDonald rookie showing the Orioles logo. it’s still a $10-$20 card in today’s market.

Speaking of errors, there were also these other tough (for the time) 1990 UD screwups:

Jeff Innis and Scott Garrelts cards show wrong player photos on front; the Team checklist and Jamie Weston cards have him listed as Jamie instead of Mickey Weston, and the Nolan Ryan is the banner variation. Errors and variations were a big deal at the time … and some of the younger collectors don’t understand how difficult it was tracking them down at the time.

In addition to the errors and inserts, there were some big rookies in here too. And while it’s not 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. or 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas big, we’re talking some stuff that had considerable hobby weight at a time in the not so distant past … and they all look like they’ve been in these Card Savers for nearly three decades.

And there was a fair amount of hobby stars, including a very nice 1972 Topps Joe Morgan.

In terms of today’s hobby “worth” these cards wouldn’t fetch a ton at eBay or at any show. But for a guy who cut his teeth in this hobby during this era, to basically locate a rookie collectors collection from the era, and to nail down some highly desirable errors and tough insert pulls, especially the Canseco Elite Series, is absolutely priceless. I know I’ve said it before, but this was truly a time capsule, and frankly better than most massive collections that some people are still hoarding in their basements.

Oh, and the 1989 Donruss? As I suspected there was no Griffey. But the sight of these brought back the memory of a hot summer in which I walked 40 minutes to Thrifty’s to buy cello packs of the product.

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $9.99

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Thrift Treasures 117: Michael Jeffrey Jordan x 700-ish

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , on May 1, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Remember that time Michael Jordan retired at the peak of his basketball career and decided to play baseball?

If you were alive and a sports fan in the 1990s you surely remember this. The Jordan-baseball connection actually started a few years before his “retirement” and it and it was famously chronicled on the 1991 Upper Deck Special card showing the basketball legend taking hacks at a White Sox game.

Jordan of course retired from basketball about three years later, opting to take his talents to Birmingham (to play baseball with the Barons, the White Sox minor league affiliate) with hopes of eventually wearing the pinstripes of the Major League White Sox.

Upper Deck pounced in this, creating a few Jordan baseball rookie cards in 1994 flagship Upper Deck, as well as in Collector’s Choice. A year later UD would again produce more Jordan baseball cards.

Topps? They never did create any. Hell, no other companies created any Jordan baseball cards … at least not legally.

And so enter the unlicensed market, which would include this 1993-94 Stadium Sports Michael Jordan card, comically numbered 69 as if there was actually a large set and not just this card, or different versions thereof.

It was not uncommon to see cards just like this during the early 1990s. Donruss has created legit Elite Series inserts using prism foil, and other companies were piggybacking on that with unlicensed cards of their own — often nothing more than a stale image of a player drowning in a sea of shiny goodness.

These type of cards weren’t really the type of thing I bought for my collection, but I saw plenty of people who did.

And so yesterday, while on my way to get my kids from school, I stopped at a Goodwill and they had a handful of 1990 Topps bricks (stacks of 25/50 of the identical card) of Nolan Ryan special cards on the shelf, and three boxes of cards in the showcase. I took a look through two of the boxes and passed as they were ProSet golf cards from like 1991.

And the third box? All Jordan. Michael Jeffrey Jordan. And all the same card.

You’re not going to find this card in your Beckett, and probably won’t see them on any official checklist, but there was no way I could pass on an 800-count box of Michael Jordan cards, even ones as kitschy as these, which show him as a baseball player with a proclamation of “Rookie of the Year.”

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $4.99

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here