Archive for the Thrift Treasures Category

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

Thrift Treasures 116: Is that OJ Simpson … and Jose Canseco?!

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on March 2, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

True story: I woke the other day thinking about two retired athletes, OJ Simpson and Jose Canseco.

I can’t say for sure why I had those two guys on my brain, but their names were in my head. As it turned out, it was an omen.

I was out and about running errands and checking thrift stores along the way. I kept running into the same shoppers because unlike 15-20 years ago, everyone now knows about the flip game. This of course is disheartening because I figured they were all looking for the same stuff as me. But this doesn’t stop me from checking because I figure my skills are far superior to these other guys given my track record.

And so I scoured the shelves at one store and plucked from the depths of the toy section, filled with plush no less, a bag of toy cars that also contained a familiar sight: a baseball.

I grabbed the bag and there it was, on the sweet spot, a familiar scribble that passed the eye test as being that of Jose Canseco, Mr. 40-40. The signature was on a Rawlings American League Bobby Brown Baseball, which was produced through the strike-shortened 1994 season.

I flipped the bag over and found a price tag stating $3.99. This was a no-brainer.

So I shot a photo over to my friend, who is a Jose Canseco collector, and he was uncertain of the signature’s legitimacy. He said the auto looked rushed, but didn’t immediately trash it.

He could be right.

Or … he could be wrong.

We joked about it, and I bought the ball anyway. Why? Because the ball itself is worth $3.99 to me even for nostalgia purposes.

I’ve compared the signature to others and while it does pass the eye test, it’s not implausible that this is a fake.

Now, you might be asking who would be faking a Canseco auto. What you have to realize is that he was a huge deal in the 1980s and early 1990s and he wasn’t as accessible as he appears to be now. Also, his auto was pricey. Now couple this with the fact that this is a ball from that era in which he was a hot commodity and you’ve got to start wondering if it’s real or not. I mean, it’s not like all autographed balls found in thrift stores are iron clad authentic like this Pete Rose or Julio Franco signed balls I unearthed. (Side note: I thought I documented the Rose discovery here but can’t find it … maybe it was during a time I stopped writing. I go it for like $5.)

So, what about OJ Simpson you ask?

Well, an hour or two later I wandered into another thrift store and in a showcase behind another showcase I could see two football cards in screw down cases, one of which I immediately recognized as a 1970 Topps OJ Simpson rookie. I caught the attention of an employee so they could show me the cards.

He grabbed them from the showcase and laid them in front of me. In addition to the Simpson Card was a 1973 Topps Al Cowlings rookies card. I giggled because you know someone bought these two simply because of the infamous 1994 Bronco Chase. I took a deep breath before flipping the cards over to see the price tag.

The Cowlings was priced at $4.99. I knew this was a bad sign. So I slowly turned over the Simpson and nearly lost it when I saw a $149.99 price tag. I glanced quickly at the front to get a gander at condition and there was a giant crease across the middle. I handed the cards back to the clerk and thanked him and walked away. Then I realized 10 minutes later that I should have taken a photo. I went back after checking the store and no one was around to help so I took this image.

Needless to say the only item purchased on this day was the Jose Canseco autographed baseball … or does that say Jim?

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $3.99

You can seen more Thrift Treasures posts here

Thrift Treasures 115: Something For Everyone

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Persistence.

That’s the one word I’ll use to describe what it takes sometimes to find so-called treasures in second-hand stores. From personal experience, I will tell you that the number of people buying and re-selling items these days has made it much more difficult to find items that appeal to me.

The days of finding boxes of trading cards in Goodwill Stores, or other thrift stores, are gone. Now they are much more difficult to locate. Heck, there is still a segment of the population that believes all cards are word a ton of money. But, every now and again there will be some goodies left behind, even if the thrift stores themselves are sometimes marking up the prices.

I have several thrift stores in my general region, and the closest one to my house is a Goodwill Store about a mile and a half down the road. In the mid 2000s I would go there daily and fish out old Nintendo-brand video games from the various consoles and flip them for card money. Hell, there is a good portion of my collection that was build on cash profits from those sales.

I digress, this specific Goodwill in the last five years has been really poor when it comes to video games and sports collectibles. They just simply do not show up on the shelves or in the show cases. I suspect they either 1) aren’t getting them as much as they used to. But also Goodwill does run auctions on their Web site, so I wonder if they are posting items there — I never look at auctions there, just not my deal.

But even though the pickings have been slim at this store in recent years, I still find myself going there on the off chance there might be something for me. As it turned out, Wednesday was that day.

I’ll preface the remainder of this post by saying that I definitely paid more for this random lot of items that I would have in the past, but there was enough randomness, and enough intrigue to make me whip out my wallet and throw down a $20. Hell, I haven’t bought a single pack of cards in over a month and this was my shot at finding something, either for my collection, or for others folks.

I asked the clerk to see the mound of three Ziplock freezer bags of cards they had piled in the corner of the standing showcase and could tell from one price tag the items had been there at least three days. The bags were taped shut so I could not open them, I merely had to do a visual inspection. I could see there were some sealed bags within, as well as a 100-count snap case full of what looked initially to potentially be Sports Illustrated For Kids cards, as well as enough oddball stuff to make me say “I’ll take them.”

Here’s what was within.

We’ll start with these Chipper Jones cards, which we all should know by now are not rookie cards, or even ones that garner much attention. But what really caught my eye on these are the two early-90s stackable snap cases. These were legit … at least I thought so. I loved them as a kid, and if memory serves me right they were like $1 each at the time, so they weren’t “cheap.” I’ll remove the Chippers and keep the cases as they remind me of the times when I viewed these the same way many view One-Touch magnetics these days.

From Chipper, we’ll go into the Refractors. It’s not often you find Refractors in thrift stores — unless you’ve had some spoiled collector or breaker just completely give up. Here there were four, three of which were serial numbered. The Mallex Smith Jefry Rodriguez are /499, that Luke Hochevar is /150. The Frank Thomas is from 1999 Finest and is the Refractor Left version. Not numbered, but still a fun find here.

The next grouping of cards made me smile. I mean, the 1990 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr feature’s The Kid’s infectious smile, as does the 1992 Upper Deck Frank Thomas. And that 1989 Upper Deck Triple Exposure Nolan Ryan was a hot card in 1989 — at least until the update set came out and his “With Football” Rangers card was released.

There is no shortage of early Derek Jeter cards, but it’s still shocking and fun when I come across these. This 1994 Classic “Cream of the Crop” isn’t worth a ton, but I was always fascinated by the inserts and bonus cards that Classic released so it’s a fun one to own. The 2003 Topps Joe Mauer-Justin Morneau is a classic and must-own for Twins fans. It’s super inexpensive, but features two MVP and fan favorites on the same card. An that 2014 Topps Chrome Xander Bogaerts is a rookie card — although I am miffed by the fact that the previous owner didn’t put it in a penny sleeve first. Cmon, man…

Let’s move to the sports oddball segment of this post. We open with two 1988 Fleer box set releases, a poorly diamond cut 1988 Topps Jose, and then two 1989 Topps releases, the Cap’n Crunch food issue, and the KMart Dream Team. I didn’t need these for my Clemens stash, but finding Clemens cards and essentially saving them from the dump always makes me smile.

Speaking of KMart … how about two of these 1982 Topps MVP sets. These sets were released through the retail giant in 1982 and commemorated 20 years of AL and NL MVPs but showing a reprint of their Topps card from the year of the award. The cards ARE NOT RARE … but what’s cool about this find is one of these sets has never been opened. Hell, the gum was still inside. And no, I will not eat the gum — honestly, one portion of it is seriously discolored. What’s really cool to me is the number of price tags on the front of these boxes. The sets appear to have been discounted no less than five times after the original $1.97 price tag.

As a collector in the Bay Area during the early 1990s there was no shortage of oddball or food issues showcasing someone on either the Oakland Athletics or the San Francisco Giants. It’s no secret that Mother’s Cookies releases are my favorite. But I was always intrigued by the Pepsi releases — I’m an equally astonished that many of them survived given their crappy card stock. But in this find, I located a complete 1991 Pepsi Rickey Henderson release. I remember these coming one card per 12-pack of cans … I forget how the whole sealed set was released.

On that note, the Post Cereal cards were always fun. I really enjoyed the relatively inexpensive hand-cut cards of the 1960s, and several years ago actually found an un-cut panel featuring Hank Aaron. But in this find there was a much more modern Post release, an entire 1994 set still in sealed box.

Continuing the trend of “oddball” releases, here is a stack of 60-plus San Francisco Giants “Donate Life Day 2014” Stadium Giveaway cards. This is a four-card set that appears to have been released in a perforated strip. The previous owner looks to have taken 16 strips and broken them down and placed them inside the snap case — the perforated edges are what made me think these were SI For Kids cards.

Let’s close out the baseball portion of this post with three vintage cards, which are always super cool to find in random collections like this. I always feel privileged to be the finder of true vintage baseball cards as I feel I have saved them from being completely destroyed. Here we have a 1957 Topps Dick Groat (little paper loss on back likely from being TAPED to the album or bedpost), a 1957 Topps Ed Bailey (I can see a ring of glue residue but all stats and verbiage is clear), and a 1969 Topps Jim Grant, which is notable because 1969 was the first year the Montreal Expos existed in Major League Baseball. Grant was a Dodger in 1968 and looks to have been a member of the Indians in the old image Topps used here. He was the 36th pick of the National League 1968 Expansion Draft.

Moving from baseball lets go to hoops … women’s hoops. Someone apparently was really into Dawn Staley, Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoops and more. One cool WNBA card in this lot was actually a 2000 Ultra WNBA Feel the Game Game-Worn shoe relic of Sacramento Monarchs player Kedra Holland-Corn. That swatch is legit –it’s black leather. In some ways the swatch alone reminds me of the 2001 Topps American Pie Elvis Presley relic card featuring a swatch of a leather jacket. I actually pulled one of those; good stuff — good money too.

Do you speak Klingon? I don’t. But here are three mid 1990s Star Trek inserts featuring the Klingon Disruptor Rifle, Klingon Tactical Display and Klingon Sash.

Do you read comics? I’ve got a slew of Wizard Comic Price Guide promo cards. I know these are not rare, but they do look awfully good.

In some circles, when it comes to Halloween some collectors package up some of their extra cards and give them to kids trick or treating instead of giving them candy. It appears that in 1991 that was already a thing. Here are 14 packs of Trading Card Treats. The packs appear to contain three Impel brand cards showcasing various comics and TV Shows such as Wolverine, Spider-Man, Widget, Inspector Gadget and Universal Monster. My favorites, though, are the two Nintendo themed packs with Super Mario Bros 3 artwork cards on the front.

Speaking of Mario … here is a Super Mario RPG Legend of the Seven Star perforated card from an issue of Nintendo Power. My son even walked by the table while I was writing this and stopped to ask what the card was. I haven;t told him yet, but this an d the other Super Mario items are for him — he’s a big Nintendo/Super Mario fan.

We’re getting close to the end … I promise.

When I was a kid, Garbage Pail Kids were my jam — hell, my mom started buying then when I was 5 years old, and it was this collection that actually introduced me to card collecting. Sadly there were no GPK here, but there were a slew of Wacky Packages both old and new. There were almost 30 original Wacky Packages from 1979 and 1980 in here, and twice as many modern ones, including a red, gold and holofoil parallels. Anyone collect these? I see the vintage ones do OK on COMC — which is where they’ll likely end up.

And we’ll close this edition of Thrift Treasures with two non-card items. The first is a ticket stub from the 2006 New Year’s Day game featuring the Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers. The the second is a commemorative Sept. 11, 2001 “We’ll Never Forget” stadium giveaway pin from the San Francisco Giants. The pin is still affixed to the original card, but does have some surface issues along the top border.

Total cost of these Treasures: $19.86

You can read more Thrift Treasures posts here

Thrift Treasures 114: Two Minute Minor

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

I had a vision on Saturday night. I had a vision that after I dropped my kids with their mom, I would find a box, or multiple boxes, of baseball cards in one of the local thrift stores. It had been a while since I’d checked for cards in thrift stores, and truthfully, it’s been a while since I’ve seen cards at said stores – a bit uncharacteristic given my past success.

I digress. My vision included me locating boxes filled with low-level items that others deemed not worthy of purchase, but would fulfill my desire for the time being.

As it turned out, the vision was somewhat accurate.

I walked into a Goodwill and as I was walking past the linens I saw a familiar sight: a 500-count box sitting on the shelf – the sticker price was $3.15.  I opened the top and inside was a partial 1992 Stadium Club baseball set. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as I’ve been building Stadium Club sets recently and figured that somewhere I would uncover such a collection of seemingly worthless cards that I could start that set. And here it was.  The 1992 set is the sophomore Stadium Club release, which is somewhat disappointing, if not only for the fact that the clean 1991 design set the bar so damn high. Nonetheless, there are some fun images in the release. Including this classic Ruben Sierra, which oddly enough I featured almost 10 years ago to the day on this very blog. (Post)

I usually subscribe to theory that if there is one box sitting on the shelf, then there must be, or must have been at one point, at least one other. I checked another aisle and … jackpot.  There was a 5,000 box, a 4,000 count box, and multiple smaller 100- to 400-count boxes.  I quickly opened all of them and sadly it was all hockey, which I do not collect. BUT, I was in need of a 5,000 count box and the contents of the 5,000-count box sitting here seemed to be some higher-end brands from the mid to late 1990s, and I could see a small stack of Pacific bran releases.  I checked the lid for the price. When I saw $8.75 printed there, the purchase was a no-brainer as the box itself would be $5 at the LCS.

So, what’s in the box? Short answer: Nothing major.

But, I enjoy nuance, so here goes nothing:

There was a complete 1996-97 Leaf Limited 90-card set, and a ton of extras, enough to be close to a second set.

There were several Pacific branded cards as mentioned above.  A lot of these releases were sold as three-card packs, two standard size cards, and then one premium prism holographic card, gold, or lenticular style card. Of course there are the Crown Royale cards which are some of my favorites. Given that there were some two or three dozen here, I could see the value.

I was stunned by some of the quality of these releases. The Flair sets is akin to the baseball sets but these look far superior. And the Upper Deck McDonald’s release is very appealing.:

Of course there were classic hockey stars such as Gretzky, Lemieux, Hull, Roy, Fedorov, Yzerman, Jagr and more.

And parallels upon parallels.  There were more than 100 1997-98 Leaf “International Stars.”  The quality of these is pretty awesome. The car fronts feature a foil overlay map with the photo of the player emblazoned on top.

And whenever there are Pinnacle brands, you know we’re always looking for Dufex parallels (Rink Collection) and those pesky Artist Proofs which typically fell one every 36 packs, or one every 1.5 boxes.

The value of the items within these boxes will pale by comparison to some of my other finds, but this is hardly anything to scoff at. It was definitely better than finding a box chock full of say 1990 Donruss with stars, rookies and Hall of Famers stripped from the rows.

Total cost of the Thrift Treasures: $11.90.

You can read more Thrift Treasures posts Here.