Archive for Pimpin’ Aint Easy

40 Days and 40 Nights … almost (2010 Topps baseball)

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

I lasted 39 days. I’d be remiss if I had lied and said I actually made it to 40, which I somewhat alluded to in a post I wrote about a week and a half ago explaining my whereabouts. Moments after I finished that write-up, I got an e-mail from my local card shop — 2010 Topps baseball had arrived.

And so within minutes my baseball card sojourn had ended — I purchased six packs of Topps, enough to satisfy my appetite and get a decent glimpse at what was to come in 2010. My initial packs cost me about $12 — I get a cool little 10 percent discount at my LCS so that always makes me happy — so I was not exactly falling off the wagon. I did leave without buying a hobby box, which has been my customary purchase each of the last few years.

The packs were nothing spectacular. I pulled the relic card from the box — an Aramis Ramirez Peak Performer with a white swatch and blue pin stripe — and a few of the “Cards Your Mother Threw Out” inserts. Perhaps one of the lamest of the bunch was a 1999 Topps Original Back Ivan Rodriguez. Really? THAT is the card Topps wants to give back to you?

I digress. My packs were enough to hold me over. I pulled a few cards of some good players like Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval, found a good-looking Ty Cobb insert, and one or two Red Sox base cards. I had accomplished what I wanted, that was good enough … well until I spotted a blaster two days later.

In addition to buying one hobby box of Topps, I usually tend to buy a few blasters so I can work on my set. This year I vowed to be different; I wanted to stay away from the hobby box and the blasters. I succeeded in one of two facets.

Over the course of two days I managed to buy two Topps blasters from different Target stores. Each blaster contained two retro packs, eight basic packs and then one of those ManuPatch cards. The first box had a Grady Sizemore patch, the second a Hank Greenberg. The packs themselves were pretty uneventful. Nothing rare, just your basic stack of inserts. And then I learned why there was nothing extraordinary — TARGET BLASTERS HAVE ZERO RELICS OR AUTOS. Doh! Being about $55 into the product I decided to stop.

Truth be told, the reason I bought the blasters is because I knew that if I acted fast and posted the patch cards on eBay, I’d be able to make my money back. It’s a pretty well-known fact that if you post Topps inserts within a few days of their release, they sell for much more than usual. After that, the market becomes over saturated and you’d be lucky to get a nickel piece of Bazooka Gum in return.

Well, Mr. Sizemore sold for $25 (BIN) and Greenberg for $8 (Best Offer — still awaiting payment, Grr.), and I hawked nearly all of the inserts for another $30 in ONE-DAY AUCTIONS (THIS IS KEY!), so I actually came out ahead financially. In the end I wound up with cards I really wanted, a few left over inserts, and about 1/3 of the base set. I’ve also got four packs worth of Target-exclusive retro parallels which I am debating to throw on eBay to get even further ahead.

That, my friends, is how you make the hobby work for you and not the other way around. But don’t even think about going out now to buy blasters and sell those patch cards to get your money back. All of those patches are now selling for less than $10, including Sizemore, whose patches have been getting about $7. And the inserts? Forget it.

Having said that, I did win a dozen hobby packs from a Beckett Free Stuff Friday promotion a week ago. I’ll post the results of those when they arrive.