Archive for Thrift Treasures

Thrift Treasures 111: Best Wishes … who?!

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , on February 20, 2017 by Cardboard Icons

As far as thrifting goes, Sunday nights are probably the worst time to head out and look for collectibles. Why? Well, basically most of the good stuff has already been snapped up by the “weekend warriors” who get after it every weekend at the crack of dawn and keep going all weekend.

Nonetheless I decided to make a stop Sunday after work and headed to a thrift store that’s out of the way a bit. It was worth the trip.

Due to the day and time, I figured the best place to start might be the books section as I might luck my way into another book signed by a president.  I checked book after book but found nothing. 

I then headed to the “collectibles” counter and saw a signed baseball sitting in a Ultra Pro ball cube. It read “Best Wishes … Willie Mays.”

Yeah, the Willie Mays.


Now, unless you were an active collector of autographs or have experience viewing Willie Mays’ signature you’d have no idea what name is scribbled on this ball.

Luckily no one who’d laid eyes on the ball was able to make out the Baseball Legends’ autograph.

From a distance I couldn’t immediately tell if it was a pre-printed ball.  When the clerk handed it to me I could see right away that it was indeed some sort of black marker pen on a Wilson Dura-Lon cover “Official League” baseball.

The price tag said $19.99 and the clerk immediately told me that it was not part of the half-off sale. 

Well, that’s good because I suspect someone would’ve taken a chance at $9.99, but would pause at $19.99.

Me? No delay.  I’ll take it.

When I got to the counter to pay the clerk asked if I had any coupons.  As it turned out I had a 30% off coupon for donating a few boxes of base cards. Perfect timing.

And so for $13.99 I walked out the door with a baseball signed by one of the finest players to ever play the game.

Now, this isn’t the ideal signed ball. We’d all agree that we’d like a   non-greeting blue ink signature on the sweet spot of a Rawlings Major League Baseball or Rawlings National League Official Ball. And of course we’d like some sort of certification to ensure authenticity. But c’mon, we’re dealing with a thrift treasure. You take what you find.

So, is it real?  I think so. I’ve seen enough Willie Mays signatures — on balls and flats — from the early to mid 1990s that made me lean toward the affirmative.

And later I did a quick search on eBay for Willie Mays balls signed with “Best Wishes.” Here are two comparisons.

It looks pretty spot-on in my opinion.


Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $13.99.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

Thrift Treasures 110: SI For Kids … For Me. 

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Sometimes when I donate cards to my local thrift stores, I like to go back a week later to see what they’ve priced them at.  Usually they grab a handful, stick then in a bag and then put a $3-$5 price tag on it.

And every now and again when I’m looking at these bag, often Filled with cars I owned, I come across ones that weren’t donated by me.

A few days ago I found one with a stack of Sports Illustrated For Kids cards. I buy these if I see a name that sticks out to me. In this case, I could see the name of Bryce Harper.  I figured I’d buy it as I didn’t own the 2012 SI For Kids card.

The Harper was the highlight of the bag, but there also was a cool card of women’s soccer player Alex Morgan. In all there were more than 20 of the SI For Kids cards. 

The find isn’t of any great value but still a neat little haul for the price of a retail pack. 

Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $2.99.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

Thrift Treasures 107: Serial Number Slayer

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

So the National Sports Collectors Convention is under way Atlantic City and like many others I wish I was there.  I’ve been to the annual event twice, both times as peripheral member of the Beckett Media team. But this year I couldn’t make it for several reasons as I IMG_0401I have a lot going on in my real life.  I may try for next year.  We’ll see.

On Wednesday I took my kids out to do a little thrift shopping. And what do you know, I find a massive amount of cards. So many that I was only able to get through a little of it before the kids got restless. Nonetheless, I got a good 15 minutes of digging in and with the cards priced at 5 for $1, I was able to snatch up a few treasures before I had to hit the road. It was a small sampling of what I would’ve been doing at The National anyway.

It’s not uncommon for me to run into such deals as 5 cards for $1, or even more.  But they’ve gotten a little harder to find lately.  And truth be told, I haven’t been out looking as hard as I had once been doing. It’s just a time issue.

Anyhow, I left some decent stuff behind, but I would up selecting 30 cards during this trip. And as the title of this blog post suggests, there were a good number of low serial numbered cards.

Let’s kick things off with three 2013 Topps Chrome football black refractors numbered /299 and a a 2014 Topps Chrome Bliue Refractor /199 of DeAndre Hopkins.

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Speaking of Refractors, here are  few more.  A shimmer silver 2013 RGIII /260 and a basic 2015 Topps Chrome Peyton Manning. The Manning will be a nice Christmas gift for my cousin’s son who just got into collecting.  I’ve already sent him every Manning I own, and about 5,000 other football cards.  His face when they arrived was priceless.

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Staying on the flashy subject. Here are three 2011 Leaf Limited parallels. The front of these are shiny foilboard. But I’m showing the backs because look at those serial numbers.  Hall of Famers Derrick Thomas /50 and Sam Huff /25.

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And some more Leaf Limited. These are from 2010 and they’re all rookies.  The base rookies are /499, but that Riley Cooper rookie is /25. Solid.

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How about some more serial rookies? Marcus Gilbert 2011 Absolute /50, 2010 Epix Ricky Sapp /50 and 2008 Prestige Chris Long serial 001/300. Gotta love those first-stamped cards.

IMG_0442A few random serial numbered cards. 1999 Paramount RW McQuarters /62, 2013 Absolute Boss Hoggs Julio Jones /99 and 2008 Icons die cut Mike Hart /150.

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Growing up in the Bay Area it’s almost a disgrace to see serial numbered cards of these two guys sitting in a thrift store. These are 2009 Leaf Limited Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, both serial numbered /399.

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Speaking of legends, I could not let a Barry Sanders (/1449) and Bart Starr (/639) from high-end 2007 Triple Threads sit on the shelf to collect dust.

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Johnny Manziel is pretty much a laughing stock at this point, but I still found some value – in terms of comic relief anyway – in finding his 2014 Topps Platinum rookie card.

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Here are a few basketball parallels from 2010-2011 Contenders, Caron Butler and Samuel Dalembert, both /99.

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Whatdya know, I found an autograph in the boxes. Sure, it’s Jamal Faulkner, a common. But this is an Alabama alumnus — I’ve already found a new home for this card.

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And let’s finish things off with a mixed group of four cards: 1999 Paramound Team Checklist Barry Sanders, a 1996-97 Topps Allen Iverson rookie card, a 1994-95 Collector’s Choice French GOLD signature Charles Barkley subset, and a 2012 Bowman Platinum Purple Refractor Javier Baez.

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Nothing here is going to make me a small fortune, but  all in all, still not a bad stack of cards for about the price of two retail packs,.

Total cost of these Treasures: $6

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

Thrift Treasures 105: Do UC3 what I see?

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on June 20, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Collecting baseball cards is a funny hobby. If you’ve been in the game long enough you’ve seen how collectors latch onto certain things and then at some point they complete abandon them — the Sportflix/Sportflics technology.

In the mid 1980s Sportflics was a innovative brand that essentially made it possible to view three images with just a flick of the wrist. If you’re looking for me to explain it, you’re out of luck.  I understand it just enough to figure there are actually three pictures on the card and the plastic coating makes your eye only see one image at a time.

The brand disappeared after 1990, and then resumed in 1994 as it was produced by Pinnacle. And then in 1995, the brand morphed into Spotflix (notice the “x” instead of the “cs”) and the sister brand “UC3” was born that same year.  The sub brand was not quite as cool as the originals, but they had the same technology. In my opinion it was a bust.

But the cards were still different, and being a Pinnacle Brand, the set had inserts and parallel. The packs were a bit more pricey at the time and not everyone could afford them.  I know I certain veered away from them.

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Alas here we are in 2016 and one day recently I was lucky enough to find two plastic cases containing some 1995 UC3 cards. and with the price being $2.65 per plastic case (I’m pretty sure these cases cost about that much by themselves) I figured I’d snag them both to see what I was missing at the time.

These two cases were filled with stars as you can see here.

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And they contained the only two true rookie cards in the set, Hideo Nomo and Mark Grudzielanek.
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The cases also had their share of inserts. The Cyclone Squad inserts were 1:4 packs (Got two Ripkens, that’s cool); the UC3 In Motion were 1:18 and the Clear Shots were 1:24. To understand how cool this is you have to understand that the latter two insert sets were tougher to pull at the time.
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And then there were parallels, which in classic Pinnacle Brand fashion, were dubbed “Artist Proofs” and were inserted some one in every box and a half, or 1:36 packs. While neither of these three will break the bank to acquire, it’s hard to argue with the three guys who were hiding in theses cases: Sammy Sosa, Joe Carter and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. These parallels

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Total Cost of these Treasures: $5.30.

 

Thrift Treasures 104: Are you effin kidding me?

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on May 27, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

So check this out.  I went to one of the local thrift stores on Friday and did my typical rounds through the store. 

Toys, clothes, books, collectible showcase, and random bags in te housewares area.

There was nothing in the first few spots. And then as I am walking a chick in a bikini catches my eye …
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Yeah, I saw that lady on the cover of the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swim Suit desk calendar in my peripheral view And when I stopped, I found bags of cards on a nearby peg tucked behind the scantly clad lady.

The cards instantly looked like stuff I see all the time. Bunches of 1989 Topps baseball, 1991 Donruss and then I saw a beacon of hope: a 1989 Score Steve Atwater rookie card. 
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Atwater, a safety for the Denver Broncos, had a solid NFL career. But I remember his mostly for this very card, which obviously hails from a very iconic 1980s sports card release. 

The presence of the Atwater, a card that was NEVER a common card during 1989 or the early 1990s, piqued my interest. And so I tried to get a gander of whatelse was inside.
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I could see two Derrick Thomas rookies in this bag. I then placed the baggie into my cart. Thomas Score rookies strike a nostalgic chord with me. DT, along with Bruce Smith, was one of my favorite players when I was a kid and his Score rookie was on my Christmas List for three straight years before I actually got one.

I took another off the peg hooks and did a quick check and could see a Michael Irvin rookie. I placed it into the cart without reviewing the baggie further.
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I went through the other five bags on the pegs and none of them really excited me. I did buy one more bag simply because it had a 1988 McGruff Crime Dog/Oscar Meyer release of former San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh. The Walsh card comes from a police set that was distributed to school kids here in the Bay Area. In 1988 I personally obtained multiples of Joe Montana and Jery Rice from this set through some bartering with classmates.

I went to the register and paid. As I headed out the door I ran into a guy whom I consider competition when it comes to hunting treasures. So instead of opening the baggies in the car I headed to next thrift store.

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After that stop, which yielded nothing, I received a text message from a friend who had see my teaser Twitter post. At that point I peeked at the baggie with the Michael Irvin bag. When I picked up the baggie the cards separated and I saw the unthinkable: a 1989 Score Barry Sanders rookie card.

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I snapped a picture and sent it to the friend. I then ripped open the bag to confirm that the Sanders, a true Iconic card from my child hood, was left for dead in a thrift store. 
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Clearly the Barry isn’t mint. infact, the card is creased. But it’s unthinkable that this card, which is on the same level as the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card, was ditched in a second-hand store. To make things more interesting I had not owned a single real copy of this card until earlier this year when a full 1989 Score set was gifted to me by a friend.

Total cost of these Thrift Treasures: $5.97.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

Thrift Treasures 103: an Uncommon Refractor

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , on March 24, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

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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.

 

 

 

Thrift Treasures 94: You won’t find that in a box of Chrome

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , on August 27, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Technically there are lots of things you won’t find in a box of Topps Chrome baseball.  But today I was out this morning looking for Topps Chrome retail blasters and couldn’t find any.

So I decided to stop into one of my local thrift stores. They had a few bags of cards but none that looked worth buying. Before I left I did a quick sweep through the book section and sitting there was this signed copy of Condoleeza Rice’s memoir.  Rice was the 66th Secretart of State under President George W. Bush.  

Now I’m not Mr. Politico. I don’t go on rants about government or even reply subscribe to one line of thinking.  But the names of politicians do stick in my mind and when you find signed copies of their books sitting on thrift store shelves you should buy them.  If for no other reason they often can be flipped for something else to add to your collection.

I’d say that this find was much better than finding a stash of Topps Chrome Blasters, which I wanted to run into today.

Total cost of this Treasure: $4.99

You can see other Thrift Treasures posts Here