Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Opening week at the flea market, Pt. 1: Return of the dime box

I might as well warn you now.

This will be a bit of a "show-off" week around here. I am extremely backlogged with trade posts, so I'm going to do my best to get caught up in that department as soon as possible.

One of those trade posts is going to be a massive four-parter. Once you see what arrived on my doorstep recently, I think you'll understand why.

On top of that, the local flea market recently opened for the year. After a couple harsh weeks weather-wise, my mom and I were finally able to make our initial trek there this past Sunday. Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

Now, during last year's flea market posts, some of my readers might remember that I usually crammed all of the day's finds into one write-up.

I'll be changing things up a bit during this year's flea market season. Instead of one big mega-post for each trip, I'll be dividing my finds into multiple posts. I've been trying to provide slightly lighter reads for my readers, anyways.

But enough about that. Let's get to the real meat of this post.

The treasures!

In continuing with last year's trend, I almost immediately went to the little cluster of card dealers at the local flea market. Thankfully, all the "regulars" look to be back for another season, with their usual array of discount bins at the ready.

When I made my way up to the first vendor's table, I saw something that immediately put a smile on my face.

The dime box was back!

While I usually managed to scrounge up a few quarter or fifty-cent gems, I'd vehemently missed this particular vendor's usual dime bin. For whatever reason, it'd been MIA for the latter half of last summer's flea market trips.

Thankfully, the dime box is back in 2013. And, from the looks of it, better than ever.

Before I really start to delve into my finds here, let me tell you how good of a deal I got on this batch of cardboard.

Since I've been a regular customer for a few years now, most of the vendors at the flea market know me. Because of that, they almost always graciously knock off a few bucks on the final price. This guy takes it to the extreme, though.

After all was said and done, I'd plucked 144 dime cards and nine bucks' worth of other miscellaneous goodies (which you'll see in a later post) from his table.

Now, if my math is correct, that should total up to about 23 bucks, which would've been about my entire budget for the day. So...final cost?

Ten dollars.

In essence, nearly all of my 140-plus dime box finds were on the house. A lot which included a couple stellar Astros adds with the above Bagwell and Biggio pieces.

As I always say, it pays to be a regular customer.


More than almost any other dime boxes I've picked through, this vendor's discount bins feature a little bit of absolutely everything.

I think that'll come across in the remainder of this post.

From what I've seen, I don't think it's humanly possible to be aware of every insert set that was released between the late '90s and early 2000's. There are just so darn many of them.

These awesome "Hot Properties" pieces were certainly new to me.

The city of New York has certainly seen its fair share of baseball history.

This pair features a couple of the more memorable moments from "The Big Apple".

Of course, most fans probably know the tale of Bucky $^%&* Dent by now.

While perhaps not the most revered moment in Mets history, I sure wish I was around to see that memorable 19-inning Braves-Mets contest in 1984. Keith Hernandez hit for the cycle in that game, while "The Kid" caught all 19 frames.

In a game that took over eight hours to complete (thanks to rain delays), the Mets prevailed, 16-13. And, since the game began on July 4th, the promised fireworks display went into effect at nearly 4 o'clock in the morning on July 5th in Atlanta that morning.

That must've upset the neighbors.


Dime box oddballs!

Does it get any better?

Although I've been going steady with 2001 Topps Archives for a good twelve years now, I'm still finding more reasons to love it.

I've purchased stacks upon stacks of these from dime boxes over the years. However, as is the case with Mr. Morgan here, a new one pops up every now and then.

Plus, Colt .45s pieces are hard to come by these days.

Even after all these years of collecting defunct franchises, this is just the thirteenth Colt .45s card I own.

Oh, how I love dime box short-prints.

No matter how angry I might be at Topps and their money-hungry SP tactics, I'll always have a soft spot for ones of the dime bin variety.

They're one of my guilty pleasures.

I made a pact with myself last year.

Unless I somehow found them at a dirt-cheap price, I wouldn't pull the trigger on anything from last year's All-Pete Rose set. (Courtesy of Leaf.)

While I collect "Charlie Hustle", I've never liked the idea of revolving a checklist around one solitary player.

In the end, I guess the cardboard gods had other ideas.

When I saw a fairly substantial stack of these in the vendor's dime box, I couldn't help but scoop 'em up.

Considering the deal I got on this dime box adventure, I'd say I made a pretty good choice.

Pete Rose overdose aside, they're actually not all that bad.

I know these scan like crap, but I absolutely have to brag about this "score" on my part.

After all was said and done, I landed a couple dozen of these '80s Sportflics issues, all of which feature legends from past facets of the game.

From left to right in this scan, we have Juan Marichal, Steve Carlton, Ralph Kiner, Roy Campanella, Bob Gibson, Lefty Grove, Enos Slaughter, Jimmie Foxx, and Phil Rizzuto.

I've heard the phrase "the scan doesn't do these justice" quite a bit here in the blogosphere. I've used it quite a few times myself over the course of this blog's history.

But never has it been more true than with this batch of gems.

As has become the norm with my recent dime box adventures, I managed to pick up a few pieces for my many mini-collections during this dig.

One of my more lofty goals is to acquire every "multiple-exposure" card ever printed.

With this beautiful Murray, I'm one step closer to realizing a huge cardboard dream.

Here, we have a couple adds to my "ripoff" mini-collections.

As I've mentioned many times in the past, neither my "double dip" nor my "play at the plate" quests were my ideas in the first place. I borrowed them from various members of the blogosphere who partake in similar collections.

They've sure been a ton of fun to "save" from the dime box depths these past few months.

While I'm probably not the only collector hoarding these types of cards, here are some new subjects for a couple of my other mini-collections.

The Sanders is one of the few "Multi-Sport Heroes" pieces I've plucked from dime bins over the years. They're just not all that common in this hobby.

Now, "pitchers at the plate", on the other hand, have long been fairly plentiful in the world of discount boxes. Still, that doesn't make them any less fun to find, by any means. The Glavine was one of my better pickups of the day.

And, speaking of which...

As of now, here's probably the most peculiarly-shaped "pitcher at the plate" piece in my collection.

I would've bought this card regardless of who was pictured on the front. Its strange die-cut quality made sure of that.

The fact that Burnett is a "binder guy" just made it that much sweeter.

It'd be hard for me to crown a single "king" of this dime box dig.

For now, though, I'd have to give the honors to Mr. Tejada here. After all, I can't say I've seen another shot quite like this one.

This is what I mean when I say I collect simply "cool" cards. The Tejada wouldn't quite fit into any of my mini-collections, yet it proved to be arguably the best dime find of the day.

Although, I'll admit, I'm tempted to start a "somersaulting ballplayers" mini-collection now.

If you thought these were cool, then you're in luck.

After all, we still have two more flea market posts to go.

Still, I think you can see why I was so excited to see this vendor's dime box back in action this year.

It never fails to provide a staggering array of treasures.


Michael Chase said...

Wow! Simply phenomenal cards. Every single one : )

hiflew said...

That Tejada is great. It reminds me of my favorite card from the 1995 Topps set, Mike Devereaux.

Jeff said...

That Squirt Carew card is outstanding!

Anonymous said...

love the post and your dedication to search through the dime boxes! very nice.

Mark Aubrey said...

What set is that Buck Leonard card from?

I wasn't aware that Sportflics did old timers. Great post.

Fuji said...

Dime boxes rule! Nice finds... especially the Tejada.