In my first 21 years of life, I've found a few little niches.
One aspect in particular is the concept of budgeting. Whether it be time, money, or whatever else, I feel like I've always been fairly efficient in getting things done.
In terms of cash, I'm pretty good about sticking to a budget. Aside from cardboard, I don't purchase a whole lot of luxuries. And, besides the occasional card show splurge, I don't do a lot of binge spending on the hobby.
In time, though, I've come to learn one of the steadfast rules of budgeting.
At times, you have to throw it all out the window. It's not something I'd recommend doing on a regular basis, mind you. But, every once in a while, it doesn't hurt to go a few bucks over budget.
After I'd finished browsing through my regular vendor's slew of awesome cardboard (which you'll see more of in this and the last flea market posts), I wasn't planning on doing any more spending.
But, just a few aisles later, I came across a table filled with a random assortment of flea market staples. Clothes, power tools, kitchen appliances, you know the stuff.
And, tucked away near the edge of one of their tables lied two binders that read, "All Cards -- 10 x $1.00". So, what we had here was essentially a dime binder.
Leaving my budget inhibitions behind, I started digging. It didn't take long to find this awe-inspiring gem of former catcher B.J. Surhoff, complete with a Griffey cameo.
Sorry, Mr. Junkie, but this one's staying with me.
I was happy to find a few Stadium Club-filled pages tucked into these binders.
This amazing World Series "play at the plate" will make for a fabulous addition to my newly-designed frankenset.
I doubt there's a better card #282 out there.
As has become the norm lately, I came home with more Pacific Nolan Ryan cards after this discount dig.
For just a dime, though, I can't turn down a shot of the "Ryan Express" at the plate.
Here's a couple more of my miscellaneous dime grabs.
The Griffey is a terrific new add to my "sunset" collection, and one I'm surprised I didn't already have. And, while not technically his rookie card, I couldn't turn down that Thome for a dime.
It has all the makings of a bad high school yearbook photo.
Yes, these innocent little binders even netted me a few hits to my many mini-collections.
Between "pitchers at the plate", "double dips"...
...and "throwbacks", I was able to add a few beauties to my binders with this purchase.
Score even went the extra mile with this Will Clark issue, photoshopping an old-time backdrop into this staggeringly beautiful piece of cardboard.
All in all, I nabbed 20 cards from the two binders, totaling a whopping two bucks.
I'm sure glad I didn't stick to that pesky budget.
For now, let's switch gears and go back to the regular vendor I keep raving about around here.
When I walked up to his table last weekend, I wasn't planning on digging through anything other than his dime and vintage bins. As great as his other boxes are, I wanted to stay on budget.
But, after arriving, I found a couple hopeful collectors digging through the dime boxes. As a result, I started with the vintage.
After that dig was done, the dime bins were still occupied. So, once again, I figured I'd trash the plan.
Until the dime boxes opened up, I figured a brief dig through the fifty-cent bin wouldn't hurt. Fourteen fifty-centers later, the dime bins finally opened for business.
Had I not dug through those boxes, I would've passed up quite a few little gems, much like this "Silver Ice" parallel of current Royal Alex Gordon.
As apathetic as I've been towards Bowman in recent years, I'll give them a ton of credit for these beauties. I've secretly wanted to add one to my collection for a while now.
And, thanks to the fifty-cent box, I've finally fulfilled my dream.
Yup, I'll admit it.
I actually spent a whole fifty cents on a Sammy Sosa card. As you might know, I'm not a big fan of his.
Nevertheless, his early Rangers issues are hard to come by. And, of course, they make for one of the more well-known "Short Term Stops" tenures in baseball history. (Putting aside the brief time he spent with Texas at the end of his career.)
For better or worse, my love for unfamiliar uniforms doesn't discriminate against the "Steroid Era".
Here, we have a couple "latest and greatest" fifty-centers.
I feel extremely lucky to have found a Mike Trout insert for a couple quarters. I'm sure vendors around the nation have been insanely jacking up his prices over the last year or so.
For such a neat '83 All-Star Archives insert, plopping down fifty cents was an absolute no-brainer. As was the "Baseball Flashbacks" Koufax.
While I love my dime box goodies, I'm more than willing to drop a couple quarters on certain guys.
Sandy Koufax is most definitely part of that club.
As are Lou Brock and Johnny Bench.
In fact, the Brock is a Classic Clippings insert, serial numbered to 999 copies. While I'm not the numbered-crazed collector I was a few years ago, I still have a hard time turning down one of a HOFer for some loose change.
The Bench, on the other hand, is part of the hobby shop-exclusive "Prime 9" insert series that Topps started a couple years back. Since I don't have any great card shops around here, I was unfortunately left out of the festivities.
Luckily, this fifty-cent bin was there to let me get a little taste of the "Prime 9" party.
Still, that wasn't even the best Johnny Bench card I found last weekend.
Against all odds, this little fifty-cent bin helped me knock out a precious "Dime Box Dozen" need.
Given my longtime fandom of his, the fact that I'd never tracked down Bench's "sunset" card simply never sat well with me. (For the record, I don't consider his shared '84 Topps issue as a true "sunset" piece.)
While my feelings on the topic tend to shift from time to time, I'd say that '83 is currently my favorite Topps set of the 1980's. And, on top of that, note the odd "3rd base" designation on this particular issue.
It has all the makings of an awesome "sunset" card.
And, thanks to this terrific fifty-cent box, I can finally say that a copy now resides in my collection.
Had I not gone against my initial budgeting plans, I never would've bought any of the cards in this post. And that would've been a darn shame.
That just goes to show you, kids.
Sometimes, you just have to trash the plan.