Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Cleaning out the garage
Up until this year, local garage sales were never exactly a goldmine for cardboard.
I'd see some every once in a while, sure. But everything I found was along the lines of wildly-overpriced 1989 Topps or 1990 Donruss boxed sets.
Aside from a couple successes in years past, I've mostly come away empty-handed from garage sales.
My luck seems to be changing this year though. In probably my greatest find ever, I scored real vintage cards of "Hammerin' Hank", "The Mick", and others for a staggering price.
As it turns out, that wasn't all the garage sale gods had in store for me.
Last weekend, my dad wanted to hit a local garage sale. The ad he'd found advertised records, singles, etc. An avid record collector, my dad managed to find a decent stack of 45s from the boxes this garage sale had on display. (Bargain hunting is in my genes.)
While my dad was doing his thing, I decided to take a stroll through the vendor's front lawn. It had your usual garage sale accessories. Tools, books, DVDs, that kind of stuff. Soon afterward, however, I found something spectacular.
According to my dad, cards were nowhere to be found in the ad for this garage sale.
It was just by pure luck and chance that I happened to stumble upon this particular display of cardboard.
There they were, though. Two boxes of individually-priced singles, grouped by player.
Under normal circumstances, the cards would've been a tad overpriced for my liking. However, this particular sale was offering a "buy one, get one free" deal on the cardboard. Seeing that, I dug in with glee.
All in all, I ended up finding 31 cards for a meager eight bucks, which comes out to about a quarter each. Not overpriced in the slightest.
Including the one at the top of the post and the piece you see above, six of those cards featured Mark Grace, probably my favorite Cub to collect.
Plus, between the mid '80s Sutter, the wacky late '90s cards of "Gracie"...
...and quite a few more recent issues, these boxes did indeed have a little of everything.
Both of these fill spots in my new Kemp and "CarGo" player collections.
Most of the guy's inserts and parallels were way overpriced.
But these two, for whatever reason, were carried fairly reasonable price tags. For what amounted to around a quarter, I'll definitely take a neat refractor of "Joey Bats".
A red parallel from the long-lost Turkey Red set, the Randy Johnson is an absolute beauty.
It's not often you see cards of "The Big Unit" from his brief Astros days.
What would a discount bin be without a few mini-collection hits?
Between Mr. Glavine at the plate and a rather heroic shot of "The Big Hurt" signing for a few lucky fans, this haul certainly had its fair share of those.
Did I do it again?
Did I find another authentic vintage piece of "The Mick" at some garage sale?
Well...no. This is actually an ad for some sort of Mantle-themed sweepstakes from 1996 Topps.
Probably a mere filler card to some other collectors.
But not me.
Both of these are truly spectacular reprints of cards I'll probably never own.
And since they were advertisements at the time, I'm sure a lot of collectors just threw these out back in 1996. Which means that they're probably not all that easy to find these days.
I sure know I'd never seen them before this garage sale came along.
I wouldn't say I collect either Larry Walker or the late Kirby Puckett, but the photography on these was just too good to pass up.
Not surprisingly, they both come from the stupendous '93 Upper Deck checklist.
And we all know how great that set is.
Almost involuntarily, I've found myself picking up mullet cards recently.
It's not on the Mitch Williams level, but Mr. Glavine has a bit of a party going on in the back there. Thankfully, that hairstyle didn't stay in style very long.
Seeing as how I don't collect him, I'm not sure why I took a peek through this guy's stack of Jason Giambi cardboard. I'm glad I did, though, because it ended up resulting in one of my more interesting finds of the afternoon.
Those particular Oakland jerseys struck me as odd. I'm no uniform expert, but I couldn't ever remember the A's sporting all-white duds in the past.
After a little research, I found that they wore those for exactly one game on July 4th, 1999. (Which explains the red, white, and blue color combo.)
Little nuggets like that are what make the discount bin life so rewarding.
I'm at a loss for words in describing this one.
But I'll give it a shot.
Featured on this masterpiece is former World Series hero Joe Carter in a spectacular 1940's Negro League Kansas City Monarchs throwback, complete with a bat that looks to be about from that same era.
Just adding to the legend of this amazing piece is the Negro League crowd in the backdrop. Pure genius on the part of the Studio brand.
I've never seen a card run with the "throwback" theme as much as this one does.
Finally, we have what was easily the most shocking find of the day with Fergie here.
As the last card I needed to complete my "sunset" collection of his, it'd been sitting on my "Dime Box Dozen" list for the past month or so.
And now, from quite an unlikely source, I now have an '84 Fleer Fergie Jenkins in my collection. The "sunset" quest is now complete.
I went through thousands and thousands of cards at the National without even so much as a hint of it.
And yet Fergie and a whole bunch of other awesome pieces managed to show up at some local garage sale a few blocks from where I live. On a day where I wasn't even expecting to find any cardboard, to boot.
You just can't make this stuff up.