Tonight's look into the second and final part of Sunday's trip to the flea market begins with a rarity in my world.
A complete set.
If you saw the shot I took of my finds in yesterday's post, you might have noticed a large box with the words OPENING DAY written across the top of it.
As Jeff and I were strolling through the last few aisles of the flea market, we spotted a guy with reams of sports-related pieces strewn around his table. The item that first caught my eye was the 1987 Donruss Opening Day set he had tucked near the bottom of a random cardboard box.
Singles from the checklist are pretty tough to find, and I'd never seen the entire thing intact before Sunday. Though buying complete sets aren't usually my thing, I asked for a price on it. The guy wanted six bucks, which I thought was fair for a 262-card checklist.
The risk in buying an open item like this is the fear of it already having been picked through. As far as I could tell, however, the entire set was still there.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Mr. Bonds there. Though he wasn't the reason I bought the set, I figured the first thing a scheming mind would piece out would be the rookie card of the so-called Home Run King.
It was probably the first time in my life that I was genuinely happy to see Barry Bonds.
The concept behind this '87 Opening Day release is a good one on the part of Donruss.
The 262 cards in the set feature all nine players from the starting lineups of each of the twenty-six teams on Opening Day that year. (The Rockies, Marlins, Rays, and Diamondbacks obviously weren't around then.)
It's hard enough to find singles from this set, much less the entire thing. Since it features a good chunk of (then) rookies and veterans I collect, I figured six bucks was a steal.
The tipping points of that decision, however...
...were these two.
The Easler had been sitting on my Dime Box Dozen list for months before Sunday. The Mitchell was about to become a DBD nominee in due time.
Save for this one of Mr. Mitchell, I've never seen any other cards that feature either of these guys in these particular uniforms. Easler was a Phillie for 33 games in 1987 before being dealt to the Yankees, while Mitchell was a Padre for 62 contests before his trade to the Giants.
All in all, I ended up spending eight bucks at this guy's table.
Six dollars for the Opening Day set...
...and a buck a pop for these two.
I'm slowly starting to build a formidable collection of Beatles cards. As Jeff can confirm, this guy had a whole stack of them at his table. The two I bought were the first two I happened to see.
If I would've had any more money on me, I probably would've splurged on a few more. The eight bucks I spent at this guy's table left my wallet completely empty.
That said, I certainly can't complain with the spectacular pair I picked up.
I'd already come across another fascinating pop culture item a few aisles earlier.
Nestled deep inside a box of wildly overpriced sports items was a snap case of a couple dozen of these Three Stooges cards. A quick look at the back told me that they were released in 1997. I couldn't believe I'd never heard of them before Sunday.
In case you didn't already know, I am a huge Three Stooges fan. The stack of about 25 cards set me back five bucks. Although I may have overpaid a bit, I couldn't let them slip by.
Leaving something like that behind would've hurt more than a trademark eye-poke from Moe.
While complete sets and the Stooges are great, let's get back to my main card vendor.
I already talked about my successful dime and free vintage digs in yesterday's post. I thought it'd be fitting to close out the flea market season with my last and final finds from his table.
We start with the quarter boxes, and specifically this wild film-inspired Tim Salmon insert. Like so much of what I found on Sunday, this design was completely new to me.
Just the start of what would prove to be a fruitful quarter box dig.
Though Jeff and I have fairly distinct collections, we overlap when it comes to throwbacks.
If you've ever read either of our blogs, we're both cuckoo for retro uniforms. As you might guess, finding these two Pujolses in the quarter box presented kind of a dilemma.
I definitely needed them, but, then again, I figured Jeff might as well. I offered both Prince Alberts up to him, but he refused, going by a "first come, first serve" basis. I figured we could at least split them, but he still insisted I take the pair.
What a guy.
I'm powerless when it comes to these Galasso Glossy Greats oddities.
The fact that these two happen to feature rival franchises was pure coincidence.
It's hard to turn down The Mick for loose change.
Note the Joltin' Joe cameo on the card on the left.
As evidenced by these two, vintage was no stranger to the quarter bin.
On the left is my oldest card of Sandy Alomar (father of Roberto and Sandy Jr.) and my first of him as a Brave. On the right is a sweet Milton Bradley oddball of Mickey Lolich, one of the more underrated pitchers of his time.
Oh, and the S stands for Stephen, in case you were wondering.
It's not every day that I drop a quarter on a Sammy Sosa.
It's rare that I buy anything of Slammin' Sammy, as a matter of fact. I'm not a huge fan of his, to put it lightly.
Still, issues of him as a skinny rookie in Texas are few and far between. One of my first obsessions as a young collector was to find a card of Sosa as a Ranger, and I guess it's something that's stayed with me to this day despite my negative feelings towards the guy.
In the end, I still think this was a quarter well spent.
Let's up the ante a bit by moving to the fifty-cent bin.
You're not about to get a Bob Gibson mini by me at that price.
Even if it is Gypsy Queen.
Love 'em or hate 'em? I've been messing with these things for years, and I still can't decide for the life of me.
The glove-themed concept on the Lofton is applaudable. But I'm still not sure what the heck Topps was going for with that Upton.
Either way, I decided fifty cents was a fair price for each.
I don't know where he gets them, but my regular vendor seems to have new National VIP exclusives every time I hit his table.
That DiMaggio was issued at the National way back in 2008. I'm already getting excited for its return to Chicago next year. Jeff and I are already in the planning stages for another meet-up.
The Ryan is a historic card I've wanted for a while now. His very first as an Astro.
Must've looked strange to anyone collecting back in 1981.
I couldn't turn down a pair of prime overproduction-era rookies for fifty cents per.
Maybe it's just me, but Randy Johnson looks about ten feet tall in that shot.
My regular vendor always has a little box of knick-knacks off to the side.
Lots of complete sets, unopened packs from the late '80s, nothing I'm particularly interested in. Still, seeing as how it was the last day of the flea market season, I decided to poke around a bit.
One of the first things that greeted me was a 1993 ProCards team set of the Harrisburg Senators. (An affiliate of the Expos at the time.)
The guy staring out from the front of the shrinkwrap was Miguel Batista, a fellow February 19th birthday boy. While he was the main reason I dropped a dollar on the set, I did find a couple other future stars inside.
Not bad for a buck.
I found this in a different box of miscellany off to the side.
I have absolutely no idea what it is, but I figure it has to be at least kind of rare since it was priced at a buck.
It's the latest step in what is becoming kind of a serious quest to track down every Pilots card ever made.
The Winfield was another dollar find from that miscellaneous box.
From his 1974 rookie to '81, I now have every Topps card of him as a San Diego Padre. A proud accomplishment.
I've had a reprint of that Killebrew staring at me from my Twins binder for years. I was ecstatic to see the real thing lying in my guy's glass case on Sunday. Two buck was all it took to add The Killer to my collection.
No more reprint anguish.
This one was also a glass case suspect.
Originally priced at three bucks, I got it for two. I love the '60s and '70s World Series highlight cards Topps put out, and I've made it an unofficial mission to track down as many as humanly possible.
At least one of the faces in this shot should look familiar. There, second from the right, is none other than a young, scrawny, and shirtless Nolan Ryan. It's the first actual piece of vintage I own that features him during his tenure with the Mets.
Definitely a contender for my number one find of the day.
If you saw the shot at the top of yesterday's post, you might have noticed an abnormally large '88 Topps Tony Gwynn.
My guy had a new item on display on Sunday, a huge box of what originally looked like massively oversized cards from the overproduction era.
Upon closer inspection, however, I found that they were actually folders, exactly like the kind I use for school. They even have stats on the back and everything. They'll house the pile of homework I'm sure to get next semester.
At 5/$1, I picked up Mr. Gwynn and the four you see above. It's a good thing I did, because a guy came up and bought the entire box literally about fifteen seconds after I finished looking through it.
Timing is everything, my friends.
It's hard to pick a single find of the day, but these two might share the crown.
Hailing from the awesome 1970 Topps Posters oddball series, my guy had these in a separate little baggie next to his glass case. He had them priced at two bucks a piece, but I ended up getting them for a lot cheaper with the deal he cut me.
I'd never heard a peep from this set before Sunday, in-person or online. Even though they were released during the dawn of the '70s, they seem to have a very disco-ish feel in hindsight.
They'll look fantastic at the front of my Cardinals and Twins binders.
I honestly couldn't have asked for more out of the 2014 flea market season. My collection owes a great debt to everything I've found over the past six months. Cards, folders, posters, and more. Every week I went was like a little card show. It's sad to see it go.
If you'll excuse me, I'll be over here counting down the days until the flea market opens again next spring.
March can't come soon enough.