Trading is great because I know I'd have about a zero percent chance of finding a lot of the stuff people send me on my own.
I can't tell you the number of times I've unearthed those special somethings in a trade package and thought: well, there's something I could've easily gone the rest of my life without seeing. The card scene in my area is great, but it can only go so far. Sometimes it's up to other people to make the discoveries for me.
Take this random Elvis card I received from none other than P-Town Tom himself: what are the odds I would've found something that in a dime box?
Here's another zero-percent item from Tom: an unopened cellophane pack of one-time Iowa Cubs (which were part of some sort of stadium giveaway, I'm guessing).
These likely would've been gaping holes in my Cubs collection for eternity had Tom not come along.
Even cards I feel like I should've tracked down a long time ago (like these two) can feel like zero-percenters after a while.
The Hrbek has already appeared in a featured frankenset page, and in his note to me, Tom astutely observed that the Cerutti has to be one of the extreme few cards in existence which features a tractor.
But that's not to say I don't appreciate all the otherwise easily attainable cards people send me: they're often among my favorites to get for the sheer fact that it saves me the time and money otherwise needed to track them down at future shows.
That's exactly what Tom did with his attack on my 2018 Big League wants -- and that Daniel Mengden is especially appreciated since the dude a) shares a birthday with me, b) has a handlebar mustache, and c) plays for the A's (of course I collect him!).
Brian of "Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary" fame also pillaged my Big League want lists recently, which, again, saved me precious minutes and dimes in the future.
I'm already starting to form my Sets of the Year list in my head, and chances are you'll see Big League pretty high up there come the close of card season.
This trade originated because I claimed a few A&G minis off Brian's blog a while back, including this Carlos Quentin (a guy I kinda collect) and the Codes mini (a set I'm kinda building).
I've never counted, but I'm probably in the process of building close to a dozen total A&G insert sets, many of which hold nearly zero percent chance of completion (though you never know with the generosity of the blogging crowd!).
This pinkish Bryant from 2018 Optic isn't really a zero-percent item, but it's got about a 99 percent chance of being overpriced at a local show, which is why I'm glad Brian passed it on to me.
A couple quick Cubs via a surprise PWE from Oscar of "All Trade Bait, All the Time," including Rizzo in a green St. Paddy's Day hat, which is a scarce but fun mini-collection of mine.
I find card show giveaways in dime boxes every now and then, but never have I scored an entire set in a single swoop like the one prolific blog reader Mark Hoyle sent me a while back.
This six-card series was apparently handed out to VIP attendees of the 2006 National and features a solid mix of stuff I like: player collections (especially Scotty Pods), HOFers, and even a mini-collection hit with the Jeter double dip.
Odds I would've acquired a card of Tony the Peanut Man without people like Shane of the "Reds Card Collector" blog?
This trade was born out of a few peculiar items I saw on Shane's blog recently.
On the surface, these appear to be your standard '91 Stadium Clubs, fresh with mini-collections (Dunston double dip!) and even Dime Box Dozens (suit-and-tied Nolan Ryan!) -- but when you turn them over...
These apparently are pre-production issues from '91 Stadium Club, which I didn't know was a thing. It's quite jarring to flip over an early SC card and see this. Not the hot/cold charts and in-depth stats and rookie card flashbacks. Instead here's a flock of Jose Cansecos and a sentence-length promise of the greatness Stadium Club was to unleash on the industry later that year.
Little did they know.
Such excellent zero-percent items are one-hundred percent likely to make me a happy collector.