Wednesday, June 13, 2012

One-track mind

One of the greatest things about the blogosphere is coming across another great new blog to add to my "daily reading" list.

Every time I think I've found all the best blogs out there, I find myself proven wrong.

I recently discovered "The Chronicles of Fuji", although I'm not sure why it took me so long to find it. He seems to be a pretty popular blogger, yet it managed to slip through the cracks for whatever reason.

Some of my favorite posts of his are the ones that detail his flea market travels and scores. I've always wanted to set up at a flea market, but I'll have to live vicariously through his stories for now as I don't see it happening anytime soon.

Anyways, Fuji asked an interesting question as part of his recent contest:

Do you ever go to flea markets in search of collectibles? If so, what are some of your favorite flea market purchases?

My post tonight is multi-layered. While it does give me an extra few entries into Fuji's contest, it's also a great topic and one that I've wanted to discuss for a while.

I feel extremely lucky to live near a flea market with such a great selection. Well, a great selection of baseball cards, anyways. I wouldn't know if the other 99 percent of the flea market is just plain old junk.

I don't look for anything else.

I walk past all the tables with DVDs, fine art, and lamps. All I want to see is the familiar sight of stacks upon stacks of baseball cards.

When I came across a new vendor with a huge box of nickel cards from the 1980's last year, it easily made the hours of walking through the aisles worthwhile. I was able to take home an awesome '81 Fleer Gary Matthews, picturing him in the process of looking down the third-base line for a new set of signs, a pose that you don't often see on a baseball card.

I've tried to look for other things I want at the flea market. I never see any books that interest me (because none of them are about baseball), and I have no use for hand-woven rugs. I don't have a wide range of interests.

My day is made once I find those baseball cards.

However, I have picked up some other baseball collectibles that aren't necessarily cards.

I picked up the above 1980 Topps Super "Yaz" for a mere forty cents from one of the regular card vendors last year.

I'm not sure how Topps distributed these, but I knew I had to have it. I do look for "display pieces" for my room, and this was a perfect find in that regard.

It might technically be a baseball card, but I don't have it grouped with all my other Red Sox cards.

This was definitely one of the better flea market purchases I've ever made.

I'm not sure how common these were back in the day, but my dad instantly recognized them from his childhood.

One week, the same vendor with the nickel cards that I mentioned earlier had a bunch of these RC cans on the table for a dollar each.

Since I'd already picked through most of the better nickel cards the last time I visited his table, I only had about fifteen or twenty that I wanted to buy. The cans intrigued me, though, so I pulled the trigger and bought the best five I could find.

The two on top are of Mark Fidrych and Steve Garvey, and the bottom three are Rusty Staub, Al Oliver, and Dave Concepcion. (The Fidrych was the one that first grabbed my attention.)

These were just as great an addition to my collection as anything else I bought that day.

Except for the RC cans, these are the only other non-card related items I can recall purchasing at the flea market.

Like the cans, the vendor that sold me these also had some cards for sale. I had about three bucks worth of cardboard when all was said and done, and all I had on me was a five-dollar bill.

I saw a few pictures to the side and thought, "These might be a great way to 'even out' the purchase."

Besides, they were an absolute steal. A great photo of Phil Rizzuto and Billy Martin turning a double play and one of the great Cy Young (with the time-appropriate straw hat and bushy mustache on the spectator) for just a buck a piece?


As I mentioned before, I've tried to look for other items to my liking at flea markets. I really have. But as much as I might not want to admit it, almost nothing else draws my interest.

Baseball just has too big of a hold on me.


Anonymous said...

There may have been multiple ways the "Super" cards were distributed, but I seem to remember that they were sold in hanger packs and also in individual packs of one card each; the single cards came in paper wrappers which were crimped at the end... Similar to today's wax, but made from paper instead of mylar (or whatever wrappers are made of). Because of the large size, the single-card packs were often up by the register, and were displayed vertically (i.e. the packs upright within the box).
Now that I think about it, I think the year of the National, grey-backed super cards (1980?) was the hanger pack year, and the regional white-backed set (1981?) were in the individual packs. The regional sets were only sold in certain markets, and in the NY area (where I was in 1981), it was Mets & Yankees.
I love oversized cards, but I keep most of mine in their own separate binder.

Fuji said...

Thanks for the kind words... my contest has also allowed me to discover a bunch of blogs myself.

Love Topps Super. I'm a fan of oversized cards and you can pick up complete sets at very reasonable prices on eBay.

I've never owned any of those RC cans, but I remember seeing them as a kid too. I'd love to track one of those Fidrych cans down or possible one of the A's players.

Cool finds... and a awesome blog. I look forward to reading future posts!