Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The summer show, Pt. 3: Quarters or less

Today's installment of Saturday's card show finds will be a bit of a smorgasbord of cardboard.

The past two posts I've done featured all my new pickups from that one absurdly awesome dime box, while tomorrow's edition (the final one) will feature all my biggest vintage pickups from the show.

This post will feature everything in between.

All in all, I only purchased cards from about seven or eight tables at the show. There's probably around a couple hundred vendors who set up each time, but not many of them have anything I want.

It's just how it is. I don't look for autographed baseballs, or framed 8x10s. I don't want "glass case" cards.

I want the best bang for my buck, a quest which probably what drives most of us as collectors.

Aside from vintage, I feel that I get the most for my money through discount boxes. I'll gladly shell out a few bucks for a single vintage card a lot of the time (as you'll see tomorrow), but rarely do I spend more than a quarter or so on a more recent card.

In fact, none of the cards I'll be showing in this post set me back more than a single quarter.

The first table I came across at the show fit well within my means.

While I did witness the vendor open one of those high-end boxes with two packs inside while I was looking through their boxes, I was happy to see that there was a place for the low-end collectors at their table.

They had a twenty-cent box.

While the vendor was basically shut out on his big-dollar high-end box, I sure got my fill from his table. Twenty bucks landed me a great stack of a hundred twenty-cent cards.

Like the dime boxes from my previous posts, this one had a little of everything.

The biggest and most surprising find from this particular box was the above '77 Al Oliver cloth sticker.

I've badly wanted to add one of these to my collection for a while. For some reason, I just couldn't find any at shows or wherever.

So you can imagine how surprised I was when one of them slipped out of a stack of mostly newer issues. (Some of which you'll soon see.)

It wasn't just any cloth sticker, though. It was a cloth sticker of Al Oliver, one of my all-time favorites and also one of the few former big-leaguers who I've met over the years.

Not bad for a pair of dimes.

Not bad at all.

Vendors must not like Rod Carew for some reason.

I found quite a few discount cards of his at Saturday's show, although none of them topped this one.

Except for the fact that it's a bit off-center, this one is in almost perfect shape. I don't care either way, but I'll always take a good-condition card over a bad one.

And as I've said before, most quarter-or-less vintage cards you find aren't pretty, as far as condition is concerned.

I think the hobby could use some more of these "batting cage" shots nowadays. They're always enjoyable, especially given the out-of-the-ordinary quality they carry.

I'm still curious as to how such a great card wound up in a twenty-cent box.

I'm a sucker for these neat tobacco reprints.

I don't think I've ever passed them up in my life. It doesn't matter who the player is, I scoop them up no matter what.

Especially with a twenty-cent price tag.

Something I found especially neat about this pair of reprints is that they listed what their values were at the time. I don't know exactly what year these reproductions were released, but I'd assume it was at some point during the 1980's.

Let's compare, shall we?

The card on the left is a 1912 T-207 reprint of Boston catcher Irving Lewis. At the time, this one was valued at $2,000, according to the back of the card.

Nowadays? Six grand.

On the right, we have the famous misspelled Sherry "Magie" 1910 T-206 issue. Value on the back: $6,000.

Now? $25,000.

This hobby sure has changed.

More twenty-cent reprints.

The Lasorda is just the second card I own of him from his playing days.

I can't imagine there's many more of those out there, though.

These "hologram" cards always make for interesting finds.

Not to mention that they come out great when they're scanned.

In terms of just photo quality, I think Jim Abbott might have the best cards ever. Card companies always seemed to give him great shots.

He's got the greatest rookie card ever, in my book.

However, the majority of this particular box was filled with newer issues.

While they might not be the "a little of everything" that I enjoy in a discount box, I still get excited whenever I see a stack of newly-released cards.

I managed to knock out a bunch of my Series 2 needs from this box alone.

To top it off, I also snagged the gold parallel of the newest zero-year card in existence, one of the highlights of the twenty-cent box for me.

One of the reasons I haven't bought a pack of Bowman in about five years is that they're awfully easy to find in card show bargain bins.

Most of the dealers who open Bowman boxes aren't looking for the veteran base and inserts anyways, so into the discount boxes they go.

While I'm not the biggest Bowman fan out there, I'll always take a new addition to my Brandon McCarthy collection or my brand-spankin' new Giancarlo/Mike Stanton one as well.

I will give Bowman credit where credit is due, though.

That Stanton is one nice card.

More credit to Bowman on these beauties as well.

I've always liked the International parallels, even from their newborn stages in the '90s. I managed to find a few of the "updated" versions of these in the discount bin on Saturday.

Although the foil lettering is especially non-existent on the scans of these, they're still great pieces for any collection.

Twenty cents was a small price to pay for such greatness.

Two of my better finds from this box weren't even baseball cards.

I'm not a fan of horror movies. Never have been, never will. Yet I can still appreciate the legacy a man like Alfred Hitchcock left on the movie industry. (I never knew he was British until I found this card, either.)

Last year's American Pie set was perfect for a history "buff" such as myself, and these foil parallels just add to their mystique.

But few cards can touch this one...

The Beatles are tied with The Ramones as my favorite band. (Who also have an American Pie card, incidentally.)

While there are other bands that I love, none of them could ever touch the greatness of those two.

To tell you how big of a Beatles fan I am, let me just say that I wrote a 15-page paper on them for my English class last year. (An "A" paper, by the way.)

In my opinion, this insert is way better than Lennon's American Pie base card because I'm pretty sure it's from his days as a Beatle, which isn't the case with his base issue. (Specifically, this one appears to be from around the "Magical Mystery Tour" stage.)

No matter what, he'll always be one of the greatest musicians to walk this Earth.

As I moved a couple aisles further into the show, I came across a vendor who had a smattering of quarter boxes on display.

Since I didn't want to blow too much of my budget early on, I didn't attack them with much conviction. But I still found some gems.

Surprisingly, this is the first "floating head" sticker from this year's Heritage issue that I've acquired.

Well worth a quarter, I think.

I have to assume that the creepy cartoon has something to do with McDowell's nickname, "Black Jack".

I certainly hope so, anyways.

How's this for a star-studded card?

Mays, Mantle, and Aaron hit a combined 1,951 homers during their respective careers.

Now that's some serious value for just a quarter.

Here's some more spectacular cards from the quarter bin.

One of the most staggering baseball stats I've ever come across was the fact that Ted Williams' career on-base percentage was .482. (The best of all-time in that department.)

He got on base almost half the time. Not just for one season. In his career.

I think it's a toss-up between the "Splendid Splinter" and this guy for "the greatest hitter who ever lived"...

I tend to side with Cobb for that title, but you can't go wrong either way.

The main "scores" from this quarter box was the stack of '94 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes I found. I've already raved about how much I like this set.

Like some others out there, it seems to be one of those "never-ending" sets as well. No matter how many I may have, I keep coming across more and more I need.

When we think of sluggers like Campanella or Ruth, I'll bet we tend to picture them at the plate, gearing up to blast another homer out of the park.

Sometimes we forget that they had to run the bases sometimes as well.

The Ruth was one of my favorite pickups of the day, simply because I don't think I've seen any other shots of him on the basepaths.

Like a few other of my "scores" from Saturday's show, I've wanted that Ruth card for a while.

This might well be my new favorite "night card".

Nolan Ryan has had some especially great cards over the years, but few can top this one.

Next time you're at a card show, I definitely recommend picking up some of these '94 UD All-Time Heroes cards should you come across any.

All in all, I bought thirty quarter cards from this table. The vendor gave me a deal and only charged me six bucks for the lot.

It was the first of two quarter boxes I'd come across on Saturday.

As I mentioned in the first of these card show posts, I decided that I'd buy any and all Don Baylor cards, should I come across any.

It turned out to be a great decision.

The second quarter box of the day was one that I almost passed up by accident. It was tucked away in one of the corners of the convention hall, and consisted of only a single box.

While I only found fourteen cards in total from this table, they were well worth the effort.

If you need evidence of that, I'll point you to this awesome Don Baylor Hostess card.

Another quarter was all it took to net me this one of a less-than-jovial Al Oliver.

For some reason, my collection is severely laking in '78 and '79 Topps cards.

Whatever I can pick up off the scrap heap from those sets are always welcome additions.

Speaking of which...

I've wanted both of these cards for a while.

While the condition might not be the greatest on either of these, it wasn't nearly enough to deter me from buying them.

Thanks to discount boxes, I've slowly but surely began to net more and more Oscar Gamble cards for my collection. This was my first card of him in a Padres uniform. (It wouldn't stay that way for long, though.)

The Harrelson is a masterpiece for a number of reasons. For one, he's rockin' some nice shades there. While he was one of the smallest players in the game for his time, those eyes glaring out from behind the shades do scare me a little bit.

The other great thing about this card is the bat that Harrelson is wielding. See the handle on it?

Neither do I.

That might explain his seven career homers in 16 big-league seasons.

My arm hurts just looking at this card.

Dan Quisenberry sure had a funky delivery, and I don't think it's ever been better displayed than on his '83 Topps issue.

I might have a new player collection on the horizon with him. (His '82 Fleer issue will definitely be a future "Dime Box Nine" member.)

While it may seem like I prefer quantity over quality at times, I really don't need a ton of cards to make me feel good about a purchase.

I was more than happy walking away with fourteen quarter cards from this table. The vendor even let me pick out a couple free ones after all was said and done. (Bargain bin vendors are usually the nicest ones at shows, judging from past experience.)

Four dollars well spent.

The final stop of the day was at a great 12/$1 table I had scoped out.

Earlier in the show, I had stopped there and looked through a fifty-cent vintage box (more on those tomorrow).

I had originally gone to the table after I saw those 12/$1 boxes, but they were occupied when I first came across them. So I paid for the fifty-cent cards I found, and kept that table in mind in case I had any money left at the end of the show.

My dad gave me a generous grant towards my budget on Saturday. Most of it went towards some great vintage pickups.

After the last of the vintage tables, he had four bucks left for me.

I instantly thought of those 12/$1 I'd seen earlier. Four bucks could land me forty-eight cards there.

Off we went.

Thankfully, I saw that they were unoccupied and ready for the picking this time. So we started digging.

One of the more interesting pickups of the day came from these boxes with the above Griffey. It's obviously an homage to the '64 Topps set, but other than that, I had no idea what it was.

Apparently, it was some kind of bonus card from a price guide from 1989. The back pictures Griffey's 1989 Donruss rookie card. (Worth three bucks at the time, according to this card.)

It's interesting reading projections of the hobby back during that time. Here's a snippet from the back of this card:

"Currently, demand is strongest for Griffey Jr.'s 1989 Upper Deck card, though in the long run, Fleer's more consistent track record may make that card a better buy at current prices."

Hindsight is 20/20, I guess.

They did get this one right, though.

"Most experts agree his on-field performance can only get better in coming years, so his cards aren't likely to get any cheaper."

I'd agree with that.

I ended up buying a nice stack of these K-Mart cards as well.

For eight cents, I'll take anything I can find of the "M&M Boys".

More legends relegated to the 12/$1 bin.

I still find it hard to believe that Gil Hodges isn't in the Hall of Fame.

I'm not sure what exactly defines a card as an "oddball", but I'd put these in that group.

Every time I hear the words "Drake's Coffee Cake", I think of two things.

"Seinfeld" and baseball.

I don't know what it was with Rod Carew on Saturday. His cards kept popping up left and right, although I'm not complaining in the least about that.

Recently, I decided to start collecting cards of Gary Carter in the wake of his untimely passing, my little way of honoring his legacy.

I've found some great ones thus far inside discount boxes, including this Drake's issue.

Definitely a steal at twelve for a buck.

Now these have to be considered "oddballs".

It's hard to define what exactly makes a baseball card. For me, these count. It might not be the same with other collectors, though.

I don't play Texas Hold 'Em, but I'd say this is a pretty good hand.

The vendor with the 12/$1 boxes had a great, yet simple tactic for attracting customers.

He had a big sign above his table that read "10 Cent Vintage".

It certainly dragged me in. My dad came up to me while I was digging through those aforementioned dime boxes and said he saw the sign a few aisles down.

Nothing like getting me excited for another dime box while I was already looking through a dime box.

With the 12/$1 price tag, they actually turned out to be less than a dime. The cards ranged from 1970 to 1979.

I was extremely happy to add a few more '79s to my collection at that bargain-basement price.

Again, it wasn't the quantity that mattered at this table.

Most of the 12/$1 vintage cards were about what you'd expect. Mostly no-namers.

But finding cards I needed like the above Graig Nettles made browsing through all the Fred Normans and Chico Salmons worth it.

What really made them worth it was managing to knock out a "Dime Box Nine" need with the '78 Gamble. Once I saw that there was a stack of '78 Topps inside, I prayed that a Gamble would be among them.

There was.

Leave it to a 12/$1 box to knock out one of my biggest needs.

Even so, this one managed to do the Gamble one better...

Once I had the '78 Gamble in my possession, I didn't think anything in the box would be able to top it.

That changed when my dad showed me this one he'd found while looking through some of the other boxes at the table.

I can't get over how truly awesome this card is. At first, I was astounded that something like this could wind up in a 12/$1 box. But then I found the culprit.

A little writing on the back.

It doesn't matter to me. The front of the card is what I'm buying it for anyways. My new favorite Ron Cey card, without a doubt.

Once we found our 48 cards and spent the last four bucks we had, my dad and I walked out of the convention hall all smiles.

I'd satisfied both sides of my collecting ways. I found a ton of fantastic discount cards, as you've seen in these first three posts. Hundreds upon hundreds of cards, nothing more than a quarter.

But I made the vintage collector in me happy as well, as you'll see tomorrow. I love vintage, but I'm still surprised at what I can find in the discount bins with a little searching.

It's amazing what some loose change can get you in this hobby.


hiflew said...

That Griffey is from Baseball Cards magazine. I remember getting that issue when it came out. I think it was my first exposure to the 1964 Topps design, because I was not a vintage fan as a kid.

JediJeff said...

Holy crap, Nick. Would you please take my needs list for the 01 UD HOF set and find the last few cards in some dime or quarter boxes? Two posts and you have shows cards from that set. Jealousy growing....

Dhoff said...

Another amazing mass of bargain gems. I recently snagged some of those same tobacco minis that list the original card prices on the back. I'm still wondering where the hell they came from. No matter, really. I also can't pass up a cool vintage reprint.

jacobmrley said...

A most impressive haul. Bravo.