Wednesday, September 5, 2018
This could be the last time (at the flea market)
I've been working the morning shift on weekends at my new job lately, which isn't exactly ideal for a few reasons.
One, I'm about as far from a morning person as you'll ever find. Two, weekends are my prime card sorting time. Three, weekend mornings are when all the good card events happen, like, say...the flea market! Given that I'm now trapped at work on Sunday mornings, the trip I took to the local flea market a few weeks ago could be the last time. I don't know.
Still, if this does turn out to be the final trip of the year, I can't much complain about the haul I took home.
My usual card guy was there, but it looked like his 3/$1 boxes had been mostly picked through by the time I arrived.
Nothing mind-blowing here, but I couldn't pass on a handful of oddballs and stars for 33 cents a piece.
The minor league Ripken was another neat 3/$1 suspect (note the lack of swear words on his bat knob), while the Bo from the same set was an excellent dollar-box find.
I believe these are from a Wrigley Field giveaway issued sometime in the '90s, and though they're definitely cool, finding them in my card guy's dollar box was a bit bittersweet since I passed on purchasing the entire set for $10 at the flea market earlier this year.
But all that matters is that I have them now -- and while Fergie is a mainstay in my collection, cards of the oft-forgotten Ken Hubbses and Riggs Stephensons of Cubs history are more exciting to me.
You may have noticed the unopened box of 1992 Topps Kids(!!!) in the picture at the top of this post, a purchase that cost me all of $5 from a mess of random wax that occupied a large part of my card guy's table during this particular trip.
This, to me, has always been one of Topps's more overlooked sets. It's a set truly made and designed for kids (issued the year I was born!), but it must not have been a huge hit since you rarely see the cards themselves in the wild these days. So you can imagine how excited I was to bust an entire box of the stuff for less than the cost of a rack pack.
Really the only downside is that the checklist is rather small: only 132 cards in all, which meant that my box (which, though I didn't count, had to have had at least 36 seven-card packs inside) was dupe-o-rama toward the end -- and if you happen to need anything from this set, I probably have it.
You might've also noticed the stack of unopened packs in the intro photo as well: that's because the dude with the huge pack stash I found last year was back again!
I had exactly $5 left in my wallet at the time, which netted me 15 of his 3/$1 packs -- a haul which included a lot of sets you don't see much nowadays like UD First Pitch and Pinnacle Performers (dig the Mo insert!).
I miss manager cards.
The vast majority of the guy's remaining baseball packs were 1997 Collector's Choice (he seriously had at least a couple boxes' worth for sale).
Sometimes I get to thinking that I already have most of what I need from these sets, but then packs like these come along and show me just how much I have yet to discover from the wonderful world of Collector's Choice.
If I could wish one non-Topps brand back into existence, it'd probably be Collector's Choice -- each year's design is basic and distinct, and the photos are among the best you'll ever see from a low-end set.
I doubt I opened any of this set as a kid: I was only five when it came out.
But between Collector's Choice and Topps Kids, I'm glad the local flea market helped me recoup some of the joy I missed out on as a young lad here more than twenty years later. It's tough to get that kind of experience anywhere else.
I just hope I don't have to wait until the 2019 flea market season to feel that joy again.