One of the reasons I'm anxious to start doing card stuff again is because I'm interested to see what shows look like in The Flipper Era.
Specifically, I'm looking forward to seeing the fate of my beloved dime boxes. Early reports from others on present-day shows have almost all confirmed what I'd feared: most vendors are eschewing the cheap cardboard in favor of the fancy high-dollar stuff. Dime boxes are becoming as rare as the hits people seem to be chasing. And from a purely monetary standpoint, I can't say I blame those vendors - with limited table space, why display that dime box of weird niche '90s stuff when you can bring another glass case of $100 cards?
From a collecting standpoint, however, this is obviously disappointing news. To me, dime boxes are the lifeblood of card shows. It's not that I'm hell-bent on finding "deals" left and right - I buy expensive stuff sometimes, too - it's just that cheap cards are where I get the most sheer pleasure out of the card show experience. The feeling of seeing those white boxes with thousands of cards inside them is unmatched anywhere else, the thought that anything could be in there. It's magical.
And I don't know about you, but when I see a table with glass cases and nothing else, I almost always walk right on by, because I know I'm not going to want and/or be able to afford anything in there.
At this point, I'm targeting next month's monthly local show as the Grand Return, and needless to say I'm going in with a great deal of excitement, and a twinge of nervousness.
I'm not so much worried that people are going to start charging a dollar a pop for cards that are otherwise dime box fodder. I bet that's gonna happen, too, but the solace there is that I at least know there'll always be someone out there who's pricing stuff like a normal, sane-thinking person. I don't think for a minute that dime box-loving collectors will ever go extinct, or anything close to it. I just get worried our voices will be drowned out by the almighty dollar.
But maybe that's an irrational thought, because as I've detailed many times on the blog in the past year, baseballcardstore.ca (or The Online Dime Box) has been a saving grace for cheap cards in this strange era, and I received yet another order from them a couple weeks ago.
There's a certain sense of peace in knowing there's a whole site of dime boxes out there for us low-end collectors, a place that, best I can tell, is still going strong.
In addition to everything I've shown so far, I grabbed this quartet of '80s greats that flew under my radar this whole time - that U.L. Washington joins an extremely short list of cards featuring toothpicks.
This Online Dime Box order saw me perusing the inventory a few different specific sets, rather than just pure all-out randomness.
Most people seem to agree on the greatness of '93 Leaf - especially given the inclusion of arguably the greatest card backs of the modern era.
'95 Pinnacle is a set that seems to keep spawning great cards I've never seen before, even though I feel like I've gone through this checklist ten times over by now.
The 1992 Bowman Fashion Show - cards so bad I want to collect every darn one.
Like any good dime box, oddballs are a fun delicacy, and that stretches into virtual dime box land too.
I still feel a little weird about putting playing cards next to Topps and Donruss in my binders, but in they go - also I'd forgotten Twizzlers once made baseball cards.
I'm always here for minor league cards of my binder guys.
Famous dudes wearing wrong uniforms - I still don't quite believe Dante Bichette ever played for the Reds.
It's a bit daunting to collect guys like Tony Gwynn and Kenny Lofton, given the spans of their careers spanned the era when there were like 87 different card companies each producing 932 sets every year.
Still, on the bright side of things, that means there'll always, always be cards of them to chase, like these two new ones that popped up on the Online Dime Box (Kenny Lofton Pirates sighting!).
Fun new hits for a few of my up-and-coming player collections.
Each passing Online Dime Box order seems to add new stuff to some of my most obscure player collections, which is nice since it's not every day I get to add stuff to my page of Gookie Dawkins cards.
The mini-collections keep on coming.
PSA: I'm still very much a fan of minis and other bite-sized baseball cards, and will always take them for a dime.
A few other random knick-knacks from the Online Dime Box - and no, I have no idea who Saburo is, but if you throw a BBM card at me for a dime, I'm gonna buy it.
A bunch of easy dime buys here - I remember opening a ton of Turkey Red with a card-collecting friend back in 8th grade, and we'd go absolutely nuts waiting to see what red or other-colored parallel we'd get in each pack.
Dudes bunting, a Graduate shot, and other generally fun horizontal heroes.
Just to be clear: I'm definitely excited to attend post-vaccine card shows again, and I'm already dreaming about that fateful day of the first one, whenever that may be.
It's just that, at the risk of sounding whiny, I liked how shows were before, and I really don't want that to change. As much as I complained about bros or unpriced cards or other general card show annoyances before, I always felt there were enough cheap cards for me and glass-case stuff for others to keep both parties happy. And I want those scales to stay balanced. I want my physical dime boxes back to go along with the joys of the virtual world. I don't think that's asking too much.
Because a world with dime boxes is a better place, plain and simple.