Garage sales are one of those things I probably enjoy more in theory than reality - I often envision pristine antiques sitting in someone's attic for the last century, but mostly find old baby clothes and Dave Matthews Band CDs.
It's true that I've documented a couple epic garage sale experiences on here in the past, but keep in mind that's been exactly two good garage sales in the ten-plus years of this blog's life. Most garage sales that advertise cards result in factory sets of '88 Donruss. Despite the plethora of GARAGE SALE! signs I see every time I drive to work, I just don't carve out too much time anymore to amble up to a random person's house, hoping there might be something there for me.
However, if the once-every-five-years rate is to be believed, well then I'm gonna be waiting a while for the next big garage sale, because I stumbled upon a doozy last week.
I woke up to a text from my mom about a garage sale she'd found online - the picture showing a half-dozen long white boxes of singles made me hopeful, and Dad and I made the short drive over later that afternoon (so nice to have parents that take an active interest in my weird collection!).
The proprietor was a kid probably in his late-teens/early-twenties who, in his words, "only collects new stuff," and at one point he dragged out one of those magnetic briefcases (will I ever escape these things?!) to ask if I wanted to buy any of his Vlad Jr. autos. I said no thanks, and flipped through those aforementioned boxes that had a shockingly good selection of random stuff that even the kid didn't seem to what they were, or where they came from.
I ended up taking home a giant box of pages (more on those later), as well as a stack of about 100 singles that included a neat eTopps Felix Hernandez that I've since busted out of the ghastly case.
The singles I found were unpriced, which is usually a red flag for me - but in the end I got these 100 cards for the very fair price of $20.
I'm usually nervous about asking for prices on unmarked stuff (I've gotten the "how about $100?" reply more than enough times) but the kid seemed kinda confused about the cards I was pulling out of his boxes, and I had a feeling he wouldn't charge much.
The selection was all over the place, but the nice little trove of early 2000s stuff I found was a treat since a lot of the dudes I collect hail from that era.
A side benefit of buying early-aughts stuff is that a lot of my more obscure player collections come from those years as well - still not sure why I formed attachments to guys like Morgan Ensberg and Nick Johnson as a kid, but here I am buying their cards all this time later.
After the early 2000s stuff came...oddballs?
Not something I'd expect from the same kid who had a big box of graded cards in his briefcase, but you know I'm here for it.
Always love pre-fame cards of young stars - early Pirates-era stuff of Tim Wakefield's is especially welcome in my collection, and I'm throwing all my eggs in the Andrew Vaughn basket.
These I can explain - it was obvious the kid had opened some packs of newer stuff and tossed most of the extras into what he had for sale.
Which works for me since I'm always in the market for cheap inserts.
Horizontal heroes - been a long time since I slid a new Lloyd Waner card into my binders.
Other randomness, including one of those purple Toys 'r' Us parallels that always get me giddy (much less ones with throwback jerseys!).
As I said earlier, I also bought a huge box of pages along with the scattering of singles - which was a joy since being a "binder guy" means being in constant search of nine-pocket pages.
I usually pay $20 or so for a shipment of 100 pages - I got this giant box for $30 which was a steal since there had to have been at least 300 pages in there. I should probably also mention that THE PAGES HAD CARDS IN THEM! I would've been happy buying a box of empty pages at that price - but the added cards were a helluva nice bonus.
Even better was the fact that a lot of them offered more of the early-2000s fare I found in the boxes - including a perennial Dime Boxedonia favorites Hideo Nomo & Jose Lima in their later years wearing weird uniforms.
I've said it before, but the early-aughts produced more cards that just seemed to fall off the face of the earth after a while - I was collecting at the time and don't remember anyone buying or talking about sets like UD Pro Sigs and or Skybox Autographics.
(Side note: anyone else remember Shingo Takatsu?)
Certainly wasn't expecting to find mini- and player-collection stuff I needed in a random smattering of pages.
Obviously, I prefer to pick and choose what cards I'm gonna buy at any given time - but I have to say there's something sweet in falling into an abyss of unknown cardboard.
One minute I was finding '90s inserts, then about a dozen pages full of 2008 Stadium Club, then two random pages of nothing but Joey Votto cards.
The pages were about 80 percent baseball, though there were some football and basketball cards I had no problem tossing aside - but you're darn right I'm keeping that Will Smith!
At one point I stumbled upon a few pages that featured some blinding star power - I can't imagine there's many Judges and Trouts floating around at too many garage sales out there.
Then a few pages of legends!
(Mets Nolan Ryan cards are my favorite Nolan Ryan cards.)
Then....a '72 Topps Willie Mays?!
This was one of about four vintage cards I found in those pages, and the only notable one. The bad news here is that I already have it, but the good news is that it's one of the handful of cards in my collection that I'd actively been looking to upgrade since my copy has a giant crease right over Willie's face (a copy which I'm happy to send to anyone who wants it).
So I guess after all that, I'll be seeing you in five years when the next legendary garage sale comes to my town, because I think this one's got me covered.