My Version of Thrift Treasures

Copyright: Cardboard Icons

I’ve never done one of these before. Maybe that’s because when I collected there were still card shops around so the last place I’d ever look for baseball cards were in flea markets. Well, it’s now 2015 and there is not a single card shop around me or within 60+ miles. I guess all those years of being surrounded by card shops since the early 90s were taken for granted.

My first stop this morning was the Red Wagon Flea Market in Bradenton, FL. After 26 minutes, my daughter and I had combed through every vendor and found exactly zero baseball cards. I was, however, able to pick up a Transformers Unicron figure for $10 dollars so I am pretty fucking happy. That story belongs on another blog, though.

My second stop was back near my house in Sarasota. The place is called the Sarasota Swap Meet and this place was about 1/3 the size of the Red Wagon and that place was small so imagine this place. Fortunately, it wasn’t a complete bust as I found a factory box of 1994 Donruss Baseball. Unfortunately, the guy wanted $35 dollars so I kept on walking. By this point, I had wasted all morning and was frustrated. Thank God I didn’t give up.

Sitting an hour and seventeen minutes away, the Wagon Wheel Flea Market in Pinellas Park, FL. didn’t look all that appealing but with no where to buy baseball cards besides Walmart and Target, I was desperate and began the long trip with my now grumpy 3-year old daughter. Upon my arrival, I was greeted with good news. First, there were four different vendors selling sports cards and I came away with some nice finds! Second, the place was absolutely awesome and had a little bit of EVERYTHING.

Vendor #1

The first guy had a few boxes or random cards all for $1 a piece. No game-used or autographs anywhere in sight but so much 90s goodness I couldn’t help not bite. He also went out of his way and started looking through boxes to help me find Jose Canseco cards, since they were in no order whatsoever. I’ve never been to a shop where the guy takes time out of his way to help you find stuff. This was a pleasant surprise.

1994 Leaf Slideshow – These cards were kind of a big deal back in the day and were inserted into Series 1 and 2 Leaf at a ratio of 1:54. He had several but I chose “The Big Hurt” Frank Thomas, who just entered the Hall of Fame. The price was $1.

1998 Topps Tek – Here is another Frank Thomas card even though I will admit … I never was a fan. I simply bought this because it was from Tek’s debut and Topps’ ressurection of the brand was a huge hit among collectors. Once again, I paid $1.

1987 Topps – Here we have a card which at one point sold for at least $12 back in the early-90s. I know this because I have seen it myself. Unfortunately, Bo Jackson, who was once a hobby superstar, never played the same after a horrific football injury shattered his body. For just a buck, I couldn’t resist picking this card up for my collection.

1983 Topps – Here we have what in my opinion was the best design ever created by Topps, at least in the entire decade of the 80s. In my fifth grade Science book, there was this very card pictured for some reason I can’t recall and it’s always been a card I wanted to own. Again, can’t go wrong with a dollar. On the back of this card it shows his 130 steals for 1982, a season in which he hit .267. One can only imagine how many more steals he would have had if he was a better hitter that year.

1996 Topps Chrome – It took all of three years for Topps to incorporate Chrome technology into more than just one brand and they did it in 1996 with Topps Chrome. This was the first year for Chrome Baseball and owning the Kirby Pucket card seemed like a good fit even though I will admit, I was never a fan.

1998 Leaf Fractal Foundations – I tried reading this brand’s description on BaseballCardPedia and literally went cross-eyed. I don’t know exactly what to make of it but the cards are nice and all serial numbered. I picked up recent Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez, #’d 2525/3999. Despite this brand’s zaniness, I would LOVE to bust open a box of it. The cards feature an elegant design and the card backs are good enough to be fronts. Once again, the card cost me $1,

2000 Upper Deck Drawing Power – Here it is! I somehow found a Jose Canseco I did not already own. With that out of the way, the card is kinda lame and features Jose in a check swing position. Who thought that would make a good card? Still, I didn’t own it and now I do so the day was a huge success!

Vendor #2

While enjoying the rest of what Wagon Wheel had to offer I found a small display of cards, which included a complete set of 1996 SPx Baseball and 1994 Leaf Limited Baseball. Unfortunately, it was a little bit too high for my taste so instead I went with some cheaper offerings.

1991 Topps Micro – An entire factory set of the smallest baseball cards I have ever seen and all for $3 dollars. The Micro Gold cards alone make this buy a complete steal and in case you’re wondering, there is a Canseco in the set.

1987 Fleer Miniatures – Another smaller than usual set in size. It is essentially 1987 Fleer but half the size. Again, I couldn’t pass it up for $3 dollars even though I have very little interest in ’87 Fleer.

1989 Topps Big – This is a set I am thrilled to own and for just $3 dollars it couldn’t be more perfect. I was actually watching three unopened boxes of this on eBay for $30 dollars or best offer but this will likely fill my Topps Big needs for quite some time.

Vendor #3

My first eBay purchase has arrived! I won this card, of Jose Canseco from 2014 Topps Tek for under $4 dollars thanks to Gixen’s sniping services. It’s my first eBay purchase since 2009 and all I can say is that the card is beautiful. It’s also serial numbered to 99 copies.

All in all, today was an awesome day. I am very thankful for Wagon Wheel and that one of my two eBay purchases arrived. Next up … a very special card from Leaf that I am hoping arrives on Monday.


Categories: eBay Treasures, Fleer Trading Cards, The Topps Company | Tags: | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “My Version of Thrift Treasures

  1. Nice finds. If I’m not doing anything else next Saturday morning, I’m going to see what the local flea market has to offer.

  2. Samuel Stein

    You should head up to Oldsmar Flea Market, next time you are in Pinellas County and looking for cards, much better than Wagon Wheel.

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