Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The 100 Best Finds in a 30-Dollar Lot: #1

Over the last couple of years, I've gotten pretty good at picking out massive card lots for sale. The majority of them are pure junk, but once in a while you strike gold. Last week I took delivery of one of these golden lots. The total price was paid was $30.00 ($10 for the lot and $20 for shipping). A large flat rate box arrived at my doorstep, and as I slowly picked apart its carcass over the next two days, I couldn't have been happier.

First, let's take a look at the information I had to guide my selection.
The listing itself was fairly vague.

"CARDS! CARDS! CARDS!. we are being over run by cards.
what you will received is a large lot of mixed cards mostly baseball.
Big cards, little cards , stickers , Jersey cards,
Box could contain Hockey , football , basketball or some other kind of collector card. In addition to the Baseball.
cards are in good condition. Mostly 1980s till now. Their are a few older cards from 60s and 70s"

Okay, so the copy was written by a moron. The "few older cards" intrigued me, and I should be getting some "Jersey cards," so I've got that going for me.
But "little cards?" Seriously? This is not a lot being sold by a serious collector. They might not know what they have.

Let's take a look at the listing's pictures.
A. Okay, an '83 Charlie Moore is a good sign. And is that a purple Bowman refractor I spy? That could be a good sign.

B. Hmmmm, some Topps minis from the 1980s and some Score lenticulars. I could smell the junk wax.
But hold on a sec! I can see some top loaders. What could be in those? I feel like one of those guys on "Storage Wars." Could I experience the "wow factor?"

C. Ugh, mostly wrappers and a visible Donruss puzzle piece. 1989 Topps, 1990 Donruss, and is that a Pinnacle basketball card at the top. The junk stench is rising.

D. Well, what do we have here? That appears to be a 2010 Topps Factory set. And that Bowman Platinum box...I've seen box busters take the jersey or auto out of a box and sell the rest for cheap. Could something good still be in there?

E. The last picture reveals some 2010 Ginter (minis!) and a Mike Piazza jersey card. Now, the bidders were warned just above the pictures, "May not receive cards in picture !" Was the Piazza just a ruse, a well-placed card to sucker me into buying a box of junk? Would I be victim of the old bait and switch?

Now ask yourself, would I actually embark upon a 100-post journey if I got a box full of junk?
Of course not. I probably said "Wow" a dozen or so times while exploring the box. When all was said and done, I found 4 autographed cards, 12 memorabilia cards, and vintage cards dating back to 1952. For reals, yo.
I truly believe the owner of this lot had little idea what s/he actually had. While I'm not going to be able to pay off my mortgage with these cards, I think this lot could easily have sold for upwards of $100. The biggest tip-off was the way the cards were packaged: I found 1991 Topps commons side-by-side with an un-penny-sleeved Brian McCann relic card. Whatever, they're mine now, so no more spoilers.

Here's the first card that made this lot so great.
2011 Topps 60 Years of Topps #60YOT Robin Yount

I hadn't yet acquired this card, and I wasn't about to pay some jerk a dollar plus three dollars shipping to get it, so this was ideal for me. Late-model Topps flagship inserts often show up in lots like these, and this box was no different. Yount's second-year card is a great subject for this insert. It's refreshing to get away from the overuse of his iconic 1975 Topps rookie in modern cards.

Well, only 99 more posts to go. Did I really get a 2010 Topps full set? Was the Piazza jersey card just a fake-out? I promise to show off some great stuff in the first ten so you'll stick around for the rest.


unclemoe said...

Cool idea. I'm on board for the next ninety-nine posts.


Play at the Plate said...

Thorzul, wear blogger out and put all 99 of the rest up in one day.

Nathan said...

I'm only going to read posts 86, 84, 64, 59-52, 24 and 12, so try to make those ones good, kay?

night owl said...

Who finds stuff like this? I want the key to the parallel universe.

cynicalbuddha said...

Good start. I was lucky enough to pull that card out of the first pack of 2011 Topps I opened, it was all down hill after that. I love these huge lots. I picked up a Brewer lot like this a few years back, just a large flat rate box crammed with cards. I'm just now finally finishing sorting them out and adding to my team sets and up grading. Just looking at your box I'd have to say that it looks like you have a great mix in there, and is that a diamond giveaway card I see poking out?