Monday, July 22, 2013

The $5.00 Challenge: A Thorzul Assignment

The enormity of baseball card collecting is part of its appeal. Many of us started in the very same places, but in the years that followed, our paths diverged. Sometimes they meet up again, but often, we go after what makes us the happiest. As mostly a Set-Builder collector archetype (and sometime Player Collector and Team Collector), I tend to get collecting tunnel vision. The most recent set I'm collecting is from two years ago. Because I'd like to finish what I've started before starting something else entirely, most of my discretionary card funds have been spent on things from about twenty or so sets I'd like to complete. While satisfying, I feel like I'm also missing out. While wasting away on the outskirts of Tatooine with my 2008 Topps Chrome X-Fractor pursuits, I'm denying myself the opportunity to explore the Hoths, the Coruscants, and even the Dagobahs of the hobby. To my detriment, I'm locked into a number of collecting pursuits that are preventing me from exloring the furthest reaches of the galaxy. The Tosche Station offers more than power converters, but what would I know about that?

Simply put, I'd appreciate a little more randomness in my collection. For this reason, I decided to try something out.

Setting a spending limit of five dollars cash (okay, PayPal) American, I spun the eBay wheel of fortune and took whatever the gods would bestow. I just went to the subcategory of "Baseball Cards" and made a promise to bid on the first card I found that I didn't have and would set me back less than five bucks. Here's what I got:
1964 Topps #277 Ken Retzer

Back side, with a nifty, not-quite-P.C. Warren Spahn cartoon

I think fate smiled upon me relatively well, don't you think?

Here's your assignment, should you choose to accept:
1. Direct your internet browser to eBay.
2. Near the top of the page, click on "Shop by Category." Click on "Sports Memorabilia."
3. When you hover over "Cards" on the left-hand menu, it opens up a group of categories. Click on "Baseball."
4. Here's where you have a choice. I opted to shrink the parameters to auctions only, but you can include the BIN option if you wish. Make sure the items are arranged by "Ending Soonest." From there, I picked a page number at the bottom, usually page 5. I just wanted to get to a page of cards that were still active auctions, as the first few pages are usually finished by the time you open the page up.
5. After clicking on your page, start at the top. The first card you can get without spending more than $5.00, and which you don't already own, bid on it (or buy it now). This is where your true character will be revealed. If the first card on the page is a 1991 Donruss Gene Larkin that you're going to have to fork over $4.00 to get, and you don't own that card, you have to have the fortitude to go ahead with the bid. Remember, the results of this assignment must be a random as possible.
6. After you get your card, email me with a link to the auction. My address: bill13boehm at
7. After you contact me, I will send you my mailing address because you will have to send me the card or cards you win in your random auction. Why???

Okay, here's the fun part of this assignment. After I have received all of the cards, I will post them and open up some polls to allow readers to vote to determine the best and the worst card(s) purchased. The two winners will each receive half of the cards sent in to me. I think this should be a lot of fun.

*My Ken Retzer card will not be part of this contest. I will be making a separate purchase, just like all of the other participants, and this new card will be added to the pot.
*I will not be keeping any of the cards you send in. They are all going to the two winners, split as evenly as possible.
*Owners of the best and worst card will each get back the card they sent in.
*The $5.00 limit does include shipping.
*DEADLINE for making your eBay purchase is Sunday, July 28. Please make sure I hear from you by Monday, July 29. I realize it is out of your control over how fast the seller gets the card to you. If you wish, you can ask the seller to send the card to my address to save on your own shipping cost. Just a thought. In any case, try to get your winnings to me as soon as possible.
*If you're going to accept this assginment, or even if you're not, I'd appreciate it if you'd post a link to this post in order to get as many people involved a possible.
*Let me know if you're going to get in on this in the comments. Not a requirement, but I'd like to know how this assignment is going.
*Tip: Shopping like this is the most fun in the wee hours of the night.
*Any other questions about this assignment, just ask.



P-town Tom said...

Does the $5 include or not include shipping?
This is very important, because I don't think anyone wants 381 1990 Donruss baseball cards for $0.99. Keeping in mind the seller is asking $9.45 for shipping. Yikes!

Ooops... too late... auction is over. I need to learn to type faster.

Thorzul said...

The $5.00 does include shipping.

--David said...

What if it is a stack of cards? Happened to be the first thing I clicked on Page 5.

--David said...

Okay, if a stack of cards counts, I just got 48 Josh Hamilton cards for $4.99 total. I'll send them as soon as I get them!

P-town Tom said...

Vintage coming your way!

Anonymous said...

I could have done this all night. This was a blast. I went whole hog and actually did five auctions. Unfortunately the winnings are all pretty boring. None too good nor bad. I am really bummed that the lot of 84 assorted Craig Biggio rookie cards made it just over $5 dollars so I lost out. Regardless, the five items I did win will be coming your way when I get them.


Spankee said...


I got lucky price-wise. My card ended at $0.75 with only $0.50 shipping.

jacobmrley said...

I'm in! I love Fight Club-esque homework assignments.

Captain Canuck said...

I looked at every single auction / BIN on 5 different random pages.
Not one seller offered shipping less than $6.95 for a single card.


Talk about taking the fun out of something. People are insane.

Commishbob said...

I'm in. The bad news is I got a 2013 card. The good news is it's a Lou Brock card. Info coming your way.

William said...

Sunday August 1st and Monday August 2nd of what year? Can't be in 2013...

--David said...

Got the 48 Hamiltons today. Some interesting stuff, but a lot of dupes. Ah well. I will send them your way!

jacobmrley said...

I got my Thome out to you in the mail, it should get there by wed. *fingers crossed*