Thursday, February 20, 2014

Buying a "dime box" of 1977 Topps off eBay

My wife had a friend in town this past weekend to help her with decorating a couple of rooms in our house in an inexpensive way.  I know -- inexpensive sounds crazy and unlikely, but it was inexpensive.

At any rate, I found myself in my basement in front of my computer sorting through baseball cards.  This is not unusual by any stretch of the imagination, as in my basement in front of my computer sorting through baseball cards is where I find myself usually on any day that ends in a "y" if I can help it.

As we baseball card scavengers are wont to do, I found myself sorting through eBay auctions and looking for a lot that had something different from the ordinary piles of auctions offering "vintage unopened packs of cards from at least 20 and up to 27 years ago!!!"  If I want those packs, I'll go local here and buy them at $5 a box.

As it happened, I found an auction offering over 7000 cards from the 1977 Topps set for a set price of $389 -- about a nickel a card.  For that price, it did not matter to me that these cards are not pristine, near-mint gems of cards.  Instead, it gave me a chance to rectify one of the worst mistakes of my years of baseball card collecting.

I was a 5-year-old kid in 1977, and I loved baseball.  We subscribed to Baseball Digest for me, we bought packs of baseball cards, and we watched as many games as they would show on over-the-air TV.  Back then, that number of games was something like 10 away games because everyone was scared that people would stay home and watch the game on TV rather than go to the game.  Perhaps that is true now in the world of Super HD TVs and season tickets for the worst seats running about $800 to $900 per seat...but then, it seemed unfair to me.

I had heard about plastic sheets to protect one's baseball cards in one of my Baseball Digest magazines.  We were pretty poor and couldn't afford to buy these plastic sheets, so instead my mom grabbed Mylar from where she worked -- really thick Mylar -- and we started sticking the Mylar ONTO THE CARDS.  Yup, ruined a ton of cards that I have kept to this day because, well, I couldn't find replacements.  Here's one of those abominations:

As if to make things worse, applying the Mylar to some cards ended up with some of them -- like this Brewers checklist -- getting trimmed.  You can see that on the top of this checklist.

To get back to my auction, though, I came across this huge lot of 1977 cards and stared and stared and stared.  I really wanted to pull the trigger on buying them, but at the same time the cost of nearly $400 was telling me not to do it.

Then, my wife came down into the basement to ask me for help doing something.  I showed her the auction. She told me, "buy them and consider them a Valentine's Day gift.  Besides, we haven't spent anything on decorating the house -- it was all on gift cards!"

So, now I have over 7000 1977 Topps to sort.  There are decent cards in this lot -- I mean, 15 Robin Younts should be enough alone for me, but then there are these:

The Carlton is one of fifteen copies.  And then there are these:

The Palmer is one of sixteen.

Now, this isn't a complete set -- no Dawson rookie, no Murphy rookie -- but it's a lot closer than I was, and these cards aren't covered in Mylar.

So, if you need a random 1977 Topps card, let me know.  I bet I have it and we can work something out.


  1. sounds like the 5000 count box I bought a while back stuffed full of 78 Topps.... if you want to swap random 78s for random 77s???? I should see what i have for a 77 set and see about finishing it off.....

    1. Duane -- I am not far off the 1978 set (that was the first year I really started "collecting") so we should swap want lists to see if we can each get our respective sets done. Let me know/e-mail me. Thanks!

  2. Sounds like a plan.... i think i am still 10 or so short on my 78 set as well.... i just need to sit down and work on sorting my 77s some time! abshokie AT columbus . rr. com

  3. Oh man! What a box. I'd love to start a dialog - I'm definitely in need of Astros from the '77 set, and I'd love a Fidrych. Maybe a few others.

    I've definitely got some 74 Brewers for you, and probably stuff from 80, 84, and maybe 72/79. Plus loads of others I'm sure.