Saturday, April 19, 2014

Flea Marketing

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I decided to go to a flea market today.  My wife woke up not feeling well, though, so I hoofed it through the flea market complex solo.

Only about four to five vendors had any kind of sports items at all.  There were a ton of random items.  I think I may have seen as many people selling stained glass windows as I saw baseball cards.  A few stalls had post cards, and there were some coin sellers as well.  But there was not a dime box in sight.

One vendor at the market does deserve special mention, but not in a good way.  She had the most cards of any of the vendors, but had half of them under a table because she "didn't feel like putting them out today."  I thought she would understand that, by asking, I was interested in seeing what was in them -- particularly the one labeled "1984 Donruss" -- but it did not occur to her.  Instead, she directed me to another box on another table and said, "all the good cards are here."

So, I went to that box.  She was right -- all of her "good" cards were there.  Every insert from the past 8 to 10 years that had anyone from the 1960s or earlier was in that box in a toploader and marked as costing at least $5 each.  Along side those were a bunch of Ken Griffey cards from the 1989 Donruss set for $20 each.  I guess she stopped subscribing to Beckett in about 1992.  In the end, I did not buy anything from her -- which is probably no surprise.

I did find a couple of other smaller groups of cards and did much better.  One table had cards for 50 cents each or 25 for $10.  Most of the cards were inserts or good players of recent vintage.  While this price was not a bargain, I was able to get some nice cards here, such as:

This one was probably both my biggest score at this table and my biggest "what the hell" moment today.  A 2014 Museum Collection copper parallel of Robin Yount in the 50 cent bin?  I didn't understand it, but I certainly scarfed it up quickly.

I also got some cards which I thought might be good to send to some fellow bloggers:

2009 Topps Triple Threads Lance Berkman, 30/99 
2011 Topps Lineage Diamond Willie McCovey

2007 Topps Daisuke Matsusaka insert WM27.  I think the translated text is,
"Red Sox, you should have taken the pitcher behind door number 3."

2013 Bowman Chrome Refractor Jonathan Gray -- first round Rockies draft pick last year (3rd overall) out of Oklahoma 

2013 Topps Chrome Hiroki Kuroda blue refractor numbered 45/199

2014 Topps Opening Day Blue Pedro Alvarez parallel numbered 727/2014
To be honest, nearly half the cards I got at this table weren't for me.  They were either the trading type stuff above or the cards were for my wife's binder.  She doesn't "collect" stuff, per se, but she has several interests that have been featured on cards -- such as royalty, politics, and the space program.  So, she got her cards:

After going through the cards at that table, I finished my walk through the whole facility and headed for my car.  On the way out, I saw some junk wax unopened boxes and figured I would see what the guy had.  I'm glad that I did.

Like a lot of collectors, I'm a sucker for 1980s oddballs.  This guy had several sets of these:

For $5 a set for 24 cards -- 12 panels in a set -- I grabbed two of them.  So, I'm thinking I can split one set of the panels at the seam for sending off to people and for my Carter collection and keep another in full panels.

Then I spied my favorite item of the entire day: a hand-collated complete 1981 Fleer set.

The set is in really nice shape, even if it has a little discoloration around the edges (I'm guessing the guy was a smoker).  Indeed, nearly every corner in the box looks sharp.

But, this set created an immediate quandary -- should I keep it intact and put it into a binder, or should I break it apart for my individual player collections that need the cards and offer up the remainder of the set to others?  And, if I break it up, who wants these cards?

In the end, I will probably go back to this flea market but more for my wife to look for records than for baseball stuff.


  1. I would keep the set together, it is historic :-) Fleer's first set, well not counting the ones in the 60s.

    Some solid pick ups, much better than my flea market finds.

    1. I have to admit -- I knew that the 1981 Topps set was the gem of the show, and I knew I would buy it the minute I saw the $35 price tag.

  2. I'd be ecstatic to find a complete '81 Fleer set at a flea market. Awesome finds!

    1. The guy also had hand collated 1983 and 1984 Topps sets. He told me he still had about a case of 1989 Donruss left from back in the day, and that he used to go to card shows. I need to go back to him next month and cultivate a friendship with him!