Sunday, February 20, 2011

Amazing trip to the local card shop!

I live in New York City. We don't have many card shops in Manhattan. I'm sure there are some in the Bronx and Queens and Brooklyn, but in Manhattan, it's slim pickings. It just so happens that I live only four blocks away from one of them - Alex's MVP Cards on East 89th Street. I'd never been there, so while I was out Saturday afternoon buying some over-priced dress shoes for work, I headed up to take a look.

I walked in, and it's pretty tiny is my first observation. It's on a side street, so I guess I wasn't expecting a huge space. But this was teeeny. The left side of the store has cards, the right side has comic books. Not my thing. There was a very nice older women behind the counter, and a grumpy man in an old mesh hat and sweat pants looking through 550-count boxes of cards. Sounds like a typical card shop, right? There were also two kids, probably 11 or 12 years old, buying a few packs and looking at singles. I could tell they didn't have a lot of money to spend and were thinkign very carefully about what they wanted to buy.

I ventured over to the singles box, hoping to find a quarter bin or 10 for a dollar type deal...the kinds of sales you see at other card shops. Now, things cost more in Manhattan in case you didn't know. The $1 menu at McDonald's is the $1.49 menu here. You get 20 McNuggets for $3.99? We get them for $4.99. Movie tickets cost you $11? $13.50 here. You get it. So why should these bins be different? The cheapest cards were $.50, and most were $2. All Yankee base cards were at least $2. The Mickey Mantle 2011 Topps base card (#7) was for sale for $5 (!!!!!). Wow. I laughed to myself because I knew I wasn't going to be buying any singles. So I went to the counter and bought two empty 550-count boxes for storage ($.75 each), and then I grabbed a pack of 2011 Topps hobby. The woman said, "we also have the jumbo packs for $12, and you have a better chance of an autograph or a relic." What the heck? I've never pulled a relic card, and only once gotten an auto in a pack. I grabbed a jumbo and put the other pack back.

The two kids were intrigued, and as I mentioned I could tell they didn't have much to spend. They were buying old packs, and deciding on what to spend their last dollar on - a pack of 1992 or 1993 Upper Deck. Barf. So I told them, "Guys, I'm going to have a lot of extra cards from this pack, so you can have whatever I don't want." They were pumped.

I spend $13.50 - $12 for the jumbo pack and $1.50 for the boxes, and I rip open the pack right at the counter. I can see it's full of inserts...I can see a shiny, as well as some Topps 60s and reprints. I slowly go through each card, and when I get to my first Topps 60, I couldn't believe what I saw:

Yep, a Robinson Cano Topps 60 Relic! I have never, ever pulled a relic of any kind, so to pull this Cano, a Yankee mind you...I was ecstatic! But I played it cool and I said to the woman, "I'm glad you sold me on the Jumbo, look at this." She was happier than I was. She said that most people don't open the packs in the store, so it was nice to see what I got. The kids didn't even know what a jersey card was, so they thought it was cool as well. I pulled out the inserts and other cards that were decent (Pujols, Mike Stanton, Votto league leaders), and gave 32 base cards to the kids, only after checking to make sure there was no hidden diamond SPs. They of course started to fight over the cards, so I had the lady divide them up evenly and randomly. One kid was happy because he was a Mets fan and got Ike Davis. The other kid couldn't believe I let him have a Jose Bautista for free. Seriously, it was awesome to see how happy they were.

Other cards I pulled in the pack (that I kept):
The $5 Mickey Mantle base card ;)
Votto Topps Town
David Price Kimball Mini (I have been pulling Rays cards at an alarming rate lately)
Musial 1957 Lost Card
Teixeira 2004 Reprint
Diamond Duo Hornsby/Holliday
Topps 60 Mat Latos
Shiny Julio Borbon - my SECOND Borbon shiny. The first is heading to Chris at Nachos Grande. Anyone else need this card for their set?
And for good measure, I pulled a Diamond Giveaway and unlocked a 1974 Jim Merritt. So far I have two 1974s and two 1988s. Interesting, and boring.

Anyways, the jumbo pack and the trip to the card store were well worth it. I'll definitely be going back...not to buy over-priced singles or packs, but hopefully for more good baseball card karma.


  1. That sounds like a fun trip to the card shop, though I don't think I'll make a point of looking for it the next time I'm in Manhattan. :)

  2. Yeah, if you're looking for a good deal, I don't think you'll find it. Still, it's nice to have a shop in the neighborhood.