Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thrift shop card finds!

Something happened to me for the first time on Saturday. I found cards at a local thrift shop!

I’ve always been envious of collectors who show off their thrift store finds. Admittedly, I’m not one to hop around from shop to shop and make a day of it, so no wonder I never find any. However, I do have a thrift shop in the basement of a church just three blocks from my house, and I’ve stopped in from time to time without finding much of anything. Everything seems pretty run down and there is a lot of junk. I guess it’s like any other thrift shop, isn’t it?

I live on a street just off of the main road in town, and still have a “walker’s mentality” from my time living in NYC and Hoboken. I have no problem taking a short walk to run an errand. In this case, I had two errands. I first went to the barbershop for a haircut, and once that was done, walked another block to the post office to mail a package to Brian atCollecting Cutch.

I didn’t have any more cash. I brought exactly enough for my haircut (including tip), and then used my credit card at the post office. I still decided to swing by the thrift shop on the way home. After all, it’s only open on Saturdays and Tuesdays. I went in. Cashless.

I made my way over to the books and DVDs, and then I saw them. Two binders and a box of cards! Whhhhat?!

I grabbed the first binder, which was of all basketball cards and marked for $5. I took a quick scan to see if I saw any late ‘90s inserts that go for quite a penny these days, but didn’t see anything too interesting. It’s entirely possible I missed something good, but haven’t collected basketball cards in years and don’t have a keen eye in that area.

Then I grabbed the baseball binder. It was a big ass binder too. H-e-a-v-y. This was marked $5 as well. I started flipping through, and while some of the cards looked ok, I didn’t think this would be for me. Everything was basically from 1997-2002 or so (admittedly an era of cards I like a lot), and there were a lot of cards; cards I’m currently trying to get rid of in a big box…so why would I buy more? I flipped through for a minute and then put the binder back.

I then quickly looked at the longer box, which was mostly football cards that weren’t of interest to me. And I left the store. Yep, I left. Empty-handed. I didn’t want to spend the $5.

In the literally three minute walk home, I had a change of heart. It would be fun to go through, I thought. And you never know what might be tucked away. Plus, the very day was my 7th blog anniversary. I had do something card-related, right?

But the $5 price tag felt a little steep. This is a thrift shop, I said. Shouldn’t it be like 2 bucks? But then I realized something. I routinely spend $4.99 on Walgreen’s repacks, or buy a handful of Dollar Tree repacks. Why am I ok with paying 5 bucks at Walgreen’s for 100 cards that are mostly junk, when I could pay $5 for this and got a lot more cards, easily over 1,000. Plus I saw a few Hall of Famers and interesting cards in my quick scan in the store. And it would last a lot longer than a repack.

I changed my mind.

I got home and ran in the house and grabbed five one dollar bills and told my wife I was headed back to grab something. I walked very fast back to the store, worried some thrift shop vulture may have seen me thumbing through them and then scooped up the binder himself, Vegas slot machine style.

Luckily, I got back and it was there! $5 later and a binder in hand, I headed home.

As noted, it was a pretty big binder. He’s are two photos, one for scale. 
It consisted of 70 pages, mostly filled with card on the front and back of each page. That alone would be 18 cards per page, or 1260 cards. Some had three or four cards in each slot as well.

All-in-all, there were exactly 1,291 cards in the binder. Of those, 133 were of Hall of Famers (stack pictured below), mostly newish ones at that. That doesn’t include the Wade Boggs cards which went into my Yankees pule. There were 54 Yankee cards.
Ok, enough rambling. Here are some cards. This is really just a random sampling to show what I found.
By far, my two favorite cards were these 1995 Topps Cybserstats Season in Review cards. Honestly, they are strikingly gorgeous cards. I’m not sure how a card like this were to be viewed if it were new in 2018, but a lot of cards from the mid to late 90s have far superior graphics and designs to current insert sets. That is a fact.
Another interesting card was this double-sided 1994 Donruss Bomb Squad card. One bomb = one home run. There would probably be outrage if this card showed up in 2018.
There were a lot of 1998 Metal in the binder. Probably close to 50 or 60. No issues with that on my end, as I loved these sets.
This person really liked this Score Goin Yard subset.
I think I would have gotten along well with this collector. There were a ton of Collector’s Choice, Opening Day, Circa, Sports Illustrated, and other brands I really enjoyed as a kid.
There were also severalUpper Deck Folz Vending machine mini cards. I had never seen these. They are a little bit smaller than the size of a normal card, but don’t jump out as a mini. They also look like like Collector's Choice cards, but are not branded as such.
There weren’t too many oddballs.
As for the Hall of Famers, I mentioned there were 133. Here’s who appeared the most:

Greg Maddux – 16 cards
Roberto Alomar – 15 cards
John Smoltz/Barry Larking/Tony Gwynn – 12 cards each
Ivan Rodriguez – 9 cards
And the Yankees! Tino made an appearance.
Boggs was in there a lot, as was Big Daddy.
There was a lot more too!

Am I glad I spent the $5? Easily. I didn’t find anything super valuable, but I really enjoyed going through the cards, and know I’ll be including some in upcoming trade packages. It was definitely money well spent when I think about the alternative of a 100-card repack. I mean, nearly 1300 cards from the late 90s? Hard to beat for this collector.

The binder and pages aren’t particularly in great shape, so what I think I might do is steal a few to cut up for PWEs, and then stuff the binder back full of other cards and bring it back to the thrift shop for someone else to buy.

Either way, I’ll definitely be stopping by regularly to look for cards. It’s a three minute walk from house. I’d be crazy not to.


  1. I think you lose your blogging credentials if you pass up a purchase like that....

  2. For five bucks, that's a steal and looks like there was a ton of fun stuff in there.

  3. $5 for the entertainment value AND you get to keep the cards? Easy choice, nice find!

  4. Best $5.00 dollars you've probably spent in a long time. ........and then stuff the binder back full of other cards and bring it back to the thrift shop for someone else to buy..... Best idea I've heard of in a long time.

  5. GREAT find! Man I love that Vladdy card!

  6. Glad to see the thrift shop luck is spreading around!!

  7. Nice find. The Larkin Artist Proof and that 98T Vlad was worth the $5. The rest is all gravy. I might need to do a thrift store run this weekend.

  8. What a great deal! Definitely the right call going back for that.

    Metal Universe looks crazier each time I see it.

  9. There's some awesome looking cards in there. I got the package btw, but haven't had time to get it all scanned. Hoping for this weekend.

  10. That's a heck of a find! Worth $5 just for the sheer pleasure of flipping through that massive binder. Also, you've inspired me to throw one of those '95 Topps Season in Review cards into my COMC cart.

  11. I feel like I could've written this post... I never find cards in thrift shops, I'd hesitate to spend $5 on 1990's cards and I could see myself walking away and then coming back with the repack justification. I love the idea of reloading and redonating the binder!

    I had never so much as heard of those UD/Folz vending machine cards. Neat stuff, even if they are sort of mini parallels. I'm going to have to see if there are any worth chasing down .