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50 under .50

Those of you who are following the almost daily release of ToppsNow cards know that my favorite current player, Clayton Kershaw, received his first ToppsNow card on Monday.

I admit, I was tempted to throw down $10 on a single card to get that Kershaw, but there is a reason that I don't keep the paypal stocked when I don't have any plans to use it -- to save myself from wild spending like this.

There's no way anyone should be asking me to pay $9.99 for a single modern card. It's ridiculous. Ten dollars for something that looks like you pulled it out of a $2.99 pack at the big box store? I'll wait however long it takes for the price to go down and hope it's around then.

Because I've been trying to do smarter things with my card-spending money.

For example, here's an exercise for team collectors:

I went to COMC to search for cheap Dodgers cards. I typed in the word "dodgers" and set the search for "lowest price." I wanted to see if I could acquire 50 Dodgers cards that I didn't have, each for less than 50 cents apiece.

My only parameters:

1. It had to be a Dodger card
2. It had to be under 50 cents
3. It had to be a card I didn't have
4. It had to be interesting to me in some way.

That was it.

Now COMC isn't exactly ideal, because the lowest card you'll find anywhere is around 30 cents. No dime or quarter boxes in COMC land. But I figured if I found 50 visually interesting 50-cent cards, the exercise would pay for itself. And it did.

I found 50 interesting cards fairly easily.

I'll try to break them up for easy digestion.


By any means, these aren't all of the inserts in the group of 50. But they're four notables from that time I wasn't collecting.

In general I know whether I don't have a card just by looking at it. If it jumps out me, grabs me by the throat, and screams "YOU DON'T HAVE THIS!" then I know I don't have it. Where I make my mistakes is when I get wishy-washy and think maaaaaaaaaybe I don't have it and then it turns out I do. It's possible the Eric Gagne Ionix card is that card, but I'm fairly certain I'm safe.


I've noticed that Adrian Gonzalez cards are unjustly cheap. So are Andre Ethier cards. And Matt Kemp cards are getting that way. It explains what you see here. Which is great for me. Discount all your Adrian Gonzalez cards. You do know he's going to the Hall of Fame, right?


Lots of pesky cards there, from the elusive glossy send-ins of the '80s to the -- c'mon, I should have these by now -- Baseball's Best cards from Donruss.

Also, why is it that Sportflics from 1988-90 are so much less prevalent than Sportflics from before or after? Educate the man who was in a bar while you were at home on your bedroom floor flipping Sportflics back-and-forth.


The snazzy A.J. Ellis is one of the Spring Fever hobby shop-only cards. The Campanella is something given out to National Convention attendees in 2009. It even pretends to be part of the 1959 Topps set on the back:

There are 572 cards in the '59 set, so I'm guessing there was another convention card numbered 573.

The last three featured cards are Heritage High Numbers from when Topps was doing that annoying "buy the whole set in a box online only, please" thing. Instead of throwing a 100 bucks at that, I simply grabbed those three for about 35 cents each. Good thing, too, because Garcia is out of baseball, Gordon was suspended 60 games for taking stuff he shouldn't, and Arruebarrena was just suspended by the Dodgers for the entire season ... again.

Kids: don't throw money at online-only cards.


OK, these are only elusive for me. But in both cases, I had to check three times to make certain that I didn't really have this card, because there's no way I shouldn't have this card.


There is no way cards as shiny as these should be less than 2 bucks apiece. But you didn't hear me say that out loud.


I sort of violated my rule that the cards should be interesting to me in order to buy them. But Kershaw cards are Kershaw cards. They even make Panini and Gypsy Queen acceptable. The Karim Garcia card is actually the reverse side. This is the front:

Stupid '90s. Albert will never see the light of day in my binder.


OK, in order:

1. Let's put two photos of the same picture, but one color and one black & white, and mix it with numbers and geometric shapes because THE FUTURE.
2. When I hear "matinee idol," Tab Hunter or Shaun Cassidy comes to mind, not perpetually angry ballplayers.
3. EXTREEEEEEEEEEME with lots of XXXXXXXXXXXsssssses and everyone wearing a leather jacket on the set because '90s!
4. I don't know who Ryan Rogowski is but that is one great expression on a baseball card.
5. What Kemp is doing, how he looks, how the card is presented, this card just wants to make sure I don't understand anyone under 30.
6. Hideo Nomo is pitching in a tiny box, because not just anyone can do that.
7. DAMMIT, Jim, the border color is GREEN.


That is a whole lot of greatness.

I am a sucker for Darren Dreifort cards, early Finest-themed cards and pitchers batting cards. So two Dreifort cards is not a surprise. I also love newspaper-themed cards and can't believe it took me this long to see the Manny card. The Kent card is actually acetate and clear everywhere that is not a nuclear sunburst. And the Mondesi early risers card is a cool blend of theme and execution.

My two favorites though are the last two. "Boss" as an adjective is a nostalgic word for me. I'd never utter it myself, but I enjoy when others do. Meanwhile, the other card has SATURN on it, you guys.

And that's 50 cards, that I like quite a bit.

I don't know if I could do this exercise again. One thing I found out by going through the COMC inventory is there are a whole lot of cards under 50 cents that I have already. I might be able to get maybe 20 more Dodger cards under that price. But for a one-time-only shopping spree, it worked nicely.

The grand total came to just shy of 23 dollars.

That is a little more than a blaster.

Or two-and-a-third ToppsNow cards.


Zippy Zappy said…
I was holding my breathe through the post because I picked up some things specifically on COMC yesterday for you. Luckily none of the cards here were ones I picked up.

Good additions. On a side note, I refuse to pay more than $1 for shiny parallel cards that aren't numbered to 25 or less (unless the player is like really good or something).
Adam said…
This is a really great idea. I may have to do this with a bunch of the stuff I collect. Thanks for the tip! That very eclectic haul for less than $25.
JediJeff said…
"You do know he's going to the Hall of Fame, right?"

You cannot say that while I am taking I sip of my pop. (goes to get a paper towel to clean off the keyboard).
Definitely a great variety of Dodgers.
BobWalkthePlank said…
I did something similar to this last month on COMC, but with WVU guys. Always a fun process.

I don't think Adrian is a Hall of Famer unless he gets back to putting up Padres numbers again. He is pretty light on the counting stats that old voters like and the WAR is lower than newer stat guys like.
GCA said…
Those green bordered Hygrade Greats ARE elusive, but only half of them. I think they were put out in two series. The second one with the more modern players are really tough to find.
Mike Matson said…
I see there's finally a Jay on the Topps Now.. Just took Smoak to hit two homers lol
night owl said…
I was being somewhat facetious.
Fuji said…
Great idea. I hate you for coming up with it though, because the last thing I want to do is stock up on 50¢ cards from COMC... but an awesome concept nonetheless.