I haven't hidden my amazement over other bloggers' flea market finds.
Given what they've uncovered over the years, I've often wished I could find a flea market near me. But the only flea market that I've been to that has contained cards since returning to this hobby was a sprawling flea market in the Buffalo suburbs a number of years ago. That flea market has since been closed down due to drug dealing or gang activity or some similar nefarious occurrence.
But, miracle of miracles, several weeks ago, I discovered an advertisement for a flea market on the north side of town. The hours weren't that convenient and I still haven't checked it out.
Then my wife came home last week and said that a coworker told her there was a new flea market downtown ... and it had baseball cards.
Hot damn! Finally! Flea markets have landed in the north country!
It took me a few days to get over there. There's just no time to do anything anymore, even when I'm on vacation. The 2008 me would have been out the door the minute the words "baseball cards" came out of my wife's mouth.
The flea market is in a building that I'm pretty sure once was a car dealership. More recently it housed a business that sold basket-woven furniture. I never went in there. I don't think anybody did. It closed down quite awhile ago and sat empty for at least a couple of years (it's not the best neighborhood).
Upon entering the building, I saw the expected. Lots of knickknacks and handmade stuff, wall-hangings and rustic furniture, country-themed decor and clothing, flowers and Christmas decorations. I casually tolerated -- er, looked through -- some of the stuff just because you never know when a Christmas gift idea may pop up for a noncollecting acquaintance.
About in the middle of the store, I came across what my wife's coworker must have seen.
It was a station with several baseball card items as well as other baseball and sports memorabilia, programs and signs and the like. I noticed quite a bit of junk wax and if I was less discerning I'd probably spend to grab a box of 1992 Series 1 or Series 2 Stadium Club.
That box on the left looks familiar.
The prices on them were about the going ebay rate. Still too much for me.
These blister packs were super cheap but you can see why. They might make good stocking stuffers for those who don't know much about the hobby (or really, really like 1989 Donruss).
Speaking of which:
Hey, mom, go ahead and overpay for these wax packs for your young urchins!
Stuff like this makes me want to set up a station in a flea market with all my card undesirables.
Among the display items were a couple of themed card showcases. This one features star quarterbacks over the years. None of the cards are particularly valuable, which makes the price tag inflated. There was another one nearby of just Yankees cards. A '76 Catfish Hunter was the best card.
So nothing here was floating my boat until I ventured to the center of the station.
OK, still nothing I want, but at least that Red Sox World Series program from 2004 is interesting. And those 2009 and 2010 Topps cereal boxes were cool back in the day.
Here is a box of Decision '92 election cards. I am officially collecting too much stuff if I start accumulating cards of politicians.
This is the most interesting part. Baseball card glasses and junk wax Traded sets and complete sets and those 1961 Milton Bradley automobile cards and that Nap Lajoie sign is too cool if only I collected signage.
But just about the only thing in my wheelhouse in this entire set-up were some cases of 100 random cards. There were about a half-dozen of them with varying prices. You can see a couple near the top center. One features a 1988 Fleer Bo Jackson and another a 1977 Topps Willie Randolph.
These cards intrigued me, but the trouble is I knew I owned the vast majority of them. Do I take a chance?
I grabbed one for 5 bucks and one for 3 bucks (and then they got marked down when I paid for them).
The $5 one didn't seem all that promising. An '88 Donruss card of Greg Maddux with a sticker that says "miscellaneous cards of stars and Hall of Famers" screams late '80s overproduced wax.
But I was sucked in by the card at the bottom:
Dick Allen would never steer me wrong.
Or maybe he would. The first few cards were just like pulling cards out of a repack box from a big-box store. Even though a repack would cost me more than this did, I was really hoping this wasn't filled with 1987 Topps.
But it did get better. The '83 Fleer is appreciated as I try to wrap up that set. And when have you ever seen a 1974 Topps Billy Martin card fall out of a repack?
1979 Topps. 1977 Topps. Yeah, I have all these cards, but it was still a kick.
These two 1978 Topps cards are in tremendous shape and I know they are far better than the ones that are sitting in my binder. UPGRADES!
This is undoubtedly headed for my 1977 binder. Never have I owned a '77 George Foster card this sweet since I pulled it out of a pack in '77.
Even 1989 Score is cool when you've never owned or even seen the card before.
So, yeah, lots of upgrades and a few cards I need made this purchase a success.
On to box number two.
This box was standing behind the Willie Randolph box. I'm assuming Dave Giusti is on the front as he's a former major leaguer from Upstate New York.
This is a card I didn't have and since I'm trying to tackle the 1970 Topps set now, I was hoping there were a few more in this box for a mere less-than-three bucks.
There were. I do believe I need all of these. And they are in excellent shape.
Next out of the box were eight 1971 Topps cards. I always welcome upgrades to my completed '71 set, not sure if any of these will do but will happily try.
An assortment of 1973 Topps. I haven't looked to see whether I need any of these. I'm down to needing about 60 cards to complete the set, so my hopes aren't up but I am not arguing with pulling 1973 Topps cards from a $3 case.
The majority of the 100-card case contained 1974 Topps and lotso, lotso doubles.
Lots and lots!
But at least they are all cool players.
Both boxes I bought were Dodger heavy and Andy Messersmith heavy. So it's logical I should pull six of the same Messersmith card. I am NOT complaining. I love Andy Messersmith cards!
Next out of the box a sampling of 1975 Topps. This brought a smile to my face. I love these cards so much. There is plenty of Bruce Bochte and Billy Martin and Bill Lee here. What a trio!
Finally some 1976 Topps for upgrading needs.
That was a lot of fun.
No, there weren't a heck of a lot of cards I needed here. But it's nice to know that there is a place in town where I can go if I get an itch to open something and it can beat a repack box any time, any place.
Yeah, it was the only card station in the entire flea market, but it's a start.
Maybe I'll check the flea market on the north side after the holidays and if that has cards, too, then I may be able to tell flea market stories that will rival Fuji and Dime Box Nick.
OK, maybe not.
But at least I didn't have to go to Walmart.