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A real, live flea market with cards

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.


CrazieJoe said…
For the price, definitely winners - especially the second as, even with all the dupes, that's a lot of 70s cards for $3.
Chris said…
Greta tip by your wife's co-worker. You got some great value out of those cubes, especially the '70s cards. I also would have grabbed the '04 Red Sox items and the McD's glasses for sure, and maybe those American Heritage cars as tradebait.
Laurens said…
Should have bought the 1990 Fleer packs to look for the priceless Jose Uribe card.
Old Cards said…
I like box #2 with the 70 and 71 cards. Since I don't have any of them, I would have been glad to get them for a $3 discounted price. Plus I need the 74 Luzinski.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Damn I'm happy with the big box repacks and these are both better and cheaper than those.
Scott Crawford said…
Super glad that the flea market love finally made it your way.
Congrats on the find (flea market). May it bring you joy in the New Year!
BaseSetCalling said…
I thought for sure your score purchase would have been the tin that I think says "Conlon Collection" on it.

There are a few miscellaneous late 80s-early90s boxes (87 Donruss, 91 Topps, 86 Topps) I would buy if I found them for sale in 3D, but I never luck into the right ones. I don't want to pull the trigger on the shipping for them via easily available online purchases.

I always confuse Bruce Bochte and Bruce Bochey.
bbcardz said…
That's awesome that you finally got some kind of flea market in your area! And it's even more awesome that you got a bunch of great '70's cards. It looks like you've got the '74 Al Hrabosky rainbow too, lol.
Nick said…
Glad the flea market card winds finally hit your neck of the woods! I've been to a few other flea markets in the past besides my main one, and while I don't think there was any proven illegal activity going on at any of them, it just FELT like I was walking into something seedy. So I definitely understand the general aversion to flea markets.
Fuji said…
Congratulations! That was eight dollars well spent. The flea market hasn't been too kind to me the past few years... but I'm hoping things turn around in 2019.

P.S. Can't wait to see what you find at the North Side flea market.
I can't tell who most of those quarterbacks are in that framed group, but it includes Bart Starr's last card (1971), Roger Staubach's rookie card (1972), and of course Joe Namath.
night owl said…
Those cards are all reprints (a.k.a. Archives) of the originals.
Mark Hoyle said…
Glad you found an alternative to pick up some great cards
cynicalbuddha said…
I don't think I could have passed up the 1961 MB Autos set in the box for $4, but the vintage in those repacks is a nice surprise.
Bulldog said…
Great cards and seems a fair enough price. Great post and a fun read .
SumoMenkoMan said…
Boom! Nice walk down memory lane with those.
Baltmoss68 said…
I have an excellent flea market about 10 minutes from my house. 3 friendly vendors and the occasional 1day guy plus a great place to meet and trade with other collectors and friends.
I liked your 2 boxes. I would have jumped all over those Dell cars!
Grant said…
I had to zoom in, only $4! That would definitely be coming home with me if it was complete.
Raiderjoe_FO said…
Luckman, Baugh, Tarkenton, Namath, Bradshaw, Tittle, Unitas, Starr, Montana, Staubach, Marino, Elway, Kelly, Young, Aikman, Favre, Stabler, McNabb, and Flutie
night owl said…
I did pick up the MB box and consider taking it home. But the cards didn't interest me much. Had I known others were into them, I would've grabbed it -- I will the next time I go, if it's still there.
Ana Lu said…
That's kinda Heaven..

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