When I was somewhere between 12 and 14, I used to go to a flea market with my mom or both mom and dad early on Sunday mornings before church, about once a month or so during nice weather. It was about 20 minutes west of us, in the rural direction. There were prime spots indoors, with maybe 30 tables or so, some prime outdoor spots near the building, and then the cheap spots up the hill and around the building. There were usually puppies and kittens for sale, "antique" furniture, which was mostly just old and beat up, and, as it was the mid-to-late 90s, lots of baseball cards.
I'm certain a few of the guys indoors were running hobby shops, as they always had boxes of the newest products. I don't think they could have sustained that with only a few hours to sell each week. Some weeks I just really liked looking at all of the autographed photos, and the rare and/or vintage cards. Occasionally I'd buy a pack of cards from them, but I usually wouldn't, buying instead from my more local hobby shop during the week.
My favorite seller to talk to was an older guy who had an outdoor spot, but had his cards in some nice glass-topped cases. In retrospect, I wonder how much UV damage some of his cards sustained week after week. I think I also visited his spot a lot because he had two cards I really wanted, sitting side by side, every week. One was a McGwire rookie, and the other was a Griffey rookie. I'd ask him the price from time to time, getting a slightly different number every time, and usually a lower number after I'd look disappointed. I never had enough cash to make an offer though.
Then, one week I bought a can of 1997 Pinnacle Inside, the cards in a can, from my hobby shop. I pulled a Diamond Edition parallel of Cal Ripken Jr., which is die-cut and a little shiny. Here's an example Jim Edmonds from CheckOutMyCards.com.
|1997 Pinnacle Inside - Diamond Edition #115 Jim Edmonds|
|1997 Pinnacle Inside - Cans #19 Mike Piazza|
1997 Pinnacle Inside - Cans #22 Cal Ripken, Jr.
1997 Pinnacle Inside - Cans #23 Mark McGwire
I took it up to the flea market one Sunday, and approached the McGwire and Griffey. I asked to see the cards, much like the Wayne's World scene in which he checks out the same guitar he's been checking out every week. I showed him my Ripken, and confidently told him what it booked for. I think at the time the McGwire was about $70 and Griffey was around $100. I can't recall exactly what we settled on, but it included both cards and cash, I want to say about $80. That sounds like way more than a vendor would PAY at a flea market, but again, this was the late 90s, right in the card boom, so I guess it might have been.
|1989 Upper Deck #1 Ken Griffey, Jr.|
1985 Topps #401 Mark McGwire
Now that I'm done reliving my childhood, here's two more contests for you.
First, Number 5 Type Collection's Fourth Anniversary HOF Giveaway. Go comment with your favorite 50s-60s player to enter.
Next, a new blog I just found thanks to some more contest promoting, Drinking The Orange Kool-Aid's The "You Did WHAT With The Cup?" Contest. Let him know what you'd do with your 24 hours with the Stanley Cup if you were on the NHL champs.