This weekend I answered an ad on Craigslist from a guy who was giving away baseball cards. I usually get in too late on those but this time the cards were still available. The guy said he had three boxes of baseball cards he was giving away, and that I could pick them up from the doorman at his apartment on the Upper East Side. For those of you not familiar with NYC, the Upper East Side is, according to Wikipedia, "the most affluent area of New York City."
I went there after work (say what you want about the subway, it's still a fantastic way to connect such disparate parts of such a large city at $2 a pop) and walked the three blocks to his apartment with my bookbag and a couple of large plastic bags, expecting three shoeboxes with stuff like 1990 Topps commons in it.
I went inside and told the doorman who I was and he took me into a side hallway, where I was confronted with three HUGE boxes - much too big to take on the subway. (The doorman said he was expecting someone with a handtruck.) What I decided to do was open up the boxes and see what was inside, and pick out what I wanted, as much as I could carry on my person. I'm really glad I went on a complete-set buying binge recently because I was able to quickly dismiss, say, a box of mid-80s Topps or early 90s Donruss because I knew I had all the cards. There were plenty of complete sets like 1989 Fleer that I was able to pass on because I knew I had them. There was a 1988 Score box, and I knew I only needed three cards and knew which ones there were, so I picked those out and left the rest (fortunately the set was collated). I left behind all the basketball, football, and soccer cards. There were various books, newspaper clippings, and Becketts that looked cool but I had to leave behind. I left behind a book with Transformers cards that instantly transported me back to when I collected them when I was a kid. I left behind a complete 1993 Ted Williams set, a complete Conlon Babe Ruth set, and I don't even remember what else. There were even marbles with baseball players faces on them - naturally I dropped them and they rolled all over the place, but I think I corralled them all and put them back in the boxes. I walked away with less than half of what was in that hallway.
The pictures don't even do justice to the scale of what I was able to walk away with. I stuffed my bookbag with plastic pages and also a baseball autographed by Phil Plantier (I took it out of it's case because space was at a premium). I then took apart several smaller boxes and filled them up with what I wanted, and put them and the rest of the pages (there were about ten stuffed binders that I pulled the sheets from - there was no way I could take the binders) into my two plastic bags. Before I even got out the door one of the bags was ripping and I was able to get a heavy garbage bag from the custodian. I told the doorman and the custodian to take the rest for their kids or something but they probably just threw them out.
I then had to walk three blocks down 86th Street on one of the most humid days of the year, trying to carry somewhere between 10-20,000 cards in three bags in my arms and back, holding the giant garbage bag up off the ground so it wouldn't scrape open on the sidewalk. I'm in pretty decent shape but I had to take breaks a dozen times a block. I then took two subways - I was "that guy" everyone was tripping over on the escalator and in the subway car. Then there was the railroad, which fortunately wasn't crowded. Thankfully, my wife was able to pick me up at the train station - I was exhausted when I got home.
This is, if not the largest, then one of the largest single acquisitions of cards I have ever gotten. And it was FREE! Gotta love rich people. (Word of advice to anyone just starting out and needing to furnish an apartment or house - drive around the richest neighborhood around on garbage night, especially in the spring. You'll get a lot of nice tables, dressers, etc that regular people would never throw out, but are easily disposable to the wealthy.)
I haven't even gotten to what was in those bags I brought home. This is about two thirds of the plastic pages. There are more in the big garbage bag.
In those pages are what appears to be (haven't had much of a chance to go through it yet):
- A near complete 1992 Fleer set
- Every update set from 1989 - Topps Traded, Score Traded, Donruss Rookies, Donruss Traded, one or two other I forget. All apparently complete.
- What appear to be complete sets of many of the Topps Glossy All Star sets from the early and mid-eighties
- 1986 Donruss Highlights, the Kmart set from the early 80s that looks like a Topps send-away glossy set but had old-timers, several other similar sets, all apparently complete
- Many, many star cards from the late eighties and early nineties. That blue book in the middle is about half Ken Griffey Jr. cards.
- The Classic major league cards from the early nineties - looks like several different complete sets (red set, yellow set, purple set, etc.)
- A bunch of different Score Young Superstar sets
Among the boxes are:
- A complete 1994 Collectors Choice set
- A lot more 1992 Fleer cards
- A lot of 1992 and 1993 Ultra cards - possibly a complete series 2 for both sets
- A bunch more loose cards from the late eighties and early nineties, and not all junk wax. A big chunk of 1990 Leaf, for example
- Very large cards from 1986 Topps and 1987 Donruss
- Very tiny cards from 1991 Topps and 1992 Donruss
- Mini though not tiny cards like 1987 Topps League Leaders and 1990 Topps Sticker Back Super Stars
- Complete sets of 1990 Topps Debut, 1986 Sportflics rookies, a few different Toys R Us sets, various cards from other oddball sets (Cap'n Crunch, Coca-Cola Tigers, etc)
- A box with some 1991-1993 Upper Deck
- Dozens of cards in hard plastic cases, about half of them Ken Griffey Jr. cards that are either rookies or inserts (though sadly not the UD rookie, I do now have the 89 Score, Bowman and Topps Traded rookies). There were three 1989 Donruss Griffeys if anyone wants for a trade.
To recap for trade purposes, let me know if you have interest in the following:
- 1989 Donruss Ken Griffey
- Cards from just about any traded or oddball set from the mid-80s to early 90s (looks like a few are early 80s)
- Star baseball players from the late 80s early 90s, including rookies
- Star basketball players from the same era - no Jordans or O'Neals but there were some Magic Johnsons, Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, etc. I don't collect basketball so that's all up for trade. Theres a card commemorating Larry Bird and Magic Johnson's retirement in there.
- If anyone likes soccer cards, there were some very nice foil hologram cards, I think from UD, that showed the player against a hologram map of their country.
- Any needs from 1992 Fleer.
- Any needs from early 1990s Fleer Ultra.
- Any needs from 1991-1993 Upper Deck.
- Anything else you can think of
There's a lot here that I would love to trade. This is a lot to get through though, so trades may take a while to set up!
All in all this was about eight large boxes of cards, a few smaller boxes, and several hundred plastic pages, heck even an autographed baseball. And it was all FREE!
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