It had been a pretty long work week, and the light at the end of the tunnel had been a mall show over the weekend. A few hours of digging through dime boxes and adding some new Bucs to the collection is the perfect cure to take your mind off things.
Of course this largely depends on there actually being dealers present at said show to sell cards. Or even have any cards.
Kate and I set out for the city - she would get to stop at a few thrift stores, and I would get some quality cardboard time, and maybe do a little shopping with the gift cards we still haven't used from the wedding.
The mall that was hosting the show is about half an hour south of the city, and while the shows there were never the strongest I'm almost always able to find something worth my time. After all, dime boxes make me easy to please.
As we walked through Macys into the mall entrance, it was pretty clear this was not going to be a good show. Right in front of me were a few tables of cards. A quick count tallied up five dealers. Total. After a quick pass, one guy was selling nothing but Pittsburgh singles at well above book - we're talking $2-3 for a Jason Bay common, $5 for a Sidney Crosby base card. Another table was selling nothing but grab bags in small flat rate mailers for $10 each. No thanks. Yet another dealer went the brown paper bag route on the grab bags, but their price was equally high and the piles of '88 Donruss scattered around their table as their "showcase" cards weren't a good sign.
And then there were two. One table looked promising, with about half a dozen full dime boxes. As I started looking through them, I realized they were all hockey cards.
But what the hell. The trip was clearly a lost cause, so might as well dig for some Pens commons. But even that was largely fruitless - aside from half a dozen cards most of the Pens had been pulled or picked over. But in the middle of one row there was an oasis of hope. What looked to be about a dozen packs of 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated. It's a set I remember little about, and I knew I needed cards from. But I had no idea the set was so...awesome.
The quality was great, but a little quantity would have made the day a bit better. The final table did offer up some Pirates goodies that I'll save for a second post. But in all the show was a total wash. Of the last three shows in the area, two have been a complete waste of time and gas. It's really frustrating, since the region used to host great shows on a pretty consistent basis as recently as a couple years ago.
But not all hope was lost.
While Kate looking for some deals on work clothes at the thrift store, I came across a Pirates jersey. Steelers jerseys common finds at thrift stores around here, but Pirate jerseys are few and far between.