Monday, August 26, 2013

My Flea Market Adventure

While my posts have been pretty infrequent, there has definitely been a consistent theme when I do get around to writing: bemoaning the lack of card purchasing opportunities in the Pittsburgh area.

The wife-to-be and I have always loved going to estate sales, thrift stores, and the like.  She likes to find old furniture and clothes to re-purpose and fix up, and I'm always on the look out for some new collectibles for my future man cave.  Preparing for the wedding has only intensified these thrift store ventures - we're using mismatched vintage plates for the reception, and are doing a lot of the decorations and crafts ourselves with a vintage fall festival/halloween theme.  In short, it will be awesome.

We have just about exhausted the supply of plates in every decent thrift store in the Pittsburgh metro area, so we were both really caught off guard when my Kate's mom mentioned a flea market we had absolutely no idea existed.  It's only about 20 mins from my parents' house, but after a little digging I discovered why this gem of old junk had remained hidden to us.  It opened in 2007, right around when I was starting college, and is set off the highway behind a Wal Mart.  Yep, never had the slightest idea it existed even though I've probably driven by it a few hundred times.

So we decided to take a break from wedding related stuff to go do...some wedding related stuff.  In all honesty, I must confess she was much more focused on the task at hand.  I was using my keen Black and Gold-dar to look for new finds for my collection.  At this point, I can spot a pile of McFarlane, a dime box, or some old Starting Lineups from 40 yards away after years of practice.

Aside from a glass pumpkin for $1, we struck out on the wedding side.  Fortunately for me, the collectibles end was for more lucrative.

As soon as we exited the indoor portion and stepped out into the outdoor vendors, I spotted a table with Starting Lineups and a few boxes of cards.  A quick flip showed it was mainly early-mid 90's star base cards in toploaders.  Even at 5/$1, nothing seemed worth the price tag, but I decided I would stop back later after making the rounds.

I ended up coming away with some awesome non-card stuff that I'll show off a little later.  But after making my way around the other vendors, I made my way back to the cards.  Again things didn't look promising.  But I found one numbered card.  And then another.

And while I'd love for this story to end with my finding a hoard of 90's inserts, the finds were far more intermittent.  I picked up most of the cards with the idea of trading or flipping them.  But at these prices, the 90's nostalgia they bring back may end up being well worth the $3 I spent.

 But the dig wasn't without some great finds.  This Sosa/Marris Black Label '98 Gold Label card definitely would have drawn a nice chunk of change in the late 90's.  Even today, it's a great card.  But...nostalgia!

Speaking of which, since Pinnacle is back, any chance at also seeing some of the awesome 90's Score parallels again?

The foily goodness of the decade was out in full force in these Naturals inserts.  The cards have foil on both the fronts and backs, and the bright backgrounds really let the player photos stand out.

Pinnacle Mint was one of the more unique products, including coins of various rarities in each pack along with the cards.  Much more creative than the Topps cards with regular ole pocked change that people are shelling out big bucks for, don't you think?

And of course the day wouldn't be complete without at least a fewwwww main-collection pickups.  The Steelers '94 75th anniversary throwbacks are my absolute favorite uniform, and I couldn't pass up the chance to add the Dawson, which will be heading out in the mail to be signed.  The other cards are additions to my respective Pitt and WVU collections.  Finding college uniform cards can be tough, and neither program has turned out a ton of pro players, so they'll find a home in my slowly expanding binders.

Nothing that will drop your jaw, but some fun and unexpected additions to my collections.  And while the range or quality of the cards may not rival some of the other flea market finds I've seen folks have, I'll definitely have to make a point to stop back in the next few weeks.

I guess that's part of the fun of a flea market - these cards aren't worth much anymore, and like most of the stuff on dealer tables they are well past their prime.  But for a few dollars the fun of digging through the boxes not knowing whether I would find a few cards that might simply be fun, nostalgic additions to my secondary collections, or a 90's goldmine that might be able to fund my own collecting.

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