Saturday, December 3, 2011

Huge Estate Sale Find

One morning while perusing the internet, I found out that there was an estate sale, and that they had binders of baseball cards.  It perked my ears up a tad, but only a tad, because 9 times out of 10, if someone is being vague about cards they are selling, it is because they are a bunch of junk 1988 donruss or 1988 score, etc (my apologies to the collectors of mass rookies of glavine, caminiti, alomar, etc.)  I asked the situation, and an older man was going to be moved out of state from his condo with his family out west, and they basically refused to take his stuff.  They started out asking $50 a binder, and since it was about a 45 minute drive, I asked for a few pictures.  They refused and said "there just wasn't enough time." 

After thinking it over, I came to the conclusion "What else do I have going on this fine saturday morning?"  NOTHING!  So, I made the trek...and I'm glad I did. 

Aside from getting lost (which is a fairly normal occurance for tanmanbaseballfan), it was a decent drive.  I knocked on the door, and they took me to the back room.  What I saw was pretty amazing.  70 to 80 binders - all of them were the really nice and thick ultra pro binders, too - not those ratty ones that people typically use that were left over from their junior high homework assignments.  I looked around and was thinking wow ... there has got to be at least $1,000 worth of pages and binders in here! 

Pure joy going through everything.  Thought the Berkman fans would like this.

What is more interesting, is that the owner of them took the time to sort the binders alphabetically.  That's right ... if a player's last name started with an "A", it was in the "A" binder, and so on.  It was really something I had never seen before.  It is something weird to find a 1992 Fleer Pat Listach right next to a 2007 bowman Tim Lincecum, or a 1993 Upper Deck Derek Jeter right next to a 1990 Donruss Chris James. 

Some of the goods...Yes, that is an A-Rod Artist Proof. 
Anyway, the nice lady who showed me everything said she would be "workable" on the binders, as they had to move it all out that day.  So, in typical tanmanbaseballfan fashion, I asked what she would take for all of it...basically wipe out the entire room of cards, so nothing but shelves were remaining.  While trying to calculate, I was thinking $50 a binder @ 70-80 binders is .... a LOOOOT of money.  $3,500 at least.  I was able to go through a few, and I figured heck - there are some good cards in here, so what I'll do is I'll go ahead and make an offer.  I told her I could clear out everything for $450.  After discussing with her brother....she accepted!  I was happy as a clam.  She even helped me load up my car.

Boy, if I had a penny everytime I had so many cards in my car that it was borderline a hinderance to being able to see the road, I'd be a rich man!

As I got home, I found my wife in the office on my computer, and in a sweaty mess, I made what must have been a dozen trips up and down the stairs, filling my office with these binders.  From there on, I decided to go through the binders - page by page - to see what treasures were in store for me.

Among them were, multiple Jeter rookies, Arod rookies, Griffey rookies, Bonds rookies ... even bowman rookies of Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard!  There were many newer cards of players I had never heard of, so I had to be careful and look them all up if I hadn't heard of them before.  Many times I would find some mini treasures.

As I went through them, I would sell off the binders with the cards I didn't want, so I didn't have to just "accumulate" them.  (Despite the fact that I have millions of cards ... though not at my location ... I loathe accumulating things.) 

Picture this...only, times two.
Some of the binders, I ended up going through more than once, and sure enough ... I would find I missed some gems.  More notably, is when I looked through the "A" binder.  I saw some dude that played for the twins, and as I was humming along, page by page, I thought to myself ... wait a second ... that sure did look like David Ortiz.  So I looked back ... HEY, that IS David Ortiz.  Why is his name David Arias here???  Then ... COOL!  Two of them!  (I later traded one of them for a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson rookie).  My research showed me it was $50 card.  I admit, I was panicking for a bit ... because I noticed Ortiz was sucking it up big time for the BoSox.  I had figured his card would plummet, as he went the way of Albert Belle/Mo Vaughn/ various other previous players of his stature.  Thankfully, he's proven himself yet again as a premiere power hitter in the game. 

When all the dust settled, I was able to sell all the binders of cards, keep many of the binders for future deals, and kept boxes worth of stars, rookies, inserts, etc.  Interestingly enough, the cards that I pulled were a part of the 6,000,000 card deal I had made! 


  1. Wow what a story! And just like you to get such a good deal too haha

  2. This might be the best blog line I have read in my 4+ months of blogging.

    "(Despite the fact that I have millions of cards ... though not at my location ... I loathe accumulating things.) "

    That is classic stuff...

  3. Thanks Robert :) The only way I can do this is thanks to the fact that I have the ability to keep that huge amount of cards away from my home.

  4. Just curious, what site did you find the estate sale on? I just started collecting, and if I can across 50 binders like that I think I'd have a little cardboard heart attack :)

  5. Matt, IIRC it was from Craig's List or some other online classified section.