Monday, August 20, 2012

Garage Sale Finds!

My wife is a life-long garagesaleaholic, and goes whenever she can.  I haven't gone in years, but this past weekend, I was bitten by the bug, and decided to go.  The night before, I noticed a mini storage place was having a sale, so I said OOOH!  Lets take a look-see.  Someone posted up saying there were going to be sports autographs.  Heck, it was down the street, so why not? 

We loaded up the kiddos and drove down.  When we got there, and I first walked up, I saw a face I recognized.  As it turns out, the guy who posted the sports autographs for sale at the mini-storage location was the guy I sold my autographs to the week before!  What a sight!  There he was, with all my old autographs all over his tables.  I was a bit disappointed that it was my old stuff, but it ended up being a fun story, plus, I picked up an autographed Canseco baseball from him that he got when Canseco was in town for the Fan Expo.  I tried to negotiate with him, and he came down a bit, but wouldn't get to my price, so I asked him to throw in a baggy of cards on the table he had, and he agreed.  As it turns out, there were 4 or 5 autographed cards in it.  That was fun! 

As what might be one of the few remaining Canseco fans out there, I would not be selling my Canseco ball I just got, but I already have one from the 90's when my grandparents bought me one (and probably at 10 times the price of what I bought this one for.).  At the card show I went to this past June, I also had about eight autographed 8x10's of his, and have 20 or so Star rookie sets from another deal, so I decided to put in a few pieces of the duplicates, and post them online to see if I get any bites.  Here is the picture of them.

If you are interested, let me know!  I also picked up the frame that the autographed 8x10 is in from a garage sale from later that day. 

The next garage sale we went to, I decided to ask the guy if he had any cards.  "As a matter of fact, I do!"  He ran inside, pulled out a big box of cards, binder, etc.  I looked through them, and found literally nothing.  The problem was, is there was a guy behind me watching me go through the cards, and would keep throwing out comments "wow bro, that's gotta be worth a pretty penny..." etc.  I kept thinking yeah, altogether, you may very well get one pretty penny for the box.  He said "Oh yeah, I do have another box inside with some better stuff."  He came out with another box - the cards were jumbled up, but there was an 89 Upper Deck Griffey, a chrome insert refractor of Jeter, and some others.  I made an offer and he said "You know what?  I think I'm just going to hang onto these for now." 

Why bring them out then?  Oh well. 

We continued driving, and stopped at a yard sale where everything was in the dirt.  It was a bunch of just "stuff" everywhere.  I found a big Norman Rockwell picture as well as a painting of ships - both were awesome, both were dirt cheap and my family thought I was nuts I wanted to buy them.  As it turns out, the picture of the ships apparently sells online for $325 without the frame!  I was going to sell the Norman Rockwell, but after hanging it to take a picture and post online, my wife kept saying "wow, that looks really good.  I really like it."  Ok, fine - we'll keep it.  I guess I owe her anyway, for trading her guitar she barely touched for a bunch of cards and bobbleheads a day or two before that!  :)

This thing looks awesome, and is hanging in my office right now, until the right buyer/trader comes along.

So yeah, I guess the pictures more than made up for the sports cards I lost out on. 

The last one I bought anything from was a garage sale these two older ladies were running.  I picked up a huuuuge Houston Rockets poster and 2 bobbleheads, along with the frame I put one of my Canseco 8x10's in.  Later that day, I was able to pass the poster & bobbleheads on to someone else for more than I bought everything that whole day for. 

I don't see myself ever making a living on this stuff, but I don't know if it is possible to have more fun than that.  It was an absolute  blast!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Huge Vintage Collection Find

HUGE Vintage Find Heartbreaker
Sit down, grab a cup of coffee and kick back.  This is going to be a bit of a read.  I found someone online, in town here, who, had a "huge vintage
collection".  That has my name written all over it, so I decided to contact him.  Finally, after a number of days passed by, he sent me about 26 emails of pictures overnight.  When I woke up, I reached for my phone as I do ritually, and look at my email.  Needless to say, what I saw aided me in waking up that much quicker.  Many 1952 topps, an altered t206 Wagner, some Ty Cobb, rookies of Musial, Satchel Paige, etc.  Even authenticated autographed baseballs of Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb! 

I didn't notice this until later, but the '52 Topps Mantle is sitting pretty in the middle of this picture. 
 I searched my emails, and apparently, I had emailed him a month ago on some other things, though, I had questioned the authenticity of, so I passed.  This time, the pictures were good and I was KICKING myself for not following up.  I quickly responded telling him I was interested, giving him my number.  He said he was only taking bids right now, would not show the cards publicly and would wait until someone offers his price before showing the cards in person.  I tried contacting him again, requesting a call back, saying I was a very interested buyer.

Crickets.  Noooooooo!

The Ty Cobb - one of the TONS of pictures the guy sent me

As I waited to hear back, I was contacted about my vintage collection (I have a number of cards for sale right now - rookie of Walter Payton, '60 Topps Clemente, a few Rice rookies, etc.) by someone who had yet another collection for sale.  She sent me pictures, and there were some pre-war items, and various other things that looked fantastic.  I was 100% ready to trade, and asked for the back-story.  The lady replied, saying, they were her uncle's cards, they need money, so she paid some bills for them and in exchange got the cards.  She collects newer cards, so she wanted to see about doing a trade with me.  #YESYESYES


She gave me her phone number, and we setup a time to meet.  After looking at the cards in the pictures, I noticed something interesting.  Her collection, too, had the same Ty Cobb, Paige & Musial rookies as well as a similar Mickey Mantle.  Sure, I hardly EVER see these cards, and a few of them I have never seen before in my life - then I see them twice in two different collections in the same day - yeah, sounds fishy, but I was star struck.  I tried my hardest to sweep it all under the rug in my brain.  After scampering around the house to look for our 100x powered magnification device to check out these cards, I couldn't find it, so I reluctantly called her up again, saying I couldn't make it.  I was beyond bummed out, but didn't want to make a foolish trade.  I did ask her if she knew a guy by the name of the person who first sent me all the pictures, and she said no. 

At about 9pm, I looked at the pictures again of her collection and the guy that sent me the tons of pictures.  It still bugged me that they both had a few of the same pictures.  I then noticed one thing - the Ty Cobb picture the first guy sent me was severely off center on the back.  I asked the lady I was about to meet if she could send me a picture of the back of the Ty Cobb, and she did.  Here is what she sent.

This is what I was afraid of.  The back is identical to what the guy sent.

See anything interesting?  (scroll up to the first picture of the Cobb front and back.)
BLAST!  What is going on here????  I asked her why she and someone else were sending me the same pictures.  She just responded with:  "Do you want them, or not?"  I went back and forth a few times, and was basically met with the same responses "Do you want them?  I have a guy coming over now for them for $600."

Google "Ty Cobb 8/15/60" and see what comes up. 

The first guy, even though I said I was a buyer, never responded to me ... until the night all this happened after I found his Wagner, Mantle and Ty Cobb baseball on Google.  I confronted him with it.  Guess what?  He *QUICKLY* responded.  "What are you trying to say?"  very defensive.  I told him I found them on the internet, and was curious how #1 these pictures were on google, and #2 how someone else was sending me pictures of what he posted.  I suggested a way to clear all of this up would be to perhaps take a picture of himself holding the Ty Cobb ball. 

Here was his response:

"Thats about the stupidest thing i ever heard of i do not know you and i am not dumb enough to fall for your childish thinking I am not a kid and don't have anything to prove to you ...I have a collection for sale and that's that plain and simple and secondly if you could afford my collection you would just see it in person so please do not email me again..thanks "

I figured he would write something similar as this. 

The next day, the lady wrote again "after all of what happened last night, I'm still interested in your cards.  What is the least you'd take for them?"  I told her, and then asked what happened with the other cards.  She said that she ended up selling them, and decided to "sell them as reprints". 

Whether that is the case or not, I want to believe her that this is what actually happened.

In the aftermath of all that has happened, a lot of brainpower and time was wasted into going back and forth with these folks, researching, thinking, etc.  I groan to think what could have been.  What if I could have scored something huge like this?  Surely, there are deals out there to be had.  I like to think that my best deals are ahead of me.  The one thing I can take solace in, is that when it comes to people on the internet, you never know - these people might have set me up to rob me.  This has happened to a fellow collector not too long ago here, locally.  He was taken for $4,000 worth of cards!

The thing that doesn't sit right is that the lady's pictures have some old written documents - that gave the whole thing a "real" vibe to it.  Was this just some crazy elaborate scheme to "trap" someone into thinking they are getting a great deal, but it was all meant to look that way by design?  Was it truly all real, or a mix of both?  Why did I get a picture of the back of the same card from two people who claimed not to know each other?  Something else - The Satchel Paige of the guy looked like he had more bottom border than the lady had in her picture, though they were in the same type of semi-rigid holder.  There were just too many unanswered questions in this whole thing.  I guess if it is too good to be truth, it probably is just that - too good to be true.  Better safe than sorry, as well.  I am interested in hearing the thoughts of all you super sleuthers out there!