How I got 6,000,000 Cards

I'm sure you all are wondering by now why my blog says something about 6,000,000 cards.  I have a dealer friend who has millions upon millions of sports cards.  I'm telling you - his collection/inventory must be what heaven is like.  Well, ok - maybe Heaven will be filled with Exquisite & Triple Threads, instead of 88 Topps and 92 Donruss :) 

This is what 650,000 look like.  Just a hair over 10% of the entire stockpile. 

Anyway, probably a few years ago, we had done a deal - I traded a lot of things - autographed bats, jerseys, plaques and tons of great cards.  The deal worked itself out to what I deemed the "deal of the century".  Yes, I got 6,000,000 cards. 

I know what you are thinking:  What does mrs. tanmanbaseballfan think about this?  Thankfully, the cards are still housed at my friend's location, and he brings over some from time to time.  As of this writing (December 1st, 2011) I have probably gone through about 25% of it.  I do not keep these cards mind you - I sell and trade them.  While it is a lot of hard work, and very time consuming, it is just absolutely great.  I enjoy the heck out of it.  I enjoy taking pictures of them, posting them, trying new "sales tactics" to make them appealing. 

While they aren't going to make me rich, they sure do make me feel rich - I am incredibly blessed.  Oh, and by the way, this isn't just a site about those cards - I pickup new cards all the time.  Plus, this isn't all about me.  I will occassionally donate some cards to kids - especially those who are sick. I encourage you to do the same!

Have you picked up any awesome things?  Tell me about it!  I always love the big fish stories. 


  1. Call the producers of 'Hoarders", we've got a live one!

    This verifies one of my more recent theories that card companies have managed to stay in business for the last 20+ years not by selling cards to fans who buy cards, collect them, read them, catalog them and put them into albums. No. They wouldn't be in business that way, there are not nearly enough fans. They stayed in business due to the proliferation of hoarders, dealers, speculators, 'investors' and the like, who, knowing little about cards or the sports they represented, ended up buying boxes and boxes of unopened cards, case upon case, pack upon pack, stacking them into closets, warehouses, under beds, in garages and attics, in storage lockers, and even into car trunks when they became homeless.

  2. Dear Mr. Anonymous:
    I got a kick out of your comment. While I do know people who are living in a veritable house of cards, I'm not one of them. Had that been the case, my wife would have probably burned them long ago, lol! Actually, I generally don't carry the same cards for very long. It is always changing inventory.

    I would not be too quick to jump the gun and say you have the typical baseball card buyer nailed down. Cards have been produced for nearly 125 years now. The bulk of the time the hobby has survived has been without hoarders, dealers, speculators, etc.

    True, the demographic has shifted, though, not in totality. There are still pure collectors out there - I speak with many of them quite frequently. You can go on sports card blogs that have very high traffic. Heck, google youtube box breaks and you will see loads of people opening up their cards on camera.

    So, is the hobby the same as it was in the 80's and 90's? No, but then again, collecting in the 80's and 90's wasn't the same as the 60's and 70's. That holds true for music, comics, movies and ... well .... pretty much everything! The world we live in changes like crazy nowadays.

    Anyway, with all that said - there are TONS of dealer wannabes (I'm one of them!) hoarders, etc. that probably DO make up a sizable piece of the pie in cardboard consumption - but hey, that's ok, right? In the end, many will eventually get sick of them, want to dump them and I will be there waiting ... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA :)

  3. From Mr. Anonymous:

    How true.

    I've seen a few of those box break videos, they are about as compelling as a video of grass growing - in real time. Geez, let's watch a video of a guy with a metal detector on an empty beach ("maybe we'll find sumthin'!") - great stuff! Let's film ourselves working on a two-foot high pile of lotto scratch-offs - weeeeee!! Geraldo - OK, we won't go there...

    There will never be a market for all these cards in all those hoarder's warehouses, garages and attics. There's people on ebay trying to sell unopened boxes of cards from 1987 - a full 27 years ago - for essentially a tad over a penny a card (and not having much luck I'm afraid). So in 27 years there is no price appreciation, heck, they may have even cost a little more than that back then. I guess having 6,000,000 cards could make one a de facto dealer, but it won't make one a businessman, because a businessman has to buy low and sell high - otherwise it's not a business, it's a time-consuming, money-draining pastime. I'm not sure I see the difference between having 6,000,000 cards, or 6,000,000 rubber bands, or 6,000,000 old newspapers, or 6,000,000 cans of condensed milk - it's the same stuff you see on the camera when they do a walk and talk through a 'Hoarders' cottage.

    We all know the story by now - the card companies (some of which have come and gone), simply ran the printing presses non-stop since the '80s to feed this insatiable monster, this middle-tier of people and organizations who would buy them just to pile them up, with some idea that something might actually come from them someday. But running printing presses doesn't create collectors. It never has and never will - ironically, it may have turned many people off from the hobby.

    Anyone want to buy a few cases of '87s?

    1. During my morning swim in my cardboard filled pool of '87's, I thought to myself "oh no! I forgot to comment back to Mr. Anonymous!" As I dried my body off in Topps cards of various years, I thought a little bit about what you have said.

      True, box breaks are boring - to those who don't collect, I suppose! Just like an opera would be boring to someone who doesn't like that style of music. I must run to the defense of my grass growing friends though. It's okay guys - there IS a market for your grass once it grows. God never stopped the printing presses on them, and there is still demand :)

      I have good news for all the hoarders out there reading this fun little back and forth. Mr. Anonymous does have some truth in his comments, but he is only half right.

      You see, Mr. Anonymous - your business model of buying low and selling high is on the dot, but your assumptions need a little tweaking :) You are operating under the false assumption that everyone who has these cards has bought high and is unable to sell at all, which is not quite true. Are they out there? You bet - a ton of them! But there are also a ton of them that are buying the cards now for cheap and selling for more ... all the time. You are reading from one of them right now.

      Approximately half of my 6 million cards are now gone. The whole reason I did the deal is because I knew I could make money off of them, and I'm happy to report I have done very well. As a matter of fact 98% of the cards you see in pictures on this blog are now all gone and out the door, being enjoyed by other collectors.

      But did I do this for a business? Or did I do it for the love of the hobby? The truth actually lies somewhere in between. If it were all business, I'd consider investing in a rubber band farm, but since I love cards, I don't consider my time with them as "work". What a fantastic position to be in, right? Love the hobby you are in and make money while tending to it. That is what this blog is all about.

      If you want to make money in the most efficient way possible, you can go out and find a much more lucrative means of doing so. I admit, cards enjoyed a high back about 20-25 years ago, and they may never have that mass appeal that they used to, but that is A-OK.

      Consider Tulip Mania. Ever hear of this? In the 1600's, there was a time when some people traded their houses for a single tulip bulb! Could you imagine? A tulip bulb was the cost of 10 times the annual wages of a craftsman. The understanding of the market and common sense broke through, and guess what? They fell to almost literally pennies each. Sound familiar? Investing in 1987 and cashing out now would make you look like a king investor compared to what the tulip market went through!

      So, what happened to tulips? Did people decide that they just didn't want them anymore? Did they throw them in the trash? No, of course not - they are beautiful flowers. Just because someone isn't going to trade a house for one anytime soon doesn't mean they don't have a market. You just have to re-calibrate your thinking on what an appropriate value is.

      So, for as long as you have cases of '87's for sale, you will always, and I repeat ALWAYS have a market for them. Heck, I'd love them! :) You just won't get what you are expecting for them.

      When it comes to 80's commons, think cards per penny, not pennies per card and you will start off on the right foot.

      Your friendly neighborhood cardboard crack dealer

  4. Yes, we have a lot of common ground here. But what you've described above I don't think card collectors would describe as card collecting, it's hoarding. When one dumps their '87s for 'cards per penny' onto a hoarder because that's the only option, the buyer in turn hopes to sell for (2 x cards per penny) - maybe to another hoarder with the delusion of a slightly rosier outlook - we called that game 'hot potato' when we were kids. But cases will probably remain unopened, boxes stay sealed, packs unripped. It doesn't sound to me like pallets of cards moving from one hoarder's storage facility to another hoarder's warehouse advances the hobby, nor creates interest in cards, nor necessarily shows a love for the hobby. It's commodity trading, like so many coffee beans.

  5. But ... isn't the reason some people are hoarding, because they are collectors? Don't be so quick to cast hoarders off into the outskirts of town :)

    I do definitely see your point though, and you are right - there are some that play the 'hot potato' game, but of course that is how it is. There are those people in all hobbies. I am not speaking about them, I am speaking about the people that I know and have heard of, mind you, that buy, sell and trade these for the love of the hobby.

    Those who do not enjoy the hobby would look at a case of unopened 1987 Topps and go "wow, cool ... a brick of cardboard that is worth a tenth of what it was worth 25 years ago." Then there are those who DO enjoy the hobby and get excited.

    They are excited because they have a cheap way of playing pack wars with their friends.

    They are super happy that they can trade some boxes for other cards they may want.

    They love putting together complete sets.

    They collect the Jose Canseco rookie cup Topps cards, and hope & pray they can pull 100 of them.

    What if Joe Topps decided to fill one of the boxes with nothing but Bo Jackson rookies?

    ... and TONS of other possibilities

    The list goes on! If you do not have a love for the hobby, I can see how you would not be able to understand. And that is okay. That just means that collecting cards is not for you.

    In any event, thanks for posting!