About a month or so ago, we agreed to get a new cardboard mobile … errr … minivan. Let me preface this by saying I have not EVER been a minivan dude …

I’ve grown up being all about horsepower . I can remember verbally proclaiming with many witnesses around that I would never get a minivan.

Well, here we are with our second one.

The old one had nearly 160,000 miles, and I felt like it would be time to change out with something that had the stow & go seating. Not for groceries or kids of course … but for our endless treasure hunts that we go on in the form of garage sale goodies and card / comic collections.

The garage sales have been DEAD. I haven’t found anything in weeks! I haven’t even been able to use the stow & go. I’ve been mega busy with other things though, like having a few parties here (one with our friends and one with our son’s friends). I admit – as an only child, the thought of more than 1 kid running around crazy in a house is fairly terrifying to me, but my wife being one of about a billion kids does well in that type of scenario, so we even each other out.

I’ve also had time to (slowly) attempt a few ideas for some cards. Here is one of them, and then I’ll get to my story.

2014 Pack Leaders Derek Jeter! It is basically a framed pack wrapper from 2009 Signature Stars. The artwork isn’t mine aside from the frame, and it didn’t take much time at all, but I just had to try it.

I think it is a shame to throw away such purty wrappers, and now it is something that is a unique Jeter collectible card. If you hate it, don’t worry – you won’t be hurting my feelings 🙂 The most creative I got with it is the frame and the name of the card. PACK LEADERS … get it? He is on the front of a pack … and is a leader? Wah wah wahhhhhh.

Believe it or not, out of the 500+ wax boxes of cards I picked up, the pack that this wrapper is from is the sole pack I’ve opened so far. That is how busy I’ve been with other things. Crazy, huh?

Moving on to the story, a little while later, someone contacted me telling me to give them a call. They mentioned they had a collection they’d like to get out from under fairly quickly. This of course piqued my interested, but I always have a tendency to think “Great, just another room full of 1988 Topps.”

This person told me he used to be a dealer up north, and had a few card shopws. He was 45 minutes away, and had a closet full of about 200k cards. I turn a keen ear to the words of what “ex-dealers” have to say. Are they still in collecting? If so, does that mean they have taken the goodies out? Etc. Several things like this go through my head.

After we talked for a while, he said he had a few Mantle & Mays, perhaps some tobacco cards, but nothing really high end, but not much straight “junk”. He was hesitant to talk price, because he said he would rather me come out there and go through the cards with him. I don’t know about you, but I know many people that when they go through their cards, the value tends to go up higher. Some people may see a box of carsd and say “I’ll sell it all for $50.” But when going through them, they may find a $5 card in the first 15 cards and think to themselves HOLY SMOKES!!!!! I could be sitting on a gold mine here! $300 for the box. That is exactly what I did NOT want to have happen.

I finally got a price out of him and he said that he was looking for possibly up to $5,000 depending upon what he had. I’m thinking to myself that this has to be quite an inventory for me to spend that kind of money on something like this. I told him I’d think about it and get back to him.

The next day, I remembered our conversation again, and remembered we had the kid party the next night. I figured – hey – it is either I go tonight or I probably won’t go at all. It really took a lot for me to go out there, too – I mean, at a MINIMUM this could be a 2 hour investment of time!

I finally got there, and the guy himself had 6 kids running the halls. He was already in the closet looking through the cards. The first half hour did not go well, to say the least.

It consisted of me basically looking over his shoulder while he was going through some cards. The first card that he pointed out: a 1989 sportflics Randy Johnson. To me, this was not a good sign. Why? Because why on earth would he single out a 1989 Sportflics Randy Johnson when he wants $5,000 for his collection? Several others like this followed suit. He had many in person football autographs of the Packers and Bears, as that is where he frequented many games.

We finally got to some good stuff. One of the boxes, though it had several in person autographs, there were some cowboys autos of Emmitt Smith, Staubach, Landry (if I recall correctly). Things like that. I tried to mentally take note of what I felt like I could sell everything for by the box to get an idea of what to offer, and it wasn’t looking good, but heck – I was there, and I decided to stay with it.

I wished I would have taken a picture of the closet that was stuffed with cards, but I did not. I did, however, covertly take a pic of his room.

Words cannot describe how it all looked. It was like … there were bags of cards. Yes, bags. Boxes too, but several newer blaster boxes filled with cards, lots of regular box tops with cards just thrown in. Several Macfarlanes, as well. I’ve never seen a dealer inventory like this in my life … ever.

But, I guess what makes it stand out even more, is the stark contrast from this dealer and the last dealer buy out. They were COMPLETE AND TOTAL opposites!

The last one had most everything completely categorized and in order. This inventory screamed “Organization is gross! Do everything you can to make sure there is absolutely NO rhyme or reason to any of it!” It makes it a nightmare to sell, but to me, an absolute dream to go through … so long as there is good stuff to be found!

When the dust settled, we talked price. He said he realized that he would not get his 5k, but didn’t want to take a bath, either. It took a good 10+
minutes just to get a starting number out of him, and then we were off. After I told him what my firm offer was, he said he would need to wait for his wife to come home and discuss finances. So we waited … for about 20 minutes. I was tired, and thinking oh gooooshhh…if this doesn’t work out, I’m not going to be too terribly happy. I’ve been here for a loooong time, mainly waiting on his wife and looking over his shoulder looking at cards!

Then … word came. They agreed. (yay!) The next step was to bring all the cards in the new cardboard mobile 2.0. The cards were all upstairs, but with several strapping young men as his kids to help, I thought it wouldn’t be a problem.

Boy, was I wrong.

It seemed like it was going to take a hurculean effort to get everything down. On top of it being 10pm at night, and overcast (raining an hour previously), I had to figure out how to figure out the stow & go seating fort he first time. I finally figured it out, but with such odd sized tubs and bags of cards with no lids, etc. it was getting stressful and tiring. I had tons of cards just on his lawn with no covering, and rain threatening to come down…plus, a LOT of work ahead of us.

As I continued to pile the cards in, 2 things became quickly apparent to me: 1) I was going to have a near impossible / impossible time to getting everything in, and 2) there is no way I will be able to maintain the same condition of cards during the transport.

The trip proved to be a true baptism by fire for the cardboard mobile 2.0. As I filled it up, I asked the ex-dealer if one of his kids could be hired to drive with me back home to get the rest of the cards. Well, it turns out they were all 14 and under, so that was a no-go. (14?! C’mon … how about allowing one of them to drive for an extra 50 spot?! I kid, I kid.)

One of his kids, 12 years old followed me out to the minivan to put some more boxes in and he asked “Did you pay a lot of money for these cards?” I answered “Why yes, I did…you should have a VERY good Christmas this year!” I regret that. Why would I say that? Ugh.

Utilizing my mad tetris skills, even though it looked like I had no space left, I jammed in probably 6 boxes and 2 tubs of cards in. It would be the absolute fullest I have ever stuffed a minivan full of cards. Ever.

Don’t believe me? Here are some pics!

The back:

The sides:

View from the driver seat, looking back:

After I took the first few tubs out of the back:

If you recall from my last writing, a dealer came over and picked up about 70 or so 3,200 count boxes of football from me. I knew I was still going to have a space issue, due to the 800,000 or so cards I have left over from the last deal! Ahh, so this is how hoarderism starts…a slippery slope…

Since I got home late, I opted to NOT start unpacking until the next day, as I was exhausted already, and had a good hour or two worth of work just re-
arranging the existing cards in the garage to get the new acquisition to fit, and stay separate-ish from the others.

My mind had other ideas.

It decided to not let me sleep. Call it anticipation & excitement of the latest deal, wondering what was in my new treasure, or call it the too-much-mountain-dew I had for the trip on the way back. Either way, I wasn’t sleeping. So, I decided to mosey downstairs into the garage and at least try to get the space issue cleared up.

At about 4:30am, I decided to call it quits, and was in a MUCH better position to start unpacking the car after a little bit of sleep. The next day, I took a quick pic – the 2 tubs were part of the new acquisition, so picture what it looked like without those there 🙂

I still didn’t get much sleep … maybe an hour or so. I did, however, have enough gumption to spend a good 3-4 hours unpacking the minivan. Here is what it looks like now:

Now, for the neat stuff.

I told you it wasn’t like any other collection I have bought before, and I was being honest. I haven’t found collections like this from someone who knew what they were doing and just threw them in boxes and bins.

Exhibit A: (eh?)

Refractors and autographs of newish stuff just thrown in.

How about this?

More autographs, a Jordan insert, some vintage, etc.

I even opened a bin and found some great autographed 8×10’s of Kobe, Jeter, Ripken, Emmitt Smith, etc. I just had to ask him about them since he didn’t say anything about them. He mentioned they were from a purchase he made from a guy with lots of autographs that was involved in a lot of signing promotions.

That was a very nice surprise!

I still have not yet gone through anything beyond 2 shoeboxes worth, but here are some of the goodies I found:

A laundry tag card, a few cool patch cards, some vintage 50’s and 60’s Ted Williams (the 1950 bowman looks like someone took the liberty of signing the front … unless his signature was different in the past, I don’t think it was from him) Yadier Molina autograph rookie, etc.

All in all, it is a great haul. I’m glad in this case I didn’t stick with my first instinct of passing it up!