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  #1  
Old 01-16-2019, 09:32 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Default Mike D's Adventures in Wax

Hi folks. I'm new here, but have been collecting for over 30 years. Hoping you guys will humor me as I chronicle a few adventures (and misadventures) in wax box busting.

As I mentioned, I've been collecting for 30+ years, and my collection has taken many focuses over the years. After a long stretch of collecting ungraded stars and hall of famers and TTM autographs. A couple years back I transitioned into PSA graded stars and rookies..."upgrading" many of my ungraded stars and RC's to graded versions, selling off my ungraded cards to help finance the upgrades.

PSA cards are a blast, but lately I was missing opening packs. New cards haven't held much appeal to me in a while (I dabbled in A&G and Heritage boxes back in about '07-'09...like I said, many focuses over the years).

I figured I'd pick up a box or two to scratch the itch. As you guys know, wax box busting is like chicken math (another hobby of mine...you start small, but then things expand on you in a hurry).
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2019, 09:55 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Default 1980-83 Cramer Baseball Legends

I wanted something a bit "out of the mainstream" for my first box.

I picked up a 1980-83 Cramer Baseball Legends box. 36 packs of 8 cards each.

I got what I think is a pretty good deal on it too, paying $34.95 delivered.

It's an interesting set, produced over a number of years by a dealer who would eventually start Pacific Trading Cards.

The packs are old school wax packs, and while the condition of some of the cards wasn't great (probably don't pull a lot of PSA 10's out of boxes like this), there were enough in NrMt+to make me happy.

Can't complain about the collation, either. I got two full 124 card sets out of the box.

I am listing the two sets (and wax) box on eBay along with some of the dups.

Two things this starting making me think are that small sets are the way to go for this adventure, and I may be able to break even or may a little reselling the busted boxes...not looking to get rich, but maybe enough to buy more boxes.

Oh, and my 7 year old, who's not into baseball but does collect tractor and Pokemon cards, has decided he LOVES opening packs, so now it's a family adventure.
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  #3  
Old 01-17-2019, 09:44 AM
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I also am a big fan of ripping wax packs. Reminds me of the when I got into the hobby. It also brings back great memories of players I watched back in the day when I actually went to ball games.

Have fun and welcome to the forum.
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  #4  
Old 01-17-2019, 09:58 AM
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Hi Mike and welcome,

I had to google "chicken math" and yep that definitely applies to a few things in my world, including card collecting....

Also, I'm very surprised you got two complete 124 card sets out of 288 cards. I don't buy boxes and open them though, so maybe it's more common than I think.

Looking forward to hearing how you do selling the two sets on ebay. I've been trying to sell alot of my low hanging fruit, and am lucky if some of my smaller sets net me more than a couple dollars.

Have a great weekend!
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  #5  
Old 01-17-2019, 11:20 AM
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Sounds like fun!

And tell us more about tractor cards. I haven't heard of them but they sound cool.
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  #6  
Old 01-17-2019, 01:32 PM
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Welcome to the board! Wax can be fun, although my impression is that if it were easy to break even, more people would do it and the prices would likely increase (thereby making it a scenario where you could no longer break even). Good luck!
I've got two boys, 6 and 9, and we've been opening a box of cards on Opening Day for years. It took them a little while, but they are both totally hooked on baseball cards now!
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  #7  
Old 01-17-2019, 10:31 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve B View Post
Sounds like fun!

And tell us more about tractor cards. I haven't heard of them but they sound cool.
My son has liked antique tractors since he was, well, an infant (my dad has half dozen or so old Farmall tractors). A number of companies made tractor trading cards in the 80' s and 90's - Goodyear, Ertl, and John Deere among them.

Not too many different sets were made, and they all seem to cost more than they should, but I've bought a bunch for my son, who loves 'em.

He's not that into baseball, as I mentioned above, but he does love opening packs and sorting them.
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  #8  
Old 01-17-2019, 10:41 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Thanks for the welcomes, all.

There's only one other person selling the Cramer set on eBay, and they are selling (and have sold) a few for like $44 each.

I listed both sets and the empty wax box for $74.99 plus shipping. If nobody bites, I have plenty of wiggle room to lower the price and still make my money back.

I've already sold a couple dups in lots, about $8 worth to date.
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  #9  
Old 01-17-2019, 10:58 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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We picked up a couple wax boxes of 1991 Line Drive AA Pre-Rookie cards.

The two boxes were $13 delivered, so they were CHEAP.

We pulled a couple of each of most of the "major" cards in set...including two Ivan Rodriguez, two Jim Thome, two Bret Boone, etc.

Still, the set is way to big and too cheap to even bother with trying to complete.

I'll probably sell of the better cards to try to recoup the modest investment here, and I guess I could try to sell off team lots or something, but I"m not sure that'd be worth it.

So, a few lessons:
  • Opening packs, even if the contents aren't anything special, is fun.
  • Big sets aren't the way to go......small is beautful.
  • The paper shredder and the compost pile may be busy from this pack busting project
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2019, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike D. View Post
  • Opening packs, even if the contents aren't anything special, is fun.
  • The paper shredder and the compost pile may be busy from this pack busting project
There is definitely some value in busting open packs, even if the monetary value of the cards doesn't add up to the box's purchase price.
Composting is a good way to keep surplus down - there are places to donate and some other ideas in this thread: http://www.net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=263135
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  #11  
Old 01-18-2019, 05:25 PM
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My kids and I are opening boxes of 1987 Topps right now just for fun, and putting together a set the old fashioned way- from packs. They are, however, now used to the idea that dad "magically" comes up with a whole box of packs at a time, instead of how I had to do it- in stacks of 3 or 4 packs at a time. They think this opening packs of cards thing is neat. And every time they find a card from one of their favorite teams, they are excited. The couldn't care less about the McGwire or Canseco or Mattingly or Clemens cards...
kevin
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2019, 06:34 PM
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If you're going to bust oddball and minor league boxes, make sure to get a COMC account and send in any card that they don't currently have in stock. Many minor league cards of nobodies sell there for $2.50 each.
You can look up my COMC primer that I've posted here before to explain the site and how best to use it.
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2019, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tulsaboy View Post
My kids and I are opening boxes of 1987 Topps right now just for fun, and putting together a set the old fashioned way- from packs. They are, however, now used to the idea that dad "magically" comes up with a whole box of packs at a time, instead of how I had to do it- in stacks of 3 or 4 packs at a time. They think this opening packs of cards thing is neat. And every time they find a card from one of their favorite teams, they are excited. The couldn't care less about the McGwire or Canseco or Mattingly or Clemens cards...
kevin
That's awesome, Kevin. Same thing with my son. He knows to look for Red Sox, but other than that, he has no idea who any of the players are - other than Nolan Ryan, because he knows I gave his cousin (named Nolan) a Nolan Ryan card recently.
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  #14  
Old 01-18-2019, 08:27 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swarmee View Post
If you're going to bust oddball and minor league boxes, make sure to get a COMC account and send in any card that they don't currently have in stock. Many minor league cards of nobodies sell there for $2.50 each.
You can look up my COMC primer that I've posted here before to explain the site and how best to use it.
Thanks, I'll check it out. I've used Sportlots in the past, but honestly, with their free structure and paypal fees, I feel it's not really worth the effort.
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  #15  
Old 01-18-2019, 08:29 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AGuinness View Post
Composting is a good way to keep surplus down - there are places to donate and some other ideas in this thread: http://www.net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=263135
That thread was actually the very first one on this forum I read and posted in.
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  #16  
Old 01-18-2019, 08:40 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Next up was a 1987 Topps Mini League Leaders Wax Box.

36 packs, 7 cards per pack. I paid $15 delivered.

The 1987 Topps Mini Leaders set has 77 cards.

We learned a few things "ripping" this one:
  • We like mini cards
  • Small sets are the way to go, as we have a chance at complete sets more easily
  • Lots of mini cards were packed in plastic "wax" packs, which are less fun
  • When we bag up plastic wax pack wrappers to drop in plastic bag recycling at the local grocery store,my wife looks at us funny

We actually ended up about 5 cards short of a complete set, so not the best collation. Not sure what we'll do with these...maybe if I see more boxes cheap I'll grab more to try to get more complete sets.
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  #17  
Old 01-18-2019, 10:55 PM
mrmopar mrmopar is offline
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All I could think of when I first saw this was the Beastie Boys. I had to modify the lyric slightly to fit the board. Paul Revere, about 2:50 into the song.

"I'm Mike D and I get respect. Your cards and jewelry are what I expect!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6hqrpBbeq4
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  #18  
Old 01-18-2019, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmopar View Post
All I could think of when I first saw this was the Beastie Boys. I had to modify the lyric slightly to fit the board. Paul Revere, about 2:50 into the song.

"I'm Mike D and I get respect. Your cards and jewelry are what I expect!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6hqrpBbeq4
LOL, I am glad I was not the only one. That song also has baseball cap and wiffle ball bat in it.
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  #19  
Old 01-19-2019, 02:14 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Something to add to the "list of things my son would be horrified to see me do"....rap.
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  #20  
Old 01-19-2019, 02:59 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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We enjoyed the 1987 Topps Mini Leaders so much, I started looking for more similar ones.

I ended up being able to buy 4 boxes of 1986 Topps Mini Leaders for only $22.45 delivered.

That's 36 packs per box, 6 cards per pack. 144 packs, 864 cards.

These were a lot of fun! The smaller sets are definitely the way to go for us. My son has had a blast opening the packs, sorting down by 10's, and then to individual cards.

Some of the cards had dinged corners and won't be resold (my son kept most of them for his collection, so he can sort, resort, leave them on the floor, etc...you know, kid stuff!)

We got pretty solid collation here, I think. We got 7 complete sets, plus are only 5 cards short of 2 more sets.

I've listed the 7 complete sets on eBay, and will likely list a few of the dups in lots, as well. I'm not sure what'll sell, but since I'm only out $22.45 for this lot, I'm not too worried, and it's been fun.

Each pack had a "Win a Trip to Spring Training 1987" card included. If we fill them all out, I like our changes.

So, small sets, and multiple boxes seem to be our sweet spot.

Also, after sorting these cards, we invested in a couple of 10-slot sorting boxes to make the process easier.
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  #21  
Old 01-22-2019, 02:56 PM
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Who are you missing on your 1987 set?
kevin
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  #22  
Old 01-22-2019, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tulsaboy View Post
Who are you missing on your 1987 set?
kevin
The list missing from the 1987 Topps Mini Leaders set:

18. Jeff Reardon
23. Dwight Gooden
39. Eddie Murray
44. Jim Rice
58. Willie Wilson
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  #23  
Old 01-22-2019, 09:27 PM
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Next buy is a big one.

1988 Topps Yearbook Stickers w/ Superstar card backs. It's stickers, it's cards, it's mini...it's so many things!

1 or 2 boxes were good. 4 boxes was a blast. So, how about a case?

24 boxes, 48 packs, 5 cards per pack.

That's 1,152 packs, and 5,760 cards.

$82.27 delivered.

The Superstars set is 67 cards.

This is going to be crazy. Crazy fun!

Thankfully, my son shares his dad's love of the absurd. He was dancing around the kitchen when I showed him what I'd bought us.
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  #24  
Old 01-23-2019, 09:53 AM
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Looks fun! Lemme see if I can help with the missing 1987 minis.
kevin
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  #25  
Old 01-23-2019, 08:38 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tulsaboy View Post
Looks fun! Lemme see if I can help with the missing 1987 minis.
kevin
Thanks...any help would be much appreciated. Happy to work a trade!
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  #26  
Old 01-23-2019, 09:43 PM
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I think those, if not all of those Topps mini card/stickers in that time frame, have a number of variations. You'll find a specific card back shown with a multiple of different stickers or vice versa.
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  #27  
Old 01-24-2019, 08:52 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmopar View Post
I think those, if not all of those Topps mini card/stickers in that time frame, have a number of variations. You'll find a specific card back shown with a multiple of different stickers or vice versa.
Interesting, I haven't really even been looking at the stickers themselves much!

Last edited by Mike D.; 01-24-2019 at 09:09 PM.
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  #28  
Old 01-24-2019, 09:08 PM
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Some early notes:
  • This is a LOT of packs
  • These packs have GUM in them. 30+ year old gum.
  • I remember when this gum was new. It wasn't even good then.
  • The gum stained the top card in each pack, so those will go to the shredder
  • That still leaves us 4,600+ cards
  • The gum in the tightly wrapped packs have also warped the cards slightly
  • I think the warp will go away if I put the cards tightly in a box
  • 4 boxes in, and I have 7 complete sets, plus well on the way to several more
  • These are so old, the stickers aren't sticky anymore.
  • Good thing I don't have 100 30 year old sticker yearbooks I was looking to fill
  • These plastic wrappers are a bit of a pain. Next buy may need to be REAL wax packs
  • This is gonna take a while!
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  #29  
Old 01-25-2019, 12:50 PM
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  #30  
Old 01-25-2019, 06:27 PM
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Are you sure that is not fried bologna?
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  #31  
Old 01-25-2019, 08:24 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Quote:
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Are you sure that is not fried bologna?
No, although that might be the only other food that would survive 30 years in a wax pack!
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike D. View Post
Next up was a 1987 Topps Mini League Leaders Wax Box.

36 packs, 7 cards per pack. I paid $15 delivered.

The 1987 Topps Mini Leaders set has 77 cards.

We learned a few things "ripping" this one:
  • We like mini cards
  • Small sets are the way to go, as we have a chance at complete sets more easily
  • Lots of mini cards were packed in plastic "wax" packs, which are less fun
  • When we bag up plastic wax pack wrappers to drop in plastic bag recycling at the local grocery store,my wife looks at us funny

We actually ended up about 5 cards short of a complete set, so not the best collation. Not sure what we'll do with these...maybe if I see more boxes cheap I'll grab more to try to get more complete sets.
That's a fun set. I haven't bought one in years, but I save the different woodgrain patterns. If I remember it right every card has at least a couple.
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  #33  
Old 01-27-2019, 11:10 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike D. View Post
Some early notes:
  • These packs have GUM in them. 30+ year old gum.
  • I remember when this gum was new. It wasn't even good then.
  • The gum stained the top card in each pack, so those will go to the shredder

Put together a gum stained set. I bet someone will buy it.
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  #34  
Old 01-28-2019, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
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Put together a gum stained set. I bet someone will buy it.
A "walk down memory lane" set. I like the it!
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  #35  
Old 01-30-2019, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnorth View Post
I also am a big fan of ripping wax packs. Reminds me of the when I got into the hobby. It also brings back great memories of players I watched back in the day when I actually went to ball games.

Have fun and welcome to the forum.
Same here, always a good time, even if the contents rarely exceed the cost of the box.
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  #36  
Old 02-01-2019, 09:16 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Strange...most of the packs have the gum on the front of the top card, but a small percentage of packs have the cards in backwards, so the gum is sitting on the sticker side. It seems like there's little rhythm or reason to it...with it happening to random packs in different boxes.
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  #37  
Old 02-01-2019, 09:17 PM
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Listed the first 7 complete sets on eBay.

Still have a LOT of boxes and packs to open, but probably won't sort any more sets until a few of these sell (if they do!)
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  #38  
Old 02-02-2019, 09:08 PM
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Today was the former Cranston show, now held in Coventry, RI...a handy 8 minutes from my house.

I didn't get quite as much time to look around as I would have had flying solo, but I brought my little guy and he had a blast.

The dealers and other customers were all very nice to him...I think folks in the hobby understand that we need to get the kids interested for things to continue on. Several gave him small gifts of free cards, free packs, etc. Small gestures that mean a lot!

We made a few purchases for his budding collection, including a few small sets, some 2 for $1 packs, a Ted Williams card, and a box of 1987 Topps packs that are his to open and sort. The box was only $10, and that's the set that started ME collecting 32 years ago!
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  #39  
Old 02-02-2019, 09:46 PM
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At the Coventry show, we also picked up a rack case of 1989 Donruss.

The case has 72 rack packs, 45 cards per pack (plus 3 puzzle pieces) and we paid $50 from the same very nice dealer we bought the '87 Topps wax box from.

We started opening today. I keep forgetting just how many packs/cards are in a case. I should have bought more storage boxes at the show.
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  #40  
Old 02-09-2019, 08:05 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Cracked all the '89 Donruss rack packs.

Pulled 5 Griffey Jr's, 4 Randy Johnson, and it seems mostly 3-9 cards.

I've started listing a few cards on eBay, but I can't imagine I'll make the $50 I spent on the case. I guess the approach is to try to make a little back, and the rest is "entertainment fee" for the fun of opening and sorting.
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:14 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Looking back at the box that got this all started, the 1981-83 Cramer.

I've sold 3 singles and 4 lots for $1.99 w/ free s/h. So, that's $13.93 out of my original $34.95 "investment".
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:22 AM
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Yastrzemski Sports Yastrzemski Sports is offline
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Originally Posted by Mike D. View Post
Cracked all the '89 Donruss rack packs.

Pulled 5 Griffey Jr's, 4 Randy Johnson, and it seems mostly 3-9 cards.

I've started listing a few cards on eBay, but I can't imagine I'll make the $50 I spent on the case. I guess the approach is to try to make a little back, and the rest is "entertainment fee" for the fun of opening and sorting.
My best advice if you want to make money is to get a very few of the key cards graded if they are worthy. I just recently sold a 1987 Topps bo Jackson psa 10 for around $38. If the Griffey would grade a 10 it is around $200. But if itís a 9 itís worth less than $20 so you have to be really sure itís a 10. Otherwise the junk wax stuff is usually worth more unopened - as are all cards.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:01 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Originally Posted by Yastrzemski Sports View Post
My best advice if you want to make money is to get a very few of the key cards graded if they are worthy. I just recently sold a 1987 Topps bo Jackson psa 10 for around $38. If the Griffey would grade a 10 it is around $200. But if itís a 9 itís worth less than $20 so you have to be really sure itís a 10. Otherwise the junk wax stuff is usually worth more unopened - as are all cards.
It's not really "make money" as much as it's "make some of it back".

I've actually never had any cards graded. The whole "hoping for 10's" things is a bit too much like gambling for me. Looking at population reports for '89 Donruss on PSA, looks like many have tried the same and gotten burned.

That last part sounds mildly depressing. I guess the fact that I open stuff makes me a "hobbiest"
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:12 PM
homerunderby homerunderby is offline
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Next up was a 1987 Topps Mini League Leaders Wax Box.

36 packs, 7 cards per pack. I paid $15 delivered.

The 1987 Topps Mini Leaders set has 77 cards.

We learned a few things "ripping" this one:
  • We like mini cards
  • Small sets are the way to go, as we have a chance at complete sets more easily
  • Lots of mini cards were packed in plastic "wax" packs, which are less fun
  • When we bag up plastic wax pack wrappers to drop in plastic bag recycling at the local grocery store,my wife looks at us funny

We actually ended up about 5 cards short of a complete set, so not the best collation. Not sure what we'll do with these...maybe if I see more boxes cheap I'll grab more to try to get more complete sets.
An "X" out box...at the end of the year, Topps liquidated unsold product, but they marked up the box so it couldn't be sold back into retail (I guess). You see a lot of 1984 Topps football like this, at least you did until they got busted in the late-80's for Marino and Elway Rookies.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:26 PM
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back in the 80s90s, If I saw big letters on a baseball card pack/wrapper saying - LIMITED EDITION.. ..sadly..I bought it ! LOL
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:09 AM
Promethius88 Promethius88 is offline
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Originally Posted by Mike D. View Post
It's not really "make money" as much as it's "make some of it back".

I've actually never had any cards graded. The whole "hoping for 10's" things is a bit too much like gambling for me. Looking at population reports for '89 Donruss on PSA, looks like many have tried the same and gotten burned.

That last part sounds mildly depressing. I guess the fact that I open stuff makes me a "hobbiest"
I just picked up a case of 1989 Donruss wax last weekend and had fun ripping it open. If your luck was anything like mine, there would have been no Griffs worth grading. Not one was remotely close to being centered. That being said, it's not the only money card in the set if graded. The Schillings are now going for $50-65 in PSA 10, I believe in anticipation of him possibly getting into the Hall next year. I'm sending in about 15-20 of the cards in a bulk sub but I am being overly picky on what I'm sending.
Even if you don't send in anything for grading, pick the most centered, sharpest cards(best to use maginfication) and just put them back, you...or your son may want to send them in for grading one day!
Best of luck/fun in your rips and thanks for sharing!
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:34 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Originally Posted by Promethius88 View Post
I just picked up a case of 1989 Donruss wax last weekend and had fun ripping it open. If your luck was anything like mine, there would have been no Griffs worth grading. Not one was remotely close to being centered. That being said, it's not the only money card in the set if graded. The Schillings are now going for $50-65 in PSA 10, I believe in anticipation of him possibly getting into the Hall next year. I'm sending in about 15-20 of the cards in a bulk sub but I am being overly picky on what I'm sending.
Even if you don't send in anything for grading, pick the most centered, sharpest cards(best to use maginfication) and just put them back, you...or your son may want to send them in for grading one day!
Best of luck/fun in your rips and thanks for sharing!
Yeah, in addition to the Griffey and Schilling, there's also the Randy Johnson.

I do have a couple non-89 Donruss cards I'm thinking about getting graded, maybe if they come back decent and I feel like I can tell the difference between a 9 and a 10, I'll give a few a try.

The suggestion of using magnification is a good one, though...my old eyes probably can't tell the difference!
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:16 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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The five Griffeys sold for a total of $14.50 delivered.

Minus shipping and fees, that still should pay for about 25% of the box.

So, 5 of the cards covers a quarter of the cost. Now, if only I was more optimistic that the remaining 3,235 cards would cover the other 3/4.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:16 PM
Mike D. Mike D. is offline
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Sold a set of the 1988 Topps Superstars today. $2.99 plus $3.50 s/h.

67 cards sold...5,600 or so to go!
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Old 02-22-2019, 11:02 PM
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back in the 80s90s, If I saw big letters on a baseball card pack/wrapper saying - LIMITED EDITION.. ..sadly..I bought it ! LOL
I finally figured out the 'Limited Edition' only meant the manufacturer wasn't going to make them forever.
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