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Yard Sale Experience

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I don't usually go to yard/garage sales. I've got nothing agains people who do. I guess everyone needs a past time and for some people they get up early every Saturday morning in the spring and summer and drive the streets of their community looking for bargains. After all, one person's junk is another person's treasure. I already have a toaster, and I don't have little kids, so there is generally nothing that I want that is offered at a yard sale. This warm Victoria Day weekend appears to be the start of the yard sale season.

There is something unnerving to me to go to someone's house and look through their possessions. I almost feel obligated to buy something just for being there. Especially if the homeowner starts talking to me. The times I do go to a yard sale I've learned keep my head down, move quickly and make sure that I'm not the only potential customer there. It's an in and get out quickly philosophy. Also, most of the time there is nothing that I'm interested in buying at the yard sale.

Which leads me to today. In the grocery store in my hometown there were a couple of postings for yard sales on Saturday. What caught my eye is that the postings mentioned sports collectibles. I thought what the heck, let's check it out, you just never know if they have sportscards.

So, I get up shortly after 8 in the morning. I know, the yard sales start at 8 am and usually the good stuff is gotten by the early birds. That's another thing that kinda creeps me out - these people that have to be the first ones at a yard sale. After eating breakfast and taking care of the cats and dogs I'm on the road about 9 am. The first place I stop at had a couple of old tabletop hockey games, and a few other items. Nothing I was really interested in. I was in and out in a couple of minutes. I did overhear one of the homeowners talking to someone that there were people at their home before the scheduled 8 am start. One get a real life. Second, I'm guessing if there were any real good sports stuff, they were purchased first thing.

Next place I go to had 'ball cards' advertised. The yard sale is run by 2 old ladies. The cards is a binder of the Nolan Ryan set (Pacific?), a binder of '91 UD, and binder of various Blue Jays. They wanted $10 for each binder. There was also a box of various cards from the junk wax era. Again $10. I didn't have the heart to tell the old ladies that if they truly wanted to sell those items, charge a dollar or two. At $10 only someone who does not know their sports cards would buy any of that stuff.

So I continue driving through town. There were signs posted on almost every street corner enticing people to go to their yard sale. I went to a few of them. Again, in and out in a minute or two.

I did stumble upon this one yard sale. Nothing outside but they had a tent set up. I went inside and in the back, lo and behold - cards in boxes. And lots of boxes. My heart is racing - great I've found something that I can be interested in. I'm looking through the boxes and that's when my heart sank. It's cards mostly from the junk wax era - hockey, baseball, football and basketball. And he's got it in stacks. So you have to buy a stack of cards, not individual cards. And most of the stacks have a mixture of cards from various years and sets. For a set builder such as myself, I would have preferred stacks of cards from one set, not multiple sets. There are a couple of stacks with some modern era cards in them. But I could tell that most of the cards in those stacks have junk, junk, junk cards.

I ended up buying a stack of about 50 baseball cards for 50 cents. I flipped through the stack and from what I could tell it had a bunch of '84 OPC and '90 OPC. I thought if nothing else, they could be good tradebait. It was shortly after 10 when I made my purchase. Based upon how the cards were in the box, if I wasn't the first person to buy any cards, I was one of the first. The boxes were pretty well full.

I get home and sort the stack. Besides the '84 & '90 OPC, it has a few '90 Topps, one '83 OPC and a bunch of '91 Classic. The thing that ticked me off was that there were a number of duplicates in the stack. Come on, the least the seller could have done is to put together 50 different cards. That is just pure laziness. The good thing in the stack is that it did have a couple of Puckett's and Seavers in there. I'm glad I didn't buy any of the more expensive stacks. Yes, the seller had a couple of stacks of UD hockey (I can't remember what year) for $10. With my luck, most of the cards in there would have been duplicates. Most of the stacks were $1 or $2.

So has my experience today changed my perspective on yard sales. No, not really. I'm still waiting for the day that I have that really big find at a yard sale. But then again, I rarely go to yard sales. So, it's unlikely that finding this treasure will ever occur.

Finally, to provide an update on my Crosby Dempster bread set I'm now up to 6 of the 9 cards in the set. If anyone is interested, there was a posting on SportsCardFun that someone had a number of the singles for trade.


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