1980s baseball card box ripping

I was getting frustrated with retail junk recently so I decided to go all in and order some boxes of cards. I looked around and everyone recommended the Baseball Card Exchange in Indiana for the best place to get older wax and rack pack boxes. A bonus is that living in Illinois it came the next business day after it was shipped! Below is a list of the boxes that I ordered.

1983 Donruss baseball wax box
1983 Topps baseball wax box
1985 Topps baseball rack pack box
1986 Topps baseball wax box
1987 Topps baseball wax box
1989 Upper Deck low series box

I had several reasons for going with the older stuff rather than 2017 stuff. First, the prices don’t fluctuate as much with the older stuff as the latest. I also wanted to find a few cards for my personal collection. Sandberg has been calling my name for awhile and I wanted to try to pull one from a pack. The other motivation is to sell the cards I don’t want for my collection. I recently joined PSA and want to get some cards graded and sold if there are any good ones to be had from these boxes.

The 1987 Topps box was really cheap and I got that mainly for nostalgia as that is the year that I most remember buying and selling when I was younger. I let my wife open those packs as she really enjoys opening packs though doesn’t collect much at the moment. I got a handful of Cubs and did snag a Barry Bonds RC, but it had a ding in one of the corners so that was kind of a bummer. There were a lot of cards that the bubble gum was permanently attached to. You could try prying it off, but it would just shatter. I’m so glad they don’t put gum in with the cards anymore!

My first box that I opened was the 1989 Upper Deck box. I think anytime you mention that year and brand, Ken Griffey Jr. immediately comes to mind. I don’t think I had much of that back in the day as it was more expensive than the Topps stuff so I stayed away from it. The fifth pack out of the box landed my first Ken Griffey Jr. RC! (first???) When all was said and done, I ended up with two of them out of the same box. That’s pretty awesome!

Next up was 1983 Donruss as I wanted to see if I could land the Sandberg RC. My first hit out of the box was a Tony Gwynn RC.

Next was a Wade Boggs RC.

Finally, I opened that pack and found Mr. Ryne Sandberg’s rookie card! The card looked pretty darn good though a bit off center as would be the theme throughout most of my pack ripping.

My next adventure was the 1985 Topps rack packs. I’d never opened a rack pack before so it took some figuring out to get the hang of it without damaging the cards. The biggest hit I think that folks look for is the Mark McGwire Olympic RC. I found it but it was off-center but still cool to get one.

Also landed a couple of Cal Ripken Jr. cards and Pete Rose. Sadly both Pete Rose cards had a pink vertical line on the left side.

It was finally time for what I considered the main attraction which was the 1983 Topps. The first thing I noticed after opening the box was how dirty and dusty the packs and cards were. The cards had a dusty residue which I am thinking was from the deteriorating bubble gum. My first hit was a Wade Boggs RC, but sadly there was a strange defect in his smaller picture. Drats!

A few packs down the box I noticed a Tony Gwynn RC on the bottom of the back as I opened it up. Of course it had a nice bubble gum stain on the back.

As I continued thumbing through the pack with the Gwynn RC, I had to take a double take. There it was, the rookie card I had wanted for a long time, Ryne Sandberg!

The centering was much better on this card which made me excited. (no gum stains on this one either!) I had to pause and share the moment on Twitter which brought lots of likes and jealousy from my followers. I landed another Tony Gwynn RC later on down the box which thankfully did not have a gum stain on it.

My final box was 1986 Topps. I remember those cards as well from my younger years collecting cards. Those black tops with the team names in colors at the top of cards were so neat. Sadly the bubble gum made it’s impact felt not only on the bottom card but the card next to it as well. Each one of the adjacent cards to the bubble gum card has a nice rectangular shape on the front of the card where the gum must have melted or something through the card. Very frustrating! Not much going on in this box, but I did land another Sandberg for my collection as well as Tony Gwynn and Reggie Jackson.

I’m pretty excited about the results of ripping all these packs. I am going to do some research and figure out which cards to submit to PSA for grading. I wouldn’t mind getting a few more of the 1989 Upper Deck boxes if I could land a handful of Griffey rookie cards. 🙂

Card show at Marketplace Mall

The other day I looked around online for card shows in the area. I’ve never been to one, so I thought it’d be neat if there was any close. I ran across the Sports Collector’s Digest website which has a list of card shows for each state. I noticed that this weekend the Central Illinois Sports Collectibles Mall Show was scheduled right here in Champaign at our local mall. Sweet!

My wife and I headed over there around 10:30am this morning and walked all over the mall trying to find it. We finally found a rectangle of tables with various cards and collectibles like autographed baseballs and photos. All of the expensive cards were under glass which is fine, but they had cards stacked on top of each other so you couldn’t see who the players were on the bottom. In another section, they had some 50’s and 60’s cards in binders which was nice as you could easily see each player and the price was clearly labeled. I paged through a few of them, but didn’t find any Cubs that I really needed.

Meanwhile, my wife had found a box full of autographed players. The sign said $5 per card, except hall of fame cards were $10. All the cards were in toploaders but they weren’t sorted at all. Also, the cards kept falling over when you took a batch out. I wasn’t going to go through them, but figured I might find a gem in there so off we went. There was probably a good thousand cards in the box.

My feet were ok, but my back was really sore from standing. We probably spent 20-30 minutes going through the box. While there were numerous Cubs players in the box, most were folks I’d never heard of before. I ended up finding autographed cards from Billy Williams and Andre Dawson. Since they were both hall of fame players, I had to pay $10/each. A little steep, but since they were autographed I felt like I was getting more than just a base card.

Had this been my setup, I think I would have done a few things differently.

  • Provide a table with chairs where people could go through cards without breaking their back.
  • Advertise. The only info I could find about the event was on the Sports Collector’s Digest website. Marketplace Mall didn’t even mention it on their website!
  • Carry boxes and packs of cards instead of just singles. I think a lot more kids would have purchased if they could get the excitement of ripping a pack open.
  • Sort the randomly assorted box by teams. We could have been in and out in 5 minutes had they just had a Cubs section in that box. They would probably sell more too!
  • Spread out your cards more so you can see what is under the glass.

Cards purchased today:
1989 Swell Baseball Greats Billy Williams #120 – Autographed
1989 Fleer Andre Dawson #422 – Autographed