When it comes to high-end sets, I consider myself a "card vulture". Allow me to explain...
Other than the Gypsy Queen hobby box I picked up earlier this summer, I've never spent more than $100 on a hobby box of anything. In fact, most of the boxes I've busted have been under $30, like this one, or this one. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing folks who go for high-end, but the fact is I'm a set collector who doesn't care about hits much, and I keep myself on a very strict card budget. Buying just one $100+ box exhausts my budget for an entire month, and I have much more fun picking out a bunch of smaller items.
That being said, there are obviously still cards from high-end sets that I'm interested in. This is where my card-vulturing comes into play (yes I just made that word up). We have a guy at the local hobby shop...I'm sure you know the type. He will literally come in and blow through two grand opening a bunch of high end product, dump most of the cards back to the store for "credit" and walk out with maybe 5 or 6 total cards. You know, the big hits. This is where I swoop in, pick over the carcass (the hundreds of base cards, serial-numbered and lower end hits) and snag what I want dirt cheap. Here's the latest example...
Said high-end customer is at the hobby shop last time I stop in, ripping through boxes of 2010-11 Ultimate hockey at $100 a whack. This doesn't seem like such a bad price until you realize that each "box" contains a single pack, with 5 cards in it. Yup, you're basically paying $20 per card with this product.
Anyway, I chat with the owner for a while, and after a bit the customer performs his normal ritual, sells back most everything he opened to the store to get a discount on what he ripped, and walks out with around 4 cards and a bill in the hundreds. I swoop in, look through the piles of cards left behind and find one that I've looked at a few times already on eBay:
This is Gordie's base card from Ultimate, and it's a pretty sweet card for a Whalers fan like myself. The one card issued of Gordie with the Whale during his playing days, the 1979-80 Topps/OPC I showed in my previous post, depicts him in a WHA New England Whalers jersey. In recent years though Upper Deck has put out quite a few cards featuring Mr. Hockey in a Hartford sweater, and I never pass them up when I can find them on the cheap.
It's hard to tell from the scan, but this card is numbered to 399, as all the "base" cards are in this set. Here's the back with the Whalers logo proudly displayed front and center:
My total cost for this single? Two bucks. Best of all, no buyer's remorse!
I'd be interested in hearing from some of you on this. Are you a card vulture? A high-end product buster? Somewhere in the middle? Comments welcome!
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