Spring break arrived here in central PA last week and with the shop’s owner on a vacation to the Outer Banks, I was left in charge. I had help from our buddy Zach for a few hours each morning, which definitely made the week more bearable. He assists in shipping the sometimes ungodly amount of orders we have on a daily basis. His help is always much appreciated. Beyond that, I was pretty much on my own all week, manning the store out front on the sales floor and in the back handling all shipping and receiving. With sales in store coupled with hundreds of online orders and a relatively large amount of freight coming and going each day, I’m not ashamed to say I was glad to see the week come to an end.
Monday morning, we walked into nearly 400 online orders. We were running around like our hair was on fire from the get go that morning through Saturday afternoon.
It’s abundantly clear that the stimulus checks have started to arrive as we were selling big ticket items all week and many of them to people we’ve rarely, if ever, seen before. In addition to cards and sports memorabilia, we sell RC cars and parts and we sold more cars in store this week than we have in weeks and maybe months prior. Aside from the lead up to the holiday season and the week or so after, we were as busy this week as any I can remember.
That sentiment also applies to our online sales, as we’ve been selling items that have darn near collected dust in the shop over the past few months.
Topps Inception Baseball released this week to many people’s excitement. We saw one box opened in store and by the next morning the rest of our stock had sold out online.
We sell a hellacious amount of Super 7 and Reaction figures. We have a wide selection of sports and non-sports figures– from the most recent NBA series to heavy metal and everything in between. The new basketball series arrived this week and they are hot. The series includes two LeBron James figures, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn Nets uniforms, the white hot Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson and others.
Speaking of basketball, March Madness is in full swing. We are entering the second half of the NBA season and the card market is reflecting that national and international attention on hoops.
2020-21 Donruss Basketball blasters made their way to the shop this week and even at $9 a pack and $77 per blaster, they sold out within 24 hours. We are in the process of getting those restocked but in the meantime we did get some cello boxes and packs for our customers.
Rookie standouts Lamelo Ball and Anthony Edwards Donruss cards are already going for substantial money online. It’ll be interesting to see how Lamelo’s market shakes out now that he’s out for the season.
Saturday ended the week with a bang for us. One of our good customers is a guy I also coached baseball with a few years ago. Of course, baseball cards came up in conversation pretty regularly. He told me years ago (and sporadically since) that his grandfather had stashed away some 1933 Goudeys including a Babe Ruth. The story became a tall tale over the years but in recent weeks Todd had phoned me a number of times about being serious and legitimately wanting to sell the cards.
Earlier in the week he told me he would stop in Saturday to show me the cards. I was so busy I almost forgot by the end of the day that he said he was stopping in. Much to my excitement, he rolled in about 1:00 PM on Saturday afternoon with an envelope and an autograph book that clearly had some age to it.
Todd told me a story of how his grandparents lived in the New York City area and they were big baseball fans. They would travel to Yankee Stadium to see games and potentially get autographs. His grandfather literally carried the 1933 Babe Ruth RC in his pocket and later in his wallet every time he went out to a game in hopes of getting the Bambino’s sweet signature.
That never happened and Todd actually never even met his grandfather but the cards were passed down to Todd’s father years ago. Todd and his father recently had a conversation about selling the cards which they had come to agreement to do so.
It’s such an incredibly cool story from a person I know and trust, so I decided to take a chance and buy the entire lot he brought in to me that day, which included about a small group of Goudeys along with a few other pre-War issues.
The lot included the Babe Ruth which, as Todd had told me the night before, to “imagine the ugliest Babe Ruth card you ever saw and then imagine it being mauled by a bear.” I don’t know if it’s quite that worn out but it might be close.
While it might be the worst authentic Goudey Ruth known to man, for Todd’s asking price, I couldn’t turn it down.
Did I mention a lot also included the 1948-49 Leaf Babe Ruth card? Well, it did. Again, all the cards were ungraded and in pretty rough shape but they came with a great story, so I took the chance.
Todd came to me because we’ve developed quite a relationship over the years. We’ve become friends and we trust each other and he knows the cards will go to a good home. Regardless of condition, these cards are more of a piece of history and a work of art than they are baseball cards or mere old, smelly cardboard.
To have those cards in my hand and in my possession is great, but to have developed a relationship with a friend who trusted me with his family’s generational baseball card collection is even more special.
Thank you as always for allowing me to open the doors to our shop through this piece. I will check in again next week.