Estate Sale

Baseball card estate sale

Contributor: John McTaggart

Many years ago, my wife had one of her many garage sales.

Folks from all over the neighborhood converged on our house, rummaged through stuff scattered about numerous tables and selected things they apparently thought might be useful to them, but stuff my wife decided was no longer useful to her.

Among these items were three binders filled with original series Garbage Pail Kids, approximately three complete sets and then some doubles, of the classic sticker cards my wife had collected back in the mid 1980s.

The binders sold that weekend, for about $5 each, and as that person walked away that afternoon, little did he know he was carrying would could be thousands of dollars in Garbage Pail Kids trading cards.

Looking back, it brings tears to my eyes, and to this day ranks among one of my wife’s biggest mistakes.

Fast forward to the present day. 

I’ve been writing a portion of this newsletter for the better part of a year now, and it seems that each week I’m reporting on someone finding rare and valuable collections at garage sales, estate sales, flea markets and even in grandma’s attic. 

So, given the fact that I have plenty of time, and am just crazy enough to think that if these kinds of things can happen to someone, then why couldn’t it happen to me. 

So, for the past three weeks I’ve been a regular at estate sales all over my neighborhood. It’s a bit too cold for a garage sale this time of year, so I had to settle for four estate sales and a flea market. 

Of course, I was going there with one thing in mind — discover a treasure that had long since been forgotten.

Well, I’m pleased to report that after numerous hours sifting through very dusty, often dirty and somewhat digesting stuff from people who have departed this Earth, I did uncover a box of trading cards. 

Now, when I found them, at the third sale I attended, I nearly passed out, convinced it was the treasure I had been searching for my entire life (maybe not my entire life, but at least the better part of the past two weeks, anyhow). 

There was a healthy amount of duct tape around the box, securing the top tightly against the bottom, and scribbled in big black letters across the top Sports Cards $15 for the whole box. No going through them before purchase.

I handed over my $15 box, flung the box beneath my arm and made a quick exit out to my car, looking around to be sure I wasn’t being followed. 

I decided to open the box at home, just in case I did pass out, hyperventilate or have a full blown panic attack, someone would be there to can 9-1-1. 

I carefully placed the box on the table, peeled the tape away with great care, took a breath, exhaled, and tried to prepare myself for the box full of 1952 Mantles, vintage Babe Ruths and God only knows what other precious priced of cardboard were tucked inside. 

I imagined Mike and Jesse interviewing me on the podcast. 

I saw, clear as day, a little write up about my find in Sports Collectors Daily. 

I imagined rubbing elbows with some of the industries biggest auction houses, each one clamoring to get their hands on my once-in-a-lifetime find. 

I closed my eyes, cautiously pulled back the lid and just as I was about to scream, my mouth closed, my heart dropped, and my dream slithered away into the air. 

In exchange for my $15, I got a box loaded with 1993 Topps baseball cards, most dinged up, some creased and others even sporting a tear, pen mark of pin hole where someone likely pegged their favorite player to a cork board some three decades ago. 

Was I disappointed?


I there a lesson to be learned here?

I’m sure there is, but truthfully, I’m too bummed out to care what that is right now.

However, there is another estate sale this weekend. 

I think I may just check it out.

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