Friday, April 18, 2014

Bulkin' Up

Last year when I was organizing my Cubs collection, I found I had an awful amount of duplicates and/or cards that would need some upgrading. Until I finished, I was still hesitant to add anything except for the current year’s Cubs cards.

Card shows are a tough place to fill big gaps. It's almost like a needle in a haystack. Sometimes you get lucky and find a dealer that has singles from a couple of sets you're working on, or maybe a dime box with some random stuff. But most of the tables I've run across that have boxes sorted by teams are filled with dollar (or more) cards.

There are some good websites for singles, but the ones with the best selection and prices (Just Commons and Sportlots), don't necessarily offer photos. I like to think I'm far from a card snob, but I do tend to prefer a nicely centered, sharp cornered/edged card if given the choice. (No offense to Jeff and his pretty cool miscut collection.)

COMC and a few sellers on eBay are good about scanning every card they have, but most times their prices reflect that extra effort. That's alright for a few singles here or there, but not when you're trying to make a big dent. I've found some good Desert Shield cards this way and finished off a couple of mid-late 1980’s Topps sets, too, when miscuts were almost the rule rather than the exception.

But let's get back to my collection. Knock on wood, everything is currently organized how I want it, and I'm almost done cataloging it. Well, my official Cubs and complete set collections anyway. All of my dupes, trade bait and about 18 months' worth of repacks are still in a state of disarray. That's the next big project.

I’m estimating that when all is said and done this weekend with the cataloging, I'll have about 6,000 unique Cubs cards in my spreadsheet (that mostly still have to be added to Zistle). Sadly, I thought I was closer to breaking into quintuple digits. Stupid dupes!

And then I went crazy.

I was looking for something specific on eBay after the most recent card show and ran across a few bulk lots of Cubs cards. They ranged from a couple of bucks for a couple hundred cards to nearly $100 for thousands of cards. Definitely cheaper than dime boxes on a per card basis, but that's where dupes comes into play. High risk for a potentially low reward.

But I did what I couldn't do last year and that was pull the trigger. Hence the title. I ended up picking up a couple of these lots in the low to mid range I mentioned above. When all was said and done, I think I spent about $100 on around 7,000 Cubs cards.

All Cubs!

Probably 6,999 dupes.

Actually, I consider myself a pretty savvy shopper and after looking closely at the pictures and descriptions, as long as they’re accurate, I think I’ll do ok. That breaks down to about a penny and half per card. I’ll be super excited if I end up at about a dime per new card. That means there have to be about 1,000 new-to-me cards in the lots. 

That sounds like a lot, but by comparison, I'm only about halfway to Wrigley Wax's Cubs collection of over 12,000. So there are definitely places I can fill in gaps (pre-mid 1970's and late 90's-mid 2000's). I’d probably still be fairly happy if they end up being about $0.25 per new card since I would still have all the dupes to trade or flip.

The first lot arrived last night so I’ll be digging into that today and will have the results and hopefully some scans tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Aside from my Dave and Adam’s Card World purchase (thanks to those who joined my break!), these will be my last purchases for quite a while.


  1. Good luck! I've been buying large bulk Pirate lots for years, and always had pretty good success finding a few hundred new cards per lot. There are a ton of oddball/one and done/retail only sets that you never even knew existed that you'll find in those lots.

  2. I agree, its hard to pass on a good deal on bulk lots ( I go for the Braves) and has been fairly good luck, other than the dupes. I probably have a thousand or two Cubbies to trade, including some vintage. If you have some Braves email me or comment on my blog

  3. Wrigley Wax has set the bar pretty high. I'm a Ron Santo collector and unless I win the lottery I'll never come close to a guy out there named Nathan (aka tyweb1 on ebay) who has the most complete collection I know of. I guess it's OK. I do enjoy the collection I have.