April 28, 2009

Collecting cards never got so difficult

Marie had posted about BC Sports filing for bankruptcy not too long ago. She had the inside scoop because she found out she was let go from her job. It, obviously, sucked losing her job, but it still effects us even weeks later.

As we drove to Boston, we wondered out loud how we were going to find baseball cards. There's eBay and Target (the usual suspects), but BC Sports was the only real solution for a hobby shop for the both of us.

We get retail packs from Target and Wal-Mart, but who doesn't like getting hobby packs where the odds of getting a "hit" are greater. The other advantage to hobby packs is that often there are more cards in the pack than the retail packs.

We spent $3 on one retail pack of Piece of History. There were just five cards in each pack. I really feel cheated when I buy a $3 pack of cards and there is less than eight cards in the pack. Eight is the absolute minimum that I want to go.

The packs with four cards (Bowman Chrome) are terrible. But for a small price bump (usually just a $1 or $2), you can get a hobby pack that has more cards, sometimes even double the amount you would buy in a retail pack.

The closing of BC Sports leaves the both of us with just one hobby shop each. Strangely, both of those hobby shops -- remember, we live in different states -- are insanely overpriced. Even more so than BC. We're talking $7 for a pack of Upper Deck or $4.29 for a pack of Topps. I don't even walk into that store anymore because I feel like I am shopping for baseball cards at a stadium where cards are always overpriced (except for Fenway).

It's without a doubt disappointing and makes it harder to find baseball cards.


  1. My one hobby shop is the same way. 7 bucks for 2009 Upper Deck is deflating.

    I was excited when I discovered my hobby shop. Now I hesitate to even go in there.

  2. It's not even worth going. I just stare at the case, longing for cards I can't think of buying. I end up walking out of the mall with a cinnamon pretzel from Auntie Anne's.

    So instead of being broke, I just get fat. :(

  3. I am an hour away from my nearest hobby shop. They usually don't have many packs and the pricing isn't too bad, just not as good as ebay. They do have an amazing selection of base cards going back 30+ years, so it is a great place to finish sets. Well not as good as trading! I do get boxes there and I usually spend about $50 whenever I make it there so that's something.

  4. At least your hobby shops sell single packs. The one near me doesn't. It only sells hobby boxes priced 50-100% more than what I can get them for online. And they wonder why they have so few customers. It'll be out of business soon - if it's not already. I haven't driven past it recently...

  5. Wow. I seriously feel lucky. My experience sports card collecting in the SF Bay Area has been a fairly lonely activity, compared to other baseball crazy areas (like the East Coast).

    Despite that, it seems that the Bay Area has a pretty good assortment of actual card shops remaining, even after one of my favorites closed a couple of years ago (Fun Stuff Comics and Cards).

    I don't count:
    - flea markets (sometimes good browsing though),
    - antique malls (prices usually out-of-date/too high, and nobody to haggle with),
    - anything near / in / related to a stadium (Welcome to Shakedown City Memorabilia!).

    There are still some alternatives in the Bay Area for traditional hobby shops, that include,

    Other stuff first, sports/cards second:
    - Heroes, Campbell
    - Whats Hot Comics, Santa Clara

    Sports/Cards First, other stuff second:
    - All-American SportsCards, San Jose (http://www.bayareaheroes.com)
    - Morgan Hill Sports Cards, Morgan Hill (not Joe)
    - Peninsula Sports Cards, three locations along the Peninsula

    This last one is a model for other shops to follow. It actually manages to be regional outfit, with each store having its specializations. San Jose is serious sports to the 19th century--no kid/game cards in there!

    The Belmont location is a mix, and what non-sport/gaming the group of three has seems to be centralized there.

    It is such a welcome relief to be able to go into an old-school card shop, talk sports, get breaks on purchases, and some free cards here and there.

    I still break up my card buying at about 50/50 retail vs. hobby. Retail for convenience, hobby for the experience and better-quality product offerings.

  6. c'mon Sooz

    we're not that far

    The Doc

  7. Ha. I know. I am probably stopping in today too. I have to go up to Toms River.

    The only probably with Jersey is the freakin' tolls everywhere.