Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday Edition

Sportlots "Box Shipping"

Sportlots has long been my preferred online card retailer.  Given the nature of my collecting habits, to wit, hoarding mass quantities of Wallach's and set building, Sportlots is the best suited for my needs.  "Card Barrel" (formerly known as "Just Commons") is another site I use often for filling out set needs, and I much prefer eBay to COMC for higher dollar needs.  Sportslots however, by no small margin, is my website of choice.

For years, the biggest draw back I've found with Sportslot is shipping cost.  I try to stick to one or two sellers per order to keep those cost down, and often pass on cards I would otherwise buy.  But recently they've added a feature called "Box Shipping."  It's a process in which sellers ship your order to Sportlots, who then holds your orders until you choose to ship them as a result.  Sort of a COMC on demand type system.  I found it to have mixed results.

The initial shipping, at least with a good number of sellers (and subsequently the ones I stuck with) was much cheaper.  A few even offered free shipping to get the cards to Sportlots.  However, Sportlots shipping wasn't exactly cheap.  I suspect once you hit a price point it'll level off, but I couldn't find any posted rates on their site.  In the future, I may need to just let some cards pile up for awhile before having them shipped my way.  Which is to say, I plan on using the option again, imperfect as it may be, it's still an improvement.

Sportlots sent the cards in a large flat rate box, that was full of envelopes and packages from the individual sellers, which were left intact.  Sportlots doesn't open them or anything to ensure the contents, or make any effort to compress them for more efficient shipping.  I'd prefer they did, but I'm sympathetic to the time and effort that would require on their end.  Here's a look at what was in the box.

I cut my 1974 need list down by nine cards with this group.  I'm down to about two dozen holdouts to complete the set.  There weren't any big names in this group, although there were a couple of interesting ones.  "Clarence" is not how I would choose to address Mr. Gaston were I ever to met him, and Ray Fosse is a somewhat exciting card by my own subjective standards.

Those are 1975 mini's, in case it's not obvious from the photo.  Worth mentioning, I'm working with an old phone and inferior camera, as I broke the screen on my current phone and have been too cheap/lazy to have it fixed, opting instead to just plug the sim card into an older model.  I'm about 150 or so cards short of completing this mini set, but most of the high dollar cards are already in hand, so the end is within sight.

These '76 and '77's round out the vintage portion of the order.  I'm probably 30 cards short of crossing off the '76 set, and maybe 75 cards short of completing '77.  The rookies and HOF'ers are all in hand for the most part, though that subset of "All-Time All-Stars" in the '76 set is pretty thin, and demands prices that feel unnaturally high to me.  The Cobb above, which is one of those, was a nice find for me at a price that didn't make me squirm.

Without fail, whenever I try to knock off more than maybe 5 or 6 cards to finish off a set, I find myself short a card or two.  Such was the case with those 2018's above.  While sleeving them, believing the set now complete, I discovered card #351 to be missing.  Nothings easy.  I've harped on this before, but I felt like the retail collation in packs last year was particularly bad.  I bought enough product to complete the set three times over and was still well short of even one full set.  So far in 2019 I've had better luck.

That "surprise you're short a card" feeling repeated for me with 2017.  I thought the four above would cross the 2017 base set monstrosity off my list (worst Topps set of the last 15 years), but of course, it didn't.  Cards #13 and #596 are still missing.

Finally a few more stray needs.  My 2008 need list is now down to five cards, or at least, that's what I believe it to be.  When I order those five, I'm sure I'll discover a couple more I'm missing.   I also took the liberty of picking up some Wallach cards from the seller's I was buying the above set needs from.  Here's a look at what I added:

Updated Totals:

1983 Donruss: 134
1984 Fleer: 120
1985 Donruss x2: 121
1986 Donruss x2: 145
1988 Fleer Glossy: 11
1988 Fleer MVP: 20
1988 Kay Bee: 32
1988 Revco: 42
1989 K-Mart: 56
1989 Upper Deck: 194
1994 Pacific: 13

And before I sign off, here's  a look at three recent vintage eBay pickups.  1968 is a set I've been making some strides on, albeit slowly, and I continued my trend of impulse vintage Hockey buys.

There are over a 1,000 home runs documented on the back of those two cards.  Some misguided collector's may wince at the condition of the two cards, but they of course would be wrong.  Any 1968 Topps card that says "Willie Mays" or "Ed Mathews" on the front is just fine the way it is.

One more "Pocket Rocket" Richard card, this one with some strong 1974 baseball vibes.

1 comment:

  1. I've used the box method three times. The second time I bought from 21 different sellers, many of whom shipped for free to Sportlots, and I saved a ton on shipping. If you're familiar with Sportlots and haven't tried the "Box" method yet I would highly suggest it.

    Also ... "Any 1968 Topps card that says "Willie Mays" or "Ed Mathews" on the front is just fine the way it is." I completely agree!