A Tale of Junk Wax Heartbreak

Lately, I have been checking out all the card forums more frequently. One of my new favorites happens to be Collectors Universe and while browsing their forum today I came across a somewhat heartbreaking tale of Junk Wax.

Take a look at the photos below. You’re looking at tens of thousands of dollars spent on trading cards (if they bought them in the 90’s) which sit in a basement gathering dust and depreciating by the second.

The lady who owns this collection wants $5,000 for the cards, which is almost all from 1987-1992, prime years for the era known as Junk Wax. This is why it’s sometimes better to collect rather than invest.

Unless someone busts opens those boxes and starts sending out key cards to be slabbed for grading purposes, I can’t imagine getting more than a hundred dollars for all that wax. I’ve seen those boxes sell for $5 dollars each at card shows in Florida.

How much would YOU pay for the entire collection?



  1. There is an 89 upper deck set in there. Tough to tell what the other sets were. It wasn’t uncommon to buy wax of the current year and then sets of years past because old wax was a bit expensive during those years. Depending on what else is there, the volume causes the cards to be worth less. Maybe $1000-$2000?

  2. 1996 Leaf Signature was $17 a pack and guaranteed an autograph. No way Finest was that high in 1993.

    I can’t imagine a box being more than $150 at release. Gonna see if Stale Gum has a take on it.

  3. Considering some of those boxes go for 5/box, I’d offer $2/box for the whole group, rip ’em, and then swim through the wrappers.

  4. 92 Bowman was selling for $7-$8 a pack http://iamjoecollector.blogspot.com/2008/11/1992-bowman-football-box-break.html

    I was in a card shop in 1993 at the Gateway mall in Springfield OR and thats what they were selling for. To put it into context, the industry was just off the first round Stadium club Basketball 92-93 and 92-93 Fleer ultra Basketball. Two years before that 91 Stadium club baseball was selling for $5 all day long. Finest was the next step up in pricing.

  5. I wouldn’t pay a dime for any of that garbage other than the 89 UD set.

    It would cost you more to haul that garbage off than you’d get if you sold it. And then there’s all that effort of listing, shipping, etc. Or lugging all that crap to shows until you finally find some rube to buy that rubbish.

  6. how does someone get ahold of this lady? I tried to find her contact info but didnt see it Im going to be in the il area in 2 weeks and wouldnt mind making a offer on all of it..any help? thanks

  7. The problem with a lot like this even with the intent of breaking it for RC’s to grade, by the time you take in the lot cost, time to break, cost to grade (including 2-way shipping and insurance), there is NO WAY you are going to make enough flipping the graded RC to make your money back . . . but it would make a helluva bonfire.

  8. Donate it to charity…local schools and/or Boys & Girls clubs would love to have some of that stuff to give away to kids.

    I’m going to be giving some of my old wax away for Halloween this year instead of candy.

  9. I’d offer a couple hundred dollars … if I had the money and storage space. Most of that wax aint worth crap, but there are like 12-15 boxes of 1991 score there, so there is a shot at a few Mantle autos. Also, those seasled 1991 Donruss sets include the Studio Preview cards (exclusive to the sets) that do have a little demand. I’m sure there are a few other boxes there worth opening for next to nothing; but as VOTC said: you’re going to spend a lot of time and money hauling that stuff …

  10. So sad people thinking that they were going to make thousands of dollars if they sat on this shit. But I’m kinda glad people got burned tryin to make a ton of money off of our hobby! It’s people like this GREEDY ASS STUPID People who have no business getting involved in OUR HOBBY anyway! I come across this junk wax all the time at flea markets by the cases! Last weekend I picked up five cases (10 boxes per case) of 1990 Score Bilingual Hockey (Looking for MARTIN BRODEUR Rookies) I paid like $75.00 for all five cases. Anyway I agree with alot of what people said about this issue.I think the best idea would be donate to charity!

  11. 1993 Finest was $5-$6 per pack. I like the kid in the picture. His look says, “Uh, why are you taking pictures of this crap, you ain’t gonna sell it.”

  12. It would be fun to bust some of that stuff. If nothing else, it would be an enjoyable walk down memory lane. I would enjoy pulling cards of my favorite players from thast time. They wouldn’t be worth much, but it would be fun.

  13. Id probably pay a grand, just to open all the packs up, screw even hunting down the valuable cards I’d just enjoy ripping wax for itsown sake.

  14. Did anyone think that this might have been a shop owner that went out of business. I can see collecting and sitting, but this is way too much for someone to sit on. One box fine but when you have more than 4, it to me looks as though a card shop owner trying to unload.

  15. too the people saying that it is safer to collect than invest, that was the whole backing of baseball cards in the late 80’s early 90’s. Everyone said in the hobby world that cards would be an investment, so saying not collecting for investment goes against what collectors were told. IE 1984 Don Mattingly,

  16. Those pictures look exactly like one of the shelves at my LCS; just stacks of boxes from the early 90s. Not much “gold” to be found in those stacks, though.

    I did, however, buy a box of ’93 UD baseball for nostalgic reasons. Back in the day, I could only afford to buy packs, so it was really fun busting an entire box. It was a nice trip down memory lane for me.

    Anyone remember anything about ’93 Flair? It’s one of the boxes I’ve been eyeballing. All I can remember were the cards were thicker than usual and had a real glossy look to them. Would you pick up a box for $25?

  17. I’d offer $2000, and here’s why: No only would I get to bust HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of packs, but there is a LOT of money to be made off of this too.

    Obviously I’d filter out the “good” stuff, but then the question remains of what to do with the crap? Here’s the answer…

    You can donate cards to your local Boys & Girls clubs for $.09 a card. I confrimed this with my tax guy a couple of years ago, and I donate 10-20,000 commons a year to different B&G clubs in southeast Michigan. It works out to about $275 for a 3200ct box. I think in 2007 I donated 20 boxes, so 20 x $275= an extra $5500 in “donations” on my tax returns.

    From the pictures it looks like there might be 50-60 boxes of stuff, which would translate into about a $15,000 profit. And thats just on the leftovers and just a huge guess.

    Who knows what other “treasures” might get pulled from that old wax. Mantle auto’s from Score/Pinnacle, Elite Auto’s from Donruss, Billy Ripken F_ck Face errors from ’89 Fleer!

    The possibilities are endless!!

  18. $15,000 off junk wax!?! That seems too good to be true. So how does that tax thing actually work? Do you donate $5500 and the government writes you a check for $5500? Or do they give you a percentage? If this is true, hundreds of collectors out there who have cards from the junk wax era can finally cash in.

  19. Joe from the D,

    Who does your taxes? Never heard of this before. I have lots of late 90’s stuff I would love to give away rather than toss.


  20. too the people saying that it is safer to collect than invest, that was the whole backing of baseball cards in the late 80’s early 90’s. Everyone said in the hobby world that cards would be an investment, so saying not collecting for investment goes against what collectors were told. IE 1984 Don Mattingly,

    yup very true.. I remember getting into collecting in ’88.. it’s when things were starting to heat up, and my father had just found his childhood stash of cards from grandma’s house which was ’68/’69 Topps – beat up for the most part but he had some of the big cards – Seaver, Jackson, Bench.. He had just picked up complete sets of ’81/’85/’88 Topps as well.. ’85 was obv for the Clemens/Puckett/McGwire and in the ’81 set, I believe the Fernando Valenzuela RC was the hot card at the time.. In the ’88 set it was cards like Ellis Burks, Mike Greenwell, Bo Jackson, and Matt Nokes LOL.. And he had some buddies that were SERIOUS into collecting.. I remember seeing NM/MT sets of early 60’s Topps coallated in binders and other sicks cards like an Aaron RC – I remember it all so clearly..

    ANYWAYS (ugh what a rant), back in those days, EVERYONE would tell you to “take care of that” or “put that card away” when you had a halfway decent card.. It was like they were giving you sound investment advice, and people believed it.. I remember the year that Jason Kidd and Grant Hill were rookies and I had their RC’s from 1 of the nice flashy sets, and kids on the playground were just like wow that’s gonna be worth big money some day! Hmmm, if only.

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