The Hobby Penny Pincher V.1

At the Baseball Card Blog, I try my best to showcase both the good and bad in the world of sports cards. I spend a majority of my time writing about brands from 1993 through 1999, as those are what I consider to be a seven year stretch of excellence. Don’t get me wrong, I cover all eras of baseball cards but those are the years I am most passionate about. For modern collectors, things can get complicated if you’re just starting out. Prices of singles and unopened product have hit all-time highs and it’s easy to get frustrated when you can’t afford to purchase that dream card you found on eBay.

In the Hobby Penny Pincher, I will be displaying a modern “hot autograph” available on the secondary market and then I’ll point you to a usually cheaper but just as beautiful alternative to help make your purchasing decision. I don’t use eBay affiliate links and have no way to make money off my work, it’s just a free service for those deep into collecting. I know at times in my collecting life I have been left disheartened due to price gouging and would hate to see someone walk away because they feel like they aren’t able to keep up with the Joneses.

I’ve written well over 3,000 articles on baseball cards and one name that has never come up is Steve Garvey. Garvey, a former M.V.P and 10-time All-Star has lived a pretty inconspicuous life in and out of baseball. Thanks to Topps Company, his name has made a return in 2021 along the likes of superstars like Mike Trout, Juan Soto, and Shohei Ohtani. In Gold Label, a 35-card per $120 box product, you can find several Steve Garvey framed autographs. One of them, a true “1 of 1”, is currently sitting on eBay with a $400 price tag, 1 auction day left and 0 bids.

If you are a lifelong Garvey fan or just like to collect Dodgers autographs, there are much better alternatives than $400 dollar, 2021 Gold Label cards. For example, check out 2003’s Team Topps Legends, which features a much fuller Garvey signature and sells regularly for under $20, which leaves $380 left in your bank account. If you want something a little fancier, Garvey is also in 2002 Upper Deck Sweet Spot & Sweet Spot Classic, which didn’t have any of the fading issues from 2007. These Sweet Spot cards are incredibly undervalued and also sell for less than $20.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. As a Jose Canseco collector for 30 years, one of the hardest lessons I had to learn was that no matter how amazing a recently released card is, there will never be a shortage (unless it’s a 1/1). The new Canseco cards are always in high demand and in the spotlight, especially thanks to evangelical super collectors with money to burn. Deciding on waiting 1-2 years after release dates has saved me $5-$10 per card on average, which in turn leaves me more money for cards in the long run. That’s a win-win, if you ask me.

I’m currently ending my 2019 run on Canseco cards and next year will begin 2020. I won’t touch a single 2021 card well into 2023. It may sound bizarre or not your cup of tea if you like to show off your cards on social media, but for me personally, it has worked wonders, as my Canseco count is deep into 2,500 different cards. Some times, it pays to let the rabbit wear himself out so you can slowly and methodically win the race. I’ve been collecting Jose Canseco cards since 1990, when you start getting into three decades you have to do whatever it takes to continue.

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