I love living in San Francisco. I grew up in the bay area as a kid, and there is a ton here to do - something for everyone. Georgia doesn't have as much variety - there are some museums scattered around the state, some good state parks (mostly up in the north), and a few things in Atlanta. But the area has just not developed the recreational activities that a long-established metro area like San Francisco has. But there's at least one thing that Atlanta has better than San Francisco, and that's its card shows. There is a small show in Atlanta nearly every weekend. Sure, some of the same dealers make the rounds to all the shows, but it means you can develop relationships with them, and you learn who has the best and newest stuff. I knew to head over to Heather, who had boxes of varying prices but were always really good - most inserts were 50 cents each (3/$1), lesser jerseys were $2 or $3 each, and there were dime boxes filled with all kinds of great older stuff. She has eBay beat like a dead horse. Out here, there seems to be a show or two every month at most, and I haven't found any dealers like Heather yet. They are either big productions with autograph guests (like the TriStar show coming up in May) or mall shows (which I never saw in Georgia). The mall shows seem to be the most like the Atlanta card shows (which were held in hotel conference rooms).
One thing I've noticed about the shows out here is that people don't seem to collect cards as much as memorabilia. Or, at least, memorabilia has a big place in the collectibles market in the bay area. (Caveat: I don't know if shows were like this before the Giants won the World Series.) There are several dealers set up with tables of player plaques, jerseys, hats, etc. And at the recent show at Westgate Mall in San Jose, there were only a handful of baseball card dealers. The show featured a couple MMA fighters signing autographs (in the afternoon after I left), so there was a good bit of that out on tables.
I went with a few missions: first, to find stuff that I wanted. I was hoping for some 2011 Topps singles and inserts, maybe some good oddball stuff, etc. Second, I wanted to find some decent trade bait for later. Third, I was looking for some Reds and Astros jerseys or autographs to trade with Sam at The Daily Dimwit and Reds for Chris at Nachos Grande, I think. I'm not even sure at this point. And I forgot to bring a Red Sox list for Chris (Cardsplitter) at The Call of Cardboard. Argh! Well, there's supposed to be a show in a week or two, somewhere.
Okay, so what you see in the two images are cards that I picked up between two dealers. One of them netted the Triple Threads card, the Ruth insert, the three Elite cards, the Hitting Machine Ultra insert, the Constitution card (still haven't finished any of my '06 Topps insert sets), the Obak, and the Razor. And a few more not shown. The other dealer brought the rest of the cards you see, at less than 50 cents each. Yes, that Fleer/ProCards is autographed. I also had several other cards that ended up in the gold glove/silver slugger collection or as trade bait (I'm saving that for another post or page, eventually).
I also picked up four sets - three of them from one dealer (1984 Donruss, and 1980 and 1985 Topps), and a 1992 Donruss sealed factory set for about $5 from the 50 cent guy. And I bought a 2009 UD Series 1 hobby box and 2010 Topps Update retail box pretty cheap. I may use the Update for an inexpensive group break, but the Upper Deck box is to hopefully help me finish my set. Most of the inserts from that set will probably be available for trade. I'll post the box when I open it in the next couple of weeks.