Category Archives: Rob Helms

Trying not to buy cards

Part 10 in a series chronicling the One Sorry Blog Baseball Card Sell-Off
By Paul Rivas

Editor’s note: One Sorry Blog founder Paul Rivas is selling off his baseball cards on ebay with seller name onesorryblog, keeping only a precious and worthless few. He intends to sell every last card that will bring money at auction and donate the remaining 30,000 for no tax break. Realizing that his last hurrah in the hobby is upon him, Rivas is recording and reflecting on the experience at One Sorry Blog, the thinking collector’s blog.

I already mentioned spending $5.50 at my local card shop on three 86-87 Fleer cards, a move I fruitlessly tried to justify by selling off the DJ card on ebay. The card didn’t sell – twice – and now I’m stuck with it, to go with Tom Chambers, Larry Nance and George Gervin (I can’t remember if I still have the Gervin or if I gave it to the person who bought my Gervin lot). Which got me thinking, maybe I should collect the 86-87 Fleer set, or at least all those that I can get cheaply. There was an eight-card lot on ebay that went for $5 including shipping, and it was a struggle not to bid. Last night I fought myself in my dreams as to whether or not buying 86-87 Fleer could be called anything other than addiction. In my sleep, I regretted selling my Dr. J sticker card for $1.25. Awake, I don’t find it nearly as difficult to not buy things, but in that dream it was tough.

Everyone knows it’s insane to buy cards during a firesale. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Chambers and Nance cards are pop art pieces well worth their $2 price tag, but that’s exactly what most of the 167 things I just sold on ebay were. Style is no excuse. Quite apart from the fact that my relapse almost inspired me to make good on a long-held collecting fantasy, I shouldn’t have gone against the principle of the sale. Remember how hot 86-87 Fleer cards were? They were hot, and I’ve always sort of wished I’d bought them in 1986, when I started collecting, instead of 86 Topps baseball, but that’s another gripe entirely. I acknowledge that I did a stupid thing, but I’m not sorry, and therein could be where the addiction lies.

I knew when this Sell-Off started that it would be all-consuming and heavy duty for as long as it lasted, and that it wouldn’t last very long. All of a sudden, the payments have all but stopped coming, and the 4:45 trips to the post-office are a thing of the past. Maybe I anticipated missing it all, and that’s why I bought those three cards. I tend to think it had more to do with my having come straight from looking at cards with Rob H. for three hours when I bought them. In any event, my ebay feedback is up to 68 now, 100 positives overall and the one mutual punk-out I had with one of my first buyers. It feels good, I suppose, having perfect feedback, and that’s where they get you. Despite being a nightmare to navigate, ebay is sure fun, and easy to get sucked into. As I write this, I’m watching five auctions for 86-87 Fleer items.

Saturday, I listed 14 lots, the last of the singles that are worth the effort and shipping costs to sell. In fact, their worth could not be more in question. I’ve lumped bunches of things together that didn’t sell or that I’d yet to try to sell. I started them all at the legal minimum $0.01, and have slashed shipping costs. It’s likely that some of the 14 lots will sell for less than the worth of their $0.08 rigid top-loaders. On the other end, I’m hoping the Kobe and Garnett stuff brings at least $5 per go. Of course, the stuff in the middle that I don’t think about is what will determine whether or not I make enough money to have made it worth the hour or two I put in on Saturday. Starting everything at $0.01 was Andrew Nixon’s suggestion, and starting the auctions on a Saturday afternoon was Rob Helms’s.

I predict that everything will sell for $0.01!