After my success at last week’s yard sales, I wondered if lightning would strike twice.
It did! The gods of trash blessed me even harder this time, with cheap, geeky goods that I might have expected to find at yard sales 15-20 years ago.
Much of this week’s haul came from a multi-family sale that spanned the front lawns of at least six houses. I started by ransacking a box of insanely cheap videocassettes, and ended with a moment of personal crisis over whether or not to buy used Hulk Hands. (The Hulk Hands aren’t featured here, but I did go home with them. I have a brain.)
Below are my five favorite scores. I’m struck by how it looks like I just got back from a comic convention rather than a bunch of yard sales. It was a tight race, but I think I made out even better than last week!
Uncut Sheet of Garbage Pail Kids!
Holy shit! An uncut sheet of 2nd Series Garbage Pail Kids stickers, from 1985! I used to buy sheets exactly like this from a long-closed indoor flea market, but that was back when they were still new.
Some random card dealer was always at that flea market; he was the one who sold the uncut sheets. Three dollars a pop. He also dabbled in everything from used Star Wars figures to vintage movie posters, and now that I think about it, his crusty booth was the first time I became aware of the collector’s market. Oh, the memories! Memories of super cheap but criminally folded Gremlins posters!
I nearly died when I saw this on someone’s lawn. I’ve often written about Garbage Pail Kids’ fall from grace, but these uncut sheets represent a time when they were everything right with the world. All of my friends collected Garbage Pail Kids, but I was the only one busting out uncut sheets. (Of course, like an idiot, I’d always end up cutting the things into single cards, using imprecise scissors and my shaky left hand.)
I’ve since found a few auctions for this exact set with prices north of $60, so yeah, this was a sweet deal.
See more pics on Mummy Shark, and you’ll learn the biggest reason to find an uncut sheet: You’ll also get an uncut card-back poster!
Ghostbusters II Storybook!
Price: 25 cents!
Even if you didn’t have this exact storybook, I’m sure you had plenty just like it, where movies are disassembled into little digestible paragraphs and huge color photos.
I would’ve bought any movie’s storybook for a quarter; the fact that it was for Ghostbusters II was just the cherry on top. Before the screengrab era, books like this were a great way to get a closer look at blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em movie moments, or even scenes that didn’t make the final cuts. (It’s much easier to comprehend the Scoleri Brothers’ appearance when they’re trapped in a photo and not flying all over a screen.)
These types of storybooks also bring back fond memories of the book club order forms that we used to get in elementary school. Piles of mind-sharpening novels for sale, and we always bought the pop culture picture galleries. And maybe the sheet of smiley face stickers. NO REGRETS.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Videos!
Price: $1 for all 5!
I was elated to find these TMNT tapes, in part because I’d actually vowed aloud to find old Ninja Turtle stuff when we set out that morning. I was really hoping for some vintage figures, but these are almost as good.
I would’ve paid a buck each for them, so getting five for that price was incredible. They’re as old as TMNT videos can be, and as a kid, I had every single one of these. Sure, I can watch the same episodes in better quality on DVD or simply online, but it wouldn’t be the same without the glut of trailers and company logo stings first.
I’m especially thrilled to reclaim the Heroes in a Halfshell video, which collects the very first episodes of the cartoon. (A chance to see the Turtles and Shredder unmasked, not to mention Bebop and Rocksteady in their human forms!)
The seller had two overstuffed boxes of videos for the same price, and the TMNT vids were only half of what I went home with. Here’s a photo of the seller’s spread. If you see a video in there that I shouldn’t have left behind, trust me, I didn’t.
It’s barely worth more than I paid, but how could I go home without the $1 Alien videodisc? The thrill of finding something this old and on-point was worth a lot more than that.
I have no way of playing it and I’m pretty sure I’ll never have any way of playing it, but whatever. This is the perfect thing to lean against a wall. It’ll be my best badly-placed decoration, situated in a spot that guarantees my cause of death to be tripping and falling.
Huge Collection of Non-Sports Cards!
The uncut sheet of GPK stickers was this week’s showiest find, but I like this one even more.
Someone had three tables covered with mostly-packaged collectibles, which was a clue that his prices weren’t going to be “yard sale flavored.” By and large, they weren’t. He was cheaper than eBay, but not cheap enough to convince me to buy that set of Stretch Screamers Happy Meal toys.
At the far end of his last table were oodles of sports cards, and they must have been good ones, because most were in those hard plastic sleeves. Inches beyond them was a huge box of non-sports cards, and once I spotted the first series Marvel Universe collection, I knew I was home.
Rummaging through the box, I noticed that there was more than just cards in there. He had a bunch of old pogs, too! In fact, my original plan was to just buy a handful of those, but since I knew he’d charge me a buck for that worthless pile, I went ahead and asked about buying the entire box.
He started pulling out random sports cards that were hiding in there, tallying up values. I told him he could keep all of the good stuff — I just wanted the crap. We debated on price without either of us ever actually mentioning one, and finally I said that I wouldn’t be interested unless it was cheap. “Three bucks,” he suggested.
I cooly slid the ten dollar bill I was preparing to offer back into my pocket.
“Okay. Three bucks works.”
He spent a few minutes cherry-picking the valuable items out of the box. A bunch of baseball cards, some random coins, and — much to my chagrin — an antique arrowhead. God, how perfect would this box have been with the inclusion of a random arrowhead?
But what was left was still so good. I was drawn in by the first series Marvel Universe cards, and aside from the holograms, I must have gotten the full set. (And at least half of the second and third sets, too.)
And that was just the tip of the iceberg! Next I noticed some much-rarer Marvel cards from 1987, each individually wrapped. And then Batman Returns cards! And ALF cards! It kept getting better and better. Just piles and piles of cardboard childhood to sniff through.
The more I looked, the more treasures I found — and not all of them were cards:
That’s just a small sampling. The pogs are terrific, representing everyone from Shaquille O’Neal to a shirtless executioner. Then I found a bunch of coins, including a subway token and a casino arcade token. Then came the ticket stubs! And the patches! And a few holographic Pokemon cards, which I assume are worth thousands!
It seemed less like a dealer’s throwaways and more like someone’s untouched personal collection. I mean, if we turn back the clock, this box could’ve very easily been my box. The fact that there were so many doubles of the Series 2 Adam Warlock card only bolsters this theory.
If it seemed like I sprinted through this article, I guess I did. I knew I had to finish this before Monday, but all I really want to do is dump this box on the floor, arrange its contents into the loose shape of a wheel, and sit in the middle like it’s my magic circle. By the time most of you read this, I’ll have done just that. It’s why my next post is guaranteed to have such cheerful exuberance.
Total Spent: 15.25!