my current focus collecting wise is to gather all the greats that i was a fan of growing up in PSA slabs.
"Growing up" for me i suppose was the 80's (as i was born in '71)
this is somewhat of a challenge and presents itself to me in a variety of ways to persue this focus.
The "easy" way is to head over to eBay and type in the appropriate search in the search engine, sent the snipe or hit the BIN and bam, scratch that one off the e-list.
as easy as that sounds, it is also ultimately the cheapest.
problem being....i collect my 80's cards in PSA 9 form. Certainly not the most popular "grade" and not all that sought after because of it. that means that they dont get listed all that often.
another way to about getting those FineNines is to submit the cards yourself. that means a pretty significant hike in what it winds up costing, but also means that you submitted them yourtself.
submitting yourself is not what i would call difficult, but you do need to know what you are doing. having the cards to send in is something that isnt all that easy. the thing to remember is that we are talking about cards that are now over 22 years old. So, if one has owned them since release, odds are that they have been handled more then a a few times, plus, the quality control back then was not so great.
The way to get the cards that you want to submit is to open that old product NOW in 2011. Choosing which format to open is the key to finding the cards you need.
There are these venues to choose from:
Wax: 36 packs per box. Generally there are 15 cards to your 80's wax pack, and one stick of gum. You have to account for the last card in the pack being unusable because of the wax stain (from them sealing the pack), and most likely the top card in the pack has been "damaged" by the gum that has been on it for the last 20+ years.
Cello: 24 packs per box. Generally 28 cards to a pack, and one stick of gum. no wax to worry about, but the gum is in the middle of the pack, so it can rub on two cards at the same time. These also sometimes get wrapped too tightly at the factory, and does bad things to the corners of the cards and also might "warp" them.
Rack Pack: 24 packs per box. 48ish cards per pack. With three separate "containers" making up the rack pack. these were made to hang on hooks at the retail outlets
Vending: 500 cards per box, 24 boxes per case. No frills here, just cards! no wax, no gum, no fuss.
Factory Set: Just like Grandma used to get ya for xmas! the entire set in one (usually) nice box. Never seemed to be in numerical order though for some reason lol
Also keep in mind for all of the above is how the product was stored over the years. was it handled a lot? transfered ownership many times? cared for properly? Hot climate that made the gum deteriorate? etc. These are all things to consider.
Depending on what year(s) you are looking for, the price ranges are all over the place. 1980 Topps Wax is $10 a PACK and 1989 Topps Wax is $9 a BOX (36 packs). that all has to do with supply and demand, because lets not kid ourselves here, there is no such thing as a "rare" card made, ESPECIALLY in the 1980s lol
One of the things about "stocking up" on the late 80s stuff is the shipping cost, which is where it hits you the hardest. Generally, a vending case of 89 Topps (12,000 cards) is in the $75 area. but, shipping is going to run you in the $40 area due to weight (i believe the vending cases weigh about 40 pounds each)
Another issue that i would have, would be what to do with the 11,500+ cards that i would not want from the 12,000. and thats being generous on my part, because finding 500 submittable cards in a vending case is a great many, and im guess the number is much lower as ive yet to try this out.
Speaking to other collectors that submit stuff for grading, they recommend going with rack packs when ripping to submit. Reason being that the other formats tend to lend themselves to more damage right out of the packaging, and the racks tend to have stored them the best over the years.
Another thing to keep in mind is that doing this type of thing is for the love of collecting. there is no money to be made doing this anymore. sure 10 years ago you could, but not anymore. im fine with that, but when i tell people that im most likely going to be throwing away 11,000+ plus cards, they tend to *gasp* and cant wrap their minds around why those cards have no value. (if i had a fireplace, then they would make great kindling)
this sure has gone on for a long bit, eh? lol
well, i still cant make up my mind, but thats ok, part of the fun is trying to figure it all out. learning something new all the time is a good thing as far as im concerned