First Stop: The Sports Card Dugout In Webster Groves, Missouri
I actually lived a few miles from this store for a number of years and kind of consider it to be my home store. Every store has it's strengths and the best part about the Dugout to me is the selection of wax. The owner, Randy, does have a lot of singles and will definitly help with lists and singles. However, like most stores in St. Louis the store is extremely baseball heavy and there are premiums placed on Cardinals players. I don't often buy single cards from the Dugout, but when I do, I focus away from the Cardinals and get some great deals.
So, now for my wax plug. Again, it's baseball heavy, but if you need a box of football, basketball, or hockey it's going to be there, or the owner will help you find it. The owner does two things to make the wax shine: knowledge of product and competitive pricing. When a known product comes out it is usually a great day to visit the Dugout. Randy, the owner, will often bust open several boxes (or a case) and isn't shy about sharing details and opinions about the product. He will show you some good and some ugly, but he will keep you away from bad boxes and steer you towards the great ones. The pricing is also really good. It's not going to beat the mega-stores on-line, but for a local store nobody can touch him.
I walked in the other afternoon and was happy to see the store. He had four different lines of baseball wax in stock: Topps I, Topps Heritage, Topps Tribute, and Musuem Collection. He talked me through each box of cards and gave me the run down of pros and cons. I eventually decided on a box of Heritage. I was told that the boxes this year had great collation, great design, and I would get some good parallels, a jersey or autograph, and a few inserts. I know I have pretty much put together my set, but I went ahead and got the box.
So how did I do? In the twenty-four packs I had zero doubles, a few inserts, and eight short prints. My highlights are pictured below:
Top Row (L-R) 1963 Topps Craig Andeson, Recollection, Chris Ianetta Chrome, Joey Votto Chrome, and Vance Worley Chrome
Bottom Row: Matt Kemp Reverse, Jacoby Ellsbury Jersey
Second Stop: Southtown Sluggers In Saint Louis, Missouri
This is a great little card shop located in the southeast suburbs of the city. The main thing you need with this store is time. If you walk into the store looking for something specific you are going to be disappointed. The store owner, Dave, is really helpful and will work hard to find what you want, but you have to give it itme. If you go in, decide you are going to spend forty-five minutes looking and have X amount of dollars to spend you are going to be very happy. The store literally has something for eveyone. Like vintage? He's got it. Like shiny and new? He's got it. Cheap, expensive, and everything in between. I use this store to find single cards that are hard to find. I generally try to find cards to add to my Ray Lankford collection, fill in from recent Cardinals sets, and just generally good deals. I probably looked through eight or nine five thousand card boxes, two or three large notebooks of autographs, and two eight-hundred count boxes of mateials cards. I set my budget at $10. You read that right. Here's what I got:
Three Ray Lankford Parallels: 2000 Topps Stadium Club First Day Issue, 1997 Topps Gallery Players Private Issue, and a 2000 Topps Finest Refractor. The first two are serial numbered.
2009 Donruss Brian Friday Autograph
2011 Topps Heritage Dan Johnson Jersey
3 Cardinals Inserts/Parallels - 2001 Fleer Genuine Jim Edmonds High Interest, 2007 Topps Juan Encarnacion Parallel, 2011 Topps ALlen & Ginter Matt Holliday Insert
1998 SPX Delino Deshields. I was missing this card to complete my Cardinals team seat.
1988 Topps Danny Cox autograph