Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Roll Out the (Card) Barrel

The expression on Jose Rijo's face pretty much equals my expression when I received my first order from Card Barrel.

With with whole pandemic going on, I was having the itch to get some cards from 2020 so I could get caught up on what I missed out on while I was on my card hiatus. 

A while back, everyone was touting the site so I looked there. I just couldn't get past how difficult the site was to use, so that wasn't for me. Then, I remembered that Dimebox Nick always mentioned the site Card Barrel. So I checked them out. 

And ... WOW!

Suffice to say they checked every box I was looking for ... good selection? Yes. Easy to use site? Yes. Low prices? Yes. Fast shipping? Yes. 

My goal was to put together and order over $25 to qualify for free shipping. I ended up spending more than that. Just over a week later my cards arrived and I was very happy with the end result.

The first thing I had to start digging for was 2020 Topps. I'm definitely more of a "visual buyer" meaning I have to see what the card looks like in order for me to determine if I want to buy it, that's the one downside to Card Barrel, there are no images. But, I figured out a way around that buy having COMC open in a separate window and once I saw a card I liked, I dropped it into my Card Barrel cart.

The prices on Card Barrel are very reasonable. Most of the 2020 singles I bought were less than a dollar a piece, with many of them hovering at around 20 to 30 cents each. For less than the cost of several hanger packs or even a blaster from Target, I managed to get a ton of 2020 Series 1 singles I wanted.

I tried to run the gamut of different things as you can tell by the previous scans. Yes, I went for the Reds cards but I also grabbed some of players I like, some throwback uniform cards, and just some generally fun cards.

Horizontal cards are always really cool. So cool, in fact, I made the collage of horizontal cards my new iPad background.

I tried to get a little bit from every 2020 set released so far. Opening Day cards are really my thing but I do dig the mascot cards and the "Opening Day" card of Great American Ball Park last year is just awesome.

When I placed my order a while back, Big League had just come out and Series 2 was on it's way. I nabbed a few Big League cards and I'm definitely planning on going back for more. The Mike Moustakas card is my first of him in a Reds uniform. I had to get the David Price Dodgers card as well. 

My main draw for wanting to buy cards was to pick up Heritage singles. I grabbed 15 Heritage singles I wanted, again for less than the price of a hobby pack.

Obligatory Reds cards. 

Here's a sunset card of C.C. Sabathia and Jurickson Profar sporting the new Padres threads.

Here's a number of Stadium Club singles from last year that I missed out on. I'm a sucker for old ballparks so my favorites of these are the Nolan Ryan and the Hank Aaron.

Last bit of the 2020 cards I ordered were a few singles from the Donruss release this year. I don't mind the design all that much but they just look "meh" without logos. The Rated Rookie cards are really nice though.

This years "throwback" design was the 1986 set. I'm guessing this will be a recurring trend in the Panini products, kind of like Donruss version of Heritage. These are fine and it's nice to see Kevin Mitchell on a 2020 card. But they're nothing like the real thing from 1986. 

Speaking of which ...

I loaded up on 1986 Donruss. Why 1986 Donruss you ask? I have no earthly idea. It was just one of those 80s sets that popped in my head when I was browsing around. I will never complain of getting an Andres Galarraga Rated Rookie card for less than a dollar.

Diamond Kings? Yes please.

Random cards of random guys. One of these days I'm planning on a Donruss appreciation post. Stay tuned for that.

Whenever I try a new card site, I always like to try out their vintage selection. I meant to order a bunch of Pilots cards but I mistakenly ordered this Jim Weaver card. 

The rest of the vintage cards I ordered were actually Pilots cards. I can cross these three off my want list. Skip Lockwood was the most expensive card in my order at $2.49. All four of these cards (including the Jim Weaver card) were categorized as EX/MT on the site and I have to say I was very impressed at the condition.

I didn't just cherry pick cards from sets. Oh no, I attacked my COMC watch list too. I found several cards from there on Card Barrel for a nominal fee, such as this Bronson Arroyo card.

And these "short term stop" cards of Eddie Mathews and Scott Williamson.

And Orioles cards of ... Chris Sabo? Gosh, he looks weird in any uniform other than a Reds uniform.

And here's the Jose Rijo card from the beginning again. This isn't quite his sunset card (that's in the 2003 Topps set) but it's close. Rijo retired for good after the 2002 season after making a triumphant return to the Reds after being out with shoulder injuries for six years. It was a bright spot on some otherwise dismal teams.

My card collection has a gaping hole in it from the late 90s up through 2012. I attacked some of that as well and went after some 2001 Topps. This is a set I always liked for the neat design both front and back (of which I forgot to scan). Of course I grabbed a few Reds cards.

And some former Reds with some very strange teams ... Eric Davis with the Cardinals? Joe Oliver with the Mariners? Willie Greene played for the Cubs?

More random cards of random guys. These are cards I just couldn't pass up at all.

Remember when the Devil Rays went out and tried to purchase their way to a title by signing heavy hitters like Greg Vaughn and Fred McGriff? Yeah, that didn't work out too well did it.

Ok, finally, I also got a few cards from the 2002 Upper Deck Vintage set. I haven't fully committed to putting this set together but I am grabbing cards from it when I can so I can eventually have a starter set for if/when I commit to it. I'm also going to put this into a blog post I'm planning about 1971 Topps and all the sets that have used that design since.

So, that's my first order from Card Barrel. I'm very, very pleased with how it turned out and I'll definitely be going back and ordering again here soon. 


  1. I haven't tried Card Barrel yet, but only because I've been stuck on other sites. I'll definitely get to it though.

  2. Still haven't purchased from them. I'm having to much fun blowing my budget on Sportlots orders. I love that UD Vintage checklist with Gwynn sitting on a motorcycle. Haven't seen that card before.

  3. Awesome grouping, you got a huge variety there for sure!

  4. I've managed to find a few gems from the Online Dime Box site, but Card Barrel still beats it a hundred times over. Wide inventory, good prices, and the site is super easy to use. It's come especially in handy for 2020 singles so far this year, since card shows are on hiatus.

  5. You guys, CardBarrel is the former "Just Commons", they changed names awhile back. For commons they usually beat "SportLots". But you do need to check both places. Sometimes, the not so common cards are a lot cheaper on SL. I use both sites and have for a decade. Love em.

  6. Have not heard of Card Barrel before, but will have to take a look. Nice pick ups for sure!