The height of SLU popularity has passed, but I was a fairly avid collector for a few years and still like these things.
I have amassed a fairly large and halfway decent collection of the little figures, still in their packages. In fact, to gain space, I opened probably 50 or more a few years back. I may have opened some decent ones (after the fact) between 1995-1998, but oh well.
Anyway, I wandered into a card shop while on lunch last week. I noticed this 1993 Nolan Ryan Extended (Retirement) piece behind the counter on the hold shelf. Ryan and Maddux EXT pieces were the red hot pieces in 1993 and they were always expensive. I figured I would never own either, but eventually grabbed up the Maddux on ebay for about $15 a few years back.
I asked the guy about the piece and how much he was selling it for and he told me it was $5! ALL of his SLUs were $5. I groaned and commented that I missed a sweet deal. Then we got to talking and I joked about why someone would place a $5 item on hold!!?? He told me it was an internet item from his mailer and a guy had emailed asking him to hold it. Well, long story short, he had been holding it for a while! I told him I'd buy it if the guy flaked on him. The owner said to check back with him after 1 week and that I could have it if the guy didn't come get it.
Fast forward to today. I stopped back buy and sure enough the piece was still back on the hold shelf. The owner saw me and the first thing he said was the Ryan was still there. "It's mine now" I said..."Right?". He had even emailed the guy telling him to get it between my visits. Not sure he warned the guy it was possibly going to be sold though. The guy said he wanted it, but still never came in!
I got it for $5!!!
I had also picked up a 1991 Jordan, 1993 Shaquille O'Neal (First Piece) and a 1995 Dominic Hasek (FP) for $5 each the week earlier.
Now I just need to find a screaming deal on that 1990 Maddux piece!