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The Death of the Baseball Card
Posted by Chris Liss at 7/26/2006 3:44:00 PM
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Good article today on Slate about how the baseball card industry fell apart.

It's interesting that so many people got heavily into baseball in part because of the cards, and losing that probably hurts baseball's marketing a lot, especially among the next generation of fans. I suppose that's what we're here for, but fantasy baseball isn't for kids under 10 the way the cards are. Maybe that's why the MLBAM is trying to extort money from the fantasy industry.

It's also too bad for the kids - one of my fondest memories as a kid was seeing my Dad bring home an entire box of wax packs, and spending all afternoon opening them and asking which players were good. I also remember going to a card show when I was eight, and buying what I thought were the Tom Seaver and Pete Rose rookie cards (they were actually their first year cards with the big cup on the front) for $10 ($6 for Rose, $4 for Seaver). There's some point at which you realize cards existed before you started collecting, some even before you were born, and they had much more value than the ones you had. And it was really cool to see the Aarons and Mantles and Mayses and Ruths that the high-end card dealers carried.


That post prompted me to look up what my Mike Schmidt rookie card -- my best card -- is worth. I was expecting about 62 bucks, but to my surprise Beckett offers it for $300. That's not much less than what I paid ($350) way back when. Of course, when I bought it I expected it to be worth thousands now.

Posted by Jason Thornbury at 7/26/2006 4:29:00 PM
I was too a serious collector from the late 80's to mid 90's. There were 2 card shops in our town then and today there are none. I still have 10's of thousands stocked away with rookies cards from tons of hall of famers in every sport. I have a bunch of old cards that I invested in also from Mays, to Aaron, to Mantle and Williams. I really miss the joy of opening all those packs, but like everybody now a days, the players and cards I want, I save the money and just go to E-bay. It's cheaper and more convenient, but the luster of swiping a rare gem you could go and brag to all of your friends about is long gone. And that is pretty sad.
Posted by schwang2u at 7/26/2006 8:13:00 PM
I collected a lot too from 76 to the late 80s...probably the worst friggen era to collect cards..pfffttt I got back into it a 5 years ago.....ebay hooked me with their going, going, gone auctions...Now a days the card industry seems to be more suited for the people who like the quick buck turnover than the serous card collector.....I alwasy collected more for the hobby than the buck...probably the reason why I said piss on it and gave my entire collection to my nephew...I think my best card was a 56' Ted Williams in decent condition.....Had a bunch of 60's NFL cards but for some reason their value never grew fer
Posted by Zenguerrilla at 7/26/2006 8:38:00 PM
Coming from someone who quit a corporate career to sell sportscards full-time in 1990, I miss the good ole days when a Frank Thomas Rookie Phenom Fleer card or a pack of Topps Finest was all the rage. I guess my 500 count lot of 1987 Topps Bob Sebra rookie cards or 300 '87 Donruss Jeff Musselman rookies might never pan out, but my Mario Lemieux rookies did alright. For those who still like to dabble or re-live childhood memories, Topps has a site on eBay that sells and auctions proof cards -- one of a kind -- of original cards from the last 30 years. PS - I still think Sebra had one of the best deuces I ever saw...
Posted by jtopper at 7/26/2006 9:30:00 PM
As someone who was a fairly heavy card collector in the late-80s to mid-90s, and who still buy the occasional box and certain individual cards, the proliferation of companies killed the marketplace. I remember my grandfather buying boxes and doling out packs before every Sabbath and my dad bringing packs of all four sports home for me when he arrived home from work late on Thursday nights. EBay, Naxcom, Yahoo etc have all but destroyed the individual card store, because cards go for less than half-book on most of the sites while the store wants full book, and who wants to pay that. The insert ratio used for rookies have made set building obsolete, which has also contributed the demise of the card store. The hobby is not really a hobby anymore, although it's still a thrill to open a pack and get a big rookie card, rather than buying it individually online.
Posted by airjan23 at 7/27/2006 6:32:00 AM
Yeah, nothing bear the good old days, when you could instantly recognize a 1983 Fleer or 1984 Topps or .... And going to Sams Club to get a whole wax box for like $8 and spending the rest of the day opening, sorting and crossing them off your want list to complete your set.

Of course, it led to a closet full of 1990 Donruss (street value? About 5 cents), but I can still remember opening the cards in the living room, alternating packs with my brother, and then figuring out I was still an elusive Cecilio Guante card away from a complete set.
Posted by djbrown at 7/27/2006 7:15:00 AM

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