Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baseball Cards

I started collecting baseball cards in 1960 when I was 8. The Dodgers were my favorite team so I cherished getting their cards. I remember going to the store with my allowance and opening a pack with such excitement and anticipation. Getting a Dodger or some other star was the best. Getting a double of someone was a letdown.

I continued collecting in earnest through 1964, including some football cards. I think 1962 may have been my most prolific collecting year. I would sort the cards by teams, and even devised a baseball game using them to signify pitchers and batters, and kept statistics for the games. I would mimic Vin Scully announcing the games.

Fast forward to 1981. I had my huge card collection stored in a box in the garage. I remember cleaning out the garage one day and seriously considering disposing of the cards. With that in mind, when an advertisement appeared in the Boise paper soon after that someone was in town buying old baseball cards I considered it a windfall when I took my cards down and accepted $175 for the lot. I promptly turned around and invested that amount in silver coins, a fad at the time. For sentimental reasons, though, I had gone through the cards and saved a small fraction of them.

Fast forward again to 1987. Baseball card collecting was becoming popular again, and now I had sons who were also interested. I jumped back into my childhood and joined in the collecting frenzy with them. What agony I experienced when I saw the prices being fetched by old cards like the ones I had sold so cheaply. 1963 Pete Rose rookie cards alone were selling for hundreds of dollars, and I suspect I had one or more in my collection. And I took very good care of my cards, so they were in premium condition.

I sorted through the few cards I had kept and decided I would purchase cards to complete my 1960 and 1962 Topps sets, which I did, at a cost of over a thousand dollars. But it was a lot of fun and satisfying to rebuild what I had foolishly sold. Here is a photo of some of my more valuable 1962 cards:

Meanwhile, my silver coin collection? It dropped to less than half its initial value (though it may have rebounded some since).

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