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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Schoenfield: Baseball card industry grows up

I collected cards through high school—yes, while other kids were sneaking off to the local golf course to drink beer in bunkers, I was spending time at the local card shop, spending the few dollars I earned from umpiring and refereeing youth rec league games on new cards and the occasional 1965 Sandy Koufax or 1969 Roberto Clemente or that Frank Robinson rookie. (“Frank found night games to his liking in ‘56 and compiled a .314 average while belting 10 circuit smashes in 64 ‘after dark’ contests.”)

The card industry was booming through most of the 1980s—maybe you remember thumbing through a Sports Collector’s Digest or Beckett Baseball Card Monthly to see how that college fund was maturing—but Marty’s story prompted me to think back to those days and the current state of the card industry. It’s been close to 20 years since I had attended a card show, so I decided to check out the Philadelphia Sports Card and Memorabilia Show in King of Prussia, Pa., in early December.

Babe Ruth underwear box: $900
Jackie Robinson business card: $15
Mickey Mantle-Roger Maris puzzle from 1962: $750

The best things about a big show like the one in Philly are all the oddball items that you don’t see unless you’re addicted to eBay. What I didn’t see much of were new cards; unlike the shows from back in the day, this one featured dealer after dealer with tables full of old bobbleheads and yearbooks, magazines with Joe DiMaggio covers, signed bats and eclectic items like above—not to mention tobacco cards and cards from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, like the ones I once picked through.

Thanks to Mr. Non-Mint Barnald.

Repoz Posted: December 25, 2012 at 07:07 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, history

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   1. HowardMegdal Posted: December 25, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4332194)
I sure did love this piece. I was a collector right in that late-80s period he described, when Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie was the north star.
   2. bobm Posted: December 25, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4332209)
Babe Ruth underwear box: $900

Is this like Jason Giambi's gold thong? Or a Derek Jeter gift basket?
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 25, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4332317)
Loved it too - I think my handle explains why.
   4. deputydrew Posted: December 27, 2012 at 06:39 PM (#4333318)
Bill Simmons has similar, but longer,pieces from the national. Good reads.

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