Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Rime of the Ancient Collector



For as long as I can remember, I've collected sports cards. I've spent an inordinate amount of time and money acquiring and organizing, I would guess, 20,000 hockey and baseball cards.

I clearly remember sitting at my dining room table in my second house in Brampton numerically organizing my 1991 Topps baseball set - my first complete set, which, at the time, was a huge deal to me.

I started collecting cards when they were tremendously over-produced, and really not worth anything. Oddly, I found it hard to find cards anywhere, despite their ubiquity, and any finds were considered quite spectacular, such as when I used to buy 100 cards for $1 at the Fergus Market (almost all 1990 Donruss).

It's card collecting that taught my how to type (my 97% in the ever-challenging Grade 9 keyboarding notwithstanding) as I catalogued all of my cards electronically in Microsoft Works and then Microsoft Excel - "Milwaukee Brewers" was a particular favourite, because of the R-E-W-E-R. This would only be the beginning of a ridiculously anal nature for organization.

Lately, I've developed a taste for newer cards now because...well...they're fancy, but there's something to be said for old cards, especially because, due to the huge supply, it's dirt cheap to pick up a few complete sets. I picked up three sets of cards in Cooperstown, for example, for $5 apiece. And, while there are obviously a fair deal of nobodies in a set of 700 cards, there are, of course, a few cards worth putting on display.

Indeed, it's these sets of 700 players that has given me probably too much knowledge about player movement, cool player nicknames (Oil Can Boyd, Pete "Radiation Man" Incaviglia), and gave me a great appreciation for statistics and records.

Now, though, with the advances in technology that have made game-used memorabilia and autograph cards very collectible, I'm finding myself drawn to newer sets. I've moved, too, from purchasing single packs or looking for bulk buys to purchasing boxes, especially ones featuring guaranteed memorabilia or autograph cards.


This has lead to a few nice grabs, including a one-of-a-kind printing plate from a box I bought on the weekend, which I don't really feel like scanning to show you.


There are, of course, finds that are just cards, and simply subject to the whims of supply and demand. The following two cards, just cards, are worth $100:


Needless to say, this is a hobby that will be following me for my entire life, in some form or another - I do go through lulls where I don't really care about cards - and I will hopefully pass it on down to my kids. They had just better keep their grubby paws off of my stuff.

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