Baseball cards were the kings of collectibles in the 1950s as boys collected the cards found in packs of gum, traded them, or used them to make an engine noise by wedging the cards in bicycle spokes. By the 1960s, grown men were major collectors. They were going to shows and spending amazing amounts of money for rarities like Honus Wagner tobacco cards or Mickey Mantle rookie cards. The rush was on and soon many new makers were selling sets of baseball cards and there were hundreds of shows and sales. Today the mania is ending. Card prices are low, show attendance is down, and young collectors are rarely seen. CBS News did a detailed report on all of this. You can find it here. They left out one of the reasons the collectors are avoiding the cards. There are a lot of counterfeit cards on the market--just as there are so many fake sports-star autographs--which makes collectors afraid to buy.
Photo: 1980s Topps® and Fleer® cards, Newsroom.dc.gov