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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.

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Photo: 1980s Topps® and Fleer® cards, Newsroom.dc.gov

Comments  

#4 Another Point of Viewbp305 2012-03-29 21:19
One of the most successful sports cards and memorabilia shows in the country, the Ohio Sports Collector Convention, takes place April 13-15, in Strongsville, Ohio. If you think the card hobby is dead, a visit to this show will suggest otherwise. I did not see the CBS account of the decline in card collecting, which is news to me! Cards are selling for record-setting amounts, and there is always stiff competition for quality items. Therein may lie the discrepancy with the past. I contrast to years ago, collectors are more discriminating and more selective as independent third-party grading has changed the hobby dramatically. Condition as well as scarcity, age and popularity are factors for which collectors now have statistics and reliable numbers and expert opinions available to them. I have been in the hobby four years (with over 500 eBay transactions)an d I am amazed how many neophytes (less than 25 transactions) I am bidding against on for expensive and desirable cards. And, it's not only baseball cards that are in vogue, but football card collecting is growing as are graded non-sports cards. I have started each of my six grandchildren out with card collections of their own. There is a large collector world out there with numerous auction houses and dealers, as well as private sellers, successfully enjoying the business and the hobby.
#3 Sports Card Marketsportsjerseys78 2012-03-28 20:22
I found the CBS episode to be interesting, yet very one sided... I agree that a majority of the cards and memorabilia produced during the boom 1985 on have lost the majority of their value... but people such as myself (early 30's) have found a home in the hobby collecting older material which continues to maintain and grow in value... Take a look at prices realized at some the major auction houses around the US... price records continue to get smashed... The hobby at the lower end will need to correct itself (much like the economy) in order to capture the lower end of the market (in this case kids). I think if manufacturers were smart they would reduce the amount of "chase cards", lower their per pack price and offer greater value to the collector... just think what it would do for a young collector if the $3 pack they just opened translated into $6 in beckett book value!!!

Baseb all cards are like coins... Gold and silver will always be in demand... but who needs the copper!
#2 too many survivelednimedved 2012-03-28 18:55
All of your comments are accurate but I would add one more. When my dad was a kid in the 40s and when I was a kid in the 70s, we played with the cards and used them, handled them, etc. So very few survived in pristine shape and most got thrown out so those that made it to the top, so to speak, were actually valuable and some were actually scarce. The late 80s and 90s saw the spread of card collecting that was anything but - people bought cards and never touched them, just stored them and assumed they would be valuable so they all survived and hence the low values and lack of interest today. This is also the case for other toys, like dolls, cars, etc. Too much supply makes it to the end and unless you played with it and enjoyed it as a kid, why would you want to collect it when you are older?
#1 I disagreeimp4337 2012-03-28 17:09
Hello,

I have been buying and selling sports cards for the last 5 years. In fact, it is the primary way I make my living. I am proud to say the hobby is alive and well. There is a very healthy eBay market for cards with over 5 million current listings. There are also a plethora of other websites that specialize in sports cards including: Sportsbuy, sportslots, checkoutmycards , etc. I also have good luck selling new and old cards in my store which deals in collectibles of all kinds. As far as shows go, the National Sports Collector Convention just happened last week in Las Vegas. I am also aware of a show that happens bi-monthly in Atlanta and another regular monthly show in Goodlettsville, TN. These shows have been running for some time and are successful. I agree that there are a lot of fake cards on the market, but there are also several well respected and affordable grading and authentication services available to collectors such as: Beckett, PSA/DNA, SGA, and others. Heritage Auctions maintains a weekly Sports auction that is heavily populated by cards. It may be true that some of the prices for older cards have fallen due to fakes, but many of the new cards being produced contain certified autographs and relics like jersey swatches or a piece of bat. Some of these new cards are commanding high prices on the secondary market. With all this going on, I think it is a bit premature to say that Baseball cards are out, in fact,I would go so far as to say they are experiencing a boom.

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