Baseball season is upon us, which makes this ceditra entry of mine from last month timely:
March 14, 2010
Question #0685 from the book Know-It-All by Marsha Kranes, Fred Worth, and Steve Temerius reads:
What pitcher’s career spanned the greatest number of years – twenty-five seasons?
The answer is James L. Kaat, who retired in 1983.
The first thing I thought when I saw this answer was, “I wonder if I have his baseball card?”
I started collecting cards in the mid-1970s. I recalled my father telling me of this collection of cards circa 1950 with the likes of Mantle, DiMaggio, and other greats. Sadly, this collection is lost as his mother (my grandmother) threw them all out. I was determined to collect and save my cards – which I have done. When I first collected, I have cards from 1977 to 1980. My most prized card is an Ozzie Smith rookie card.
I stopped collecting in high school, but when I moved to Minnesota in 1991, I lived in a makeshift rental unit behind a baseball card shop. This shop was also a locksmith and gun shop, so the customer base was quite unique. During a chat I had the owner, I learned of the Beckett Guide and after looking through some of the prices, I saw that someof my cards were semi-valuable. So, I started collecting again and I have a mass of cards circa 1991 – 1993. I also made it my quest to fill out my earlier collection by buying cards from my landlord and other local card shops. I probably am still a few cards short of a complete set, but those holes are the more rare and/or valuable cards (i.e., rookie cards of Hall of Famers).
I really should go through my boxes of cards and see where the holes in my collection still are and what my cards are worth.
It would be nice to pass on something to my children other than my sarcasm.
Back to April and it appears that my desire to pass on my collection of mint condition Dennis Eckresely cards because they will be valuable has been popped.
I first heard of Dave Jamieson’s book, Mint Condition, after hearing a story about on the radio program, Marketplace. Jamieson writes about the history of baseball cards, but Jamieson’s other topic is that the baseball card market has cratered because it was a classic bubble fueled by speculation in the 1990s as more and more people rushed into the hobby.
I can attest to Jamieson’s bubble theory as one of the reasons I left collecting in the early 1990s was because there was too much supply. Even thought I focused on one brand of cards, Topps, that company had several lines of cards for a given year so that it became nearly impossible to gather up a complete set. Multiply that marketing by the other card companies on the scene (Upper Deck, Leaf, Donruss) and the market was flooded.
Simple economics – when supply goes up, prices come down.
Maybe that’s what I can pass on to my children instead – a healthy understanding of finances and economics.