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My New/Old Obsession

When I was a kid all I wanted to do was watch sports, play sports and collect cards.

The amount of time I spent on my card collection was very normal to me but probably alarming to my parents.

All I needed was the money to get the cards. I had the desire to buy them, the way to get them on my bike, and friends that wanted to do the same. Scrounging up enough change to get a pack or two of cards was such a huge highlight for me.

Opening the pack of cards to see what was inside was truly one of life’s great joys to me.

I went through different phases in the collecting process. There was a time when I was trying to collect the complete set for that year. I transitioned into trying to find as many cards as I could of my favorite players. My favorites would go into the binders and when friends would come over that is what you would show off for potential trades. I went through a time where I would send out my cards to some of my favorite players asking for their autographs.

As I got older, I realized there was a business part to this. Some of my friends were transitioning into collecting higher priced items or trading many things for rookie cards that could be worth a lot more later. That is what made me think about the future of my cards. Keep in mind I am probably still in my early teenage years at this point. Do I want to sell my cards at some point? I always thought I would have them forever and maybe even share them with my son or daughter later in life. I looked at myself as a collector more than an investor.

Years would go by. As I entered High School and my focus became playing the sports that I was collecting cards from. School, sports and friends started to dominate my time.

The cards were still there but I was spending way less time with them. More years would go by and now I was thinking even less about the cards. Every now and then I would see some for sale and pick up a pack here and there over the years. Now out of college and fully on my own where I didn’t have much but once again would periodically pick up a pack of cards here and there and just store them away. I was no longer organizing them, putting away my favorite players in binders or protective sleeves. Just hanging on to them.

Now here we are in 2021 and apparently during the pandemic cards have become hot, crazy hot. I did not know this, I did not see this coming, I had not thought about my stash of cards for years. I see stories of how the card game is sizzling right now. You can’t find them in stores. People are waiting outside of certain retail stores for deliveries so they can scoop up everything that ends up on the shelves. What? Really?

This all makes me intrigued, very intrigued.

After spending some time online and reading and researching I am blown away at where the business is right now. I am not sure how long this will last but the card industry is hot. It is also very different. I know that I am sounding like the “back in my day” guy but I am having trouble understanding things right now.

It used to be 1 set of cards per brand per year. Now they have subsets, parallels, inserts, chrome cards, and to be honest I don’t even know what I just said right there. This is crazy. I find myself searching and searching for what I know which is packs of cards. Packs of cards now may have 4 cards in them.

4? What is the best way to get these packs? Stores are out of them, online seems to overprice them, am I becoming an investor or am I still a collector?

I believe that I am still a collector and what made me realize that was going through my stuff. I found my old boxes of cards, and binders and immediately went back to a happy place. The reminiscing was real, and the feelings were genuine. Once I started to go through them, I couldn’t stop. My wife knew I had them but had never seen me go through them before. She loved it. I loved it.

I was up until 3:30 one Friday night/morning finishing sorting a box of some good stuff.

I feel like I am back in the game but a bit over my head.

What I do know is what I have but now I am interested in what I don’t know about. Like most things it takes some time to get to know the new landscape. I have a renewed love for cards and a sense of appreciation of all the time that I spent on them over the years.

I am not sure how long I will be back into the game but I realized I was truly never out of it. That is where this will likely go. I will sort everything I have once again and maybe for the first time look to move some of it. I certainly want to keep some things and it is just nice to hang on to some of the past.

They are worth something to me and will continue to be as time moves on. If any of you have ever seen the movie Toy Story 3 this reminds me a lot of that.

Andy is the child that owns the toys in the first two movies and in the 3rd Toy Story he is moving out and heading to college. He ultimately with hesitation moves on from his toys and donates them to someone who will get the same joy out of them that he did. There is a heart warming long look back at the toys and a “thanks guys” for all the good times.

While Andy finally parted with his toys, my toys, these cards will always be a part of me and will likely stay with me as I continue to go through the different phases of collecting. I am back and right now I feel like a kid again.

To all the football, baseball and basketball cards out there, “thanks guys.”