In middle school, I collected baseball cards. A lot of baseball cards.
In third grade, I tried pogs before they were outlawed in class when it was found we were effectively gambling with them. In a naive, youthful pursuit of seeing every movie ever made, I amassed piles of them on VHS and DVD. My grandparents gave me some collector coin sets, somehow I ended up with a few beanie babies and, being a recovering pack rat, I ended up with little collections of Simpsons merchandise and sports jerseys as a pre-teen, political campaign signs and pro sports team paraphernalia in high school and old books and vinyl records through college. Yes, as a kid, I’ve collected a lot — Lincoln logs, Legos and inherited stamps, too, fill my basement.
But, in truth, the largest collection I ever amassed was little pieces of printed cardboard, baseball cards, and to a lesser extent, other sports cards. In my memory, anything I didn’t save, I spent on them, starting with the occasional checkout-line pack purchase at the former Shelby’s dime store.
Of course, I’m not alone among the youth of the 1980s and 1990s. Entire books have been written about the baseball card bubble that came from an over-saturated market, so much so that many think error cards were created to fuel demand.
In love with sports and trading and playing with friends, I dove headlong into the hobby bubble. More specifically, from about the age nine in 3rd grade to about 14 in 8th grade, I likely spent less than $1,000, and, if I was able to more accurately estimate, it might likely be much less. In truth, my time was spent more on trading the cards with friends. Before high school, I had mostly set aside the indulgence, though I’d still sometimes take out that collection to marvel at my investment.
Still, my sports card collection was the first foray into business I made, and so I learned plenty. Here’s my sharing some of that.
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