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Baseball Cards for Adults or Kids?

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  • Baseball Cards for Adults or Kids?

    Just wondering about the perception of baseball card collecting. Here in the UK it is seen primarily as a fad children go through in their formative years that they eventually grow out of. It's mainly Soccer sticker albums but card collections of various type's do go on sale.

    Obviously there are always collectors markets, but on the whole how is it seen in the US?
    Last edited by scribbs; 08-22-2014, 03:44 PM.

  • #2
    This answer is going to be more about autographs, because I'm more into autographs than cards, but...

    My experience has been that it depends on 1) whose autograph it is and 2) how serious I reveal that I am about collecting.

    Last year I had signed posters of Tukka Rask (Bruins goalie) and Alex Morgan (US soccer player) on my dorm room wall. Because I go to school in Rhode Island (Bruins country) and the Bruins were in the playoffs, the Rask poster attracted a lot of interest because even people who didn't follow hockey had heard his name and had an idea who he is. Ditto for the Morgan; she's an Olympic gold medalist and in a dorm that was half guys...Although one thing I've noticed is that collecting is almost exclusively a male domain, and so having something signed by a female athlete really broadened the number of people willing to talk autographs, and sports in general.

    The other part about demonstrated interest is that if I mention that I have a Ted Williams autograph, that gets a lot of attention, while if I just mentioned that I collected, it might not go over so well.

    For me, I started out collecting cards and moved on to autographs, so I've always thought of card collecting as what kids do, and then autograph collecting as what they graduate in to as adults. It's just always seemed to me that it's one thing to have a mass-produced card of a HOF'er; it's quite another to have proof that that HOF'er actually held that card in their hands and signed it.
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    • #3
      The card collecting boom hit in the U.S. in the early 80's. That's when the value of cards really became realized. Collectors conventions hit the national level, you stopped seeing books advising kids to flip cards against the wall for fun or put them in the spokes of their bicycle, and more and more hobby shops sprang up.

      It stopped being a kids game when packs surpassed the dollar mark in the late 80's as the product became oversaturated with too many companies producing the same type-stuff. Now it's not so muich about packs anymore but entire boxes and cases looking for one or two cards to make the investment worthwhile. There aren't many hobby shops specializing in sports cards anymore, and the shows and conventions have slowed down. A kid can certainly enjoy themselves in the hobby and I did see plenty of kids at the national Sports Card Convention at the beginning of the month, but there were far more adults.
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      • #4
        Which is not to say that it isn't still regarded by many as a childish pursuit.

        But then, I suppose, some feel that way about baseball fandom itself.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Pere View Post
          Which is not to say that it isn't still regarded by many as a childish pursuit.

          But then, I suppose, some feel that way about baseball fandom itself.
          Or even baseball, itself, which often gets called nothing more than grown men playing a childs game. Guess any "leisure activity" could be deemed as such, from pro athletes to actors to musicians. Bunch of kiddies, all.
          Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
          Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
          Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
          Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
          Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
            Or even baseball, itself, which often gets called nothing more than grown men playing a childs game. Guess any "leisure activity" could be deemed as such, from pro athletes to actors to musicians. Bunch of kiddies, all.
            What, you didn't get the memo? All fun must end by age 25.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by EmergencyCatcher View Post
              What, you didn't get the memo? All fun must end by age 25.
              You mean I still had three years left when I stopped?
              Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
              Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
              Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
              Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
              Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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              • #8
                I am 70 years old and have been collecting cards almost my whole life. I do lots of trading on line and deal mostly with guys 30 years and older. I get a lot of stuff off of Amazon and online stores like Dean's Cards, The Baseball Card Shop, and Strictly Mint. Don't know of any kids collecting baseball cards at all. There is only one baseball card store left on my side of town and like Captain Cold Nose says he does most of his business dealing with adults buying boxes or cases of cards looking for autographed cards. I collect Tiger cards and also whole sets. There is no lack of merchandise out there, it is just where you get it from. There is one baseball card show at a local trade center once a month and that is it for around here.

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                • #9
                  I got into collecting the summer of my 16th birthday, 1986. I was a casual baseball fan up until then but one day I bought a pack of Topps and got Daryll Strawberry and Pete Rose. . . and I was hooked. I used to try to complete sets each year but I gradually got interested in autographs, stadium seats, pennants, and anything else that caught my eye. Now the only time I buy cards is if they're Red Sox cards or if I'm going to try and get 'em signed. I don't buy packs in search of inserts, memorabilia cards, relic cards, certified autos, etc. To me, buying packs is like buying scratch lottery tickets--sometimes you win, but most of the time you lose, though at least you have the cards to show for it. I let other people bust open the packs and then I look for base sets on ebay. Nowadays, I really only buy Topps Heritage since I love the look of the cards and they aren't too glossy which is good for autographs.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
                    Or even baseball, itself, which often gets called nothing more than grown men playing a childs game.
                    Yes, though that meme was always mistaken. Baseball is loosely related to some bat-and-ball games that children might play, but was itself developed and codified strictly as a pursuit for grown men. It is no more a "child's game" than boxing, or chess, or poker, or hunting pheasant.

                    ETA: I suppose, in that context, it would be fair of me to point out that baseball cards, like professional baseball, were originally intended for an adult market.
                    Last edited by Pere; 08-29-2014, 05:42 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Haven't your wives told you that it is time to grow up and become a man? My first wife used to tell me that all time. You noticed that I said "first wife". My second wife is okay with my adolescent pleasures!

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