By Kevin Lee aka gosens151911

Back in the ‘70s to ‘90s one of the most popular activities of choice for kids was collecting sports cards. The majority of card packs that existed only cost at most a buck or two at most and had very few, or no, autos and jerseys. It was an easy hobby, very simple for kids to jump into. However, has the current state of the hobby made it difficult for kids to join the hobby? I believe so. Here are my top 5 reasons as to why collecting cards are no longer for kids.

5. Introduction of High End Sets
When kids now visit hobby shops with their parents they see those amazing high-end cards with patches and autographs. Of course they want one, just as they would want a toy that they saw that looked appealing to them. Unfortunately these cards are in the range of hundreds of dollars. This leaves kids to only have lower end sets to bust, leaving them somewhat disappointed when they discover they have absolutely no shot at pulling that cool looking shield card that they had wanted so badly.

4. Condition of Cards
With the introduction of the price guide, grading and higher valued cards, the condition of cards has become a priority in the hobby. Unfortunately when it comes to kids they are not thinking of the conditions of their cards when opening packs and looking through them. This makes it extremely difficult for them to try and trade with older collectors who demand perfect corners on all cards they receive. Gone are the days when kids could toss their cards in a plastic bag without the need to worry about bent corners. Back then, penny sleeves, toploaders and one-snap cases where unheard of when it came to collecting/trading cards.

3. Complexity of the Hobby
Sports cards have now become one of the most confusing hobbies to join. Even an adult will take several weeks at minimum to learn the about the hobby. From price guides to eBay, values of cards are becoming increasingly difficult to determine from person to person. Storing cards is now a must, with new collectors needing to learn the proper way to protect their cards, including the usually confusing ‘pt’ thickness for toploaders and cases. There is also rookie cards versus extended rookie cards, with the latter not being considered true rookies. Fake patches, fake rookie cards and other fakes make the list go on and on. How are kids supposed to enjoy the hobby with older collectors when the complexity of the hobby can frustrate even us?

2. The Decline of Base Cards
Due to the evolution of the hobby there has been an enormous spike in the amount of memorabilia cards in the hobby. Base cards have now merely become fillers in card packs for a majority of collectors who have them stored in boxes to never be touched or seen again. Back in the day, when base cards were all that existed, a star base card being pulled was amazing. You could easily trade that off for a large amount of other base cards that you wanted. However base cards are now practically worthless to most collectors. When a kid pulls a star base card, he/she will unfortunately discover that the card he/she now owns is practically worthless and has no trade value to older collectors. The days of knowing you had a good card simply by the player name on the card are gone. Base cards have had a huge decline from when they were the main feature of the sports card world.

1. Lack of Interest
Unfortunately what is killing the hobby is the lack of interest. Card companies have appeared to have given up on advertising sports cards to kids, instead heading in the other direction with game cards such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon. However, credit must be given to Upper Deck for introducing the “Upper Deck U Program” online for kids, replacing the “Kids Reward Program” which hadn’t worked out due to adults signing up (illegally) and abusing it instead of the targeted kids getting their shot at free stuff. Nevertheless, sports cards have become a dead hobby for kids with video games and other more popular hobby games bombarding them. No longer will you see kids trading their numerous sports cards on the bus or in schoolyards. It’s now up to both collectors and the card companies to get kids back into them. Card companies must do some form of advertising in order to promote their products, as most kids have no idea sports cards still exist even, seeing commercials of everything except sports cards. As collectors we must also ease kids into the hobby. Examples include donating base cards as a collector or having a little trading section set up where kids can trade in their base cards if you are a dealer.