By Nathan Loewy aka garnett_21

Collecting cards has been a way of life for me since I became a teenager. While most teens prefer to play video games instead of looking at cardboard, I found that I was quite unusual. I thought nothing was better than opening a fresh pack of wax! None of my personal friends have ever collected cards, at least to the extent that I do, and most would rather sit for hours in front of a television playing video games as opposed to sitting for hours in front of boxes/binders of cards. If you couldn’t already tell, I am the latter.

Before I really was interested in collecting my mom would buy “baggies” of cards from a local Salvation Army-type store. That is where the majority of my collection came from until I turned 13. She figured that even if I didn’t get into the hobby I would at least have some sort of investment. Unfortunately, most of the cards were late ‘80s and early ’90s base so there is very little investment potential with them. But that didn’t matter to me back then and it still doesn’t.

When I turned 13 we had recently moved to a new city and located about a mile away was a newly opened card shop. The owner was very nice and he had great deals. There were boxes upon boxes of late ‘80s and early ‘90s baseball and football cards for $.50 per pack. I was in heaven! Being able to get 12-16 cards for $.50 was a 13-year-old card collector’s dream! Unfortunately, as we age, we realize how something that seemed so great back then wasn’t really all that great. But I don’t regret it at all as I highly doubt that I would be as active in the hobby today if it wasn’t for that card shop and the cheap prices. Even though most of the cards I pulled were cheap base, I did get a few nice early ‘90s serial numbered cards. While being number out of ten thousand is absurd today it wasn’t back then.

As the years progressed the card shop ended up closing, which was quite saddening to me. That meant no more $.50 packs, no more looking at all the singles that looked so cool and no more talking with the owner about cards. Nothing. But that didn’t stop me from collecting! I started purchasing cards from local retail stores and made an occasional purchase from eBay. I continued this trend for many years, buying a lot of variety boxes and loose packs, all the time not getting many “hits.” I found some of the bubble packs that guaranteed two game used cards for $10 and that was how I acquired my first jersey card. I still own one of them to this day, and the player has become a side PC player.

Fast forward through a few more years of buying all retail and I stumbled across a 2001 Sage Hit basketball hobby box at a retail store. I had seen it for quite awhile at this store and I was able to save up enough money over a few weeks to buy it. I was really excited to be able to purchase it as the odds on the box said six autographs per box. It was too bad I didn’t read that you couldn’t pull a Jordan, Garnett, Kobe or Lebron auto! $40 and 24 packs later I had pulled my six autographs with the best one being Kwame Brown. I was fairly disappointed, but also happy at the same time, as that Brown autograph was one of my most valuable cards. I was curious about how good a pull it was and just anything in general about the box. A few weeks before, I had found a site online called Sports Card Forum so I decided to join and ask my questions. I was greeted and had my questions answered quite quickly and, right off the bat, I knew I had found something good! I didn’t end up making my first trade for over two months, and didn’t trade for my first Kevin Garnett card for nearly 3 months, but they were well worth the wait!

Over almost the last two years as a member of SCF I have learned so much more about the hobby than I ever thought possible. I have also met many people that have the same interests as me and have made plenty of friends. I honestly had no idea that there were so many people out there that collected cards but I am sure glad that I have found out otherwise! In that time period I had decided that I needed a player that I would collect. I decided upon a former local hero, Kevin Garnett, as he was the one player that I watched and really liked during my teen years – a true class act.

When I first decided to start collecting him I had a meager collection of only 15 cards, none of which were jersey cards. As of today I have over 700 different Garnett cards, including 72 jersey cards, most of which have come from trades on SCF. I feel very fortunate to have come across so many collectors that have been willing to help me in my quest to become the biggest Garnett collector in existence! I know I have a long way to go but I am very grateful for all the help thus far.

That’s basically how I went from being a pre-teen who wasn’t interested in cards to a young adult who could not imagine living without collecting cards!