By redsguy aka Zach Smith

Cincinnati Reds Baseball

I am currently 14 years old and have been collecting cards for about seven years. I can remember my first cards that I got and I still have them all. I’m not sure where I got them but they were Opening Day 2K cards. Included in the cards I got were Mo Vaughn, Ken Griffey Jr., Pokey Reese, and Jason Kendall. There were more but those were my favorites. My dad had got them for me and I have collected cards since then. I now have about 30,000 cards.

I always bought cards anytime I could. Also, for every holiday and birthday I got cards. Every year my grandparents get me the regular Topps set so I have every set since 2004. One year for Christmas I got a binder of Cleveland Indians cards. It was full of cards and on the first two pages were at the time what I thought 1953 Topps cards. I had looked them up and I had gotten and Al Aber which was worth $100. For years I thought I had a bunch of ’53 Topps. I had even bought 16 more that I thought were from the ’53 set. One day I found out that the cards were actually from the 1993 Archives set. I could not believe that I thought I had all those good cards and they were actually worth about 10 cents.

I like collecting sets. I have quite a few of them that I have either bought myself or I have gotten as gifts. Another amateur move that I used to do is, pull the wrappers off the sets and sort them by number. I look back on that and can’t believe how dumb I actually was. The best gift I have ever got was a retail box from a card shop in Florida of 2005 Topps Heritage. My grandparents had gotten it for me when they were on vacation. I opened the packs and I got an Ernie Banks autograph seat relic! The card was numbered to 25! It was definitely the best pull I’ve ever gotten.

At recess during school I used to trade cards. We would also play a game called Flip. In the game Flip we would toss our cards against the wall and whoever got closest won the round and kept the cards. The kids I played with were not that smart and would use good cards and I would use sucky cards and pretty much scam them out of their cards. We mostly traded and played with football cards but occasionally they would bring in baseball and I would trade all my football cards for them. I knew what cards to trade for like the rookies from 2005-2008. All they did was have fun trading for their favorite players while I was making great money from them. I miss those days when they were so uneducated and I could pretty much steal their cards from them.

Each year my dad and I go to Reds Fest. It is a team function where a lot of Reds players come and sign autographs. The first year I went I met Brandon Larson and Chris Reitsma. I always had a lot of fun at those and looked forward to it each year.

Usually the money I saved up for cards I would go to Wal-Mart and just buy retail boxes. I’m sure that’s what most amateur collectors do. I had finally saved up money one year so I could buy my own hobby box. I went to my local card shop and got a box of 2007 Bowman. That year was the year with the David Price rookie. I opened it in the front seat of my grandma’s car. The one autograph in the box I got was the David Price! I could not believe it! Since then I would not buy retail boxes anymore.

One day I was looking through my Beckett magazine and saw a card show in Dayton, Ohio. (That is only about a half an hour away from me.) I called up my grandpa and he took me to it. It was so much fun! I loved it so much. We got another hobby box there too. It was a 2008 Allen and Ginter. We went out to his truck and opened it. There was a memorabilia card in almost every pack! I didn’t know it at the time but it was a hot box.

Collecting cards has always been my passion and I hope I can keep doing it. I plan to go to college so I know that will be hard to work around. I just wanted to mention that this last summer my grandpa and I built a wooden cabinet that now holds all of my cards. It is very beautiful and took over 100 hours to make.

Thanks for taking time to read this and good luck with your collections!