A Hobby Becoming too Expensive
By Sean Berry aka # 1 Broncos Fan
Well I’m not sure where to start because this is something that has been going on for a while and just seems to be getting more and more out of control in my opinion, I remember growing up as a kid and my brothers and I would go collect pop cans and bottles and take them to the little corner market by where we lived, cash the cans in, then turn around and buy $.25 wax packs of baseball cards. Oh and buy a few candy items like $.05 bubble gum!!! Anyway we would walk home, open our packs and look for our favorite players or team. When we got home they went into shoe boxes under our beds, and when we went to school we would take our new cards with us and trade with our buddies out on the playground before the bell! Well as I grew up, I either lost or misplaced all my cards I had from the 70s and early 80s from moving and such. I didn’t get back into collecting until I met my current wife back in 1993. We were living in Arizona at the time so I went to a local card shop, bought a few packs of 1994 Fleer Ultra Baseball and pulled some cool inserts and the fever hit me!!!! That thrill of buying trading cards again but except this time packs weren’t $.25 they were $1 or $2 depending on the brand and yes they didn’t just have Topps or Donruss but they had Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss, Score, Topps, Bowman etc…
I was completely amazed at how many different cards there were so I tried putting together sets from all the major brands though it was difficult sometimes, I enjoyed the challenge. I continued collecting and building sets mainly baseball and collecting a little football and basketball here and there! Then in the middle to late 90s card companies started inserting certified game-used and autographs into boxes and the price of a pack of cards jumped yet again. The fever grew even stronger, wanting to pull that autographed or game-used card from a box…There wasn’t a hit as we call it in every box, but there may have been a numbered or parallel card that you could pull! I remember the first game-used card I pulled; it was an Alex Rodriguez swatch all white and I was jumping up and down like I had just won the lottery. I traded it to the local card shop owner for half a box of 1998 Absolute Football and well let’s just say I didn’t make that mistake again…I did pull some nice parallels though! Well as time went on, more trading card brands came into the market and also more parallel sets, numbered cards autographs and game-used cards. Oh and yes, the price of cards went up!!!! Now instead of a buck or $2 for a pack they were $3-$5 for premium packs like Topps Chrome, Bowman Chrome, P Authentic etc… Anyway you get the idea, so I only bought a few packs every pay day as our bills came first! And along with all the different brands and subsets and things it started making it more difficult to collect your favorite player as they may have 100+cards each year so I stopped collecting the 3 major sports baseball, football and basketball and sold everything off except for football!
Which now brings us to the present time where the hobby has been smothered with so many different brands and sets that yes it is almost completely impossible for someone to collect every single card of their favorite player or team let alone afford the more pricey packs or boxes ranging anywhere from $20-$500+ for a pack. Yes that’s right, a pack of cards! But hey, you’re guaranteed an auto or memorabilia card but that doesn’t mean the $500 dollar pack will pay for itself and not to mention I don’t know many kids who can fork out that kind of cash let alone the parents! I see people all the time buy a case of cards looking for the one big hit and did I mention they spend upwards of $800+ for a case to only be disappointed? I don’t know about you but this day and age with the cost of living I can definitely find something better to spend $1,000 on um like pay an extra payment on my car or hey here is a novel idea; save it for a rainy day because who knows what the $1000 you just spent might be needed to pay for someday? And yes, I am speaking from experience!!!!!
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of great inexpensive boxes and packs to be had just remember you only get what you pay for and sometimes that’s not even true… It breaks my heart when I go in a card shop or something and see a kid looking at packs and the only pack he can afford cost $5. Oh well, I guess that’s what happens with supply and demand and a hobby that has become a multi billion dollar industry; they forget about the fact that not everyone has pockets as deep as theirs!
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