By Brendan White aka SteakNchop

Several years ago, on a dim winter day, I was wondering if there were any card shops where I lived other than my local favorite Diamond Sports Cards. I liked the place, but I thought a change would be nice. The free box there only went so far, the packs of 2006 Topps only had so much. So based on the instructions on the back of a Topps promotional card, I called up Topps to find out if there were any other card shops in my area. Entering my zip code of 94960, with a range of fifteen miles, I was directed of course to my local shop as well as a place I had never heard of before: The Attic.

Being a young collector at the time, with no way to get to this unknown card shop on bike or foot, I convinced my dad to give me a ride. So off we went to the other side of the county to see what lay in the shelves and cases or maybe even the narrow staircase of The Attic.

My excitement for this new card shop was quite apparent if you saw me; a big smile on my face, but more of a look of anticipation than joy. Because who knew if this would be the card shop of my dreams or like many other card shops with prices the filthy rich couldn’t even afford?

So soon enough, we arrived. It was your stereotypical old card shop from the outside; surrounded by laundromats and a dark window with a little door and bell. So in I went and what was I to behold but a rather unusual card shop. Old arcade games, Pac-Man and the like. Stuff that I had only heard of, but in the age of arcade death you would never see. Really cool, but I was only interested in the baseball cards.

I walked up to the counter and said hello to an older man. This was the type of card shop owner who really could and should retire. Clearly doing it for the love of the hobby and life. With wired coin collector type glasses, a little beard and moustache and a grin that could really tell you what his mood was, which was clearly a good mood. It seemed as though all he wanted to do was run this little shop named The Attic.

Under the counter they had some packs of cards, a few autographs such as a Joe Dimaggio that “wasn’t for sale” and a lot of older cards. This was all nice but down to my right was a big box filled with cards from the 1980s. To my great amazement, these were free!

Now let me explain a few things here. I was nine years old and did not know that 80s cards were worth literally nothing. I was just overjoyed that there was this big free box of baseball cards. So I sorted through them.

A certain design appealed to me, the 1987 Topps card with the wood colored borders. I took all the 1987 Topps cards out of the box and by the time it was empty of that year I had hundreds of cards. You might think the man working there would be annoyed by this, as I hadn’t even bought anything yet, but no, he absolutely wasn’t. If I had eyes in the back of my head, I assume his old and beady eyes would have been beaming through those wire rimmed glasses of his. Obviously, he was not in this for the money.

I asked if he had more of the “woodies” and low and behold for the next hour or so the store was turned upside down by us searching through all we could find. I added a few more cards to my tally of 1987 Topps cards. Looking for all these cards was certainly not an easy task, as The Attic could have used a good cleaning. With old comic books strewn about, binders full of cards, boxes full of cards and even a nice assortment of bobble heads.

I had still not bought anything, but that admirable old man handed me a full set of Topps All-Time Rookie of the Week, a promotion that year where each week you bought a pack of Topps cards you got one reprint rookie, the goal being to complete the set. Sorry all you people who worked hard for your sets, but I got the whole thing without spending a nickel.

I did have a few nickels in my pocket so I bought a pack of 2001 Topps cards. After that, I said goodbye to the man of The Attic, said a lot of thank yous and left for home. For the first time in my life, I came out of a card shop ahead, making money instead of losing it.

The next week, on a Thursday, with no Little League game in sight, my dad was convinced to go back to The Attic. Stepping into the old, musty place again brought a lot of happiness to the old man as well as me, as sharing a love of this hobby even though sixty years separated us was quite a bond. I guess he did remember me well, because he enthusiastically told me that he had been searching around and had found more 1987 cards. I was extremely happy, to say the least.
These visits to The Attic continued, as well as my 1987 Topps set. With probably 90% of it done, the unthinkable happened. That wonderful old man decided to retire and close down his store. I am sure he was sad about it, but to be truthful I believe I was much more sorrowful then him. I could still go to my great local card shop, but compared to the experience of The Attic it was nothing. But, as they say, good things must come to an end and it seems as though it did.

Depressed about the closing of The Attic, I did not collect cards for a good half year. But sometime in the fall I decided that I must move on. So back to Diamond Sports Cards I went, which is a great place, just it couldn’t even compare to The Attic. I continued to collect cards for a while, but there was something biting my sock. It was the 1987 Topps set.
Pack after pack of 1987 Topps was opened, box after box was looked through, until finally, I was a card away. One card. One stinking little card away from baseball card collecting glory in my ten year old mind. It was card #71 Mike Aldrete. I mean, he was a common player! Not some Hall of Famer! So more packs were opened, more boxes were looked through. Until one day, yes it did come, I found my last card and accomplished what may have been a $5 dollar set to most but to me you would have trouble trading a Babe Ruth signed baseball for. The value, the price, the investment potential did not matter; I had completed an entire year of Topps baseball cards and nothing would ever compare.