My card history, past and present
by, 02-19-2009 at 05:23 PM (2391 Views)
I didn't think I would do one of these blog things - but as I read some other blogs recently, I thought of how fun it could be to write a little every now and then. I'll start my blog with my card history.
It all began in 1992. My late brother rented this NES video game called Tecmo Super Bowl. I didn't know anything about football then, but once I saw and played that game, I was hooked. I soon learned the basics about football, memorized all the players and teams, and really started to get into the sport. I got some magazines and prepared for the 1992 season during the summer. I also got a pack of cards one day from my dad - 1991 Score. I remember pulling a Guy McIntyre card and remarking, "Hey, he's a lineman for the 49ers on Tecmo Super Bowl! So that's what he looks like in real life!" The cards were fun to look at and examine. I took note of all the pictures and stats. I wanted as many as possible since they were fun and I could learn even more about all the players and teams. In a matter of months, I had tons of cards, especially of 1991 Fleer, Pro Set, and Score. Thus was the beginning of my hobby, at the tender age of seven (I wouldn't turn eight until November 1992, and I think I got an entire box of 1991 Upper Deck football for that birthday).
I collected football a lot from 1992 to 1994. However, basketball overtook football as my main sport love in 1993, and it's been the same ever since (though I do still follow football a little). The spring of 1993 was when I discovered Tecmo NBA Basketball. Wow, I am so indebted to those Tecmo NES sports games! I saw a little bit of the 1992-93 playoffs, but I really started watching a lot in the 1993-94 season. I remember when Jordan retired in the summer - that was such a shock; I thought my memories of him would be forever limited since no one then was sure he would return again (I saw some of the 1993 Finals, but was still learning about the game at that time). Incidentally, I also started seriously collecting basketball in the summer (technically, my first basketball cards were actually 1991-92 Fleer Tony's Pizza from pizza boxes, and while I loved those, I didn't understand basketball at the time). My first batch of packs in the summer included some 1991-92 Fleer, 1992-93 Fleer, 1992-93 Hoops, 1992-93 Topps, 1992-93 Topps Archives (the best-smelling cards of all-time), and 1992-93 Ultra packs. For my ninth birthday in 1993, I got a box of 1993-94 Fleer basketball cards. I remember getting very excited over pulling the draft redemption card. I sent it in and got a set of the 1993-94 lottery picks, including Chris Webber and Anfernee Hardaway.
When I was a kid, I will admit I took horrible care of my cards. I tossed them into a box and handled them constantly. I didn't care about value then, even though I got monthly Becketts - and it probably wasn't much of an issue that I didn't care about value, considering cards were highly overproduced in those days. Also, since kids are so tactile, handling them was actually fun for me. I would feel the sharp edges until they turned round, I would smudge the gloss since it "felt cool," and I often wrote on the cards! Sometimes I would pull out cards at random and create "fantasy teams" with them. Don't worry, none of these old habits persist into my adult years!
It wasn't until 1997 when I started taking better care of my cards. That is the year I pulled my Grant Hill 1996-97 SkyBox Autographics from a mere retail pack of 1996-97 Hoops at an Eckerd X drug store. I remember showing it to my late brother when I pulled it; he was amazed. (He died only a few months later.) I think I also got an Iverson rookie in that same pack.
My online trading started in 1997 as well, though it really didn't take off until 1998 or 1999, when I started making many deals on the newsgroup rec.collecting.sport.basketball. The hobby was also changing a lot at that time - high end products like Topps Chrome were generating interest, although there was still a significant low end market as well. I also joined a Yahoo collecting group in 2000 when rec.collecting.sport.basketball started to stagnate a little, and I made lots of deals on there until 2002. 2002 is when I started college. I took a year off from collecting when I began college, so I didn't get any basketball cards during the 2002-03 season. I also threw away most of my old collection and started basically from scratch late in the 2003-04 season when I resumed collecting.
I joined SCF in early 2005, and my collection has really skyrocketed since then! I started collecting Antoine Walker sometime in the summer of 2005, and that collection is now up to 717 different cards, a basketball "supercollection" by SCF's standards. I also have started and completed many basketball sets from various years. Never has my collection been so large and varied; even the thousands of cheap early and mid 1990s cards I had as a youth can't begin to compare in size, and especially not in value.
My greatest all-time pull besides the Hill Autographics was the yellow 1-of-1 2005-06 Topps Total printing plate of Chris Paul. I got that from a single hobby pack valued at $1.39! I eventually traded it for several game used cards, most notably a 2005-06 Upper Deck Debut Threads jersey card of LeBron James, which is currently my favorite card in my overall collection right now. Sure, I probably lost value on that trade, but I would do it over again. I actually lost MUCH more value when I stupidly traded away my Hill autograph in 1998 for a few inserts which were lower in book value than the guy who traded them to me claimed. I was young and naive then! Thankfully, I've learned much more about collecting, and yet it's still enjoyable as it ever was - even when I was a kid!
So yeah, that's my story.