Thread: What happened to Baseball Cards?
10-30-2012, 10:59 PM #1
What happened to Baseball Cards?
I'm new to the site and I've recently started collecting again. My collecting came in an end right around 1998. Now, I honestly feel like I'm in the first episode of The Walking Dead. What happened to baseball cards? Fifteen years ago my town had five card shops now we have one (and it's 80% comics). I'd love to hear from anyone who has a perspective on today's baseball card collecting culture. Thanks.
10-31-2012, 01:12 AM #2
Well I recently got back into cards, after splurging around and trying to figure out what exactly I Like I now mainly only collect baseball cards. From what I've noticed (from a noob perspective) baseball cards and trading cards in general are now mainly an adult hobby, with GU's and AUTO's being the main focus and with the average Hobby Box being around $100 kids can't afford that... and there you go, there just aren't that many collectors out there nowadays.
Another thing I've noticed, a lot of kids are just not that into sports anymore, which I find to be disturbing, kids seem to be more into YuGiOh, Pokemon, MTV, Emo stuff and taking recreational drugs rather than be into sports. It's sad, back in my day NFL stars like Joe Montana, Steve Young, Bill Romanowski, they were role models to kids, nowadays kids look up to.... Lady Gaga or something...
For you parents out there who encourage your kids to be into sports, who take your kids to ball games or drive your kids to soccer or football or hockey practice, I applaud you, you guys are doing a great job! It's so rare to see a kid walking around wearing a NFL or MLB shirt or a hockey jersey, all I see nowadays are kids shopping at places like Hot Topic n such, it annoys the heck out of me...
Sorry to go off and rant, but there you have it, trading cards originally was a kids product, it's now mainly focus on adults since most kids don't really care about sports and there really aren't that many collectors out there.
10-31-2012, 01:15 AM #3
It's about the money, not the hobby for a lot of the people in it.I do not use Paypal.
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10-31-2012, 01:57 AM #4
The biggest thing that has happened since 1998 is the internet. There is so much overhead cost when running a brick and mortar store vs the internet. Thus, internet prices are almost always cheaper and it's so much easier to search for cards on the internet rather then digging through box after box at a store.
Today's card collecting culture is mostly adults (and older men at that), however even with one major manufacturer remaining (topps), I think the baseball card industry now is stable. Topps puts out an incredible range of product from the 660 base set (still only $49) to $100 cards. However, the big profit for Topps is high end products where people chase autographs, limited issue cards, hobby boxes, and other goodies.
Cards values have dropped since 1998 for the most part, and factor in inflation only makes it worse. What really hurt the industry was massive overproduction from the mid 80s until 1994, and the players strike. Cards also made during the over-production error are generally worthless with a few exceptions.
But baseball card collecting is still a fun hobby and there's so many different ways of collecting.
however, if one is in baseball cards for the money, it's about the worst investment you can make.
10-31-2012, 09:36 AM #5
I'm a 40 year old who has been in and out of the hobby for years. In 2006 I came back to the hobby and have enjoyed collecting tremendously. People all see the changes differently and I'm no different. The hobby now is so aimed at your wallet it's sometimes sickening. As mentioned before the Internet and eBay in particular have changed the hobby forever, some ways are good and some bad. Take time and find what you like, ask questions and just have fun. I suggest collecting for fun and not investing like so many people try to do.Collecting Baseball Rookie Cards.
10-31-2012, 10:07 AM #6
I'd second most everything said. Except I don't know about it being strictly an older man's hobby though. We did a poll a while back and I think I remember the majority of SCF collectors being under 30 something.
However many aspects of the hobby are definitely too expensive for kids collecting on an allowance.
I also quit collecting in the late '90s and picked back up about 2 years ago, so I missed the huge change as well, but from what I can tell the biggest catalyst responsible for such transformation in the hobby was the Internet. I can only imagine the difficulty of building a player rainbow without the Internet. A rainbow is usually a common card followed by 6 to 10 colored parallels. Some colors are serial numbered to /500 and some /25, /5, and /1. That parallel idea would not have been a catching trend without the Internet granting collectors access to the many packs opened around the world. And obvously the shortest prints are the toughest to pull, so they can be uber expensive to buy ($100+).
Another dominent theme in today's hobby are the patches and autos. Both are expensive, with the cost depending on the player.
Another way to collect is prospecting. Those are your investor collectors and from what I hear it's a hit or miss gamble.
Topps has a monopoly in the hobby, but there's a wide variety of products being released. There's a way to collect for everyone and for every budget.
If you dont want to spend a small fortune you can still build some really nice modern sets.
I'm a player collector. Some people are set builders, some only collect autos.
Find that niche that satisfies you.
It's still a great and satisfying hobby.
10-31-2012, 10:37 AM #7
I agree with most of everything said. I know two guys who had stores and because of the cost of rent have closed up shop and now strictly sell on the bay. I recently (2009) started to collect game-used cards and miss stopping by to talk. Like was said, when I was a kid cards were mainly for us, now because of the price I think it's geared more toward at least a slightly older crowd. Another thing that was mentioned was kids are not into sports anymore. Along the same line I don't believe most kids appreciate the tradition of each sport. In the mid 1990's I went to a free signing at a department store with Walt Frazier. There were just a handful of people there. Two weeks later they had a signing with John Starks. The line was out the door and around the corner. Gunner Starks could not hold "Clyde's" shoes in my book. Did I say gunner, sorry. Since then for the past 15 years or so I think it has gotten worse not better with the kids appreciation for the game(s) tradition. Just my two cents.
10-31-2012, 05:10 PM #8
Wow. I find all of this really fascinating. Thanks for all the input. I miss the days of walking into my favorite card store and having the owner know exactly who my favorite players and brands of cards were. The internet is a great tool but it's also extremely detrimental to building a sense of community. Hopefully, SCF can fill that void.
I still don't know what to think about today's cards but I'm happy I found this place and I'm happy to be collecting again.