View Full Version : This moment changed the way I see sports or sports card collecting - CONTEST ENTRY

03-11-2011, 03:35 PM
There are two different events that have changed the way that I view card collecting. I’ll describe them both here, as they reflect on the good and the bad experiences that I’ve had.

I’ll start with the bad. To begin, I believe that most people are good and that everyone deserves a chance to be considered good unless they prove otherwise. This especially applies to kids. After graduating from college, I had the pleasure of working a few weekends a month for one of the local dealers, selling at his table at shows. He was the promoter of most of the shows, dealing with professional athletes and collecting money from the tables, so he needed someone to sell and make trades at his table while he promoted. Most of the people loved coming to our table because we accepted trades, when there was a time that many tables didn’t. We got lots of good trade material that we’d immediately price and redisplay. Kids especially loved our table because many of the other dealers didn’t treat kids well. We always made lots of money at the shows, mainly because my buddy and I knew what it was like to be a kids coming up to a table. To think that I was getting paid to look at and trade cards was beyond my belief. “Why the heck did I even go to college? I’d probably have done it for free” (well, maybe not for free, but you get my point). All the money my buddy and I made went right back into the hobby.

On slow days, usually only one of us worked the tables. One particular show was especially busy, so two of us worked the tables that day. There were two boys (approximately 10 years old) who approached our table and asked if we were willing to trade. Both boys had boxes of cards for us to go through, so we, as dealers were both busy. Suddenly, the dealer who was stationed across from us (approximately 15-20 feet away) walked up to our table with a 6 or 7 year old boy in tow. You could tell he was pretty steamed. He told us that the younger boy was stealing a $100 unopened box of baseball cards and had slipped it under his coat. It turned out that the older boys (one was the older brother) were the “diversion” to keep the dealers busy while the younger boy got the goods. The dealer said that we could handle it anyway that we wanted, but judging from his reaction, it was clear he thought we should prosecute. My buddy and I looked at each other in disbelief, knowing that we were partly at fault for not having one of us watching the boxes and packs more carefully.

The manner in which we handled it was to let the younger boy sit there, acting as if we were going to contact the police. We told the older boys that we were calling the police to (at the very least) let them stew in the fact that one of the kids was going to have to tell Mom that their actions sent “Billy” to jail. We let them think this for about 30 minutes before we told them to beat it.

As I sit here today, I look at my kids (daughter is 8 years old and my son is 5), I cannot fathom thinking that the older one would convince the younger one to come up with such a scheme. It was obvious that the older boys came up with the plan and convinced the younger boy to participate. However, at that moment, it really skewed what collecting meant to me because it was no longer fun. Many of the dealers at the shows really needed the money from selling at the tables as a 2nd source of income and having kids stealing sort of ruined what collecting meant to me. Even though I realized that it was business for most of the dealers (without sounding too melodramatic), collecting suddenly became more about business and less about the fun of collecting.

Fast forwarding about 10-12 years (early 2000’s) when I found online trading clubs. The first club was a club for vintage traders. The traders in this club cared more about trading and friendship. This is where I got a chance to experience the good in people because I found that many of the traders sent cards to one another without expecting anything in return. “If you need it and I have an extra, just send me your address” was the mantra. Having joined this group renewed to me what card trading was all about. Although price still had some relevance in these groups, card collecting and trading became less about book value and what Beckett reported. It was about trading, friendships, and sharing a love of sports cards. It was about a bunch of guys who realized that they were trading pieces of cardboard with one another and guys who cared about the birth of your first child. As far as trading goes, I’d much rather trade with someone (or send them something without expectations of a return) if we knew each other well enough to discuss things other than book value.

Keep trading fun. Happy trading everyone!

03-12-2011, 10:21 AM
Good stuff Guy! Thanks for the entry!

Published here: http://www.sportscardforum.com/articles/2011/03/this-event-changed-the-way-i-see-sports-card-collecting/