By Joe Abney aka stlcardinalsfan

I consider myself an average collector, a buy a couple packs here and there type of guy. Like most people on I’ve been collecting cards since I was a kid, and have switched interests several times. My current interest being the St. Louis Cardinals. Being on the forum since 2009 and amongst the online collecting community, I have started to see a disturbing trend. It’s starting to seem like I am one of the few guys who actually still gets excited over base cards.

I know base cards aren’t always something special or worth the most dough, most people just consider them fillers, but I always always always get excited when I see a St. Louis Cardinals player in the packs I buy. Yeah its really exciting to pull an autograph or game used card but the odds of getting those in just regular retail packs is crazy. Just for an example, I have been collecting for over 10 years steady….in between 2001 and 2011 I only pulled 1 game used 2001 UD legendary Jose Canseco, and 1 autograph 2001 Topps archives Carl Erskine, however in 2012 I pulled 3 autographs and 2 game used In just a single month! 2011 lineage Ripken game used, 2011 lineage Gallardo game used, 2011 platinum Bryce Harper auto, 2011 platinum Morales auto/game used, and finally a 2011 Ginter Starlin Castro auto……all out of retail packs at Wal-Mart. The Harper auto I pulled was the highest book valued card in the set and the highest book valued card I had ever pulled, being at one time over $200. When I pulled it, I automatically shouted obscenities over excitement because I knew what I had pulled…but later that day the excitement wore off and I was stuck with a card of a guy I didn’t care for, who hadn’t even debuted in the majors yet, and who could be a major flop. The next day I sold it online for $125, and with that money I bought more retail packs and several blaster boxes. Out of that lot I ended up getting several base cards of some Cardinals players that I love watching.

I think I know why I am so partial to base cards. It might have to do with growing up in the 90s. If you remember back then, the game used cards and autograph cards were a rare thing and didn’t even really start to come around until the later 90s. If you somehow found one they had a ridiculous resale value. I remember busting a box of 1999 victory with my little brother and being stoked to find all of the Cardinals cards and the Mark McGwire cards (which I still have today). Take the same scenario today, someone busts a random box of cards and they don’t get at least 3 game used or autographs they get upset and call Topps to complain about being ripped off. The mass production of game used and autographed cards has desensitized the hobby. The more and more you see autographs and game used the more and more you want them, and when you start getting them more and more they start to become just another game used or auto card in your junk pile or trade bait pile.

With this desensitization I think people have started to lose focus on why they collect cards, and the reason why card collecting is still around. I believe it’s not about the big profit and busting cases of cards turning cards around for money. The card industry was and is focused on fun! It is supposed to be fun to bust a pack of cards and find your favorite player, team, or missing cards to complete your set you’ve been working on all season. I still look at the hobby in this way, that’s why I still have loads of fun snagging a couple Cardinals base cards I don’t have for a nickel or game used or autos for a buck. in a way, I’m getting the better deal because I’m getting a card of a guy I like for such a good price….but on the other hand you are making a couple bucks off of me. I guess it can be looked at either way, but all in all I’m stuck as a low end collector in this crazy world of major mojo.