Musings from the sports desk: Card Collecting

What happened to it? 



In the next few weeks, I plan to explore what exactly happened to card collecting. It was a big, big thing in the 1990s and the handful of decades before. But today… it’s pretty much nonexistent. 

If you have a Mike Trout rookie card? Who cares. Steph Curry? Please. There’s probably some kid out there who’s psyched he caught a virtual Charizard on Pokemon Go. 

I want to know the real reason as to why trading cards, while still widely available, suddenly went out of style. 

I hope to reach out to some of the bigger fanatics in the area and pick their brains to find out what really happened. 

If any of my readers have a big collection or know of someone that has the biggest allotment around – let me know, please. 

I want to talk to you and hear your story.  

Growing up in the 90s, it card collecting was still a hot thing to do. I remember having a pretty big collection of trading cards – mostly baseball – and being excited to buy the next pack. 

It used to be such a simple hobby, run to the local hobby store, Walmart or Target, throw a few bucks down and open up the next glorious pack. It didn’t take much time or effort, and it was fun coming up with creative ways to organize the cards. Heck, maybe you even pulled off a trade or two with your buddies. 

My dad got me started on collecting, he has a pretty sizable surplus, binders and binders full of baseball cards. He was so dedicated at one point he collected the entire roster of the Oakland As from the 1970s. I, of course, being the sports nut that I was and still am today, was blown away by his massive collection. 

He hasn’t collected any cards in quite some time, and neither have I. Honestly, I can’t even begin to remember when the last time I bought a pack of cards. Definitely not within the last 15 years. 

I do remember one of my childhood friends having a massive collection of Shaquille O’Neal trading cards – he probably had at least 50 cards from the seven-footer’s Orlando Magic and LA Lakers days. 

I thought I had some valuable cards on my hands, an Alex Rodriguez rookie card was supposed to be my ticket to the millionaire lifestyle. Or how bout an image of Michael Jordan’s last shot as a Bull? Turned out to be pretty worthless. 

Some cards, yes, are still worth incredible amounts of money today (I.e. the illusive Ty Cobb or Mickey Mantle can make you six figures real quick), but is there an athlete’s card in the modern era that’s worth anything at all? 

Lebron James’ rookie card I’m sure isn’t worth a whole lot, or is it?  And why, historically, is a baseball card more valuable than any other sport? 

Regardless of the money involved, I thought it was cool to be filled with excitement when one of my favorite players appeared in a random pack.

One day, I hope my basement is littered with memorabilia, and I’ll certainly have some trading cards framed throughout. I think it would be a neat little addition. 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t even begin to tell you where my collection is, it’s definitely at my parents’ house somewhere. My dad probably hasn’t collected cards since the 80s and my childhood friend, who knows if he still has all those Shaqs compiling dust. 

Collecting stop so abruptly, can we figure out why? 

If you have a story for me or know of someone that can help explain why exactly this once popular hobby disappeared, let me know. I can be reached here at the office at 386-4161, by email or on Twitter (@BrandonJHurley). 



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Jefferson, IA 50129

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