Re: Baseball Cards In A Slump: Sales down 80 percent since 1991 (Fleer out of busine
I remember back in 1990 when I actually collected an entire set of TOPPS cards by buying the individual "wax-pack" cards and trading doubles with friends that lived on my street in order to get the cards I was missing. The last card I needed to complete my set was a Marquis Grissiom card, and I must've bought a dozen packs looking for that one!
I miss collecting baseball cards, and I think that people are missing the point of baseball cards if they bought them looking at them as an investment. Buying and trading cards, for me, was all about getting the neat looking pictures, being able to flip them over and read the statlines on any player, getting a full team set for the Reds, and possibly getting the hot "Rookie" card or whatever the big "error" card was (when I was growing up, it was the Upper Deck "Ben McDonald" Orioles card, had a whopping $35 out of the pack) that would shoot up in value, not so much because I would ever sell it, but because it was cool to know that you had a card that was worth money.
We'd read "Beckett" to see what the hot cards were, to check out what the designs would look like for the next season, and to fight with one another over whether Topps or Donruss was the better buy.
It kinda saddens me to think that kids these days would rather play with Pokemon cards than collect baseball cards. I truly blame Upper Deck for wrecking the card market by pushing the industry towards "high quality" cards that cost a lot of money to buy. When I was collecting Topps, each pack of cards was .50, and you got a piece of gum. For a 9 year old kid, .50 packs let you get two or three with your allowance money per week (or, at the very least, talk your mother into buying a pack for you at Walgreens). When Upper Deck started in with the $1.50-$2.00 packs, it just became too expensive to collect.
The card makers really missed their mark in an effort to appeal to babyboomers who were attempting to "rebuild" the portfolios of cards that they had thrown out in their youth; baseball cards aren't supposed to be high-quality masterpieces of digital art. They are supposed to be cheap. The gum is supposed to taste grainy and awful (if you wanted good gum, you bought a pack of "Big League Chew"), and the sugar is supposed to ruin the top card in the pack.
22 Years and Counting...