Monday, October 31, 2011

Rude awakening #879

At least several times a year, an enterprising young journalist and Generation X product who may have been a baseball card collector in his childhood and adolescent years becomes curious about the value of his collection and sets out on a journey.  Through visits to the usual suspects (card shops, Craigslist, eBay, etc.), he inevitably discovers that cards from that era are generally worthless upon committing his adventure to print. 

Ultimately, the story ends with the writer deciding the memories are worth more than any monetary gain he might receive from his collection. 

And so goes another one of those stories............

A collection of memories

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Babe Ruth's First Baseball Card!

With only a dozen of these known to exist, I can only guess that the reason this card hasn't made it to the level of the Honus Wagner in terms of value (or even surpassed it) is because the story (or combination of various urban legends) behind it isn't quite as interesting.  I've always wanted to visit Baltimore.  Now I have another reason.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Living an alternative (baseball card buying) lifestyle, Part I -- Becoming a social butterfly

Card buying and collecting has been revolutionized over the past 20 years.  While the glut of product has made set building and pursuit of hits for relic and auto collectors of a particular player or team both expensive and difficult via traditional methods, the arrival of eBay changed the hobby forever. 

If there's one thing we have learned as collectors and hobbyists whether buying or selling on eBay, however, it is that change is inevitable.  While eBay still claims to be for the little guy, most Power Sellers and other experts will quickly point out that the master plan of CEO John Donahoe has been to rebuild eBay into Amazon.  Seller fees continue to gradually increase, leading to a more costly presence for smaller Store owners, to the point where inventory of available cards to fit your collection is dwindling despite eBay's still very formidable marketing muscle. 

Online sports card buying is here to stay, and the increasing dissatisfaction with eBay has opened the door for multiple new sites and ways to buy and/or sell cards.  In the first of a multi-part series on this blog, we'll give you the hook up to a few of them.

***DISCLAIMER*** The writer of this blog has not bought and/or sold cards on all of the sites listed, and is in no way endorsing them, their fee structure, feedback system, or anything else regarding their site.  I welcome any and all comments both pro and con on this blog so we can get a better idea which ones to patronize and which ones to avoid.  As always, the individual buyer or seller is as responsible for how the experience goes on these sites as the customer support of the site itself. 

Social networks have begun to have a strong Group presence among card buyers and sellers.  We'll start this series by giving you several Facebook-based Groups and Pages devoted to buying, selling, and trading.  You might find a great buy while stalking your long lost ex! :-) 

  • Baseball Card buying, trading, and selling - A very active group (currently 147 members and growing) with some really good higher end relics and autos to be found.  I have done some trading here and had very pleasant experiences thus far.  Like most Facebook Groups and social networking itself, there is some bickering and pettyness among certain members, but overall a great place for player and team collectors. 
  • Yardsellr - Founded by former eBay execs, Yardsellr was designed to integrate the "yard sale" experience into social networking.  You can easily blast your inventory onto Facebook and Twitter from the Yardsellr site.  The good news for sellers is there are no listing or final value fees here!  The bad news for buyers is that an additional fee is tacked onto their purchase price.  Another difference between here and eBay is that while PayPal is accepted here, it isn't forced on you.  Their merchandise is divided into can find one for Baseball Cards.  And many of the blocks have dedicated Facebook Pages, which brings us to.......
  • There are also PLENTY of local "online yard sale" pages and groups on Facebook.  The size of the following normally depends on the size of the city.  My home county has an Etowah County Online Yard Sale!! page 5,000+ members strong!  Shipping costs and hassles, not to mention sales tax, could be alleviated on top of getting a nice bargain. 

Now more than ever, eBay certainly cannot be ignored, but there are plenty of ways around it to find great bargains and better terms for sellers, and in this case you never have to leave Facebook, where you might spend too much time anyway! 

Please comment if I missed a Facebook-based card buying, selling, or trading group OR list a local "yard sale" page or group you may know about that has cards. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Harper's Bazaar

For the second straight season, a Washington Nationals phenom is driving the sports card market.  This week, his current minor leaue team's hometown paper and SI take a look at his card values, his questionable attitude, and most important to hobbyists and investors, the value of his autograph along with his willingness to sign it. 

Have you had a big Harper pull from a box break?  Share it with us! 

For kids and adults, the hunt is on for Bryce Harper's autograph



Monday, July 25, 2011

Topps lets its (facial) hair down

Over the years, various characters of the game of baseball have become characters of the game thanks to facial hair.  That might not have been their only quirk (Al Hrabosky, Rollie Fingers, etc.), but it certainly made them unique.  Those beards and 'staches have been featured on dozens of baseball cards over the years, but always as part of the rest of their body, and normally in uniform.  Only now has a beard taken on such a life of its own that it will now be immortalized on its own card.  I'll give you three guesses who the beard belongs to......first two do not count :)

Brian Wilson's Beard Gets Own Baseball Card

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Lost Art Revived By Jimmy Fallon & Bob Costas

Granted, they are '89 Topps, but if you're looking for an easy and fun way to knock your baseball cards right out of mint condition, Jimmy Fallon and Bob Costas bring an age-old game back to life.......

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The "state of the hobby" address

The North County Times has just done an excellent three part series on the baseball card hobby, covering what it used to be, where it is today, and what the future might hold.  Most of the heavy hitters in the business are quoted, and the point of view of the brick and mortar dealer, the manufacturers, and the collector are covered.  It's a very nice, and accurate, summary of how we got here and where we might be headed, although if I have one qualm, it would be the glossing over of the impact of eBay (and on a broader scale, the internet itself) on both mom and pop dealers and on the hobby itself. 

Take a look at all three parts below............

BASEBALL CARDS SPECIAL REPORT PART I: Once-thriving baseball card industry tries to hold on to collectors

BASEBALL CARDS SPECIAL REPORT PART II: Baseball card business came crashing down after its peak 20 years ago

BASEBALL CARDS SPECIAL REPORT PART III: Sports cards evolving in effort to lure next generation of collectors