This weekend I was educated by a third grade and a seventh grade boy about the phenomena of collecting sports cards. Now, I’m so old the only cards I collected were baseball cards, which we frequently attached to the spokes of a bicycle wheel to make it sound like a motorcycle or we played a flip game to trade cards. Of course I could buy five or so cards for a quarter and get a delicious piece of bubble gum.
Well, according to my new boy friends collecting cards is a big deal, not to mention a big money maker these days. Special boxed sets can reach thousands of dollars each, while some beginner sets average $50. Cards are available in any sport from the obvious baseball, basketball, football, hockey to soccer and wrestling. Sports cards may be submitted for grading to a number of companies like Beckett, PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), and SCG where a card’s worth is determined on centering, corners, edges, and surfaces. To possess a score of 10 increases the value when compared to a one or 2. Further, this authenticity service costs a minimum of a hundred dollars per card!
Some cards may feature an actual signed autograph, a sticker autograph, or a piece of material from the player’s jersey. These additional enhancements increase the price of the card. In fact, yesterday when I was in the card store with these boys, they showed me an autographed card of a current football player I’d never heard of that was $3,000! Much more expensive than any of the signed jerseys hung around the store.
Granted I have little experience with boys this age, but it seems to me this is a giant ripoff–a small piece of cardboard printed with a photo and stats sold at the average price of ten dollars. Yet, the more I think about it as the mother of daughters, my girls collected credit cards–far more dangerous!