My son ... enjoying my 1958 Topps All-Star Mickey Mantle.
For about as long as I can remember, I’ve heard nothing but adults preaching about how card collecting is for kids.
It’s a common thought among those who never really dabbled in the cardboard themselves. They see the way the small cards capture ones attention and remember how they or their friends played with cards. And then they remember how they grew out of them — assuming everyone else did as well.
But this is not true.
The world of card collecting is very much an adult hobby now. Have you seen the prices? Have you walked into any card shop or card aisle at any major big box store? More times than not, those missing packs were not purchased by children. Those were adults’, baby!
But how does that make you feel? Assuming you’re an adult of some sort reading this little blog/diary of my card collecting journey. How does it feel to know that you participate in a hobby that is widely considered a child’s game?
This topic comes to mind because my wife and I participated in a multi-family garage sale this weekend hosted by a family with two tweenage boys. Yes, I said tweenage. I digress.
The boys are the product of a husband and wife who have been involved in cards for years. The father actually owns a shop, so it is of no surprise that the offspring would also have some interest in the hobby. During this garage sale, they were selling some of their goods (singles from their collection) and I was selling 600-800 count boxes of partial sets that I was tired of looking at.
I went through their cards several times and purchased maybe a dozen or two. And they bought two partial sets — 2008 and 2009 Topps baseball. I watched them as they enjoyed the cards that had been sitting in my storage for years collecting dust. When the garage sale was over, I ended up giving them the other 13 partial sets that I intended to sell. I knew they were going to a good home.
But somewhere along the way, my wife’s friend — the link between me and the host family — stopped and said to me, “Is it weird knowing that you share a hobby with a 9 year old?”
I laughed because it was a valid question. I don’t think she was saying it to belittle what I do. Hell, she also has been involved in some fashion in the hobby over the years.
But the little statement came at an interesting time. Not 5 minutes earlier I was watching the two sons go through cards, talking about how the players look, their stats, etc. They were enjoying the cards … not their potential worth.
It’s interesting to see the interaction between a kid and their cards. I can remember having the same conversations with my friends. But now some 24 years into my cardboard journey, my discussions are predominantly focused on a cards’ value.
So to answer the question …
It feels a little odd to know I share a hobby with 9 years olds. But at the same time, it’s also kind of neat knowing that because that, two people who are several decades apart in age can have a valid conversation based solely on their hobby and their enjoyment of sport.
This is one of the appeals of baseball and card collecting. About how in its simplest form, the hobby can bring generations of people together.