How To Collect Page!
I can't really tell you WHAT to collect. That is entirely up to you. You might like to collect Barbie Dolls and dress in women's underwear. That is entirely up to you and that is ok. Even if you are a dude. But as far as HOW
to collect, that has changed quite a bit the last 15 years or so. Back in the olden days of yesteryear, a collector would acquire cards basically by either acquiring cards from an adult who purchased tobacco, or later by
buying packs of candy and gum cards, or by trading your duplicates with other kids to acquire cards you needed. Cards back then were not "worth" money like vintage cards are today. This was before plastic sheets
and holders, grading services, computers and price guides. As far as pricing goes, a card was "worth" whatever someone was willing to pay for it. And back then that was not a lot of money especially considering
packs sold for 1 to 5 cents. Most kids were not spoiled little brats like the kids today; they didn't have extra money to spend unless they worked for it. So kids would take on chores, pick up a newspaper route or earn
money at home. Then they would go to the neighborhood store (this was way before Target or wall mart) and spend their earnings on the newest bubble gum or candy cards. Then they would swap or play games like
"Flipping" with their cards to try and acquire more cards. As the hobby evolved some hobby pioneers would start cataloging cards for reference and some would even assign card "values" which later developed into
"price guides." Some other enterprising pioneers began buying cards in bulk and selling them through mail order. They would run classified advertisements and buy collections and cards and more cards. Some of these
"dealers" discovered that they could actually make a living buying and selling sports card and a few became full-time dealers. Hobby periodicals like "The Trader Speaks" (see pic below) and later "Sports
Collector's Digest" were good sources to buy and sell cards. But this was before computers so everything back then was done either by mail or in person. I am not sure when the first card "shows" began, but I do
remember going to some in the 1970's when cards were somewhat still affordable. I remember going to a small show in Anaheim (near Disneyland) California and buying a 1955 Topps #2 Ted Williams for $25. I
was overwhelmed by all the cards I saw. I had $50 on me and probably spent it in less than 15 minutes! Ha ha!
The hobby really exploded in the 1980's. I think a lot of this had to do with Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers were born during or after WWll and grew up in the "Golden Era" of baseball, the nineteen fifties. Bubble gum
picture card makers like Bowman Gum, Frank H. Fleer, Leaf Gum and Topps Chewing Gum all were trying to outdo each other and this created a "Golden Era" of baseball cards as well. As the baby boomers got older,
they had extra money and they wanted to buy memories of when they were kids. So they were more than willing to shell out money for a 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle or the perceived "Holy Grail" of baseball
cards, the T206 Honus Wagner from the early 1900's. The lack of surviving examples created a classic case of "supply and demand." There was great demand but low supply. This was because a lot of vintage cards
were thrown out by mom while you were in College or the Service and back then who would have thought that these pieces of cardboard would someday be worth something. So the prices of those key cards began to
escalate, which resulted in an escalating "price" for other baseball cards, especially popular Hall of Fame players, stars, rookie cards and rare cards.
As money began exchanging hands at an accelerating rate the hobby began to take off in the 1980's. While Topps Chewing Gum had essentially been the only major producer of baseball card sets since 1956, a
lawsuit by rivals Donruss & Fleer opened the door for them to produce baseball cards in packs (albeit without the gum). In 1981 you had 3 major producer of baseball cards, and you also began to get "speculators" in
the hobby. Speculators are the guys who would buy up rookie and star cards in bulk and then resell them later at a higher price. Cards of Fernando Valenzuela, Cal Ripken, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Don Mattingly
and yes, even Jose Canseco were all selling for over-inflated prices. Everybody wanted to make a quick buck. I remember at one time a 1986 Donruss Joe Canseco would sell for $100 in ungraded "MINT" condition!
That is not a typo! Card shops began opening up and this created a boon for the card companies as they now had new outlets to sell their product. Even the card manufacturers got greedy and they responded by
producing millions upon millions of cards. Today you can find a glut of these, on eBay, thrift stores, yard sales, you name it. And you can't hardly give them away either. Remember "Supply and Demand?" Well there
was way too much supply and no demand. At least not now. So the hobby went into a sharp decline with many wanna-be card makers and card shops going out of business (thank goodness).
Today there are fewer card companies but they pretty much have shot themselves in the foot. Collectors who discovered that 1980's and 1990's cards were essentially "worthless" got turned off of collecting "modern
cards." Card makers responded by offering "Sweepstakes" and prize giveaways, "chase" cards (which were printed in limited numbers), even reprint cards of classic cards. I don't think they have ever recovered
though. But companies like Topps still are producing cards today.
The game itself has changed the hobby. A lot of old timers have either died off or (like me) are getting fed up with the business aspect of baseball. It used to be a player would be on a team for a good number of years
(especially the stars) but now you get a different team every year or so it seems. Or until your favorite player becomes a free agent and ups and leaves your team for greener pastures. Why would I want to collect the
latest "Nolan Ryan" or "Ted Williams" when they are not going to be around long? And I certainly am not going to speculate and assume that the latest hot rookie ( Steven Strassburg, Bryce Harper come to mind) cards
are going to be a future gold mine. Hey, if that is your thing, go for it. Another point; as card manufacturers began producing tons of cards it became virtually impossible (if you are a card collector) to collect every card
of a certain player. For instance, Carl Yastrzemski played from 1961-1983 and there are cards (mostly Topps) of Yaz from 1960-1984. You could get every regular Topps card of Yaz if you wanted to. But there have
been hundreds of Yastrzemski cards printed since, and collecting them all is impossible. You want every Albert Pujols card? Forget about it. Cal Ripken Jr.? Nope. Nolan Ryan? Dream on. So that sucks for the modern
I can't tell you how many email I get asking how much is this 1980 or 1990 something card is "worth."I always say the same thing; it is "worth" whatever someone is willing to pay for it. It could be fifty cents or a
quarter. It could be worth nothing. The point is, collecting is not about making a profit! A true collector does not care about making a profit. That would be an "investor" or "speculator." And collecting baseball cards
were not supposed to be about making money. To me a collector in someone who doesn't care if his cards are not GEM MINT or PRISTINE or whatever condition. It doesn't matter. Cards, like old LP's (Long playing
records) are meant to be enjoyed. They can take you back to a special place in your youth. They can remind you of some of the all-time great players and of how great the game of baseball is. Back then it wasn't about
how much this player was making, which team had the highest payroll, etc. You rooted for your hometown team and you got attached to the players, some of whom would spend most of their time with one team! Guys
like Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Koufax and Drysdale, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Yaz and Brooks. Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey (those guys played the Dodgers infield for 10 years!). Trammel and Whitiker. Today's
game is nothing like that. You have new players every 5 years or less. The teams want you to be loyal but the players are not loyal to the fans. They take the highest offer and adios amigos.
Ok, so there is my little rant & rave. On this page I am going to give you some tips on collecting. You can take it or leave it.
1962 Topps #50 Stan Musial 1970 Topps #630 Ernie Banks
Ok, first you have to decide what YOU want to collect. Don't let someone tell you what to collect! I remember this Baseball Card Shop owner back in the early 1990's telling me to pick up Steve Decker (Giants catcher)
cards; that he was going to be the next "Johnny Bench." He wasn't. This is your collection so collect what YOU want. Some collectors (like myself) prefer to collect Hall of Famers and stars. Some collectors like to
complete sets (I am currently working on a 1962 Post Cereal complete set with variations). Some like to collect all the cards of a favorite player (me too). Some collect different types of cards ("Type" collector) or some
prefer to collect cards of your favorite team (Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox are all very popular with collectors). It doesn't matter but it does help to start off with some sort of goal. For instance I wanted to collect every
Topps Roger Maris card. This is not impossible to do, though some of Maris's cards can be expensive (notably 1958 Topps #47 rookie card, 1961 Topps #2, 1962 Topps #1), but if you don't care about MINT
condition (and you shouldn't unless you are collecting modern cards) vintage cards you can pick up lower grades for a lot less. Maris also had a relatively short career (14 seasons) so there are regular Topps cards
from 1958-1968. Those are just the regular cards. You can also collect cards like League Leader cards, World Series cards, All-Star cards, highlight cards, etc. So you can collect just the regular cards or you can
collect ALL Topps cards that feature Roger Maris. Or you can really take on a challenge and try and collect EVERY Roger Maris card that was ever produced! That would be tough (and expensive) but not impossible. You
would have to track down early Maris issues like 1957 Sohio Gas, 1959 Armour Bacon, 1962 Gold Mine, 1967-68 Aamco Transmission postcard, Venezuela Topps cards and much more. It all depends on what
you want to collect and how much you want to spend.
Budget. Obviously to acquire vintage cards you are going to need money. You don't want to go into debt to buy cards so you need to set aside money specifically for this purpose. How much? This is up to you. Cards
are not a necessity so make sure you take care of yourself and your family first. Pay off bills, loans, etc. and buy groceries. And if you have anything left over well there you have it. It does not have to be a lot of money. It
can be something like five bucks. For $5 you can buy some vintage Hall of Famers from the 1970's. For $5 you can buy a 1960's League Leader card that features Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson on it. For $5 you can
buy a decent 1959 Topps Larry Doby or Minnie Minoso card. So don't despair if you don't have a lot of money.
Dealers. Dealers are people who buy cards and sell them for a profit. Dealers have to make a profit to stay in business. If you buy a card for a dollar and sell it for a dollar you are not going to make a profit and you
aren't going to be in business very long. Before the Internet, dealers had a lot of "overhead." They had to rent or lease a space, buy new product plus have vintage material for vintage collectors. But after the hobby
imploded in the 1990's, most of these shops closed up. The smart ones saw the Internet as a new opportunity. No overhead and a virtual customer base in the millions! So today the biggest and the smallest dealers can
be found on the Internet. You don't even have to be a "dealer" to wheel and deal cards. You can buy and sell cards on eBay and other online sites all by yourself! Plus for collectors you can find about every card you
would ever want on the Internet. So I have to say that the Internet has changed the hobby quite a bit. It has made it much easier for both the seller and buyer. Now there are some good dealers and there are some bad
ones. I know of one dealer in particular that charges prices over retail for vintage cards. I do now he has an extensive inventory, particularly of Mickey Mantle cards, but how in this day and age can you be charging
ridiculous prices and still be in business? I guess there is a "sucker born every minute." For instance this dealer has a 1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle PSA 5 EX for sale at $735. The card lists in PSA's SMR for $500
in a PSA 5. So why would you want to pay $235 more for this dealer's card? So that you can sell it later for a profit? Not likely. For $735 you can probably pick up a PSA 6 EX-MT example. There are a lot of dealers
who are good too. I have dealt with many over the years. The advantage of a dealer is selection. Some dealers specialize in rare cards, graded cards, ungraded (raw) cards, vintage cards, modern cards, you name it.
Some dealers will cut you a discount (it doesn't hurt to ask or make an offer that is fair to both you and the dealer), some even offer lay-away purchases. Just keep in mind that dealers are in this hobby to make a living.
They are not out stick it to you, but they do need to make a profit. I recommend finding the card(s) you want on your own (eBay, Craig list, etc.) before going to a dealer. But if you are looking for a scarce or rare card,
chances are you going to have to go to a dealer. Say you want a 1968 Venezuela Topps #177 Mets Rookie Stars (Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan). Good luck. If you look on eBay right now you probably won't find one,
but I do know one dealer that has the highest graded example (Dave's Vintage Cards; you can thank me later Dave!), a PSA 5 example. Butt it's not cheap!
Trading. You don't need to have money either. Maybe you already have a collection but want to acquire more cards. How about trading? You can get your duplicates and trade them for cards you don't have. Or
maybe there are cards you just don't want anymore. You can either trade them or sell them even to buy cards that you are looking for. I do this quite frequently on eBay.
Speaking of eBay... eBay is one of the best online sources for acquiring cards. This is one of the great sources for collectors. You can go online, anytime and virtually you can go baseball card "shopping." But you need
to be careful! You can easily spend more than you have. So make sure you set aside your budget and don't go beyond it. Otherwise you will be selling off your house, car, wife or girlfriend, kids, jewelry, and your
record collection to pay off your debt. How do I know this??? I've done it! My advice to you is, don't get yourself in trouble! I will get back to eBay as there are many features and tools to use to acquire cards for your
Auctions. Auctions are a great way to pick up cards and hopefully get a good deal on them. Of course if up for sale is a T206 Honus Wagner, don't expect to get it on the cheap. You can't. However you can get
cards, either single cards, or lots for much less than retail. "Lot" or "Lots" are groups of cards available for one bid. For instance you may be working on a particular set, say a 1962 Post Cereal set. So you are looking
through an auction catalog and it lists a lot of (46) 1962 Post Cereal baseball cards. This is a good way to fill up your want lists to complete sets. Usually how an auction works is this; first you have to register. They
don't want dead-beat bidders so they will require your name, address, phone, contact info., etc. They may have a "Reserve" or "No Reserve"Auction. A reserve auction is usually a consignment (card provided by a seller
to the auctioneer for a commission on the final sale price) and usually the seller will have a set "reserve" price. If the bidding does not meet the reserve price the card remains unsold. If the reserve is met the card will sell
for the highest bid. There are high end auction houses like Sotheby's, Memory Lane, Maestro, etc. These are for the big rollers and heavy hitters. In other words the guys with more money than they know what to do with.
So they will pay major premiums for the best of the best. A good example of this is the famous T206 Wagner once owned by Wayne Gretzky and graded PSA 8 NM-MT (highest graded example). The auction house
spends money on advertising the card, producing a beautiful color catalog and promoting the card. This attracts the big money and the last time this card sold, it went for over 2 MILLION DOLLARS. Note on high-end
auction houses. They are not cheap. They charge commissions (usually around 15%). So, say you sell your measly T206 Wagner SGC 10 POOR for only $350,000. That means the auction house gets $52,500
(15%)! That is no small potatoes! Your best bet to buy cards via auction is eBay. Most sellers will have a money back guarantee or if you use eBay's pay service (Paypal) you are also covered for some purchases. Make
sure you check the fine print before using any auction!
Card Shows (smaller shows are better!). Every few years the hobby will have a major National Convention. Called by most simply "The National," the "National Convention of Sports Collectors" is usually held in some
major city (Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, etc.) and is the largest card show in the U.S. Hundreds of dealers are on hand selling cards from the 1800's to the present day. Major card manufacturers are also on hand
to present promotional cards, and Professional Grading Services are also on hand to either accept submissions or graded your cards right there (for a fee of course). If you have never been to a National Convention you
need to go to at least one. You will see just about every card in existence. Personally I find that smaller shows are much better for the collector, but if you go to the National a word of advice. Don't immediately go to the
first table you come to and start handing over your money. Look around! Usually the best deals are the smaller dealers whose tables are not right in front of the main entrance. You can spot them by the number of people
at their tables. If you see a bunch of guys sitting down and going thru cards that might be a good place to start. Chances are that dealer is selling cards at a fair price. Also keep in mind that prices can be negotiated!
You can make an offer and the worst that can happen is the dealer will say no. Just like you can say NO and choose NOT to buy a card at a price you don't like. For instance one time I was looking for a 1971 Topps
#341 Steve Garvey rookie card for my brother. I figured I could get a nice NM (ungraded example) for around $20-$25. Wrong. I went to 4 or 5 different dealers and they wanted $35. And they wouldn't budge on
the price. So I walked away. I know I can get a better deal on eBay for a GRADED Garvey rookie so why pay more than I need to? The big plus with so many dealers and cards is that there is more of a chance that you
will find what you are looking for, especially if it is a tough to locate card. But in general small shows are better because you will have regular Joe's like you and me selling cards at a table and they are not out to make a
killing. And in this economy you should be able to get some good deals on cards.
Classifieds. Craig list online or the Recycler, or PennySaver are examples of classified ads. These can be a good source for acquiring cards. Just keep in mind that just because someone claims that they are selling
"Rare" or "Old" unopened packs or boxes of cards that it will so. Chances are the cards are from the 1980's or 1990's and these are by no means "rare." "Old?" Not really. Vintage cards are considered to be
pre-1980s. So email or call and get a better description of what the items actually are. Again, you can negotiate!
Mail Order (online dealers) Kit Young Larry Fritsch. Back in the 1970's and even up through the early 1990's I bought cards from both Larry Fritsch (Larry Fritsch Cards out of Green Bay Wisconsin) and Kit Young (Kit
Young Cards, San Diego). Both are considered "hobby pioneers" and both have excellent reputations for selling cards. Both have transitioned to online stores so they are still in business and doing well I guess. After I
discovered eBay I stopped doing business with them because usually you paid "retail" prices. In fact I told Kit Young a long time ago about eBay and he had not heard of it at that time. Now he is an eBay "Power Seller."
Hey where is my commission Kit! We had a falling out a long while back; Kit Young eight-sixed me from buying cards from them! True story. Kit Young claimed to be "conservative" on the grading but near the end I was
returning cards because they were over-graded. So they "86'd" me if you could believe that. Then I went to a National and Kit was there signing autographed pictures of himself. It was then I decided that these guys were
"fat cats" who made too much money (Kit eventually had a house built in Hawaii) off idiots like me. Larry Fritsch Cards (Larry has since passed) has an extensive inventory, especially unopened material from Topps, but
they are not cheap and their prices are usually more than retail. So I don't buy from them anymore either. Your best bet is still eBay. I still also get a catalog from All-Star Cards, they have a good selection but their prices
for the most part are retail. And again, in this economy you don't want to pay retail unless it is some very difficult item that is on your want list. I did buy a 1967 Topps #580 Rocky Colavito from All-Star cards that was
graded PSA 8. That card is a tough high number and is in high demand so the price I paid for it I felt was fair (it was a PSA 8 NM-MT centered example). They also have Auctions every month. Other dealers I have had
good relationships with are Dave Levin (Dave's Vintage Cards, www.gfg.com), Old Vintage Baseball Cards, Steve Verkman Cards (Steve also has an extensive online store and auction catalog). I will provide a listing of
dealers below that I have been happy with.
Swap Meets and Flea Markets are excellent sources for finding cards. Sometimes you can find some great deals. I remember this one time this guy got a box of 1963 Post Cereal cards for $15. Turns out the
cards included some scarce short printed cards like card number 187 Bob Aspromonte (the most expensive card in the set!). I ended up buying that card for something like $125 and that was a no-reserve auction on
eBay. So the guy who paid $15 for the lot really made out! One thing I've noticed at outdoor swap meets; sometimes the cards are left out in the sun! This is not good for cards! The color starts to fade. Also I have seen
plenty of ungraded cards that were "doctored." "Doctored" cards are cards that are made to look nicer than they are. I was looking through some 1971 Topps baseball cards, which have jet-black borders which show
the tiniest bits of wear and most were "touched up" with a black permanent marker. You can tell by holding the card at an angle also looking for "bleeding" on the card edges or reverse. Some cards have been slightly
trimmed to make it look like they have sharp corners. Reprint cards can be made to look "original" or "authentic." So be careful and keep yourself informed (See GAIN KNOWLEDGE above)
Garage and Yard Sales (Estate sales). Excellent source for finding deals on cards. Just avoid the "modern" crap!
Antique Shops (expensive). Antique shops can sometimes have vintage cards. Sometimes you can get a good price, most of the times not. This is because most antique dealers are familiar with antiques but not cards.
I remember buying a "vintage" 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig baseball card online from an antique dealer. Turns out the card was a reprint made to look like it was an original card. Luckily the dealer gave me my money
back but she said she bought them off someone who came in her shop and she didn't know anything about cards. So it was an expensive lesson for her.
Graded or Ungraded? Graded cards are cards that have been professionally graded by a REPUTABLE 3rd party grading service (Currently Becketts Grading Service (BGS), Professional Sports Authenticators Inc.
(PSA) and Sportscard Guaranty Company (SGC). For a fee you submit your cards to one of these grading services and they authenticate and assign a technical grade to each card. Most collectors prefer buying cards
that are graded and are willing to pay more than for one that is ungraded. This can save the buyer from many headaches. I can't tell you have many cards I have bought over the years that turned out to be trimmed. If a
card has been trimmed or altered in some other way (coloring, adding paper, etc.) the card cannot be graded but it can still be authenticated and slabbed with an "authentic" label. For instance an important card like an
original 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle may have been slightly trimmed so the card cannot be assigned a technical grade (though the card can not be graded any better than POOR after being trimmed) but it can still
be slabbed and labeled as "Authentic" because it is still an authentic '52 Topps Mantle, one of the most important baseball cards in the hobby. Note that ANY technical grade is better than a simple "Authentic" label.
Condition = Price. How is the price of a card determined? There are a number of factors. Player, team, scarcity and condition. You take a 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle graded PSA 7 NEAR MINT and you
have all four of these conditions met. You have MICKEY MANTLE, one of the most popular players ever on the most popular team ever (arguably)- the New York Yankees. That particular card was included in the scarce
1952 Topps high numbered series (card numbers 311-406) and a PSA 7 NM example is going to cost you at least $25,000. Well how about a PSA 3 VG (Very Good) example? Figure about 30% of the "NM" price
so about $7500. Remember nothing is set in stone. But a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is a desirable card in any condition. But the better the condition the more expensive it is going to be. The sky would be the limit for
higher grades; the card would be "worth" whatever someone is willing to pay for it. For instance the PSA 8 T206 Wagner last sold for over $2,000,000! Was there a retail price listed for that card? Because it is the
highest graded example, it is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it and the last guy paid more than TWO MILLION DOLLARS for it. Another example. How about a 1972 Topps #1 Pirates Champs (Pittsburgh
Pirates Team) PSA 7 NM? Well you have a popular team, the Pirates team at that time boasted no less than 3 Hall of Famers: Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell. Scarcity? This card is not hard to find
except maybe in a PSA 9 MINT or PSA 10 GEM MINT holder. But in general this is an easy card to find in NM condition and so you can pick up a graded copy for around ten dollars. Ok how about a 1961 Topps
#1 Dick Groat PSA 7? Alright, Dick Groat was a popular Pirates player and he won the 1960 NL Most Valuable Player Award. But he is not a Hall of Famer, nor was he a major star. The card is not scarce except in
high grade (PSA 8 and above). But being it is a number 1 card it will still be most expensive than any other "common" card in the 1961 set. Why? Back then kids would sort cards by card number. So your number one
card would be the first card in your shoe box or stack of cards held together by rubber bands. So naturally the first and last cards in a set would get the most wear and tear. Hence there is usually a premium attached to
the first and last cards of any vintage card sets. Usually you will find them in lower grades, with corner, edge and surface wear. So while this card is considered a "common"(or minor star) it would still sell for more than
a regular common from the set in the same grade. Now say you have two 1971 Topps Bert Blyleven rookie cards and they both look identical in terms of condition. Which one to take? Always go with the one with the
better centering (borders even as compared to one that is off-center one way or another). Centering is very important. If you see two 1971 Bert Blyleven rookie cards and both are graded PSA 7 NM and you are not sure
which one you want look at the centering. One may be 50-50 all around (perfect even borders on all sides) and the other is more like 60-40 side to side. The centered one is the one you want. Keep in mind that most
knowledgeable dealers take centering into consideration and may attach a premium to the better centered example. If all these number are confusing, don't be discouraged. Always keep in mind how much you are
willing to spend and pick the best condition card at that price. There are numerous price guides available; I recommend the Sports Collector's Digest Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (published annually
by Krause Publications, Bob Lemke Editor). There are also price guides for graded cards like Becketts Monthly and PSA's Sports Market Report (Price guide for PSA graded cards only). Keep in mind these are RETAIL
prices; what a dealer would normally charge for a certain card. For a better idea of what cards change hands for, check out eBay (it's free) and check out "completed listings." This will give you an idea of what certain
cards actually sell for!
Buying. There are numerous sources for buying cards. For instance: Internet (ebay, Craigslist, online dealers and auctions), Card shops, Antique Shops, Thrift Stores, Card Shows, Classified ads, etc.
GAIN KNOWLEDGE my friend! Arm and protect yourself! There are many resources at your disposable. First you have my free advice here. That is good for starters. Then you need to study up a bit. Look on eBay (it's
free to look) and familiarize yourself with cards you want to collect. You can see what sellers are asking and you can also check completed auctions to see what certain cards actually sold for! This is a very useful tool!
Another resource I use is the SCD Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards that comes out every year by Krause Publications (Bob Lemke, Editor). This catalog lists just about every known card from the beginning of
cards to the present day. The cards are listed alphabetically by manufacturer and year. A description of the cards including a picture is included as well as a checklist of every known card of that particular set. Prices
are given for the three common grades: NM (Near Mint), EX (Excellent), and VG (Very Good). NM cards in general are cards that appear like they were right out of a pack, with decent centering and relatively sharp
corners. EX cards are mid-grade but have no creases. VG cards are the most common especially with vintage cards. They exhibit honest wear but no abuse. At the beginning of the Catalog is a more detailed description
of the different types of grades plus a history of cards and other useful information. The Catalog in not cheap, about $35 but you can pick up a used copy on Amazon.com as vintage prices have not fluctuated
dramatically in the last few years. Becketts also has a yearly Almanac and it is a good resource as well but keep in mind the SCD Catalog is more comprehensive and the prices a bit more realistic than Becketts.
Becketts also produces a monthly price guide which is a few bucks and includes most major vintage cards. I don't use Becketts personally because of the high prices they use; at one time they listed both a "High" and
"Low" Price. Dealers would love to use the HIGH price to sell cards but they sure wouldn't use to when buying cards. I believe Becketts now publishes both ungraded and graded card prices. I still use my 2011 SCD
Catalog or an older PSA Sports Market Report (SMR) which is published monthly by PSA. Again, keep in mind these prices are RETAIL; what a dealer would charge for that particular card and grade. Newer cards are
not my specialty so my suggestion about them is to simply collect what you want and what you are comfortable paying. It's as simple as that!
SUMMARY. Collect what YOU want to collect and what you can afford! It's your collection, enjoy it! You can acquire new cards by simply going to a store that sells sports cards and buying a pack of cards. Stores
like Target, Wall Mart, Rite - Aid, etc. sell new cards. For vintage cards, a collector has many options. The Internet is the best way to buy, trade or sell cards. Prices of cards are determined by such factors as "supply
and demand," and the card's condition. The bottom line on pricing is that a card is "worth" whatever someone is willing to pay for it. There are many resources (besides this website) on the hobby including the Sports
Collector's Digest Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, Becketts, and much more both on the Internet or your local library.
| 1971 Topps #530 Carl Yastrzemski 1973 Topps #1 All-Time HR Leaders 1979 Topps Nolan Ryan
1954 Bowman #66 Ted Williams
Additional Reading. Here are some early books on collecting and baseball cards that I recommend. They give you the feel of what it was like to collect before money ruined it all. Both books are most likely out of print
but you can probably find used copies on Amazon.com or used book stores. They are worth searching out!
"The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book" by Fred C. Harris and Brendan C. Boyd, Sports Illustrated Books, 1973
"The Complete Book Of Baseball Cards - For The Collector, Flipper and Fan" by Steve Clark, Grosset & Dunlap, 1976
Recommended Dealers. I first recommend finding the cards you want on eBay or on your own via Swap Meets, Flea Markets, Thrift Stores, Garage and Yard sales, etc. But dealers are also a useful resource. Just keep
in mind that dealers have to make a profit to stay in business so you might have to pay "retail" prices for your cards, especially scarce or desirable cards. It never hurts to make a FAIR offer. Some of these dealers already
offer discounts (Dave's Vintage Cards already offers 15% all orders). I have personally dealt with these dealers and they are considered "reputable" within the hobby. Most also sell on eBay as well.
Dave's Vintage Cards (Dave Levin and staff provide excellent customer service and have a wide range of sports cards and other non-sports cards. Currently they are offering 15% off every order. http://www.gfg.com
Joe's Vintage Sportscards http://joesvintagesportscards.com/ (Joe specializes in SGC graded cards, all sports)
Old Vintage Baseball Cards (formerly "Marty's Stuff." Specializing in pre-1970's cards, regional issues and lots of other goodies!) http://www.oldvintagebaseballcards.com/shop/
Steve Verkman Vintage/ Clean Sweep Auctions http://www.csauctions.com/card_store/ I have dealt with Steve over many years and have worked out cash/trades with him. Steve features both an online store
(with an extensive inventory) and a regular auction which features some fantastic cards and memorabilia.