This was one of the quotes I copied from the film release Ultimate Baseball Collector's Collection.I think it is a little disconcerting when young baseball fans are more interested in the value of a player's baseball card than his batting average. In some ways that's a tragedy.
What's a Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Upper Deck rookie card worth?
Jose Canseco's '86 Donruss?
How about Nolan Ryan's 1968 Topps rookie?
What's the high book value of a 1996 Upper Deck Derek Jeter card?
When I was collecting as an older kid and teenager, these were questions I knew the answer to off the top of my head. Back then, everything had a certain value, and I made sure I knew it. The "cash" value of a card, according to the Beckett guide, really meant everything. I didn't have to have the most expensive card, and collecting wasn't about the money, but I knew its value. I knew that base Griffey cards from a quality release were worth about $3 each, while from a standard set like Topps or Donruss they'd be worth about $2. When the next month's Beckett came out, I'd check to see how I did on my box breaks from the month before. "Wow! That parallel I pulled from Stadium Club is worth $60! Awesome!"
Did I know Griffey's batting average? Usually. I knew how many home runs players had, where teams were in the standings, and what happened the night before, thanks to Sportscenter.
But I know back then, most people were interested in the value of their collection more than the players in the collection. More people collected Griffey than, say Will Clark, because they knew that Griffey's cards would put their kids through college. (Did that ever work for anyone? Honestly?)
I know I've seen parents caution little kids about keeping their cards in mint condition, but six year olds don't love something they can't play with. I've always suggested when getting children involved with baseball cards that they buy them inexpensive packs and let them play with them as they wish - condition isn't important when developing a love of the hobby. As they grow older, you can introduce them to proper techniques for storage and handling so they can keep nicer cards to enjoy for years. It shouldn't be about the money, but cards can become a great lesson in value, including and especially intrinsic value.
I remember at some point in the '90s I mentioned to someone that I collect cards, and they asked me, seriously: "Do you wear white gloves and stuff to handle them?" The perception at that time was that any card was an investment in the future and the shiny, new cards like Topps Finest would be worthless with so much as a fingerprint smudge on them.
I've grown since then. I have a Beckett on my coffee table, and I refer to it a few times a week. I use it to ensure I'm not being cheated before bidding on some cards on eBay, and more as reference for things such as insertion rates. Of course, things are different now, anyway. Most people don't look to Beckett to price cards at shows anymore, and I have an idea of what a card is worth to me, regardless of "book value". Where in the past I used software to track the value of my collection, complete with up-to-date pricing information, everything these days are listed in Google spreadsheets. In fact, other than the set collections (where specific card numbers are important for set-building) and my personal collections (because the specific cards in those collections are what matters to me), I don't know what cards are part of each collection. I have a real nice 1/1 autographed patch card from 2005 Absolute Memorabilia. I pulled it from a pack - my first 1/1, and a nice one at that. But I don't remember who it is, because the player on the card doesn't matter to what the card represents, and neither does its value.
Getting back to the quote itself, the person in the video says it's a tragedy when a kid is more interested in a player's card value than his average. Do you agree? How much about the value of a card should a child have?
What are your thoughts on the quote? Plenty of room below!