In the good old days, as we used to call them, kids got all excited about spending their pocket money buying up packs of gum so that they could get their hands on the sports cards inside. The idea was to get the complete set, and these actually became quite valuable when collecting was at its peak. Football cards, or any other kind of genre, even had certain players whose cards, because of their rarity, could sell for mega bucks. Having it signed by the player made it even more of a treasure since this was very hard to achieve for sure.
However, this pastime actually went through a bit of a decline in recent years and many shops found themselves with stock which would not sell. Many closed down, but those that hung on in there now find that the hobby is doing very nicely, thank you. In fact, it has become a bit of a niche market now so they are certainly making a living from what they are doing.
With the advent of the internet, people now find it much easier to get what they are looking for of course. These days also, manufacturers are foregoing the gum inserts and just selling full sets of players and games so that the avid collector can just get what he wants when he wants it. This may have taken out the excitement level, but still, as long as the collector gets what he wants, does it really matter? Also online, there is a whole host of collectors who buy and sell very old and rare cards so that they can complete sets or start up another collection. They also may be willing to barter some too so this may not cost as much as one would think. Indeed, as these are died in the wool collectors, they often have their own jargon too so be careful if this is the first foray into swapping.
Around the country these days, many companies will get together and hold a convention so that collectors from all over the country, and indeed the world, can come along and literally soak themselves in the culture. They will eat, sleep and breathe the hobby for a few days and they may also score the one that they have been looking for over the years. They may just strike up some new friendships too so this could well be fun as well.
Online stores are probably the best way to start looking for sets or individual pieces. The store will have a full listing of what it has on offer including player, manufacturer and price etc. If the collector has something to sell, they may well want to buy this too but be aware that this has to be in pristine condition, maybe with the original wrapping also, for the store to be interested. Whatever it is, just let them know and work from there. Blogging on these sites may also turn up some rare examples so give this a try too.
By: → Stewart Wrighter