How Did You Grow Your Collection?

I still remember being a kid and opening a brand new pack of baseball cards. The sound of the wrapper opening was the soundtrack to my childhood summers. I can still feel the stiff cardboard and that bubblegummy scent that lingered on the card long after you chewed the poor cement-like stick that came in the package. “Who’d you get?” was the most common phrase spoken between my friends and I. There was always someone to get excited about, even if it was only because you knew a card could be used as trade ammunition with a friend.

I spent the majority of my summers riding my bike, doing chores around the house, and then spending my allowance money on baseball cards. I would build entire cardboard teams. My friends were all interested in cards but I was different, even then. I was too serious about my collection. I had the cards all in binders, in pocket pages, organized by team and position. I loved the Topps cards. That fake wood background! Come on, how could you not love that? My goal was to have every card Topps made. All of my spare money and time went into collecting.

As we all got older, my friends lost interest. They moved on to other things like cars, girls, music, or something else. Not me, though. Trading card companies were booming, adding different series of cards and glossier, better-quality photos. So I stayed interested in them. I kept adding to my collection. I needed more and more pocket pages to add to my ever growing collection of binders. My parents, I think, started to get a little alarmed, but they never outright discouraged me from collecting.

I didn’t go far for college and majored in business. I worked, and between the hours there and the cost, financially and time-wise, for school, I did not have a lot of time or money to add to my collection. I think everyone thought I had finally let go of my “childish” hobby. Until I went to my first trade show one summer and made over $300 dollars selling cards. My parents couldn’t believe it—although whether it was the amount of money or the fact that I had to part with some cards to get it is still unclear. I went to a few more trade shows during breaks in school, buying and selling cards, until I graduated college.

Then I graduated, and everyone was curious to see what I would do with this great new degree I had in my hand. I am not sure why they expected anything other than me opening my own card shop, which is what I promptly did. I’ve been doing this for awhile now and I can honestly say that I love my job. I’ve expanded into trading cards for other sports and memorabilia as well. I don’t mind going to games and getting stuff signed “for work” at signing events. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day.

So that’s the story of my collection. How about yours?