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Full Version: It's True, Kids Used to Collect Baseball Cards
Collector Zone > Collector Corner > Hobby Talk
by Atlanta_Chris on Mar 11, 2012 10:00 AM EDT in Braves Cardboard Sundays

I know that there are kids that still collect baseball cards, but for the most part, they must be in hiding. Iíve seen the occasional kid with his Dad at a card show. A few were clearly there against their will, but most seemed to be truly into the experience. I can distinctly remember one kid running across the room to tell his Dad about a card displayed by one of the dealers at a show I went to late last year. Other than card shows though, I canít remember the last time I saw a kid anywhere near baseball cards. I donít think that Iíve ever seen a kid at the baseball card rack at Target or Wal-Mart. Iíve never seen a kid in one of the (admittedly few) local card shops I visit. They just arenít there.

When did the kids leave the hobby? My Dad and my Uncle collected baseball cards. My brother and I collected baseball cards. A great many of our friends collected baseball cards. There were kids younger than me in the neighborhood where I grew up still collecting cards in the early 1990s. Where are they now?

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I think there are a few reasons why kids are no longer collectors.

Reason 1: Lack of interest in sports. They are interested in playing sports but truly fail to follow a specific teams. In a lot of cases, individual players are "bigger" than team they play for because they are always on the news. Kids, if interested in sports, will follow individual players instead of a specific team.

Reason 2: This has, in the last twenty years or more, become an electronic world? What kid would want to collect a boring piece of cardboard when they have X-Box, PSIII, computers, etc to entertain them. Us old farts didn't have that kind of entertainment and cardboard held more appeal.

Reason 3: With the exception of Topps base sets, most sets have kids priced out of the market. Their allowance simply won't allow them to purchase packs and boxes for a lot of the higher appeal sets.

Those are a few reasons I can think of. I'm sure there are many more reasons that I am missing, but these are the ones that seem the most obvious to me.

It's been at least 3 years since I bought a pack of any sports cards. We've all seen how much packs are. Most kids can't afford them.
Not to mention the disappointment of buying a moderately priced box with a couple months allowance and pulling nothing exceptional.
There are kids that collect. I have seen a few at the shows locally, but the majority would rather play video games. I don't think prices factor in some kids get packs as rewards from their parents, grandparents, etc. Someone is buying those packs at Target, Walmart, etc, not just us old people.
QUOTE(northicehero99 @ Mar 22 2012, 05:43 AM)
not just us old people.

Who you calling old ? laugh.gif
QUOTE(THUNDER9 @ Mar 21 2012, 11:34 PM)
Not to mention the disappointment of buying a moderately priced box with a couple months allowance and pulling nothing exceptional.

That's the biggest letdown I have of the hobby. Not the disappointment of pulling nothing exceptional but rather the expectation that there has to be something exceptional in there in the first place. What ever happened to collecting cards of your favorite teams and players.

Its not the price of the products. There are lots of products that kids can afford. Heck, a lot of kids nowadays have more disposable income than adults. I put a $20.00 bill in my nephew's birthday card and when he opened it at the party he was very happy with it. He got $25.00 from a classmate. What a cheap uncle I am I guess. I realize that the $25.00 most likely came from the other kids parents but my point is he hauled in almost $75.00 from that party and that was not counting the cash from his two sets of grandparents. He could by boxes and packs if he wanted to.

KHarmons first two point were right on the head (though I disagree with his third as I have pointed out above) kids have too many more options and those options are much more fun.

What kids need to get into the hobby is an adult to show them what it can be like. What I mean is someone who can show them the satisfaction of completing a set or reaching a goal for a certain number of cards of their favorite player or team. Unfortunately if they do get any guidance it usually from someone bragging about how much money he can get for this or that card on ebay which set the totally wrong example to get kids interested longterm in the hobby.

When you talk to kids about cards don't bring up values or money. I got a 1/10 insert of a Bears nobody in a lot that I got for my nephew and I pointed out that there were only 10 of those made. Only 9 other people in the entire world could have that card. I didn't point out that these cards are worth more than ones that there are more of because I don't want him to get fixated on value. Well... that and because I probably only paid a buck for it anyway... but still, my point is don't focus on the value. Don't say things like "this this is only a base card" or " the only ones that are good are the numbered cards" that tells them that only certain cards have value and the object for now is to get them to believe that all cards have value.

Don't tell kids that if they complete the set it will be worth a lot of money or if they put these cards away in a safe and don't ever touch them or look at them they will pay for their college one day. Mostly because its probably a lie and lying to kids isn't usually a good thing but even more importantly kids live for today. They need immediate gratification. If they put it away for the future they will most likely forget about it.

Don't tell the kids that their cards have to be locked away in a hermetically sealed case of virtually indestructible plastic and viewed through three inches of UV proof glass Don't tell them they can only handle their cards after they have washed their hands for 17 minutes with an industrial strength disinfectant and donned three pairs of hypo allergenic latex gloves. Lose the penny sleeves. Let them handle the cards. Let them feel the cardboard. Let them touch the patch eek.gif Better yet, do it with them. Kids are hands on they want to be a part of what they are doing looking but not touching is a good thing to teach kids regarding other peoples property but it won't work with cards. Especially with younger kids.

Here is one suggestion. If you know a kid who has more than a passing interest in a particular sport or team or player but has not really showed any interest in collecting cards buy them a huge lot of cheap base. This probably works better for sports and teams than players since favorite players tend to be the ones that cost more (even for cheap stuff) and it allows for more hands on activities. Explain the different ways the cards can be sorted, by team, by player, by position, by card manufacturer by team set etc. Point out the difference in the card types. Base, parallel, insert, rookies etc. don't mention anything about current or future value. Chances are if you bought a huge lot of base there is nothing that will be of value now or in the future anyway. Telling them they may be worth money someday will do two things. It will give them unrealistic expectations about all cards which will only set them up for disappointment later on and it will take the focus off the cards and put it on money.

Most importantly get involved. Someone on another thread mentioned giving out cards for Halloween. That's a great idea. Buy a huge lot of "junk" base of your local team and make up packs. Buy a few boxes of "junk" wax and give them out.

There are a lot of things you can do but IMO one of the most important things is to not bring up the money or value side of it. If they get hooked on the hobby they will unfortunately most likely figure that out for themselves eventually anyway.
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