A few careless searches on eBay earlier today reminded me just how far my baseball card collection has fallen in value. It fell a lot. Seriously, it fell a lot more than I had expected or anticipated. In terms of packs of cards, I have been collecting cards from around 1985 to last year. That collecting has involved buying packs of sports trading cards at stores. A lot of them were bought at Target over the last few years. Before that the bulk of them were bought from grocery stores. I pick up a box or two. They end up on my desk and I have enjoyed opening them. The experience today is pretty much the same for me as it was decades ago. I mean they stopped putting gum in the packs, but that was pretty gross anyway.
Today for some reason it seemed like a good idea to search for “baseball card lot” on eBay. With just a couple clicks and a small amount of reading it was very clear that the value of my baseball card collection is not worth what it used to be. My large boxes of 1990’s commons cards are stored in BCW super storage boxes that hold about 5,000 sports trading cards. Within some of those eBay searches I could see stacks of those boxes in people’s basements and rooms. Each of them holding a reasonably sized sports trading card collection. Every one of those boxes contains cards that somebody cared about and carefully transferred from pack to storage. A lot of my best cards were sold about 14 years ago. In hindsight that was as sound decision. The vast boxes of common cards that are currently in the basement are not even really worth selling on eBay. I’m not entirely sure they could be abandoned (handed over) to a sports trading card store anymore. Those stores probably do not even have the space to store them in perpetuity.
Sports cards have value based on the people who want to buy them at the time they go up for sale. My guess based on a quick assessment of the online market is that the number of people selling has greatly outpaced the number of people buying. That market dynamic is a recipe for dropping prices. Most of my collection does not have any real emotional value to me outside of it being mine and I have kept it safe for over twenty years. A chunk of that collection includes graded George Brett cards, autographed Kansas City Royals cards, and autographed Kansas City Chiefs cards. Those three categories cards are not classified as common cards. That is how the bulk of my collection would be described. My collection is without question a vast set of common baseball cards from the 1990’s and early 2000’s. For those of you who know what that means in term so value you already know they do not have a ton of value anymore. A few of them are probably useful for people who collection anthologies of specific players or maybe team sets. I have been working on a graded George Brett anthology for about a decade. It has value to me and brings me joy. That is probably a nostalgia-based joy mixed with the joy a get from collecting sports trading cards in general.