Baseball Cards

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Baseball Cards

Postby Rainier » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:16 pm

Does anybody have tips on managing a mostly worthless baseball card collection from the late 1980s?

Over the years I have purged the vast majority of common cards, but I still have about 10-20 complete sets still in their boxes, a few wax packs, and about two dozen cards I had graded and sealed.

I think there are a handful of cards I want to keep just because I think they are cool and i liked the players. For the rest I have no sentimental connection.

I think my plan is to get a Beckett online subscription for a month and suck out all the cards over x dollars (maybe $5 or $10) and simply toss the rest.

I have sold a few on ebay, but the effort to sell a card for $1 is just not worth it.
- Bill
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby DesertOasis » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:22 pm

Rather than toss them, I'd give them to a young kid who would enjoy them.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby Balance » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:30 pm

When I was a little kid in the late 80's my dad bought me my first set of Topps trading cards. It was a complete set. I ended up with 2 full sets. Then I kept on buying packs of cards whenever my mom would bring me along to the grocery store. I ended up having tons of mint rookie cards for Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, and Ken Griffey Jr. In the 90's I was thinking that my set would end up being a goldmine because of the records these guys were breaking. But once the steroid allegations popped up the values of all these cards went crashing down. Ken Griffey still held value but the others not so much. All the cards are in my parents basement completely protected and sealed. But I don't honestly think they can be sold for a huge profit unless I wait a few more decades. Either way it was fun collecting it, and it turned me into a stat tracker with sports as I grew older.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby KyleAAA » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:34 pm

I don't think baseball cards are worth what they used to be unless it's something truly rare, but yeah, I'd probably do what you're planning. Sell the cards worth over $5 and just give the rest away.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby gkaplan » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:48 pm

Put them on the spokes of your bicycle.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby Rainier » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:51 pm

Did kids even still like them?

It's not even the steroids. It's the fact that in the late 80s they were being printed by the millions.

I read another post about somebody using the boxes full of cards in the basement to keep things above any flood since they were worth less than a 2x4.
- Bill
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby DualIncomeNoDebt » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:59 pm

Rainier wrote:Does anybody have tips on managing a mostly worthless baseball card collection from the late 1980s?


I collect rare coins. I also have some baseball cards from this time period. In my nonprofessional opinion, these cards will never, ever appreciate in our lifetimes, or even several generations from now. That is because there are millions of these cards, many in pristine condition, and the card companies were pumping out cards and sets hand over fist. Worse, the hobby is dead, collectors are nonexistent, and the market that used to exist for these cards is gone and not coming back. The most efficient thing to do is to toss them, even the transaction cost of driving somewhere to get a few bucks for them isn't worth the fuel cost.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby stevewolfe » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:05 pm

Well, I had the misfortune of being a teenage baseball, football and basketball card collector (and I have Star Wars, Mork and Mindy, Battlestar Gallactica as well as sticker books, etc - you know, hook, line and sinker... oh and tons of minor league team sets - it was an addiction) - I have a good section of my office closet devoted to what's left of this. Lots of sets, lots of albums, lots of cards in individual holders (for example, probably 1500 cards in individual holders, 6-8 4-5 inch thick binders of sheets and who knows how many sets).

I have no idea what to do with them as they are largely worthless. Millions and millions printed - the idea of any of them being rare is a cruel joke. Not to mention the insult to injury of needing to get the cards graded. If I could find a kid that wanted them I'd give them away - good luck finding one. A friend of mine has whole corner of his attic filled with this stuff - which is likely ruining it all - but he said he's leaving them there for his son to deal with when he passes away.

Like you, someday, I might consider killing a weekend going through and picking out some of the sentimental cards and getting rid of the rest. But I can't make myself waste the time on it despite my wife's best efforts to get me to clear the closet space. I am reminded of how much of a waste this is each time I visit my safe deposit box and see the 55 Barry Bonds rookie cards in individual holders that were once GOLD.

The real value they provide to me today is that when I see folks here and other places talk about how great it is to collect ______________ (gold coins, silver coins, old coins, stamps, beanie babys, whatever), I can open my closet and remind myself that while you can spend a lot of money on a hobby, it doesn't make it an investment. :oops:
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby NorCalDad » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:15 pm

It might be difficult to find many cards worth $5 each. At least it wouldn't be worth my time. And from what I understand, what few buyers exist want to have cards graded for condition.

I would just keep what you want for sentimental value and then try to unload the rest as a big lot on Craig's List using Beckett's as a guide. If you don't get any offers worth your time, try to find a charity where you might be able to donate them for a deduction or some kids who might still enjoy them. Failing that, there's always the recycling bin.

What's funny is how we '80s kids were all raised hearing stories about how our grandparents tossed out thousands of dollars worth of baseball cards. So we kept all of ours, which are now worthless, causing us to do the same thing our grandparents did!
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby leo383 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:20 pm

Scan them to PDF, then shred the originals.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby kenschmidt » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:31 pm

I have a complete set of 1973 Topps that I started as a kid in 74. Me and a friend would buy the packs for 10 cents, including gum that would shatter like glass if you dropped it. I saved them all (thanks for not throwing them out mom and dad!) and filled in the missing cards a few years ago to complete the set. It is probably worth $700 or so last time I checked. Luckily I had the Mike Schmidt rookie card as that one still goes for around $100 or more. In fact, I have 5 of them as luck would have it.

Somewhere between 1973 and the 80's, cards got crazy popular and as others have said, millions upon millions were printed. And they are pretty much worthless. Now, if EVERYONE throws them out, that could cut the supply and they may regain some value in the future. They will likely never fund your future retirement however. I would at a minimum save at least the best example of each card as well as any popular players as you mentioned. Even when I was filling out my 1973 set, I could get many of the "commons" for dirt cheap. So, some cards will probably never have value no matter how long you keep them.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby bertie wooster » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:34 pm

My friend and I used to ride our bikes down to this one gas station where some guy sold all of these (now) worthless cards in plastic holders. God only knows how much I wasted. I remember arguing with my Dad and telling him how valuable they would be. I wish I'd have bought shares of the 500 index instead...
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby NorCalDad » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:43 pm

bertie wooster wrote:My friend and I used to ride our bikes down to this one gas station where some guy sold all of these (now) worthless cards in plastic holders. God only knows how much I wasted. I remember arguing with my Dad and telling him how valuable they would be. I wish I'd have bought shares of the 500 index instead...

Man, can you imagine if we'd plowed that money into the market instead of baseball cards? But I suspect reading stock tables wasn't as fun as opening wax packs of cards with stale gum. It's like when I read the chart showing how much money I'd have if I'd invested in Apple stock rather than bought the Apple computer.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby Rainier » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:49 pm

I managed to so a few last fall as well as some other crap n my basement.

Half the proceeds went to savings, half went to my vacation fund as a reminder that experiences are much better than things.

Since I have the space they may just continue to live in the basement.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby sdrone » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:52 pm

You could try selling the sets on Craigslist. I buy mostly that way these days, instead of Ebay.

Hopefully you'll find someone who'll pay more I'm willing to pay!
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby statsguy » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:22 pm

Rainier wrote:Does anybody have tips on managing a mostly worthless baseball card collection from the late 1980s?

Over the years I have purged the vast majority of common cards, but I still have about 10-20 complete sets still in their boxes, a few wax packs, and about two dozen cards I had graded and sealed.

I think there are a handful of cards I want to keep just because I think they are cool and i liked the players. For the rest I have no sentimental connection.

I think my plan is to get a Beckett online subscription for a month and suck out all the cards over x dollars (maybe $5 or $10) and simply toss the rest.

I have sold a few on ebay, but the effort to sell a card for $1 is just not worth it.


When I was 12 a friend of the family gave me a couple thousand baseball cards from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. So I began collecting baseball cards (that was in the 60's). Surprisingly (to me), I cherished them enough as a kid that they are still in mostly pristine state. Now I am in my late 50's and have this wonderful (and somewhat valuable) collection of baseball cards. I think I will give it to my grand kids or sell it and give the cash to them.

So my vote would be to give them to a younger family member who would enjoy them.

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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby wingnutty » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:54 pm

I collected cards, mostly between 89 and 92. I remember, even as a kid, thinking "how can these be worth money if there are so many of them?". Then, about 92, they came out with these cards that had numbers on them (1x, 2x, 10x, 50x). The numbers meant that the card was worth 50x more than if it didn't have the corresponding number on it :oops: I was 11 when this happened, and at that moment, I realized that the bottom had officially fallen out of the sports card market! I remember holding a 50x card (supposedly worth $200) in my hand, looking at my friend and saying "how the hell does that little arbitrary number mean this card is worth 50x more??? How can the manufacturer dictate what a card is worth and if it is worth 50x more, then why did they sell it to me with a pack of 20 other cards for 50 cents????" Probably the first time I truly grasped economics. Apparently some people never do because one of my friends dads was all excited about those new cards :oops:

Like most kids who grew up between 1985 and 1993, I have boxes of cards, worthless, still sitting in a closet, waiting, hoping for the day that they will return to glory :moneybag . Gonna be a long, long, long wait. Maybe in 500 years someone will be looking for sports cards like we look for arrowheads today, except if they do they will be saying "that culture had waaaayyyy too much time on their hands :D
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby tj218 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:30 pm

Good god, reading this thread hurts.

I spent countless hours/days/weeks/months/years collecting baseball cards from 1986-1991 as a kid. I still have tens of thousands of cards and set after set in original shrink wrap sitting in boxes in my basement.

I can't even begin to think of parting with them even though these cards are pretty much worthless. All the nostalgia (trading with friends, finding that card you have been seeking in a stack of commons, etc.) I too was told by my dad about how he had Mickey Mantle rookie cards that were just tossed when he was growing up. Somehow, I think even without hearing that story these cards would still probably be in my basement. How on earth I ever thought I would sell them and get rich one day when I can't even throw away a worthless Ernie Camacho or Pat Tabler card today is funny.

I think I will just save them and if there is ever a doomsday I will have some kindling...or I will die in the freezing cold with tens of thousands of card in a boxes in my basement.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby scrabbler1 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:51 pm

I collected Topps baseball cards for 2 years, 1973 and 1974. I was a few cards short of complete sets in both years and only acquired the missing few cards in 2007 and 2010. I used my surplus cards in those sets as well as some Topps cards in other sports (far from complete football and basketball sets) as trade bait. I have 2 shoeboxes which contain all of my cards except for the more valuable ones which are in plastic sleeves in a binder.

It is much different with all of my Strat-O-Matic cards, many of which I do not use any more but some of them I still use a lot.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby woof755 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:41 pm

:shock:

Please don't throw them away!

I'll totally take them off your hands. PM me if you like.

I am looking to complete a 1981 set, just from a bunch of commons I have from when I collected as a kid. Trying to complete a 1974 set, too, but I'm much farther from that goal (my birth year).

Ebay has a thriving baseball card market if you want to try to get the best offer you can.

Yeah, I know they're worthless. But I'm still a baseball romantic.
"By singing in harmony from the same page of the same investing hymnal, the Diehards drown out market noise." | | --Jason Zweig, quoted in The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby Mill » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:31 pm

This is a really good thread. Thanks for posting. :happy

The replies bring back some fond memories. In the 80's and early 90's baseball cards were hot! A buddy of mine had an older brother who was a huge collector, but then he kind of lost interest in the hobby. One day he invited us neighborhood kids over for a BABOOSHKA-BOMB party!!! The older brother would stand at the top of the flight of stairs, and flick commons down to us rubes standing at the bottom. I remember jockeying for position with the other kids, snatching and grabbing as many as I could, and dropping them into my trashbag. Yeah they were commons, but Beckett had a value for nearly everything, so even the 5 cent cards were worth rummaging around on the floor and lugging home, especially if I could leave with thousands of them!!! :greedy As the older brother cleared out his worthless cards, every once in awhile he would toss down a BABOOSHKA-BOMB...meaning he would grab as many cards as he could hold and just bomb them all at once down the stairs at once. Man it would send us into a frenzy! Good times.

Fast forward, I think the card collecting hobby died off because the card manufacturing companies got greedy and starting jacking up the prices, charging over $5 a pack in some instances in the mid and late 90's. I was pretty serious about the hobby, thinking they would all eventually go up in value, but it got to the point where it just seemed like price gouging, even to a kid.

I took a break from it through high school, and as a broke college student (2003) I saw an advertizement that the local mall was holding a baseball card convention. I was in luck! I didnt even bother bringing along my commons, but I did have some valuable cards worth $20 and $50 dollars a pop (according to Beckett). I figured I would sell some to someone even dumber than me, and walk with a few hundred bucks. :beer The convention was almost dead. There might have been 20 people there, and every single one of them was a seller. Not a buyer in the lot. Man, what a disappointment. :oops:

Just this past Thanksgiving my parents visited, and they brought along with them the final box of cards that I had left. (They and I had since thrown away about 98% of my original collection). I placed the final box on a shelf in my closet, where its been sitting ever since.

I'd hate to just throw them away, but they are basically worthless. :?

Maybe I can give them away so a neighborhood kid who wants to have a BABOOSHKA-BOMB party???

:D
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby am » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:59 pm

I bought wax boxes from 81-85 on EBay over the last couple of years mainly for sentimental value. These boxes run anywhere from 50-200 bucks. 200 bucks for the 84 Donruss which is the rarest. Hope did not get ripped off too bad but I really like looking at them because they bring back really nice memories from childhood. Maybe when I am retired they may double in value? Not even sure that they were not searched but the sellers were reputable. And on this issue of card prices, is Beckett worthless these days as far as accuracy? Is there any market for 80s cards?
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby bertie wooster » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:24 am

Not to hijack the thread or anything - but in my parents house, next to boxes of sports cards are boxes of ... comic books. I loved those even more than cards! At least they were more entertaining, but I spent all kinds of money buying "valuable" ones and sticking them in sleeves with acid free boards and all that. What a monumental waste of money! I'd always delicately take them out and admire them. My Dad was in utter shock that I would throw away hard earned money on that crap. Now I understand why.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby camaro327 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:25 am

am wrote:I bought wax boxes from 81-85 on EBay over the last couple of years mainly for sentimental value. These boxes run anywhere from 50-200 bucks. 200 bucks for the 84 Donruss which is the rarest. Hope did not get ripped off too bad but I really like looking at them because they bring back really nice memories from childhood. Maybe when I am retired they may double in value? Not even sure that they were not searched but the sellers were reputable. And on this issue of card prices, is Beckett worthless these days as far as accuracy? Is there any market for 80s cards?


I've went back and bought a few sets from that time period also. I've bought a few of the newer cards with autographs of some of the players I liked and was familiar with back in the day.

Here is a good link on why cards from this period are worthless. 84 Donruss will always be cool unless they completely stop playing baseball. It's fairly scarce and a great looking design.

http://www.cardboardconnection.com/why- ... -worthless
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby Mill » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:34 pm

camaro327 wrote:
am wrote:Here is a good link on why cards from this period are worthless. 84 Donruss will always be cool unless they completely stop playing baseball. It's fairly scarce and a great looking design.

http://www.cardboardconnection.com/why- ... -worthless


Good article. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby John Bonzo » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:01 pm

I attribute most of my organizational skills to childhood baseball card collecting (early/mid 90's), which is in my opinion my best occupational skill, so I don't consider the cards totally worthless. Actually, the hundreds of dollars I spent on them were probably a good investment - plus i get to keep the cards as a childhood memento. I'll give them to my son in a few years when he is old enough to play with them.
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Re: Baseball Cards

Postby Rainier » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:08 pm

My 88 Topss factory sealed set is going on eBay tonight, with some sweeteners, maybe ill net $10.
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