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Editor’s Blog: Hobby is Too Expensive? Say WHAT?

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We sometimes hear from those who’ve fallen out of favor with the hobby or are turned off by the price of higher end brands of current cards that the hobby is “too expensive”.  I’ve always argued that the opposite is true.  There are hobbies out there where you do need to have a lot of money to participate but sports cards isn’t one of them.  Cheap baseball cards of Hall of Famers aren’t that hard to find.

You can walk into most good card shops and shows with ten bucks in your wallet and come away with a handful of cards—maybe more.  Dealers at big card shows make big money selling cards for a dime and a quarter apiece out of giant monster boxes and those tables are usually the busiest.

Old baseball cardsYou don’t have to buy the super-premium $300 per pack product.  You don’t have to buy the mint, graded Mickey Mantle card for $1,000.  No one makes the rules in the hobby.  You choose what you want to collect.

Finding cheap baseball cards is one of the favorite activities of many collectors who can’t blow hundreds on baseball cards every month.  If you’re not obsessed with owning the best, sites like eBay, COMC and Amazon.com have revealed that there are plenty of vintage cards in the market and prices for most ungraded post-1952 cards have thus remained relatively stable.  And if we’re talking mid-1960’s on up, it’s really a buyer’s market.  Don’t believe me?

Check out this list of hundreds of original, vintage cards of Hall of Famers that are currently priced at $5 or less.  It’s sorted by ‘items ending now’ so it’s easy to spot a potential bargain.

1983 Topps Mike SingletaryPrefer football?  here’s that list.

Basketball?  Here you go:

Hockey?  Right here.

Keep in mind those are only the cards where the seller actually wrote “HOF” or “Hall of Fame” in their title. There are, no doubt, hundreds more…maybe thousands of others you can find.

Topps 1978-79 Basketball cardsWhile many are off-grade, you will often see mint cards selling for $5 and less because there are still a lot of collectors and dealers who simply don’t want to be bothered with grading.  The glut of 1970’s cards on the market means you can buy a dozen or more Hall of Famers for less money than you’ll spend on one nice dinner (and you’ll enjoy them longer).  Even the late 1960’s listings include some pretty nice cards that sell cheaply each day.

For those who say the ‘hobby isn’t fun anymore’, just remember there aren’t supposed to be any rules.  The hobby is what you make it out to be.  If you want to collect backup middle infielders, go for it.  If you want Mickey Mantle cards and don’t care if they have creases and pinholes, you can.  Collecting vintage Hall of Famers for less than a Lincoln is a good way to start rediscovering your hobby because the Debbie Downers of the hobby will still be moaning and groaning while you’re building a really nice collection for a song.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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