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Baseball Card Exchange

Old Guy Whines about the Old Days

Look, I love the internet as much as the next guy.  Probably more.  When those of my generation talk about the greatest invention of our lifetime, I'm convinced the 'net will be it.  It's changed the way we communicate, how we spend our free time, how we research answers to questions, how we shop, etc. etc.  There are pitfalls and traps out there in cyberspace, but it's truly been revolutionary.

Now comes the "but".   One of the cool things about being a card collector back in the 1970s and 80s was that you looked forward to the ads in the hobby publications.  Not the big ones.  The little classifieds.  They were full of other guys who were looking for cards and had cards to trade.  Old ones and new ones. 

You wrote the guy who wrote the ad, enclosed your want list (carbon copied back in the old days, xeroxed later) and waited for a response.  Some just wrote back and told you what they had so you had to send the cards from their list first.  But most guys were trusting enough to just send a batch of cards along with their list and wait for you to send them "equal value".   I don't remember quibbling to much over condition. If they weren't creased, we didn't much care.  We were closer to completing sets.  It made you really look forward to the mail delivery, especially when you were able to trade for big batches of cards from the 1950s and '60s.   Sometimes guys would take big quantities of modern regional type sets or just about anything else they could sell in exchange for duplicate older cards.  It was a pretty liberal deal.     

I don't see those ads much anymore.  For one, they've gotten expensive.  And I guess a lot of people would rather just buy what they need and sell their extras.  It all seemed to disappear really fast once the internet got here.  There used to be a few dozen ads every month in the various publications. 

I know there is still trading that goes on via the 'net.  Certain sites cater to that, but it all seems a little complicated.   You have to be rated, report your trades, etc, etc.  No more just sending lists.  I guess there are enough dishonest folks out there now to where that's become necessary? 

Vintage card trading really seems to have gone by the wayside.  I remember as a teenager getting together with several guys who collected cards (they were all older than me but it didn't matter) and having "trading days".  We'd get together once every couple of months at a guy's house.  I wonder if that happens much anymore.  Drop me a note if you know of any trading groups that are still active the old-fashioned way.

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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