Ramblings: Collecting’s Best Feature? Broad Age Appeal

There is a really cool web site about primarily the music of the 1960’s and 70’s on the web called Forgotten Hits. The webmaster, a nice man by the name of Kent Kotal, is as passionate about this music as most of us are about our baseball cards.

He recently began a push to have commercial radio stations play a much wider mix of music then they currently do. Although I personally agree with him as none of my three favorite songs were Richs Ramblings Billboard top 10 singles, he is truly fighting a losing battle about some of the songs he wants radio to start playing. One example of these songs is Hey Paula, by Paul and Paula which was a #1 hit in 1963. Now, every time I hear that song, I think about one of the prettiest girls from my high school, who was named Paula and bore a striking resemblance to Kate Jackson.

Teenage memories aside, my real point is if you were 15 years old in 1963 you are probably 65 years old today and have pretty much aged out of most demos that advertisers want to appeal to. That age is also why you may be seeing some softening in the 1950’s markets as the generation who bought those cards are now at retirement age and unless their kids want those cards, some are selling now rather than leave one more headache for their heirs to deal with.

The point for commercial radio is to appeal to the widest possible audience of people who  spend money on goods that advertisers want to feature.  Therefore, they need to feature material more appropriate for people listening in the “money” demo of ages 25-54.

However, we have one advantage in sports cards. We are able to live both in the past and in the present. While I’m a vintage collector at heart, when I write up our box breaks here, I get to keep working with new cards and keep my hands firmly in the present. I received a Facebook message from a former co-worker who reads my reviews and is interested in collecting again because of the fun he sees I have in opening packs and boxes.

Current releases often feature former players and some even offer autograph chase cards of all-time greats or at least guys who we remember from decades ago.  Some vintage collectors look down on the ‘shiny stuff’ but many others try to be an ‘active’ collector by purchasing products like Topps Heritage.  We can’t go back to the way cards were 30 or 40 years ago but collecting is still collecting.  It’s not just about one age group.

When I see emails such as I did from my good hobby friend Bill Hedin, I realize there are a lot of collectors who don’t choose one or the other. Bill had great stories about Ken Reynolds who was a teacher in his local school or trying to get that elusive 1972 Topps Ed Farmer card, yet at the same point he still plays with sets such as Topps and Topps Heritage he can pick up at his local Target.

In addition, many people who were collecting as kids in the 1990’s are coming back and remembering the tough cards of their youth and buying up cards and packs from that era.  No matter what we do, we have a huge advantage in that we can keep our feet firmly planted in the present and take a step back into our past at the same time. I enjoy both worlds and from the tremendous feedback we get, I think so many of you out there enjoy it as well.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]