I recently mentioned my good friend Mel Solomon sent me an Sports Collectors Digest (SCD) from November of 1987. Paging through the magazine shows where we were just at the beginning of the hobby boom and where we would go. This particular issue was a whopping 272 pages and was issued before SCD went to the larger size paper they would use for a while during the hobby boom. On the cover were cards from the 1988 Donruss and Sportflics sets, which were still a couple of months away, but vying for attention with so many different manufacturers in the market.
Here is a breakdown of the magazine by category and how many pages were used for each. It's interesting to note what was being offered to a rapidly growing collector populace (remember, this was in the beginning of the big hobby boom of the 1980s and early 90's).
This is not a totally comprehensive list because in the classified section the ads were very small and I rarely counted those ads. This is more to give a feeling for the breakdown of what was being advertised.
New Cards For Sale (This usually means unopened boxes and cases, complete sets and key rookies): 46
Card Show Ads: 20
Old Cards For Sale: 24
Supplies for Sale: 22
Editorial: 40 (that's a lot of articles0
New Memorabilia and autographs for Sale: 11
Old Memorabilia for Sale: 8
Bulk Lots of New Cards: 12
Buying Ads from Dealers: 6
SCD Promotional Ads: 4
Show Calendar: 17
A couple of things truly surprised me.
Page 94 features an article on “Collecting Enters Computer Age”. Who knew that within the next ten years, the concept of how to use the computer in the hobby would be changing and a generation later the computer would be the dominant tool.
Page 110 features a card show with a live auction conducted by Baseball Hobby News Columnist Rich Klein (who?).
Page 122 is the story of the famed "Paris, Tennessee" unopened find that Al Rosen bought. I have mentioned I have opened many of these packs. It was a miracle find then and still is today. I opened some 1960 Topps packs and even got a Mantle.
Page 187 has a sale from Stephan Juskewcyz for 1986 Topps Blank Fronts. I remember selling some of these cards but I wonder where all these cards disappeared to. The reason I ask is in pre-war cards items such as these are now very popular and I wonder when that is going to translate to more modern cards.
I was surprised by how many supplies companies and ads there were. Since I'm not in retail I don't know who is left but there were a lot of supply dealers back in those days. I think the new card bulk lot was about a couple of years from hitting their peak and also the new unopened card boom. I think if we had that many pages in SCD today, the ads would skew much heavier to older cards.