It’s been more than a week now but Sy Berger’s death remains a popular topic among the nation’s sportswriters.
Dozens of stories and columns have been written since the 91-year-old ‘father of the modern baseball card’ passed away. In a way, it was kind of refreshing to read about the good feelings they brought to people instead of another story about the boom and bust or the number of card shops that have closed since 1994.
In a way, though, Berger’s life brought back memories of how different collecting once was. From wax packs and bike spokes, the hobby grew into something a little more sophisticated, gaining long overdue respect that unfortunately got too big, too fast in the 1980s.
Dave DeLand of the St. Cloud (MN) Times talked with some local residents about being a collector during the Berger years and where the hobby stands today.
We posted a note about a ‘cut card’ case on our Facebook page Monday night. Unless you’re over 45 or you are really into unopened material, you may not remember them. Some call them ‘bulk vending cases’. The one we showed was an eBay listing for a 1981 Topps Traded cut case.
So what were they?
During the 1980s (and maybe a few years before that and a couple of years in the 1990s), Topps created no-frills cases that were simply rows of cards stacked on top of the other. They were packed tightly for the most part, but still loose in the case. If I recall correctly, they were essentially leftovers or excess stock that Topps put into very generic cases and sold to dealers at very low prices. I recall buying a case of a baseball product from a dealer near Topps back in the early 1980s but can’t recall exactly what it was. The cases were produced for both sports and non-sports cards.
The cut cases might contain cards only from certain production sheets but sometimes if the cards were all printed in one series, it was a cheap way to make sets or carry large bulk lots of individual players. Because of how they were stacked, many of the cards around the edge of the case had nicks on the corners and edges, but not always.
I’d love to hear your recollections of cut card cases including when they were sold, who they were sold to, why they were sold and your experiences in buying them.
We showcase a lot of interesting things on our Facebook page, by the way and we post there seven days a week. Veteran collectors, newcomers and hobby returnees are all welcome.