If there is one lesson we have learned in our nearly 40 years in the organized hobby is everyone has a soft spot for recapturing their youth. We talk frequently about the 20 year cycle of collecting and how many people return to the hobby after they go through the three C’s (cars, cuties and college). Usually about 20 years after first noticing the cuties, the life pattern of many collectors who return to the hobby is one which they do to purchase back their youth through cardboard.
In fact, at the little show we run here in Texas, we had a customer, who is so devoted to the hobby he came early to our show, stayed for several hours and then when I stopped at Triple Cards on my way home, he was buying more cards there. Now that is a full hobby day. One aspect I really like about the hotel location is that we are located within ten minutes of Nick’s Sportscards and Triple Cards, albeit in different directions. Not many cities offer the option of a show and two shops so close to each other anymore.
“Buying Back Dad’s Cards” is broken up into several parts. The first part talked about his background and even mentioned how Dr. Jim Beckett answered all the early Readers Write questions in Beckett Magazine by himself. And by the way, the best line Jim ever used after getting a question about the ‘doctor’ part was something to the effect of “No, I’m not a dentist, I have a PHD in Statistics, but brush your teeth anyway.” That was the greatest answer of the 1980’s in Beckett baseball.
There is a lot about Chris’ family history in the book as well and why buying back his dad’s cards is so important to him. Many of us connected to our parents and grandparents thanks to collecting. Good parents realized the positives that came with collecting and shared our hobby with us as we talked about cards and baseball, which sometimes made it easier to talk about the more important stuff.
“The premise of the book is this: Back in the late 1970’s my Dad, like so many middle-aged men, discovered that the baseball cards he collected as a kid were now valuable. One day he went over to his parents’ house to fish them out of the attic, only to find out they had been tossed out and lost forever. Our story takes a different turn when this event actually spurred Dad on to “buy back” the cards of his childhood. He took me along for that journey and the memories we made will last forever. The book is about the relationship between a father and son, the people we met, the cards we collected, and the experiences we had along the way.”
At the last card show we did, I was chatting with Kin Kinsley, who recently moved to DFW and truly enjoys the hobby and is working on creating a local DFW network via Twitter. While we were chatting, he mentioned that he had kept his very early cards from his collecting days including a hand collated 1986 Topps set his grandfather gave him for Christmas. About a month ago, his dad’s house burned down and while nothing of major monetary value was there, the sentimental issue was paramount to him as he loved looking at those cards as his telescope to his youth. Dr. Partin is the same way and you can tell how much the trip into the hobby affected him and made him feel as if he was honoring his dad’s memory even more.
The next section of this book is dedicated to individual cards. Sometimes there is just information about the player while other times he discusses why the card or the player meant so much to his dad. As a Yankee fan in the 1970’s, it is always touching to read any stories about Catfish Hunter who passed on from that insidious ALS disease as such as young age. Hard as it to comprehend, the Yankee battery in 1978 World Series game 6 have both been gone for more than 15 years now.
Then he discusses collectors or hobby people he has met along the way, most notably “Uncle Dick” DeCourcey. Dick is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the hobby and I’m glad Dr. Partin got to feature a person with such an important hobby lineage.
Overall, this is the type of book almost any collector of older cards can appreciate. It’ll jog the memories of many who remember how they got into either collecting or recaptured the collecting bug later. And for that, the book is a worthwhile reminder of why collecting these older cards can be so important to many of us.
You can buy the self-published book here (the price is about $5 more than the book actually cost him to make) and it’s a great read for the holidays.