You make a living selling baseball cards? Say that in the early 1970s and you might just as well have said you worked on Mars.
The early dealers were pioneers in the industry, buying cards in quantity from Topps, sorting them out and selling them via ads in everything from Boy’s Life to The Sporting News to Street and Smith’s annual publications. They also bought collections of vintage cards from people who were thrilled they found someone willing to pay actual money for something they probably thought about throwing away.
Three of the few major dealers at the time were Bruce Yeko (Wholesale Cards, Connecticut), Woody Gelman (Card Collectors Co., of New York), and Larry Fritsch (Larry Fritsch, Wisconsin).
The ads were successful enough to help unite a growing group of adult collectors. Sports card shows began popping up regularly just a few years later.
How different were the early catalogs from those being published by dealers today? How did they start and whatever happened to some of them? Alan Kleinberger offers a walk down memory lane.