The cyber mailbag is begging for answers so let’s get to the latest edition of The Readers Write:
I enjoyed your column about early 60s All Star mysteries. Another oddity is Frank Lary – the Yankee killer – had an All Star card in 1962, but no base card despite having a fantastic season in 1961.
The other deep mystery to me was the Houston Colts/Astros. They were the only team NOT to have a team card in 1964, 65, 66, 67. Their designation for 1968 and 69 was “Houston” rather than Astros, a precursor to “Washington National League” in 1974.
Greg, by the way, does a terrific email called “Baseball Card of the Day” where he takes one card of players who were all born on a certain day and gathers them together and sends them out. He also does this for many players who pass on.
As for Frank Lary, yes another good catch and he had both a floating head “Leaders” shot and the All-Star card. In retrospect, I don’t think Topps truly kept master lists of whom was in sets and every once in a while that situation would come to pass. Perhaps because Lary was hurt early in the 1962 season, Topps just forgot to put him into a series as they may have been planning to have him later in the set.
I am a new collector of vintage cards and I’ve really enjoyed your articles. Great for someone just getting into the hobby. I was wondering if you’ve ever done a piece discussing the vintage card market and how it relates/tracks the stock market and overall economy. From what I’ve read card values on the high-end stuff just seems be going up and up and up. Things that sold for 100k five years ago are now selling for five times that.
I realize that is a generalization and not true for everything, but was wondering what the market for rarer cards will do when we hit the next recession. Thought with your experience in the hobby you might have some interesting thoughts on that.
Thanks again for the interesting posts.
NY City Area
I know there have fancy editorial papers done on this topic as I remember way back when helping some of these people with their research when I was at Beckett. I actually got some of those research papers and usually the information was way over my head.
However, for at least two of the sports collecting hobby booms there is little doubt general economic factors played a major role. The first major boom of the 1979-80 period perfectly traced the explosion in gold and silver prices and cards became another field for investing as many people who had held on to those metals put their money into sports cards. Not only was the hobby growing in popularity but the age group of people with newly disposable income now matched the people who had their mom throw away their old 1950s cards or remembered those great baseball days. And if you had extra money and could recapture your youth, what would be better than those cardboard memories compared to boring old coins you may have gotten in change.
Then the explosion right after 1987’s Black Monday in the stock market was especially true for vintage cards but this time the newer cards also came along for the ride. When the market lost about 25 percent of the value in one day, many investors again went right to older cards as a safe haven. In fact, so much vintage activity was going on there was a Beckett issue circa March 1988 where Dr. Beckett actually wrote a note at the front saying something to the effect there are no arrows in this magazine because the market is going up very rapidly and everything pre-1984 is up from the previous issue.
Then when the minor (compared to 2008) recession hit about 1990, many collectors decided this was as good a time as any to open their dream card store. Obviously only a few of those survive to this day but we were all going to pay for our retirement (or our children’s college) but selling those unopened baseball cards. Well, there are still too many of those on the market and as you may have seen, in Detroit there is even a warehouse full of cards from that era.
Read your article (on Jordan Spieth) from a few weeks back. Curious where you see the Jordan Spieth SI for Kids card going in the next couple years. I caught on to the excitement after the British Open and of course now the major season has ended. Just hard to gage if he continues to win whether this card’s momentum is just a phase, or is this just the beginning? Good inventory already seems to be drying up. I’m curious if only a lucky few will hoard these cards and it will forever be a tough add.
One gentleman on eBay suggested the longer the competition goes without producing an attractive Spieth product, the more secure the SI Kids card becomes as a long-term investment. All we can compare to is Tiger’s ’96 card and to a lesser degree Rory’s card… But I think must fans would argue Spieth won’t shoot himself in the foot like Tiger and may be a better golfer than Rory long-term.
Please let me know your thoughts if you care to take a guess. Appreciate it.
I stopped giving investment opinions about 1991 when I proudly told New York Magazine that based on recent sales the now infamous PSA8 T205 Wagner should go for about $150-200k. Well I missed that by a few hundred thousand.
What I will say is there is a slight difference between the SI for Kids Tiger and the other golfers you mentioned. Even though SI for Kids had been around for nearly a decade at that point, no one really thought of buying those magazines for the cards with the hopes of a price explosion. Today, we have a better idea as to more collectors buying those Spieth magazines when the issue was released instead of trying to track them down several months later. Also, Tiger had much more hype surrounding him and while Jordan Spieth is certainly extremely popular we will never know for sure if this is his best year or if he will approach Jack Nicklaus with nearly 40 top two Grand Slam finishes.
What I will say if you think Jordan Spieth is the future of golf, go out and buy his cards and collectibles and enjoy the ride.
I’m 62 & my only regret is that I’m not 72. Watching Mantle, Ford, Berra etc was an almost holy experience. Wish I could have seen more of their careers and players like Joe, Ted & Say Hey.
Thanks for your always enjoyable articles!
If we were 82 we’d have been about 8 years old during that magical 1941 summer when Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games and Ted Williams hit .406. It’s fun to dream but we all have our memories no matter what age we are and I’m happy with where I am.