To me, one of the greatest signs of future hobby strength occurs whenever a person walks into a card shop and says: “It’s been 20 years or so since I was in a card store or attended a card show.” Back in the day we used to have a saying the hobby worked on 20-year cycles in which kids collected and basically peaked at age 10 and then if they returned to collecting, they did so after approximately a 20-year absence. Then they would work on finishing their childhood sets and in many cases find other sets or ideas to collect.
That collection would last for about another 20 years or so and then it was time to send junior off to college and the card collection would be sold again. Of course, some people held their cards in the second go-around and found other ways to raise money to send their kids to those expensive educational institutions.
Of course, for many of those collectors, especially those who entered in the 1970’s and the 1980’s some of those tougher shorter printed cards or brutal high numbers made those set completions really difficult. We have talked quite a bit about cards such as the 1966 Grant Jackson or the 1968 Lee May card not even counting those tough 1961 high numbers or the 1967 short prints.
Those collectors who started in the 1980’s and came back had an easy time buying back their childhood. While a few of the mainstream items are occasionally difficult to acquire at a low price, such as the 1982 Topps Traded set or finding a well-centered 1984 Donruss Joe Carter , most of the 1980’s cards can be found at a very reasonable level. After all, Topps did issue all those factory sets as did Fleer and Donruss for most of the 1980’s and thus only a few sets from any major manufacturer might even be passably difficult to obtain.
But, the 1990’s, and especially after the 1994-95 baseball strike and the hockey lockout are a far different subject. If you wanted to get all the Pinnacle company base cards issued during the 1990’s you might be in for a shock in completing the base sets. Let’s understand that no one will be carrying most of these cards to shows and the only way to finish most of these sets will be online—and that may be tough.
When you deal with some of these sets such as the 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars with the large number of short printed cards and other surprises. I think you just might end up being surprised as to what a real challenge this task would be. And, for many people, if the re-buying of their childhood is too easy, then what is the next step? Thus I say, just doing base card sets of one 1990’s manufacturer is an interesting next step.
That’s my opinion, what’s yours?