How to Start a Baseball Card Collection

Whether you are doing it as an investment or for a hobby, starting a baseball card collection is an exciting venture. Collecting baseball cards is as much a part of growing up as Saturday morning cartoons and Hungry Hungry Hippos. That being said, many beginners experience difficulty starting their collections. My next several posts will be devoted to providing beginners with information on how to start a baseball card collection.

The first step to beginning a baseball card collection is determining the amount of money you want to devote to the cause. Children obviously have much more limited funds than adults, so the scope of their collection might be a bit more limited. The good news is that a collection can be started with even the smallest sum of money. Baseball cards can be found at very affordable prices, if you know where to look. For instance, I acquired the bulk of my collection from a local flea market and from trading cards with my friends at school. Baseball cards are everywhere; you just have to keep your eyes open.

As a child, the growth of my baseball card collection was directly proportional to the allowance I received from my parents. Take note parents- a good way to teach your child the value of money is to give them an allowance and encourage them to pursue a hobby. If they are passionate about that hobby, they will go to extraordinary lengths to protect their valuables. While I was taught the importance of financial prudence at a young age, as all children should be, my parents also understood the significance of being devoted to a hobby. A hobby requires commitment, teaches children the value of money, and provides an alternative to mind numbing video games and troublesome friends.

Therefore, every week, whether it was at a flea market, a garage sale, or a card shop, I sought out baseball cards, within the boundaries of my budget, that I could use to supplement my collection. Access to a pricing guide is a good thing because you want to ensure that you don’t overpay for a card. If a dealer thinks you are a novice who has no concept of a card’s value, he will try his best to get a large amount of money out of your pocket. Purchasing baseball cards is a process that requires knowledge and the ability to negotiate. Don’t ever be intimidated by one of these so called expert dealers. Remember, they are trying to maximize their profits. If you don’t feel comfortable with a price, let them know.

This leads to the second step of beginning a baseball card collection, choosing a focal point. Rather than sporadically acquiring baseball cards that have no relation to one another, most collectors prefer to build their collection around a central theme. Sometimes collections are focused on individual players, teams, or time periods. My collection began with a strong focus on Nolan Ryan. Since I lived within walking distance of his hometown, it was only natural that he was my favorite player.

Anytime I saw a Nolan Ryan card that I didn’t already own, I would do everything in my power to acquire it. I would trade cards with my friends, do extra chores around the house, and beg for advances on my allowance so that I could get that card bearing Nolan Ryan’s image. Whether it was cards from his early days, special editions commemorating a no-hitter, or the Nolan Knows Bo series, I slowly acquired everything I could. Note the word “slowly.”

Baseball card collecting is a slow process that takes a long time to develop. Just keep your eyes open and remain committed, and you will find the right cards to enhance your collection.

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