What would our collecting atmsophere look like if the magazine never existed?Now I know that there were assorted pricing guides/magazines that existed before Beckett Media was founded in 1984. As far as I know, none of them were as widely accepted in the sports card world as Beckett has been over the past 30 years.
Again, the collectors that were born in or around 1980 or later probably have never known a day where there wasn't a price guide that could give them a rough idea of what their collection was worth. Guys like me, who were kids in the late 70's and started collecting cards such as this,
Speaking of the early 90's, many years after Topps monopoly on producing baseball cards ended, card companies saw that the industry is booming. I'm sure that marketing geniuses at the big 3 were seeing the amounts of money that were trading hands for cards, and were trying to think of new ways to extract more dollars from the collectors pockets.
What do we start seeing? Serial #'d parallel cards. Inserts. Autographed cards such as this..
|image borrowed from rynesandberg23.com|
The hobby just ate these cards up. Signed cards were going for hundreds of dollars. The next progression in the great chase was relic cards. Jerseys, bats, seats, bases, pants and anything that could be associated with a baseball game became a part of a card. Cards such as the 500 Home Run club that Upper Deck featured were a smash hit.
|Image borrowed from cardboardmania.blogspot.com|
Imagine if you will a cardboard universe today that has no price guides. No concept of monetary value for baseball (or any sport for that matter) cards. Do we even see cards like the Sandberg and Thomas shown above?
It's hard to say. At least for me anyhow. I would hope that common sense (yes, my definition of common sense in this case) would have won out and cards would have remained as simple as this:
Bat on shoulder. Pitcher in a pitching pose. A catcher in his squat getting ready to receive a pitch. Cards as simple as the '64, '77 or '86 Topps sets that you've seen me post on here dozens of times.
But who knows, marketing people can be quite creative, and may have come up with the concept of relic cards and die cut inserts such as these anyhow, even if the money hadn't been flying around as it was:
|Do these exist today without pricing?|
I am not lamenting the progress that the last 20+ years has seen in the card collecting industry. That is not what this post is about. Some of the most "insane" ideas I've had for putting sets together have come from the progress we've seen over a generation:
|#51/499 thank you Max!|
I've wondered for several months now what people thought the state of our hobby would be like if the magazine had never come to fruition.
Maybe there are people out there that can educate me further with facts, opinions or ideas that may shed some light on what the hobby would look like now if we had no idea what the value of the cards we collect were worth.
Thanks for reading, Robert