Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession Antiques & Collectibles Sports Cards Dave Jamieson Atlantic Monthly PressJun 20
It’s a form of megalomania, of course, one famous card collector once said of his hobbyand, as Jamieson explains, there are plenty of people willing to cash in on collectors’ obsessions; the secondary market for baseball cards may be as much as a half-billion dollars annually. It used to be even stronger: Jamieson got interested in the history of baseball cards when he rediscovered his own adolescent stash only to find that its value had plummeted in the mid-1990s. His loss is our gain as he tracks the evolution of the card from its first appearance in cigarette packs in the late 19th century through the introduction of bubble gum and up to the present. The historical narrative is livened by several interviews, including conversations with the two men who launched Topps (for decades the first name in cards) and a collector who’s dealt in million-dollar cards. Jamieson also digresses neatly into curiosities like the Horrors of War card set, the legendary Mars Attacks, and a profanity-laced card featuring Cal Ripken’s little brother. It’s a fun read, but it also shows just how much serious work went into sustaining this one corner of pop culture ephemera. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* Every time a rare baseball card brings a million-dollar price at auction, thousands of aging former collectors wistfully recall shoeboxes full of rookie cards and wonder if they lost a fortune when Mom cleaned out their rooms. The answer, according to Washington-based, award-winning journalist Jamieson is . . . probably not. Jamieson doesnt supply lists of valuable cards (there are collectors journals for that); rather, he chronicles the history of collectible cards, profiles a few unique collectors, and tracks the development of the hobby and ponders its future. He profiles Jefferson Burdick, an almost forgotten man who donated what was probably the greatest collection of baseball cards ever assembled to New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art over the course of a decade before his death in 1963. In tracing the history of collectible cards, Jamieson shows the extraordinary lengths to which the early cigarette and card companies went to separate young boys from their money, a penny and then a nickel at a time. A not uncommon tactic was to issue incomplete sets to keep collectors fruitlessly buying in search of a card that didnt exist. This is a fascinating history that encompasses not only the nuances of serious collecting but also the business machinations and card-marketing strategies that contributed significantly to the rise of the cigarette and gum industries. Superbly informative and entertaining. –Wes Lukowsky
When award-winning journalist Dave Jamiesons parents sold his childhood home a few years ago, he rediscovered a prized boyhood possession: his baseball card collection. Now was the time to cash in on the investments of his youth. But all the card shops had closed, and cards were selling for next to nothing online. What had happened? In Mint Condition, his fascinating, eye-opening, endlessly entertaining book, Jamieson finds the answer by tracing the complete story of this beloved piece of American childhood. Picture cards had long been used for advertising, but after the Civil War, tobacco companies started slipping them into cigarette packs as collectors items. Before long, the cards were wagging the cigarettes. In the 1930s, cards helped gum and candy makers survive the Great Depression. In the 1960s, royalties from cards helped transform the baseball players association into one of the countrys most powerful unions, dramatically altering the game. In the 80s and 90s, cards went through a spectacular bubble, becoming a billion-dollar-a-year industry before all but disappearing, surviving today as the rarified preserve of adult collectors. Mint Condition is charming, original history brimming with colorful characters, sure to delight baseball fans and collectors.Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession
2011 Standard Catalog Of Baseball Cards
For nearly 30 years, the name Bob Lemke has been synonymous with the unbelievably comprehensive Krause Publications’ Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, the bible of card collectors across the country. Lemke is the founding editor of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards and has remained in that capacity, with the exception of two years, for the Standard Catalog’s tenure. He also served as publisher, editor, columnist and more with Sports Collectors Digest and a number of other titles.
Real-World Pricing for More Than One Million Cards
Standard Catalog of® Baseball Cards is not only the longest-running and most trusted large-format baseball card price guide, it’s the most comprehensive fact and photo-filled guide in the collecting game. The depth of coverage and ease of use of this book makes it the premier choice, whether you’re a seasoned veteran of card collecting or a rookie just getting into the hobby.
You get accurate pricing, reflective of real-world market values for more than one million cards, plus 10,000 photos in this top-selling reference. In the pages of this mammoth guide you’ll find listings for cards, including Tobacco and Bubble Gum cards and Specialty Issues, released between 1863-2010 and minor league listings. Nothing comes close to the depth of details and completeness of coverage you gain with this go-to guide.
Use it to be an informed, competitive and confident collector, buyer, and seller of baseball cards from the past and present.