Sometimes you just have to start writing. Anything. That’s the advice given to writers of all types. If you want to improve, write. If you want an idea to pop into your head, start tapping on that keyboard.
I think the same general principles can be used in the collecting field. The age-old question is, “What should I collect?” Well, start collecting, anything, and see where it goes. It’s kind of like shopping. You go into a store, the clerk asks if you need something and you say, “Just looking.” Eventually, something catches your eye and the shopping trip has been narrowed down to a specific item or items.
Most folks collect what they grew up with, often retracing their collecting steps and buying back what they had as a child. Others, if their financial means are healthy, go for the unusual and rare – some to simply say they own it – others because it symbolizes something historic and to dive into that history is a fun, learning experience.
Obviously, when it comes to new cards that are distributed on a “1-of-1” basis, the appeal is to own something that reportedly no one else has. Of course, you have to have the financial means to take that route as well (see the $38,000 Blake Griffin card as an example).
But I think the truly unusual items that date back a few decades are the true finds. Heck, it doesn’t have to be Moonlight Graham’s glasses or Babe Ruth’s spittoon. It could be a program from the 1950s that showcases a new car ad of the dealership your dad bought your first car at. Those are true finds and ones that will develop a far greater attachment to you as you age than a card of a player that could be (probably not in Blake Griffin’s case) playing pickup games in a few years.
As you might have guessed, I was practicing the “just write” method to start out this column, as sometimes words don’t come flowing out of you in this profession. But in a long-winding way of getting here, I want to know what some of your greatest finds have been.
When I say “finds,” it could be something monetarily rewarding in a place you were least expecting it, or the find could be something of little value that instead holds deep sentimental value.
I got this idea from a sister publication we have at F+W Media that had such a huge response, it turned from a semi-regular column in the magazine to a book compiled of readers’ finds in the antiques market. It’s a lot of fun to read, and the accompanying photos with each find showcases a lot of cool product.
Some folks have found signatures of famous people in second-hand bookstores. Others have found game-used items, complete with faded signatures, in thrift stores. And in some publicized cases, unique artifacts have been found buried in walls during home renovation projects.
Whatever the case, I’d love to hear about them, and so would others. You can forward your stories to me by CLICKING HERE at the bottom of this column, or send a letter to SCD Reader Finds, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990.
Amid all of the stories about high-priced items selling at auction, which athlete is signing where and debating when all vintage cards will one day be slabbed, let’s go back to the story-telling, building block days of the hobby.
I’ll share the feedback as it comes in, and if we get enough, it will be a regular column. Send photos with your submissions, please.