Sharing a collection at home is truly special

I think I’m sort of an anomaly in the sports collecting hobby. While by no means a big-time collector, I still accumulate items that interest me and I am always on the lookout to add to my collection.

But where I might be different than a lot of other collectors is that I don’t have a direct person to share it with. No one in my family collects much of anything, unless you count bad habits. My son is too young, and none of my friends go out of their way to start a memorabilia collection. So aside from dragging visitors into my basement to show my wares, it goes relatively unnoticed to the outside world.

I don’t mind that, and trust me when I say I don’t have anything that would be considered a market “find.” Still, I think it would be fun to run around a sports show with a friend and go shopping at some point in my lifetime.

I bring this up because we have a pair of collectors featured in the upcoming July 1 issue of SCD that have far different dynamics in terms of collecting memorabilia among family members.

One collector we have featured is “Giant Jeff” Prager who passed away in 2010. His brother Mitch called recently and wanted to share his passing with other collectors, as Jeff was featured in an SCD article in 1997.

Jeff was a huge New York Giants fan and collected anything that had Giants on it – and that means everything. Mitch currently has his brother’s stuff in a warehouse, and no doubt isn’t looking forward to trying to catalog everything.

You see, Mitch isn’t much of a collector. Oh, he has special niche in Mickey Mouse Disneyana, but he didn’t enjoy the sports hobby like his brother did. Jeff collected mostly on his own, teaming up with other collectors across the country, but not necessarily sharing the collection with someone at home.

On the other side of the coin is Herbie Buck, a huge New York Yankees fan. Chances are if you ever see Herbie at a show, a ball game or a signing, his wife isn’t far behind.

Herbie told of a story of being in the Yankees spring training fan shop when George Steinbrenner walked in. Herbie asked his wife, who was on the other side of the store, to take a photo. She called out that she would be there shortly, not knowing the subject to be “shot” was Steinbrenner. Can you imagine gently cajoling your wife to hurry up because you’re holding up George Steinbrenner? It made me chuckle a bit.

Herbie’s wife was so ingrained in her husband’s activities, her charm found its way to the players, too. Herbie is good friends with many former Yankees, and a couple of them demand that Herbie’s wife sit with them at signings, acting as their handler. Now that’s a wife who’s into the hobby.

I think it would be a blast to have my wife cruise around with me to shows, ball games and the like, getting to know the principles just as much as I do. I think perhaps that time will come, as she has already spent a few years as a part-time season ticket holder. With age will come more time to enjoy such activities.

I hope you enjoy the articles inside on Jeff Prager and Herbie Buck. If anyone is interested in having his or her collection featured in an upcoming issue of SCD, I’d be happy to do so. Just e-mail me and have some pictures of your collection ready for publication. I truly believe collectors love to share their items with others. 

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