Like about a million other collectors (a bit of hyperbole there), I wished I had kept my hobby involvement through my teenage and college years a good deal more active than it actually was.
The grand trifecta of high school, the U.S. Navy and then college all conspired to keep me doing other things at a time when – in hindsight – I could have picked up boatloads of hobby treasures for a mere song relative to today’s prices.
It wasn’t that I didn’t care for the stuff, but simply that I unfortunately let other things take greater precedence.
I saw my first 1953 Bowman Color card around 1974 when I responded to an advertisement in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican about a guy who was staying at the local Holday Inn for a couple of days and was inviting folks to come to his hotel room and sell him their cards.
For younger collectors, they probably can’t imagine what a bombshell that kind of advertisement was for somebody who loved baseball cards and was convinced that he was likely but one of a handful of adults still nutty enough to still have an interest in such childish things.
So I went to the Holiday Inn, but I didn’t bring along any cards to sell because the idea of selling my collection was about as foreign as, say, selling a kidney. Even though at the time, given my various exploits in the Navy and at the time as a college undergrad, my baseball cards were likely in better condition than my kidneys. Probably still are.
Whatever the latter organs were worth then and now, I certainly had no clue in 1974 that the former – baseball cards, for God’s sake – were on the threshold of becoming quite valuable themselves. I just went to the Holiday Inn to see what the hell was going on.
And seeing a stack of pristine 1953 Bowman Color cards was the only thing I still remember from that event 36 years later. I know I had seen some mid-1950’s Topps cards as a kid in the late 1950’s, but I doubt I had ever seen these before. And they just knocked me out. Obviously, I wish to this day that I had jumped right into the hobby back then and started putting together a 1953 Bowman set, but I wasn’t that smart. Dang!