Talking About the Internet and Companion Collectibles

I’m back from a short vacation with the family, and I have a lot of things swirling around in my head after walking nature trails and gazing out at Lake Superior.

First off, if you’re a collector in certain parts of this country, it must be awfully hard at times to get information and/or product if you are not surfing the Internet. Card shops are few and far between compared to what was open for business 10 years ago, and many states only have card shops in densely populated areas. No wonder I get a lot of calls from people who don’t know where to turn with questions or how to get information on available buyers.

And this leads me to a topic concerning the Internet. A lot has been made over the years about the impact of the computer on this hobby (and hobby publications), and much that has been said is negative. However, again thinking about the lack of shops in many parts of the country, the Internet is a great tool for collectors who otherwise might be left in the dark. Publications like SCD only reach a fraction of the number of practicing sports hobbyists – online or off.

I can provide two examples of where the Internet is a big help to people who might not even be big players in the hobby. One recent caller came across some cards, unopened I believe, that he has stored for more than two decades. He went to his local mall to see if the same card shop was there from the 1980s. It was long gone, as you can imagine.

So now he was stuck, and he had no clue where to go to find potential buyers. I asked if he had any shops in his area, and he didn’t know of any. How he got my number I’m not sure, but if he was familiar with the Internet, he’d have plenty of choices.

Another caller was looking for an encyclopedia of baseball players. I suggest a library or bookstore first, but a quick search online offers many choices depending on your needs.

I go back and forth on the Internet topic a lot with its pros and cons, and knowing we have a fair number of readers who do not partake in computer activities, we have to be the supplier of such news and help when we can as part of the SCD service. I just feel that the world in general is leaving a segment of the population behind with its online focus.

Yet the tools are available for anyone to take advantage with a little patience and guidance. It’s a fine line to dance between these days, not just in this hobby but everywhere.

On a separate topic, did you ever notice those in this hobby often dabble in collectibles that are not sports related? Perhaps it’s the collecting gene in general.

When I did some work for a toys publication, I noticed many players in that field were also interested in coins and stamps. In this field, I find a lot of sports collectibles accumulators are also interested in model cars.

Normally, I find sports fans and car nuts are different breeds of people, speaking firmly from experience in my own family. Yet when I see a lot of collector profile pictures, there are numerous cars on the shelves with their autographed baseballs and photos.

I guess it’s not a surprise, as the collecting bug is a similar “disease” at its core no matter the subject. I just find certain groups get paired together more often than others.

There, how’s that for all over the map in terms of topics for this blog?

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One thought on “Talking About the Internet and Companion Collectibles

  1. Hi Tom, thank you very much for you article. It addresses something very nnear to my heart and also my wallet. I am a 69 year young sports card shop owner in a small Western Kentucky town. I am retired from the corporate world and over the past twenty years have owned a total of three card shops. In the early 90’s Business was booming and then came the baseball srike in 1994. That was the beginning of a lack of interest in what was once an enjoyable and profitable market that for us has been declining since. Never the less we have continued to surrive by providing the best customer service we can by answering and researching many customer questions.

    It seems as if four out of every five people coming to our shop are trying to sell what they have rather than to make a purchase. Some of them have quality items while most of them have items you could not even give away. My inventory is abundant but my customers are not. We have worked with schools and provided incentives for the kids to earn Free Cards (Good Grades, Essay contest, etc). We have had Card Trading Nigts and Fantasy Baseball and Football. After all of these Free Actiivities attendance diminished so much that we have discontinued most of them. My personal health (Leukeumia)now eliminates most of my shop time. I am restricted to one day a week (Saturdsy). I will still help collectors any way that I can. Thanks again for your article and God Bless. Jerry Hines Aka "The Sports Professor".

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