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Trove of Rare Baseball Cards Brings Back Sweet Memories

Posted By Bernard Ohanian On July 11, 2012 @ 9:36 am In Notebook | Comments Disabled

Well, that settles it. No mom will ever be able to throw away her kid’s baseball card collection again.

I mean, how could she — after the news broke yesterday [1]of a trove of rare cards, from the early 20th century and found in an Ohio attic, that could fetch up to $3 million?

The news reports [2]brought back memories of what I, and every kid I knew, said when we moved out of our parents’ house after high school: “Don’t throw away my baseball cards! They might be worth a lot of money some day!”

(An interlude here, one that has nothing to do with baseball cards: if you’re under 30, your jaw probably just hit the floor. But you read right: when I was a kid we actually moved out of our parents’ house – not just down to the basement – after high school: to go to college, to join the Army, or to otherwise strike out on our own. And not only did we move out, we did so willingly. And not only did we do so willingly: we couldn’t WAIT to leave.)

Do you root [3] for the underdog in sports? Join the Discussion

Back to the cards, with a confession: we only threw in that last part, about our collection being worth a bunch of money some day, to show off our nascent adult sense of responsibility. We didn’t really know if the cards would be worth a lot of money some day [4]; what’s more, we didn’t care.

We didn’t collect baseball cards as an investment. Nor did we plunk down our nickel for the long, flat, sweet-smelling stick of pink gum that came with each pack – a mere afterthought to the true treasure, really; even a distraction. (Little did we know, or care, that early baseball cards were designed to advertise cigarettes and other tobacco products [5], and often were included in a pack of smokes.)

We collected baseball cards because they were close-up pictures of our heroes, sometimes in cheesy pseudo-action poses. We collected them for the baseball stats and fun facts on the back [6], sometimes accompanied by goofy little drawings. We collected them because you could insert an unwanted card (either a duplicate or a player you didn’t care much about) in the spokes of your bike to make a cool flapping sound as you rode around the neighborhood. We collected them to set up marathon trading sessions, an early lesson in supply and demand – and the art of negotiation.

And most of all, we collected them because they made us feel intimately connected to the game we loved [7] – as an active participant, not just a passive fan. The cards found in the Ohio attic may bring in millions of cold, hard cash, but 45 years ago my friends and I would have told you that our collections were priceless.

Come to think of it, they still are.

Ohio Family Finds Rare Baseball Cards [8]

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URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/07/11/rare-baseball-cards-sweet-memories/

URLs in this post:

[1] news broke yesterday : http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/news-07-2012/baseball-cards-fetch-millions-auction.html

[2] The news reports : http://triblive.com/sports/2183992-85/cards-card-attic-wagner-condition-sports-ohio-rare-baseball-box

[3] Do you root: http://community.aarp.org/t5/Sports/I-almost-always-root-for-the-underdog/m-p/1315698#U1315698?intcmp=AE-BL-IL-OC

[4] cards would be worth a lot of money some day: http://www.cnbc.com/id/37492700/The_Most_Iconic_Baseball_Cards_of_All_Time?slide=1

[5] designed to advertise cigarettes and other tobacco products: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/treasure/autont005.shtml

[6] on the back: http://www.goldenagebaseballcards.com/back-of-the-cards-Mar2010.htm

[7] the game we loved : http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/leisure-activities/baseball/

[8] Ohio Family Finds Rare Baseball Cards: http://www.13abc.com/story/18996112/2012/07/10/a-defiance-family-finds-rare-baseball-cards

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