Collectibles or Garbage?

About a year ago, I gave my brother a proposition. I told him he could sell the thousands of baseball cards I collected as a kid that were collecting dust in my parents’ basement. The offer extended to the premium cards, including “valuable” rookie cards, that I had stored in a special padded binder.

The stipulation? My brother would need to give me half the profits.

My brother’s response? Hell no!

I collected a lot of Topps trading cards when I was a kid.

He didn’t say no just because I wanted to split the revenue with him. He denied me because he didn’t want to put forth the effort selling something he didn’t think was worthwhile. I thought he was missing out on a pretty sweet opportunity.

A documentary I watched last night on Netflix said otherwise.

Called “Jack of All Trades,” the film follows a person who was disheartened to learn that the baseball cards he collected as a kid were practically worthless in 2019. Thought to be a wise investment in the 1990s, his cards never grew in value. Why? Overproduction. A Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card was thought to be valuable….until thousands of them were printed.

Baseball cards weren’t the only thing I collected as a youngster. I also manically hoarded….

Pogs – Oh yes, I grew up in the pogs era. I loved unique pogs and powerful slammers, saving whatever money I had to buy them. It was always a competitive adventure when my friends and I would “play for keeps.” Speaking of competitive nerdiness, my obsession drove me to enter a pog tournament at one of the local malls in Spokane. I am kind of sad that social media wasn’t around during the pog era because I could have learned some cool techniques from YouTube videos.

Bouncy Balls – My brother and I collected no less than 200 bouncy balls. I am talking about the miniature rubber balls that you could purchase from a gumball-esque machine. We threw spare change we found around the house in those machines, traded our arcade tickets for them, and crossed our fingers that they would be inside the goodie bags we received at birthday parties. We carried them in our pockets and bounced them wherever we went. When my sister competed in gymnastics meets, we would take our bouncy balls and throw them around the auxiliary gym that was not being used for the competition. The collection is still intact in a large garbage bag at my parents’ house.

Soda Caps – Over three years ago, I mentioned the lengths my brother and I would go to collect caps off of plastic soda bottles. We would literally sift through public garbage cans to get them, not giving a damn about germs or stray trash. We participated in every promotion under the sun offered by Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Points! Points! Points! Friends and classmates would bring me handfuls of caps they saved just for me. Thankfully, you won’t find excess bottle caps left behind by yours truly at my parents’ house. Each one contributed to a prize of some sort (and that is for a whole different blog post).

So, in closing, I want to commend my brother for having the intelligence to turn down my offer. But, in all honesty, how much do you think those bouncy ball are worth? Don’t Blink.