Klein’s Korner: Maintaining Balance in the Hobby – There is a really nice man who sets up at most of the local DFW shows. His name is Duke Dwyer and he enjoys the card show world as a break from his jewelry store business. After an absence of nearly the whole summer he came back and started setting up again. I bought a few cards from him as he had not really had a chance to re-stock any of his merchandise and then he hit me with this question. “What is hot now?“. Fortunately, Duke did not have many of the most recent items which tend to run hot and cold but instead had a slightly older mix which is less subject to immediate market whims.
In answering the question, I rattled off some of the names which are currently the same names everyone is chasing and then came to this realization. That is, unless you stay in the mainly vintage world, it is really difficult this world to take any breaks in the collecting world just as trying to keep up in the 24/7 news cycles. Things occur almost immediately. This is certainly true as we are in the opening stretches of the NHL and NBA seasons. Who is going to be this year’s Luka Doncic? Are NHL players such as Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews going to get even better? Can Daniel Jones keep up the great pace he had in his first two starts?
Trying to keep up reminds me of simpler days in the hobby. That question also brought me back to early 1982 as I had just graduated college and was in the midst of my first full-time position. It took me a while to get to a job where I could use my skill set properly and that was not the right work for me. However, I did not have the time to be in the card circuit for a few months so when I did my first show of 1982 at the Meadowlands Hitlon. I still remember as I’m unloading my cards, several dealers came to ask: Do you have any 1982 George Foster All-Star cards? Yes, that card and the Dave Righetti Rookie Cards were the two hottest cards in the New York area in April, 1982. The Righetti at least had the cache of his 1981 Rookie of the Year award and the pitching in New York. We thought he might be the next Whitey Ford and while he had a nice career including a no-hitter and a single-season saves record. His greatest accomplishment was as the San Francisco Giants’ pitching coach during their glory run.
And why was Foster so popular. Although the New York Mets had just over-spent to bring him to the Big Apple, the All-Star card was issued with and without the facsimile signature. So when I said, $3 for the Fosters, which was the retail price at the time, the dealers all want back to their tables in shock they could not turn a supposedly 5-10 cent card into a huge profit. Well. I explained to the third one who asked in my first 10 minutes, don’t you think I read the hobby publications to keep up. In those days, it was a tad easier to keep up as all we really had was Sports Collectors Digest, Baseball Hobby News and Current Card Prices. Not that expensive or time-consuming to keep up with the market. Today, you need to refresh Twitter seemingly on an hourly basis to see what today’s lead story will be.
So for us in today’s world we want to maintain some balance yet also keep up with the hobby occurances. So let’s make another goal for 2019-20 is to keep up with the marketplace but save time for all other important aspects in life. I think I’ll go back to my oldies music listening now which keeps me grounded while doing my COMC work. That’s one way I stay focused on today’s work by remembering the music and memories of yesterday. George Foster is part of yesterday’s stories and Juan Soto is today’s story and both have a place in the hobby.
For more from Rich Klein, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.