Klein’s Korner: New Money Better than Old Money? – As this is being written, America is in the throes of a very difficult time. It makes one ponder if seemingly insignificant topics, such as our mutual love of collecting sports cards and collectibles even matter.
Actually, collecting does matter. It is very important because this mutual joy takes our mind off the horrible things going on and allows to focus on happier times and places. And yes, some of the issues we discuss and get passionate about can get heated on social media. One of those discussion was triggered by John Newman, host of the Sports Card Nation podcast. In a recent episode, he defended new collectors bringing in new money. John has been in the hobby for 40 years and owned a store at one point, so he has first hand experience of how important new collectors are to staying in business.
So how is “New Money” ruining the hobby? Because of people coming in who may be from any of these
categories? Is it because influencers, such as Gary Vee, with his millions of followers want in on the fun? Is it the people who have been in the sneaker collecting world who chase stylish footwear for fun and profit want to move to sports collectibles?. Is it fans of the 20 artists in the Topps Project 2020? Is it people who received extra money courtesy of the stimulus program and wanted to park their money into something fun? Or is it people with more time at home who rediscovered their old collections and the joys from their youth where today’s current events seems so far away? There was one person on Twitter who seemed to be vehemently against any and all of these people entering or re-joining our market. In response to that nay-sayer I say simply to all of you, WELCOME! I’ll even leave the hobby light on for you.
(Note about Gary Vee, while he runs a very successful business he also gives away much of his advice for FREE). With all his followers he could easily charge but instead, truly has a good spirit on that aspect.
When the hobby first slipped, in the mid and late 1990’s, due to a variety of circumstances, we at Beckett always struggled with the concept of how do we get the wider audience to return or enjoy the hobby. Geez, these are five targeted groups of long-term potential collectors which we need to cultivate with open arms and joy not with the “get off my grass” mentality. We, as a hobby, have been given a gift of a wealth of new collectors, let’s not blow this opportunity.
Let’s follow the philosophy of my beloved doggie son Tater Tot: “I want to love you and want you to love me”. That’s all he cares about and what’s wrong with that. Oh and he does care about making sure that we provide him food and water. As a hobby, we may not always love our fellow collectors and may even disagree with them on political matters but we have a shared interest. And I can vouch for the political differences with some of my fellow hobbyists.
Here’s the thing though. If only 10 percent of our “new money” stays long-term in the hobby that is still a significant boost. And there are encouraging signs with all this. Blake Jamieson, one of the Topps Project 2020 artists has posted his mail days on Twitter a couple of times. A close look at what he bought did not show super expensive Mike Trout or Mickey Mantle cards, instead what was pictured are the items an average Oakland A’s collector would pick up when they are beginning a collection.
Nice to see someone starting with the basics who certainly has the ability to just go super high-end. And listening to the Hobby Hotline recently a nice man called in and said they started a Jim Bouton collection after hearing Dr. Beckett and myself discuss him on on those podcasts. I will guarantee you there is not much investment potential in Jim Bouton cards but he is such a seminal figure in baseball literature he will always be famous. After him, one should also chase Jim Brosnan cards whose pioneering work with the Long Season and Pennant Race a full decade before Ball Four were also very important and sadly mostly forgotten. If you have never read those two books of Brosnan, do so.
For more from Rich Klein, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.
Rich’s vast experience and knowledge of the hobby has been well documented through the years. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Klein’s Korner. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
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