Taking My Hacks

Better Late than Never

Joe Orlando

For many, the collecting bug hit early on in childhood and stayed with them throughout their adult years. For others, that same bug may have hit early but, at some point, it went into hibernation for an extended period of time only to resurface at a later date. Whether it was due to school, work, girl chasing or family, other priorities have a way of sidetracking your collecting drive.

What I have found interesting over the past few years is that I am meeting more and more people who never collected during their youth but, after being introduced to our hobby during their adult years, they have received a late injection of the collecting bug. Even for those who were sidetracked at some point, those collectors were trying to recapture an experience from their youth that they were already familiar with.

These particular collectors can remember going to convenience stores, opening packs and trading cards with their friends. They also can remember following their favorite teams and players, sometimes having their moods change with the success or failure of their heroes. I can remember when Bob Costas, the popular television host and sports commentator, reflected on his feelings for Mickey Mantle. When Mantle was hot at the plate, Costas had a spring in his step. When Mantle was slumping or hurt, Costas felt for his hero and the spring disappeared.

Many collectors can relate; I know I certainly can. I can remember looking at the box scores each and every morning. Of course, this was before the advent of "Season Pass" cable programs and Internet audio feeds. Unless you were physically at the game, you were limited to radio (if your team was local or in town) or after-the-fact newspaper reports back in the day. That's the way it was and we liked it! Alright, now it sounds like I have been possessed by a 120-year old man. It wasn't so bad back then and, yes, it would have been a lot of fun to watch the games on television. The kid in me is jealous!

For the people who were virgin collectors until adulthood, the drive is somewhat different. Some of these collectors are driven by an attraction to history. Others have always been fans of sports, movies and the like; they just never attempted to collect at an earlier age. In many ways, it does make a great deal of sense. Most of us do not have a great deal of disposable income before we settle into our careers and only then can we treat ourselves to collecting without ignoring true priorities. Of course, some collectors have made the hobby their one and only priority, which is not part of a healthy lifestyle or unlike any other addiction.

There are many, many great collectibles out there that require substantial resources to obtain. There are also many, many great collectibles that are clearly more affordable. The one key difference today is that even children are required, in many cases, to come up with more than a few bucks in order to buy packs, cards, autographs, etc. So, in some ways, what this may result in is diminishing numbers of young collectors since it can be an expensive habit. This is a bit discouraging because collecting can provide a positive experience if monitored correctly. I just hope that some of the kids who missed out on the hobby early on may give it a chance later in life. By the looks of it, more and more collectors are doing just that.

Hey, it's better late than never.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief