We collect many things today, but in the United States collecting baseball cards is one of the biggest collecting hobbies and a big business.
People have been collecting since the beginning of recorded history. In ancient times collecting objects was a way of showing wealth and power, and to some extent, this is still true today.
Early collectors collected gold, silver, precious stones, statues and pottery. There have been many great collectors throughout history, the Medici’s of 13th century Italy were great collectors of art, as was Catherine the Great of Russia and so to was Peggy Guggenheim of the USA.
Art, however, is just one of the many things we collect, although art is probably one of the most expensive. We collect coins, stamps, comics, sportscards, magazines, books, autographs, even cars. Some of the more unusual collections involve 1st or 2nd World War vehicles, weapons and uniforms. People collect many different things, such as matchbooks/boxes, bottles and bottle caps, dolls, and let’s not forget Star Wars memorabilia, the list is almost endless.
Collecting is not just restricted to the average person or royalty, it also includes stars from film and television. Notable collectors include Tom Hanks (Typewriters), Leonardo DiCaprio (Action Figures), Angelina Jolie (Antique Knives) and Elton John (Sunglasses, who reportedly owns 250,000).
Baseball card collecting is primarily a North American hobby, but it is slowly spreading around the world. This hobby is usually the first hobby American children get into, they are more often than not introduced to the hobby by their fathers. Although Baseball is not the only sport in North America to have trading cards, Football, Ice Hockey, Basketball and now Soccer all have there fans and card collectors, it is probably the biggest. However, I have a feeling that Basketball card collectors would beg to differ.
The baseball card collecting hobby can also be a social thing, groups of collectors can form societies in their neighbourhoods or towns, they can create online communities. Some of the biggest conventions around the world involve collecting. These events are a way of bringing the collectors together, people can network and even make lifelong friends. Not only can collecting be a hobby, but it can also be a business (see Sportscard Investors). You only have to google baseball cards or search eBay or other auction sites to see that.
Why We Collect Baseball Cards
Card collecting can be therapeutic or it can be an obsession, so what is the real reason behind why we collect baseball cards?
Collecting can, from a purely psychological standpoint, relieve anxiety. It can also connect us to our childhood, which is when collecting for most people started. But collecting can also give us psychological security by completing that part of the self one feels is missing, which then can give us meaning.
A majority of today’s collectors do it for enjoyment. We do it for fun, if you enjoy baseball, you might collect baseball cards, if you are a prolific reader you might collect books. There only two limiting factors for collectors, cost and space, “Can I afford to buy that card?” or “Have I got the space to store those 2000 cards?”.
Whatever your reason for collecting baseball cards, be sensible and mostly, have fun. Happy collecting.