For our collections, emotional value is priceless

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Everyone has different reasons for why they collect and different motivations for what keeps them collecting.  We’re a bit obsessive and we definitely like to create groups for our collections.  For some collectors monetary value is important, for others maybe not so much.  There are various outlets to determine value, but the only that that has no price guide is what your collections mean to you and the reasons you collect what you do.

The hobby has a great community, but doesn’t require more than one person and their collection to be important. It’s just you and your cards, or wall of autographs, or vintage pennants. The emotional value with your prized possessions are your stories you can share with fellow collectors.

In this segment Mike Karamanian has graciously agreed to share his story of what collecting means to him.  His heartfelt reflection is a reminder that the best items in our collection have indefinite value.

Please enjoy his other posts on his website Cardzcollector. 

Here is his story:

I want to start this post by honestly and openly disclosing the obvious; a post about why I collect has probably, no definitely been done before. What I have set out to describe to those that perhaps do or do not share my passion for collecting sports cards & memorabilia is a glimpse into what one card can mean.

I started collecting cards back in 1978 and all I was interested in was the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. I played hockey starting at age 5 and all I really knew was my own city’s team so I collected anything Canucks. As I grew older(and some would say wiser) I started to realize a few things. There was more to hockey than my own team and there were a lot of other sports to follow like Baseball and football.

I used to keep my cards in shoe boxes or piled precariously on my night stand so I could flip thru them before bed. I would take the cards, stick them in the spokes of my bike, play games of knockdowns and topsies, basically the cards were fun to have and look at but they were put to good use.

Fast forward to my twenties and cards had become secondary to friends, girlfriends and all of the other distractions a guy might have. Life was pretty good until one day when I found out my mom was sick. Within a few months she had passed away. I would rather not share the details but rather assure you all she was an amazing woman who did what every mom did, she wen’t without so her kids could live like a kid and not worry about the stresses that go with being a parent or in my moms case a single parent.

My life took many turns in the years after my mom died, in fact I celebrated my 40th birthday this past December and found myself reflecting back on some foggy years where not a lot mattered on a day to day basis. My daughter(who just turned 3) brought over an ornament to me for the tree and I looked on the back and saw my moms handwriting for the first time in 20 plus years, ugh I think some things will never get easier.

Now that I’ve either scared or lost some readers I will assure you this post is sports card related. My mom left me a gift many many years after she died. My sister and I had not had the stomach to go thru many of my moms possessions but during one visit to my sisters she pretty much said look thru the stuff or give it all away, enough’s enough. So here goes.

I went thru boxes of paperwork, her name badge and Id for the hospital she worked at, and in her purse I found a plain white envelope that was folded in half. I opened it up and found this.

ImageWayne Gretzky autographed 2nd year card O-PeeChee

As it turns out, a family friend worked for a rental car company and was told to pick up someone at the airport and drive them to a studio in Vancouver. Fortunately for me, he was told in advance that his passenger would be none other than the Great 1 Wayne Gretzky. I went thru my cards and found a second year Gretzky card and gave it to him and after that I never thought of it again. I was just a kid then and playing street hockey after school was more important that having a card signed.

To me this card is the most valuable card in my collection, it’s priceless and means more than my whole collection of 70,000 cards. It makes my hobby more meaningful and perhaps more fulfilling that I ever imagined. I like opening new packs and seeing a hit, checking what the card is worth, tweeting about cards, heck even blogging about them right here. But nothing, nothing is more important than this card.

Some collect to simply make money, some like to build sets, some spend their days at Wallmart pack searching while their mom sits in the car waiting to take them home(sorry couldn’t resist) and I’m sure I’ve missed many other reasons to collect.

I have been on Twitter for the past couple of years and have met some great people to share my hobby with and I really appreciate the opportunity to do my best to explain what our great hobby means to me. I do hope that others will take the time to let me know what collecting means to them. I hope others will take the time to go through their own collection going back to the beginning days to look back at what started them collecting and look at their cards as a part of who they are rather than just what they are worth.

I’m as guilty as the next, I bust a few boxes of cards, I immediately wonder what the value of the hits are, is the card centred, is the autograph and overall condition of the card good enough to send for grading etc. But when I look back at my 30 plus years of collecting and perhaps the next 30 years of my personal collection I know that no card, no 1/1, no printing plate, no 5 colour patch, no card will ever replace what my mom left for me.

My mom is and will always be an inspiration to me. All I can end this post on is to remember what your cards mean to you and collect accordingly. Remember to help others with their collections(there are many looking for that last card in a set) because one day it might be your son or daughter that opens up a box of your cards and remembers you looking at that card, they’ll remember how you knew every statistic of the player and could describe every single detail of the card. It’s what makes our hobby so amazing, our collections are all different, probably none the same as another but meaningful to us all just the same.

Thank you Dano Laurel for the opportunity you’ve given me and I look forward to your comments. Mike

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