Like so many kids growing up I had dreams of playing professional baseball. I also spent much of my time between the ages of 8 and 14 collecting baseball cards. I bought sets of cards, got cards out of my neighbor's basements that didn't want them, and even traded cards from time to time with my friends.
I used to go as a kid to baseball card shows all the time. I read the Beckett's baseball card guide so I could closely guard and track the small fortune I was building with my card collection. All in all I had collected over 100,000 baseball cards with my best being a rookie Henry Aaron card from the 1954 Topps Series. Then high school and college came, and I put my baseball cards away in binders with plastic sheets. I had the very best 200 cards put in these thick Lucite protectors to ensure the cards that were in perfect mint condition stayed that way.
A few months ago, I decided to get out all of the cards and go through a new collectors guide to see exactly what my card collection was worth. I figured like any collectible, over the course of 25 years I would see some significant growth in the overall value of the collection. After going card by card and player by player, I realized that the collection was worth just about what it was 25 years ago and probably less if I really had to sell it to another collector.
I guess at one point or another in our lives, we have all collected something that we thought would really spike in value over time. While you do see some incredible items get sold on shows like Pawn Stars, I think the truth is with baseball cards that best you can expect for is a card or two in your collection to grow while the others lag behind inflation.
I know that my collection isn't worthless as all collectibles will carry some value, but with baseball cards as a collectible in your portfolio, don't plan to hit a home run!
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc
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