My Poor Old Jerry Rice Rookie

Posted: June 21, 2012 by Crackin' Wax in Personal Collection, Rookie Cards
Tags: , , ,
I often wonder how kids these days take care of their trading cards. I assume card collectors in their pre-teens in this day and age are much more thoughtful and careful with their collection than kids of earlier generations. I mean, when’s the last time you actually saw baseball cards stuck in bike spokes? I imagine today’s youth are almost as careful as CSI Greg Sanders is with ballistics in regards to their cache of cards. Me and the kids I knew? Not so much.

It’s not as if I never wandered into a local Ben Franklin’s for a stack of 9-pock pages to tuck neatly into my Trapper Keeper, but that’s about the extent of my caution. You see, I was never taught the correct way to handle a trading card. Plus, I was a kid. What did I care? You think such things naturally come to the mind of an 8-year-old? Hardly. The best plan I ever came up with was to stuff all of my cards that were non-Trapper-Keeper-worthy into uncovered crates and then stuff those crates into closets.


You can imagine the cardboard carnage.

Thankfully, the ’80s was a decade primarily of junk wax. Much to my chagrin, nestled within each crate were one or two really good cards that I neglected to trap and keep. Those cards were mostly of the football variety. I was never much of a football collector, so I never bothered to price out those cards. In fact, I’m surprised I ever bought/received the stuff. The earliest of those cards were from the same year that I got my first pack of baseball cards–1986.

You’ve seen the title of this post. You’ve read to this point. You see where I’m going.

Upon my return to the hobby, I made a stop back at my mom’s to pick up my old cards. As I was sorting through the crushed, bent, dinged and creased mess of my childhood, you can just imagine the two faces I made within a split second the moment I realized that within the rubbish was a Jerry Rice rookie card.

I wish I had some good old Mythbusters high speed action on that split-second facial expression change.

How could I have treated such a gem with such disrespect? Why couldn’t I have taken the time to go out and buy a 5000 count divider box with a lid–AT THE VERY LEAST–in which to store this poor old piece of cardboard and its rowdy posse of overproduced nostalgia?

As it turns out, things could have been MUCH worse than they were. Corners were rounded and fuzzed, edges were knicked and knacked, the surface was dirty and crusty, but even with all of that, it still could have been a LOT worse.

…and I definitely had cards that ended up in much worse shape than the Rice. This card, while it is evident that it was once owned by a careless buffoon, manages to give off a little life and character. It screams out “why didn’t you love me?!” Such a sad state of affairs for one of the better ’80s football cards.

Let this be a lesson to all you card collecting kids out there. Even if your trading cards are essentially worthless right now, take VERY good care of them. Who knows. Maybe 20 years from now you’ll find a nice little gem tucked away within your mass of junk wax.

By the way, out of curiosity, I sent the Rice in for grading after I unearthed the poor thing. If not for the corners, it actually might have gotten a fairly decent score!

My barely Beckett approved 1986 Topps Jerry Rice rookie card

  1. JT says:

    My Rice has a big ol’ crease, I think the top right corner. I don’t remember how it happened, but I remember being quite upset about it at the time.

  2. I clearly remember putting rubber bands around my cards to “keep them safe”. Genius.

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