Christmas Cards 2014

Posted: January 3, 2015 by Crackin' Wax in Panini
Tags: , ,
To start, just to be absolutely clear, this post is not about GREETING cards. It’s about trading cards given as gifts for Christmas. If you were looking for a post about Christmas greeting cards, might I suggest a visit to the Hallmark blog?

@literalquirk and I have two young nephews. The oldest (we’ll call him Little C) is 6, the youngest (we’ll call him Tiny C) is 4. Only one other time did I ever gift either one of them with a trading card. When Little C was just 2 years old, just after Tiny C was born, I gave him a Joe Mauer jersey card from my personal collection. Since then, not a word was spoken about trading cards of any sort. Not surprising, the kid was only 2 at the time. The only reason I knew he’d appreciate it then is because he really liked Joe Mauer—a lot.

This year, we were having a difficult time figuring out what to get the boys for Christmas. One conversation with their mom (my little sister) revealed that, much to my surprise and joy, they wanted either some football cards or some basketball cards. I’ve never actually purchased cards for the boys before and, let me tell you, it was a real treat for me. As much as I enjoy buying cards for my own collection and tearing into cases for group breaks, I was thrilled to be able to share a little piece of my hobby with them.

While I would have loved to go all out and buy them each a hobby box, I thought it would be more appropriate to stick to blasters. Since they are brothers, it made sense to me to get them the same product. I also thought it would be nice to find a product that guaranteed a hit per blaster. At the time, that narrowed my choices down to either Turkey Red football with 10 cards plus 1 autograph card per box or Panini Prestige basketball with a total of 70 cards—one of which being either an autograph or relic. The choice was easy. I knew the kids were way more into basketball than football and that their attention would be held longer with more cards.

It was a thing of beauty watching those boys nearly drooling over simple base cards. They were more excited about pulling individual players that they liked or recognized than whether their cards were worth anything. They weren’t concerned with quality or design. They didn’t care about whether they pulled parallels or if any of the cards were numbered. Value or rarity didn’t matter to them, either. Even when I told them that their jersey cards were “special,” they focused more on which players were on those cards.

Boy, I can certainly remember a day when I felt that way about card collecting. It’s been a long time, though. Does this boil down to the difference between kids and adults, or is their reaction to their cards an indicator of just how much this hobby has changed in the past couple of decades? Will their innocence fade once they get a grasp of the finer points of collecting new products, or will all the bells and whistles of parallels and hits not be enough to sully the experience of pulling ANY Lebron James card?

Watching them crack open those packs of Panini has without a doubt reminded me that there is still joy in the simpler things in card collecting. As an online video group breaker, I’m guilty of putting so much focus on hits and “other cards of significance” to keep the videos down to a reasonable length that simple base cards almost become an afterthought. Even deeper still, many things in life lose their luster based solely on perception. I perceive that a 1/1 autograph bat knob book card is way better than a plain old base card. The boys, at least at this stage in their lives, might think the book card is neat, but if that plain old base card had Kevin Love on it, you can bet your entire personal collection they’d be fighting over it.

It’s true, as we get older, we place our values on different things, mostly a product of increased responsibility and reward (i.e. paychecks). The more we have to pay for a thing, the more we appreciate it. If you take words like “book value” and “trade value” out of the equation, what you’re left with is your own perceived value of your cards. For a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old, value lies within the subject printed on a plain white piece of cardboard.

The Ladies Night Charity Break is exactly two weeks away and I am super excited about it! Don’t let the title fool you, it’s not JUST for women. It’s a break being held to celebrate the awesome women in our fine hobby and the charity supports the VDAY organization. As of this posting, we have 13 spots left and we’d like YOU to grab one (or two… or three)! This will also be the first time @literalquirk has EVER done a break and you won’t want to miss out on that!

  1. lmhw24 says:

    That’s really awesome! I still get excited over Rangers base cards though. Getting excited for Jan 17th!

  2. vcuhokie says:

    I put together some team bags full of football cards to put in with our Halloween candy. There were a couple kids who got so excited about the cards they completely ignored the candy! It’s awesome to see little glimpses of that same joy I remember for simple base cards.

  3. Awesome write-up. For me my favorite player (Kenny Lofton, yeah I still don’t have a new one yet lol) is my favorite player whether I see him on base, insert, game used, or autographed cards/memorabilia. I am glad that collecting is becoming more of a family tradition for you both.

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