• 19th-Century Tobacco Cards Dave Campbell contacted me after reading a post on The Baseball Card blog. He's been collecting baseball cards non-stop since 1981. He has recently created a collection of 19th century Allen & Ginter cards. I talked with him at length about how he got interested in these cards and what it took to assemble the collection. : What prompted you to begin collecting 1880's Allen & Ginter card…
  • How To Build a Killer Baseball Collection: Scouting the Minors With Dave Bloomer Like most people my age, when I was growing up, baseball memorabilia meant baseball cards. The great thing about baseball cards at that time was that there was only one company, Topps, so not only could you collect, you also stood a good chance of getting all the cards that were available. Most people who have collections want to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So, as an 8-ye…
  • Where There's Smoke There's a Vintage Cigarette Lighter At the very beginning, my interest in lighters was about the mechanism. I had my first lighter when I was 14. I saved up my nickels and dimes. I grew up in Oakland, and bought my first cigarette lighter because I thought it was way cool. I didn’t smoke and I didn’t set fire to things. I just thought the lighter was really a beautiful piece of equipment and the whole idea of being able to push down…
  • Selling Soap and Smokes With Victorian Trade Cards How did I start collecting Victorian trade cards? In the late 60s I was a bottle collector, early American bottles and flasks. I started noticing there were colorful trade cards that advertised the medicines, often with preposterous claims about their curative powers. You could pick these cards up for 10 cents or so, so I started collecting them with the bottles. I just became more and more intere…
  • Collecting Vintage Cigarette Lighters Cigarette lighter collecting is a hobby that never gets boring. Just by browsing eBay auctions for ten minutes, for example, I recently found a lighter shaped like a lion’s head, one made of jade and gold, and an electric lighter in the shape of a woman’s face that hangs on the wall. A flame we can carry in our pockets is something that we take for granted, but it was much harder to make fire i…
  • The Secrets of Collecting Baseball, From Cards to Signed Bats and Balls I played baseball, basketball, and ran track from the time I was eight years old all the way through high school. Like the other kids in my neighborhood, I also grew up collecting baseball cards. I’d get an extra 5 cents and run down to the liquor store to buy packs of 25 or 30. Unfortunately, my mother threw out my cards before I was even in high school. That’s what makes baseball cards so valuab…
  • Hitting a Home Run with Baseball Cards I started collecting in 1986. If you’re in Boston and you’re a baseball fan, the Red Sox may take over your life. They take over your life in a way that other teams don’t. With the Red Sox, I was so used to everything being terrible. They’d get your hopes up and then they crush your will to live. So collecting cards grew from that appreciation. It became an easy way for me to harness OCD and my lo…
  • The Force of Collecting Star Wars Cards I was 10 when the movie came out and I went to the store and bought a couple of packs of Star Wars cards. But I ended up trashing all the cards I had when I was a kid, and in my collection today I have none of the cards that I had then. They all went to the garbage, but later on down the road, seven or eight years ago, in my early 30s, I started collecting them again. I still like Star Wars and th…
  • Now Batting, National Baseball Hall of Fame Curator Tom Shieber The Baseball Hall of Fame officially opened in 1939, so we’re coming up on our 70th anniversary. If you include baseball cards, we have hundreds of thousands of artifacts. We have almost any artifact you can imagine and many more that you couldn’t imagine that help tell the story of the history of baseball and its importance in American culture. Baseball evolved from other sports. There’s no in…