Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Life of a Vintage Card

When I first heard that Magic Johnson was retiring, I was flipping through baseball cards on the floor while watching TV. I have no earthly idea why I remember that. I can't imagine that was one of the signature moments of my life, or anything. But, I remember the cards. It's one of the things I always think of when looking at vintage cards. What events have they witnessed during their life?

Have you ever watched a show like Antiques Roadshow, and have them show off some trinket that's a few hundred years old and wonder, what made someone decide to save that and pass that down? I think of that when I see vintage cards too.

Do you ever do that?

Ever look at a beat-up card from 100 years ago and wonder what stories it would have to tell? Or, why it was still around?

That Tris Speaker T206 card with a pinhole in it. What wall was it pinned to? For how long? Was it suck on a wall as someone was reading about the start of WWI? WWII? Was it in a kid's room? A kitchen? A parlor? What has it been looking down on for the last 100 years?

And, why on earth has it been around for 100 years? It has a pinhole in it. It's got one corner folded over. And some scuffing on the front. I understand the last few years. Even the last 30. It was a rare collectible by then. But, what about in 1919? Or 1949? Who decided not to throw away a card with a pinhole and a fold that was free in the first place? If my father tried to give me a beat up playing card that he had stuck to his wall, I can't imagine why I'd take it.

Were all of the beat-up vintage cards just lost for 50 years? In a drawer, or a book, or an attic? Did nobody know they were passing them down until they became valuable again?

Maybe all these vintage cards haven't witnessed history at all? Maybe they've been hidden away for decades? In their own private jail?

What's their story?

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