View Full Version : Why the **** did you start collecting vintage memorabilia????

Forever Young
08-29-2013, 05:13 PM
Does anyone have a definitive moment that they can attribute their love of collecting VINTAGE MEMORABILIA to?

I know I can….and I am going to share it whether you want to hear it or not.
First off.. I am not a writer anymore. I gave it up after college so I am sorry for all the F/sh words as well as gramatical/spelling errors. it is not in APA format either. This is raw dudes.. 

I was in 4th grade, 1987 when my dad took me with him on a road trip to MT for work. We had a great time planned of snowmobiling in Yellowstone(which we did), big sky skiing along with many other things. The problem is, I contracted the chicken pocks while in MT.

I still remember hallucinating in the hotel room thinking there were vampire spiders under the bed(I guess those were my subconscious fears). Anyway… I was worthless and my dad felt really bad for me. It was supposed to be a bonding week and I was most likely acting like a little Biat...ABY. There was, however, one thing we had in common(that I perked up for)..talking baseball and baseball cards.

At that time I was into Boggs, Mattingly and Puckett like every other kid while trying to understand names like Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Carew, Seaver, Rose ect who were on their way out and shells of themselves. My dad would tell me stories of them but mostly of Mickey Mantle. My collection consisted of 1980-87 topps cards(sets I was putting together by hand) and that’s about it. The 1980 to 1984 cards were beat to sh*t as I was definitely not concerned with the condition AT ALL. It was still a time where us kids were not looking to make money on them but looked at the images, artwork and read the states on the back.

While in Bozeman, my dad looked up baseball cards in the yellow pages(probably several shops back then) and picked out a couple to take me to(cheer me up). The first one we went to was small but we were able to find a several Maris cards(1961 mvp, 1965 and 1967 topps) along with a ton of commons from 65,66 and 67). There were no Mantle cards there but my dad talked to me about Maris and Mantle(we are from ND) so the Maris connection history was fun to learn on the way to shop #2.

The second shop we went to would change me and my collecting habits forever. It was called COPE’S COLLECTIBLES. It was owned and operated by Everett Cope. When I walked in, I was overwhelmed. There were multiple Canseco and Mattingly Donruss rookies(huge back then), Aarons, Mays, Schmidt, Bench ect ect but no Mantle.
HOWEVER… I saw a bunch of signed pictures of old players all over the wall. One said Mickey Mantle and was signed. The signature was beautiful and as fun/almost as fictional as Mickey Mouse to me. All the great, "larger than life" stories were so hard to believe. It was a beautiful framed piece with all his stats, perfectly signed and numbered to 1000.

I had never seen anything like this. My dad asked what these were and so goes the story. This is before the players were getting s*it tons of money from Upper deck and Topps and everyone else and their mom. In a nut shell, Ev commissioned artists on 1980-87ish to paint many of the greats. He then made up prints of these paintings along with career records and them(living players) sign each one limited to 1000. He had to be one of the first to do this.

On that visit, Ev and my dad talked about the old players and Mickey Mantle at great length. I learned so much in just a few hours. Ev had pictures of him and the Mick at the signings. He had stories of him and close friend Harmon Killer fishing...Ted Williams giving him hitting instructions, Ev in the dugout at yankee stadium ...ect. I was in awe.

To make a long story short, my dad(not having much money back then) bought his sick son a limited signed print of Mantle, a signed Mantle ball, a signed mays and Aaron ball and sadly.. a MINT JOSE CANSECO 1986 DONRUSS ROOKIE( that I believe he spent the most on). I still have all of those pieces in my collection.

I retuned back to ND with the Mick in hand with a complete stat list and an AUTOGRAPH as age 12. I read everything I could get my hands on and educated all of my friends. There was a group of about five of us who were tight and collected together. Two of them I still keep in touch with but they no longer collect. I, however, never stopped. The visit to COPE’S COLLECTIBLES and the purchase of the Mantle items at age 12 sparked my crazy collecting engine and the "sickness" began. From then on, I collected vintage memorabilia/cards only. With teh occasional Billy Rip. f-face card of course. Along the way, I reconnected with Ev in college and purchased a Ted Williams career records plaque as well but then fell back out of touch.

At this year’s National. I saw an original oil painting in Legendary auctions and I immediately recognized it. It was the HUGE painting I saw as a kid in Ev’s shop that all the Mantle prints were made from(including mine). It was done my Robert Stephen Simon and signed perfectly(7-8 inches long). I mentioned I knew Ev Cope to Doug Allen and he said he was at the show. I gave Doug my card and asked that he have Ev call me. Of course he did and I am happy we are back in touch.

I was able to add the MICKEY MANTLE as well and the TED WILLIAMS ORIGINAL, SIGNED, OIL PAINTINGS USED FOR THE PLAQUES to my collection this month!

Although not Kreindlers , these still evoke so many childhood memories and will be keep sakes in my collection forever. I feel like these are also part of the evolution in original baseball art and baseball collecting as a whole(even outside of my story). IDK if that makes sense..

When I go back to my parent’s house. 4 things are always the same; their love for me, my mom’s kick a** food(rhubarb desert is my favorite), my dad and I fighting over the remote while talking baseball and Mickey Mantle Career records plaque on the wall in my old room.

Now I also have the original painting in my house and can't wait until my dad sees it.

Anyway, below are the prints that were sold way back in the day along with the 4 original artworks I recently added to my collection(original mantle and teddy oils and (2) mantle sketches also used for the plaques.

Again...sorry for the ramblings, misspellings, grammar issues ect.. but deal with it.

I needed a quick break from work and stressed out. I should have spent more time on this but sometimes writing an account quickly is the best way as is raw and most accurate(less BS). I like to ham it up as those found out at the net54 dinner. For those of you who I haven’t met yet, remind me to tell you the penguin joke when we do.:)

Love to hear your stories.






08-29-2013, 05:56 PM
Nice post Ben. I only collect cards. :o

Forever Young
08-29-2013, 06:25 PM
Nice post Ben. I only collect cards. :o

Well.. stories about that would be cool too. Why still collect as a grown man?

I evolved fom:

Wade boggs rookies, frank viola sigs and donruss diamond kings(as art)


maris/mantle cards, mantle balls and copes collection art plaques


ty cobb and babe ruth cards, babe ruth cut and willard mullin art


babe ruth rookie original photos, babe ruth christy walsh signed cks and kreindler art( i still appreciate old cool cards though and would like to own a couple-just too expensice for me to justify).

08-29-2013, 07:07 PM

I felt privileged to have read your post. Thanks for sharing, great story.

I didnt know you were a sentimental guy. :)

Great thread.

At age 6, my dad told me, out of the blue, one day at my grandparents, that he kept all his cards.

Didnt mention it before, even though I had collected since birth about, and then sat down with me, in a serious discussion at my grandfathers house, where they had been kept for 30 years at the time. It was all there, 1953-1960, baseball, football, basketball. every set about.

And then I was shown my grandfathers generation of cards. My grandfather had kept T-206s from the 1910s, and my dad had added from tobacco shops and stands in Manhattan. These tobacco shops and stands were fill-ins for formal baseball card shops from 1950-1970. My dad told me he paid 25 cents for the T-206 green Cobb in circa 1960.

I believe I received 9 cards that day. The first card I received from my dad's collection was a 1956 Hank Aaron.

And there it all was. I learned from the cards. They were still the internet in the 1980s, along with books. and learned from my family the history of baseball, and how to care for the cards.

As I got older, I wanted to be closer to the actual players. and then, closer to the players actually playing the game. I moved from cards, to autographs, to pre-war game used and for the c.1900-1915 group, photos. Cards became autographs became game used.

My grandfather J@mes Fuld was an attorney by day, and a sheet music collector, really a historian of music, by night/weekend/vacation.

He assembled our history of popular music - The Star Spangled Banner, Happy Birthday, Mary had a Little Lamb, etc. from collecting the sheet music, from 1600 to 1900. from first edition to final edition. alterations, developments. music and lyric may have been created separately and merged over time. He also collected the handwritten spontaneous creations. So he really collected to piece together the history of popular music. At one point he owned 3 of the surviving 7 original printings of the Star Spangled Banner printed in 1814. Incredibly, they were not tremendously expensive, like Ruth jerseys and Wagners were not.

I have a researching/collecting gene, I cant help it. I guess thats my why. My 2 year old son has about 80 little toy horses of various sorts. Lord help him and us.

But I love the game. Playing, and researching and collecting.

08-29-2013, 07:19 PM
Great post, Ben.

I got fired up by a 1909 Pirates supplement that had hung in Honus Wagner's office at Forbes Field. It hung on my wall for a far shorter time and then I regrettably sold it. Wish I had not. The thrill was in having something that actually had a personal tie to the ballplayer, unlike cards which the players never actually touched. I finally picked up a piece to replace the supplement - this 12" x 16" 1917 photo of Wagner that hung in his house:

Forever Young
08-29-2013, 07:27 PM

I felt privileged to have read your post. Thanks for sharing, great story.

I didnt know you were a sentimental guy. :)

Great thread.

HAHA.. I have my moments..:)

As a kid, my dad received teh collection of an old man down the streat in Detroit. He then collected all through childhood. He was able to keep all teh cards and they even made it to Fargo ND when his family moved and he went to college. The problem is, his mom(my grandma-who was the best btw god rest her soul) gabe them to the truck driver(who moved them). So close to being in your shoes... mantle rookies, tobacco cards..ahh.. makes me sick. Anyway, it was something that my father and I were able to do togethe rtoo. He bought me other cards as a grew up(mis-spoke when I said it was just vintage memorabilia- that included vintage cards). He also collects stamps.. so yeah..
Your son appears to have "the gene" too buddy! haha! I love how you "learned to care for teh cards" from your family. I wonder how I learned? I probably spilled jelly on one and tried to trade it and someone said no.:)

Forever Young
08-29-2013, 07:30 PM
Great post, Ben.

I got fired up by a 1909 Pirates supplement that had hung in Honus Wagner's office at Forbes Field. It hung on my wall for a far shorter time and then I regrettably sold it. Wish I had not. The thrill was in having something that actually had a personal tie to the ballplayer, unlike cards which the players never actually touched. I finally picked up a piece to replace the supplement - this 12" x 16" 1917 photo of Wagner that hung in his house:

You know how much I love this piece.. it is fantastic and I think you make up for "yor loss" very very well. I am glad it didn't discourage you otherwise we wouldn'y have teh pleasure of you posting on here ruffling feathers.. HAHA!:p

08-29-2013, 07:47 PM
Ben, it's funny. I sold that piece for about what I paid for it, and the buyer was having a lot of second thoughts. I think when he re-sold it and doubled (or tripled) his money, he felt a little better.

08-29-2013, 07:51 PM
Here's the other piece I should have kept, and a check as well:

08-29-2013, 08:21 PM
I added a horse pic above, representing about one tenth of the horses here.

08-29-2013, 08:30 PM
Great thread!! Having dealt with just about everyone in this thread, I, too, feel privileged to have read this and to "know" all of you, sort of! :D

08-29-2013, 09:55 PM
I collected a variety of sport and non-sport memorabilia as a kid, including Topps baseball cards. I consider trading cards a kind of memorabilia. As a 7 or year old I collected newspaper, political buttons, figures, TTM autographs-- and still have some of it in a closet box. I'm not a hoarder in the least, and family members sometimes comment only how little I have in my home.

As I kid I also was interested in art and music, played piano and clarinet, composed 'classical' music for piano, painted, had my own cartoon strip and was in planning stages of my own version of Disney land. In college I had a couple of political cartoons published in a newspaper and a poem published in an anthology-- neither areas held my interest, so that was the beginning and end those. So the who general art and collecting fits together.

08-29-2013, 10:42 PM
1972 6th grade (yeah I'm old Ben) my buddies and I used to get our Dodger programs signed at the games. Always great fun to gain status based on who we got. I was the talk of the lunch room for a couple of weeks when I got Cesar Cedeno (well, until he killed a prostitute, but that's another story), and also the butt of jokes when I got Alston and Gilliam (both currently matted and framed on my wall...so take that you know-it-all 6th graders).
After that, High School and girls happened and I didn't seriously start collecting until July 31,1988 when a buddy from work talked me in to going to the mall to see a card show with Duke Snider as the guest. I noticed my buddy had a HOF book which I really liked so I ran down to the book store and found a hardback copy and had Duke sign it along with a photo and ball. That started a long road of getting HOF sigs and going to shows.
Here's the picture I got that day, and the reason I remember that date so well.

David Atkatz
08-30-2013, 01:58 AM
In the summer of 1961 I was a 10-year-old Bronx boy, and, like most everyone else in New York, I became totally caught up in the Mantle/Maris home run chase. An avid reader, I read everything I could find about Mantle--"The Mickey Mantle Story," for example--and that led me to start reading about that Ruth guy he was chasing, and that led to Gehrig and the 1920s teams. I was totally enthralled.
I'd always had the autograph bug--I began to write to Yankees at the Stadium, and at their homes in the off-season. When I became a bit older, I'd go to the Stadium with friends and hang out at the players' entrance and get my yearbooks signed. My Bronx neighborhood got a little bigger when I entered Junior High School, and met kids who came from neighboring Elementary schools. One of those kids was Harvey Meiselman, and he showed me his baseball autograph collection. He had check cuts of J. Franklin Baker (Man, did his handwriting look old!) and checks of Ty Cobb, and Mickey Cochrane, and Eppa Rixey, and... and Babe Ruth! Amazing! I learned from him about the "serious" collectors, who tracked down and wrote to old players, and players' families, and I began to do the same. Soon I had Cobb checks, and Cochrane checks, etc., but I was too late for a Ruth check. So I traded a collector in Tennessee ten Cobb checks for a Ruth check. (There were mimeographed newsletters that we all subscribed to, which, among other things, listed collectors' names and addresses. Everything was done through the mail.) I was in heaven when it came. (May seem like a bad deal now, but I got those Cobb checks for free, so, what the hell.)
I began tracking down people who knew the old Yankees, and sometimes I was spectacularly successful. I obtained a signed and inscribed Gehrig photo, for example, from the daughter of a Gehrig family friend. And all of this--except for postage, envelopes, and index cards--was free! (Perfect for a poor boy from the Bronx.)
When I went away to college in 1968 I put it all away. I had other things on my mind. Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. And, oh yeah, becoming a physicist. But in 1990, having settled down (I was a physicist, and a husband, and a dad) I took it all up again.

Scott Garner
08-30-2013, 05:29 AM
Great stories everyone! Ben, thanks for starting this thread.

Like most boys that played Little League, I began collecting baseball cards in 1967 when I was 9. (Yes Ben, I'm older than Mike! LOL). Since I grew up in the shadows of Angels Stadium, I liked cards of my hometown team the California Angels. Angels All-Star shortstop Jim Fregosi was my favorite position player (I always wore uniform # 11 for this reason).

In 1972, I was crushed when the Angels traded Fregosi to the Mets for who ironically would become my all-time favorite player Nolan Ryan and a host of other players including Leroy Stanton and Don Rose.

I was fortunate to catch one of Nolan's early games in 1972 with the Angels from directly behind home plate. Keep in mind that the early to mid 1970's Angels teams were pretty terrible and Ryan was a breath of fresh air. The sound of one of his fastballs hitting the catcher's mitt was awesome- WHACK!! :eek: The fact that he was also wild was also cool because it led to a lot of drama as he was developing some semblance of control with the help of catcher Jeff Torborg and pitching coach Tom Morgan. :cool: Torborg had caught Koufax and was instrumental in helping Nolan with the pitching mechanics required to be successful in the majors. I made it my mission to catch as many Ryan pitched games as possible, because that was the best show in town.

It dawned on me in 1972 that saving tickets to games that Nolan pitched would be fun as each ticket represented a link with a hard date to a specific event. In addition to my ticket, I also picked up other tickets on the ground after the game. I suppose this is the exact moment that I became a memorabilia collector. I ended up trading tickets with other collectors that I found that did the same (not many in 1972). Through word of mouth, I eventually was able to locate other collectors in other baseball cities that collected tickets and would trade with them as well. As others on this thread have mentioned, $$ did not change hands at this point, only trading. My ticket collecting theme expanded from only Ryan tickets to also no-hitter tickets (as well as a few other themes that I have since abandoned).

Since 1972 I have collected tickets to every Ryan game (807 regular season games) that he ever pitched in regardless of outcome (win, loss or no-decision). As of today I am only 73 ticket dates away from completing this theme. It's been a long road and a lot of fun.

My no-hitter ticket collection currently stands at about 187 games dating back to 1901, BTW. Both of these are the largest of their kind in the hobby.

Here is a photo of my full ticket to Nolan's 1st game and 1st win with the Angels in 1972. Ironically it was Nolan's 30th career win (his uniform number on the Angels) and notched his 500th career strikeout (Charlie Manuel).

The best part of all this is the network of friends that I have made along the way. To me, this is really what the hobby is all about. :)

08-30-2013, 06:11 AM
What Scott says is 100 percent true...he is old! :D:D:D

Bumpus Jones
08-30-2013, 08:02 AM
Great stuff Scott! Or Great Scott stuff:p

08-30-2013, 09:07 AM
Great stories.

Scott that is incredible.

08-30-2013, 11:10 AM
Ben, great thread.

Ben, I also am from Detroit, and as far back as I can remember, I have been a baseball fan. Being near vintage myself (born in '47), I have had the pleasure of watching Mantle and Hodges, and many of the players from the mid 50s, in their hey days. In about 1954 or 55, I got my first baseball cards. My fondest memory was when my dad brought home a whole box of penny wax packs. I sat on our back porch and slowly opened every one of them. Did I have a pile of gum.
My dad took me my first Tiger game, at about the age of 8, I remember Roy Sievers hitting a late inning two run homer and the Senators beat the Tigers 4-3.
He also took me to another game, Tigers won 14-1 over the White Sox, our seats were by the bullpen, which was by the sidelines then. I heckled every one of those White Sox relievers that were warming up. Them poor guys take a lot of abuse. In that game I got to see a little known player, named Coot Veal, hit his only major league home run. He tucked the home run ball about a foot over the left field fence just inside the foul line. A monster drive...lol
I lived and breathed baseball. We lived with my grandparents then, and my grandfather used to get mad at me for constantly throwing a rubber ball against the garage. Finally they took the garage down, but my grandfather always teased me saying I knocked it down.
The cards kept piling up, I would create my own teams, dealing out all the cards, by positions , I would have eight to ten teams, and then I created my own baseball games. For hours I would play the game, keeping stats, leaders, I knew every stat for every ballplayer of the latter 50s and early 60s.
That continued until I got my drivers license, then, at that age, other things attracted my attention. Usually it wore short skirts.
Then military service was fulfilled and when I returned after a three year absence, my dad remodeled our house, and the cards, which were in the attic, were gone. Thrown out by my parents, but at that time, I knew nothing about values of baseball cards, so I thought nothing of it until in 1984, while working with the Detroit PD, I got a call to a baseball card shop. They had some sets of cards stolen and they had an idea of who did it. I was able to retrieve almost all the cards taken and the owner of the shop gave me a 1984 Topps and Fleer sets of cards. They then invited me to a card show. I went to my first show, and I was off and running again and bought up every garage sale, yard sale, private collections I could. But the 1990s soured me again, but I had my Mantle autographed Mantle mitt, Kaline and Killebrew signed balls, plus other collectible including a handful of prewar cards I displayed telling the story of baseball collecting.
Until recently, I was a non collector, but when my cousin approached me about her husband's family inheriting a Babe Ruth photo collection, and they were looking for some help, I jumped in with both feet. I approached that dealer who gave me the 1984 Topps set some years ago, and he knew very little of Press photos, so that led me to Net54. Armed with just a couple of scans, which I posted here, I learned a lot more about Press Photos, and I fell in love with the idea of collecting press photos myself.
THE WHY, because I can see the spirit of the ballplayer in these photos. The photos provide some history of each ballplayer.
Many of you, here on Net54, has either helped directly or indirectly, as I have been following every post regarding these photos, and reading many older posts. For this, I thank everyone on this board for what you knowingly or unknowingly, have done for me. I am addicted to Press photos and if there is a definitive time when I started collecting vintage memorabilia, it was last December when I made that first post filled with questions. So it is your fault....lol
I really enjoy being a small part of this elite preservation of baseball memorabilia family, so once again to you all, Thank You
Move over Ben, another kid from Detroit is on the same block.....lol Just kidding, not in your league......not yet anyways.


08-30-2013, 02:02 PM
I was fortunate to catch one of Nolan's early games in 1972 with the Angels from directly behind home plate. Keep in mind that the early to mid 1970's Angels teams were pretty terrible and Ryan was a breath of fresh air. The sound of one of his fastballs hitting the catcher's mitt was awesome- WHACK!!
Scott, I experienced the same many many times from behind the plate in Arlington - a real thrill as most stadiums are not set up that way. I will post some pics from that vantage point. I lived in Houston when Carlton and Ryan were racing to catch Walter Johnson's record. I think that is when he became my favorite player.

What a capper to luckily be at his 7th no-hitter! That sports moment can never be topped for me.

Scott Garner
08-31-2013, 04:58 AM
Mike, Chris, Jon and Scott,
Thanks very much for the nice words.

Scott, I wish I was in Houston during Carlton and Ryan's assault of Walter's 3508 K record. That must have been fun. To catch Ryan's 7th no-hitter must have been unbelievable to have seen in person! As many ML baseball games that I have attended in my lifetime, I ironically have never seen a no-hitter or perfect game in person. Weird!

I'd love to hear responses from other collectors. I think this thread is a terrific idea! :)

08-31-2013, 10:26 AM
The battle between Carlton and Ryan was thrilling. I was at a game before Ryan caught Johnson - Bill Virdon left him in to get shelled, but he couldn't get the last couple of K's. Carlton and Ryan were both very strong that year - it was impossible to foresee that Carlton's career would end so much earlier. I have an Astros program from 1982 with a great Walter Johnson cover with an insert of Ryan. I would love to frame it with signatures of both.

The no-hitter was oddly not that great until the final pitch. I had been to a game with the Blue Jays where Ryan lost a no-hitter with one out in the 9th - I was on pins and needles that night. So when he actually did it, I wasn't prepared to believe it until the players rushed him on the mound. I have a picture of me and my friends in front of the outfield scoreboard, but it's so blurry that you can't read anything.

My hat's off to you - the best Ryan collector out there!