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Go Back   Net54baseball.com Forums > Net54baseball Main Forum - WWII & Older Baseball Cards > Net54baseball Vintage (WWII & Older) Baseball Cards & New Member Introductions

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Old 01-11-2016, 09:50 PM
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Default Beckett price surveys in SCD, 1977-1978

In the fall of 1976, Jim Beckett, then a professor of statistics at Bowling Green State University as well as a collector and dealer of baseball cards, got the idea of doing a survey of other collectors and dealers in order to determine the market value of various cards and card sets. He wrote up a survey, and the September 30, 1976 issue of Sports Collectors Digest announced his project, and his intention to distribute the survey at various card conventions and by mail. The October 31, 1976 SCD had a status report by Beckett, clarifying what he hoped to achieve with the survey, and the January 15, 1977 SCD printed the survey itself. The results of this first survey appeared in SCD in two parts: in the March 31, 1977 issue for Topps and Bowman cards, and in the April 30, 1977 issue for all other card sets. Beckett was primarily trying to determine the average value of a common card in each set, because that's the way most people thought about card values at the time; but he also included one star player in the survey, the 1954 Hank Aaron (which had gotten a big boost from Aaron breaking Ruth's home run record) to test the "controversial" idea that cards of star players were worth more. This survey was enough of a success that Beckett repeated it the following year, and the results of that 1978 survey were published in the July 15, 1978 SCD. (An abbreviated version was also in the 1978 edition of the Sport Americana Baseball Card Checklist book.) The year after that, Beckett teamed up with Denny Eckes to publish the Sport Americana Baseball Card Price Guide, which took the unthinkable (at the time) step of providing values for each individual card, in three different grades. That was just in time to catch the card boom of the 1980s, fueled by the 1952 Mantle and the new concept of rookie cards, and the rest is history.

Here are those original articles in SCD, including the prefatory articles and the results of the 1977 and 1978 surveys. These articles, along with the articles about card prices from 1966-76 that I just posted, and the annual Beckett guides starting in 1979 (all of which I have up to 1991), allow one to trace card prices more or less continuously for the last 50 years.













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Old 01-12-2016, 07:30 AM
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Very interesting. Thanks for sharing David. I have some piles of old stuff like this, several feet high. Eventually all will be shared too. I love seeing where our hobby was many years ago.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:04 AM
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I have a lot more of this type of stuff, including a complete run of SCD from the beginning in 1973 to about 1991 (and then most of the period from 1992 to 1997), plus a ton of other publications dating back to the 1950s. I bought them 20 years ago from Dan Even, a longtime collector who had put together a big collection of hobby publications but needed to get rid of them because he was moving. I also still have my own hobby stuff dating back to the mid-70s, some of which I've posted here, such as the 1979 price list of Paul Marchant, from whom I bought my first T206 and 1933 Goudey.
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Old 02-16-2016, 10:50 AM
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As an addendum to this thread, last night I found the following article from the November 1, 1976 Sports Collectors News, with an update from Jim Beckett on how his price survey was going and the feedback he was receiving. Sorry for the crappy photo quality, but I think the article should be legible. It's interesting that Beckett emphasized that he was not going to sell the survey results, but would make them freely available to the hobby. Obviously that changed as his price surveys grew way beyond what he must have imagined in 1976.

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Old 02-16-2016, 11:00 AM
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David, you have quite the remarkable collection of long-ago publications. I hope your living space doesn't look like this.
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Old 02-16-2016, 11:05 AM
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The Trader Speaks had similar Beckett surveys and results around the same time frame. Very comprehensive for the times was Dr Beckett

Last edited by toppcat; 02-16-2016 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 02-16-2016, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
David, you have quite the remarkable collection of long-ago publications. I hope your living space doesn't look like this.
Haha! Not quite, Peter. The vast majority of my hobby publications are kept downstairs in my storage unit, though right now I have some of the oldest ones upstairs for research purposes. I do have a lot of books, some of which are in stacks on the floor of my office either for research purposes or for lack of shelf space, but that's mainly in that one room, and it's not quite a "Hoarders" situation.
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Old 02-16-2016, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trdcrdkid View Post
Haha! Not quite, Peter. The vast majority of my hobby publications are kept downstairs in my storage unit, though right now I have some of the oldest ones upstairs for research purposes. I do have a lot of books, some of which are in stacks on the floor of my office either for research purposes or for lack of shelf space, but that's mainly in that one room, and it's not quite a "Hoarders" situation.
My wife is like that with the books, and she thinks the solution is not to give any away (like children's books from decades ago) but rather to buy more and more bookcases.
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:05 AM
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As an FYI; SCD ran those surveys over several pages so their "editorial" content could meet federal guidelines (I remember reading that at the time". That way they could qualify for a reduced shipping rate and be a certain type of publication. That is why the surveys ran for all those pages almost every issue of SCD in those days

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