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  #1  
Old 07-23-2018, 08:36 PM
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Default Why aren't there more football card collectors?

I get it that baseball has done a better job of emphasizing and glorifying its past and that there's perhaps a little more baseball history than football (though the more I learn, the narrower the gap seems), but why aren't there more football card collectors?

Football of the professional variety has really achieved top dog status in American sports since about the mid-1960s, and college football was huge before that. And, at the end of the day, collectors are collectors. There are a ton of desirable and relatively affordable football cards/sets from just the 1950s and 1960s alone (shhh...don't tell anyone), and I know there are many other issues that predate even those that many of you guys are into.

I have had a foot in collecting both sports so I notice the volume and discussion surrounding the collecting of the two sports. Judging by Net54 and other forums I eavesdrop on, it is baseball first, and it isn't even close. I know that such sites don't represent all collectors, but these trends must mean something.

Football card set building has given me more satisfaction and success in just a couple short years than I have ever had collecting anything else. So, it's not like I am begging for more competition or anything, but the whole thing mystifies me.




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  #2  
Old 07-23-2018, 09:55 PM
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I am probably dead wrong but it's been a theory of mine that because their faces are obscured by helmets, and the play is essentially a series of mass scrums rather than one on one, people just don't connect to individual football players in the same way they connect to a baseball player who you see up front and close on TV or at the park, by himself for up to a couple of minutes at a time at bat, or mostly standing still in the field, or pitching.

I mean look at football cards especially modern ones -- on half of them you can barely make out who it is beneath the helmet.

Also you can't really compare players statistically across positions the way you can baseball and basketball.
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:24 AM
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You raise some good points, Peter. I can't say that you are wrong. The helmet-wearing could be part of the equation. That's funny because I (along with other baseball card collectors) get so turned off by baseball cards of hatless players. However, football cards almost necessitate that they don't wear their helmet when having their picture taken for their card. Of course some did wear their helmets but not that many. But I don't think that impacts vintage football that much because it seems like the helmet wearing is mainly with more modern issues.

I do believe you hit on a key aspect though----that being the relative anonymity of the player of say the 1960s and on back. You referred to the scrums and lack of individuality. With the exception of the really big names like Nagurski, Unitas, Jim Brown, Namath, etc., many of the rest aren't well known. It seems baseball has a middle class of players. For example, in postwar baseball collecting, everyone knows who Mantle was. He was a megastar. Though not megastars, Billy Martin and Phil Rizzuto were reasonably well known, too. Outside of the great Colt and Packer teams who had a lot of recognizable players thanks to their success, many teams had a guy or two per team that you might know, and that's about it.

In thinking carefully about my collecting of football, I think I am drawn more to leagues and teams, with a few individuals sprinkled in. For instance, the colorful, high-flying AFL appeals to me, particularly the Chargers and the other western teams. The casual fan can name you a player or two per team, but that's about it probably.

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  #4  
Old 07-24-2018, 08:24 AM
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I wonder if the shorter careers of pro football players is also a factor?
3.3 years for NFL
5.6 for MLB
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  #5  
Old 07-24-2018, 08:52 AM
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Random modern RC.
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2018, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagebaseballcardguy View Post
You raise some good points, Peter. I can't say that you are wrong. The helmet-wearing could be part of the equation. That's funny because I (along with other baseball card collectors) get so turned off by baseball cards of hatless players. However, football cards almost necessitate that they don't wear their helmet when having their picture taken for their card. Of course some did wear their helmets but not that many. But I don't think that impacts vintage football that much because it seems like the helmet wearing is mainly with more modern issues.

I do believe you hit on a key aspect though----that being the relative anonymity of the player of say the 1960s and on back. You referred to the scrums and lack of individuality. With the exception of the really big names like Nagurski, Unitas, Jim Brown, Namath, etc., many of the rest aren't well known. It seems baseball has a middle class of players. For example, in postwar baseball collecting, everyone knows who Mantle was. He was a megastar. Though not megastars, Billy Martin and Phil Rizzuto were reasonably well known, too. Outside of the great Colt and Packer teams who had a lot of recognizable players thanks to their success, many teams had a guy or two per team that you might know, and that's about it.

In thinking carefully about my collecting of football, I think I am drawn more to leagues and teams, with a few individuals sprinkled in. For instance, the colorful, high-flying AFL appeals to me, particularly the Chargers and the other western teams. The casual fan can name you a player or two per team, but that's about it probably.

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It's also hard for most positions to get a sense of how good players were, and compare them, the way you can with all the baseball metrics. What can I look up, for example, that isn't anecdotal/testimonial that's going to give me a sense of Bob Lilly, or Jim Parker, or Jack Lambert?
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Old 07-24-2018, 11:53 AM
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I think whether it's a hockey guy in Vancouver or a baseball guy in Dallas, every collection will have a few football cards in there.
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  #8  
Old 07-24-2018, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
It's also hard for most positions to get a sense of how good players were, and compare them, the way you can with all the baseball metrics. What can I look up, for example, that isn't anecdotal/testimonial that's going to give me a sense of Bob Lilly, or Jim Parker, or Jack Lambert?
Related to this is the fact that the NFL only recently (during Reggie White's era in the '90s??) started keeping up with sacks and sack records and such. Without sacks, the defensive lineman and linebackers do become a bit more difficult to distinguish from one another unless a collector is a die hard collector of say the Bears, Cowboys, Packers, Steelers, etc. In baseball all position players eventually come to the plate and are seen. If you play football but not a glamour position, it is hard to get noticed by a collector unless that player just happens to be above average or better on a dynamite team. That being said, I enjoy collecting those sets!

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  #9  
Old 07-24-2018, 03:28 PM
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Interesting topic and a lot of good points made. My first thoughts on the topic are in regards to connection. In addition to the visibility points made earlier, baseball is played every day and in modern times fans can see their favorite, or any, teams regularly if not every game. While that level of exposure wasn't always the case, baseball fans of old followed their teams on the radio daily, and pored over box scores for stats. Football is obviously played just once a week, per team of course, and plays over a shorter season. This increased level of availability may have something to do with it, along with simple fact that football came into prominence nationally much later than baseball. Personally, I collected both equally as a kid in the '70s, eagerly awaiting the arrival of both sport's packs in my local stores and have a fondness for their place in my childhood that is at the very core of why I still collect.
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Old 07-24-2018, 04:07 PM
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I think there are several factors. First is that football wasn't very popular until the 1970s. With Monday Night Football starting in 1970, you saw the popularity slowly rise through the 70's and 80's until it over took baseball in popularity. When the Miami Dolphins were playing in Super Bowl VII to complete their perfect 17-0 season, you could buy tickets outside the L.A. Coliseum for $5.00. Baseball was the #1 sport for about 100 years, so it has that history.

Next, card collecting was driven by kids. Kids who mostly played Little League. Kids are able to pick up baseball at an earlier age because of the smaller ball, compared to larger balls of football and basketball. I feel that at that younger age kids were driven more to baseball and baseball cards than to other sports.

Finally, baseball is a summer sport. Baseball cards were released in the summer when kids were out of school and had very little to do. Football cards were released in the fall when kids are in school all day for 5 days, have to do homework and chores and often had family activities on weekends. There just was very little time to collect during the school year.

When baseball cards took off as a collectible, it was driven by adults coming back to the hobby that they enjoyed from their youth. It wasn't until about 1989 that there was even any interest in football cards as a collectible and when you are talking about vintage cards, those collecting them would be collecting cards and players from an era when football wasn't popular. I collected the Topps sets from 1956 into the 90s, but I never had a strong connection to them. So, they were eventually sold off.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:31 PM
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I have asked this question before on this board and while there will never be a clear answer, all of the above plays a role in football being the poor cousin to baseball in collecting.

I also think as adults we look back to our youth not only as card collectors but as budding athletes. I was never very good at either sport but I continued playing football through my freshman year in college. I walk with a distinct limp with two bad knees from five surgeries.

As a thirteen year old I ran with excitement to baseball practice at the Boys & Girls Club every day. Also as thirteen year old I started thinking about football practice about two hours beforehand but not always with joy. It depended in the mid-60's on what we would be doing that day.

Also tonight I sat back and watched the constant scroll across the bottom of the screen on the sports channels and 90 percent of the NFL news and often college football news contains legal content, much of it in a very negative light. The NFL has had to latch on to a VERY small handful of players they use as their front men. Every night the TV and NFL execs should fall on their knees and give thanks for the Manning family. Lets face it pro football is not a pretty game with nice people. We have not even touched on injuries (other than my knees) google five of your favorite players from the 1960's and see how many of them have died or are suffering from CTE, it is very sobering and sad.

I collect football cards, I've finished most of the 60's and 70's and have 80 percent of the 40's and 50's. I still have my heroes and Bart Starr is as classy a gentleman as there is in this world. There just are not as many of those guys as we would hope.

With all that said I will continue to collect football and hope for better days.
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2018, 09:48 PM
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Everyone has made good points on this topic so far. The more I think about it, the more simple I think I might be. At the end of the day, I like sports (maybe too much at times), I like history, and I like assembling items that go together. Baseball and football have always been my two favorites, and set building has really hit me hard the last few years. Football is cheaper, the sets are smaller, and for those reasons I drift that way more and more. Those are the motivating factors for why I collect football cards. That's not to say I won't buy more baseball. In fact, I am finishing a 1954 Topps baseball set. However, I have been trending more to football collecting the past couple of years. That isn't likely to change, and my collecting has almost zero to do with today's NFL. I am interested in the 1960s and maybe the 1950s cards and watch a little NFL but not much these days.

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  #13  
Old 07-25-2018, 06:57 AM
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Robert I don't think you could have explained any better for many of us! Go Hogs
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Old 07-25-2018, 08:35 AM
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Man, I go away on travel for a few days and a big time football thread starts up on Net54. Awesome stuff, guys!

All of what has been said is great and there's truth in a lot of these ideas.

I will add two more ideas to the mix.

First, organized professional football is 50 years younger than organized professional baseball. I think to adequately compare football and baseball you need to compare the football hobby today with the baseball hobby of 1968 (50 years ago). Even though football has risen to the top of the popularity heap, we are 50 years behind in tradition, hobby artifacts, card sets, etc. I would argue this has something to do with the smaller number of football collectors too.

Second, because football items are so much cheaper than baseball items are and there are far less of them, football card / memorabilia collectors are hoarders. There just isn't a huge buy/sell market driving buzz and visibility of cards people haven't seen before. A very active hobby takes demand AND supply and for at least the pre-war items/sets, supply is very limited to the point where most collectors haven't even heard of, much less seen, many sets. POP on some sets are just crazy low.

jeff

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Old 07-25-2018, 11:05 AM
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Football Fans are much different then Baseball fans, and I think that has a lot to do with less collectors. Baseball Fans are usually stat people (that is what draws them to the sport) while Football fans 'are at the' moment people.

Football fans could really care less about the history of the game (most fans only count Superbowl Championships and don't even recognize the Pre-Merger era other then Lombardi, Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas). Most fans could care less that every QB throws for 5,000 yards now because of the change in rules, where Dan Marino was the ONLY QB to do that in the first 75 years of the league. No records are really sacred to them.

Baseball fans gravitate to records such as 20 game winners, .300 hitters, and 40+ Homerun power guys, so it makes collecting cards more interesting. I can't tell you how many times I checked out the back of a Baseball Card for a players lifetime stats, whereas there are no stats on the back of an Offensive Lineman to look at it.

Even though I am a diehard NFL and MLB fan, I believe MLB fans are better fans of their respective sport. It's easy being an NFL fan, as you need to set aside 16 Sunday's and maybe a few Monday/Thursday's on your schedule, so it's not really time consuming. Baseball is a sport you have to keep up with from April to October (Following pennant races is a big appeal), and that obsessiveness is a cause/effect of more Baseball card collectors then Football.

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Old 07-25-2018, 11:14 AM
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Great points Jeff. The point Robert makes about finding Hall of Famers for a fraction of a middling baseball Hall of Famer pricing makes this very attractive.

I have often wondered about printing numbers from the 1950's and 60's for baseball and football. I would venture a guess that there are many more 1952 Topps Mantles out there than there are 1952 Bowman larges of any specific player especially SP's. Once again demand creates the skewing of prices.

Please don't point this out to PSA driven investors
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Old 07-25-2018, 01:48 PM
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I would collect football more if there were more Pre-War issues. Everything Post-War is easy to find but there are only a couple Pre-War sets and they are very expensive.

Also, other than Nagurski and Grange many of the big Pre-War names (Thorpe, Hutson, etc) donít have mainstream cards that were made during their careers.
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Old 07-25-2018, 07:53 PM
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My entirely unscientific take:

I collected FB as a kid, stopping around 1975. That is the only reason I collect it now, and all I collect are the cards from 1979 and earlier, with rare exceptions.

I know quite a few people who are alienated from the modern NFL for a variety of reasons: thug players; concussion denial; the injuries the sport inflicts on its players; poor treatment of its cheerleaders as workers...the list just goes on.

I find the sport boring and slow, especially when televised. The actual play takes up only a small fraction of the time of a telecast. I cannot sit through it.

The 1960s-1970s had such fun players. We don't see that any more what with all the personal branding considerations. Now, that is endemic to all sports, but it is such a contrast from the days of these guys:









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Old 07-25-2018, 07:59 PM
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Jeff, I was wondering where you were!! Good points. I hadn't really thought about your point of big time football being about 50 years behind baseball in terms of history. That may play a role in the lower prices and relative affordability of football cards. I guess that would be like buying baseball cards "back in the day" before the boom. That is encouraging as a football card collector...just don't tell anyone.

My only football collecting experience is '50s and '60s, but I know you and others on this board know prewar football. To your point about lack of availability, I believe it. I practically never see such items for sale...and I do look.

Someone else mentioned the double whammy of not many big prewar names and not many cards for those greats of yesteryear. To date, that has no impact on me personally as I really like the '50s issues, and I really like the AFL cards and sets from the '60s, but I can see how that might dissuade would-be prewar football collectors. Of course, when you factor in college football along with early professional football, there are many great and colorful players...more than most people know about. It just takes a little curiousity and effort to "discover" them. Baseball has done a much better job of putting legends of the game (even relatively minor ones) front and center.

Jeff, I think I read one of your recent posts somewhere where you succinctly pointed out that football sets, for the most part, are smaller and less expensive. What's not to like? I grew up liking football, too, and there are some wonderful football cards/sets out there.

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Originally Posted by jefferyepayne View Post
Man, I go away on travel for a few days and a big time football thread starts up on Net54. Awesome stuff, guys!

All of what has been said is great and there's truth in a lot of these ideas.

I will add two more idea to the mix.

First, organized professional football is 50 years younger than organized professional baseball. I think to adequately compare football and baseball you need to compare the football hobby today with the baseball hobby of 1968 (50 years ago). Even though football has risen to the top of the popularity heap, we are 50 years behind in tradition, hobby artifacts, card sets, etc. I would argue this has something to do with the smaller number of football collectors too.

Second, because football items are so much cheaper than baseball items are and there are far less of them, football card / memorabilia collectors are hoarders. There just isn't a huge buy/sell market driving buzz and visibility of cards people haven't seen before. A very active hobby takes demand AND supply and for at least the pre-war items/sets, supply is very limited to the point where most collectors haven't even heard of, much less seen, many sets. POP on some sets are just crazy low.

jeff


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Old 07-25-2018, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
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My entirely unscientific take:

I collected FB as a kid, stopping around 1975. That is the only reason I collect it now, and all I collect are the cards from 1979 and earlier, with rare exceptions.

I know quite a few people who are alienated from the modern NFL for a variety of reasons: thug players; concussion denial; the injuries the sport inflicts on its players; poor treatment of its cheerleaders as workers...the list just goes on.

I find the sport boring and slow, especially when televised. The actual play takes up only a small fraction of the time of a telecast. I cannot sit through it.

The 1960s-1970s had such fun players. We don't see that any more what with all the personal branding considerations. Now, that is endemic to all sports, but it is such a contrast from the days of these guys:









Good points and cards!! To your point about today's NFL: I personally can separate my feelings about collecting football cards of better times (like you mentioned in the 60s) from my feelings about today's corporate NFL. However, I know that many don't want to separate those feelings and have walked away from pro football. I myself don't care nearly as much about it as I did even five years ago. College football is still somewhat enjoyable for me, but it isn't without its issues, too. In the end, all the sports seem more flawed as we age I guess. I just try and focus on enjoying the cards I can afford to collect and not dwell on all the issues and problems. The cards are fun stuff!

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Old 07-25-2018, 08:56 PM
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Thanks, Mike. Football around here would be way more fun if Morris can help us win more than 5! WPS!!
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Robert I don't think you could have explained any better for many of us! Go Hogs
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Old 07-25-2018, 09:37 PM
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Lots of great points - my favorite might be the one about baseball cards being a summer thing - I can totally relate to that as a kid - after dinner summer nights trading baseball cards on the curb while it was still light out - when football cards came out, it was time to go back to school.

One thing I don’t think was mentioned specifically - in my opinion in lots of areas of the country people are more passionate about college football than professional because they may not have a pro team in their area. Also, for anyone who went to a school where Saturday football was part of the experience, they may find a bond with that team that is hard to duplicate with a pro team. While the NCAA wasn’t around to stop the Mayo set or keep Bednarik, Walker, etc. out of the early Leaf sets, I don’t think a lot of college football card sets exist.

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Old 07-26-2018, 01:34 AM
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Great thread, and it seems like Iím a little late to the party, most of the reasons have already been touched on. I really think the shorter careers make a big difference. Quarterbacks seem to be doing quite well, from a hobby perspective, Andrew Luck had a big run, Rodgers cards still go for big money and Brady feels like heís almost reaching a Jordan like status. Derek carr went nuts last off season, and there is plenty of interest in Deshawn watson and now Pat mahomes. However Todd Gurley after his huge year sells for less than when he was a rookie, Leíveon Bell sells for dirt compared to his performance. Even guys like Ladainian Tomlinson, who was a beast canít hardly catch a bid. Defensive players are real soft too. I think baseball and basketball are very investment driven, people buying Mike Trout now have to be thinking those cards will increase in value. Basketball is even crazier! While in football the belief (rightfully so) is most of the hot rookies will fade away so there is very little investment driven speculation. I think that plays a pretty big part in the baseball card market.

I know this really doesnít have anything to do with the vintage market, but I also think we all started buying new cards and transitioned into vintage at some point. For football I donít see this happening quite as much. Part of it is that football fans arenít really into the history aspect of the game, like others mentioned the rules have changed quite a bit making old records not as relevant. Football doesnít have that marquee card like the T206 Wagner, or 1952 mantle. Also the investment aspect of vintage football isnít there, people have to remember stories like that old net54 thread where someone returned a mid grade psa 52 mantle so they could buy a Mayo Dunlop, talk about scaring people off from investing in vintage football cards. The return difference on those two cards has to be insane and not in the Dunlopís favor. Itís just little things like that that keep people away from vintage football. I know it influenced me when considering that Dunlop that was on eBay last summer. Iím sure others are in the same boat.

Iím just happy that the lower relative prices have allowed me to be able to put together some nice sets for a price I can afford. And it could always be worse. Football seems to be better off than hockey, and if you really want to know what inexpensive looks like, take a look at vintage tennis cards.
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
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I would collect football more if there were more Pre-War issues. Everything Post-War is easy to find but there are only a couple Pre-War sets and they are very expensive.

Also, other than Nagurski and Grange many of the big Pre-War names (Thorpe, Hutson, etc) don’t have mainstream cards that were made during their careers.
Great point about pre-war sets although there is lots more available if you expand your definition of a "card" to include RPPCs, premiums, inserts, cabinets, etc.

I can't agree that everything Post-War is easy to find. Mainstream sets? Mostly yes, but some of the regional and oddball sets are next to impossible to complete and provide a great challenge for the hardcore collector. Some of these include: 1950 Bread for Health, 1946 Sears Browns, 1961 National City Bank Browns, 1961 Golden Tulip, 1960 7-Eleven, 1968 Topps Test Team, 1969 Eskimo Pie, 1959 Bazooka, etc. Many of these sets have awesome pre-rookie cards of HOFers in them that makes looking for cards from these sets very enjoyable.

Completely agree about no mainstream (or even oddball in some cases!) cards being available pre-war. I use this as an opportunity to find and go after things related to cards that are fun to collect too. Things like advertisements, matchbooks, vintage photos, RPPCs (and other card-like things mentioned above). Once you get into those a little bit they can be as fun and as addictive as cards are.

jeff

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Old 07-26-2018, 06:47 AM
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My only football collecting experience is '50s and '60s, but I know you and others on this board know prewar football. To your point about lack of availability, I believe it. I practically never see such items for sale...and I do look.
Good point, Robert. Lots of the very rare stuff changes hands behind the scenes from collector to collector without seeing the light of the auction day. Many times rare cards and things that do come up for auction have already been offered directly to a few hardcore collectors who have passed on them at the price offered.

There is a reason why many pre-war cards have no priced in VCP yet exist and change hands.

jeff
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Old 07-26-2018, 07:53 AM
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Those of us who grew up in the heyday of MNF are also a bit spoiled. Like boxing fans who grew up on Ali-Frazier-Foreman-Norton. It doesnít get any better and whatever is next is a letdown.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:48 AM
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Default Football Card Collectors

All the points made so far are great. I think that part of the problem has to do with the media. The football "pundits" don't really talk about past players like the baseball reporters do. Baseball guys compare today's players to all of the past greats. Football guy compare today's players to each other. Without making this rather long I will site one example. Tom Brady is talked about for all his championships and that he sits in a great "system". His Super Bowl record is 5-3. Otto Graham was a "system" qb. In the 40's he won 5 championships with the upstart AAFC. When it folded the Browns and Rams were let into the NFL. Both teams made the championship game in 1950 which the Browns and Graham won. From 1946 through 1955, the Browns went to every championship with a record of 7-2. Of course the NFL does not recognize the AAFC statistics. And then there is Bart Starr..... Neither are talked about to the extent of Ted Williams, Koufax and other baseball players. And as we all know in the end, the "team" wins championships.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:11 AM
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My 2 cents: First off I think that some of the designs particularly late 60's early 70's were lackluster. Also in the 50's and 60's baseball featured sets that were 400-500+ in number allowing for more player representation. Football sets were limited to lower numbers and with team cards, 8-12 players out of 40 or so per team. I also think that in later sets, the fact that the card companies did not have the rights to have team logos on helmets and airbrushed them out added to the quality of the card. Don't get me wrong, I have several pre 70 football sets and enjoy them, it just the quality and effort didn't seem to be a main focus. I think the topps/opc hockey sets are better than the football output in these years. comments opinions welcome. billp
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Old 07-26-2018, 01:57 PM
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Default movies, video games, and books

Here's one I don't think has been mentioned - movies, video games, and books (The theory is that kids are impressionable and something like this could capture one’s imagination for a lifetime)

Off the top of my head I'll just list ones that could spark an interest in the historical aspect of the sport (theory being that most collectors start with current items i.e. "packs of this year's cards" and eventually get into older items)

Movies
Field of Dreams
The Natural

Games
Micro League Baseball (You could have Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, etc. on your team and they were good!)

Books
Casey at the Bat
Ted Williams Art of Hitting (not sure on exact title)

For Football, the only historical based movies I recall focus on college football - Rudy and one about Tennessee's Richmond Flowers (There is a Nagurski reference in a movie, but it wasn't a football movie). There was a video game, but it didn't come out until 2005. It's possible to stumble on books - but in my opinion, you don’t see as many - The Dr. Z chapter I read on Marion Motley as a kid was a huge influence on me, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority.

Probably lots I'm forgetting on both sides, but I think baseball wins on this. I can think of a kid on my street who said his favorite player was Babe Ruth - I'm not saying this was common, but I can't imagine it happening in football.

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Old 07-26-2018, 02:19 PM
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I think Madden football dwarfs all other sports games but I don't know if they offer any retro or historic options?
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Old 07-26-2018, 02:48 PM
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Good call on Madden, but I think it took until 2013 or thereabouts to get legends, so maybe we'll get some new pre-war collectors, but will take some time
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Old 07-28-2018, 02:39 PM
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I used to play a cool game on my PC back in the late 90s called NFL Legends. I have not seen anything complimentary since...except for Madden I guess.

Steve Sabol and his father with NFL Films helped fill in the gap!

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Old 07-28-2018, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagebaseballcardguy View Post
I used to play a cool game on my PC back in the late 90s called NFL Legends. I have not seen anything complimentary since...except for Madden I guess.

Steve Sabol and his father with NFL Films helped fill in the gap!

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Cool - I didn't play that one, but I just remembered "Super Bowl Sunday" from the 80s by Avalon Hill - that was a good one too - but I still mostly just played the recent super bowls - the historical bug didn't bite me until 20+ years later with All-Pro Football 2K8 by 2K sports.
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Old 07-28-2018, 10:03 PM
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Thanks for all the good replies. As always, it has proven to be educational. I think the main takeaway from this thread for me is the seasonal nature of collecting. Growing up, baseball and baseball cards were a part of summer. Football happened after school started. I didn't collect football cards as much as baseball cards as a kid. Only as an adult have I made the decision to revisit them. I never saw it that way before....

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Old 08-01-2018, 11:37 AM
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Baseball has been around since 1869.
Baseball was America's game for forever.
Photos of baseball players have been around forever.
Football was only popular in college until the 50's mildly popular until the 1970's and didn't become America's game until recently.
Kids collected and traded baseball cards with no value n the 50's are still alive today many trying to recapture their childhood.
Baseball has 9 individual players, all can be a star at any moment.
Football has QB's, RB's and receivers.
Football is shot mostly from a distance.
Baseball has close ups of every batter and pitcher every inning.

Maybe the 80's generation will pick up the pace in 2026. But capturing a childhood might be hand held games or flip phones.
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Old 08-01-2018, 04:38 PM
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I think it's two simple things for me. (I do buy football, but I won't pay much and I usually only collect my team, Detroit)

a. Short careers keep player collecting to a minimum.

b. Absolute value crash and disinterest the moment a player retires because of short careers. Any investment of consequence is completely foolhardy.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:51 PM
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I've shifted into more football collecting the last couple of years. In my case, football has always been my favorite sport, and the stars / HOF'ers from the 40's - 70's are within my budget. I can't say the same for Baseball. 2 examples, my favorite football cards in my collection right now. No, neither have premium centering but they make up for that in other ways and to me are beautiful vintage rookies .

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Old 08-19-2018, 05:12 PM
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Those are really nice David! Hope to see more of your cards here.

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Old 08-24-2018, 01:44 PM
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I think collecting (and buying/selling) in any collectible market often goes where the best market value and interest lie. Demand breeds demand. Some folks will delude themselves into thinking that they're pure collectors but would prefer to buy more valuable cards if they could afford to do so. Football cards have generally been (relative to baseball) an easier buy than baseball for a long time now due to lesser demand. And honestly I'm not much interested in why that is the case. It is what it is.

Since 1990 I've been able to buy just about any card that I really wanted (1968-1972 Topps BB and FB), but I haven't bought many football cards. The return on investment is not as great for the players that I'm interested in. The card series are small and the challenge of completing a FB set was never really there for me. How many of you ever look at those sets that you collected and put in a binder on a shelf?

No it's not all about money, but at least I'm honest enought with myself to understand that some day I am going to sell it all and I want to get top dollar. No one in my family wants the cards. Children and grandchildren in my family could not care less about cards. Some of the Mantle cards that I bought in the early 90s have been graded and have now quadupled in value. I can't say that about any of the football cards I could have bought instead.

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Old 08-25-2018, 10:48 AM
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What now, you're saying that unless someone can afford more expensive cards they're not "pure collectors"?

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Originally Posted by OlderTheBetter View Post
... Some folks will delude themselves into thinking that they're pure collectors but would prefer to buy more valuable cards if they could afford to do so....
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:52 PM
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What now, you're saying that unless someone can afford more expensive cards they're not "pure collectors"?
That's not really what I was trying to say. What I meant to say was that many collectors pretend to not care about the financial value of their collection when in fact it's a major factor.

And often they're not collecting modern issues because they know that these cards will never have much financial value... But they won't tell you that.

This kind of hypocrisy in the so-callled "hobby" was always there, but has become more obvious as older cards become much more expensive in comparison to modern cards. Modern issues are often scorned because they're not valuable and most likely never will be.

The original OP posed the question about why there aren't more football collectors and my opinion is that many collectors with real money to spend aren't collecting football as much as baseball because they perceive the ROI to be less. At least I am willing to admit that this has been the case for me.

These are just pictures of players on cardboard -- and it's getting harder to justify the cost.

If all vintage cards were relatively cheap this would not be the case and we'd
all probably be like those guys in the pre-1970 era, scooping up everything in sight.

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Old 08-25-2018, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlderTheBetter View Post
I think collecting (and buying/selling) in any collectible market often goes where the best market value and interest lie. Demand breeds demand. Some folks will delude themselves into thinking that they're pure collectors but would prefer to buy more valuable cards if they could afford to do so. Football cards have generally been (relative to baseball) an easier buy than baseball for a long time now due to lesser demand. And honestly I'm not much interested in why that is the case. It is what it is.

Since 1990 I've been able to buy just about any card that I really wanted (1968-1972 Topps BB and FB), but I haven't bought many football cards. The return on investment is not as great for the players that I'm interested in. The card series are small and the challenge of completing a FB set was never really there for me. How many of you ever look at those sets that you collected and put in a binder on a shelf?

No it's not all about money, but at least I'm honest enought with myself to understand that some day I am going to sell it all and I want to get top dollar. No one in my family wants the cards. Children and grandchildren in my family could not care less about cards. Some of the Mantle cards that I bought in the early 90s have been graded and have now quadupled in value. I can't say that about any of the football cards I could have bought instead.

--Dave


Itís good that you qualified your statements to 1968-1972 Topps. However, there plenty of 1960s regional sets in football where there is tremendous value and rarity. The supply is so limited that you would have little success obtaining a single example even against the smaller community of ďcheapskateĒ football collectors.


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Old 08-26-2018, 12:03 AM
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Rarity doesn't equate to value. A rare set doesn't really help a collectible market much -- what does drive interest up is very high demand for items that are not rare. Football is not that.

There must be sufficient demand and there just aren't enough enough post-war football sets with high demand relative to the demand for baseball.

Of the top 25 or so sports cards ranked by price paid I don't think there is a single football card in the list.

The correct answer to the OP's question is that ALL sports cards across the board are going to see a decrease in the number of collectors. You have to get the younger generations more interested, but it's just not cool to be a young collector of pictures on cardboard. Not when you have video game systems, internet and other newer technologies that are much more popular and relevant to fill the time. Even comic books are getting much more interest than sports cards these days. Sports cards are for granddad.

You go to a card shop these days and you don't see kids often. At least I don't in the shops that I go to. What you do see is a lot of guys with white hair.


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Old 08-31-2018, 10:04 AM
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This is spot on, imo. Money is usually the answer to most questions of this nature. If the football cards were way more valuable there would be way more collectors. I go to a local show where there is always a guy with in ipad walking around. I try to get away from him quickly but every now and then he catches me and has to show me something I could give a rats ass about. One time he showed me a holy grail of his. The build up was great and I was expecting something fantastic and really valuable. So he pulled out his trusty ipad (I hate them) and showed me a Mickey Mouse card. I acted interested and asked the value of such a holy grail? He told me about a hundred bucks. I said wow, that is great. But to be honest had he said 10k I would have been more interested . Truth be told, money keeps people interested. Jeff Burdick would have hated today's collectors.


Quote:
Originally Posted by OlderTheBetter View Post
That's not really what I was trying to say. What I meant to say was that many collectors pretend to not care about the financial value of their collection when in fact it's a major factor.

And often they're not collecting modern issues because they know that these cards will never have much financial value... But they won't tell you that.

This kind of hypocrisy in the so-callled "hobby" was always there, but has become more obvious as older cards become much more expensive in comparison to modern cards. Modern issues are often scorned because they're not valuable and most likely never will be.

The original OP posed the question about why there aren't more football collectors and my opinion is that many collectors with real money to spend aren't collecting football as much as baseball because they perceive the ROI to be less. At least I am willing to admit that this has been the case for me.

These are just pictures of players on cardboard -- and it's getting harder to justify the cost.

If all vintage cards were relatively cheap this would not be the case and we'd
all probably be like those guys in the pre-1970 era, scooping up everything in sight.

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Old 09-02-2018, 01:26 PM
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I love baseball first. .

However...

I wouldn't mind having a Jim Brown or Payton RC before other cards in most cases.

I think Fantasy Football has changed the hobby as well.
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Old 09-02-2018, 02:24 PM
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I posted earlier in this thread, but have a couple more thoughts on the topic. So here goes.

Collecting usually starts as a kid, and often has something to do with connection to the teams and players they like. Today, if kids want to, they can see games, video, and discussion seven days a week. With all of that available, something is missing that draws kids to cards. They just don't need them. For many of us, game broadcasts, magazines, and cards were the only way to get that connection. Just a thought.

Secondly, and I may get pounded for this, but think about what you hear during broadcasts and sports talk shows. That would be money, arrests, suspension for PEDs and other reasons, and lots of other stuff that has little to do with actual football. Seems like it might be hard to get excited about the game and have that desire to do things which provide connection to the teams and players. Football media is for adults, and does nothing to make kids excited about football.
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Old 09-02-2018, 05:15 PM
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I think there just isn't many supercollectors for football stars, as compared to other sports.
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Old 09-11-2018, 06:00 PM
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Default Opening day football set - Opportunity lost

With 53 men on the active roster of each team, an opening day inclusive set of 32 teams would contain 1664 cards. Without short prints and five cards in a pack, there would be one Brady or Rodgers card in every 333 packs.

With injuries each week, an update set might be possible every two weeks during the season with highly coveted MRI Refractor inserts of your fallen heroes.

Sounds like a gold mine to me. And if you have never seen a refracted MRI, you are in for a treat.
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:45 PM
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If you went by NFL promotion, pro football started in 1966. When the most championships are discussed, Tom Brady is #1 and no mention is made of Starr or Graham. No stars from the 1960s or before hold any significant lifetime records. Guys like Matt Stafford have stats that make Unitas and Staubach look like losers. So, no NFL publicity plus no records plus little film footage means guys like Steve Van Buren and Ollie Matson are unknown to modern football fans. Ask a current NFL fan who Deacon Jones or Bronko Nagurski is and 99% would have no idea. Most baseball fans could recognize Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb or many others. So, I bought my Deacon Jones 1963 rookie in Ex Mint for $18 and my Pete Rose in VGEX cost me a few hundred. The Jones is probably rarer. I don't understand it, but I accept it and I don't complain. And I bought a second year Lee Alcindor in Ex Mint for $20 recently, so maybe basketball is even worse...
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Old 09-15-2018, 04:29 PM
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Have Matt Stafford show those guys his championship ring.
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