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  #1  
Old 04-16-2012, 04:07 PM
steve B steve B is offline
Steve Birmingham
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Default Hobby supplies history

While not prewar, the topic came up in one of the Wagner threads and I figured this was a good time to expand on it a bit.

One poster mentioned Enor sheets as early as 1976, which sounds right.

I'll have to find them to check the maker but the oldest sheets I've seen were around in 1974 and were sold at K mart. There was an album with all 24 team logos on the cover as well.

Those pages were pretty bad. Sideloading, with the inner row loading on the right and the other two loading on the left. And very tight on size, barely enough room for a Topps card. Usually the inner row and the middle row would rub together.

Anyone know of earlier pages?

earliest toploaders?
screwdowns?

I may be a bit crazy, but I do keep a small collection of different holders, pages etc.

Steve B
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:39 PM
obcbobd obcbobd is offline
Bob Donaldson
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Hi,

I still have one of those albums. 1974 sounds about right as I believe I had just started Jr High when they came out (or at least I noticed them). The pages were side loading and BARELY fit a Topps card. I think I may have even damaged a few cards trying to squeeze them in.

thanks

Bob
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  #3  
Old 04-17-2012, 10:46 AM
oaks1912 oaks1912 is offline
Mark Macrae
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Default K & M Company

The small albums with team logos were sold at Toys R' Us and other stores around 1974 and were the first sheets, as I recall, that were designed just for baseball cards. They were produced by K & M Company in Southern California. Initially only 9 pocket side loaders were made for standard cards. Around a year or two later a collector from Tennessee (Gene Lebo) marketed plastic 'wall hangers' which fit 1950's cards. I think I still have one or two of those, but they were very impractical......... Prior to these 'card' sheets, I can recall using sheets / albums designed for photos which were sold at a local drug store. The cards slipped around like a nail in an otherwise empty Cracker Jack box.... It sure beat putting cards in those photo albums with the peel back plastic and adhesive lines which ruined many collections over the years...
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:07 PM
sirraffles sirraffles is offline
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Default other supplies

Back in '76 I made the first acrylic cardholders. Also made the first injection molded holders around '83 or so.
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  #5  
Old 04-17-2012, 09:34 PM
steve B steve B is offline
Steve Birmingham
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The first acrylic - Were those the folded ones? I still have some of those. Very dependable holders, but they do flatten two corners after a couple decades. Our area had the originals and after about 6 months someone was making knockoffs that weren't finished as well.

Injection molded in 83? I'm trying to recall which those are. I have a few very old screwdowns some molded some just lexan with screws. I also have one from 82-3? Maybe earlier that was very advanced. It had a cardboard insert that had a nice pattern, and was a screwdown with nylon screws. The dealer I hung out at gave me the sample one he'd been sent. He never did carry them as they were really expensive and hardly any one said they'd buy them.

Steve B
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:47 PM
sirraffles sirraffles is offline
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Actually, the ones with the patterned cardboard insert and nylon screws came before the others. You are right, they were expensive. At first I packed them in individual boxes, then bags with a printed header. Of course, cards weren't worth all that much in the '70's and collectors had no experience with individual card holders. Oh, I can't count the times that I heard, "but that's as much as the card is worth!" I did end up selling maybe 30-40k of them over a few years. Next I did the fold overs, as a response to the price issue. I never did like them, in fact I hated them. I got out of making those as quickly as I could. Others started making them almost immediately and continued for some time.

The injection molded ones might have been a little earlier than '83. They snapped together and had a recessed spot for the card. I left enough space at the bottom for my "big idea"-hot stamping things like "Rookie Card" or "MVP". I sold quite a few of those.

By around '82 people had been making sheets for a long time but there was always a shortage as the hobby was growing quite quickly. I found an agent in Taiwan, at the time not an easy thing to do for a very small business, and imported a load of half a million sheets. They arrived in a cold December and were absolutely frozen solid. I had a huge pile of cases in the middle of the warehouse that took almost ten days to thaw out. You could see a really thick cloud of steam coming off them. Only in retrospect does it seem humorous to me...I'd invested almost all my cash into the scheme and had only a big pile of steaming .... to show for it. The sheets were forever damaged and were really, really terrible. I was going to throw them away but dealers were so desperate for sheets that they wanted them anyway. In the end I made a handsome profit selling frozen blocks of 100 sheets each. Those were the days!
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  #7  
Old 04-18-2012, 08:45 AM
steve B steve B is offline
Steve Birmingham
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These snap together holders? I liked them, but couldn't find them where I lived at the time. As you can see, I still use the few I have.

Great stuff, those ones with the insert are probably the nicest holders I've seen. They might do well today, but yeah, at the time it was a choice of getting a holder or a somewhat interesting card. (Or in my case a fistful of commons)

What pages did you bring in? While it must have been horrible at the time the story of the whole pile of cases frozen is kinda funny now.

I'm thinking of attempting a hobby supplies timeline.

Steve B


Last edited by steve B; 04-18-2012 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Added image I forgot
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  #8  
Old 04-18-2012, 09:37 AM
sirraffles sirraffles is offline
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No, not that one. I'll see if I have one somewhere that I can scan. The one you pictured came out a long time after. I can't remember who made it. Around '88 there was an explosion of new molded holders, it was hard for even me to keep track and that was my business. Every day seemed to bring in a package from a new player with holder samples. I remember one that continuously beeped "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". It wouldn't stop, it kept going and going until I nearly lost my mind and threw it to the ground. There was this long pause and then it started beeping again.

The Taiwan pages that I brought in didn't have a brand name. I had found a manufacturer and had basically sent him a MVP sheet (Command Plastics, Ohio) to knock off. I wanted to see what the first batch actually looked like before I would commit to putting my company name on them. Boy, they sure were frozen solid. I smacked one brick against the wall and the whole thing just exploded into shards! Over the years I had tried to interest other plastic converters domestically to make sheets. None would. I sure didn't want to get into manufacturing but in '86 or '87 I bought a couple specialty machines to do so.

The supply business was dog-eat-dog, really quite vicious. I'm sure many of us remember when the first rigid holders made it into the country. Some guy from NJ had them. He charged $250 for a case of 1000, no discounts. He wouldn't even take my call so I bought a load from Taiwan. They could only supply 100 cases and the price was 125.00ppd a case. I sold out the first day. By 1992 things were upside down and there was a huge glut nationally. I remember buying full containers of 1.2 million holders at 2.2 cents each, then having to flip them for as low as 2.3 cents each. It was a stupid time, but that was what the market was.
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  #9  
Old 04-18-2012, 10:06 AM
steve B steve B is offline
Steve Birmingham
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Wow, I'm thinking the beeping one didn't sell well. I never saw one, and without an off switch I'm not surprised.

One of the big companies was local, Rotman. They were primarily a waterbed maker, but had the machines making sheets. Some of the local guys used to go there to pick up their orders.

Steve B
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  #10  
Old 04-18-2012, 09:20 PM
sirraffles sirraffles is offline
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I didn't know Rotman made waterbeds, but it makes sense. That type of equipment could do both.
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