My Cards Cup Runneth Over

The ‘70’s were my pack buying heyday. Except for Topps hockey cards (I started buying complete sets by mail in 1972, though stopped the year BEFORE Gretzky’s rookie, a massive collecting error in judgment), I bought pack after pack of baseball, football and basketball, mostly between 1972-1976 (the span is slightly different for each sport). I can tell how many packs I bought by the number of inserts left over. I have piles of unscratched off Topps football scratch off games from 1975. On top of the pack buying frenzy, I was known as a card collector so, by the end of the decade, my friends gave me their collections, all from the same period.

I was going through 1972-1976 football cards for a trade. You want to see a lot of 1973 Coy Bacon cards? Here are a lot of 1973 Coy Bacon cards!


As I happily shuffled through countless Roy Gerelas and Halvor Hagens, I couldn’t shake the feeling that before me lay underutilized resources and a cavernous opportunity. There must be some collectors out there who need the commons and stars I have from this era and have commons/stars from years I need for a straight up value for value trade. There must be. But are there? Where are the many in need of a 1974 Billy Keller?


It seems somewhat unlikely that someone would have 1968-69 baseball and football in nice condition and not have the years I cover so completely. There may be someone who has few cards from the other sports but holds a wealth of cards I need. I’ve been fishing around and seem to have found a few people who fit the bill, but I want more. My goal would be to virtually eliminate all the doubles (and triples and quadruples and quintuples, and other -uples) from my collection and have only single cards. I think it’s doable.

Another idea is trying to sell bulk commons to set builders, but at a price that makes sense and what I see out there doesn’t make sense. The market is the market, but selling 40+ year old cards for a dime doesn’t sit well with me. Again, trading is the way to go.

How can this blog community help? Well, I’ve already met, either virtually or in real life, other collectors and we swap a little. Maybe we can bulk up the Facebook page as a venue for, if not a sellers market, at least a healthy trading forum for us all. Who knows what we’ll find. There may be seven people desperately looking for nice condition 1973 Bill Bonham cards.



Author: Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.

21 thoughts on “My Cards Cup Runneth Over”

  1. My take. Someone (I suggest *you*) volunteers to be the official SABR Baseball Cards Committee Deal-Maker. People send you what sets they are trying to build, and what they have excess of. So if Joe Blow tells you they have excess Kelloggs and want 1972 Topps, you can say “a-ha, you should contact Kathy Chowder and work something out.” Start with a spreadsheet. Over time, it could evolve into a web site or something, but start simple and see what happens.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My problem, like many other people my age, is that all the doubles, etc. I have are from the late 80s/early 90s. Am I looking for 50s/60s/70s cards? Absolutely. But do I have anything worth trading? Not really until my ebay lot buying starts to churn out a decent number of duplicates (something I’m trying to minimize for financial reasons).

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I would not rule out there being such people out there. The cards have little $ value, but if you are a collector of a certain age and you have 600 of the 792, it might be fun to finish the set. Jeff needs to pound this drum often to get people to “register”.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is true, while I don’t see a lot of demand for junk wax tradewise, I *can* see eventually wanting to finish sets that I have partials of from when I was a kid.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff mentions frustration with the “market value” of his 1970s commons. The reality of the market is that as you move from the 1960s to the 1970s, and especially the 1980s and 1990s, there is a massive spread between the buy and sell prices for the market. When you buy 1978 Topps commons you are not buying the cards, you are buying the work and storage of the guy who has the cards you want. The cards themselves aren’t really worth anything.

    This is why trading is the answer. If you are not in this game for the money, trading a stack of doubles for a stack of singles is a victory even if there is not a precise match in the “market value” of the two stacks. If you are in it for the money, good luck … you have much work ahead of you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good point on the $ value, but I still see $ as a guide. I think it would be fair to trade two 1973 Topps Football commons in EX or better for one 1968 or 1969 Topps baseball common. They do have different values.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I do see a lot of trading from people I follow on Twitter. What I’m looking for is something a bit larger., like “I’ll trade you 200 1973 Topps football cards for 100 Topps baseball cards.” I haven’t seen anything like that. if you have, let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am interested in this too, especially in the pre-wantlist stage. If you have 1/3 of the set, getting a stack of 1972 football in the mail is guaranteed to be wonderful — you got 30 doubles and 70 singles, great day! If you have 80% of the set, trading enters a new, more laborious stage.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have many dupes from the late 60s and early 70s but the condition is mostly good to poor. Would like to complete 75 and football. Like the idea of bulk exchange.

        Liked by 1 person

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