What To Do?

From the mid-80’s to the early ’90’s, Baseball Cards magazine had an early version of what we now know of as, and mostly love, “Custom Cards.” (Trading Card Database has them here).

They’re great.


I have a pretty solid run of the magazine, card inserts intact. (It would take some digging to pull them all out right now).

The question I have, for me, and for all of you, is what should I do with them? It would be a nice bit of weight loss to shed myself of the magazines and keep the cards.


Checking eBay on this helps, sort of. There are graded gems mints that go for hundreds. Then there are magazines themselves that go for less. Really, though, I’m not even sure I’m looking to sell, but, if I decide to, I’m unclear what’s the best move, cards alone, or cards still in magazines.



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.

17 thoughts on “What To Do?”

  1. I think it depends a bit on how the cards fit your collection. For instance, as a Gooden collector, it’s a no-brainer for me to cut out a Gooden card for my binder. Harder to say if none of the players had distinct places in my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thing is I like them all, BUT, they sit in piles in a back room. Either I pull them out, and integrate them with my collection, or sell them. I’m leaning towards selling them, though my initial price point may be unrealistic.


  2. Resist breaking up the cards and the mags, JK. The cards are a fun dalliance. Reading the magazines is a flat out hoot.


  3. I remember getting an issue in 1982 or 1983 and having my father cut out the Bob Gibson Jell-O insert and making a box with it. I think I still have it “somewhere.“

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a preservationist when it comes to cards and card related items, so I would leave (and have left) the magazines like that intact (then again, the magazines are more the collectible to me than the card in this case). I’m sure that has changed over time – my 12-year-old self certainly cut the cards into singles. While someone can always take the complete magazines and cut out the cards, that process cannot be reversed (at least not without shenanigans). While that individual PSA 10 Griffey sold for nearly $250, the panels themselves for many issues are usually tossed into $1 bins. I got a bunch of those (not the Griffey panel, at least I don’t think there were Griffeys – now I have to go check) in a two tub lot that had a lot of other stuff that I bought for $40.

    It’s interesting what the dynamics of having cards listed on PSA will do to prices. I don’t think the BBCM cards have been listed in player sets for a long time – at the very least, I think the Keith Hernandez just popped up on the master set list recently (and with dutiful Pavlovian response I purchased a PSA 10). I have a run of Baseball Card Magazines (except for the last year – I think it’s 1993) mostly acquired by buying bulk lots of them for not very much money (same with Becketts). None of those lots were very expensive except for the first 10-12 issues of Beckett and a good bit of the cost was tied to shipping. I think most of the BBCMs have cards intact, and yet they were still inexpensive when I bought them a few years ago. Now you’re making me go check to see if I have millions of (hundreds of? tens of?) dollars sitting hidden in a box somewhere.

    What I’ve always wondered about those cards is if they are “legal” cards. Presumably BBCM had some agreement with MLB and MLBPA to depict players and logos, but there’s no printing on the individual Griffey card that makes that claim.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good points, especially the pricing quandary between PSAs and raw cards. I’m putting the complete sets up at a price likely way to way, but with the Make Offer option. We’ll see how it unfolds.


  5. Wow! I especially like the Reds. [As seen in the profile picture] That Norm Charlton is one of the great “Nasty Boys” Relievers of the 1990 wire to wire season. They are all pretty good finds. Another great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am reminded of my inclination to cut rookie cards in half when I was a kid so there would be an individual card of the rookie. I didn’t do it, but only because the stats on the back were not synched with the pictures on the front. Phew.
    I have some magazines and just leave them be. If you have an overwhelming desire to create a single I would suggest scanning the card and doing it that way. I would not disturb the sheets or the magazines containing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For now, they’re staying in and I’m listing them all on eBay. If they don’t sell, I may take them out. The mags take a lot of space and I don’t particularly need them anymore.


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