Like an overpriced stock market, the bubble burst on baseball card values following a boom in the early ‘90s, but some devotees are still keeping the hobby alive.
Unlike those who once saw card collecting primarily as a way to make big bucks, today’s collectors say they do it because they love it. Many of them gathered at the Holiday Inn on River Place Drive in Macon for a show Saturday. Such shows are far rarer today than 20 years ago, said Charlie Heinisch, of Warner Robins, who organized it along with his wife, Lisa, and their three children. Called the Middle Georgia Sports Cards and Collectibles show, they started it earlier this year and plan to keep doing it every other month for the foreseeable future.
“There are plenty of collectors still left out there that do enjoy this as a hobby,” said Heinisch, who works as a loss-prevention specialist for retail stores. “Collectors try to get together and keep this hobby going for the next generation of kids that want to enjoy it like we all did.”
He said his 12-year-old son, Andrew, learned to read by reading baseball cards.
At one time there might have been 20 to 30 shows per month across the state, Heinisch said. These days there are usually about five per month. One reason is that collectors now commonly trade over the Internet, but a big part of the fun for him is talking to other collectors face-to-face.
While baseball cards -- as well as cards from other sports -- were the biggest part of the show, it included a wide range of sports memorabilia, including many signed pieces.
Jason Mullis owns the new Urban Cup frozen yogurt and coffee shop that opened Saturday in Macon, but he was at the show selling some of his collectibles. Among his items was a baseball signed by Hank Aaron with an asking price of $300.
One of his prize possessions was a photo of former Braves superstars Chipper Jones and Greg Maddux on the field together, and both had signed it. Mullis said he brought that one just for people to see. It wasn’t for sale.
“A lot of it you get attached to and you don’t want to sell it,” he said.
Michael Oleson drove from LaGrange with his dad and brother for the show. He bought some things that he might try to turn for a profit, but he said that’s not the reason he does it.
“Growing up, my dad got me started in collecting and it’s just something we’ve done together for years,” he said. “It’s been a few years since we’ve been able to do it together but we were able to come together this weekend and do this.”
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.