If you root through your basement or attic and find a box of baseball cards, you might have more than childhood memories on your hands. You could have a hidden treasure.
Consider that a 1954 Ted Williams card in near-mint condition has a street value of $50,000. A 1959 Bob Gibson is even pricier, at $53,700.
Sports card collecting is a rite of passage for many kids. And for a collector, there’s nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment you get for filling out a team for a given year.
Card collecting is still alive and well in 2017, but there are a limited number of card shops left. Sure, you can find cards within seconds on eBay, but if you want to go old school, one of the best places in town is the Sports Card Dugout at 8041 Watson Road in Marlborough.
Owner Randy Fauth holds court over tens of thousands of cards, new and used, covering every imaginable sport and era. Fauth caught the collecting bug early. His mother was an avid book collector and on one shopping expedition, she bought young Randy a baseball card price guide.
“I had a 1973 Mike Schmidt rookie card,” Fauth said. “I didn’t understand the aspects of condition at the time, but I looked it up and it was worth $7, and I thought ‘I have this card!’”
Fauth’s career as a sports memorabilia dealer came about after years working for a local dealer called World of Baseball Cards. Fauth did sorting for the store on weekends, and he continued to build up his own substantial collection. When the owner of World of Baseball Cards died, Fauth opened his own shop. He’s been at his current location just west of Laclede Station Road since 1990.
His customers tend not to be kids anymore.
“The vast majority of collectors are men in their late 20s through 50s, that’s the bulk of my business,” he said. “When I do see kids, it makes me feel good that there is potential.”
Fauth advises kids to not buy cards as a means to make money.
“The motivation should always be enjoyment,” he said. “There’s so many aspects of this hobby that I enjoy. Opening packs is a rush, finishing a set is a rush.”