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Mike Schopp's Blog

SCHOPP: The day Verne Lundquist broke the camel's back

Some of you know that I am a card collector. You may even be aware of a new show I've helped create on the subject, a show that promises to have something for everybody. (Did you know that some cards sell for $800 a pack?) Well, I'll be putting May 16, 2011 down as an important date in my history as a collector.

Like millions of others I was an avid card collector as a boy. I gave up collecting from my college years until 2006, when I rediscovered it in a whole new way. Since '06 I've been mostly focused on vintage cards with the occasional dabble in high-end new products. All that stuff I (uh, my parents) bought in my youth? It's all in boxes upstairs, and most of it is worth next to nothing.

I love cards, but I dread going into that room. It's out of control. Boxes upon boxes upon stacks upon boxes -- and hardly any of it the least bit interesting or valuable.

Well, guess what? The time has come for that room to be necessary for another reason. It's time to clean it out.

I've gone all around on what to do with all that stuff, over a wide range of ideas. Meticulously file through it and sell it off online, for whatever it's worth. That would take countless hours, however. Give it to a young relative? The only one I have with even a modest interest, my niece Genna, would be overrun by the size. I wouldn't do that to her parents. (We're talking a few hundred thousand cards here.) Have a yard sale? That's a good idea, but again the undertaking of the project wouldn't pay off -- not to mention that I'd lose a weekend. And of course I could just move all of it to the basement and put the project off, again.

Luckily (or not, we'll see), spotting one card in a random box I pulled today led me to yet another possibility. The right one, I think.

It's a 1989 Pro Set Football card of announcer Verne Lundquist -- in a soft sleeve, with a sticker on it labeled $1.00. 

Oh my God. I know what I need to do. I need to throw all of it out.

This card wasn't worth $1 on its best day. In 2011 I couldn't get $1 for 100 of them. And this card defines much of what's in this room -- cards I've held on to forever out of attachment and laziness. Starting today, they go.

(The $1 sticker plays no small role in this. My friend Todd and I ran a card store for a summer, and no doubt this card was in a showcase available for sale. Amazingly, it didn't sell.)

I feel a bit like the insurance guy who comes to look at your car after the accident. Yeah, it could be fixed. But since the cost of the repairs is greater than the value of the car, it gets totaled. I guess what I'm doing is totaling this room.

I'll keep the autographed Julius Erving picture. No way I'm throwing out the graded SP Authentic rookies from 2005-06; they're either being sold or moving downstairs. All these Strat-O-Matic cards? Ugh, I don't know.

But the 1993 Pro Line football set? The 1990 NBA Hoops box? 1988 Donruss? 2006-07 SPX base cards? 1992 Star Pics? Hey, it's been fun. If it's any consolation to you, cards, you're being replaced by someone real. That thought will help me through this, I know that.

It'll help a little anyway.

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Topics : Human Interest
People : GennaJulius ErvingVerne Lundquist

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