Saturday, January 30, 2010

A hard time saying something nice

Card Sharks, How Upper Deck Turned a Child’s Hobby Into A High Stakes, Billion Dollar Business by Pete Williams; 1995; 278 pages; MacMillian Publishing, New York, NY; 002-629061-8; 3/26/09-4/2/09
For those of you who don’t know I collect baseball cards, I even have a blog about my autographed Padres collection at .  Also I worked at the two biggest baseball cards shop in Portland, from 1990-1997, during much of the time period covered in this box.
A couple of collectors wanted to come up with a way to prevent cards from being counterfeited.  So they started shopping the idea around and as it got bigger, the two inital collectors got pushed out.  And in came Richard McWilliam, who as portrayed here comes accross as a narcisstic, power hungry, tempermental despot.  The story of how Upper Deck got started is pretty amazing, how these two collectors took an idea to make a better card and it turned into a monster.  Upper Deck has increased the quality of cards throughout the market, but it has also fueled in an increase in investors taking over the hobby and looking for the hits, versus people collecting for the fun of it.  Most collectors still do it for fun, but the card companies don’t seem to think so as much of the product is aimed at the high rollers.  The business practices of Upper Deck in reprinting cards after their inital release were whispers I heard while working at the card shops, but this confirms those whispers.  I wouldn’t buy any Upper Deck stuff for investment purposes, but will buy cards of players I want.  Well written and well researched Mr. Williams is a must read for all of those who stocked up on UD back in the day.

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