MONTHLY COMIC BOOK MYSTERY BOX INFORMATION
There are many sports card hobbyist in the United States, but how many of us know where our beloved hobby came from? To understand where we are today, we need to understand how we got here… It started with baseball cards.
Baseball cards started to be printed in the 1860’s soon after baseball became a professional sport. By the turn of the century in 1900, thousands of sets of trade cards manufactured by hundreds of tobacco companies started to flood the market. At this time, most baseball cards came in either candy or tobacco products.
Baseball cards continued to change over the next few decades. In the 1930’s, manufacturers began to print biographies on the back of the cards. Baseball cards were now also found in packs of bubble gum (the main product) and eventually flipped and turned into packs of baseball cards with bubble gum.
What many people may not know is that Topps – one of the largest companies in the sports trading card industry – didn’t actually start as a trading card company. They actually started as Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., and they started inserting trading cards into their packaging in 1950. Topps produced their first baseball card in 1951, and the first true sports trading card as we see them today was created in 1952. These cards included player records, statistics, and biographies. This was the birth of the modern sports card.
Production of sports trading cards took off from there, and while baseball held onto its place as the most popular for years, other sports began to get involved. Today, there are trading cards for every major sport, as well as various others – baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, racing, etc. The value of the sports cards is heavily reliant on a few factors such as age and condition, as well as availability.
Particularly in the 1980’s and 1990’s, manufacturing of sports trading cards boomed. The market became inundated with trading cards, and this is a big reason why many cards from that era don’t hold the value you’d expect. Manufacturers learned their lesson, however, and since then the amount of cards produced is more carefully controlled. Today, as we all know, the value of individual trading cards have climbed sharply to the point where some hobby boxes are in fact just one or two single packs including only a few cards each.
The sports trading card hobby has a long and fascinating history, and as collectors, we owe thanks to the other industries such as tobacco and chewing gum manufacturers that helped create this hobby. And moving forward, it will be exciting to see how the sports card industry continues to evolve.