Ridgewood, N.J. — Baseball card collecting has been popular in America and other countries since 1876. In the late 1800's cards didn't come in 25-35-,or 60-cent packages tucked away in plastic or paper wrappers jammed with a piece of pink-painted cardboard gum. The came in cardboard boxes, one card to a pack.
The oldest cards weren't very big, either, about 6 by 3 cm. -2 3/8 by 1 3/16 in.
Next, cards were put into gum packages and also got bigger.
Gradually they grew to be a little thinner but taller than today's cards. Eight of these cards were the same size as nine of today's cards.
The old cards had only pictures of the player. Later, manufacturers added the name, then the team sign, then the team name, sometimes the signature, and at last the position. Nowadays cards have information about the players' records as well.
Many people collect just for the fun of it, but now card collecting is practically a career as well. There are hundreds of companies that buy and sell cards, and other baseball collectibles like yearbooks, buttons, autographs, pennants.
One man from London named Edward Whartingtiger has over 1 million cards. You, too, can collect a million cards by ordering cards from companies. Cards are sold by the case (12,000 cards to a case), by the thousand, or by full sets of the current year's cards (726 cards per year.)
You can also find cards at garage sales. A friend of mine went to one and bought over a thousand cards for 25 cents. Now the cards are worth well over $50 .
Often there are card conventions in major cities. Sometimes cards are sold at auction. Or you can go to almost any store and buy a fresh pack with the gum included.
Save cards with mistakes. For example, cards issued in 1874, with San Diego Padres wearing Washington Senators' uniforms are valuable. So are cards with the wrong team names because of late trades.
You can buy cards through the mail. Look in sports magazines (The Sporting News has a lot) for ads of card companies. These show prices of most material. Some companies sell catalogues. In the ads are addresses to mail to for orders. Get catalogues from a few different companies. This way you can compare prices. Most price lists cost less than a dollar. Lots of companies use United Parcel Service, so there is a short wait.