Tonight’s 78th annual major league baseball all-star game is just minutes away and with so much interest in the American and National League, some are wondering what happened to the interest in baseball cards.
WBKO’s Forrest Sanders talked to one man who’s sold baseball cards through the ups and downs over the past two decades.
For Steve Kessinger, selling baseball cards is more than a business, it’s a passion.
Twenty years after setting up Steve’s Sports Cards, the store carries over half a million baseball cards, but they’re not flying off the shelves like they did fifteen years ago.
“Kids are fad oriented. They kind of go from one thing to the next and back in the mid-90s, collecting baseball cards was kinda the thing to do,” Kessinger explained.
In fact, sales of baseball cards topped $1 billions in 1991. Today, sales total closer to $300 million a year. The waning interest is due in part to an increasing number of kids seeking out basketball and football cards instead.
“I think football’s probably the most popular now,” baseball card collector, Carter Dallas said.
“I’ve always sold more baseball cards than anything, but basketball and football are selling more than they used to.” Kessinger explained.
But Kessinger isn’t giving up on his favorite cards. He said that like all fading fads, baseball cards could suddenly come back in style. Until then, major events like tonight’s all star baseball game are good for business.
“Anytime something happens in baseball, such as the All-Star Game or the World Series, it renews the interest in baseball cards. If a player does well tonight - hits a couple home runs- people will be in here tomorrow looking for his card,” Kessinger said.
Another big change Kessinger has seen is the number of adults buying baseball cards.
Kessinger said in the 80s and 90s the number of kids buying cards out-numbered adults 2-to-1, but today 75 percent of all of Kessinger’s customers are adults.