It was a rainy Sunday and for the first time in a few months my son and I couldn’t go over to the little league fields to play baseball. I thought, now what? TV seemed boring. There are only so many times you can play hide & seek… I was cleaning out some totes from storage. I came across a football card. It was a 1984 Dan Marino Rookie Card ($25 dollars on EBay). My favorite quarterback and NFL player of all time. (My first year of card collecting was when I was 7).
I hadn’t collected In decades, but I thought “how cool would it be if my son collected? What would he collect? Would he be a fan of the same teams as me?”
So we pack up and head to the Flea Market looking for something second hand to buy and bring home to build. I was thinking we would play with whatever the treasure we find may be. During our search I came across someone selling old boxes of 1980’s junk cards (“Junk Era”). We stopped for a moment and I said, “Do you have a Mattingly Rookie?” He proceeded to show me a worn, old 1984 Topps Don Mattingly Rookie. A card that looked like it loved and was loved. Someone probably carried it with them at all times. The Vendor said, “five bucks”. I told him I had three and he said “close enough”.
The next rainy day and we go back to the same market, same table. I said, “I’m looking for something a little older. How about a Maris?”. “Now we are talking”, he said. He turned around grabbed a binder and proceeded to shows me the Good Stuff. Long story short, we spent about thirty minutes and forty dollars at this man’s table. This time my son loved the cards. Not so much the Maris, but an older 1948 black & white Bowman Enos Slaughter Rookie card. So I got it for him and that was it. He was hooked! He carried it, showed it off. Maybe it’s the picture, maybe it’s the size of a 1948 Bowman, maybe its just the the feel of card stock. My 3-year old loves it for what it is; a picture on some cardboard.
Son we were going to the flea market, yard sales, card shows on a regular basis three to four times a month. We met athletes and got autographs. We decided to join groups on Facebook I’ve seen, we are trading and selling in these groups but only to specific crowd. If we could reach an entire market for this it would be great. This is where Ebay comes in. We’d list 2 or 3 cards and then boom! The auction starts and we’re getting bid after bid. My son was always excited to see how many people want the card we found from the dusty table at a flea market. Today we have an eBay store and we find cards that we know people will want (which took time and knowledge and learning the market). We sell them to buy the ones we want.
Eventually we noticed we were bringing in more than we are spending. So we opened an account for our new hobby. We used the money we earn for vacations, more cards, baseball equipment for my son like gloves, cleats, bats, etc. We even put some into a savings account for his education. All the while, never touching a penny from my account for bills, groceries. This is taking off!
Now this is something I had never planned to do. I never sought out for a side-gig. It took time to learn the good cards from the bad, fakes from the real, but it worked! A good month brings in about $1,500, a slow month $300-$400, but it’s extra income. We’re doing what we love. I got to spend time with my son, make new memories for him and relive some old ones for me. It hasn’t consumed us, we still go to the little league field, basketball court and play hide & seek. Those rainy, boring days just don’t seen as gloomy anymore. In a couple years years I may have the only five-year-old who can spot a fake 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan card from a mile away!