Nostalgia: For Me, It’s About the Details Too

Kin Kinsley
October 21, 2016

The hobby that we love is an always-evolving one.  Whether it is the number of card companies, the kinds of cards (numbered, memorabilia, etc), the ways we add to our collection or any number of other things, change is always a constant.  Something that does not change is nostalgia and the memories of simpler, more innocent times in our lives that cards can bring.

You see it with the older collectors that stick to vintage.  Many abhor new products.  It has caused some to leave the hobby, including the man that gave me my first baseball cards.  As parallels, inserts and memorabilia cards continued to become the focus of many, he tapped out of the hobby.  I can’t say that I blame him.  However, he still has all those old cards that can bring back the memories of his youth.

Today I listened to this week’s ToppsTalk podcast.  The guest was Bob Costas.  Listening to him talk about baseball cards and the memories was similar to things I hear and read from other collectors, but they are usually years older than me.

For me, the nostalgia aspect has come to me in the last couple of years.  My hypothesis on why is because I do not (and will not) have a son to collect with.  I have a stepson, but his interests lie far from sports and collecting cards.  I see the dads collecting with sons a lot on social media.  These are the guys that are my age.  I suppose that I have advanced past that and instead of teaching and helping someone acquire cards and learn the hobby, I focus on myself.

Two years ago, my dad’s house was destroyed by a fire.  I haven’t lived there in almost 15 years so there was very little of my stuff left that I miss.  If I had wanted it, I likely had it.  However, still there was my 1986 Topps Baseball set.  These were the first cards that I owned.  They were given to me by my uncle as a Christmas present in 1986.  There will always be regret on my end that I never took them with me when I moved to Pittsburgh…or Indianapolis…or Fort Worth.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

Since then, I had picked up three wax boxes and four rack packs of 1986 Topps, so that I can put together the set.  Sure, I could have just bought a set, but what fun is that?  For me, putting sets together was a vital part of collecting in my youth.  It was an accomplishment once I finally acquired that last card to complete the set.

I will never be able to replace those cards that started it all for me, but I have every intention to replicate them.  I don’t just want to complete the set; I also want to store them the way that set was stored.  It is a detail that many wouldn’t care or even think about, but I want my set in the same album.  It was the only one of those I had and I remember exactly what it looked like.

My uncle wanted to talk to me a couple of weeks ago.  It seems that because of a link I sent him, I have gotten him back into cards, just a little.  He sarcastically thanked me for pulling him back in and I told him that turnabout is fair play after he suckered me in 30 years ago.  One thing I mentioned to him was putting this set back together and how I wanted to find one of those brown trading card albums that my set was in.  He said that he probably had a few spare ones and I was thrilled.

However, on Monday one of eBay saved searches gave me something I had been looking for, this exact album.  The problem with buying albums on eBay is that because of size, shipping is usually at least $13.  This item on Buy it Now was not for just one, but four of the albums.  I only hesitated long enough to go pull up eBay through my page so that I could get my cash back before pulling the trigger.  The seller also lives in the Fort Worth/Dallas area, and the albums were delivered to my desk at work the next day.


It is completely realistic that many will read this, roll their eyes and think “who cares?”  That is fine.  I will tell you who cares.  Me.

I am able to a little more accurately recreate something from my youth.  I couldn’t be happier about it.


  1. Great post–I had many of these same albums as a kid, would love to find these again. Right nowI have my sets in Avery binders, but in different colors.

    1. I did that for my wife’s Dallas Stars cards, because I couldn’t find a green hockey album. At this point, I only have about a dozen card binders so I haven’t put too much thought into it. It hasn’t become cost-prohibitive.

      What I’d really like to find are the hard plastic thingymajiggers that go in the binders and help keep the sheets from bending/folding.

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