On occasion, my card collecting will come up, much like it did yesterday. The gentleman I was talking to told me that he collected cards when he was young and still had a few and offered to show them to me. I was excited - there's no telling what kind of cards you are going to see when someone older tells you they have a collection.
When he opened up his box (just a plain cardboard box used for shipping), I instantly recognized what was in front of me: 1951 Bowman. Granted, there were other cards in there, but the '51 Bowman was well represented. I became familiar with this set while researching my cousin Thurman Tucker, who had a card in this set.
I could see an envelope at the bottom of the box...I wanted to go straight for it...but I didn't want to be rude. After about 15 minutes of sharing memories from certain cards, we go to the envelope. At this point, the gentleman's eyes began to sparkle. I knew I was about to have my mind blown. My heart began to flutter a little bit.
He slowly opens the envelope.....
|1951 Bowman - Mickey Mantle|
My heart stops for a moment.
By the way, this is an image from the Interwebs. I didn't want to ask him if I could take a picture, that just seemed rude.
But right in front of me is a 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle. The man tells me that the Mick was always his favorite player. He tells me his favorite memories from listening to the Yankees on the radio and how excited he would get when Mantle would come up to bat. He tells me about the day that he got the card and how he didn't even tell his friends about it for two weeks because he didn't want anyone to know he had it. He tells me that he forgot about the card - and all of his cards - when he moved out of his parents house, but how his dad wouldn't let his mother throw the cards away (thank goodness).
The card isn't in great shape anymore, it had rounded corners, a few creases and a bit of discoloration on the right side. I asked him if he had any idea what it was worth; he said he didn't and he didn't really want to know.
And that's when it dawned on me.
Regardless of value, baseball cards should be about the memories they create in the collecting process.
We talked about the card for a few more minutes. He tucked it back in the envelope, placed it back in the box, closed the box and put it away.
My heart finally began to beat again.
I thanked him for his time and told him that if he ever wanted to let that card go, he needed to call me. I shook his hand and left.
It was the best Monday I've had in a very long time.