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I'm sure this sort of thing gets posted a lot... but here goes...

After 35+ years I recently cracked open my old footlocker that was stored in my parents' basement behind an old pinball machine-- and looked at the 20 or so shoeboxes and 5 or so double-drawer "punch card" boxes I used back in 1975 to store my card collection.

The cards have not been handled or looked at in 35+ years.

Between 1969 and 1975, as a 10 year old kid, I can remember walking down to the Pharmacy in Cedar Grove NJ, plucking down a $10 bill, and walking away with 100 individual packs of 10 cards each-- Each pack 10¢.

I did this literally hundreds of times between 1970 and 1975.

I bought Baseball, Football, Hockey, Wacky Packages (which my sister got to and ruined at some point), Harlem Globetrotters, Planet of The Apes, Star Wars… you name it. I have had literally 10s of thousands of cards all wrapped up for 35 years.

I can remember sitting with my father on the kitchen table when I was 14 or 15 and sorting the sports cards into two complete sets for each year of Baseball (Topps 69-75) and Hockey (Topps 72-73) Plus one complete set each of each Football (Topps 73-74), and Basketball (Topps 70-71)-- PLUS literally thousands of the "triples" (duplicate cards) just thrown into the "punch card" boxes.

All that, plus at that time, my father gave me what was left of his old Baseball Card collection (Bowman 50-51)-- Almost complete sets PLUS hundreds of doubles.

After about 1978 I simply bought complete Topps baseball sets from a friend for about 5-6 years until I gave the hobby up when I went away to school.

Now, I always had in the back of my mind that "someday" I would complete my Topps Baseball sets from 1960-1980 by selling the "triples" plus the duplicate Baseball and Hockey complete sets.

I guess that time is "NOW" as my wife and I are looking to buy a new home.

Any suggestions where I should start in Sorting? Grading? Selling?

I would start with the oldest and go up from there. If you want to make big money make sure they are in good shape. If you have any Cubs stuff you want to sell shoot me a message!

I envy you, I have somewhere in the range of 10,000 singles from my childhood but, they are all from 1986 to 1992. Most of them aren't worth the stock they are printed on lol.

I guess just about the time collectors were able to buy complete sets-- around '77 or '78 as I remember-- the "hobby" really became a "business," and cards were printed in such numbers that their values are materially less than earlier years.

I was born in the "right" year, '61, and was the "right" age, to have to had collected by buying individual packs.

In any case, I thought about trying to trade my complete sets for other complete sets-- but the Grading issue will eventually bight me in the a**-- as it will simply be too tough to trade a complete series of 800 or so cards for another series of 800 or so cards.

It'll be easier to simply grade the stars and try and sell the sets for cash money. Then buy nice sets.

In my day we traded. But its all too complicated now.

I know that may sound obvious to people, but the hobby has changed so much since I looked at these cards, I'm really thinking about the process from square one.

Do they still print series of Baseball cards in 800+ card series like they did in the early 70s?
Base sets from Topps and Bowman are in the 600-700 card range. There are so many subsets and parallels now though that it is really hard to keep up with it all. I like the Heritage stuff and have recently gotten hooked on Topps Finest, I just really like how the cards look.

You are right about how it's changed though, most people aren't interested in the base cards. They are all on a quest for the autographs and ultra rare 1 of 1's and things like that.
The other thing is, to me, they've made the Grading process, much, much, too complicated. There are far too many grades-- its simply far too complicated for the average collector.

I mean, if you look on eBay, for cards under $25, unless the cards are "professionally" graded by one of the top three firms-- you have absolutely no idea what you are buying or selling.

There's so much room for error. One guys "near mint" is another guys "very good."

Fewer classifications would make it easier to home-grade-- so at least cards could circulate and get into the right collections at a reasonable price-- then once the've found a "home" in a similarly "rough" graded collection, then get a pro grade for posterity or resale purposes.

Is there such thing as a "rough-grade" grading system?

The same thing happened in the coin-collection area (which I assume the card grading industry is based on.)

There are so many phony graded coins out there the field is a joke.
Sounds like you made some excellent decisions at a child. Do you have any unopened packs?
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