Friday, March 6, 2009

What is Vintage?

John from The Pursuit of '80's(ness) and I recently swapped some cards. I sent him a bunch of my Red Sox doubles from 1969 - 1975. He seemed to like them and in an e-mail, he thanked me for the vintage cards. I replied to him, jokingly asking him to not refer to the cards from my childhood as "vintage." Because if the cards I collected as a kid are considered "vintage," then what does that make me??

Don't answer that!

But it did get me thinking about what is considered "vintage" in the hobby? Does the hobby have a definition?

Here are two from Websters that are most appropriate:

"of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality : classic"


"dating from the past : old"

The one word that is in both definitions is the word "old." So vintage cards need to be old. The big question is how old? Cards from the '70's are at least 30 years old. Is that old enough to qualify them as vintage?

In the car collecting world, I found this definition of a vintage car: A vintage car is commonly defined as a car built between the start of 1919 and the end of 1930.

A classic car can have this definition:The Classic Car Club of America defines a CCCA Classic or Full Classic as a fine or distinctive automobile, either American or foreign built, produced between 1925 and 1948.

Basically, the really old stuff is vintage and the not quite as old is classic. Would these terms be appropriate in sports card collecting?

How do these definitions work for you: A vintage card would be any card from the pre-Topps era (pre-1951). Classic card would be the first 30 years of Topps, up to 1980, the last year of the Topps monopoly. Cards from the late 80's and early 90's would be called "kindling" (unless you are a Craigslist Idiot, who instead refers to these cards as "the mother lode").

The breaking points of 1951 and 1980 seem to be the most logical ones in the hobby to me. What do you think? Are there already definitions that in my ignorance I just don't know? Should I just accept the fact that I am getting old and move on?




Your opinions, please....


  1. i think of anything before 1970 as vintage. i use that because i was born in 1970. i agree about the kindling category, though!

  2. I also agree with your kindling assessment. As for "vintage" - I use my favorite set as my threshold; that being the 1970 set. The classics could be the 1970's through maybe 1985 (the year I met my wife); after 1985 the hobby has been altered. In furniture (cardboard could be considered as such) an antique must be 50 years or older.

  3. I count anything between 1951-1979 as vintage. I don't have the money or interest to worry about categorizing the pre-Topps era stuff.

    "Classic" is the company that put out those trivia games with baseball cards in the late 80s/early 90s. ;)