Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Are There Any Left?

I bought the Price Guide to get the Ryne Sandberg card.

But it made for some interesting reading too.  The guide was from 1992 and sports cards were hot.  People were spending crazy money.  The were investing in cards and figured that in 25 years they would be sitting on a bundle.

The  guide is full of sellers that were more than happy to make that happen.  Remember, this is pre-internet.  If you wanted to buy cards, you went to your local shop or you placed a mail or phone order with one of the companies in the guide.

There are several companies in the guide that took out full page ads.  Many had several pages of ads.  The guide also lists their advertising rates and for one issue, a full page ran $1,145.  So some of these companies were spending $3000 - $4000 per month in the guide. Cards were big business.

The bubble would burst in a couple years.  Many of those investments turned into piles of virtually worthless cardboard.

And the people selling the cards?  I was curious to see how many of the full page advertisers were still selling cards today, 26 years later.

I don't think you'd be surprised to see that most are gone.

These are the two that have survived, Larry Fritsch (I got their most recent catalog in the mail on Monday) and Kit Young.

The others, as far as I can tell, are gone.

Here's what I found...

Courtside Cards in Burlingame, California has a full page four color ad.

Their address is now home to the Fluffy Doggy Dog Spa.

The Texas Sportcard Company had five pages of ads.

Today their location is the shop on the left, The Gun Cleaners.

Donn Jennings of Huntsville, Alabama...

has been taken over by the North Alabama Irish Center.

Pleasanton, California was the location of National Sportscard Investments.  The also ran five pages worth of ads.

The sign out front say that there is space for lease.

Hall of Fame Sportcards was located in Park Ridge, New Jersey.  Go to their location today...

...and you'll be in the parking lot of a Dollar Tree.  You might be able to buy some of the cards listed in the guide at the Dollar Tree in a repack box.

The Score Board, Inc. touts in their ad that they are a publicly traded company.  Today I could find no trace of them...

... at 1951 Old Cuthbert Road, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. 

Smokey's was out of Las Vegas. They were later a part of the Operation Bullpen scandal, accused of knowingly selling fake memorabilia.

There is no trace of them any more on Desert Inn Road.

Answering the question in the title, no, not many.  Most are long gone, along with all the money invested in Gregg Jefferies rookie cards.


  1. Awesome stuff! I've been reading issues of Baseball Cards Magazine from the early 80's and have come across most of these companies. I ordered stuff from Smokey's back in the day.

  2. Great post,I always wondered what happened to all those big card company ads from the early 90"s.

  3. I got the Fritch's catalog this week also. Already read it and trashed it. In the 90's I ordered from all of Kit's catalogs. Kit is the same today. Back then I bough all of Mantle's base cards except for the 52 Topps for $800.00. (lesser conditioned of course). I wish I still had those.

  4. I worked at a comic shop in the mid-90s. A majority of their profits came from trading cards, both sports and the CCG fad that was sweeping the nation ala Magic, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. Dudes would come in daily and blow hundreds of dollars on pack after pack, like alcoholics shutting down a bar. 'Course then pogs came along...

  5. It reminds me of what shopping malls used to be like 30-40 years ago. You'd have all the niche stores of today, but in different forms. KayBee Toys, the guaranteed baseball card unit inside the ball, Sam Goody music, Chik-Fil-A (before they reinvented themselves), Karmelkorn, Kinney Shoes, etc. and down the road was K-Mart, GL Perry, Woolworths, and on and on. Now those names live on only in oddball 44-card sets in shoeboxes with the Canseco, McGwire, Clemens, Ripken and Mattingly cards all less than mint. Fun to think back on how things were, or what our grandkids (or further) will think of us using a multi-purpose marketplace (eBay) to buy cards as a standard norm. Good work on the research Paul!

  6. In the summer of 1992, me and a co-worker would go over to the local variety store at lunchtime and buy a dozen or so packs of Score (!?!) baseball cards. As I recall, this went on for a period of several weeks, until we had completed our sets (along with about 1000 duplicates! LOL)

    Soon, he had opened a card shop as a side job, and worked there nights and weekends (I think his wife ran the store during the weekdays.)

    I lost touch with him when I changed jobs about 4 years later. I wonder how his card store gig turned out?

  7. Thanks for the research and stroll down memory lane!

  8. I wonder if Strictly Mint and Neal Hoppenworth are still around -I bought my sets from them in the mid 1990s.

  9. Still get emails from Kit's. I must've ordered from them once, but don't remember. Their ads I remember way back from early '80s ... Also still have Fritsch catalogs in basement, just in case I forget how to order cards online.

  10. In addition to Fritsch and Kit Young, I bought a card from Sanart a little while ago. They were always good for a couple of pages of ads back in the day.