Remember the days when card collecting was fun? You could go down to the corner store and get a pack of cards with a stick of bubble gum for 50 cents and not have to worry about centering, surface quality, corner wear, or worn edges. Nowdays kids have to trade in their PS2 to come up with the money to buy a pack of cards. And instead of getting 15 cards, now you rarely get more than five. And instead of anticipating finding your favorite player or that elusive Cris Collinsworth card to complete your set, now it's not much different than buying a lottery ticket as you slowly peel open your pack (with rubber gloves of course) and hope for that serial numbered, game-worn jersey, autographed chrome refractor. They even print the odds of each subset on the outside of the pack.
So of course it was only a matter of time before counterfeiters started popping up in the sportscard market. Counterfeit copies of Michael Jordan's '86 Fleer rookie card have been circulating and fooling many heartbroken collectors. Many other counterfeits have been making their way through the market including rookie cards of Joe Montana, John Elway, and Dan Marino (all cards that I own) as people sieze their opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting collectors. Now card companies are equipping their cards with anti-counterfeiting devices similar to what you see on U.S. currency. I never thought I would see the day.
This is one of the things you learn when you grow up that you wish you could unlearn. Greed and depravity will always find a way to infiltrate the simplest of pleasures. I still occasionally collect cards and sometimes I'll even stop by a card show at the local mall and see what's new. But once I cross the line from collector to dealer, that is when I will permanently cut one of the few remaining links to my childhood. I still have a large collection that takes up almost two bookcases that will never be showing up on Ebay. I have all the great rookie cards of the '80's: Montana, Rice, Elway, Young, Marino, Sanders, McGwire, Griffey, Sosa, and others. I don't know what they're worth and I don't care. They're worth more to me than they would be on Ebay anyway. So on my shelf they will remain as probably the most significant remaining link to my childhood.