Value vs Worth (Sports Card verison)

Originally posted 9/13/12 on our website:

What is value?

“Value”: relative worth, merit, or importance.

What is worth?

“Worth”: having a value of, or equal in value to, as in money.

As a follow up to my “Jersey Gate” blog, I wanted to explain what I think the definition of these two words are and how they relate to the sports card hobby.

As we have learned that all of our “relic” and “cloth” cards, may/may not be 100% authentic, it brings up the question:

If the cloth is not real, does it “devalue” the card any?

In my opinion, it does not. I laid out my thoughts in my previous blog. Many fellow collectors were quick to point out that the Beckett value of the card has dropped. I contend, again, that it has not. Beckett is not a “value” guide. It is a “price” guide. The word “guide” reflects it’s sole purpose. To give someone an idea of what something is “worth” in today’s free trade market.

If asked what my most expensive card is… I will quickly answer my 1933 Goudey, Lou Gehrig RC. We can all turn to page 32 of the Beckett Price Guide and see how much the market dictates it should be “worth”.

If asked what my higest valued card is… I will quickly answer my 1986 Topps Eric Davis. It is now listed as a common card in the Beckett Price Guide.

So why is it my most “valued” card?

In 1986, as a 7 year old, I went to my cousin’s birthday party. He was a few years older then me and I always wanted to be like him. He started collecting baseball cards that year. At his party, each kid received 2 packs of 1986 Topps cards. That was the night I got my first taste of the madness. I opened my packs and stuck them in my pocket. It wasn’t until later that week that my dad brought home my first Beckett Price Guide. In one of my packs, was the Eric Davis card. When I looked it up it was “worth” $1.25!!! I was 7 years old with a card that was worth more than a dollar!!! I was rich! I figured I would sell it, put the money in the bank… Possibly buy a car or a nice house someday with the profits… It didn’t matter, I was on my way to the big life!

Speed up 26 years and the same card is now “worth” a penny. However to me, it is invaluable. No card, not a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle or a 1911/1912 Tobacco Honus Wagner is “valued” at more money! That is my most prized card.

So does the authenticity of the cloth in the new cards devalue a card? No. It may make their “market worth” less. It, however, does not make it less valuable if you enjoyed collecting the card for your PC. I enjoy all the A’s cards that I have added to my PC throughout the last few years. They don’t need to have authentic game worn gear in them to make them “valuable” to me. I just enjoy collecting, sorting and looking at them.

Why can’t we all just be the 7 yr old kid again opening their first pack of cards… Why can’t we all just feel “rich” again, when holding our favorite player’s rookie card… Why can’t we get excited when we pull a card with a relic or auto on it? Why does it have to be all about eBay? Why does it all have to be about “Beckett’s Price Guide worth”???

Shame on us. I “value” my hobby as more than it’s “worth”.

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