5 Dollar Memories

On a recent visit home I finally addressed the bins and bins of baseball cards I had collected during an intense phase from around 1989–1992. At the time the cards of even unknown players (“Commons”) were worth 3–5 cents (Where did my cents symbol on the keyboard go?), and mildly competent players were in the 35–95 cent range.

My dad never let me get rid of the cards because of the investment. Now Commons are fractions of a cent, and at least 4/5 of any given series (a given series runs around 500–600 cards) are Common.

I sorted out a handful of maybe valuable cards and told my mom to sell the bins in an upcoming garage sale at $5 a pop (oh, the dollar sign still ranks a key…)

This made me wonder, what does it mean when we have so much of our personality and history tied to items of monetary value. Is that time in my history devalued when I now sell that part of me for $25 or $30…if it even sells?

I spent hours every day at my local baseball card shop, which was co-owned by a husband and wife and was also a customer on my paper route. I sorted cards for them. I ate lunch there. The Filipino wife tried to set me up with a beauty queen pen pal in the Philippines (which effort I sometimes suspect may have been an attempt at an arranged marriage).

But the whole thing came down to buying and selling cards, and trying to get the most expensive ones. Of course I was a mark because I had odd obsessions for players with funny names, any player on certain teams, and mediocre players who had been playing for 20 years, so I made lots of bad financial decisions.

So many memories there, but they all rest in these $5 bins. And the contents aren’t like letters or a diary or even photos that will tell a story. The story is in me, mostly prompted by the objects which are to be sold. So even though they are my memories, those memories will be dispersed in a way.

Do you think the presence of those memories will be a selling point, or will they still last until the last day when everything is half off?