The Cards That Got Away...

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There wasn't much to do growing up in northern Vermont during the late 1980's. Like most kids at the time I collected Baseball cards, specifically 1987 Topps. However, the following year our local convenience store started selling 1988-89 Topps hockey. At the time I was only eight years old and was in my glory as a young Mets fan. My heroes were Gooden, Hernandez, Strawberry and Carter. Not Trottier, Smith, Nystrom or Potvin. Secluded in the thick of Bruins country in Vermont, I wasn't aware of the dynasty that happened only a few years before on Long Island. I was curious about hockey.

I'd ask my parents for some money to go buy the 50 cent packs, but they'd never give in. They'd tell me to bring deposit bottles to the convenience store and get the nickel, and then save up to buy the cards. I'd walk the neighborhood looking for bottles. I found a nice stash of them at a play ground down the street from my house and next to the convenience store. The high school kids would leave their empty soda cans all over the place...I'd grab my radio flyer wagon and fill it was bottles then walk down the store and get the deposit. Then I'd buy the cards (interestingly enough I was never charged sales tax).

The cards weren't fancy at all. They had a bulletin board design with a push in the corner. I'd sit the bus stop waiting to go to school opening pack after pack, and when they bus came I'd stuff them in my book bag. When I got on the bus I'd take them about and sort them by teams. At recess I'd read the cards, and on the way home I'd do it again. By the time I got home the cards were bent, creased, and mangled. I'd throw them in a box, and do it all over again the next day. 

A year later we moved and almost all those cards were lost. At this point in my life I became more occupied with playing sports and girls that I soon forget about my hobby.

Almost twenty-five years later I've looked into how much those cards would have been worth, and come to find out they are worth a lot. That series produced Brett Hull and Brendan Shanahan's rookie cards, as well   as the first card with Wayne Gretzky in a Los Angeles Kings uniform (he's pictured holding the new kings jersey on the card). The Hull and Shanahan rookies go for about $10 on eBay non-graded and up to $120 (depending on condition) graded (I know for a fact I had three of each of those cards). 

I decided to purchase a box and relive my youth, but was shocked when the price of a box was $200! 

As I look back now I wish I would have found more bottles or not moved. 

Over the last few years I've started a collection of cards and sports memorabilia for my son Jacob. I'm going to definitely buy some of these cards on to add to the collection since they were such an important part of my childhood. 

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