Revisiting the card market and its many changes

(This story originally appeared on www.sfgate.com)

On the Tuesday morning before the start of the World Series, Jim Bernardin, co-owner of Lefty’s Sports Collectibles in Burlingame, was busy, busy, busy.

“It’s nuts,” said Bernardin as he hustled around the shop in shorts and a bright orange San Francisco Giants T-shirt, pricing new inventory, fielding phone calls and assisting customers. He estimated his clothing sales had increased more than 50 percent since the Giants started the playoffs.

But I wasn’t too interested in the Giants “Locker Room” T-shirts that Bernardin said were flying off the rack.

I’d come to Lefty’s to find about baseball cards.

It’d been more than 25 years since I’d purchased a pack of Topps from the local 7-11, torn open the wax paper and rifled through the cards to see if I’d hit the jackpot. Whatever else baseball cards represented to me and my pre-adolescent peers (badges of loyalty to certain players or teams; crib sheets of our heroes’ stats; facilitators of social interaction; bicycle-spoke noisemakers), they were also very much about money.

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