Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Notes: Mint Condition

My Mommy got me a basic Nook e-reader for Christmas.  I’ve not done much e-reading before, but this little Nook is awesome.  It is very light and the words are very easy to read.  The first book I purchased for it was “Mint Condition” by Dave Jamieson, which I assume many of you have read, or at least are familiar with.  It’s a pretty comprehensive history of baseball cards, from their inception to today. 

Every chapter has been fascinating.  The chapter on the beginnings of Upper Deck was especially interesting.  I’m not much of a fan of Upper Deck, but after reading the chapter, I had a better appreciation for how nice and ground breaking the 1989 set was.   

Upper Deck started almost as a protest to what Topps, Donruss and Fleer were putting out in the 90s, and as a solution to the ever growing problem of counterfeiting cards.  The founders of Upper Deck believed that a counterfeit-proof hologram, foil wrappers, nice card stock and color photos of players on the front and back of cards would be a welcome addition to the at the time booming card industry, even if it meant collectors would have to pay almost twice the amount they were paying for packs of Topps, Fleer and Donruss.  I was in High School at the time, and I still remember how excited I was to get my hands on my first box of UD.  I remember thinking they were expensive, but buying some anyway.  And I distinctly remember pulling this:

UD #1 Ken Griffey Jr. card has got to be one of the top 10 most iconic cards in the hobby.  Not only was it his first and best rookie card, it was a symbol of the changes that were taking place at an incredible pace in the baseball card industry.   Like everything else in the late 80’s/ early 90’s, the Griffey card peaked and came crashing down in price.  Probably because there are millions of these cards available.   However, a quick scan through eBay shows that it still maintains some value.    This chapter also makes me want to read the book “ Card Sharks “ about Upper Deck.   It was written in 1995, so the take on where the hobby was at the time should be interesting.   Apparently, there were a lot of shenanigans going on in that company.  Has anyone read this yet?  Is it worth checking out?


Eric L said...

heh heh heh, you said nookie reader.

Play at the Plate said...

Funny Eric. I'd like to read it...the book I mean.

Milwaukee Southpaw said...

I read this book too and really enjoyed it. Also good is "The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History's Most Desired Baseball Card" by Michael O'Keefe and Teri Thompson. Happy reading!

Jeff Laws said...

I read it and loved it, couldn't put it down. I blogged a review here http://mysportsandsportscards.blogspot.com/2011/04/mint-condition.html

You'll enjoy it