Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Review: Mint Condition

Title: Mint Condition
Author: Dave Jamieson
Genre: History 
Ease of Reading: Two hundred forty-pages of text written for young and old card collectors alike. The author did a good job of breaking down the history of baseball cards in chapters, which kept the pace moving.
Synapse: The book does a wonderful job of sending the message of baseball cards were introduced as a gimmick to sell cigarettes and other products, but then became an item which could sell itself.  Along the way Jamieson unveils who the first big time card collectors in the hobby were.  The latter half of the book gets deep into licensing issues, the players' union, the junk wax era, slabbing cards, and doctoring cards. 
Comments: The history lesson Jamieson gives from the first half of the 1900s was very interesting and well written with a great amount of detail. I liked how Jamieson was more detailed with the early days of card collecting and didn't spend nearly as many pages on the hobby from the 90s to present.  I've lived those years and know the hobby pretty well.
Grade: I am baseball junkie.  I loved playing the game and I love watching it, talking about it, reading about it, and collecting cards.  Combine a couple of those things together and I'm a happy fanatic.  I'm always up for learning something new and this book delivered on that front a few times over.  I can easily identify myself within this book: a collector, not someone looking to make a buck.  Because Jamieson seems to favor the collector within his writing, at least that's how I'm interpreting his body of work, I'm giving this book a slightly biased grade of an 'A-'.  Why not an 'A' or 'A+'?  Well, because Jamieson somehow omits the blogopshere.  If he only knew what he's missing.  Even so, I think most of the participants in the baseball card blogosphere would find this book a fun read.

Side note: I would like to thank Paul, from Wrigley Wax, for sending me his extra copy.  No worries Paul, I'll pay it forward!


  1. Sounds like a great read-I have been wanting to read it for a while now.

  2. I have a copy, it is very interesting !

  3. I read that on my beach vacation in May. It was a quick read, certainly.

    You make a good point that the author did miss out on the blogosphere around cards. If the book were updated today, I think a whole new chapter about online collecting in particular could be appended -- thinks like the COMC/Sportlots/Just Commons websites, Zistle/Trading Card Database, how people are using Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook to trade, and how bloggers are informing -- and sometimes fomenting -- debate about sets, set composition, and product lines.

    Thanks for sharing the report on the book, Tom!

  4. This is a great book! I just found your blog and saw this post so wanted to mention that I wrote a review recently that includes an update on what happened to some of the people in the book. It may interest others - the post is here: