Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Re-Gifting Success Story

I guess it was probably early July when my wife and I made it up to the south suburbs of Chicago to visit her parents, attend her 20th high school reunion, and meet up with her old high school tennis partner, who was in the class behind her. We've gone out with Laura's former tennis partner and her husband a couple of times in past and they are good people. They lived in Denver for a while, moved to southern Illinois for a spell, and now are back in my wife's hometown raising their young daughter.
When we walked in the door to their home I met Brian, the husband, with a handshake and he pointed me to three large boxes. "These are for you."

Say what?  "Yeah. We've been doing some cleaning and they need to go."

"I don't know if there's much value here, but I'm sure you can find something to do with them."

Cards were piled about four to five inches deep in each box and in some cases there were other boxes, binders, and cases on top of the cards. Oddly enough, I have the basketball version of that binder in my collection, which I found at an estate about six months ago. Small world.

Well, I sorted. And I sorted. I had piles of basketball, football, hockey, and baseball all over the place. Plus oddballs cards featuring non-sporting cards. I had to see what I had been gifted!

Then it hit me. These are a guy's childhood memories: oddball cards, ticket stubs, a couple of autographs and other cool pieces of memorabilia. AND, he just gave them to me to do what I wanted. 

So I began to sort with a purpose: things to put together for Brian and the rest that I would absorb into my collection.
The above picture is just the baseball cards AFTER I pulled the cool cards for Brian.

I decided to keep the baseball binder and pulled out the basketball equivalent from my collection and started placing cards into pages. 
 I was able to find some nice cards of star players and the first few pages highlighted the best of the best.
 I found a couple team sets of the expansion Rockies and decided to throw those into the pages. I could tell Brian was a fan of the Rockies and Broncos by the cards in the collection. Which makes sense, because he did grow up in Colorado.
 On the back of one of Brian's personal business cards I found Joe Girardi's signature, so I placed that in a sleeve next to a card of Joe.
 There were also some random SI for Kids cards and some 7-11 coins.
I don't know much about hockey or astronauts, but they made the binder, too.
 I found lots of basketball star power to put into the pages. And after much sorting I found Brian was only a handful of cards away from completing the '92-'93 Upper Deck basketball set AND the McDonald's giveaway basketball set from the same year.
I purchased about two dollars worth of singles from, completed the sets, and put them in the binder as well.
 I also purchased a few four and six pocket pages from my LCS so I could place some more oddballs and ticket stubs in the binder.
It was fun. Probably more fun than I should have had with a collection so eerily close to my own. I'm currently in the midst of my third stint through the hobby and the cards from Brian's collection mirrored the same years I collected during my first two times. I now have lots of repeats of sets I have already completed!

In all, there was somewhere between seven and eight thousand cards in Brian's collection. The binder I made for him had about six hundred cards or so, and I'm hoping I picked out the correct six hundred to maximize his enjoyment as he flips the pages through memory lane.

I dropped off the binder last weekend when Laura and I went to visit her parents last weekend. Brian and his family were out so we left the binder in a box on the porch.

A few hours later my wife got a nice text from her friend conveying Brian's thanks and how he was excited to flip through the binder.

Smiles all around. It was a re-gifting success.

I just wanted to share my little story and I hope it all makes you smile, too. This hobby of ours is great is so many ways. But, it sure is hard to beat the memories from your childhood and the friends we make along the way.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


  1. Awesome! That was such a great gesture. Big time Blogger/Card Collector Karma for that one.

  2. That's a fantastic idea! So often you come across collections of that size being given away or sold anonymously, but the fact that you knew the guy "getting rid of his childhood" is perfect for this kind of gesture. Awesome!

  3. Nice. Also echoes my own feelings about being able to appreciate my own collection more by winnowing it down some.

  4. Awesome, awesome gesture. I don't think it would have ever dawned on me to do that. I would have just been greedy and taken them for me. He had a lot better cards than I expected too...I figured most would be junk, but overall, some nice little gems in there.

  5. As others have echoed, that was very nice. Being someone who sold my collection once, when I got back into collecting it was nice to see the cards I once had again. Those are the memories I have the most of my childhood.

  6. I think my dad was at that Astros game on 6/12/96 on business. Marvin Freeman and two relievers combined for the first Rockies shutout at Coors Field.

    1. Nice! I knew there was some history in those ticket stubs!