Collectibles: For memorabilia hunters, sports seasons never end Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Larry Chrisco, Sports Cards and Collectibles Show coordinator, points out an autographed bat signed by the late St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan ‚ÄúThe Man‚ÄĚ Musial. The show was held March 8 at the St. Robert Community Center.
Story and photos by Matt Decker
Leisure/Sports editor
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If you’re thinking about starting a baseball card collection, or you’re into football cards or any kind of autographed memorabilia — watch out. You could be starting a lifelong obsession, albeit a highly enjoyable one, according to several collectors and dealers at the recent Sports Cards and Collectibles Show.

Larry Chrisco, who organized the show, held March 8 at the St. Robert Community Center, is the owner of Central Missouri Sportscards in St. Robert. Like most dealers, Chrisco is a collector who began his obsession early.

“I started collecting baseball cards when I was about 10 years old,” said Chrisco, who grew up in Salem, Mo. He and his wife, Connie, started their business about 15 years ago after he retired from the Army as a colonel.

Spc. William Milford displays some of his collection of autographed photos during the show. Milford said he has been collecting sports memorabilia and autographs since childhood.
Like many collectors, Chrisco’s personal collection revolves around his favorite team and his favorite player.

“I’m a a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan,” he said. “My dad took me to my first game in 1957 at the old Sportsman’s Park. (Stan) Musial was my hero.”

However, as a dealer, Chrisco said that collections are determined by the collector.

“Each collector has their own niche, or druthers. Some are predominately card collectors, usually of a certain sport, and within that sport they might collect rookie cards, cards from certain teams, or they may want an entire collection – the whole set from whatever their particular sport is or a particular year. Other collectors are into memorabilia and not so much the cards – they’re into the autographed part of the industry. It all depends on the collector — it’s a niche situation.”

Chad Swanson and his son, Isaac, 11, look over sports action figures sold by Tod Vanscoy of Rolla during the Sports Cards and Collectibles Show on March 8 at the St. Robert Community Center.
During the March 8 show, Chad Swanson and his son, Isaac, 11, were on the lookout for anything having to do with their two favorite baseball teams, the Los Angles Angels and the Kansas City Royals. Although Tod Vanscoy didn’t have any items representing either team at his table, his collection of sports-themed action figures got the Swanson’s attention.

“It’s pretty neat,” Chad Swanson said when asked about the show. “He (Isaac) was a little bit excited to come out today.”

“More than a little,” Isaac added as he pored over assorted hockey, basketball, football and baseball figures. The items on sale were just a few of the figures that Vanscoy, of Rolla, has been collecting for more than 20 years. Vanscoy said that while his favorite figures are from the Cardinals and Blues teams, none of those were on display.

“Most of these are limited issues, and I sell them to keep my collection going,” Vanscoy said. “I guess you could say these are paying for my habit.”

Another die-hard collector at the show was Spc. William Milford, who in addition to baseball cards, specializes in autographed photos. Milford, originally from Wheaton, Ill., and currently assigned to the 399th Army Band, has been getting autographs since childhood.

“I like the opportunities when I can actually obtain the autograph from the individual in person,” Milford said, pointing out one of his prized possessions, a 16-by-20-inch photo he had autographed by  Cubs great Ernie Banks.

Even among baseball cards, all cards are not alike. Micah Cockman, a collector and owner of MPC Sports Cards and Collectibles in St. Robert, specializes in memorabilia cards, which includes specialty cards sometimes referred to as “insert cards” and autographed cards.

“They’re higher-end cards. I’ve got some basic cards, which is your standard everyday card that averages from about five cents to $5. Memorabilia and autographed cards can average from $5 to thousands of dollars – and that’s just the modern era (from the 1950s on),” Cockman said.

Getting started

Baseball and autograph cards are displayed by MPC Sports Cards and Collectibles of St. Robert during the March 8 Sports Cards and Collectibles Show.
Thinking of starting a baseball card collection?

Cockman said new collectors should start off with some basic equipment to organize and protect their cards.

“If you’re a kid just starting out, I’d recommend getting a binder with some card holders in it, and just buying some packs from the store,” Cockman said. “If you’re older and want to get back into it, you may have an idea of what you’re looking for, and you’re going to need to find a specialty store.”

He also recommends all collectors pick up a copy of the “Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide.”

“If they want to find out what the price of something is, that’s what the Beckett guide is for,” Cockman said. “That way, if you find a card, or you’re looking at one on eBay, the guide can tell you how much it’s actually worth so they don’t get ripped off. Although, most of the time you’ll find the prices on eBay are below what’s listed in the guide.”

Upcoming shows

Chrisco and other sports collectibles dealers are scheduled to hold two more shows this spring: on one April 6 at Freedom Elementary School in conjunction with the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization, and an evening show from 5 to 9 p.m. on May 2 at the St. Robert Community Center. For more information about either show, call 573.364.8892.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 April 2013 )