|What Happened to Sports Collectors Digest?|
Friday, January 4, 2008
Posted by jaygross
Sports Collectors Digest (SCD) has been the #1 magazine for sports collectors for over 20 years. I was a subscriber in the late 80’s when it was bi-weekly and in the mid-late 90’s when it became a weekly publication. It was known for its mix of ads for new card products, dealers selling their inventories, editorial content about various collecting topics, and the several pages of affordable classified ads.
Before the internet and sites like this one, SCD was the best outlet around to interact with other collectors. Anticipating a copy arriving in the mail was something I always looked forward to (along with a mailbox full of autographs). I can’t imagine how different my experience would have been without it.
One of the most enjoyable parts was the Up Autograph Alley column written by Dave Miedema. I know some our veteran members remember him and have reminisced about those columns on our message board. Dave would test out addresses and provide results for us, to go along market trends and other interesting information about sports autographs. For the younger members, there was no internet and no SCN – so this was an incredibly valuable source for thousands collectors all over the country.
While I was at the National Convention this summer, I saw a table selling the latest issue of SCD for $1. Even though it had Mickey Mantle on the cover, I bought a copy. I hadn’t seen SCD in years and I figured Darrin and I would need something to look at our road trip home from Cleveland.
As I started paging through the magazine, I began realizing just how much the magazine, and the hobby in general, has changed since I last saw a copy 5 years ago. Page one had a full page of Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen telling why he was too good to be this year’s National. What a horrible a way to start out! Is there anyone more annoying in this hobby than him?
Page 3 was a listing of major auction houses and companies. This alone was incredibly telling, as the magazine has become mostly about the promotion of auctions and online auctions. I know I may not be typical of today’s collector (as I have no interest in buying game used jersey cards or really high end anything), but I am a passionate collector and the magazine just wasn’t appealing.
I thumbed through that issue completely unimpressed and disappointed. When Darrin checked it out, he had the same reaction. As excited as we were about all the fun we had at the National, we couldn’t believe how magazine was a let down.
The SCD I remembered was 300+ pages back in the mid 1990’s, now it was a whopping 56 pages. Where’s the beef??? I remember when you needed an entire afternoon to read your copy of SCD. Now I plowed through in under 30 minutes, seeing not too much that interested me.
At 56 pages, there just isn’t enough real estate to offer the kind of information and value that I remembered. Back in the day, there was 8-10 pages of collector classified ads (I even placed one or two at one point for $0.20 a word). If there is a full page of ads now, it’s a lot. There were card prices of new releases back then, but no more.
And get this… the cover price is $4.99. I know you can subscribe for significantly less, but still that seems high to me.
So I expected Krause Publications to come up with an incredible web site to fill the gap, but they let me down when I visited SportsCollectorsDigest.com.
I miss many of things about this hobby that made it so enjoyable as I was growing up. And there is no doubt that SCD is one of those things.
So here is my question/challenge to sports collectors out there:
What would you like to see in your dream sports card web site? Free real time price guides, card show calendar, virtual collection manager, original content from knowledgeable collectors and industry vets, the ability to interact with other collectors, an active marketplace with a wide selection…. What sites do it well? What sites miss the boat? What are they all missing that would make collecting more enjoyable?
Send me an email or Private Message and let me know what you think.
PRINT | PERMALINK
Comments on blog posts can only be seen or left by Premium Subscribers. Subscribe now.